Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Writing Buddy Wednesday: Cathleen Ross
Welcome today to my blog, erotic romance author, Cathleen Ross. I've recently read one of Cathleen's Forbidden Fantasy series (Taken) and was blown away with the writing. It also made me laugh, which was quite refreshing.
Now over to my interview with Cathleen....
You have published both long and short fiction. You have now delved into self publishing with your Forbidden Fantasy series. How did this come about?
I go to the States every year and I attended a talk by some NY Times best-selling authors, who spoke about self-publishing along with Amazon and Barnes and Noble representative about self-publishing. By this time, Psychic Sex, my first Spice Brief had sold twenty-nine thousand copies online and in the Naughty Bits Anthology but the line was closing, so I decided to upload my own shorts on Smashwords, starting with Take Me, an erotic revenge and redemption short. It started selling immediately.
Encouraged, I uploaded over the period of a year five more stories. Four of the stories are priced at .99cents and earn 34 cents per sale. Two stories are priced at 2.99 and earn approximately 2.00 a sale. It doesn't seem like much but remember that traditional publishers pay eight percent of net. I'm earning more from selling a short story than I do on my books with traditional publishers because Amazon pays over 70 percent on sales over 2.99. It is possible to make money selling erotic romance on the web but you need to be persistent and keep uploading new product. Erotic author Author Selena Kitt said in a Smashwords interview that she's making three quarters of a million dollars a year but she has a lot of product up on the net.
What or who inspired you to write?
I read Mills and Boon obsessively when I was a teenager, plus anything else I could get my hands on, especially if it was racy. Even so, it never occurred to me that I would end up writing at the hotter end of the spectrum until a publisher came to RWA looking for some sexy short stories for an anthology. I sold my first erotic story to that publisher and have kept selling after that. The other factor was when I had my daughter, I had to give up my career as an educator because my daughter was asthmatic. I wrote to keep my sanity. Still do. I'm always in a good mood if I get enough word count down. When I spend a day on housework, I'm vile. Sometimes I wonder why my husband loves me so much.
You are very open about your psychic abilities. How do you find people react to this? Have you used any situation in your stories?
My psychic abilities were always there but up until the age of thirty I could ignore them, then my daughter started seeing dead people. It worried me because I couldn't see them - not that I wanted to - but no one could get a peaceful night's sleep. I studied mediation under a spiritual healer and this opened my third eye. It helped me learn about spiritual protection. I could protect my daughter better and eventually when she hit eleven, she stopped seeing the dead. Although she's in total denial about her own gift she still knows things she shouldn't without anyone telling her. At least she's stopped dodging dead people on the street now.
I channel for my friends and family. All I ask them is to let me know what comes true. I have a 98% success rate and my friends and I laugh about it because sometimes I channel and tell them things that seem unlikely, then it happens. Life has twists and turns like that. The more I do it the better I get because I learn to interpret the symbols and what they mean. Even if my friends start off non believers, because they are my friends, they put up with me and my weird ways. Eventually, they end up believers because what I tell them happens. Some of the stuff I get is telepathic, so I warn them of that. I can't always tell what is a prediction and what is telepathic. It's an annoying gift though, because sometimes I want to know something and I can't get the answer. I can't read for myself so sh*t happens to me and I fall on my face but at least I can help others. I think where it helps my friends is if they are having trouble with a decision, I can tell them the pathway that they're going to go on. The gift brings clarity and happiness to others. Some of my writer friends have made good decisions and money from my bossy boot guidance.
It isn't fun knowing bad stuff is going to happen to people and I always hope I'm not going to see anything negative. I try to be subtle if I see something I'm not happy about but it's very difficult. Recently a close friend of mine was going on a overseas holiday. I knew his mother was going to die but I couldn't tell him because I refuse to tell anyone negative things. I just told him to go and see his mother before he left. The poor thing flew to Europe, arrived, his mother died, so he hopped back on a plane and flew back. He was in Europe for one day.
I think the way I see the world is reflective in a lot of my writing. My character, Arabel, in Highlander in her Bed, uses her hands to heal, my Demon Prince, character Agrat channels energy, my character Marina, in Dirty Sexy Murder was in denial about her psychic gift like I was until it became so annoying I had to acknowledge it.
You were recently on the ‘Not Your Normal Paranormal’ panel at the Romance Writers of Australia. What is ‘not normal’ about your paranormal fiction?
I know there is more out there than we can see and I base my work on that. I don't write vampires because I don't believe in them but I do believe angels exist because I've seen them. I also know dark energy exists and my characters reflect this. The Preta demon in the Ice Princess, is a mythological Tibetan creature. My Demon in The Demon Prince is an elemental demon. He's not demonic but his half brother, who is a fallen angel is the grandson of Satan. I'm careful when I write not to tap into real evil, because I channel easily these days and I don't want to attract the attention of anything bad. I put a lot of white light around myself when I work. My paranormal fiction has some unusual characters. Shift into Pleasure sold to Harlequin Spice Briefs because it was different. Although the paranormal genre is going well and has faithful readers, editors get sick of seeing the same plot lines. It's important to be original in your work.
Can you tell us a little about your latest story, Taken?
I wanted to have fun with an erotic story. Taken has a heroine who is a priestess of a Californian cult. She has psychic powers and will lose them if she loses her virginity. Noah, my hunky hero, rescues her. The trouble is there is an instant attraction between them. I had a lot of fun writing this. Sometimes we erotic writers take ourself a bit too seriously, so it's great to mix it up.
You can find Cathleen's work on Smashwords and Amazon (which also has the Harlequin Spice Brief, Shift into Pleasure).
You can find Cathleen at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Addendum: Check out Cathleen's lastest release, Highlander in Her Bed. Available from Amazon and Smashwords.