Friday, May 28, 2010
Before I get into my questions, here’s a little information about Cat. She lives in Upper Hutt, New Zealand (slightly north of Wellington), with her husband and children.
In the last few years her short stories have appeared in ThrillerUK, Mystericale, Bewildering stories, T-zero, The Writers Post Journal and Conceit Magazine.
I really had fun dreaming up questions for Cat and without further babbling - here they are:
[JET] Being in New Zealand, you're more than half a day ahead of us New Englanders, which is kind of cool - you get to celebrate New Years before most of the world.
Has that had any effect on communications and US based marketing of your books?
[Cat] We actually get to celebrate New Year before anyone else. Down here in NZ we are first! This is nice, because a lot of the time this feels like the end of the earth not the beginning.
It does effect marketing etc, simply because I am in the future. Interviews, reviews etc are always a day late for me! When killerbyte was released it was Northern Hemisphere April 10th 2009 – we had the party on April 10th but no one could buy the book yet down here!! Mostly I remind people I’m dealing with that I will be asleep when they’re trying to email me and that it is a day ahead for me.
Of course there’s always one who can’t figure out the time zone thing, or can’t use a cell phone correctly.
[JET] What kinds of guns have you had the opportunity to shoot? Favorites?
[Cat] I’m a Glock girl. Preferring a Glock 17 to any other hand gun. Hubby will tell ya that Sig out strip Glock hands down… but he’s wrong.
[JET] Have you ever seen a dead body? How has that influenced your writing?
[Cat] Yep. Don’t know that it influenced my writing as such, just gave me a good feel for death and how quickly the human essence leaves the body. A dead body is just like a live body but no one’s home and the whole cloudy eye thing is totally creepy.
I understand the process of grief as it affects me and those around me, which makes it easier to write scenes of that nature for Ellie and other characters. Life is fleeting. (And now I hear the Rocky Horror Picture Show sound track playing in my head!)
[JET] Was writing thrillers a conscious choice or was it just a natural affinity? Why do you think that is?
[Cat] It wasn’t a conscious choice. It just happened that way. I briefly tried to write a romance once… ended up with five plot threads including a kidnapping, oh and no romance.
Writing thrillers mostly grew from frustration. I couldn’t find a decent book I wanted to read. (Gosh never heard a writer say that before – eyes are rolling in all directions!) One with a female protagonist who wasn’t a blubbering idiot. For a while there it seemed like women were portrayed as hard-faced bitches who no one wanted to be around or were simply too stupid to live. Where were the real women? The solution for me was obvious… write the book I wanted to read. So I did. I did it a few times before I got it right. Although my early books came up in conversation just yesterday and I promised that when I have time I will dust them off and see how they measure up now.
[JET] What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?
[Cat] The stupidity of others. That’s kinda harsh but it’s true. I’ve come across a lot of stupid in this business, when it’s mixed with greed and over-extension it impacts badly on authors. I was unlucky enough to be caught for over six months by the bankruptcy of a publisher. BUT – let me stress the silver lining here… they were obviously not the publisher I was supposed to go with. I learned a lot about what I didn’t want in a publisher and in editors! The thing is, if they hadn’t gone under I’d be screwed now. I would not be in the excellent position I’m in now with a publisher I love and an editor I adore. So it was a shitty situation that turned up a huge silver lining. (Golden even!)
[JET] What was your favorite moment in the journey?
[Cat] There have been quite a few. Having Rebel E Publishers accept killerbyte back in Jan 2009. HUGE excitement. Killerbyte’s release on April 10th 2009. Having terrorbyte accepted, and its subsequent release on Nov 10th. The incredible reviews both books have received. The year has been astounding.
The following happened within twenty-four hours on May 8th- May 9th 2010. My most current favorite moment was seeing the Mobipocket Best seller list for Suspense & Thrillers – with KILLERBYTE at #2. (and it didn’t hurt that Lee Child is now below me on the list!, lol)
But then someone I greatly admire tweeted that she’d bought killerbyte! (Lorenza Ponce is the most amazing musician and singer/song writer. I urge you to check out her album Soul Shifter!)
And then… later the same day… my wonderful publisher told me that we have paperbacks now. They’ll be available through Ingram’s in a week. Now that’s pretty freaking groovacious. THEN… I clicked my Amazon author page and discovered the paperbacks are there and in stock!!! No doubt you all heard me squealing over that!
Pick one? Can’t be done!!
[JET] Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?
[Cat] Growing up (not sure that’s actually happened yet…) Willard Price had a huge influence on me. I loved The Adventure Series and read every one of them several times over. My favorite was The South Sea Adventure. I also loved Zane Grey, S.E. Hinton, Alexander Dumas, Sir Walter Scott’s - Ivanhoe mostly because I loved the portrayal of Robin Hood within the text. Now there’s a real man.
I wasn’t fond of girly stories, there wasn’t enough action and they all needed saving… so not my thing! Unless of course a weta is involved, then I absolutely see the need for a big strong male to save the day. You will not get me near a weta.
[JET] When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?
[Cat] I can’t recall when I made a conscious decision to toss myself into the deep end. However, I do recall wanting to give up several hundred times. Those days when you get nothing but rejections are a killer in the beginning. Until of course you realize they’re not personal.
[JET] Any advice for the novices out there?
[Cat] Join Backspace. No seriously, do it. It’s the best place in the world to get the help, support, pants kickings you need throughout a writing career.
Actually I feel kinda bad lately, I’ve been so busy selling books I haven’t spent as much time at Backspace as I used to, pre-publication. But the joy of Backspace is it’s always there waiting and pleased to see you when you get back from adventures.
As for other advice, grow a thick skin. The no’s don’t stop coming once you’re published they’re just worded better.
It isn’t personal. Remember that. If someone doesn’t like your work and you honestly know its good, move on. You can’t please everyone all the time. BUT, you can please yourself, and if you’re not doing that, then you should take a long hard look at what’s going on.
Be open to advice and suggestions. It’s your choice whether to follow it or not. Do not allow yourself to be bullied by well meaning friends, it’s your story!
Above all else…have fun! Writing is fun. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t do it. Because if it wasn’t fun it’d be damn hard to get through the rejection years and stick it out until the good stuff started happening. There has to be balance!
[JET] We all know you are a major Bon Jovi fan, or at least those that follow you on any of the networking sites or have read your books - so my music related question is - Have you ever met Bon Jovi?
[Cat] I have been to a concert, yes just the one. Living in New Zealand makes it kinda hard to attend concerts! It astounds me when I come across people who go to five-ten concerts each tour. (There are people that do more than that –they follow the band across Europe and the States!) Obsession springs to mind.
I would like to meet Bon Jovi, I think they’d be truly interesting people to talk to. I would love to talk writing with them .The song writing thing fascinates me. Novels and short stories are one thing but how the hell do you tell a story in a song and make it work, seriously how? Interesting stuff.( And for the sake of the new novel, really interesting. You’ll have to wait and see why.)
For me it’s the music that’s important, not so much the live act. I use music to drown the world out so I can write. Certain songs will stick with me and they become the switch that engages my brain for work. When writing Terrorbyte it was all Bon Jovi, but maybe not what most people listen too. I chose tracks mainly from 100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Because that’s what worked for me during the process. You can clearly see what I was listening to while writing both books by checking out the chapter titles. (There are playlists on my website)
Of course the great thing about having so much music tied up with the books is that release party music was dead easy, simply a matter of compiling a playlist from all the CD’s piled up next to my desk!
[JET] All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with Paper or Plastic?
[Cat] Paper - renewable resource.
[JET] Steak or Tofu?
[Cat] Steak – Tofu is poison. (Soy allergy and plus Soy is poison, lol)
[JET] Beach or Mountains?
[Cat] Both – I like craggy cliffs overlooking the sea and mountains. From my windows I can see mountains. It’s awesome. My favorite place is Mahau Sound, beach surrounded by Mountains and high hills!!
[JET] Country or Rock-n-Roll?
[Cat] Both – I love country music but I also love rock and heavy metal and blues and…well you get the idea!
[JET] Classics or Modern?
[JET] Vamps or Wolves?
[Cat] Absolutely hate vampires. Can’t stand vampire books, movies, or anything mildly leaning toward vampires. Wolves I adore. Even the were variety. :-)
[JET] Zombies or Demons?
[Cat] Hard choice… I’m partial to zombies cos I know how to kill them (thank you Sir Peter Jackson). Demons are interesting, hard to kill, and downright evil. (although if it meant having Dean from Supernatural pop over…)
[JET] Horror or Comedy?
[Cat] Both. Sometimes horror is comedy, albeit unintentional. (Preferring suspense/thriller over either but there is usually comedy somewhere.)
[JET] Salty or Sweet?
[Cat] Both. I do use a lot of salt… I know, naughty, but in my defense we have no iodine occurring naturally in our soil so iodized salt is necessary. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) Actually thinking about it… I like bitter chocolate, so sweet not so much.
[JET] Coffee or Tea?
[Cat] Both. I drink coffee all day and tea at night. Some will have you believe I prefer tequila over both, but in fact it’s Browns Brothers Dolcetto & Syrah that I find irresistible these days. But only after dark, and only on special occasions… ya know, to celebrate. The rabbit’s birthday, the cat’s birthday, anyone’s birthday, hitting number two on the Mobipocket suspense thriller best seller list!!
[JET] Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?
[Cat] I’m working on a re-vamping of book three, exacabyte. This is the bit I really enjoy, the re-vamping, editing, tweaking of stories and adding/ripping out of scenes. For me it’s more fun than the initial writing. Everything’s already there now, it’s just a matter of bringing some elements closer to the surface and maybe burying some others and throwing a good measure of blood at some walls.
Thanks for having me over Jane! I rather enjoyed your questions.
[JET] Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Cat and her work at the following places:
Next week I'll be talking about my publishing journey and highlighting some June releases - have a great week!
Friday, May 21, 2010
When I first started pursuing and learning the craft to be a writer my main focus was in the horror genre. Back then (we’re talking high school) a judge in a contest I had entered told me I could be the next Stephen King. To me that was a wonderful compliment. Several years later a friend introduced me to the romance writing market through Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor. I fell in love with that story and, soon after, her novel Remembrance became my favorite. At that point, I shifted gears in my writing…but not completely…
This is evident in my Dirty Little series of books where I embrace my horror roots once again. For the most part the first two Dirty Little stories came about after listening to Apocalyptica’s song I'm Not Jesus, the rest just evolved on their own. As for the stories, they follow how a demon has set his sights on a family. The first one, Dirty Little Secret, is not a romance in any sense of the word. In it the demon is born and it’s a straight up erotic spook fest, which after reading my critique partner said “Creepy.” The second, Dirty Little Lie, is my first m/m story. The demon and his love interest (the father of the family) go on a cruise and head for Grand Cayman. Dirty Little Lie though more of a romance was still said to be ‘very creepy’ by my crit partner and has a HEA… Well, at least in the mind of the one character they’ll live HEA… The third story, Dirty Little Trip, sees the demon going after the ex-wife.
Released on May 15 was the fourth in the series ~ Dirty Little Girl. The demon now has his eye on the daughter and sends his son to corrupt her.
One bite and life will never be the same… Tired of living with her crazy mother, Jamie Sue embarks on an adventure of her own seeking life in a big city. A strange urge prompts her to stop and stay in Las Vegas so she gets off the bus and settles in. When she meets her golden angel, Michael, she believes she's found the love of her life, but things aren't always what they seem. Will the bite of his love change her forever?
Rachel's teachings, though thorough and helpful, could only take her so far and didn't help with the evil she sensed on a constant basis. "Look, Rachel set up this meeting for me because she said you could help train me so I can track down mine and my mother's dead-beat boyfriends. I don't understand what the deal is with all these questions and why you seem to think I have special powers. Rachel explained my story to you."
Master Dante leaned back and rubbed his chin. He puffed on a cigar. A dark eyebrow rose over a speculative gaze that kept focusing on the area near the juncture of her neck and shoulder. "Yes, Rachel told us all about you, but I want to hear what happened in your own words. So please, continue with your story and tell me how you came to find Rachel and then us. Then I will explain why I believe you have the exceptional qualities the Sect has been waiting for."
Jamie Sue rubbed the area he kept staring at. The wound itched beneath her clothing. It was finally starting to heal after months of oozing, clotting over, scabs dislodging and oozing some more. Rachel said she'd have a nasty scar from it. She didn't mind. It would be her badge of honor, a reminder why she made it her life's mission to find Michael.
Worlds of Possibilities
Friday, May 14, 2010
Her list of short stories and novel length erotica is impressive including the following: Samhain Publishing released Rosie’s Promise in March 2008. Selena has also been published in four Coming Together anthologies. Whiskey Creek Press published two of her stories: I’ll Be Your Superman and French Lessons in Torrid Teasers #49 in August 2008 and Phaze published Sacred Spots, Happy Accident, Blind Date, and Christmas Stalking, The Surrender of Persephone and The Song of Orpheus.
Selena has also been published in The Shadow Sacrament: a journal of sex and spirituality and The Erotic Woman. Her story, Connections, was one of the runners-up for the 2006 Rauxa Prize, given annually to an erotic short story of “exceptional literary quality,” out of over 1,000 nominees, where awards are judged by a select jury and all entries are read “blind” (without author’s name available.) She was also a top ten author finisher in the 2006 Preditors and Editors Poll. Her book, EcoErotica was a 2009 EPIC AWARD FINALIST and The Real Mother Goose was a 2010 EPIC AWARD FINALIST.
[JET] My first question is aimed from a publishing standpoint, what are the things you look for in a story?
[Selena] Does it go without saying that grammar, spelling and punctuation are tantamount? And of course, you have thoroughly read and followed our submission guidelines… right? If those things are in place, well, it’s kind of like the Supreme Court justice’s definition of obscenity—it doesn’t matter what genre it’s in, I know a good story when I read one.
[JET] What is the submission process like at eXcessica and what sets it apart from other romance e-book publishers?
[Selena] I suppose it bears repeating – we have submission and editing guidelines for a reason. Please utilize them before submitting. After that, we ask for up to 4-6 weeks to read submissions and respond. Usually, we get back to authors within 2-3 weeks. As for what sets us apart? I think everyone knows we push the envelope. We accept more taboo subjects like nonconsent and incest and allow our authors to explore topics not usually found on other erotic romance publisher’s virtual shelves. That said, we also publish some of the sweetest romances around. What can I say? I like diversity!
[JET] Not only do you operate in the capacity as publisher, but you also edit anthologies and write yourself – how do you find the time?
[Selena] That’s a really good question! The truth is, I have a time travel device that allows me to add another 24 hours to every day… ha. I wish! Actually, it just involves sticking to a schedule and not getting too distracted by all the pretty flashing things on the Internet…
[JET] What is your favorite story of all the ones you wrote? Why?
[Selena] Connections. I wrote it a long time ago, back before cell phones and the Internet. The characters are interesting and it’s actually a very sweet romance. (Readers might be surprised if they read it after they’ve read some of my more popular works…) They’re two characters who have stuck with me for a long time. It was also first runner up for the Rauxa Prize in 2006, and—bonus!—it’s available as a freebie if you join our eXcessica Yahoo Group!
[JET] Can you tell us a little more about your other ventures beyond eXcessica?
[Selena] I home-school two grade-schoolers, grow an organic garden and love popping bubblewrap every chance I get—even as environmentally unfriendly as the evil stuff is! I have an advanced degree in psychology and have taken photographs professionally. But to tell you the truth, for the past few years, eXcessica has taken up most of my time!
[JET] As an author, what is your favorite genre to tackle?
[Selena] Horror. It’s my first love. I cut my writing teeth on Stephen King and Clive Barker.
[JET] Is there a genre that you feel would challenge your reach? What and why?
[Selena] Hardcore sci-fi. I just don’t have the knowledge to even fake it—and boy, those guys know when you get your particle accelerators wrong!
[JET] When you have time to read for pleasure, what are the titles/authors you reach for first?
[Selena] Stephen King. Did I mention him? :) I also read other popular fiction. Yes, I did read the Twilight series, because my teens got into them. Horrible books, great stories, in desperate need of a good editor. I also read Harry Potter and we’ve started the Lightning Thief series as well. But I also read things like Elie Wiesel’s Night and The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I like magical realism, and Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, recently wrote a good one called “Horns.” I highly recommend him – it’s not often the son can do as well as (or better) than the father. It’s a big shadow to carry, but he does it well!
[JET] What is your absolute favorite line from any book that you’ve read?
[Selena] “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Stephen King.
Thank you so much for joining me today Selena.
For those of you looking for her latest books, please visit her at www.eXcessica.com or http://www.selenakitt.com/ and enjoy some of her free reads!
Friday, May 7, 2010
So without further adieu. . .
[JET] One of the first things that intrigued me about you is that your profile states you live in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse. Can you define moderately haunted?
[Jeremy] We do have ghosts, but they’re rather lazy. They don’t help out with the housework, and they don’t even scare me most of the time. Once, one of them made an old doll rise out of a mound of ash in the attic, but lately, they’re about as frightening as Chilly Willy.
[JET] Paper or Plastic?
[Jeremy] Little Jackie Paper would obliterate Little Jackie Plastic in a battle to the death. First of all, Little Jackie Plastic can’t move. But more importantly, Jackie Paper has a dragon on his side. A dragon who knows kung fu.
[JET] Steak or Tofu?
[Jeremy] I’m vegan, but I don’t eat much tofu. I do enjoy a nice Smurf steak from time to time. You see, Smurfs cells contain chlorophyll, so they’re actually plants.
[JET] Beach or Mountains?
[Jeremy] I prefer the mountains, but only because sea monsters don’t like me. Because I keep tickling them.
[JET] Country or Rock-n-Roll?
[Jeremy] I like Rock-n-Roll, and I like rocks that roll. If Sisyphus hears that I feel that way, he’ll probably roll in his grave.
[JET] Classics or Modern?
[Jeremy] I prefer the classic Strawberry Shortcake characters to the modern versions.
[JET] Vamps or Wolves?
[Jeremy] Vampiric wolves are the best, because they have two sets of fangs.
[JET] Zombies or Demons?
[Jeremy] Demon babies are much cuter than zombie babies. Demon babies only drink the blood of the cutest baby animals, which increases their adorableness by up to 230%.
[JET] How cool was it to be nominated for the Bram Stoker Award?
[Jeremy] Being nominated was slinkster cool. I was shocked, and honored, and I peed a little in my pants.
[JET] Would you mind telling us about your latest project?
[Jeremy] My newest short story collection, Fungus of the Heart, is coming out later this year. I’m also working on a short film, a comic book series, a screenplay based on Cursed, some short stories, and I’m writing a new novel about a weird, loving married couple who set out to save the world.
[JET] Thank you very much for such an entertaining morning! Folks, you can find out more about Jeremy and his writing at http://jeremycshipp.com/
He is on Twitter and Facebook too!