I’m so excited to have Erik on my blog today! He’s a fantastical unicorn. =P
Not a lot to say. Born in England, raised in the USA. I’m pretty convinced I’m either an alien or a unicorn. Given the choice, always be a unicorn!
My primary language is sarcasm, which I speak fluently. English is my secondary, which I still don’t have a full grasp on as my grammar in my books can attest to.
I love reading, and writing, and working with wood.
Given the choice between a Delorian and a Police Call Box, I will always choose the Call Box.
What is one thing not in your bio, something totally random that only a few people know?
I have a huge vintage technology collection that I hope to use to start a vintage gaming and computing museum. I have dozens of game consoles like the Atari 2600 and the Vectrex, home computers like the Commodore 64, and dozens of handheld and tabletop electronic games like the Coleco Pacman game.
What made you decide to write? If it even was a decision. And what kept you at it?
It was a complete accident. I have always said that one day I would like to write a book but I never actually sat down to do it. I have always liked strong female characters in books like Honor Harrington, or Killishandra Ree. My nieces are openly gay and so I have been very very cognizant of the severe lack of LGBT characters in mainstream media unless they are the stereotypical quirky gay friend that a main character always seems to have.
So one day I thought of a cool storyline that combined strong female leads with an LGBT storyline. I sat down on a Saturday morning to write an outline for the story so that I wouldn’t forget it. By the time I was done laying it out on Sunday night I had a completed the 75k word manuscript. I believe my exact words when I realized I had just written a novel was… “Huh.”
I researched self publishing and though I find it way as pie now, I had to battle my way through formatting the document correctly for submission, assigning an ISBN, licensing a photo for the cover and getting my book listed on all the major retail sites.
I was seriously expecting to sell a total of 5-10 books to friends and family who would feel obligated to buy it and never read it. Imagine my surprise when dozens sold, then hundreds then thousands. I would have considered it a success if just a single stranger bought my book to read it.
That first book, Music of the Soul, is now part of a nine book (and growing) series.
The rest as they say, is history. (Who is this “they” anyway?)
Who has been your biggest inspiration and support in writing and in publishing? Doesn’t have to be an author or anything, and yes, it can be your mom or dad.
I’d like to thank the Academy for… oh wait… wrong speech. My Wife v1.0 of course (that is always the right answer). But seriously, yes, my wife. She is an aspiring author as well. She put up with me when I started writing. She puts up with my bad grammar, punctuation, typos and spelling. She put up with me after the books started selling well. And she put up with me when I quit my full time job at the beginning of the year to become a full time author.
Why is it that you are an independent author? What prompted the decision to publish with a small press publisher, and how has that experience been?
I am an independent publisher because I have heard all of the horror stories about the big publishers and how an author’s cut is tiny. Being an Indy, I get from 60-70% royalties from day one and have 100% rights to my books. I want to put out eBooks, no problem. I want to put out paperbacks, no problem. I want to put out audio books, no problem. Since I own the rights I have the flexibility.
I figured my manuscript wasn’t a genre the big publishers would be interested in anyway, F/F lesbian romance, since I have not seen much from them in the genre except token books. They have shown that they are close minded and try not to stray off the path of what they perceive as accepted.
I am so relieved that I went the self publishing route now. I have seen returns beyond my wildest speculation.
Tell us a bit about Drakon: Awakening, without spoilers of course.
Drakon is a new paranormal/mythical action romance series I just started. Drakon is Greek for dragon. The main character, Myra, is a researcher who is studying myths, legends, and folklore, to see how they have influenced the modern world. One day she discovers that she is actually one of the legends she is researching.
Then all hell breaks lose. Myra and the woman assigned to protect her, Special Agent Quinn Trask, have to fight for their lives and the lives of the people of Denver against a madman bent on obtaining immortality. A different kind of relationship spawns between the two women as Myra learns to awaken the magic within.
Only the dragons can stand against the evil that threatens us all.
If you could meet one character in real life from Drakon: Awakening—would it be and why?
That’s an easy one. Myra. She is an intelligent red headed Irish woman with a quick temper and sharp wit. It is easy to see what Quinn sees in her.
What do you do when you get stuck in your writing? What happens when that nasty writer’s block sets down and refuses to budge—if you believe in writer’s block that is?
Well, please don’t kill the messenger, but I have never experienced writers block yet. So far the closest I cam was with my last book in the Music of the Soul series, Progeny. It was the first book that I have written that had a predetermined beginning and end with no wiggle room. So it took me a tad longer to write.
Most of my books I juat start writing and the story flows out of me and it develops as I go along. Then when I am done telling the story, I am done.
I have always professed that I am a story teller, not an author.
Would you mind sharing some of your ups and some of your downs about writing and about publishing? Any advice to new and upcoming authors?
So far I have been blessed with good experiences. The only pitfalls come from mucking my way through the mire of self publishing for the first time. Once I navigated that, I feel comfortable and confident in the process.
My two biggest pieces of advice are… One, Don’t just publish the book and expect people to buy it. You have to let them know it is there. Social networks are the easiest way to accomplish this. Make yourself seen on FaceBook, Twitter and the like. Build a blog. Socialize with potential readers on the various forums online. Befriend your readers! Respond to their emails and posts. Respond to Amazon reviews.
Two, don’t limit yourself to one venue or format. Don’t just publish your eBook on Amazon. Hit all the major retailers like Barnes and Nobel, Kobo, Smashwords and the like. Try to find niche specific sites like AllRomanceEbooks.com to list your books on. Even if each site you list on only brings you a couple hundred dollars each… combined they bring in thousands. And by all means, use resources like CreateSpace to make printed copies of your book and ACX (Audible) to make audio books. Once again, the more formats you have the more sales you will make.
Here’s a more serious question. What is it like to write in the LGBT realm of craziness that we all support? What’s it like to dip the toe into the rainbow through writing and publishing?
It has been a total and complete joy. It was rough at first, people saw a male writing lesbian romance and their minds automatically shoot to the gutter. But once people found that my books are not smut nor even erotica, only romance stories about two people in love, then my reputation grew and I have some of the best loyal readers and fans an author could ever hope to have. I concentrate on the emotion and the love in my books.
Why focus on the LGBT genre? What are the pluses and what are the minuses of doing so?
The main reason is that, as I stated before, my nieces are gay and I saw a disparity in the publishing world when it came to LGBT characters.
The pluses are many. Not only do I get to share stories with a wonderful group of people, but I also have made some genuine friends in the community. I have increased the pool of books available in the genre and hopefully have made a little bit of a difference getting the genre more recognized.
The minuses? There is the shadow of being a straight male that hangs over me and taints the legitimacy of my books in some people’s eyes.
1. Dog or Cat? Dog (Why is platypus not an option?)
2. Favorite color? Orange… unless you ask me on a Thursday, then it’s “ORANGE! Hellz to the yeah!”
3. Favorite junk food? Chocolate Eclaires (They is da heaven)
4. Favorite musician? The Veronicas (Which becomes apparent in my books… I heart them)
5. Favorite curse word? Kroth! (A made up cuss word I created in my Valkyrie Chronicles books, now I use it all the time)
6. Favorite quote? “It’s only impossible until someone does it.” ~ Erik Schubach (Doh! Does that count if I said it?)
7. Rolaids or Tums? Huh?
8. Short or Tall? Short
9. Favorite body part? Lips
10. Favorite holiday? Halloween
My writing style may not be the most professional nor grammatically correct, but I never profess to be an English major, just a person that wants to share a story. I maintain that my primary language is sarcasm.
Each of my books features strong likeable female characters that are flawed. I think that flaws and emotional or physical scars make us human and give us more character than simply conforming to some “social norm”.
Mandy Harris, the rock world’s bad girl, has lost her sense of self. Turning her back on the music she once loved, she returns to her hometown.
After a chance meeting with Anabella, a deaf girl with a unique appreciation for music and life, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to her. Finding love, pain, and a new sense of self. Their passion gives them the strength to heal both of their pasts, and start again.
Doctor Myra O’Connell is researching myths and folklore. In a strange twist she discovers that she is one of the legends she is researching.
Then all hell breaks loose. Myra and the woman assigned to be her protector, Special Agent Quinn Trask must fight for their lives, and those of the people of Denver and the world, against a madman bent on obtaining immortality.
Only the dragons can stand in his way.
Socail Media Links
Barnes & Nobel http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/erik-schubach