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Featured Interviews

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Author Bio

Born in 1957, in Huntington, on Long Island, I've been driven by an insatiable love of writing, art, and the sciences since very early childhood. My love of animal tales fueled my desire to write, always manifesting in stories from the non-human point of view. I invented my very first character at six years old, creating picture books with a tree as the main protagonist. I included, on the inside covers, my very own publishing logo, complete with rainbow and shining sun!

Back in my senior year of High School, one of my teachers, Mr. O'Connor, lent me a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, which changed my reading and writing life forever, driving me into the unique and
futuristic world of Fantasy/Science Fiction. In college, I majored in Art and Earth Sciences, where inspiration fired my vivid and eccentric imagination, planting the seeds for my Furlites of Aroriel novels, Over the years, I honed the complex world of this alien family saga. My husband's love and support over the decades proved invaluable, since his scientific knowledge and expertise quickly surpassed my own, once we graduated high school, went off to college, and entered the working world. With his help, and that of my mentor, David Ayscue, who passed away in 2010, I completed the first two of these books, On Matissia Wings, and, Earth-bred Matissia-born,which are now available. Other tales are in the works, including the third book in this series called EYES IN THE DARK. CURSE OF KORIS, and FURLITIAN TALES, a book of shorter tales featuring other characters in the prior books are now available. I dabbled with another tale many years ago, using my Khan as a character, when my big Maine Coon became seriously ill. While battling Khan's insidious disease, I completed the story, which took on deeper impact far beyond my intended feline fantasy yarn. KHAN: A Maine Coon is the result, a  biography of his life, with fictional elements, written from his point of view. My special furbaby's bit of immortality has collected mostly 5 star reviews in this short time. THE WHITE DRAGONS OF SUVWILUR and OTHER STORIES, is a collection of fantasy /science fiction tales from the point of view of many characters, from an Appaloosa Pegasus, a white furry Dragon, and others, including a Collie /Human hybrid created by genetic manipulation by aggressive aliens. In OLD GENT, I return to those very roots of my writing career, penning the true tale of our beloved ancient Norway Spruce tree and his sapling son, done from the trees' point of view, reminiscent in style to my KHAN: A MAINE COON, and, an older tale I read as a child called BIG TREE. OLD GENT is now available!. One of my favorite hobbies has been collecting, showing and customizing model horses. This hobby spawned a set of stories I call THE SECRET LIFE OF MODEL HORSES. Volume One is available. I have begun work on MAINE COON KAI, the story of my gigantic beautiful red tabby Maine Coon's life, in much the same style as KHAN: A Maine Coon. Both books immortalize two wonderful Maine Coon cats that graced my life, who left behind treasured memories, and love that never fades.

Owned by four cats, three of which are Maine Coon cats, I live with my husband in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut.

Accomplishments

Book Excellence award Finalists Khan: A Maine Coon from 2017 and The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris 2018 finalist.

Title of your most recent book


The Furlites of Aroriel: Furlitian Short Tales


Title of your next book and the date of release

The Furlites of Aroriel: Eyes in the Dark. No release date yet

How would you describe the current state of the traditional bricks-and-mortar bookseller market?

On the decline. I recall as I child how many different places sold books, from places like Walden's to every grocery store. It seems there are a lot less of those outlest now.

Would you say that the bulk of your book sales come from traditional print editions or ebooks?

Mostly ebooks., though all of my titles are available in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats.

Please explain to aspiring authors and booksellers just how much work is required, even as a traditionally published bestselling author, to maintain your level of success?

As to the latter I cannot say, but as a self published Independent author on a small budget, it takes a lot of dedication to one's craft, and in may case, i do everything from writing the book, layout, and cover design.

Is there any one marketing idea that you've seen bookstores do that stands out as particularly successful?

It is nice to have the extra funds to promote and give away books at signings or on online contests.


What's the biggest mistake you've seen bookstores make? And how would you suggest fixing it?

Perhaps not giving we Independent authors a chance to sell with them. depending only on what is left of the traditional publishing firms.


Do you believe there is still a bright future for independent bookstores?

Yes. The online market, with Amazon and others is indeed the future as more and more people read on their tablets, phones and other devices.

If you could say just one thing to a struggling bookstore, it would be?

Diversify and let us Indies in.

Continuing off that last question, is there one thing in particular that you believe got you to that point where you were paying your bills by writing?

Since I have not yet reached that point completely, I cannot say.

What's the first thing you notice almost every bookstore doing that you would do different? And why?

I see huge layouts of certain celebrety books, leaving no room for up and coming authors. Perhaps, give less attention to that and give the rest of us a chance for some exposure.

What are your feelings on authors giving away thousands of copies of their ebooks, hoping it will raise their rank on Amazon? Is this a viable strategy? Or are these authors making a terrible mistake? And why?

I am not a fan of giving away so many books. A few is fine, but I do not see how it helps gaining sales. The point of having books on Amazon, as I do, is to sell them not give them away.

So many libraries are struggling to keep their doors open. Either a lack of funding or lack of public interest. Do you have any advice that could help struggling libraries?

On this front, I have no advice. It is sad to see them struggling. But in this age of ebooks and such, it is not a surprise.

What is the most difficult part by far about your craft? What's the one thing about being an author you wish you did not have to do?

MARKETING! By far the toughest thing to do is promote one's work. If I had the money I'd pay someone else to do it, but I don't. I have to try and muddle along on what small funds I do have and hope one day, one clicks.

On the flip side, what is the best part about what you do? That one thing that makes the answer to that last question worth every minute it?

Once the 1st draft is done, and I head into the editing, polishing and expanding part of the book, that is the most enjoyable part.

How do you feel about self-publishing in today's market? Is it a good idea? Or should authors still be trying to find an agent and get traditionally published?

Speaking from long experience, getting a publisher to look at one's work is like pulling teeth. Even when I got an agent, it was the same. Money wasted sending out bulky manuscripts, only to either have them come back rejected, or never return at all. It was most discouraging.  Self publishing has its pitfalls in which everyone who thinks they can write a book puts stuff out there. The slush pile now hangs in cyberspace, but it falls to the reading public to decide what they want, and not a few big publishing companies. And that I can deal with.

 In a bookstore or library what do you think makes a patron pick up a book and want to take a closer look? Is it the cover, the display, the lighting?

Title and cover. That is what draws me to a book and if it has a title and cover that is in my "eccentric" reading range, I will pick it up to check out. I will put it down, however, if there is deception in book cover and title. For example, it has dragons or cat in the title, and even a picture on the front, BUT has NOTHING to do with cats or dragons, or the subject matter I perceived it to be about. I am certain I am not the only one.

What can a bookstore or library do to encourage patrons to pick up a specific book and check it out?

Perhaps a sign mentioning a bit about the story or contents?

How do you work with an editor without pride making a guest appearance like Jack Nicholson in The Shining?

Since I lost my agent/editor, I have not found another so I cannot answer this question. But, he taught me so much invaluable lessons. I am rather humble and being a guest on a show, I would be humble.

What are some warnings for authors who might be about to sign with a traditional publisher?

READ that contract. I almost got caught up in a publishing scandal twice with bad eggs that either went under or stiffed their authors. I won't mention names , but there is a good reason I went Indie, so I have full control over everything about my work.

How should an author divide their time between writing and marketing?

That is a question I am still trying to find the answer to.

What steps should an author take to build their platform?

Just work hard.. Finish books, then polish them til they shine. Put them in print, and just do your best to get word out. It really is all one can do.

Why do you think your books are so successful?

Because I have so little ability to use broad exposure and marketing techniques, my books sell on their merrit only. A stack of five and four star reviews help a great deal.

Do you edit and proofread your own work at all or do you just write it and hand it off to an editor?

Absolutely! Five and six times if necessary. I usually buy a proof hardcopy and read carefully, highlighting mistakes, reworking editing issues. It is very important to proofread, once, twice and three times more than you think is necessary.

Have you ever been to a book signing event and had no one show up?

I have yet to have a book signing event, though I would rather enjoy it.

How much work do you personally put into promoting your book signing events? And how long before the event do you start promoting?

If I did a signing, I'd likely need a few months time to prepare.

Do you have advice for independent bookstores on how they can organize successful events in their stores?

On this I have no advice.

Did you ever feel like giving up as an author? How did you fight through it?

A few times. But the writing drive is too strong to ignore and I pick o up the dusty manuscripts (in the past) or open that somputer program and juts pick up where I left off. Now I think of the books out there that do have good reviews, and I keep plugging away. I may go to the grave with a keyboard stuck to my fingers.