Friday, June 28, 2019

Interview with Author Yvonne Rediger

Yvonne Rediger was born in Saskatchewan, lived and worked in northern Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and now resides on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Yvonne has been writing since she was in her teens. Her favorite genres are Mystery, Thrillers, Urban Fantasy, and Science Fiction, each with a bit of humor and of course romance.

She is married to her scuba diving buddy who is also her sailboat captain. She has two children and is owned by one Siamese cat.

Question: What is the title and genre of your novel?  Why did you select them?

This new release is entitled Trusting the Wolf, and is book 3 in the VIC Shapeshifters series. It is an urban fantasy / paranormal mystery, like the rest of the series. I like writing mystery, be it romantic, cozy, or paranormal. The first book in the VIC series was the first novel I ever wrote. It finished in the top 55 for the Mills and Boon writing completion. 

Question:   What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer:  This story is the follow up from Hell Cat, published December 2018, also from Black Opal Books. In the aftermath of that story, “Lottie” Charlotte Fistbinder has some difficulty with how events concluded and must figure out how to deal with her emotions, mental health, and those around her. All while doing her job, head of pack security.

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer:  Charlotte LottieFistbinder is cocky on the outside and guilt ridden on the inside. With the changes in the hierarchy of the Vancouver Island Clan, her shapeshifter alpha promoted her to head of security, and now the safety of the entire pack is on her shoulders. Trouble is, shes not sure shes fit for the job. She worked alongside a whacko and never knew it until it was almost too late. What other serious threat is she missing? So, shes thrilled when her alpha brings in help to train her and the security teamor is she?

Zavier Koering, is intrigued by Charlotte the moment he sees her file picture. Meeting her for the first time at night in the woods, and in the flesh, is everything hes hoped for. Especially their first kiss. Shes beautiful, feisty, and gives him as good as he gets. But he has a job to do before he can get her between the sheets. Then her pack is threatened, and all hell breaks loose.

Question:   Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?

Answer:  Sure, besides the paranormal series which includes The Shape of Us and Hell Cat, I write the Musgrave Landing Mysteries. Musgrave Landing is a village on Salt Spring Island in the Pacific Northwest. The first book in the series is Death and Cupcakes, set in a bakery cafĂ© and full of village intrigue and a second chance at romance. I’ve just completed the second book, entitled Fun with Funeral, no publishing date yet. I have a standalone cozy, about scuba diving and set in Utila Island, Honduras, and if you are looking for a beach read this summer, it’s a good one.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  Book three in the Musgrave Landing Mysteries, Condo Crazy. Also book four of the VIC Shapeshifter series, Magic’s Price.

Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer:  I’ve been telling stories since I could talk, and writing them down since I was twelve-years-old. Storytelling is part of who I am.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer: Finish one novel. Even if you aren’t sure it’s a good story, just complete it. Once you’ve done it one time, the next is easier. Besides, every first draft is terrible, that’s why we edit.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer:  I have links to all platforms from my webpage, or my profile on

Comments and/or questions for Yvonne are welcome.

Friday, June 21, 2019

How to Negotiate Writing Contracts

This past week I signed contracts with two different publishers for two separate novels, one a mystery novel in the continuing Kim Reynolds series, the other a stand-alone historical romance set during the American Revolution. Each contract involved negotiations resulting in compromises from both myself and the publishers. I was reminded that I might have some ideas that could be helpful to other authors who also don’t have agent representation. I hope what I share with you will prove helpful.
Let us say you have written and rewritten until you’ve finally completed the best work of which you are capable. At last, you find a publisher who appears to recognize your accomplishment and achievement. And now you are offered a contract. There are perhaps a few things that you should understand about contracts.
First of all, publishers use contracts to protect their own interests. Writers need to be savvy enough to do the same. Even if you have the benefit of being represented by a literary agent, you should not be ignorant in this regard. Let's say you've been offered a contract for a work of writing you've created. What should you expect to be included?
If you can afford it, I would recommend that you have an attorney look over your contract. But let's assume that the publication is a small one and the amount of money offered is less than impressive. Obviously, it will cost you more than you would earn to have an attorney examine your contract. Also, it’s not likely that an agent will want to bother with it either.
When you need to act as your own attorney and agent, the best thing to do is read up on contracts for writers before you sign. Here's where books like WRITER'S MARKET can be helpful. Writer's magazines often carry helpful articles. Writer's organizations like: The Author's Guild (, National Writer's Union(, American Society of Journalists and Authors (, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America ( all carry valuable information.
In regard to newspapers and magazines, there are a wide variety of agreements. Some editors work by verbal agreement (the proverbial handshake) while others insist on detailed written contracts. I’ve had both types of contracts work out well--but sometimes not so well. It all depends on the integrity of the publisher.
Writers are usually asked to sell first serial rights or one time rights. This is preferred by authors. If you sell "all rights" to a specific work then you will be unable to sell reprint rights later. And many smaller publications are quite happy to purchase reprints. At times I’ve sold reprint rights to short fiction and novels for more money than I received for selling first rights. So avoid selling “all rights” if at all possible. Of course, you can request that reprint rights are returned to you at a later date, but be aware that the publisher is not obligated to return them. My suggestion: always negotiate. I have turned down several well-paying publications for both nonfiction and fiction because I refused to sell all rights. I don’t regret it.
Payment should be specified and agreed upon. It shouldn’t be left vague. Request payment on acceptance. You might not get it, but it's best to ask. Getting paid upon publication can lead to all sorts of problems. Not every publisher is honest or has integrity. Remember that contracts are negotiable. There's nothing wrong with asking for changes that benefit you.
Ideally, a kill fee should be specified. This means that if the publication does not use your work, it still has to pay you a percentage of the original fee.
If you do have a written contract—and that’s always best- request that a specific date for publication be included. Some publishers will hold your work indefinitely otherwise. And yes, this has happened to me as well.
Book contracts are much more complicated to negotiate. If possible, once you are offered a book contract, obtain the services of an agent or attorney. True you will be giving away a percentage of your earnings on a contract you have gotten for yourself. However, if a good agent will now agree to represent your future work, then you are doing quite well. An agent can often get concessions from a publisher that you cannot. Here are a few examples: a higher advance, more free advance review copies and/or final copies of your book. Also, a good agent can deal with the publicity department of the publishing house on your behalf. Well-connected agents can get your work seen by top editors at the major publishing houses. They network and know what particular editors are buying at a given time.
 Assuming you are offered too little of a payment to make this practical and interest a first-rate agent, then you should read up on contracts for authors before you make a decision to sign on the dotted line.
What should you insist be included in your book contract? You ought to insist on an advance. The advance is based on a formula that projects the book's first year profits. Many small or independent publishers claim they do not and cannot offer authors advances against royalties. However, the publisher hopefully can be made to see that an advance, even a small one, is viewed as "good faith" money by the author. If no advance whatever is offered, this is a sign that the publisher does not expect the book to sell well or doesn't plan to put much or any money in marketing and publicizing your work once the book is published. A nonrefundable advance is what the author should be requesting. As to royalties, request that they be based on the retail price or gross and not the net proceeds which often turn out to be quite small. Publishers generally want only to give you a net percentage which ends up as very little, especially when they claim that there are “returns” of your book. Creative accounting by publishers is quite a common practice and hard to prove. Hiring a forensic accountant simply isn’t practical for a majority of writers.
Publishers generally ask for every kind of rights possible. You may want, for instance, to insist that movie and theatrical rights be removed. Publishers often include option clauses in their contracts insisting that they be offered first rights to your next book. This can be a problem if your work is successful but you are still offered the payment terms of the previous contract. Worse still is the publisher's right to last refusal.
A time range for publication should also be included in the contract. Two years is acceptable; past that, all rights should revert to the author.
Above all else, accept no contract in which you are expected to pay for anything. I cannot emphasize this enough! Any request for fees is a clear indication of a disreputable publisher. Alarm bells should go off. Run, don't walk away! Be suspicious, because there are plenty of scam artists around. Check out writing scams via the internet. There are lists of so-called agents and publishers to avoid on many of the legitimate writer's sites. Check out, for instance, SFWA's Writer Beware: This website offers valuable information. Preditors & Editors is also helpful:
My advice is to be patient. Take your time and consider your options carefully. Respect yourself and the integrity of your hard work. And don’t settle for less from a publisher.
If you disagree on some of what I’ve written or can offer your own helpful advice and information, please do so. Your comments most welcome to be shared!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Interview with Author Stan Brown

Stanley P. Brown always had heroes as a child. Born in Plaquemine, Louisiana to Joseph Harry, a painter, and his wife Vivian LeJeune, a homemaker, these heroes mostly took form in his big brother, Harry, and those populating the pages of Marvel Comics. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff to be a superhero himself, he concentrated on academics at Louisiana State University and The University of Southern Mississippi (where he earned his doctorate in Exercise Physiology). He went from there to his first academic post at The University of Mississippi. Others followed, as did many scientific publications and several textbooks. But the call of storytelling remained strong in him, and he answered that call with the publication in 2017 of his debut novel.

Question: What is the title and genre of your novels?  Why did you select them?

Answer: The Legacy, Paranormal Thriller with a political bent. I like multiple genre works.
Veiled Memory, Contemporary Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I like stories set in this world and time.
Fallen Wizard, Middle Grade Fantasy. I like children’s fantasy, but set in the real world.

Question:   What inspired these novels? How did it come about?

Answer: In The Legacy, I wanted to write a political thriller with a paranormal element where ALL magic is evil and the “good” fight it.

In Veiled Memory, I wanted to write about the origin of a people that exists in the real world but have remained hidden, so I built the story around a re-mythologization of Stonehenge.

In Fallen Wizard, I wanted to write an all our fantasy centered on American children and create a different mythology, but one with references to popular literature (read it to find out what I mean)

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroines and/or heroes of your novels?

Answer:  In many ways Harry Black (The Legacy) is selfish, so his arc starts from that point. I hope, though, that there is enough in the character in the beginning that people can also be somewhat sympathize toward him. He definitely has to find the hero within.

In VM, Madeline Alleyn is an academic who is quite disturbed but has managed to be successful all the same while rearing alone triplet daughters. Her arc comes from a place of deep sadness and longing.

In FW, Peter Michaels is just a average 12 year old kid who wants to be great at baseball and better at school. Problem is, things happen around him, like a wizard falling from the sky into his front yard.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  Just finished the follow-up to VM in The Stonehenge Chronicles trilogy. It’s called The Ruby Ring and will be published Nov 16 by Black Opal Books. My real WIP is a short story in the immediate aftermath of The Legacy (my debut novel). It will be part of an anthology being put out by #WolfPackAuthors, a Twitter cohort of writers I’m a part of. These are done for charities, usually benefiting animals. My second WIP is another children’s mythology called The Captain of Tally Ho. It’s an animal story entirely.

Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer:  Boredom. I was completely bored with my academic life so I decided to publish fiction as a challenge. Loved reading and writing anyway. Turned out to be harder than I anticipated. Stuck with it, plan to keep doing it.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer:  Many avenues to publish these days and to do so successfully. Just keep at it. Anything worth accomplishing is hard to accomplish, so you need perseverance.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer: Anywhere Black Opal Books makes them available, including all electronic outlets. I also try to place hard copies in Barnes & Noble stores. My website is Follow me on Twitter @StanleyPBrown.

Question and comments for Stan are welcome!