Interview with Pen

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have studied the publishing industry since the age of 12. I watched as publishing houses went under, especially with the advent of the Internet. They also drastically reduced support and services for authors, particularly new and "undiscovered" authors. These days traditional publishing houses still take up to 85% from each sale while the author is expected to do much of the legwork involved: promotion, marketing and sales. I actually investigated self-publishing in the early nineties to discover it was a costly venture. These days, it's as easy as the click of a button (well, almost that easy.)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The creation of characters and different worlds. Imagining each scene then getting it down on paper (or computer.)
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything.
What are you working on next?
Nero's Fiddle. After a crisis of epic proportions hits the United States, Captain Beverly Mossberg, USMC, must get to Washington, DC to assassinate a terrorist before he strikes again.
Who are your favorite authors?
James Rollins, Lindsay Buroker, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Judy Mercer, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing. And, of course, the cats want to be fed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching movies, making quilts, playing with my kitty cats.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Visiting author websites, deals from retailers.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was in third grade. I started writing a mystery. One of my classmates made fun of it. I didn't write again for a few years until I began writing poetry for my English teacher.
What is your writing process?
I visualize/imagine/daydream a scene, dialogue or characters. Then I write everything down in longhand just as I visualized it. I get the basics down first, then go back and embellish or clean up.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
By the Light of the Moon. This Koontz book is rich with details and description as well as scientific fact.

Bloodline. I liked the way Rollins brought the story line of The Guild to a head.

The Emperor's Edge. Buroker introduced me to an entirely new genre: steampunk. I never thought I would like a book with "punk" as a genre but I love the series. The first one is my favorite.

Fast Forward. Judy Mercer only wrote four books. This is the first in that series and the best one.

Butterfly. Every woman should read this book and share it with her best friend. The ultimate woman's revenge book.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle for PC until I can afford an electronic reading device.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Georgia. Everybody knew everybody's business. It influenced my writing in that I know what it is like to grow up in a small town but it limited my access to opportunities for writers.
When did you first start writing?
When I was about ten years old.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A fascination with post-apocalyptic earth. I believe that people would find a way to survive not matter what happens.
How do you approach cover design?
I attempt to get to the crux of the story. For instance, the Sword of Tilk Trilogy focused on the golden Sword of Tilk. It is very difficult to find an image of a gold sword that isn't copyright and royalty free. Ergo, I had to make my own gold sword.
What do you read for pleasure?
James Rollins' Sigma Force series, Dean Koontz, Lindsay Buroker. Books are one of my greatest pleasures.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+ and my Wordpress blog.
Describe your desk
I have a small desk which faces east so the sun greets me each morning. On this desk is a small plastic Pegasus from the Disney movie Hercules, two chunks of quartz I have had for years, two black shiny rocks I found by the railroad tracks and a pewter statue of a woman with wings and a sword. These items are my inspiration.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I have high hopes for my venture with Smashwords.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story or the first book? The first book I clearly remember that was my favorite was a book titled "Magic Elizabeth." I was fascinated with the way the little girl in the book could dream herself into another time and place. I would love to get that book again but the price on it is outrageous.
What inspires you to write?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. A news article, an event or incident from another book or a movie, a personal experience. The Sword of Tilk Trilogy was actually inspired by the ABC series, "Once Upon A Time." I love the medieval flavor of the show and I'm fascinated by the concept of different worlds existing side by side.
What genre do you write?
I do not fit the profile for one particular genre. I write whatever comes into my fuzzy little head. I suppose my novels might fit into the category of science fiction but they're not hardcore science fiction. They're more like a cross between science fiction and fantasy. The important thing is the story and if that leads me to science fiction, steampunk, or even a love story, then so be it. I also like doing nonfiction, especially where women's issues are concerned.
Can we expect more from Pen?
Absolutely. I have about a dozen more novels sitting in my queue to work on. I'm writing as fast as I can!
Published 2014-07-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 12
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,200. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin
The HS Journal is the first and only monthly publication dedicated to the topic of Hidradenitis Suppurativa and the people who endure it.
HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 11
Price: Free! Words: 6,580. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin
In this month's issue of HS Journal: Bring HS to Light First HS Clinic in Scotland in the Works Why a non-HS Person Joins the Candlelight Vigil With a Grain of Salt Wake Up, HS Community Listen to Your Body
HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 10
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,960. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system
In this issue: Proclamation Activation Bring HS to Light Liquid Gold The Hurt and more!
HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 9
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,630. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system
HS Journal is the first monthly publication dedicated to the topic of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) and the people who endure it. In this issue: Possible Discrimination Suit to get Medication A Day in the Life of an HS Mom DIET New Diet, Now What? And More!
HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 8
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,390. Language: English. Published: February 2, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system
HS Journal, the first and only monthly publication dedicated to the issue of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) and the people who endure it.
HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 7
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,350. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system
The first monthly publication dedicated to the debilitating skin disease Hidradenitis Suppurativa and the people who endure it. Includes patient stories, tips for living with this chronic autoimmune illness, and more.
HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 6
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,880. Language: English. Published: December 11, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin, Nonfiction » Social Science » Disease & health issues
The first monthly publication dedicated to the subject of Hidradenitis Suppurativa and the patients who suffer with it.
HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 5
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,370. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / genetic, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin
The first magazine dedicated to the topic of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) and the people who have it.
Velpeau: HS Journal Vol. 1, Issue 4
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,860. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / genetic, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Medicine
Velpeau: HS Journal is the only monthly publication focusing on Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) and the people who are affected by it.
Velpeau: The HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 3
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,980. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / genetic
Monthly publication to help raise awareness about the debilitating skin condition, Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
Velpeau: The HS Journal, Vol. i, Issue 2
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,270. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin
The first monthly publication dedicated to Hidradenitis Suppurativa and the patients who suffer with it.
Velpeau: The HS Journal, Vol. I, Issue 1
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,650. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / skin, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / immune system
The first monthly publication dedicated to the subject of Hidradenitis Suppurativa and the people who suffer with it.
The Message
Price: Free! Words: 1,110. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
Thousands of years ago, an important message was sent to the people on earth: a message which has stood the test of time.
The Bell
Price: Free! Words: 1,140. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
A broken bell once again peals across the land thanks to the healing power of the human touch.
Sword of Tilk: Before the Storm
Price: Free! Words: 4,040. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » General
The event which brought about the Sword of Tilk Trilogy, the journey of one woman to becoming the woman she is meant to be.
Cheetah, Lion and the Great Race
Price: Free! Words: 2,390. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
No one is better than anyone else. And we all need each other at some point or another.
I Cast My Stone
Price: Free! Words: 2,400. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
How actions change the lives of those we come in contact with each day.
By the Light of a Candle
Price: Free! Words: 1,080. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
My nephews asked me one Christmas why I lit a candle on Christmas Eve. And this is what I told them.
A Grain of Sand
Price: Free! Words: 1,870. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
Sometimes when you get what you want, you realize it isn't what you really wanted.
Emergency Management
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,560. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
The passion Dayle Hartigan and Renata Delgado have for one another may require some Emergency Management. A romance set in the field of Emergency Management.
Project Moreau
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,210. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
A journey into the realm of DNA splicing and genetic engineering.
Nero's Overture: Prelude to Nero's Fiddle
Price: Free! Words: 9,430. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
An incident during Desert Storm affects Marine sniper Captain Beverly Mossberg and her team for the rest of their lives.
Nero's Fiddle
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 185,910. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
When the United States is crippled by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack, Captain Beverly Mossberg must get to Washington, DC to assassinate a terrorist before he strikes again.
Grandma Was a Really Cool Vamp
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 60,540. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
When JJ is turned into a vampire, it's up to Great Grandma Stella and her witch friend, Helene, to perform a transference ritual to return JJ to human form. But first, they must outrun and outsmart Grandma's nemesis, Count Drzynsky.
In Daddy's Shoes
Price: Free! Words: 2,310. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2014. Categories: Essay » Literature
Though she is walking in her father's shoes, a woman feels she will never be able to fill them.
Old '49
Price: Free! Words: 2,360. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Trains
Patti discovers her Grandfather's model train set in the attic. Sadly, it is without the red caboose. When the train set goes missing, Patti fears she may be in big trouble.
Just Desserts
Price: Free! Words: 1,470. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships & Family » Parenting / parent & adult child
A commentary on a mother/daughter relationship that many women can relate to.
Heaven's Résumé
Price: Free! Words: 2,160. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
(5.00 from 1 review)
When Mrs. Paulsen reaches the pearly gates of Heaven her résumé comes under scrutiny. St. Peter tells her why.
Guardian Angels - A Tribute to Princess Diana and Mother Teresa
Price: Free! Words: 2,080. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2014. Categories: Essay » Literature
Princess Diana and Mother Teresa departed our world within less than a week of each other. As I wondered why, my imagination took over and this essay came to me. Though I have no idea of knowing what truly happened, it gives me great comfort to think of them as Guardian Angels watching over those left behind. I hope it comforts others as well.
Electro-Muse: Tools and Tips for the Beginning Independent Author in this Electronic Age
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,570. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
Preparation for self-publishing can be a daunting task. Electro-Muse contains instructions and guidelines to help make the process easier for beginning writers traveling the self-publishing path. Writing tips and inspirational quotes by familiar authors are sure to motivate independent authors on their journey.
Wisdom
Price: Free! Words: 1,800. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
Poetry, quotes and photography gleaned from a lifetime of wisdom.
Hope
Price: Free! Words: 1,260. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
Poetry, quotes and photography put together with the hope of inspiring hope.
God Is Praying
Price: Free! Words: 7,100. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
(5.00 from 1 review)
Inspirational poetry, essays, stories and photography to instill hope and faith.
Faith
Price: Free! Words: 2,230. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
Poetry, quotes and photos to exemplify and help strengthen Faith in these dire times.
Christmas Blessings
Price: Free! Words: 2,850. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
Writing to inspire Good Will during the Christmas holiday season and all year long.
An Introduction to Maladaptive Daydreaming
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,060. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Addiction
Maladaptive or excessive daydreaming is a condition from which many people suffer. As a lifelong excessive daydreamer I have shared my experiences with this condition along with research and suggestions for controlling the daydreaming habit.
I Am
Price: Free! Words: 4,970. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
Poetry, essays and images of positive affirmations for all women.
Lifelines: Things Worth Holding On To
Price: Free! Words: 10,460. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Personal essays and poetry from a lifetime of experience and poignant observation.
Train Ride
Price: Free! Words: 24,230. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
A ghostly train, a mysterious extra room, co-workers who aren't what they seem. Stories and poetry rating a ten on the goose bump scale. Not for the faint of heart.
Return Me
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,450. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Fourteen year old Harlie Castleberry comes of age when she learns she has the ability to shapeshift into a mountain lion. Her newfound ability may be the end of her when she comes face to face with an ancient evil.
9.5B
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,780. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
In 2059, the New World Government is ridding the earth of 9.5 billion inhabitants. Before that happens a small band of people plan to escape aboard the spaceship Intrepid. Pursued by assassin Rembrandt, time is running out.
Sword of Tilk Book Three: At Sword's End
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 119,570. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
The entire Tilk family must engage in the final battle to overcome the evil witch Desdemona. They must vanquish her to save the Tilk Realm and the many worlds beyond.
Sword of Tilk Book Two: Strange Land
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 118,480. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Barbara becomes a warrior in a distant land. Her family, eleven year old daughter, Heather included, must travel overland to rescue her.
Sword of Tilk Book One: Worlds Apart
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 119,740. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The story of one woman's journey to becoming the woman she is meant to be.