Posts Tagged ‘e-books’


For the past couple weeks, I have been reading Tamara Thorne’s novel, Candle Bay, and absolutely loving it. The story is great, to be sure… but the best part is that I’m not just reading the book… I get to use my editorial eyes in search of formatting issues that sometimes occur when a novel is scanned  to be converted into its digital form. When Tamara told me about the edits she was doing and the frustrations she was having, I was more than happy to offer my help. Under usual circumstances, looking for strangely placed periods and extra spaces between words doesn’t sound like the kind of thing most people would be thrilled about doing… but the thing is, well… it’s Tamara Thorne! I loved her books before the concept of being a novelist myself was anywhere on the horizon, so to not only meet one of the greats, but to get a close-up look at his or her process is really a very rare and incredible opportunity.

Over the past months, Tamara and I have become what I consider to be pretty good friends. Finding that you connect with a person you’ve admired from afar for so many years is one of those nearly-eerie things that makes you stop and wonder why you’re drawn to certain people in the first place, and what it all means. Many such events have happened for me since I began on this writing journey, and those events are what has inspired my new “Rockstar Moments” blogs. These “Rockstar Moments” are the ones that suddenly make me aware of how lucky I am, how amazing some of my recent experiences have been, and how awesome it is to get to know the people I’m getting to know.

That being said, my most recent “Rockstar Moment” came when, as I was reading Candle Bay, I got a message from Tamara asking me what color my wife Heather’s hair is. “Brown,” I told her, because it is. When I asked her why she’d asked, Tamara told me she was going to put Heather and I in Candle Bay. I was thrilled, and sure enough, a few chapters later, I came across Jared and Heather Anders, a pair of the Candle Bay Hotel’s “best customers.” I am returning this gesture, of course, by murdering off a maid who’s based off of Tamara in my current project, Tyranny Hall. I don’t know exactly how I will kill her yet, but I do know it will be gruesome. This may sound macabre… insulting even, but it’s not. It’s good times… for us, anyway.

Candle Bay will be available soon in e-book format, and I’m honored to be able to get a look at it before its release. I am only half through the novel, and I’m itching for more. Given my past experiences with Tamara’s books, I have no doubt that the rest of Candle Bay will only continue getting more and more strange and fascinating! This is where it’s very tempting for me to give out spoilers… but I am going to refrain. I’ll simply say it’s an awesome story, told by one of my personal favorite storytellers, and as soon as it gets released, I will be posting the links where the book can be purchased.

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On the phone the other night, a friend of mine asked me what it was like meeting some of my heroes. I thought about it a moment and answered very honestly, “It’s pretty dang cool.” It is cool, and among some of the very coolest people I have been fortunate enough to get to know is one of my first and greatest sources of inspiration, the horror novelist Tamara Thorne.

Tamara Thorne is the author of more than a dozen horror novels. She also had works published under the pseudonym Chris Curry. I came across her work in the ’90s at my local library, and immediately fell in love with her style, twisted humor, and morbid (in a good way) vision of the world. It was around this time that I began to seriously contemplate writing my own novels, and by the time I read her novel Moonfall, I was sure this was what I wanted to do.

Needless to say, you can imagine how excited I was the first time I spoke to her. In the beginning, I kept a respectable distance for fear of frightening her away. I hadn’t yet learned to keep my gushing reflexes under control, and had serious anxiety that I might say something unseemly like, “I’m your number one fan…” or something (I managed to refrain from telling her this until I was sure she didn’t think me a stalker!) ~ but in the beginning, I was totally starstruck. The first time I received a personal e-mail from her, I couldn’t quit reading it ~ and when we first exchanged phone numbers, I would think of things to text her just so I could relive that giddiness when I received the “Message from Tamara Thorne” notice on my phone when she texted me back. I still get a little giddy when I get that notice! Suffice it to say, I’m still a bit starstruck. To be able to casually chit-chat with horror-lit royalty like Tamara Thorne is, for me, one of the coolest things ever.

I’ve spent a good deal of time talking to Tamara. She’s told me a lot about her writing journey and her experiences in the industry. When she told me about how she and some of her fellow horror-author comrades observe a personal tradition in which they create characters based off of each other and kill them as a kind of tip-of-the-hat gesture to one another, I was fascinated. As she and I got to know each other better, I asked her if one day, I could put her in one my books and kill her. She said, “I would be honored, and one day I’ll kill you in one of mine, too.”

That, for me, is probably the closest I will ever come to a sense of having “arrived,” and I couldn’t have dreamed of a classier, more appropriate way for it to happen.

For more on Tamara, check her out at:  twitter.com/tamarathorne or: http://www.facebook.com/tamara.thorne

Q: Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite, and why?

A: It depends on my mood.  Haunted was the most fun to write because it’s pastiche, even though the characters don’t know it.  I felt like a kid in a candy store while writing it.  Overall, though, my favorite novel is probably Bad Things.  Not only did I plumb the depths of my own childhood terrors, but I got to write about elementals — I love Green Man mythos.

Q: Do you ever look at any of your books and wonder how you did it?

A: Every time.

Q: What’s the story behind Chris Curry?

A: Curry’s my maiden name and I would’ve been Christopher had I been a boy.  At that time, I wanted to hide gender, so Chris Curry fit the bill.

Q: When did you decide writing was what you wanted to do?

A: There was no decision; it was just a fact of life.  I was in the primary grades around the time the Beatles recorded Paperback Writer.  It was a dirty story about a dirty man and his scheming wife didn’t understand — but I did, because I wanted to be a paperback writer. . . paperback writer. Paper-baaaaack wriiiiterrrr.

Q: What motivated you to write Moonfall (I love that book!)?

A: My editor.  He’d gone to Catholic school and wanted some sweet revenge on the knuckle-rapping nuns.  I remember cooking it up the night we went to see Les Miz in New York.  We kept whispering back and forth about it during the play.  I really had a good time with that book.

Q: Describe how it felt the first time you got an acceptance letter.

A: It was for an unpaid shameless pun story for an itty bitty small press magazine.  When I got the news, I laughed, I shrieked, I giggled, I crawled on my belly like a snake.  That one still outshines even the big ones.

Q: What was it like seeing your first book in print?

A: Surreal.  It still is.

Q: Besides Chris Curry, what other names have you written under?

A: Just a few: Sue Sydell, Phil Anders,  Eugene Nicks, and Anakin Flyswatter.

Q: Have you ever cried while writing something?

A: I’m far too macho to ever admit to crying, but I do have Romancing the Stone moments that are dear to me.  Remember when the movie starts, Kathleen Turner’s character is finishing her romance novel and she’s in a frenzy of emotion as she types that last page.  I get like that.  Biggest was Bad Things.  It was exhilarating, freeing.  Next biggest was Haunted’s orgy of romance at the end — there was an intentional Ghost and Mrs. Muir vibe going on.  But all of them get me in the end in one way or another (I’m prone to gleeful giggling.)  If they didn’t, I’d have to write a new ending.

Q: Your talent for dialog is, in my opinion, very impressive. Does it come as naturally to you as it seems?

A: Um, yes.  I just listen to the voices in my head and transcribe what they say.

Q: Do you have a muse?

A: Mel Brooks and a gallon of gin.  Also, I reread a little Ray Bradbury now and then.  His beautiful poetic prose has inspired me since I first read him in second grade.  I also like to recall the opening/closing dialogues from The Haunting of Hill House.  “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”  Oh, how I love that paragraph. Talk about painting a picture with words.

Q: When you first started writing horror, how did the people around you react?

A: I only remember my son, in junior high, being really embarrassed that his mother sold a horror novel.  (He got over it.) Before I was published, I didn’t talk about wanting to write with anyone but Bill Gagliani. I just wrote – so did he, and we critiqued each other for years.  It worked; we’re both published.

Q: What kind of imagery sparks your imagination?

A: There are three images that always get my heart beating a little faster.  One is the image of a slender, pale hand appearing softly, slowly  from underneath the bed (or chair), or this same phantom hand holding back a curtain to peer out of a haunted room.   Another is low-level levitation.  When I read Graham Masterton’s brilliantly witty horror novel, The Manitou, and then saw the movie by the same name, I found the old lady floating along a couple of inches off the carpeted corridor about as spooky as anything I’ve ever cringed delightedly over.  Finally, plumbing horror.  Who doesn’t love that?  Whether it’s a shower curtain that’s not quite closed or a gush of blood from a faucet, whether it’s a ghost floating under water ala The Changeling, or the watery scent of the drowned ghost in Peter Straub’s If You Could See Me Now, it just works for me. 

Q: What do you like to read?

A: Anything but directions.  I love a good haunted house novel more than anything, but I don’t stick to the genre.  I like Nelson DeMille’s thrillers and big fat science/adventure thrillers of all sorts.   (One of my favorite novels is Jeff Long’s The Reckoning. Anyone who likes horror is in for a treat.) I always enjoy Stephen King, Peter Straub, Douglas Clegg and Robert McCammon as well as historical fiction like Andersonville, and narrative non-fiction like Erik Larson’s Devil and the White City.  I teethed on Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson and had no idea that Roald Dahl even wrote kids’ books until I was an adult;  I just loved the nasty little short stories he turned out.  I read lots of science fiction before I stumbled upon The Haunting of Hill House in the library when I was eleven.  That set my course.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?

A: Changing the ribbon in the computer.  Also, for the first few years, I always worried about my next plot forming, but after reading Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, I lost that fear.

Q: Have you ever killed a character and regretted it?

A: Well, not exactly.  As my dear friend and mentor, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, told me, sometimes characters insist on rushing into a burning barn to save the horses even though you’re screaming at them, “No, you’ll die!”   So, characters have died when I’d have preferred to keep them around, but I’ve never done in a major one unless he absolutely insisted.  Gotta listen to the characters; they always know best.

Q: Have you ever killed a character and enjoyed it a little too much?

A: Oh, no.  It’s fantasy, so when I kill a character, no matter how much I enjoy it, it’s never too much.  My favorite editor once told me that horror writers are the pussycats of the writing community, undoubtedly because we get to indulge our dark sides on a regular basis.

Q: What do you think are the three most important qualities a good writer must have?

A: You need to develop great observational skills. Learn to listen more than talk and do it without judgment.  Learn to shut off your own inner critic while you work.  You must write to please yourself, nothing more.

Q: Of the books you’ve written, which one are you the least satisfied with, and why?

A: The Sorority, because the schedule was tight and I couldn’t edit the way I normally would.  It was a big book in three acts published as a trilogy and each third was put to bed before the next one was done, so I couldn’t go back and change things the way I normally would — there are always threads the subconscious knows about that don’t reveal themselves until I’m almost done with the entire book.   However, I get to make my changes before Sorority comes out as an omnibus for Halloween 2013.  Whee!

Q: What do you consider to be your “Masterpiece?”

A: Hahaha! Masterpiece? I’ll get back to you when I know.  I’ve had a couple of books I’ve absolutely “had” to write — Thunder Road and Bad Things — and I have another must-write that I’ve barely begun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one of those will be my “masterpiece.”  Actually, if I thought in those terms, I’d never be able to write anything!

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Converting several titles to e-book form. Boy, is that work! There’s nothing like proofreading scans of your own work.  Scanners do strange little changes so you have to pay attention to every word — and you know you’re still going to miss some! On the more-fun side,   I’m planning Candle Bay’s sequel. I hope to start serious work on it the minute I’m done with the e-books and revamping my website this summer.

Q: Do you think that women horror writers are underestimated?

A: Hmm. I obviously used to think so because I used a genderless name.  Nowadays, I don’t think it’s much of an issue, but it’s not something I ever ponder. I just write what I’d like to read. Gender isn’t an issue for me.

Q: Have you ever collaborated with another writer, and if so, what was that like?

A: My BFF, children’s writer (author of the Scary Stories for Sleepover series) Q. L. Pearce and I are currently doing some collaborative work; we have half an adult novel on the back-burner and we’re working on a YA [young adult] vampire novel right now. It’s a pleasure to work with Q because we’re so well matched in our interests, attitudes and personalities. Because we normally write for different readers, we expand each other’s interests and audiences. That said, I do think you must be very cautious about entering into collaborations. Don’t do it on the spur of the moment. Know your collaborator well and be sure they understand professionalism. Be realistic and work out what you’re going to expect of one another in advance.  In most cases, a simple contract is a very good idea.

Q: What is your proudest moment in writing?

A: When my editor told me I made him cry.

Q: What inspired the Sorority Series?

A: Oh, cool!  I’m glad you asked.  Arthurian legend and my mother’s stories about a northern California mountain town she lived in as a girl being moved higher up the mountain so a reservoir could be built on the original site.  That story, alone, thrilled me, but the epilogue was even better: On their honeymoon, my parents swam over the drowned town.  My mother saw the tops of the pines beneath her in the water and was too spooked to go deeper.  Instead, she sat on the banks while my father repeatedly dived and swam around the old church steeple.  As for Arthurian legend, it’s simply something I’ve loved since I was little.  The antagonist throughout the trilogy is Malory Thomas: invert the name and look it up.  And they’re searching for the ghost of Holly Gayle.  Say that one out loud. . . Sorority is loaded with horrible puns –that’s the most shameless one of all.

Q: How do you feel about e-books?

A: As long as they don’t destroy old-fashioned books, I’m all for them.  I think the format may help a lot of us earn a little more money than we’re used to.

Q: What is the best thing anyone has ever said to you about your books?

A: Kids who write to tell me they hated reading before they found my books and people who write to tell me they became writers because of me. Makes me feel like I’ve really accomplished something.

Q: What do you like to do aside from writing?

A: I collect hub caps and turn them into wind chimes.  I also make Cthluhu figures out of dried apples and squid.  I also make these things by special order. Finally, I love local history, visiting ghost towns, and staying in haunted hotel rooms. Because if you’re going to shell out over $100 for a room, it’d better have some entertainment!

Q: What makes you laugh out loud?

A: The book CAT by Kliban. The Colonel Angus SNL sketch. Blazing Saddles Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Airplane! and Idiocracy. The song stylings of Tom Lehrer.  Also, just thinking about setting off a fart app in a crowded elevator. Oh, the things I could do if I could control the giggle fits.  I never should’ve stolen the soul of that 10-year-old boy.

Q: What do you think the most important rule of good storytelling is?

A: Write what you love.

Q: Of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite and why?

A: Oh boy, that’s a toughie.  There’s nearly always a secondary character – or even an intended throw-away character – who suddenly comes to life and does all sorts of unexpected things.  The Prophet James Robert Sinclair in Thunder Road.    Professor Tongue in Sorority.  Theo Pelinore and the Cox brothers in Haunted.  A major character who really fascinated me was Carlo Pelegrine in Thunder Road.  I dreamed him up one night (literally) and he was the missing piece the book needed.  In the dream, he was a serial killer called “The Peeler.”  In the book, well, same thing.  Only he’s reformed. Possibly. Oh, and Dakota O’Keefe in Bad Things.  S/he’s a cross between Tim Curry’s Dr. Frankenfurter and my idea of what a best friend should be.

Q: Which of your characters do you most relate to and why?

A: Two of them, for very different reasons.  First, Ricky Piper of Bad Things.  I gave him most of my childhood terrors concerning the dark.  It was an intense write.  The other would be David Masters, the ghost-chasing uber-skeptical horror writer in Haunted.  I gave him all my thoughts on the paranormal and he’s not buying anything unless it happens to him. Even when it does, he continues to explain it away until, well, you know. . . the ectoplasmic shit hits the fan.  In real life, I’ve experienced some things which probably aren’t explainable by current science, but like David, I just end up wanting more.  But those are tales for another day.

Q: What do you usually do for Halloween?

A: I like to put on a costume — a grim reaper, dead clown, something nice like that and go out amongst the trick-or-treaters and scare the snot out of them.  Last year, I was Zombie Gimli and got to walk bow-legged all night gibbering about brains and running at children. I was in Austin and had George Bush’s head on a stick, so there was an attractive air of danger.  Best night of the year.

Q: Where do you see the publishing industry in five years?

A: There’s a lot of reinvention going on.  I agree with Del Howlison of Dark Delicacies Books in Burbank:  e-books are the new mass market paperbacks. I don’t think *real* books will disappear.  People will gravitate toward what they like and publishers will try to fill the niches.  Maybe there will be a lot more boutique publishers.  I think there will be — already is — a closer connection between the writer and reader thanks to technology and social media.  I love how easy it’s become to interact with readers via Facebook.

Q: Do you do outlines?

A: Only if they buy me a drink first.  Generally I have a page with a beginning, middle, and end on it with a few side notes.  I like to know where I’m going so I don’t have to worry about it.  Chances are, the characters will take it somewhere else, but sometimes they agree with me.  I tend to do a lot of plotting while dreaming/lucid dreaming.

Q: What is your writing process?

A: I think about and research a book for a year or three beforehand — I like the slow simmer approach.  The research amps the instant I complete the current book.  Very often, I dream at least part of the book.  Lots of times, I know a book is ready to write because I’ll have had the whole thing pop into my head, like a big gestalty blob, for a few seconds.  This tells me it’s time to sit back and let my subconscious take over.   It’s almost ripe.

Q: If a person you loved dearly told you they wanted to be a writer, what warnings and/or words of wisdom would you give them?

A: Half would be the same advice my mother gave me: have another skill, too.  The other half is write what you love, what you love to read. Don’t think about selling, just have fun.

Tamara’s novels, Haunted, Candle Bay, Moonfall and Eternity will be out in e-book format this summer, and in September, new paperback editions for Haunted, Candle Bay and Moonfall  will be available from Kensington Press . Also, look for e-book versions of Bad Things, The Forgotten and Thunder Road which will also be released in e-book format this fall.


Tara Lain was named Best Author of 2011 in the LRC Awards and her Genetic Attraction Series was runner-up for Best Series of 2011. Additionally, her novel Genetic Attraction was nominated for a CAPA (Cupid and Psyche Award ~ given by the Romance Studio) as best contemporary romance, and she was nominated for a CAPA as favorite author of 2011. Her novel Golden Dancer won The Romance Reviews Best Book of 2011 in the LGBT Ménage category.

What prompted me to ask Tara Lain for an interview was my intrigue and respect for the subject matter of her novels, which is very often (but not always) gay erotica/romance. My interest was piqued a few years ago, when I had an account on Goodreads.com. Browsing through the readers’ reviews, I couldn’t help noticing a major trend: women who love books written by women about men who love men. The inescapable, mass popularity of this genre surprised me as much as it intrigued me… and naturally, I had no choice but to check it out. The first book I ever read of this kind was a book by Tara Lain.

I think Tara Lain is not only a great author but I also think she is a brave person. It takes courage to write about such socially sensitive topics… and it takes grace to do it well. I think Tara has what it takes to keep doing what she’s been doing for a very long time to come. She was as enthusiastic to be a part of my author interviews as I was to have her, and I’m grateful to her for taking the time to answer some of my questions.

Q: You originally began writing non-fiction. What kind of non-fiction did you write?

A: I still write non-fiction every day. I own an ad/PR agency and write magazine articles, blogs, websites, white papers, email blasts and much more for my clients in technology and medical markets.

Q: In terms of process, what are some of the main differences between writing fiction and writing non-fiction?

A: There are surprising similarities. Some of my employees say my fiction writing has made me a better and faster non-fiction writer. In non-fiction, it’s all about the thesis. What is the article or paper going to prove or show? In fiction it’s about what is the hero’s problem? What stands in the way of him achieving his dreams? (I say hero because I write mostly M/M, but it’s also true for heroines) The big difference, of course, is dialogue. It’s a very different method of expression from prose. I adore dialogue and love writing it. And, I don’t get to write sex scenes when I’m writing for Waste Water Digest!  LOL

Q: Of your own characters, do you have a favorite, and why is he or she your favorite?

A: Oh, I can’t play favorites. They’re all my kids. I do have a special affection for the yummy Roan Black in The Scientist and the Supermodel and Genetic Attraction. He was my first love! He comes back in my new book, Genetic Celebrity, being released on July 24th. I also adore my feisty little Rodney Mansfield in Fire Balls. He is such a mass of contradictions — a real alpha hero in a five foot eight inch body with pink hair.

Q: Erotic fiction is very hot right now. What do you attribute that to?

A: I think erotic fiction is always hot. It’s just that digital publishing now provides a much wider selection to appeal to people’s individual tastes. The books are inexpensive, high quality and easy to acquire. What’s not to like?

Q: What originally got you interested in writing male/male (M/M) erotic romance?

A: I had decided to write an erotic romance — a M/F, older woman/younger man story. Then I ordered a book from an author I had been enjoying. All the books I had read of hers up to that point were M/F, so I simply ordered this book called Heaven without much investigation. The book was M/M and I was surprised. I started reading, kind of looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching, and immediately fell in love with the dynamic of M/M romance. The unintentional mentor was my friend Jet Mykles. I added another man to my M/F story and immediately became both a M/M writer and a ménage writer neither of which I had ever intended. I have been reading and writing M/M romance ever since.

Q: Do you prefer to write male/male erotica/romance, or male/female, and why?

A: I prefer writing M/M (or M/M/F) romance for many reasons. Two men together have no assigned societal gender roles. They both have the same physical capabilities and limitations so the writer can mix them up in lots of fun new ways. Like in my LGBT [lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender] romance, Fire Balls, my hero is a flamboyant artist who is only 5’8” tall but he is a black belt in karate and a top in bed. His lover is a big, hunky firefighter who by nature is more submissive although he’s very heroic at work. The roles are fluid. I love that. As a woman, I enjoy crawling inside the skin and emotional framework of my men and showing that men have deep feelings. I write few traditional alpha males who are silent and stoic. My guys cry as much if not more than my heroines. Also, gay men bear such a burden of discrimination that it adds a complex dimension to even a simple story. Plus, I love giving them a happy ever after!

Q: How do people respond to you when you tell them you write gay erotica/romance?

A: My husband loves it and tells everyone. So does the rest of my family and most of my friends. One or two are disapproving and prefer to ignore that whole side of my life. One of my friends who is a gay man was pretty amazed when I told him but he loves my books and tells all his friends. They keep saying, “But she’s a straight woman, right?” That makes me smile a lot!

Q: It has long been more socially acceptable for two women to have a sexual/romantic relationship than two men. Why do you think people are suddenly so interested in male/male relationships? What do you think has changed that has made male/male relationships so much more widely accepted, especially in literature?

A: I like to think that we writers of M/M romance have had something to do with it. Let’s face it, women develop the standards and mores of a society. Women love romance and they love men. Tons of women have found they love reading about two men together and suddenly the idea isn’t icky any more–it’s HOT! Those women raise children. Certainly a woman who reads M/M romance on her Kindle is going to make more of an effort to understand when her son says, “Mom, I’m gay.” On a grander scale, the world has grappled with its discrimination on many fronts. It’s time we dealt with this one.

Q: What inspires you more than anything?

A: The first two words that came to mind are justice and authenticity. For astrology buffs, I have six planets in Libra. I have an over-developed sense of justice and hate to see anyone or anything treated unfairly. And all of my books end up being about people living an authentic life –finding the way that is right for them and being willing to sacrifice to have that life. I never intend for the books to have that theme. It just happens.

Q: Of your own novels, which is your favorite and why?

A: Oh my. I can’t choose. I love Genetic Attraction because it was my first novel (and still one of my best). I really like Golden Dancer. I had never written romantic suspense before and it has three super complex heroes (it’s a M/M/M ménage). Spell Cat is my first paranormal M/M romance and I love my cat, Aloysius. Fire Balls was one of those books that just wrote itself and has been my all-time bestseller so far. And Sinders and Ash is such a total fairy tale romance it’s hard not to love it. Oh dear, I love my enemies to lovers in Beach Balls. I love them all. I can’t choose.

Q: Who do you base your characters off of?

A: I make them up. No specific inspirations (except for the male fashion model in my upcoming book, Genetic Celebrity, who is based physically somewhat on Andrej Pejic). My characters walk into my head and tell me who they are.

Q: What are some of the strongest marketing strategies you’ve found for your novels?

A: I am what is affectionately referred to as a promo whore! Since my day job is in PR all my instincts point in that direction. I know from professional experience that promotion is a cumulative effect. People often say “I’ve seen your book so many places. I think I have to get it.” I do everything– Facebook, Twitter, two blogs plus a group blog, blog tours, blog hops, online chats and parties. I just consider promotion a part of my job as an author.

Q: Do you prefer hardcopy, or e-books?

A: E-books. Though I have hundreds of paper books in my house, I took to the ereader like the proverbial duck to water. I love the idea of carrying hundreds of books in a tiny package. I enjoy the process of reading digitally.

Q: What does your writing space look like?

A: I write in the same place I work. I am lucky enough to get to work from home, so I have a nice wrap around desk with two big screens and a powerful computer.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

A: I love to walk and I adore movies. I also do some mixed media collage which I don’t have much time for now but I pull out occasionally. And, of course, I love to read.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m writing the next book in the Aloysius Tales, my paranormal series. The first book was Spell Cat and this will be book two. It’s about a young witch who has the gift of prophetic painting. When this book is complete, I’ll start another story in my contemporary fantasy series to follow Sinders and Ash.

Q: In your opinion, what is the absolute best part of writing?

A: I love walking into new worlds and meeting new people!  : )

 

For more information, or to contact Tara, go to:

 

E-mail:                   tara@taralain.com

Website:              http://www.taralain.com

Author blog:       http://taralain.blogspot.com

Book blog:           http://beautifulboysbooks.blogspot.com

Goodreads:        http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Twitter:               http://twitter.com/taralain

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When I first met Lori L. Clark, I was immediately struck by her quick wit and awesome sense of humor. Lori is fun, optimistic, and genuinely kind. Having had the pleasure of reading her novel, Tyler Falls, (which you can find on Amazon) I can also say she’s a skilled writer with a knack for damned good storytelling.

When I began doing author interviews on this blog, I did it with a mission in mind: to heighten the awareness of the works written by the author’s I admire. Lori Clark was one of the first people I wanted to ask. As someone who has been on both sides of the publishing spectrum (self-publishing and traditional publishing), I thought she’d give a pretty interesting interview. I was right. Oh… and by the way, I did get her number… 😉

You can find her books on Amazon.com. Also be sure to check her out at: http://www.clarklori.com/ and: http://justbookinaround.blogspot.com/ and: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Bookin-Around/212483995430964

                                

Q: How many completed novels do you have?

A: I have 3 completed, and one WIP.

Beauty’s Beholder (YA contemporary)

Between the Moon & Shine (MG fantasy)

and Tyler Falls (YA contemporary)

Q: You have recently been accepted for publication by a traditional publishing press. What is that like?

A: I have to be honest here, although I’m thrilled that Between the Moon & Shine has been picked up by a local publisher, it’s not as exciting as getting a call from an agent who has an offer of representation must be. I think every author dreams of having several agents “fight” over your manuscript and then having it go on to receive a 6+ figure deal. I think once the book actually hits the stores, then the reality of it will sink in for real.

Q: What is the basic storyline of this novel?

A: This is (somewhat) the query letter I used:

Fourteen-year-old Bobbi Flowers wishes on a falling star for a summer to remember. Rescuing her twin brother from Trogs and meeting a sixteen-year-old boy who claims he’s over half a century old isn’t what she has in mind.

When her brother is kidnapped one night, Bobbi sets out to find him. Armed with her Louisville Slugger (to wallop those creepy Trogs into the next county) and ajar of peanut butter (in case she gets hungry), her search leads her through a portal in the woods to The Over there — and Michael. Michael’s sixteen going on sixty and wants nothing to do with an outsider. When Bobbi saves his little brother’s life, Michael reluctantly agrees to help her. It becomes a race against time when Michael tells her that each night she spends in The Over there might mean years — if not decades — will pass before she returns home. Staying fourteen forever doesn’t sound like much fun and going home decades in the future doesn’t either.

Q: When are you expecting the book to be released?

A: I have no idea how long it takes these things to come out! Summer of 2014.

Q: Having traveled down both paths, what are the major differences, in your experience, between self-publishing and traditional publishing?

A: Traditional publishing takes so much longer for the book to come out. Self-publishing is much faster. I’ve always been a bit of a self-published book snob. Assuming someone who was unable to get an agent or publisher to take on their work must not be a very good writer. I don’t believe that anymore. I’ve read a huge number of self-published and e-published books lately that are surprisingly very good. I believe there is still an unfair negative attitude toward self-published authors and/or books though.

Q: What is your usual writing process?

A: I get a seed of an idea and then I rough out some of the characters and details in a notebook by hand. Other than these details and minimal outlining, I tend to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style writer. I know some authors painstakingly map out practically the whole book. I am not one of those authors. As close as I come to that is writing in my notebook what I want to have happen in the next few chapters with a few sentences for each chapter.

Q: What inspires you?

A: Books, the success stories of other writers, song lyrics and dreams.

Q: What are some of the books you love?

A: I am a huge fan of YA. Especially contemporary. The Hate List by Jennifer Brown, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, anything by Ilsa J. Bick and Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala. The list goes on and on.

Q: Do you have a muse?

A: If you promise not to tell anyone… the voices inside my head tell me what to write. It’s more like each main character from my books takes on a life of their own inside my mind and “they” tell me what to write. Is it any wonder so many writers/authors also have had mental issues?

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: A YA contemporary with the working title of Breaker. It’s about an overweight girl with a beautiful voice who can’t get people to take her seriously due to her appearance.

Q: Aside from writing, what do you love?

A: Reading and running are two big time fillers for me. I love going to concerts and my Miniature Pinscher — Barkley.

Q: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

A: Getting the initial spark for an idea is a lot of fun and the excitement that comes with putting pen to paper. After that, seeing “THE END” is pretty awesome too.

Q: What is your ultimate goal in writing?

A: I could say to become rich like JK Rowling or have one (or more) of my books become a household name like “Fifty Shades of Grey” or as wildly popular as the Hunger Games trilogy.

Q: When and why did you decide to become a writer?

A: I’ve always enjoyed writing, and found it easier to express myself through the written word, but I didn’t get serious about it until a few years ago when I moved, which is sort of ironic considering I was born in Iowa City, IA and lived within a few miles of there all my life prior to 2007. Every writer knows why that’s ironic and what Iowa City is famous for.

Q: Who is your greatest supporter?

A: My mom is proud that I’ve finally taken up something she approves of. I also have a good friend in North Carolina who reads everything I write and gives me moral support and suggestions.

Q: Since you began writing novels, what have you learned about yourself?

A: I have a pretty creative imagination and I’m even more impatient than I thought I was.

Q: In your opinion, what main qualities should a book have in order to be damned good?

A: A likeable and interesting main character. Someone people can identify with or empathize with. Unpredictability and pacing that doesn’t make me fall asleep. One of my biggest pet peeves is for an author to name their character something I don’t know how to pronounce. If I can’t pronounce his or her name I stumble over it every time it’s written in the book.

Q: Who do you most hope will really love your upcoming novel?

A: Everyone who reads it. I’m so sensitive, I’m sure the first bad reviews I read are going to crush me.

Q: Do you have any particular marketing plans for this novel?

A: I think it’s important to have an online platform in place. I have an author’s page, a book review blog, a twitter account, etc. I plan to do a lot of word of mouth online promoting. I also would love to spend time at the local indie book stores.

Q: When your novel is released, I’d love to get you in for a book signing. Sound good?

A: I would love that!

Q: You’re pretty cute. Can I have your number?

A: Ha! If I were younger I would have already been your number 1 stalker. See me hiding behind those parked cars over there? 🙂


After ten years of dreaming about it, seven years of preparing for it, and almost three years of ruthlessly pursuing it- I’ve finally done it. It took me exactly 190 rejection letters between two completed novels, but I have at last been offered a contract. It wasn’t for my first novel, The White Room, which was ultimately rejected by the two publishers who were recently interested in it. Instead, the offer was for Beautiful Monster, the horror story which I collaborated on with Kim Williams-Justesen~ a fact that, given the gruesome nature of the novel, surprises me. But that’s beside the point.

What happened: On the eleventh of May (my birthday!) we submitted the story to a press I’d come across through a strange chain of events two weeks before. A day after the initial submission of the first three chapters and the last chapter of the book, we received an e-mail asking for the entire manuscript. We’ve been down this road before, I thought, bracing myself for the agonizing coming months I’d spend waiting for the eventual, “thanks, but no thanks.” But… that isn’t at all how it played out. Instead, just a couple of days later, we received an e-mail congratulating us. Our novel was accepted for publication. I didn’t get the e-mail. I got the news in a phone message from Kim.

What it was like: It was unreal. I guess if I had to compare it to something, it was a little bit like being on an airplane when it climbs or drops several hundred feet in a matter of seconds. Your vision swells, your stomach lurches, your heart does a somersault, and your head feels like it’s imploding. I don’t think I took a breath for several minutes after I heard the news. I sat down, suddenly unsure if standing was such a good idea. In her message, Kim said she’d forwarded me the e-mail. I got on the computer, logged into my account, and there it was. I blinked at it. I read it three times. I logged out of my e-mail and back in again to check it a fourth time. It was still there. I picked up my phone, went to my voicemail, and listened to the message one more time. Nothing had changed. We’d just been made an offer.

That was when the bliss hit me. Bliss may be a strong word, but I think it’s deserving of its placement in this context. My body tingled and my mind raced. I wanted to jump out of my skin, but in a good way. I wanted to leap from my chair and run into the streets, thrusting my glee upon anyone within a five-mile radius. I could not sit still. I had nowhere to go, so I grabbed my phone again and began texting the news. I later learned that in my excitement, I’d made several errors in my efforts, sending the message, “We just got offered a contract on Beautiful Monster!” to my dentist in Utah, the landline of my poodles’ vet hospital, and, I’m pretty sure, to a woman I’ve never met named Joyce whose number is in my phone because six months ago, she was handling my property out-of-state. But I didn’t care. I was spreading the joy.

You’d think that after all the months and years of working for this very moment, waiting for it to be realized, the bliss would last longer. It doesn’t. I think I squeezed about ten wonderful minutes out of the whole deal before the doubt started in. The doubt is mean and ugly and wants nothing more than to crash your party. No sooner had I hit the send button on the fifth or sixth text to anyone within send-button range when the doubt began creeping in. It told me it wasn’t real. It told me I was being scammed. And worse, it told me that now I was going to have to go back and explain to everyone I’d texted that it was a false alarm. The sting of that blow was very real to me then, and I briefly considered sending out a mass Just Kidding! Gotcha! text to all my contacts.

Suddenly, I doubted everything from the reality of the e-mail to the legitimacy of the publisher. I’d researched the press before submitting of course, but now I was obsessed by the idea that I’d somehow missed something vitally negative about them. I got on the computer. I spent the next several hours combing through their website, researching their authors, and looking for holes in their plans to rip me off. I googled their reviews. I visited Editors and Predators. I read everything I could. I found nothing that supported my suspicion that this was some kind of scam.

We got another e-mail from the publisher saying we’d be receiving a contract in the next few days. We also got our author guidelines and editorial formatting forms, which I believe is for e-book formatting. By now, I’d talked to a friend of mine, an author who has been in the business for about twenty years. She had a little experience with the press and knew someone who had substantial experience with them. The conversations that ensued calmed my mind enough that I made peace with the fact that until I saw the contract, there was no reason for me to neither celebrate nor mourn.

In the days while I wait for the contract, I am surprisingly peaceful. If this is a good gig, then great! And if not… I am out nothing. It is during these days of waiting that I believe I have probably grown the most as a writer than I ever have before. I’m realizing during this time that even when the dream comes true, there’s still the reality to be reckoned with; as soon as a wonderful thing happens, there begins the threat of the next potential great disappointment. A lot can happen between the signing of a document (assuming we sign it) and when the actual book is produced, and somehow, I’m okay with that.

All of a sudden, I’m not fighting anymore and this is new territory for me. I think I’ve finally given up. I don’t mean to say I’m quitting. I mean, I think I gave up the control that I never had in the first place. For the first time in years, I don’t care whether or not I get published. I’m turning my attention back to my writing, back to my life, back to the things I love. And for the first time, I’m realizing how hell-bent I’ve been on this thing… for the first time, I understand that even when it does finally happen, it doesn’t actually fix anything. Until now, I didn’t even know I’d been trying to fix anything.

I’m standing here~ facing, for the very first time, the reality of a dream I’ve been entertaining for ages… and I don’t care about it anymore. I realize that I love my writing and that’s all that matters. Above all, I realize with painful clarity all of the unnecessary pressure I’ve put on myself~ the tremendous weight of my self-imposed demands… and the unreachable heights I’ve set for myself.

I haven’t talked to many people during the past few days. I’ve been quiet and withdrawn, but I am at peace. There’s nothing to say. There’s nothing to do. I am tired, as if all the time I’ve spent working for this has finally caught up with me and is taking victory over me. I’ve been sleeping a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever been as exhausted as I have these past few days. I feel raw and weak, but I am finally at peace with the world around me, and at peace with the knowledge that whatever will be will be, and it’s no longer up to me to try to force it.

I’m optimistic about the contract. I don’t know yet whether or not we will sign it, but I feel good about it so far. Whichever way this goes, this experience has been nothing like I thought it would be. It is… real, and somehow I guess I never thought it could be. One thing is certain though. This is not the final destination I somehow thought it was. This is just the beginning. I’m as curious as anyone to see how this plays out.