I mostly focus on posting updates and news to my website, but I asked some of my readers in my group if they had a topic they wanted me to post about or questions. So without further adieu :
QUESTION: How did you come up with the cover for RISK
ANSWER: Oddly enough, last year I stumbled upon an image I liked and put aside. So when I ended up writing Simon's story, I pretty much knew the image I wanted. The only trouble was the face was all wrong. Most of my readers know I design my own covers, and I also take meticulous care to make sure the figures represent the characters as I see them, as best they can.
So it was a long an arduous search for the right Simon face. And when I found it, I had to make sure that it matched the body. Now in an ideal world, authors will get the full package. But most publishers and cover designers do a lot of what we call "Frankensteining." Now sometimes authors pay extra for photoshoots, and other times designers might use an image "as is." Even with the right face, I had to do some photoshopping to get that dimple right, bigger lips (because Simon has lush lips), the nipple piercing, and the eye color. Even small details most people wouldn't notice unless they blew it up to a ridiculous size (and let's face it, Simon would like nothing more than to be blown up to a ridiculous size). In short, it wasn't a difficult design. I always had it in my head that I'd use puzzle pieces or chess pieces on the cover or back cover, so that's how I handled the back (for those who are going to indulge in the paperback).
a reader at heart... how does that impact you as a writer (or does it)?
(i.e. pet peeves as a reader so you don't include that in YOUR books)
ANSWER: The first and most obvious way it impacts me as a writer is I have less time to read. Before I began publishing, I was a voracious reader - even when I was just writing all those first drafts for myself. But once you start publishing, my entire day is consumed with writing, edits, marketing, social networking, and all kinds of tasks. I'm not a fast reader, so that doesn't help. But I try to squeeze it in when I can. As for my pet peeves, I have a few I try not to include in my books. Most authors do. I can't say tropes are one since common tropes can be what draws readers in. But I tend to have certain words I avoid. And wouldn't you like to know. ;-)
QUESTION: Best moments as an Author
ANSWERS: Oh, gods. I don't even know where to begin with that. Probably the first big one was when I first published Sterling and didn't do any marketing. That was back in 2011 when most of us didn't know what we were doing except throwing spaghetti to a wall. The book hit a sub category list, and I was so excited that I went out and bought myself an ice cream sundae with fries. At around midnight.
Quitting my job was another biggie. It was frightening to completely switch gears and drop the safe corporate job and try something risky, but my last day on the job was the best day on the job. I was so excited to begin doing something I love each and every day. I still wake up and occasionally - out loud - will recite the things I'm thankful for about this job. I think it only become more miserable toward the end because I knew where I wanted to be.
Hitting the USA Today Bestseller was another high point. The first time I got to share that moment with a group of really special authors. This was a few years back when really no self-pubbed authors in Urban Fantasy were hitting lists, so it's nothing something we even expected.
And finally, another thing I love is the giving nature of my readers. It's not really a moment, but every time I see one of my readers being kind to another reader, supportive, and a friend - whether it's on my public page or in my Mageri group - I'm touched. I remember what it was like to be a fan years ago and the friendships I had with people in groups who shared the same love of reading and authors, and it feels full circle now that I'm in a different set of shoes and I'm a part of bringing other people together.
is Prince consider a pure blood if shifters can only have children with
other shifters? I mean wouldn't they all be pure blood since they can't
mix with other breeds?
ANSWER: I love questions like these because sometimes readers don't always catch certain details, especially if it's just a quick mention, or perhaps I as the author need to elaborate more on this world and the rules. Pureblood is simply a term used because Prince. Here's an excerpt from Charming:
Prince bristled at the idea because Nadia was descended from nobility—one of the purest Shifter bloodlines in Europe. He and Alex came from two of the oldest generations of powerful Shifters—their life spans would stretch twice as long as other wolves. Because of that rare purity, importance had always been placed on not diluting their family line by mating with an inferior Shifter. There were few purebloods, and they were still royalty even if others were oblivious. So finding out about Nadia’s existence had sent a sliver of hope that he might have found his perfect mate.
“Each pureblood family had unique traits that were lost over time as they mated outside their animal or with someone who came from a Shifter family with mixed heritage anywhere in their ancestry. I suppose Mother Nature phases out things she finds unnecessary.”
So in my world, Shifter purebloods are rare, and they are referred to as nobility. Shifters and most Breeds are very old, and through the years, a family's line can become what Prince would call "impure" if someone in the family mated with a weak Shifter or someone who was not a wolf. Remember that a wolf and a panther can mate, and each child is either born a wolf or panther. So if those wolf children grow up and mate with another wolf, they still have diluted the bloodline. But certain families made sure to continually mate with only other wolves, and specifically from families who are also considered purebloods. They are the truest wolves in the Shifter kingdom.
Hopefully that helps! I often give facts in bits and pieces throughout a story, mostly because readers seem to dislike when you go on for 2 pages with explanations.
I was also asked to do character interviews or special scenes, but those require a lot of creative thought, and since I can type and answer questions a lot faster, a simple Q&A made more sense. Plus I want to reserve those creative juices for some writing I have to do this afternoon.
Please be sure to check out my recent website blog posts for information regarding RISK, as well as my upcoming holiday novellas: THE GIFT and WINTER MOON. It's going to be a very exciting year, and I'm also looking forward to the shiny new things coming in 2017. Hope you are too.