Improving life. Mine, my kid's, yours. It's the way I think we should all try to be. Not expecting perfection, but always giving relentless effort, no matter how futile it may feel. Never. Ever. Quit.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a head for developing ideas. Sometimes business, occasionally personal, I like to build. I currently have 5 big projects that are ongoing, and roughly a dozen smaller ones. I build websites, run 3 blogs, make premade covers, freelance on writing sites, and a few others. It's what I've been doing since my first book was published and it seems to work for me. Looking in, an observer might ask why I don't just concentrate on writing the new books and forget the rest now that I'm making a living. My answer is that some days, the mental door into the stories is extremely hard to find. On the other days, it's impossible. I have to keep busy or that alone could drive me crazy.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle, but I use the Nook and iPhone for editing purposes or when there's a book I can't find on Amazon–which is rare.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Dark Tower The Stand Twilight LOTR The Hunger Games
As you can tell, I prefer a series, and I like adventure and fantasy, with the occasional romantic twist. However, it's the end of the world theme in each that keep me rereading them. The Hunger Games, The Stand, The Dark Tower and LOTR have obvious apocalypse plots, but so does Twilight. It's in the constant reminder that if vampires or werewolves chose to take over, humans would lose–that they humor us by hiding. What if that were true? I'm also a sucker for great characters, and those 5 books/series have the best in the last fifty years–IMAO.
Describe your desk
Huge TV that I use as a monitor, mini MAC, stack of files and papers, printer and internet equipment, cell phones, knife, Kindle, cup and holder, Advil, no less than three writing instruments, and two mostly empty notebooks. It's how I roll.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Sure. It was published in the school library. The Case of the Missing Cat was a 4th grade homework assignment that started the ride I'm still on. Thank you, Crosby.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Like many people now, I browse the freebies. If I like it, I'll buy the other books in that series and then check out the author's other work. Occasionally, I'll see a film that I assume was made so engrossing by a talented writer and look them up.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
#1-Free material. I'm very generous with my readers. For example, my Life After War series has five books right now, all between 500 and 900 pages. I give the first two for free(1200 pages total), along with healthy excerpts in the rear of my other FREE books. I also include character bios, images with each chapter, interactive features, and I always have a 'notes from the author' section in every book and talk to them. They love that, and frankly, so do I. It's an incredible feeling to know how many of them are actually listening.
#2-Paid Advertising–carefully!–with a variety of places like EReader IQ and BookBub.
#3- Free advertising and linking. The more links to your main book, the better you do in the search engines. When Google recognizes you, so do most of the retailer search bots. I also use free reviews, blog posts, FB and other social sites, and many other places. The key is to never slack off.
How do you approach cover design?
I like to show what a reader can expect, hint of the delights and torments I've layered into the story. Usually, I make my own, but sometimes, like for my Life After War series, I use an outside artist. Lanae Morris does great work.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Offering so many formats is wonderful.
What are you working on next?
My sweet and crazy fans have infected me with this idea of getting a film company's attention for Life After War. We've created a group where everyone has a list of duties to perform toward that end. As their reward, I spend time chatting at the monthly meeting, and give them sneak peeks and details that other readers never glimpse. I also plan to include them in my other projects. Why should I be the only one making a living, right? Without them, I'd still be dispatching in the city and slowly dying inside.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.