Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About the Books/Series/Writing/Publishing
Why did you decide to venture into the erotic romance genre with the Quantum Series?
The move to erotic romance was really governed by the story I wanted to tell for my characters of Flynn and Natalie. Their story led me to the genre.
What’s different about the Quantum Series when compared to your other books?
Quantum is written from the first-person present tense from both the hero and heroine’s points of view, which is a first for me. I have to say I really enjoy the immediacy and the grittiness of the first-person perspective. It was important to me that BOTH points of view are included. I’m not a fan of first-person point-of-view stories that are only from the heroine’s perspective. I love to hear what the hero is thinking, too, so that’s why I wrote both points of view. In the audio versions, the story is told with both a male and female narrator. I love the audio books! The other thing that’s also different in the initial trilogy are the cliffhangers in the first two books. I love a good cliffhanger, but I don’t like to wait for the next book, which is why I released the initial trilogy three weeks in a row. I didn’t want the readers to have to wait, so I worked very hard to get the books done close together and published in the same month. There are no cliffhangers in books 4 and beyond.
Will there be more Quantum stories? We loved Hayden and Addie’s story, and now we want Marlowe’s story, Leah’s story…
Yes, I plan to write more Quantum stories. RAPTUROUS, Hayden and Addie’s story, and Ellie and Jasper’s story, RAVENOUS, are available now. I’ll keep you posted on future Quantum stories in the Quantum Reader Group, on my main Facebook page and on the Quantum website. The best way to keep up on everything that’s going on is to join my e-mail newsletter on the top of the home page.
So you seem to know a lot about the BDSM lifestyle. That means you’re in the lifestyle, right?
Wrong. I did a TON of research for the Quantum Series, and the words on the pages have resulted from that research. I can write about murder in the Fatal series without having committed one, and I feel confident that I was able to accurately portray the BDSM lifestyle without being an active participant. I loved delving into the psychology of the D/s relationship, understanding the power exchange and exploring the deep emotional bonds that are formed through these relationships. In many ways, the BDSM relationships are much more “healthy” than people thing in that communication is key. How many people outside the lifestyle discuss every aspect of what they are about to do before they do it? Right. Not many!
After reading the Quantum Series, I’m curious about BDSM and finding out more about the lifestyle. How do I proceed?
There are numerous online sites devoted to the lifestyle. For instance, check out FetLife.com for information about how to find others in your area who share your interests. I can’t stress strongly enough that you should approach the scene with the three core tenets of safe, sane and consensual at the forefront of anything and everything you do. Please be careful and be safe. As I say to my kids, “Make good choices.”
I love the Green Mountain Series! (Thank you, so do I!) Will you really write books for all ten Abbott siblings?
I hope to do that, and I know readers already have interest in most of the siblings and their stories. I love writing in the Abbott’s world, so I hope to spend a lot of time there in the next few years. The first six books and a novella are done. You’ll also be seeing more of the Abbotts’ Coleman cousins. Grayson Coleman will take the lead in the next book, Every Little Thing, in which you will hear more about his siblings. They are Molly’s sister Hannah’s kids, so they are also Elmer’s grandchildren. There are eight of them. 🙂 After book 6, Ain’t She Sweet, the series will be going in a new direction from the publisher standpoint. I am going to self-publish the remaining books under a new series name, Butler Vermont Series, with Every Little Thing being book 1 in this new spin-off series. The ONLY thing that is changing is the series name. Everything else remains the same and will pick up right where Ain’t She Sweet left off.
How many books do you plan to write in the Gansett Island Series and Fatal Series?
I always answer this question the same way: As long as the readers are enjoying the series and they are still fun for me to write, I will continue them. So far, readers seem to be enjoying them, and they are a lot of fun for me. Books 13, 14 and 15 Love After Dark, Celebration After Dark and Desire After Dark, were all New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, which tells me the readers are still excited for more of the Gansett Island crew. As long as readers are loving the books and want more, I’ll keep writing both series. I hope that goes on for many years to come. In 2015, I signed a new four-book deal with Harlequin’s HQN imprint to write books 10-13 in the Fatal Series, including Fatal Identity, released in July 2016, and Fatal Threat, coming in 2017.
Do you plan to write more of the Treading Water Series?
I actually think about this more than I used to. So I’d like to amend my usual answer to…. Maybe. 🙂
Tell us the truth: Will Sam and Nick from the Fatal Series ever have a baby of their own?
I honestly don’t know. I’d love to give them what they want (as well as what readers want), but making Sam a mother to an infant would dramatically change the way she lives her life and would greatly alter the pace of the series. IF (and that’s a very BIG IF at this point), they have a baby, I expect it would happen much later in the series, closer to the end, and who wants to contemplate the end? Not me!
Fatal Series: Will Nick run for president and if he does will Sam have to give up her job?
I don’t know and I don’t know! 🙂 I guess we’ll have to see what life has in store for them. Look at it this way… We’re at book 10 and we’ve only lived a full year with them. The next election is four years away. That’s a LOT of books between now and then. And if you haven’t read book 7, Fatal Jeopardy, you’ll want to get right on that if you want to see what direction Nick’s career is taking.
Fatal Series: Will we ever find out who shot Skip?
That’s another question I get ALL THE TIME. Along with, Do you know who shot Skip? No, I don’t know. I figure I will find out when Sam does. I like that I don’t know. I like that the possibilities are so endless. I like that it’s frustrating to her and to readers that we’ve failed to find closure to that question. That’s life, right? I also get asked a lot of Skip will make a miraculous recovery, and the answer to this is an EMPHATIC NO. He may see some improvement in his quality of life, but I refuse to disrespect people with spinal cord injuries by waving my fictional magic wand and making it all better for him. After more than three years as a full quadriplegic, even if his spinal cord was suddenly and miraculously repaired, his muscle degeneration would be such that it’d be highly unlikely that he’d ever be fully mobile. I intend to “keep it real” where Skip is concerned, and not take liberties with that magic wand of mine.
Fatal Series: We’d love to read the story about the night Sam and Nick met the first time around. Will you ever write that?
One Night With You was released on June 2, 2015. 🙂 You can also read One Night With You in the print edition of Fatal Affair, on sale now.
Gansett Island Series: We’d like to read Big Mac and Linda’s love story. Will you ever write that?
Celebration After Dark was released on December 1, 2015 and tells their story within the context of their 40th anniversary!
I’d love to see the Gansett Island or Fatal characters in a TV show or movie. Are you pursuing that?
I get this question A LOT. It’s great to hear that readers would love to see my characters on the big or small screen. However, I have very little input into whether or not that ever happens. I will say that my agent has a subagent looking into opportunities like this all the time. If anything should come of it, readers will be the first to know!
How come some of your books are available in print and others are not?
All of my books are now available in print. Click here for a list of all the books.
We’d like to hear more about the characters in some of your single title books, such as Cole and Olivia in Everyone Loves a Hero, Michael and Juliana (as well as Paige and Jeremy) in Love at First Flight, Georgie and Nathan in Georgia On My Mind, to name a few. Do you have any plans to write follow-up stories for these characters?
I’d LOVE to do a series of Happily Ever After novellas showing all these characters living their happily ever afters. Again, it comes back to time. But I do think about that a lot and would love to do it. Someday!
Out of all of your books, which one is your favorite?
Ahhhh, such a hard question! Treading Water was my first, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I’d have to say tied for second would be Maid for Love and Fatal Affair, because they launched series that have been very successful and are still going strong many books later. I’ve been on an amazing journey with each of my series, so all of them are special. Georgia on My Mind is another book that is very near and dear to me because it follows the heroine’s story after she loses her mother, something I have unfortunately been through myself. Fatal Deception is a book I am very proud of because of the computer crash that occurred in the middle of writing it. Despite the challenges of overcoming the crash, I’m thrilled with how it came together—and that I somehow made the deadline! I love them all for different reasons. How is that for diplomatic?
I want to make sure I’m notified every time you have a new book released. How can I make sure that happens?
Easy enough! Join my newsletter mailing list at the top of the home page and receive an email every time I have news to report about new books or release dates. If you are a Kindle reader, make sure you sign up to receive alerts from Amazon whenever new books become available. You can sign up here by clicking on the big yellow button under my photo.
What first led you to self-publish some of your books?
I had books finished and ready to go and couldn’t find a publisher that was interested in them. Maid for Love, book 1 of the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, was rejected by every romance publisher. That series has gone on to sell more than 2.3 million books. The Treading Water Series, which has been very successful for me and much adored by readers, was also rejected all over the place.
What do you like best and worst about self-publishing?
I like everything about self-publishing. I like making all the decisions about covers and editing and release dates and prices. There’s nothing I don’t like about it, although it is a lot of work. Luckily, it’s work I love to do, and I have a fantastic team supporting me every step of the way.
Are you still planning to write for traditional publishers?
Yes. I’ve sold books 10-13 to HQN, a division of Harlequin, in a major seven-figure deal. I’m very excited to work with the team at HQN to take the Fatal Series to the next level.
If you’ve done so well as a self-publisher, why would you continue to write for traditional publishers?
Why wouldn’t I? If I can keep up with the writing schedule, why wouldn’t I want to be everywhere that readers are looking for books, including in mass market paperback, which is only possible via traditional publishers. Plus, I enjoy working with my publisher and I’m pleased with the effort they are making on my behalf. I’m fortunate that I write somewhat quickly, so I can keep up with the demands of both tradition and self-publishing.
I have a book I’d like to self-publish, but I have no idea how to get started. What do I do?
You’ve come to the right place! Check out my Formatting Fairies and get in touch with any questions you have after you’ve visited our website. Join my Author Support Network on Facebook and my indie-focused self-publishing loop on Yahoo.
I want to be a writer. How do I get started?
I get this question a LOT, so I figured I’d add it here. My answer is usually the same: Writers write. A lot. Often every day. It takes a lot of practice, trial and error to reach the point where you’re able to consistently produce something that others want to read. It took years to learn my craft, perfect my technique and to reach the point where my books were good enough for others to read. And guess what? I’m still learning and growing and perfecting. It never ends. Once you have something you feel is ready for public consumption, STOP. Join a writing group in your local area, get some critique partners and get ready for the real work to begin. Be ready and able to take constructive criticism. If you can’t take it, you’re in the wrong business. If you want people to tell you your story is a masterpiece, you’re in the wrong business. If you’re unable to hear that your story is anything less than dazzling, you’re in the wrong business. The best thing you can do for yourself as a new writer is to HEAR what people are saying about your work. I used to do a lot of critiquing for other writers, but I stopped doing it because inevitably they didn’t want to hear that their book was anything less than perfect, so I was wasting my time trying to show them where they could make improvements. If you are writing romance, check out the Romance Writers of America for a chapter in your area. Most other genres have similar groups. Finding like-minded writers and learning from them is the best thing you can do for your fledgling career. Good luck!
I also get this one a lot: I want to be a published author. What’s involved with that?
I find it interesting that people say they want to be a “published” author. They’re often thinking about being published before they think about the book or the writing. This is another question I always answer the same way. Have you written a book? Have you had it critiqued by other writers you trust? Do you belong to a writing organization where you can find like-minded writers who can guide you through the very involved process of learning your craft? If not, you may not be ready to talk about publishing. Conventional wisdom says it takes 10,000 hours of practice, trial and error to become proficient at something like writing. I have no doubt I invested more than 20,000 hours in my writing before good things started to happen for me. If you don’t put in the time, you may not get the results you want.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
First of all, a plotter is a writer who plans out their book in advance. A pantser writes by the seat of his or her pants, without a plan. I’m a card-carrying pantser and proud of it! When I wrote my first book, I had no idea there were two schools of thought on this. I had my idea, a conflict, and a main character who had lived as a living, breathing person in my head for years. That was all I needed to get started. The result? An over-written tome that I eventually had to cut by 55,000 words. The lesson learned? Be judicious. Nothing gets in unless I can answer this question: How does this scene I am dying to write move Character X’s story forward? If I can’t answer that question, I leave it out. I think about what’s next but at the same time I lay the groundwork for what needs to happen later. I work within the confines I’ve established while going back and rereading what Ive already done. The rereading is critical. It never fails to give me new ideas about where I could take the story, and it results in a well-edited manuscript when the writing is done.
Where do you get your ideas?
All over the place! Sometimes they literally just appear in my imagination. For instance, I have no memory of meeting my first main character. Jack in Treading Water appeared in my mind as a fully formed character who demanded I tell his story. Many of my books are sequels to others. Another one sprung from seeing a cute guy driving a black Mercedes convertible into Newport, Rhode Island, on an August Friday night. I wondered, ”Where’s he going?” The answer to that question is my book, The Fall. I also love to eavesdrop! Once, while waiting for a delayed flight, I listened into a conversation between two twenty somethings who were on their way to visit their significant others. They discovered they were on the same flight home. I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be something if they ended up together? That conversation resulted in Love at First Flight. Sometimes, it’s just a germ of an idea that leads to a novel. The idea of a pilot being punched in the face by an irate customer in an airport shop led to Everyone Loves a Hero. Sometimes, I’ll read something in the paper that sets off my imagination. Fatal Affair was inspired by a real-life story about a congressman who was found dead in his D.C. area home. The Green Mountain Series was inspired by a spot on the NBC Nightly News about the real-life Vermont Country Store and the family that owns it.
Do you know how your story is going to end when you begin?
Never! That’s the beauty of being a pantser. It’s as much a mystery to me as it will hopefully be for my readers. When I was writing my first romantic suspense, I purposely didn’t decide who the perp was going to be until I was three-quarters of the way into the book. I wondered at the time if that was a wise move, but it worked out really well because I ended up with a number of people it could have been. Once I decided who it was going to be, I had to go back and adjust a few things to make it work. That was an interesting learning experience, to say the least. I kept asking myself—shouldn’t I know who’s doing all this? Apparently not!
How long does it take you to write a novel?
The first one, Treading Water, took forever—on and off for three years—and then another year of trimming, editing and rewriting. For years before I published that book in October of 2011, every time I revisited the manuscript, I fiddled with it. The book that was published in 2011 bears very little resemblance to that early first draft from 2005. It’s a much better book now than it was then! The next one, Marking Time, the sequel to Treading Water, took me 90 days. I applied the lessons learned in overwriting the first one and ended up with a solid first draft of the second one that needed very little editing. The book that was published in November 2011 is exactly the book I wrote in 2005-2006 with very few modifications. Years after those initial books were written, I seem to have figured out how to do it. I’ve written a 96,000-word book in 39 days. The romantic suspense novels seem to take longer because they are way outside my comfort zone. But I love that challenge! I recently wrote Gansett After Dark in four weeks, but that’s book 11 in a series and I know the Gansett Island world really well at this point.
Do you like to write love scenes?
I like them much more than I used to. Back when I was first writing romance, I had to force myself through the love scenes. Now they are much more organic (and frequent) in my books!
Will you endorse or blurb my book?
No, I’m sorry to say that I don’t do blurbs. I get a lot of requests for blurbs and just don’t have time to do them. I’m honored, however, that you’d think of me.
Have a question I haven’t answered here? Post it in the comments and I will add it to the list or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.