1. How and why did you choose your book covers?
For The Maze Series books, the covers chose me. By the time I finish writing each book, I have a pretty good idea how I want the cover to look. Then I send pages of descriptions, sample photos and everything I can find, about every detail that might be helpful to my cover guy and he pieces it all together. We usually Skype a conversation and numerous emails and messages go back and forth throughout the process.
Here’s my cover guy, check him out. Jamie Noble at http://www.thenobleartist.com
For Pawper to Pedigree, Jamie came up with the cover. I knew I wanted a matted, muddy dog and a well-groomed dog on the cover. He sent back the initial sketch and I loved it!
2. Are there any books, or authors, you admire?
Janet Evanovich the Stephanie Plum Series is my all time favorite. The best audio books for road trips with my mom. We’d be laughing so hard, we would have to pull over. If I could be half that funny with my books, I would be a very happy author.
I have Excel spreadsheets full of authors I like, just to keep track of them. My memory has never been able to keep up with me and I am the spreadsheet queen.
3. If you could co-write a book with anyone of your choosing, who would it be and why?
Janet Evanovich, of course! It might take awhile to finish because I picture us laughing hysterically and getting off track numerous time. Pour my sense of humor into a blender; add a generous portion of Janet’s humor, drop in a few ice cubes, a splash of hot sauce and the book would have people rolling. Serve with cheese doodles on the side, please.
4. What do you find the most challenging thing about being an author?
Marketing and promoting; getting my books into the hands of readers. I’m not a salesperson and to be honest, I’ve never cared much for pushy salespeople. So this is a scary new adventure for me. How do I sell books? How can I entice readers without scaring them away? I’m still trying to figure this out. I have met numerous authors via social networking and this seems to be the hardest, most frustrating part of the process. Luckily, those authors are willing to share their ups and downs, successes and fails. The Author Professional Coop is a fantastic group that is happy to answer questions from us newbies. I’ve learned so much already, but have a very long way to go.
5. If money was no object and you could travel to any place in the world for your dream vacation; where would you go and what would you do?
I would love to backpack New Zealand, visit all the places where they filmed The Hobbit, and scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. I want to live in the Shire. At 5’ 3”, I think I’m small enough to fit. That’s the nerd in me, coming out.
6. What have you learned as an author since you published your first book that you wish you knew when starting out?
Everything! I made so many mistakes at the beginning because I knew no one who knew anything about publishing a book. Yepper, I paid a publishing company to publish my first book, The Keeper. Stupid! Flushed that money down the toilet and took me 2 years to pay off the debt. However, once I published that first book, I started running into authors everywhere. They are the most helpful group of people. Very giving with their time, information, and advice on what not to do. Of course, I was doing all that wrong stuff. Live and learn, and don’t look back. Focus on the here and now, and the very near future. Outside of that, you can’t do anything about.
I had no idea how many authors there are out there, all over the world. I’m not a technology person and was avoiding it prior to my first book. That’s when I was forced into technology. The drawback was that I didn’t know any techno geeks and shelling out more money I didn’t have was not an option. On my own, I learned about Facebook, Twitter, and built my own website. This might sound like a little thing to most people, but for me it was a big step. Before this, I only used my cell phone to make and receive phone calls. So I had a lot to learn.
My advice to other up and coming authors: just jump in. You will make mistakes, learn and move on. Yes, it is scary; putting yourself out there, but you will meet so many people just like yourself. We are all trying to get our stories out there while dreaming of a full-time writing career. If you never try, then you will never know. Unless you are one of the lucky few, it’s a difficult dream. You WILL work hard, you WILL have doubts, you WILL loose sleep, you WILL cry, you WILL be exhausted, you WILL love the creative process, you WILL hate all that other stuff that takes you away from writing. However, the sense of pride that shoots through you when a reader tells you how much they loved your book, makes it worth the journey.
Good luck, have hope.
Trying to build a mobile dog grooming business can be difficult when your bus is most likely stolen, your flamboyant cosmetologist keeps people guessing as to his sexual orientation, you are dating the cop who arrested your last boyfriend, and you can hear what dogs are thinking. Luckily, for Marnie, her clientele has eclectic tastes and she discovers there is a lucrative market for her dog whisperer gift.
From country dogs to city dogs, pedigrees to mutts, Marnie and Aaron take on new clients while helping owners reach a deeper connection with their pets.
Determined not to spend the rest of his life trudging off to a job he hates, Gabriel leaves home in search of adventure. Lost in the Maine wilderness and accompanied by his critical inner voice, he begins hiking on a mountainside path unaware that he is about to discover his destiny.
After entering an ancient maze, Gabriel is transported to another world where he is introduced to Kieran; fellow traveler, best bud and serial killer. Soon, Gabriel realizes that Kieran is an outcast whose resentment toward him peaks when on of Kieran’s conquests is offered up to Gabriel as a potential wife. Having other ideas, Gabriel escapes the arranged marriage just in time to meet a Druid girl who opens his eyes to the wonders of nature. An ensuing battle against Jaguar Warriors forces Gabriel to do something he abhors in order to survive; kill.
In this adventure/fantasy tale, a young man takes an epic journey of self-discovery that comes full circle when he realizes that the grey, stone walls of the maze have been manipulating him all along. Buy it here
In book 2, Gabriel, Gideon and the maze set Ann up for an adventure with her friends Jace & Meridia reluctantly following. In the underwater city of Jeritza, Ann feels as if she’s come home while Jace flounders in the water and Meridia continuously causes trouble.
While the city’s leader, Ian, is immersed in territorial negotiations with the crustaceans, Meridia has a brief affair with the enemy’s interpreter that endangers the Jeritzian way of life and Ann. When battles ensue, the three friends fight along side the city’s residents and the multitude of local sea creatures that have come to drive the Crustaceans, and their human slaves, from their home.
As love blossoms between Ian and Ann, Jace and Meridia realize they will soon have to leave their friend and seek out their own adventures in the maze. Buy it here
Extract from Pawper to Pedigree
“Any idea how to get skunk stink out of the inside of a dog?”
“He ate the skunk?” Aaron asked, his face crinkling with distaste.
“Not the skunk, but the—well—you know.” Marnie pinched her nose. “He just farted and it is noxious. Any suggestions?”
Aaron took several steps back. “Gas-x? Breath mint? Industrial strength enema?” he offered.
Extract from The Keeper
Sleep was soon upon me, and then the dream began. Alone in a bathroom I did not recognize, I stood over the sink. In the mirror, a rusted claw foot tub lurked behind me as I stared into the eyes of my reflection. It was me, yet at the same time, it was not. I had never seen this look of confidence on my face before.
“What are you looking at?” I scoffed at my reflection.
“Nothing much,” replied the face in the mirror, though I knew I had not formed the words. I jumped, shuffling back. The tub clipped me at the knees and sent me tumbling into an abyss. I grabbed for the shower curtain, but it tore away and engulfed me on my descent.
“I’ll catch up with you later!” the image in the mirror called out with a laugh.
Extract from Underwater City
“Allow me to introduce you to your dental hygienists extraordinaire.” Kyla positioned herself as if showing off a new car on a game show. “Hawk and Spit. Taa, daa!”
The shrimp performed acrobatics in the mini aquarium before returning to their positions near the surface where they snapped to attention. All legs on their right sides, saluted Ann.
“Did you say Hock and Spit?” Ann asked her nose crinkling as she peered in at the swimmers for a second time.
Kyla giggled. “H-A-W-K,” she spelled out. “See the wings on his back?”
Hawk obliged Ann by turning around and sure enough, there they were. Thin, white scars etched the shrimp’s exoskeleton in the shape of wings. “Wow,” Ann exclaimed. “Was he born with those?”
“Nope. When Hawk was a wee bitty thing, he thought he could fly,” Kyla explained. “One day, he decided to prove it by climbing to the top of a beached coconut. Unfortunately, his attempt at a running leap off said coconut resulted in him tripping, slipping and sliding down the side of it on his back. Though his injuries were not life threatening, he did walk away with those scars and that is the story of how Hawk earned his wings.”
Ann shuddered. “Ouch.”
Hawk appeared unfazed. He bobbled in the tank, flexing his legs as if to say, flesh wound; feel these muscles.
The girls laughed openly at the shrimp’s antics.
Meanwhile, Spit had moved out of the way and perched on the top spire of a miniature replica of Cinderella’s castle that occupied the center of the aquarium. His front two legs tapped with impatience.
“And Spit?” Ann pressed. “How did he get his name?”
“My boy Spit is a real spitfire. No patience and quick-tempered.” Kyla crooked a finger at Spit and he hurried forward. “He is also a practical joker. You have to watch him every minute.” Kyla bent close to the aquarium. “Now, you mind your temper with our guest,” she instructed.
“And keep your practical jokes to a minimum. At least until Ann gets adjusted to her new surroundings.”
Spit nodded again. Hawk joined his friend at the castle, bumping into him in his haste. Spit’s tail flicked out, spinning Hawk end over end.
“Spit!” Kyla admonished. “This is exactly what I was talking about.”
Swimming over to Hawk, Spit hooked a leg around his friend and pulled him toward the surface. Once there, Spit patted Hawk on the head with one of his antennae and then spread wide all of his claws and legs as if asking, better?