By day, Karina is a mild-mannered reviewer of business software and services for TopTenReviews.com. After hours, she’s a psychic intent on saving the world; a snarky dragon who thinks he saves the world all-too regularly, a zombie exterminator who just wants her world clear of undead vermin, and nuns whose callings have taken them off our world. Needless to say, her imagination is vast, her stories legion, and her brain crowded. When she’s not converting her wild tales to stories, she’s enjoying time with her husband, Rob, their four kids, and their two dogs.
Tell us about your newest release or series and where should a new reader of your books be best suited to begin reading their way through you back catalog?
I have two “latest” books out: Mind Over All and Hearts Over Mind, which finish up the Mind Over Trilogy . Mind Over All is the third book, while Hearts Over Mind is a by-request novella to tie up the loose end of a wedding. The trilogy follows the adventures of Deryl, a psychic driven insane by his abilities, and Joshua, the intern who helps him back to sanity. Deryl’s not only at the mercy of unwanted thoughts; he’s been used by two aliens on opposite sides of a war. One, Tasmae, thinks him an oracle, while the other wanted to make him into a psychic assassin. In the end, Deryl travels to Tasmae’s world, bring peace to the planets, and stops the two worlds from colliding.
Since this is a trilogy, the natural place to start is with Book One, Mind Over Mind.
If however, you prefer dragons, then my DragonEye, PI series is a great place to start. Or if you like zombie fic that’s big on laughs and satire, check out my Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator series.
It seems writers today have to publish more often than in the past to really make a living. How do you manage your time?
I don’t make a living off my fiction, but I have friends who do, and they will tell you they find a chunk of time, sit down and produce. If they have a day job, it’s probably before or after work, into the night, on weekends or a combination.
My time management has depended on where I was in my life and what I wanted out of my writing. There are been times when I simply set a goal of one sentence a night. Mind Over Mind, the first book in the Mind Over trilogy, was written this way. Naturally, I would sometimes get on a roll and write full pages, but I never went to bed without a having written just one sentence. Other times in my life, I’ve spend 30 or so hours a week on writing and marketing. Right now, my full-time job is review writing, and then for a time, I was coming home and writing non-fiction for magazines. I didn’t have the time or the motivation for my fiction that I normally do, so I’ve been editing, revising and writing book proposals. I’m cutting back on those obligations, however, so I plan to get back to fiction in the Fall.
All of the above. It depends on the story and the market. Each form/length takes a different approach and skill set. It’s fun to move between them. I can’t say which I prefer, though – it really depends on the story. However, flash fiction was the toughest to pin down. Fortunately, I had a good editor working with me at 10Flash (now defunct, alas). I recently experimented with a serial story as well, which was a lot of fun. I have a story idea that I’ve been wanting to write as a novel – Gapman, a superhero in my DragonEye universe – but I think he’d be more fun in an episodic format.
Authors today seem to need a social media platform that covers everything from Q&A posts to video; what do you think the fledgling authors need to focus on to get on the right track with social media?
Find the one your target audience is most likely to be on. Otherwise, you’re just shouting into a crowded room. Right now, I’m working on figuring that out myself. I’m getting a little disillusioned with Facebook, although I have some good friends and have gotten a lot out of interactions there. Twitter has too much noise for me. It’s good to have something like this, at least to give you a venue, but to make a real splash in marketing, find where your readers will hang out and chat about the things that interest you and lead to your book.
If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself? What pitfalls would you steer away from?
That’s a tough one. There are two things: 1. I’d have not taken the advice to “start in the middle” with my DragonEye series, but would have written the origin story and kept better notes. I’m actually remedying that error now and plan to relaunch the entire franchise myself when I retire. 2. I would have changed the title of a book I wrote on spec. Long, sordid story there, but here’s the point to take home: Just because you can’t copyright a title, doesn’t mean an angry person won’t hire lawyers make your life or your publisher’s life miserable, anyway.
How important is it that authors do the Convention circuit? When in a career do you think con appearances become a valuable tool?
If we’re talking strictly as a way to advance your career, I think this depends on the author. Some get a great deal out of conventions – leads, connections, exposure. Others end up like the stereotypical awkward teen at the party where they try to get noticed and end up going home depressed and with nothing to show. Personally, I have made a few friends, but have not had a lot of convention success. As for when in your career – that depends on what you are willing to put into preparing – learning who will be there, how you can approach them, the best way to make the connection. Then, you have to have the right mix of outgoing personality, salesmanship, and charisma.
I like conventions to a degree. I’m usually the awkward teen unless I am actually presenting. I have had some great times and conversations, and made some good friends, but not of the career-advancing/contracts-and-sales type.
I prefer online conventions. For some reason, the format lets people who are awkward in person shine. I’ve had good luck with online conventions as well.
Do you consider yourself indie/traditional/both?
Both. I prefer to have someone else publish my books, especially someone with marketing experience, skill at layouts, etc. DragonMoon, which publishes the Mind Over Trilogy, is a great example. The covers are amazing, the interiors have special fonts that make the chapter beginnings stand out, and Gwen, the publisher, knows her stuff. Overall, DragonMoon produces books that are beautiful as well as fun to read.
However, I am venturing into Indie publishing/self-publishing with my DragonEye books. I have DragonEye stories from flash to novel length, some serious and some bordering on slapstick. Basically, my dragon, Vern, does not want to be pinned down. If I publish them myself, I can control the franchise, publish the stories regardless of length, combine them into collections, and basically just have fun.
Getting books into audio is the latest thing that writers seem to be learning how to do. Are your books available in audio format? And if so how was the recording produced?
I have one in audio format: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator . My publisher, Damnation Books, arranged it. Award-winning narrator Becky Parker did the reading, and she’s great fun to work with as well as to listen to. I have a scene where the heroine is talking to the hero while Unchained Melody is playing in the back of her head. Becky put the music in and it’s just how I imagined. I just about fell out of my chair laughing when I heard it (which is the reaction I was going for.)
Karina is giving away the entire trilogy in ebook to one reader. You can enter several ways on Rafflecopter. Please leave us a comment below. GOOD LUCK!