Indie Author Feature: Cathy Vickers

Now for something entirely different…

So far, the Write-It-Forward Indie Author Initiative has primarily featured an in-depth look into only the fantastic books written by various Indie Authors. I don’t want to be all smug about it, but I think there have been some pretty amazing novels featured in the Q & A section. Various genres, age ranges, and writing styles have been featured as well.  If you’re looking for your next read, then be sure to check out the links in the sidebar to find books in your preferred genre. Okay, clearly I have digressed from my original purpose…

What I was trying to do, was point out that even with the library of featured books that I have built for the Indie Author Initiative, something seems to be missing.

If you’ve read my author bio, you can’t help but notice the less-than-serious portrayal of myself as a professional (of any sort). However, I am not the norm…or normal, for that matter. But, even in my most inane ramblings, I am giving you a glimpse of who I am…I just want you to work for it. 😉 I’m sure you are wondering where I am going with this, right? Well, in this never-ending struggle to promote myself as an Indie Author, I have had the privilege of meeting some really amazing people, who also happen to be writers. What I have found, as we all muddle through the daily minutia of self-promotion, is that their personal stories are as important as the ones they have created for you, their readers.   

Thus, as a special interest feature, I will be sprinkling in a few author profiles so that you can get a glimpse of the person behind the book.  

Enjoy!

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Introducing:  Catherine L. Vickers, Author of a fantasy series about the World of Aarabassa

Her Completed Works:

  • Book 1 Guardian Dragons
  • Book 2 Flight of a Changeling

Cathy, would you  please briefly describe your journey in writing your book?

On a cold, wet day in the middle of Northern France, I was stuck in a tent on holiday with my family. We are a family of readers so we were all lying on our camping beds reading our books quietly. I cannot remember what I was reading as I had strangely started to write some mini scenery plots down as a break from reading. The memory is vague, but I know I wrote everything by hand (as no electricity and certainly no wifi in camping). I wrote lots of descriptive paragraphs on an A4 pad. I then cut out each paragraph and began to move the order of them around. This hand written method lasted for approximately a year and once I had a real plot with real people in a good order (paragraphs literally cut and pasted to larger pieces of paper), I then typed it all up on a desk top computer (lap tops were expensive then).

Today everything is typed on a lap top and the cutting and pasting is much easier. I have developed a style whereby I simply write and write and write, without editing or proofing. Then when I am approximately three quarters of the way through my plot, I will go back and begin the editing. The process of editing will happen many times by reading the whole thing through and making constant changes, at least 20-30 times.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

 Always treat others as you would expect them to treat yourself. I hope that my readers will get the same as I do when I read a book. Excellent likable or hatable characters. A plot that keeps you turning the pages with its twists and expectations. Descriptive surroundings so the reader feels as though they are in the stage setting. A story that they do not want to finish but yet they want to know how it ends.

 What is your writing schedule like?

I’m actually a bit of a scatterbrain. I love to make lists but then I tend to change the schedule on the lists. I read and write every day. I also have a self employed day job so that has to fit in aswell. I will make a list of the days tasks and stick to it as closely as I can.  If I cannot, then what I didn’t get done goes as more urgent the next day. I don’t necessarily write for my book every day, it could be a promotional day whereby I’m doing written interviews or perhaps finding new free places to market my books. Everyday will involve some task to do with my work as an author, even on holiday.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

There are two hard tasks to being a writer. One is the old adage of ‘writers block’. I overcome this one fairly easily by putting a scenario to one of my older children and they often come up with good ideas because they are also avid readers. Sometimes their ideas are enough to move me forward. The second stumbler is being an indie author. Promotion and marketing takes up a lot of my time but at least I cannot blame anyone else if things do not go to plan.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I have a blog where I’m attempting to share my books and other relevant information. It’s early days yet but I’m getting ideas all the time on how to improve it. If any readers pop in and have any ideas on how I can improve it, please let me know.

Please click on the following link to visit Cathy’s blog:  http://onewomansquestuk.blogspot.co.uk/

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I didn’t take reading seriously until in my thirties when I had to read Charles Dickens and instantly became a fan. I then looked at other English classics and read the Bronte sisters.  My very first fantasy author was the famous Lord of the Rings (before the days of the films). I was then lured to Anne Rice via the character Lastat. I also read her witch tales and loved them all. This gave me a taste of horror and I became enmeshed in Brian Lumley. By now I was loving anything fantasy and my list of favourite authors was continually growing. Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, I think I could easily fill the page with authors I adore, and it still grows.

Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it is available.

Shortly Book 1, Guardian Dragons will be coming to its 90 day end with KDP on Amazon and I will be able to publish the e-copy elsewhere. Once this is accomplished I will release Book 2, Flight of a Chageling via KDP Amazon as a kindle verson.

Book 2, Flight of a Changeling immediately follows on from Book 1.

Based on the world of Aarabassa where one half is dark and the other is in constant sunlight. A magic barrier divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands. Prince Raphael is taken on a pilgrimage to heal his illness, by Rikka the herbal nurse, but all is not as it seems.

Prince Amos and Prince Leon depart on separate quests to invite the various races, including dwarves, centaurs and merpeople, to the Lightlands Council to ready for battle with the creatures of the Darklands

Heather, the Changeling is journeying to the Guardian Dragons lair, meeting with the Forest Keepers on her way. Her final destination, to meet with the monshaad Emperor on the other side.

It is, however, available to read now on Amazon worldwide but only in paperback.

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Special thanks to Cathy Vickers for taking the time to share some of her thoughts and experiences as an Indie Author! Be sure to check out the Q&A that I will be posting in the next few days, featuring her second book, Flight of a Changeling. 

Click the image to purchase on Amazon

  Find out more about Cathy by clicking the following links:

  ~*~BLOG~*~GOODREADS~*~FACEBOOK~*~TWITTER~*~

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Write-It-Forward Indie Author Initiative. . .

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As a struggling indie author, I have met several other struggling indie authors who are truly fantastic. So, I am creating a new section of my blog dedicated to those who, like myself, are trying like hell to promote their work in the Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Romance, and of course (the hottest) Paranormal Romantic Comedy genres.

Yeah, I know there are a nauseating amount of sites that help to promote indie authors…but this is the only one that will do it with flair (and of course, the occasional jazz hands).

I guess I should clarify, I will not be promoting the authors themselves. Nope, I will be promoting their most current book/series, and giving readers a peek inside the squishy contents of their creative brain!

So if you have ever wondered how the author sees their characters, or what their favorite scene is, or what inspired them to create the characters in their books…this is the place where you will find it.

You will get a bird’s eye view of the book as described in the author’s own words, not a manufactured synopsis. The best part of all, is that you will get several actual excerpts from the book, so you will see a glimpse of the author’s writing style, dialogue, and the best and worst of their characters!

Go ahead…peek inside. You know you want to. 🙂 

~*~ If you are an Indie Author who has published works in any of the aforementioned genres, please send me an email (mclavocat.voodoo(@)gmail(.)com with some basic information about your book and a link where I can view purchasing information, a synopsis, etc.  If your work is appropriate for this section, I will email you a questionnaire to complete. Anyone who does not follow the directions on the questionnaire will not be posted to the site, this is a requirement as it will save me time, thereby allowing me to post frequently. ~*~

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My Review of The Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America By the Survivors of Troy

The Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America By the Survivors of TroyThe Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America By the Survivors of Troy by Duane Gundrum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America By the Survivors of Troy is a satirical comedy told in the style of a Greek Epic.

The comedy, in my opinion, was fantastic; produced mainly by the inclusion of modern speech and ideas while writing a very authentic sounding epic tale of Greek wars, heroes, and gods. The effect was reminiscent of classic comedy dialogue such as Monty Python and in some instances Mel Brooks.

Conceptually speaking, this book should have been somewhat difficult to pull off. However, the author’s combination of impeccable writing skill and the use of some truly imaginative symbolism…not to mention the copious amount of dry wit, helped to create a story that was enjoyable without being preachy.

There were a few points in the story where I struggled because it seemed to drag a bit, mainly in the first third of the book. I think that it was mainly due to the structure; there seemed to be a significant amount of interest around ‘The Pillars’ that I didn’t grasp at the time. The symbolism was a little vague and it was only after reading further into the journey of Amerius that I had the Aha moment where I then understood what The Pillars represented.

In all honesty, I must admit that I don’t typically read satires, but the writing and humor in The Ameriad, is truly top notch and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Monty Python comedy style.

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a non-reciprocal review.**

View all my reviews

Okay, I’ll Come Clean…

If you’ve read my Author’s Bio, you are well aware of my stubborn refusal to be normal. Don’t get me wrong, normal has its place…I have to be mostly normal when I attend school activities and functions with my little ones, although we frequently get odd looks from other parents. It might have something to do with the fact that you can hear the bass thumping as we jam to old-school rap in the Pimpin’ Mini. Wait…I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m trying to keep a tight rein on my normal, albeit generally, abnormal thought process.

Maybe I should just start from the beginning: 

Me, looking properly wistful and sincere...

Me, looking properly wistful and sincere…

I am the youngest of three children and the only girl.  Oh, please don’t get the impression that I was coddled, I don’t think my brothers ever realized I was a girl until a few of their friends did. Naturally…just as things started to get fun. I have an incredibly large and close-knit extended family (Seriously large…I’m talking around fifty first cousins, here), and I’m pretty sure my sense of humor is genetic.

So, that’s me…it might look as if the photographer caught me at a particularly pensive moment, maybe you are wondering what I was thinking. Well, the photographer was me, this was my first self-portrait as a matter of fact. As to what I was thinking; I was hoping that I nailed the focus (I did), and I was thinking how much I hate the feel of makeup.

Yes, I really hate makeup. However, I just celebrated my fortieth birthday and I would rather suffer through a bit of war-paint than look like an old hag. Pfft…old hag, my ass! I look damn good, although I can’t take all of the credit, the photographer is very talented. Do you see what I did there? Heeheehee.

Alright, now you know I’m a photographer as well as a writer! This is starting to get a little easier as I go along. Who knows, by the end of this post, I might be telling you what size bra I wear, or where my husband and I went on our first date. Hey, maybe we can all be total BFFs, we can have sleepovers and braid each other’s hair. Probably not, but if you like to cook , I can give you some pretty amazing recipes.  What, don’t you believe me?  Well, try this on for size:

Chicken Enchilada Cupcake

Not too shabby, huh? I am sad to say that I haven’t added any new recipes in almost a year, but in my defense, I have been a little busy. After all, I did write a book, take a few photos here and there, and I am married with four children.

Oh, have I not mentioned that? You want to know why? I saved the best for last, of course!

I have been married for twelve years to the man who made me think of forever. He is my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and he has the uncanny ability to make me laugh even when I want to pinch his head off! It’s all good though, because I make him laugh too. When we first met, we hung out as friends for several months. Then, one golden morning, as we sat on a New Orleans balcony nursing a hangover with a steaming hot cup of coffee; we fell in love.

Ironically, we weren’t sure if we wanted kids, but fate intervened. Obviously, since we now have four! After our oldest was born, it took us about three months to realize that we wanted a few more and we have been blessed with three precious boys and one beautiful girl.

Whew! That was cathartic!

You now know a little about me, how about I tell you a little about Control, the first book in The Soul of Voodoo Series.

I don’t know if other writers have had the same amount of trouble describing their book as I have, but I’ll be honest, the synopsis totally sucks! The thing about this series, is that even though the story is dramatic, the telling is comedic. If you’re confused upon reading that, then just imagine how I feel trying to explain it to potential readers! After struggling to make it fit in with other Paranormal Romance books, I threw in the metaphorical towel and created a brand spankin’ new genre for it: Paranormal Romantic Comedy.

Pretty soon, PRC books are going to be the hottest thing…you heard it here first!

The fact that it has a comedic component, however, isn’t the only thing that makes it difficult to summarize for potential readers. The plot is subtly woven through the book in such a way that the reader may not be completely aware of what happened until it is revealed. I’m tricky like that. 🙂  Therefore, I can’t go into too much detail about the story without giving away spoilers. I worked way too hard on that plot to spoil it with a careless sentence or two!

You know what? You just need to read it for yourself…then maybe you can help me come up with a good way to summarize it for everyone else! Oh yeah, the second book is starting off with a bang and it is going to be loaded with more fun, action, and hot monkey sex…never forget about the hot monkey sex.

I Am Trendsetter, Hear Me Roar.

After a few weeks of offering anything short of gratuitous sex in order to market my book, I have realized something. It’s not a completely new revelation, I guess in a way I knew it already. 

So…

Well, my grand revelation is that my book simply does not fit it with other books. It is the social outcast of the Paranormal Romance genre. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the geeky social outcast, that gets beat up at recess. No…my book would totally kick your book’s ass in a fight.

Don’t test that theory, bitches.

My book is the social outcast that is so cool that all of the other books are a little afraid of standing in next to it. You know, like how ugly girls try not to stand too close to the pretty girls, because they might look extra ugly. Fugly.

The problem is, my book didn’t ask to be the pretty, bad-ass, book that she is (yes, she is a she). She isn’t a bitch, she is just misunderstood. Not anymore though, she is tired of being misunderstood.

It is time for her to come clean…she isn’t a Paranormal Romance. We have considered the possibility for a while and now she wants to admit it.  Not just admit it, she wants to come off the bookshelf and shout it out to the world.

I am not a Paranormal Romance, dammit! 

Unfortunately, we still have a bit of a problem. What the hell is she?

There is, without a doubt, a paranormal component. Oh, she has romance, she is practically oozing that shit! There is more to her though, much more…she has comedy, that’s it! She’s damn funny! I’m not talking about little sarcastic comments or snarky remarks that are sprinkled in for flavor. No, it’s more than the occasional chuckle.  It is Comedy!

I see what I have to do now, I’m just sorry that it hasn’t been done before now. I have to create a new genre:

She is the first (as far as you know) Paranormal Romantic Comedy

Yep, I always knew I was a trendsetter…

Parameters for Paranormal Romantic Comedies: 
1. Must be characterized as Romance (plot is about romantic relationship)NOT Chick-Lit (plot is about MCs issues, of which romance plays a small part) . 
2. Must have a genuine element of Comedy (not just a bit of snark or sarcasm sprinkled in for flavor) 
3. Must contain a plot line that involves a Paranormal event (if you don’t know, you have taken a wrong turn somewhere)

So to celebrate, or rather, to embrace the creation of a new genre, I have created a new group on Goodreads. Now, all of those other books that have been incorrectly tucked away on the overcrowded PNR shelves can finally stand up and shout out to the world,

“I will not be contained in only two literary classifications! I am a Paranormal Romantic Comedy, hear me ROAR!”

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Don’t be shy, join us…find out what you have been missing! Click the Image to join my new group on Goodreads, Paranormal Romantic Comedies. You’ll be glad that you did!