Izzy’s Insights – Interview with Character Dage Kayrs…Take 2

on January 26, 2012


Sergej Khakimullin

My name is Izzy and I interview book characters.  Many people say I’m a character, myself.  *Snort*.  That’s nice of them.  I’m hoping Rebecca lets me interview a bunch of her characters–I can’t wait to be in the same room with all of the Kayrs brothers.  MEOW.

So, I tried interviewing the king once before, and his brothers showed up to cause havoc.  Talen is particularly tiresome when it comes to interviews…who knows why.  But Dage agreed to meet me again and this time we met at a very quaint coffee shop that’s off the grid.  The coffee is spectacular and there’s free WiFi, so even if our meeting got cut short, I was happy.  For those of you who haven’t met Dage yet, he’s about six and a half feet tall, packed hard, with black hair and incredible silver eyes.  Frankly, it shows he trusts us that he’s not hiding the odd color.  Here’s the transcript of the interview, with a couple of my thoughts thrown in:

ME:  So.  Thank you for trying this again.  I’m sorry about last time.

DAGE:  That certainly wasn’t your fault.  Sometimes my brothers are a handful.

If that wasn’t the understatement of the millennium, I don’t know what was.  But I nodded and gave him my most professional smile.  He smiled back…not fooled a bit.

ME:  So, I wanted to talk to you about Max’s mission – I believe he left the other day.

DAGE:  Interesting.  Why do you believe that?

Okay.  Vampires can be kind of scary and this one scarier than most.  Even though his tone stayed calm and no expression crossed his face, an odd tension made the air around us kind of heavy.  The king probably didn’t like his information getting out.

ME:  My sources are pretty good.  And this interview won’t run until Max has finished his mission (but about a month before TEMPTED, Max’s story, comes out—don’t tell the king), so there’s no reason not to talk about it.

DAGE:  Hmmm.  Okay.  We’ll discuss Max and then we’ll discuss your sources in my organization.  Basically, there’s a woman named Sarah Pringle who has created a blog and website about the Kurjans.  They’re after her, and we need to get to her before they do. 

(The Kurjans are the bad guys–pasty faced bad vampires afraid of the sun.  Unlike the good vampires).

ME:  You’re going to let her keep the website up?

DAGE:  No.  Jase already took it down and posted information about her writing a good book.  The website has been taken care of.  Now we just need to get her records from the insane asylum because I’m sure she told them all about the Kurjans.  We can’t have that information out there.

A bit of concern had me sitting back in my chair.  What exactly were the vampires going to do to poor possibly-crazy Sarah Pringle?

ME:  I find it odd you sent Max.  I mean, he’s Janie’s bodyguard now.  What did he used to be?

DAGE:  Max has always been part of the family…serving as my bodyguard as well as one of my best hunters.  The guy is a Russian bloodhound when it comes to hunting.

ME:  Ah…okay.

To be honest, I’ve met Max.  The guy isn’t just a hunter. 

ME:  But why Max?  Many of your people are scouts, including Conn.  Why send Max?

DAGE:  Let’s just say I think Max is the right guy for the job.

A really cute twinkle entered the king’s eye at this point and for a second, I could just stare.  Then I shook it off and got back to business, reminding myself that I was a professional and the guy had a mate.  I mean, really.

ME:  Are you matchmaking, king?

DAGE:  I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

At this point, a barista sauntered up to give the king a free muffin.  I mean, seriously.  It’s a coffee shop.  You order at the counter and take your own food to your table.  Okay, I’m not just irritated that she didn’t bring me a muffin.  I’m irritated on Emma’s behalf.  Dage politely thanked the woman, keeping his attention on me.  She returned to the counter, her butt swaying the whole time.

ME:  I bet that happens a lot to you.

DAGE:  What happens to me?

Man, guys are clueless.  Even immortal deadly ones.

ME:  Forget it.  So, I have to know, does Max get a happy ending?

The peace was too good to last.  I should’ve started with the main question.  Guess who showed up?  NOPE!  It wasn’t Talen.  Jase, the youngest brother, hustled inside, his brown hair ruffled and eyes flashing.

DAGE:  What’s happened?

JASE:  Something’s going on with the witches…Conn is leaving now.  We have to go.

Darn it.  My source in the Realm hadn’t reported anything about the witches.  I mean, we all knew Conn was heading to Ireland to collect his witch soon (and I fully expect she’s not going to allow any sort of collection), but I hadn’t known it would be this quickly.

DAGE:  Izzy, I appreciate your time, but I need to get going.

The darn barista, who had somehow lost a couple buttons on her shirt, hustled over, her gaze on Jase.  So, yeah.  The guy is seriously hot.  But I mean, come on.

ME:  I’d like to talk about Conn and his mission to Ireland.

Dage flashed a smile as he stood to join Jase. 

DAGE:  I’ll arrange for an interview with Conn when he gets back.  You’ll enjoy meeting him.  And we’ll discuss your sources in the Realm next time.

Okay, it was kind of a threat.  Then, well…the coffee chick made a move.  Not a kill ya type of move.  But an almost genuine trip to basically land in Jase’s arms.  They got all tangled up, and he ended up just picking her up.  The woman beamed.  Then she pouted really pretty when he put her down with a smile and whispered something in her ear.  The Kayrs men left.  I took a look at the flushed waitress.

ME:  What did he say?

NEARLY TOPLESS WAITRESS:  He said he’d be back next week

Excellent.  So will I.  🙂

Brooke Moss Lists the Top Ten Things She’s Learned Since Getting Published

on November 7, 2011

UPDATE:  Congrats to Debbie for winning a copy of THE WHAT IF GUY!

Hi everyone!  Brooke Moss, whose book THE ‘WHAT IF’ GUY, was just released by Entangled Publishing , agreed to drop by today with some information and a GIVEAWAY!  So, here’s Brooke….

First off, I have to say, thanks for having me, Rebecca! I am honored to be a part of your blog, and quickly becoming a fan of your Dark Protectors series. I decided to share the top ten things I’ve learned since becoming a published author. Believe me, I’ve learned a lot. Talk about a baptism by fire…

1.) People will not take you more seriously, or give you more respect, just because you’re a published author. In fact, I’ve found that some friends and family members give me more grief because I am now a published author. I’ve come back to the advice my mother gave me in high school: “If you are a good, honest person, the right people will like you and treat you with respect. If you act like a moron, people will treat you like one.” Thanks, Mom. Right again.

2.) Your work is never done. Once your book is finished, the work will not only continue, but double in size. Blogs, contests, tweeting—oh how I loathe thee, Twitter—your work isn’t done once you’ve sold your book. Oh, and lest we not forget the pressure a writer feels to continue writing good books, to keep their career going. Oy vey. So keep writing…even if you feel like taking a month—or seven—off. If you want your career to keep going, the work won’t stop anytime soon. And if you want to be a career writer, you’ll be okay with that.

3.) No matter how much you polish it to a gleaming shine…backstory will always be a problem. Nobody wants to know that your heroine broke her arm playing badminton in the seventh grade. Your reader will almost always skip over the part in your book where you describe the night the hero decided that going into medicine was the right path for him to take in life. What do they want to read? The hero and heroine fighting, laughing, making out, or—even better—getting their freak on. Period. The other stuff is moot. My advice? Cut the fat. Keep your backstory to a minimum, and don’t fight your editor when he/she asks you to scale back.

4.) Nobody will publish a dialogue tag whore. No, really. Get on the computer, and Google the term “dialogue tag abuse”. Read everything you can. Take notes if you need too. He said, she said, he said, she said, he said, she said…YAWN. Find new and exciting ways to explain what the characters are doing during their conversation.

5.) Bloggers are an author’s best friend. Okay, so here’s another misconception I diluted myself with before getting published: Once your book comes out, that’s it. Your work is done, and you get to move on to bigger and better projects. Um….no. Not a chance. Sitting around waiting for readers to come to you is like shooting yourself in the foot. As an author, you have a responsibility to get your books out there for public consumption. And if you can’t manage it by yourself, then hire a publicist to help. (My publicist is AH-Mazing. Literally couldn’t live without her.) You need to get your book out to as many book bloggers with broad audiences as possible. Offer them free copies of your book (I know, it’s painful sometimes. Take a breath, it will be worth it, I promise.) in exchange for an honest review. And if you don’t get a stellar review, try not to throw a hissy fit, and plan revenge. (this actually didn’t come naturally to me—but again, my publicist is not only talented at setting up reviews, but at talking me off of the proverbial ledge.) And never, ever run your mouth. Every blogger is entitled to their opinion, good or bad. Bloggers are often times who will bring readers to your book. Treat them nicely. Always.

6.) You are not the only talented author out there. Unfortunately, I discovered that it won’t always be the “Brooke Moss Show”. This was a painful pill to swallow, because I was really keen on being the coolest, most talented writer in America. But it took a writer’s conference or two, as well as becoming part of the talented team of writers working for Entangled Publishing, to teach me that I am amongst good company. There are writers who are every bit as talented as me, if not better by leaps and bounds. I should be thanking them for associating with me. A fat slice of humble pie will do every new author on the block good.

7.) Your political views are no longer a good topic for Facebook statuses and blog post topics. Ah, yes…this was a tough one for me. Most people who know me are aware that I tend to be a bit of a *ahem* political firecracker. I was the queen of posting my views on Facebook or my blog, in the hopes that I would wind up in a heated political debate. I loved it! However, shortly after I got my contract, I asked Kristan Higgins (my personal hero) for some advice on managing my online presence, and she said that she keeps personal subjects (religion, politics, etc.) off of her public forums. After I kicked the wall and pouted for a day or two, I realized that she was totally right. I don’t want to ostracize a reader, no matter what their political affiliation is. That is a book sale lost. And so…..I refrain. Even when it might kill me.

8.) The publishing game is all about waiting. The managing editor at Entangled Publishing told me something about a week after I was contracted that has stuck with me. In the world of publishing, there is a serious amount of waiting. You send an email, you wait for a response. You leave a voicemail, you wait for a return call. You send your edits to your editor, you wait for the next round. You send a full to your publisher to consider, you wait for a response. Period. The waiting is the same for everyone, and it give everyone a belly ache. (Well, unless your name is Nora Roberts. Then I think the turn around time is quick. Frankly, my name isn’t Nora, and so I wait.) The sooner you accept this, and learn to open a new document and start a new story while you’re waiting, the better off you’ll be. And your stomach will be. Ugh.

9.) An author needs to keep strengthening their craft. Never assume that you are as good as you’re going to get. If you think you are, please go become a dental hygienist. Authors need to continually work on perfecting their craft. I wish I’d known before becoming published how important it is to budget for conferences. There is something about the camaraderie between fellow authors and the energy of a conference that can really ignite one’s muse, and teach new concepts, or introduce new characters. Let your skills grow, and do everything you can do cultivate it. Set aside some of your royalties to make these necessary trips happen. Your fans will thank you, as will your characters.

10.) You can do it. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I was told that I wouldn’t succeed. That I would never get published, or that I should forfeit my dreams for something more attainable. And in all honesty…I let the naysaying drive me. Turn someone else’s doubt into the gasoline filling your tank. You can do it!

Thanks for having me here on your blog, Rebecca. I had a lot of fun! I would love to offer a signed copy of my debut novel, The What If Guy, to a lucky reader. Leave a comment, and tell me what you’ve learned since entering this crazy world of publishing, either as an aspiring or a published author. I can’t wait to share my book with everyone. Find me elsewhere on the web, at my website, blog, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

CLAIMED’s first Review…

on August 8, 2011

Hi all!  The fabulous Wanda over at Good Choice Reading just posted the first review for Claimed.  She seems to like the Kayrs brothers.  To quote Wanda, “all the brothers are sexy. If I were one of their mates, I wouldn’t let my mate out of my sight. The power they all possess will make any woman fall on her knees (Literally).”  🙂

Also…there’s a contest going on at Good Choice for an ARC of Claimed as well as a signed copy of Fated.  I think the contest runs until next Sunday.  Drop by here and comment to win.

Agents as Publishers…We only have one Butt

on August 1, 2011

The writing loops have exploded with news that literary agencies are opening up self-publishing businesses for their clients as well as other writers.  While these folks may have the best of intentions, this violates the law of agency—if the agent is both the agent and the publisher.

Yeah, I know ‘violates’ is a tough word. Here’s a definition of agency law:  The law of agency is an area of contract law when a person, called the agent, is authorized to act on behalf of another (the author in this case) to create a legal relationship with a third party(the publisher in this case).  The term “third party” pretty much shows us what’s wrong with a literary agent also acting as a publisher. 

(Note:  An agent assisting an author with self-publishing is different from an agent opening up a publishing business.)

So, when an agent negotiates with a publisher for a deal—how in the world does an agent
negotiate with herself for the deal?  Can’t be done.  No matter how honorable and good intentioned the agent (and I truly believe these folks are both), it is physically impossible to sit on opposite sides of a table at the same time.  We only have one butt, and it has to be in one chair.

An agent owes a fiduciary duty to his/her client—and the agent’s goal can never be counter-productive or opposite to the client’s.  There’s no way an agent can fight hard for her client—when she’s fighting with herself and her bottom line.  No matter how nice the agent.

So, is there a conflict of interest?  Yep.  Anything that isn’t directly in the client’s interest…is a conflict. 

This has nothing to do with trust, loyalty or track record.  Agency law is…agency law.  It’s quite simple.

CYA Disclaimer:  This is not legal advice.  If you need legal advice, hire a lawyer.  Especially if you’re in Colorado, Utah, or Wyoming.  Those guys need to buy skis every year — and boy are those expensive.  The opinions expressed, while brilliant, are mine and you should get your own.  In fact, there are so many lawyers out there right now, law schools are cutting down on admissions.  We only want to tempt fate so much.

Ten Things I’ve Learned after My First Book was Released

on July 28, 2011

1) Romance readers have some serious depth.  I spent several emails with one fan about the philosophy of good vs. evil and whether the Kurjans even had a chance to be good.  Loved it!

2)    Any jackass can leave a review on goodreads or amazon.  My favorite was the gal who sent people to buy her book instead.  Classy.

3)    Readers like the heartwarming stuff…even in a sexy book.  I’ve had more comments about how cute the big, bad, vamps are with little Janie. 

4)    People who tell you the ‘sex is too much’ in book one…have already preordered book 2.  Yeah.  You know who you are.  🙂

5)    If someone tells me how wonderful the “world building” was…the sex may have been too much for them.

6)    Getting stressed about aspiring authors dropping your name to your editor or agent is just silly…they’re used to it.

7)    It’s a high-low profession.  One day a national magazine recommends your
book…the next day another national magazine doesn’t like your characters.  Keep it steady by remembering…it’s all about the story.  Forget the rest.

8)    Promotion and social media are a must.  But writing the story should always come first.

9)    Your editor is on your side—completely.  Anyone who thinks it’s a battle between the author and the editor…probably doesn’t have an editor yet.

10)  It’s okay to say ‘no’…even if you’re a nice person and really do want to help people.  Unfortunately, there’s only so much time in the day, and hopefully you have a life too.  Protect that.