In the U Post for this series, I opened the floor for all of you to ask me questions about my books, blog, writing...anything.
Here are your questions and my answers:
NOTE: Diedre, Yvonne, and Lidy Wilks all asked me a similar question, so I chose the first version asked by Diedre.
Diedre Knight's Question: With your website, newsletters, blogs, and editing on the side going on, how do you ever find time to write new books?
My Answer: I plan ahead. I’ve already started writing my blog posts for next year. If I set aside a day, I could write 5-10 posts. With my newsletter, I can put together 3-4 in an hour or two with most of the content done. For the IWSG Newsletter, I create a few pre-made issues and add the content when I get it. If I have to edit for a client, I edit up to a certain page count each day, and then I try to write in one of my own books for the rest of the day. Marketing my books is another matter, I’ve spent hours and days doing that. I do lose writing time, and it does suck.
Loni Townsend's Question: Are you feeling better yet?
My Answer: I am much better. Thanks, Loni! (And Alex, who also asked this question, and everyone who wished me well.)
Nick Wilford's Question: Which of your books have you most enjoyed writing, and why?
My Answer: This is tough. I want to say one of Avrianna Heavenborn’s books (more on her in a later answer), because those were the first books I wrote and completed. I also want to say Tsunami Crimes, because it turned out to be the easiest book I've written. On the other hand, (I guess I have three hands?) I want to say the book I’m working on now because it’s just so much fun! I’m back in the fantasy genre that I enjoyed so long ago but got away from. It’s a three-way tie! :D
Karen Wojcik Berner's Question: How did you get your publisher?
My Answer: Well, I was Googling publishers that accept romance short stories, and the first one I found was The Wild Rose Press. I checked out their requirements and sent off a query letter for Hurricane Crimes. I was in a bad place at the time, so when I was asked to send them the full manuscript, I was in shock. I sent it, and then the Senior Editor for the Crimson Rose Line wanted it!
Elizabeth Seckman's Question: Who is your favorite character you've ever written and why?
My Answer: Avrianna Heaveborn. She’s the detective in my short story, Ghost of Death. I have written a series for her, going deeper into who she is and all the things that make her unique. I’m working on getting representation for book one of her series. *fingers crossed*
Alex J. Cavanaugh's Question: Why the fascination with disasters?
My Answer: Disasters happen everywhere, to anyone. Nowadays, they are happening more often, too. I think it’s the unpredictability and the power of them that really draws me in. You just never know.
Chemist Ken's Question: You provided such a wonderful writeup on how to put newsletters together. How have you been doing with yours? Any new tricks you've discovered?
My Answer: My newsletter is going great. I have a happy number of subscribers, and I’m having fun with it. The trick is to offer your readers something. It can’t be all me-me-me or my book this, my book that. I like to offer recipes, teasers for a current work-in-progress, and giveaways. I try to do one special thing in every newsletter.
Elizabeth Otten's Question: Where did you learn this abundant amount of information about writing, publishing, blogging, etc.?
My Answer: I did a lot of research and learned along the way.
D.G. Hudson's Question: Have you experienced many disaster events yourself?
My Answer: I’ve experienced category 5 (and lesser) hurricanes, tropical storms, severe thunderstorms, mild flooding, and a brush fire (started by an arson) that almost took my childhood home.
Pat Hatt's Question: Which disaster would you find the worst to be in? Zombie apocalypse?
My Answer: For the world, a zombie apocalypse would be the worst. Personally, it would be a tsunami. I’ve been horrified by them since I first saw “Deep Impact.” I can’t swim well, and I have a fear of drowning.
Lidy Wilks' Question: What show would you spend your entire weekend binge watching?
My Answer: When you asked this, I was binge watching the first two seasons of "House of DVF." I love fashion, and this was the only thing I could concentrate on. I’ve also binge watched "The Walking Dead."
The Beer Guys' Question: Do you have any characters roaming around in your head that you want to write about, but haven't found the right story to put them in yet?
My Answer: Nope. As soon as they introduce themselves to me, I know exactly what their story is about. But I do have way too many characters roaming around in my head who need their stories written.
Shannon Lawrence's Question: Is there a different genre that you have the urge to play around in? Something that pokes at the back of your brain sometimes?
My Answer: Western. I have one story idea with cowboys and outlaws that would be fun to write. Of course, there would be a romantic storyline. But I have so many other stories that need writing first that I’m waiting until I have time to really learn about this genre before I attempt it.
Jeffrey A. Scott's Question: Have you ever had to delete a loved character completely from one of your stories?
My Answer: Never. I make sure all of my characters, even the minor ones, have a purpose in the story. Doing that ensures that they’re not dispensable. If I cut a character out, there would be a hole, something missing from the story. It could be something as simple as comedic relief, which is important to balance out the tension in some of my stories.
Carrie-Anne’s Questions: A) Have you ever had the experience of characters talking to you and demanding you do things much differently than the way you'd planned? Did you change the storyline accordingly, or stick to the original plot exactly? B) Have you ever been surprised by the appearance of a completely unplanned character?
My Answers: A) I have had some characters go off and do things a bit different, which resulted in unplanned scenes, and I always let them do it. I’ve realize that giving them freedom made the storyline that much better, but I was always able to keep the plot pretty much the same. B) Unplanned characters have popped into my stories. Mostly it happens during moments that need them, and they waltz in to save the day. One of these surprise characters was Detective Thorn from Seismic Crimes. He wanted to be in the story, and I let him. After that, he dictated everything he wanted to do.