Ask the Author: Kallypso Masters

“Ask me a question.” Kallypso Masters

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Kallypso Masters I know I answered this somewhere, but apparently not here. lol If you didn't get the response, let me know!
Kallypso Masters Sorry I missed your first question. I'm not very active here, but Goodreads notified me of this one. Oh, yes, there will be many more Rescue Me Saga books, as well as spinoffs. Speaking of spinoffs, this September I plan to plot out the suspense elements of a three-book series that continues the groundwork laid out in ROAR. The principle couples will be Patrick & Maribeth (you met her in ROAR), Grant & Liam, and Gunnar & Heidi (whom you heard about in ROAR, too, but haven't met on the page yet). I've never written a dedicated romantic suspense series, and will need to get some help in learning how to make the suspense subplot last through all three romances. As always with my books, the romance and emotional elements will be key. Unlike ROAR where the BDSM was more for fun, this trilogy (as yet unnamed) will return to my hallmark of having the BDSM be a means toward healing for at least one person in each of the couples. I don't want the BDSM to overshadow the romance, though. But with Grant managing the Masters at Arms Club and Gunnar having his own dungeon, I can see there being scenes in those locations, for those needing their dungeon/club fix. And with Patrick, I can envision another visit to the cabin in the Black Hills (featured in the epilogue of Nobody's Hero). Speaking of Adam, he still needs another book in which he will deal with his PTSD and survivor guilt issues. And there are unresolved issues in Marc & Angelina's relationship, as well as some important happenings in Damian & Savannah's lives. I can't tell you which novel, novella, or series will come first, but as you can see, there will be more. But this year, my writing efforts are being channeled into the new Bluegrass Spirits series. I hope you'll give those a try, too! My readers who have entrusted me to continue to tell a good story no matter the genre or heat level have been raving about the first one and the second (which I think is more traditional Kally, given the military romance aspects) will be out August 8! Thanks for joining me on this journey!
Kallypso Masters Yes- eventually! This year I've decided to branch out and venture into mainstream contemporary romance but in the near future I hope to write a Black Ops trilogy that will include the long-awaited Mistress Grant book. Fingers crossed, anyway!
Kallypso Masters Oh, dear! I need to visit here more often. Well, I was working madly on perfecting ROAR, my newest. It's a standalone rather than a new series (but you'll get glimpses of Gunnar and Grant in it--and it lays the groundwork for their spin-off trilogy. Of course, the Rescue Me Saga will never come to an end and most likely there will be a short novel or novella (not sure I can write THAT short!) about Damian and Savannah up next. Lots of spinoffs planned like ROAR where I take minor characters from the main series and do something a little different (as I did with ROAR). Hope you enjoy it, Jessica! And sorry for the delay! I wish GR had notified me there was a new question because I love answering them (even though most of my answers below are probably outdated now because I just go with the flow when it comes to whose book is next and who is talking to me.
Kallypso Masters It depends. If you bought the books separately in 2011 or 2012, then, yes, you'll find changes. Since it's free, it's a good idea to download it and then if you get in the mood for a re-read sometime, read that one instead of the out-dated individual copies. Thanks for asking and sorry it took me so long to see your question! I don't get on Goodreads often and only just got notified that I had more questions to answer!
Kallypso Masters They come to me, whisper in my ear (or bombard my dreams), and ask me to help them find their happy ending. I'm working on one now (ROAR) and this weekend a writer friend said: "You sure picked a tough situation to write about." I told her, "I didn't pick him, he picked me to tell his story."

I hope that doesn't sound too weird, but that's how it works for me. And I wouldn't have it any other way!
Kallypso Masters Linda, sorry for the delay! I'm sure by now you've read NOBODY'S DREAM. Hope you enjoyed the chapters on Adam and Karla and the babies!

By the way, the RESCUE ME SAGA will never come to an end. I know I still need another entire book about Adam because I've only touched the surface of his issues. (In NOBODY'S HERO he effectively buried everything without dealing with it, as you may recall. Some things started to churn up in SOMEBODY'S ANGEL, but once more, he tamped them down. I have no clue what is going on, but when he's ready to deal with it, you can bet I'll start writing that book! That tortured man needs some peace. But I also think this is a good time to let him just enjoy his babies without forcing him to face the past--yet.

Kally
Kallypso Masters Hi, Kent! Sorry for the delay! My notifications about new questions got buried in my IN box!

I'm working on a book now tentatively called ROAR that will be the bridge or set-up novel eventually leading to the Black Ops trilogy that will include Grant's story, as well as Patrick Gallagher's and Gunnar Larson's. I'm getting a clearer idea of what that trilogy will involve as I write ROAR however I have to warn you that the trilogy won't see the light of day on e-readers until 2017 probably. I need to write all three of them, have them all edited, and figure out what happens in the suspense arc that goes through all three books before publishing the first one. However, once I start releasing them, they all three will be released one after another, about a month apart. But I will need to write and publish other books, as well, in order to pay the bills, so this is going to be a long-term proposition. Hope you're in it for the long haul! I think you're going to enjoy all I have in store!

Kally
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kallypso Masters Hi, Tiffany! Thanks so much! Glad you're enjoying my series and hope you'll like the next one, too!

Good for you on writing your first book. Honestly, what you put down on paper that first time through WILL be something that can't be published. Just go into it with that in mind (because while everyone CAN publish a book with great ease these days, that doesn't mean they SHOULD)!

But where a manuscript becomes something publishable is in the revisions, critiquing, and editing stages. If you've never written before, you may not even get to the hiring an editor stage, but if you find a critique partner who is a good writer and understands all those nebulous things that readers don't even notice in our books that are part of that thing called "craft," you'll be able to identify your weaknesses and take workshops, lessons, or find someone to coach you through those so that you can either fix that manuscript or start on your next.

How long did it take me to finish my first? Well, I've been learning the craft since high school by joining writers groups and going to classes/workshops, but would say that I got serious about trying to finish one in the early 1990s. But I just couldn't. So, the first book I ever finished wasn't until 2009. Took me about a month and it was a novella. Being brazen, after edits (not professional ones in those days) I submitted it to Samhain and it was rejected, but they asked to see more, so that's what was called a "good" rejection. I wrote Nobody's Angel (the first, horrible version) in about a month, too, as a novella). I didn't write for the next two years (and I've had lots of those patches in my decades of learning to write), but in 2011 I decided it was time to see if I could write and finish more books. Masters at Arms was drafted in three weeks. DRAFTED. No, not readable, but workable and over the next couple months, it was whipped into shape and published about three months after I started it. Then I rewrote Nobody's Angel TWICE before releasing a really rough version about six weeks after Masters. (We had been simultaneously editing both of these over the summer. But I only had one paid editor and had really rushed that out after a major rewrite in the three weeks prior to release--big mistake and I'm sure there are still hundreds of those cringe-worthy versions out there on e-readers.)

I took two months to write NOBODY'S HERO and thought I could never write anything better than that. But the thing with writing is that you learn as you go. Your skill level improves, and you grow as a writer. That said, I have eight full or partial manuscripts that I'd never deem worth a reader's time and money. Not everything we write needs to be read, but it NEEDED TO BE WRITTEN because that's the ONLY way to learn to write. I hope that makes sense!

So, sit down and start writing that first awful draft. Fill your bookshelf with books on how to write. (I just picked up Stephen King's ON WRITING this weekend--you never learn all you need to know. It's good to learn something new every month and to keep getting better.)

And then keep writing. Forget about publishing, just focus now on learning HOW to write. It's not something that comes to 99.99999% of us instinctively. And it's hard work. Just persevere and keep writing and learning, find a support team that can help you grow. (Try to avoid your high-school English teachers and such and find someone who writes in your genre who knows something about writing to go to for advice! Genre writing is not like LIT-tra-chure and has it's own rules and standards that need to be learned before you can later break the rules intentionally and not out of ignorance.

Good luck and I hope you have as much fun on your writing journey as I have had. I probably could have published a decade earlier, but I don't think I'd have been nearly as happy if I had. I needed to be an indie author who could do whatever she wanted in her series and not make it a cookie-cutter one--and that wasn't possible in the days of publisher rules.

Kally
Kallypso Masters Okay, now that IS the one question no one is supposed to ask, but I'll give you the answer: When it's ready.

That's the answer I give everyone who dares to ask. But the only reason I'm answering now is that I want to give an update. It's too early to set a release date, but I *will* be offering pre-orders at Amazon starting about thee weeks before the release date. I should know by then. I've sent the first 230 pages (single-spaced in Word) to the five content editors and am now finishing up probably another 100 pages that need revising and in some cases new scenes. Length-wise, this will be short of Nobody's Perfect but quite a bit longer than Nobody's Hero Another hefty-sized book.

In doing my first total revision since writing the scenes (which I started doing on Dec. 30), I've added some AMAZING layers to the story. That's something I don't think speed-writers realize can happen when they slow down and take their time with a story. Or maybe they do it, only faster than I do. But I know you are going to love this story. Luke and Cassie's slowly blossoming love is so sweet to watch unfold. It's very different from any of the other books, but I think you can say that about every single book in my saga because I don't write them to a formula. I write the stories as they fit the characters and as the characters tell me their stories.

I hope the editors and beta readers will have the entire book by early next week. We'll try to go over it twice and then it goes to line editors for a couple more weeks. Then we have a week of proofreaders (about five people with strong editing and grammar skills who haven't read any of it before, because it needs fresh eyes by that point) going over it. THEN it will be ready to upload to Amazon and Apple. (I may do a pre-order with Apple, but sales there take away from hitting the New York Times list and you all know how my ego really wants to hit that list this time--on my own, rather than in a mega boxed set of books.) So I'm still weighing the pros and cons of that, but if I do Apple, it might help me pinpoint the release date better. They can take 5-7 days to go live with a book otherwise.

Another reason for doing pre-orders in more places is that I'm selling it for $4.99 at preorder, but $5.99 soon after it goes live. I've come to the realization I can't write two books a year even if I wanted to and I can't make a living on publishing one new book at $4.99 a year. But I want to reward my readers. IF I can figure out a way to do Pre-orders with Barnes & Noble, I will, but right now they require they go through Smashwords and I'm not sure I want to do that.

So, more than you ever wanted to know with that question, but I promise to let you know when as soon as *I* do! I have a target in mind, but don't want to say until we get the content editing done and I know I can meet that deadline.

Kally
Kallypso Masters I have every intention of eventually having a book focused on Grant, but can't say when. Right now, I am envisioning a three-book spin-off series with Patrick Gallagher, Mistress Grant, and Gunnar Larson as three of the main characters (each in his or her own Romance story). But I think it will be years before I get to it.

I don't have any plans to stop writing this series, although after Luke and Cassie's story, I want to start another spin-off series and tell the stories for Angelina's four brothers--a fire fighters series with alpha men, but not BDSM. Those will be shorter and we'll see how quickly I can get them out. I don't predict beyond the current book I'm writing anymore, though, so until I start it, don't hold me to anything!

Thanks for the question!

Kally
Kallypso Masters No plans at the moment, but a book tour of the northeast is something I want to do. I do plan to have KallypsoCon 2015 (on Military Romance) in the Boston area, but I know that's a little too far northeast. Keep telling your friends about my books so that I'll have lots of people from Cleveland asking me to come do a signing or dinner or something and that will help get me there!

Kally
Kallypso Masters Here are a few of the biggies:

1) Take all the writing classes (online, adult education, local community college, wherever) and workshops (conferences, local writers groups, etc.) and learn the craft of writing. You need to learn about point of view; pacing; writing dialogue, description, scene setting; show don't tell; active voice more than passive; conveying deep emotion; plotting (if you are a plotter); and SO many other things that, quite frankly, aren't inbred in many of us. I studied writing for decades (off and on--mostly off) and that's how I could put out my "first" book and have it be a bestseller. I paid my dues. And, yes, there are rules for various genres, if you're going to write in a genre. You need to learn those rules before you can break them. Of course, there are lots of great books on how to write available. Go to a local used-book store and check out their reference section. Read and learn from the masters!

2) Find a mentor or critique partner willing to read your work and give you honest feedback and suggestions on what you need to study further (see #1) so that your prose will compel people to read it. (Note--Kally does NOT offer this service. I can't critique. I find myself just rewriting it to my own voice, and that's not a critiquer.)

3) Decide whether you are going to go the traditional route with a publisher (whether New York-based or a small press) OR be an indie author. I can't offer advice on going with a publisher because I didn't choose that route. If you want to be indie and self-publish, then make SURE you have the money to hire a professional team of editors, cover artists, formatters, and anyone you need to make that book look better than what the publishers are putting out.

4. If you decide to go with a publisher because you don't want to market your book (you just want to write lol), then you might want to reconsider publishing your books at all in any fashion (unless you just want family and friends to read them). Publishers do very little to market books (unless you are Stephen King or James Patterson). ALL authors, regardless of how they published, need to get out on social media and market yourself by ENGAGING with readers day in and day out (unless you have a good excuse not to be online). Start even before you publish your first book. Set up accounts under your pen name IMMEDIATELY because building a following of friends and then switching names on them won't make you any sales. They need to know you are working on your first book all along and many readers love to discover new talent, so they will follow you. (Just don't promote yourself blatantly on some other author's FB page. That's rude.)

5) Don't put out the first book as soon as it's done. To get noticed by readers, you need at least three. (Some say five, but I did well with three.) I published my first three in August, September, and December 2011. If you can write fast (and at this stage in your career, marketing isn't going to take as much time as it will later, so you probably can write fairly quickly), you can space them out like this. If not, then wait until that third one is finished, PROFESSIONALLY edited (not by your high-school English teacher, PLEASE), and ready to go and then put them out either all at once or in close succession.

6. Sell the first one for no more than 99 cents. When possible, make it free. Most readers won't try a new author unless they were recommended by a friend, another author, or a trusted blogger OR they can get the book for free. But you don't want to make a first book free if there aren't two or more others for readers to buy when they fall in love with you. Don't expect them to remember you months or years later. They won't.

7. Publish as often as you can. Obviously, what *I* can do and what other authors can do aren't the same. They remain in the public's eye constantly with releases every few months. I do well to have one good book put out a year. (But I write slowly and won't put out a book before I'm completely satisfied with it and proud to have others read it. While it's nice to make money on my writing, I prefer to build a fanbase of readers willing to wait 9-15 months (or however long it takes) for the next book from me.

Hope this helps! If you have any specific questions or follow-up questions, please ask. I kind of covered everything from beginning to write to becoming a bestseller. lol

Kally
Kallypso Masters Adam is the easiest to write. He and I just clicked from day one and it's so easy for me to get inside his head--and sometimes to mess with his head. But my best-written book probably would be Nobody's Perfect. Not only did it all eventually come together perfectly, but it also provides so much healing to readers who have sexual and other trauma in their backgrounds. I'm most proud of that book. It also made the USA Today Bestseller list--my first and only to date, which was very gratifying.
Kallypso Masters When it's ready to my satisfaction.
Kallypso Masters From the one before that and the main characters (Luke, Cassie, Adam, and Karla). I don't plot and really the external action is less important to my stories than what's going on inside their heads and in the romantic action/plot. I am inspired by music, research books, conversations, and a million influences on me, but that's just to get an idea for a scene. I have no clue where this book will go. I'm just along for the ride with the characters. But they always take me on such an incredible journey!
Kallypso Masters Music and photos are the most inspiring. I listen to music that is in the style of one of the characters I'm writing about (country/western music for Luke, for instance) and come up with all kinds of scenes or scenarios. Photos do the same, although often they're just eye candy to help me picture a character better. I hear them in my head, but don't always see them clearly so I just fill in the gaps by looking at photos.

Thanks for the question!
Kallypso Masters EDITED RESPONSE Jan. 28, 2015:

As you probably heard, I wrote and released another book (NOBODY'S LOST, #5) in December. That one should be read before NOBODY'S DREAM (Rescue Me Saga #6) because the couple in LOST will continue their journey in DREAM.

My recovery from kicking cancer's ass last fall just took too much out of me to finish such a challenging book as Luke and Cassie's romance (DREAM). The book is at 166,000 words now, though, and I have it set for release in March. (The preorder date says March 4, but if I don't think it's ready, I'll push it back a week or two. But it's getting close!)
Kallypso Masters Telling stories that help readers heal some hurt from their own past that might be holding them back from living life to the fullest. The letters I receive from fans saying how the books changed their lives let me know I'm on the right track.

Of course, some read them for entertainment reasons only and having someone say that they got so lost in the story that the world faded away for a while is very gratifying, as well. We all need an escape now and then!

Thank you for asking the question!
Kallypso Masters If my characters stop speaking to me, then it usually means that I've tried to force them into something they didn't want to do. Sometimes I've taken them down the wrong path and have to backtrack and see where they deserted me. Other times, they just aren't ready to deal with whatever it is I'm trying to write (usually for emotional/psychological reasons).

I don't plot, though, so sometimes I can just move to another place in the story and leave the challenging scene unfinished until they're ready. I don't write linearly, either, and sometimes what needs to be done is to write an earlier scene to prepare the character for the scene in which I am blocked.

If the words stop flowing altogether, I also leave the computer to take a shower, nap, or walk. Any of those things will usually bring the characters out to tell me what I need to do or fix. I never used to have writer's block for long periods of time, although now when I go weeks without writing, it's usually due to handling business things like events, taxes, etc., rather than actual writer's block.

Thanks for asking!

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