My love of reading romance fiction goes back to those early years when I was raising a young family. It wasn't until much later in life I actually took up the pen to write my first historical romance, Wind Warrior . I really don't fit into one specific niche. Once a story starts to flow, it's only then I know what genre/sub-genre it will fit under.
I have only one regret, and that is not getting to this point in my career much sooner, rather than later. Life has a way of setting up road blocks, which for me, was God's plan and supposed to work out that way. Because of those detours, I have become a more passionate and expressive writer, allowing me to create the kind of raw human emotion I want my readership to feel.
It is my hope you walk away with not just an entertaining read, but the importance in knowing, "Without imagination & dreams, we lose the excitement of wonderful possibilities."
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Why did you use song titles for book titles?
The anatomy of a song has within its lyrics a pretty fascinating backstory. For more than five decades, authors have been creating fictional pieces and bringing readers deep inside the lyrics. I grew up listening to my mom’s collection of romantic ballads from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Those lyrics have forever been embossed into my brain, I still sing along whenever I hear them. Lyrics back then told a story, and they were so strong, and emotional, their affect were everlasting.
I have a library of love songs on iTunes I listen to religiously, while I write, as a source of inspiration and a tool that gets me in the mood and mindset, I need to be in. It is from this list, I began to formulate a series of ideas, followed by cryptic notes on paper, and finally the creation of my Love Song Standards Series. I made a list of the songs I connected with personally, whittling it down to thirty-five. That number was quite overwhelming, and I thought virtually impossible to create that many fictional scenarios. So, I chipped away at the songs and their lyrics, until I decided on a top ten.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
Once I've decided on a title and a vague outline, I turn on my iTunes and simply begin to write and just let it flow and see where the story takes me. I've always written that way. My books are never planned out. I just go with a general idea. I'm more creative in the evening, when everything is quiet and force myself to write a chapter every day.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Thankfully, no, I haven't.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Believe ... believe ... believe in yourself. Be patient. Don't listen to the naysayers and know that patience is the most important virtue of all because it's all about luck. There are hundreds of talents out there all of whom are just as deserving. Don't beat yourself if you don't rise to the cream of the crop right away. Many of the greats took years and hundreds of rejections before getting noticed.
What are your current/future projects?
Converting all of my published works into screenplays and finishing the final four books in my Love Song Standard Series.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
So far I've written Native Indian romances, suspense and contemporary. I just write what comes to mind.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
I think the independents have taken over quite frankly. YAY for us!
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
My first book, Wind Warrior was published traditionally and they did nothing for me. Once my contract was released and I had control my sales increased exponentially.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
I changed the book cover for This Too Shall Pass and re-edited because of the poor quality my editors produced. I use two distributors Amazon and Smashwords. Their process is so easy.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
I've had some very difficult times in my life which made it impossible to spend any money on promotions most of the time. I still do. Promotion is key when launching a new book. Most of the time I haven't been able too because just surviving was more important than marketing myself. I researched book blogs on the internet and came up with a list of 500. There were more but, I stopped there. I wrote them all offering a guest post. I was a blog owner myself for many years and knew how tenuous it was coming up with good content all the time for my readers. Twenty percent of them loved my post, which was the start to building a relationship and blog tours.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
Amazon and Smashwords together. Smashwords is important and a must to reach readers on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Google.
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
I keep a pad, pen or tablet with me at all times ... always ready. I even wrote notes down on a napkin and toilet paper when the moment struck.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
I know when enough is enough
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
I do believe the more you write, the better you get. The proof however, is in the reviews your readers bless you with. My wish is to inspire and evoke emotion in my readers.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I think the culmination of all is important. Readers want to know they are getting the most for the price we're asking them to spend. I believe the cover has to be appealing and captivating along with the book blurb on the back cover to draw them in.
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
No, I haven't. I've found that most prominent ones are well beyond my pocket book. I've also found that, if you're a 'newbie' in the business, most sources are only interested if you've created a name for yourself. At least, that has been my experience.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
I just wish I could get some. I think the ideals of readers have changed dramatically and they don't feel as though they need to share a review perhaps, because they feel others will and they don't need to. I struggle constantly in my attempt to receive them with blog tours, blog interviews, contests and giveaways. It's tiring truly.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
I would never pay for reviews. The most complimenting, to me, are those that come from a reader's experience and heart.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
I've never had that experience but don't doubt it doesn't happen. We all receive bad reviews. What's that saying, "you can only please some of the people some of the time, not all of the people all of the time."
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
I've never had the pleasure of participating in either of them.
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
The self-published market has made it possible for writers like myself to see their dream of being published come to life. Granted, there are some pretty sad covers out there and the writing isn't up to the standards it should be but ... thankfully ... we have a deserving platform and an even playing field to make it in this industry. Competition is stiff most definitely. There are many worthy rivals out there but I try to approach it with the thought that, if I give it my all, what will be will be.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
Not being appreciated and recognized as an entertaining and inspirational read.
What is the intended audience for you book?
Warm-blooded females of all ages.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Read me 😉 Seriously though it isn't easy being a romance author today. When I see all of the erotic covers out there I wonder what is this industry turning into. Mind you, this is just my own personal thought. I believe true romance should mirror our daily lives, those struggles we experience personally lives to get through the day, survive what life throws at us, dealing with tragedy and loss and how we struggle to get through it with love prevailing in the end.
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
I use every resource available to me that I can find. The only platform I canceled was Twitter. It just didn't work for me.
What makes a good story, why?
A book that can evoke emotion in its reader. When you touch someone's heart deeply, way of thinking or funny bone, it creates a lasting memory.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Liking and meaning both, I think. I don't use a source for selection unless it's Native Indian. I feel that's important to stay true to the culture.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I read and respond to every one. Those that are negative, I always thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts.
What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?
I don't do book conventions. They are simply too costly.
What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?
A time travel series. Thinking along the time of when our pioneers came to America ... colonial times.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
All of them were made up accept for Alana Waverly in 'This Too Shall Pass'. There was a time in my life ... a ten-year period when a black cloud hovered over me. I thought I would never see the light of day. This book mirrors my personal struggles. I included fictional elements to give it readership appeal, but is my hope readers will find it a source of inspiration and as therapeutic as it was for me to write.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
Paper and pen work for me and a good thesaurus. I also feel if you're writing fiction, you still have to be true to the facts when dealing with time period, style of dress, dialogue, and cultural detail. It's all about believe ability. When you take the time to transport your reader in the midst of that element, it's a win win for both.
What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?
I think it's always been part of my DNA. I was writing stories in crayon when I was little and making up stories.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
From a conservation standpoint, I think eBooks are a positive resource. I love the portability of a book though because you can take it anywhere, especially where wifi isn't available.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
All of the above.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
Editors are expensive, and I've found from the three I have used, they were untrustworthy. As a writer, your focus is simply that ... writing. I have placed my faith in this service and published my work on the belief they fulfilled their obligation. Sadly, I learned the hard way, when bad reviews came in because of the multiple mistakes my editor overlooked. I haven't been successful finding an editor who is their worth for the price they ask. So I try to meticulously edit my own work and keep my fingers crossed.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
Traditional ... too contained and controlling PLUS they keep to big of a piece of the pie. It was a terrible industry to try and break into.
Self Publishing is extremely competitive, rightfully so. We all want the dream but I love being in control and giving birth to my creation from beginning to end.
Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?
Erotica. Just because.
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
I have to say I'm blessed, when it comes to my inspiration. It's like a faucet I can't turn off. I hope it never runs dry.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
I would hope my covers
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
Covers by Ramona
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
Waiting for reviews