Mailbag!

I’ve noticed you use “ly” adverbs in your writing. As a writer myself I was always told this was not allowed because “ly” verbs are weak.

Yeah, and I start sentences with “and” sometimes, too. Certainly I try to stay away from words ending in ly, but it doesn’t always work that way. As a writer, I fight the urge to use them, but as a reader (as long as they’re not used in excess) I rarely notice them. So there you go. It’s okay to break the rules sometimes so long as you know you’re breaking them.

I’m thinking of moving into the erotica genre because I hear you can make a living as a writer by writing it.

I was actually under this impression myself a few short months ago, but judging by the experiments of friends it’s not necessarily true. It’s true that erotica and romance (as far as genre fiction goes) are the better sellers, however there’s no guarantee you’re going to make money writing  erotica. I’ve had friends who ventured into the erotica genre after my success only to discover it’s not easy to write and it’s also not guaranteed to sell. Erotica readers can be discriminating and believe it or not, not all the people who read my erotica like it. It’s true that some of my erotica novellas actually made it onto Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s bestseller top 20 lists, but none of my friends’ have (yet). And it may never go there. Like any genre – if you make decent sales it’s because you write stories people want to read. Not to mention we’re pretty sure my erotica is being recommended word-of-mouth in certain circles (to which I don’t belong, but I know people who do), which would account for my thousands of readers.

What made you switch from fantasy to mystery? That’s a huge leap.

Well, technically my mystery novels could also be (and have been by some readers) classified as urban fantasy.  Having been a lifelong avid reader I’ve always read across genres.  My favorite genres have always been fantasy, supernatural, mystery, and horror. But I also read romance, erotica, westerns, etc…  So for my readers it may seem like a huge leap, but for me, not so much.

Don’t you ever get confused with all the different pen names?

Nope. I use them because I do write in so many different genres and I don’t want someone to accidentally pick up a book about demonolatry or an erotica or NC 17 mystery novel for their 11-year-old who only wanted a fantasy novel. Likewise, I don’t want mystery readers to accidentally get books about fantasy or demonolatry or an erotic story if they were expecting a mystery, etc…  A lot of prolific writers have more than one pseudonym they write under. They just try to keep them separate and don’t tell anyone. So I’m not the only one doing this. I’m just very open about being who I am. Not to mention I don’t feel like keeping four separate blogs and websites. This is why so many writers end up with abandoned blogs and websites – they’re using more than one pen name and they can’t keep up.

I’d just as soon make my online presence easy on myself and be able to keep up with the websites and blogs. The only thing my pseudonyms all have is their own facebook fan pages. Feel free to join each of them or just your favorite(s)!

How do you find the time to write so much?

I am constantly writing. I write during breaks at the day job (which I only keep because I like the stability of a regular paycheck). I write while I watch TV at night. I sacrifice sleep. I am constantly thinking about what I’m working on. I didn’t really ask to become a prolific writer, I’ve just always been one. Some weeks I only put out a few thousand words a day. Others I produce 30K or so. It’s just how I am. And yes – I do take down time. Sometimes for a few weeks at a time. On rare occasions – a month of down time. But then in 2010 I had four books and three novella’s published, too, and I started three more books and two more novellas.

Do you ever have friends who try to compete with the fact that you’re a writer? Or do they treat you differently because you’re famous?

LOL! Well I don’t know how “famous” I am. My opinion is you’re not famous unless you’re a household name. I’m not a household name. ::grin::  Actually most of my friends were my friends before I was published, so they treat me like they always have. On rare occasions they introduce me as their “prolific writer friend who’s published”. But that’s about it. As far as friends who competed with the fact that I’m a writer – only one and that was back in high school/college. Needless to say our friendship didn’t survive past the mid-nineties because we really had nothing in common other than our desire to compete with one another in everything (including writing).

Do you belong to any writers groups online? If so, which ones do you recommend and why?

I do.  Sadly I don’t always have time to get involved or hang out in writer’s groups. Try FM Writers just because they’re all about writers building professional careers. Just look it up in a search engine. My only caveat with FM is they do tend to think there’s only one way to have a writing career and indie-publishing is frowned on there. Even if you are making $80K a year selling your fiction (directly to readers) and you have droves of readers, if you’re independently published, they won’t consider you legitimate or professional.  ::shrug::  I don’t really care for that line of thinking since I’m a successful Indie and I hang out with a lot of successful self-published folks who do have professional (which is defined as being paid for something) careers who are making at least $10K+ every quarter from their writing (that’s a $40K a year salary folks!). But the people there are very nice, helpful, and they have challenge and goal boards that make the site worthwhile to me.

Do you still belong to a critique group now that you’re published? If so, which one?

I do. All writers need feedback – even published ones. The group I belong to is private. We’re five published novelists who get together monthly to rip apart each others work, drink coffee, and gossip.

Do you ever need beta readers and can I volunteer to be one?

I do utilize beta-readers. Sometimes I’ll put out a call for a beta-reader on my FB pages. For the most part I have a small, loyal band of beta-readers whose talents I gratefully utilize as the need arises.

How do you come up with your stories?

I have an overactive imagination. Always have. I can’t remember a time where there weren’t characters running around in my head with stories to tell. Sometimes I’ll just see something, like an acorn on the ground, and an entire scene will spring from it.

More next time. I’m off to get some other stuff done.

About Steph

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at swordarkeereon@gmail.com

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