1. ALL OF YOUR BOOKS USED TO BE FREE. WHY HAS THAT CHANGED?
For almost five years my books WERE free. I was working full-time and writing was a hobby. However, a number of factors began to change and I had to reassess where I was going and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Taking an early retirement and writing full-time became more appealing but there are expenses involved: editing, covers, swag and other promotions. A pension only goes so far and you can't depend on royalties. Plus, I wanted to help my local animal shelter... After a lot of soul-searching and juggling of numbers, I came to the decision that selling my books was the best solution.
I try to keep the prices low so the books are affordable to most and I've left The Mating as free since it seems to be a favourite. I also have lots of giveaways so if you keep watching my facebook page and The Law of the Lycans page, there's a good chance you can win some of the books as well!
2. WHAT IS THE READING ORDER FOR THE LAW OF THE LYCAN SERIES?
I recommend reading the books in the order in which they were written:
The Mating, The Keeping, The Finding, Bonded, Betrayed: Days of the Rogue, Betrayed: Book Two - The Road to Redemption, For the Good of All, Deceit can be Deadly, Kane: I am Alpha, Veil of Lies
*The only thing to be aware of is that Bonded goes BACK in the timeline to a point before The Mating occurred and then moves ahead again. Also, Kane: I am Alpha, while technically occurring before The Mating, has spoilers in it so I'd suggest reading it afterwards.
3. ARE THE BOOKS AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK OR HARDCOVER?
YES! Buy links for the paperbacks can be found under the 'books' tab.e. Hardbacks can be ordered from most local bookstores.
4. ARE YOUR BOOKS IN AUDIO?
At this point, only The Mating is in audiobook format. It's an incredibly expensive undertaking - around $7000 CAD. I'm waiting to see if I sell enough copies to cover the outlay. If I start to make a profit, I'll move on to The Keeping.
5. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN WRITING?
In January of 2009, on a Saturday afternoon, I quickly penned a fanfiction story between loads of laundry. It was something I wrote on a whim, based on a random thought. The story was for a TV show called Scarecrow and Mrs. King. It was well received and I ended up joining a wonderful fan-based group for Bruce Boxleitner who starred in the show. The ladies there - affectionately known as the 'Gutter Girls' - supported my writing and soon I was spending almost every spare moment creating tales for the show.
In August of 2009 a casual comment from a fellow author, Jan Gordon, inspired me to write my first original novel, Forever In Time. Soon after that I wrote The Mating as a one chapter short story. Readers asked for more so I began to spin the tale of Elise and Kane, with no real idea of where it was going. To my surprise it became my second novel.
Near the end of the Mating, a character walked into the tale named Ryne. Throughout most of the book, he was (in my mind) a 'minor character' but Ryne was an independent sort and had other ideas! I soon found myself writing his story, The Keeping.
The third book in my werewolf series, The Finding, proved more challenging. I decided to explore writing in mulitple POV's, showing new sides to my old characters and weaving several story lines into one. In some ways it was less of a romance and more of an adventure and a study of personalities.
When I write, I see the story unfold as a movie in my head. I like to include as much description as possible and tend to actually 'live' my characters and stories. In fact, I'm often found scowling at the computer, muscles tensed during a fight and jaw jutted out or perhaps crying during a sad chapter. It can be rather exhausting at times!
Near the middle of writing a story I start to get impatient. By then I know how the story will end and hate having to wait to get to the final big scenes. It's also when I start to become filled with self-doubt, thinking the story is terrible and no one will want to read it. That's when my oh-so-patient friend and editor, Jan Gordon, has to start cajoling, hand-holding and berating me. You have to thank her for the fact that my books ever get finished!
6. I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU!
There's really not a lot to tell!
I live in Canada and I try to use Canadian spelling in my work, which may throw some readers off but it's my way of supporting my country. Some of my hobbies include reading, writing and gardening and my favourite food is dark chocolate. Chocolate's a food group, right?
I enjoy taking day trips and discovering out of the way places as well as spending time in nature though I don't camp - I want a 'real' bathroom! I'm an avid supporter of animal shelters, nature conservancy, food banks and a wide variety of other charities.
Here are some links to interviews I've done and articles about me. You might find a few other tidbits about me there.
7. WILL I PROMOTE YOUR BOOK OR WEBSITE OR PRODUCT ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE?
Not because I don't want to help you but because I haven't read the book or checked out the site or the product. It wouldn't be fair to my readers to endorse something I know nothing about. If I do mention something, it's because I have personally read, examined or used it and feel it is of value.
8. WILL I READ YOUR 'ROUGH DRAFT'?
I'm always excited to think that someone would value my opinion of their work or look to me for advice. And while I'd love to read your work and support your efforts, I just don't have the time. If I read your book, my own writing won't get done. As it is, I hardly ever get to read just for my own pleasure!
However, I do have a list of suggestions and tips for aspiring writers - just scroll to the end of this page.
9. I NEED HELP DOWNLOADING TO MY E-READER or THE BOOK DIDN'T DOWNLOAD PROPERLY.
Believe it or not, I don't own an ereader! I read off my laptop, so I'm really not much help. However, here are the steps I usually recommend.
a) Most readers use EPUB. Kindle uses MOBI or PRC
b) Try plugging your ereader into your laptop via USB. It will show up on your computer like a memory stick.
c) Download the appropriate format and save/drag to the correct file on your ereader.
d) Most sites you download from have a help section. Check there.
10. THERE ARE PAGES MISSING!
Not in the copies I submitted. The problem is either with your reader or the files they have.
11. I'VE FOUND TYPOS IN YOUR BOOKS.
Yes, you might have. Neither Jan nor I are professionals. We do the best we can but when reading documents that are over 100,000 words long, things get missed especially since we've read and re-read the story so many times. Also, sometimes errors are 'inserted' when the books are converted to different formats - I've no idea how or why this happens but it does. Finally, remember I use Canadian spelling and punctuation rules.
If you do find a mistake, please feel free to email me and tell me where it is and I'll fix it. I periodically upload 'fresh' copies of the books to feedbooks and smashwords.
12 .DO YOU HAVE ANY POINTERS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
This is a compilation of ‘tips’ I’ve put together over the last little while. I hope some are useful to you.
The first thing you need, of course, is an idea for a plot. It doesn’t have to be a complete plot but just some sort of premise to begin with e.g., for a western it could be a girl falling off her horse at the foot of the male lead. Her dignity is hurt and she vows to hate him but fate keeps throwing them together. I know that’s pretty simple so adding some mystery and suspense would be great but it gives you the idea of what I’m talking about.
Then, depending on your writing style, you can either jump in with both feet and start to write or jot the story in point form and then start to flesh out the details as you describe each scene. When describing, try to involve all 5 senses and ask yourself what the character might see, feel, hear, smell or even taste. That will allow your reader to 'experience the scene' so much more vividly.
My friend and editor, Jan Gordon, has posted some great “writer’s workshop” pieces on my facebook page. You can find them in the notes section.
Once your story is written, it’s on to editing**. It is the most important step because a poorly edited book can really turn people off even if you have a great plot. Professional editing is DREADFULLY expensive - around 5 cents per word. I can't afford those fees and I'm sure you can't either. There are semi-professional editors out there who charge less. They are people who have a good grasp of grammar, punctuation, spelling, plot etc and can look your book over and offer some advice. (**Sometimes it helps to have someone read your story when you have the first few chapters done so that they can give you some idea as to whether or not you are headed in the right direction or need to do extensive revisions before you invest any more time it it. I did that with Betrayed. I sent it to Jan about ¼ finished and the feedback she gave me made me realize I really needed to rewrite the first bit if the story was ever going to work!)
If hiring an editor is beyond your means then you could post a chapter or two of your story at a place called fictionpress.com This site features non-pro writers and is where I started out. It's free and you can get some feedback from other aspiring authors. They even have people who offer to 'beta' your story. This means they sort of act like an editor, offering advice etc. You don't have to post the whole the story (especially if you are hoping to sell it) but it will give you some idea as to how others like it.
Alternatively, if you are feeling very, very sure of yourself, you can just publish and cross your fingers you've done a good job. It’s not a route I’d advise but some do try it.
Now, as to self-publishing; it is SO easy. Just go to Smashwords. Here's the link: http://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords
Read over the info there and then download the Style Guide. It will walk you through formatting your book so it can be read on a variety of ereaders. If you aren't computer-minded, the instructions might seem daunting at first, but once you get into it, you'll find it is quite easy. And as for creating cover art, you could hire someone but if you know a bit about graphics or photo editing you can create your own. Do a search for "public domain royalty free images' (you don't want to be sued for breaking copyright) and find a picture that suits your book. Add a title and your name and you are ready to go! If you need a program to create your cover art try Paint.NET. It is a free program you can download.
Be prepared that not everyone will love your stories. You need to have a very thick skin with a non-stick surface. Some will love your stuff and some will be mediocre but it’s the bad ones that always seem to be 'bigger' in your mind than they really are. You can't let those ones get to you. I don't ignore the bad reviews completely. They have their use and if you get mostly bad reviews then you know you’re in trouble. But most likely you'll get a mixture as I do. I skim over the bad reviews (especially when I feel the need to be humbled a bit - it keeps you very grounded when someone rips your 'baby' to shreds) but focus more on the 3, 4 and 5 star reviews. You can learn to become a better writer by reading the 3 star reviews. Those are the ones that will often offer a real critique of what is good and what needs to be improved in a story. And no matter how great of an author you are, there is usually something that you can work on: character development, plot holes, word choice, editing....
I hope this is helpful! Best of luck with your books!