Morgen: Hello, Jodie. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Jodie: Hello, Morgen. Well, let’s see. I live in Cleveland, Ohio with my wonderful hubby, John and four step-children. I’ve been a writer for over 20 years, starting early in high school but it wasn’t until the last 8 years that I’ve been trying to get published. It was approximately 1995 that I got my direction and genre for writing which made things much easier.
Morgen: I went to my first creative writing workshop 8 years ago (next month) and was hooked – fiction does that, doesn’t it. 🙂 What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Jodie: I typically write in paranormal / erotica / romance. I’ve tried other things but they just seem to come out boring to me halfway through so I scrap them.
Morgen: If they’re boring to a writer they’re likely to be boring to the reader so that a wise thing to do. What have you had published to-date?
Jodie: I currently have seven published novels. I have four short novellas published with Eternal Press, I was part of an Anthology with Melange Books and I have two self-published books through createspace, all of which are available on Amazon.com.
Morgen: With your self-published works, what lead to you going your own way?
Jodie: I wasn’t getting the royalties I felt were appropriate and the company didn’t seem to be doing much marketing for me. I decided I could do it on my own and make more money.
Morgen: Very few publishers have the budgets to do much marketing for their authors. I’ve only had one author say her (mainstream) publisher does all her marketing and she’s very active online. It’s a necessary evil these days, although we get to ‘meet’ our potential readers which I love. Are all your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Jodie: My books are available in paperback and kindle versions. The publishing company offered those options but when I self-published I made sure to create both options. I have read a little on my Kindle but I most certainly prefer paperbacks.
Morgen: Most people do, although it’s great to have the options. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Jodie: I have a “Vampire Queen” trilogy where it is the same character in all three books and she is my first published and favourite out of all that I’ve written. A movie huh? The actress would be Charlize Theron. My “Queen” is a very strong character and I think Ms. Theron would be able to pull it off well.
Morgen: She’s a great actress and played Queen Ravena in Snow White & The Huntsman. 🙂 Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Jodie: Covers are THE most important part of your book. People will browse through books mostly by covers. If the cover looks boring, they move on and don’t even read the synopsis. For the publishing companies, they provided the covers based off my description of my characters and synopsis of the book. They made such good ones the first time that I accepted them right away.
Morgen: They are great, so I don’t blame you. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Jodie: I’m actually working on two books right now, both vampire of course… he he he! One is a lesbian vampire novel and the other is a more adult vampire novel.
Morgen: Fun. 🙂 Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Jodie: Between the two stories, I write every day. When I get writer’s block, I got back to the other story and write that one for a while until more comes to me about the first one.
Morgen: That’s a good idea. If I ever get stuck on something I have a break and move on to something else – it’s the best way, refreshes the brain. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Jodie: Many of my ideas come to me in pieces in my dreams (usually the concept). I then take the concept and make it up as I go. I do a lot of researching for my stories so sometimes I will research it to death before I start the story.
Morgen: 🙂 Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Jodie: I research all the names of my characters. Most of the time, each character name has a quality my character possesses. Lately, however, I’ve been going for unique names more than meanings. I’m just tired of the same recycled names. I usually find names specific to their race so I think that’s what makes them believable.
Morgen: I mention names on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/writing-101. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Jodie: I usually think faster than I write so I have to go back and edit myself. I usually edit a story twice. First for content / concept and second for grammar, etc.
Morgen: I’m the same. I wrote 117,540 words for NaNoWriMo in November 2009 (with a day to spare, I think) but then I had plenty of characters (it later became the eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List. You mentioned research, do you have to do much?
Jodie: I love doing research! Not only does it help my characters and stories, I learn about new places I’d probably never visit. I think research is important to the entire story unless you are writing your own personal story.
Morgen: It is because there will always be an ‘expert’ out there ready to point out your errors (which of course we need if something is wrong). What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Jodie: I’ve never tried second person and I once started a book in first person but halfway through decided I wanted it in third person (which I usually prefer) so I had to go back and change half the story.
Morgen: Readers, and therefore agents, usually prefer third person. Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Jodie: My writing started as a collection of short stories (which I just self-published into an anthology) and all of it is fiction. I have dabbled in poetry but am not able to stretch it out to be more than 4-6 lines.
Morgen: A haiku length (and a bit). It’s funny, I say exactly the same thing; that I ‘dabble’ in poetry but I don’t read it so I write little of it, usually just for specific tasks I’m given. I much prefer prose fiction. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Jodie: I hope not! 🙂 I write things that I like and think any reader would like so of course I’d like to see everything I do get published. Some stories I’m saving though for the perfect publishing company.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Jodie: I’ve had rejections for 8 years. It’s very frustrating. What’s funny is, I sent my first novella to Eternal Press in the beginning of 2010, right before the Twilight thing blew up. I resent it back to them nine months later and they accepted it and so my first novella was published.
Morgen: I guess then it’s not only finding the right person for the right thing but often the right timing too. Do you enter competitions?
Jodie: No competitions. I just think there are so many great writers out there that I’d rather write under my own guidelines than somebody else’s.
Morgen: I think a lot of writers feel like that. I used to enter competitions (it often made me write something new) but I prefer to submit for publication these days (or I would if I sent anything anywhere). Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Jodie: I do not have an agent. While researching some of the smaller publishing companies, they prefer authors without agents. However, I believe you need an agent to get into one of the big publishing companies so maybe one day I’ll have to consider it.
Morgen: I agree, and although I’m happy self-publishing, I’d never say never to an agent. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Jodie: My least favourite aspect of my writing is my memory. I’m Bipolar and on a lot of medications which affect my memory. When I’m bouncing around between two stories, I have to reread portions of my story to remember what was going on when I left it go. The favourite aspect of my writing is my research. I just love to incorporate that into the story to make:
- Me sound smarter…he he he
- Make the story more believeable.
Morgen: I’ve always had a terrible memory, though not for any particular reason. I took part in a play at school and only had two lines. I’d written then on my hand and read them just before I walked on stage and still fluffed them! What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Jodie: Keep plugging along and don’t let anything stand in your way of your dream. Expect a lot of rejection but being persistent will pay off in the end.
Morgen: It will. If we give up (I never would, even if I just ended up writing for the enjoyment of it), we’d never know how close we came. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
- Anne Rice as she is my idol – I would make something Creole as she lived in New Orleans for a really long time.
- Frieda Kahlo as she went through so much and not only persevered but made a great name for herself – I would make something Spanish for her.
- Edgar Allen Poe as his mind was dark and brilliant – I have no idea what I would serve him as I have a feeling he’s had many different, eclectic things that I couldn’t outdo.
Morgen: Maybe he’d like your other two choices – mixed together would be eclectic. If you had to choose a single day from your past to re-live over and over, what day would it be and why?
Jodie: The day I met my current husband. We had met briefly online and he gently pushed for a quick meeting at Starbucks. The intention was to stay only about an hour but we were there five hours. We both knew then that the other was our soul mate. After he walked me to my car, he politely asked if he could kiss me. We did and we melted into each other. The rest is history. 🙂
Morgen: Sweet. 🙂 Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Jodie: “I most often paint portraits of myself for it is I that I know the best” – Frieda Kahlo
“Oh, how you love your precious guilt” – Lestat to Louis in Interview with a Vampire movie.
Morgen: It’s true that no-one knows us like ourselves although sometimes I surprise myself with some of the fiction I come out with. 🙂 Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Jodie: I belong to several writers groups / blogs, I used to do book reviews for others but I started writing more and didn’t have the time and keeping my eye out for something I could incorporate into one of my stories.
Morgen: I’m the same; I run / belong to four (in-person) writing groups and don’t have the time to review books (I do short stories for http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/sss) so started a list of reviewers on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/reviews. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? 🙂
Jodie: I love to read (I just finished the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and it was awesome – can’t wait for final book), I enjoy just sitting around and relaxing with my family, I’m a picture / collage addict and make great scrapbooks and I love to meditate and do yoga.
Morgen: I love drawing and have a load of art equipment in my loft for the day when I have time. 🙂 Are there any writing-related websites that you find useful?
Morgen: Lovely, thank you, Jodie. I’ve added them to http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/links. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Jodie: I’m on book blogs, google +, good reads, twitter, facebook, blogspot, my personal yahoo group, etc. Some of the sites are helpful but I’ve not had a great deal of success with them yet.
Morgen: I’m the same; on so many different outlets and whilst it’s great interacting with so many other writers / readers, my sales are still a trickle, although I do little self-marketing other than this blog – I will do more when I have another novel out. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Jodie: Writers are going to have to pick up their game and keep up with the trends. People, even now, are getting away from paperback books (I couldn’t believe it when the local Borders and Barnes & Noble shut down). I just think people aren’t reading as much as they used to do. Before, there wasn’t always a lot to do growing up. Now, there’s too much to do in my opinion. Too many technical advances so kids are reading what they have to for school and never opening another book for enjoyment. It’s sad really.
Morgen: I’d heard (on Classic FM) only today that one of the public’s (here in the UK anyway) New Year’s resolutions is to read more and the numbers of eReader sales seem to increase each year so I’m feeling positive. 🙂 Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Jodie: I can be found at:
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Jodie: I’m just so excited about this whole process and it’s been a whirlwind. It’s been worth the struggles, tears and anxiety. Keep reading!
Morgen: Absolutely. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Jodie: What kinds of things do you do for marketing / promoting?
Morgen: The main source really is this blog because for every guest I have, they go off and tell their contacts who come to my site. Of course the guests are the focus so I sell few eBooks because of it (but thankfully my authors do) but it’s getting the ‘Morgen Bailey’ brand out there. I’m also on pretty much everything going (Twitter, Facebook etc – listed on my http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/contact page). Thank you, Jodie.
I then invited Jodie to include an extract of her writing…
She awoke with an intense hunger in the pit of her stomach. A hunger the likes of which she had never known before. She opened her eyes to a room that was pitch black and felt strange to her. She swung her feet over the side of the bed, and as they touched the floor, the candles on the wall lit automatically. She was too taken back by this, and she jumped back into the giant bed. Just then, she heard a door open and voices. The voices were coming toward her.
“Come on, Mistress. Time to get up and get ready for the ball,” said the younger one.
“Master will be displeased if you keep him waiting,” the older slave said as she pulled the covers back and motioned for her to follow. She went upstairs with the slaves and into the bathroom, where a large tub full of water and rose petals was waiting for her.
“You should drink something. It will calm your nerves,” said the older slave. She was about to decline when she noticed her left hand trembling. She gratefully took the wine glass the younger slave handed her and gulped down the wine. The glass was refilled and placed next to the tub. She got in the tub, and the slaves started scrubbing her. First, her hair. Then, her feet, hands, and back. They left her more delicate parts for her to clean. Then, they rinsed and rinsed her mounds of curly hair, until they were satisfied, and explained they would be back in 20 minutes to towel her off.
As she sat there in the peace and quiet, she proceeded to drink the wine. It tasted good and left her with a sense of euphoria. She ran her tongue over her teeth as she gazed dreamily into the distance. She was not really looking at or thinking about anything specific, but she was content. She must have finished off her wine and dozed off, because the next thing she knew, the two slaves were back and telling her she needed to hurry to get dressed in time. They dried her off with very plush and sweet smelling towels and wrapped her in a purple bathrobe. They wrapped her hair in a turban and led her back downstairs to her bedroom. As she walked through the house, she noticed that no one else was present. She found that strangely odd. Where was this “Master”?
When she returned to her bedroom, there was an elegant, purple gown laid out on the bed for her. She held it up to her and squealed in delight, before the older woman put it back on the bed with a look of impatience. She was seated in a chair where the younger slave did her makeup while the older slave unlaced the front of the gown.
“What is your name?” she asked. The young slave girl looked a little taken back but whispered “Coletta”. She smiled at the girl.
“Thank you,” she whispered back. The young girl blushed and focused on mixing her eye shadows.
“What is my name?” she whispered, again. The young girl looked up, shocked.
“Why, you are Countess Paulina de Lourdes,” she whispered.
“Does that mean I’m married?” the Countess asked.
“You have an ‘arrangement’ with our Master,” Coletta said out loud, surprised.
“Hush girl,” scolded the older slave. “Why you bothering her?
You done?” She took the Countess from Coletta and put her in front of the makeup table. She let the Countess’s hair fall out of the turban and started to fluff the curls and put them in place. Her thick, burgundy hair was drying fast.
This was the first time she had seen herself, and she didn’t recognize anything in the mirror. She was tall with slender arms and legs. A tight butt and plump breasts. She had beautiful, unblemished, olive skin and entrancing, almond eyes. A flat abdomen and cute feet. Who was this person she was looking at? She didn’t remember an old self to compare to, so this must be her, but where were her memories? Who is Countess Paulina de Lourdes?
The women started to get her dressed. She had to hold on to the bedpost as the older slave laced up the top corset part of the dress. It was strapless, but it pushed up her breasts and made breathing difficult. The bottom of the dress hung straight down to the floor with a slit up the right side from the floor to mid-thigh.
They placed the high heel shoes on her feet, the shawl around her shoulders, and led her upstairs to the parlor where she was to wait for the Count. She received two final instructions from them.
“Do not embarrass the Count,” said Coletta.
“Just go along with whatever he says,” warned the older one.
What could they mean? They were gone before she could ask.
She waited for what seemed like forever. Finally, she heard the clicking of dress shoes on the marble floor. When the Count entered the room, she rose to her feet but was too stunned to say a word.
“Countess de Lourdes,” he said as he took her right hand and kissed the top of it. She detected a strange accent, but it added to his sex appeal and charm.
“Thank you for joining me, tonight,” he said.
“The pleasure is mine,” she curtsied. What was that? she thought to herself. I’m not nine years old. Grownups don’t curtsy.
He smiled and bowed as if he could read her thoughts. All she could do was smile back.
“Shall we take our leave?” he asked.
“That would be grand.” Grand? Who says grand, anymore? she thought to herself. She decided to speak as little as possible for the rest of the evening.
He escorted her outside, and there were four white horses attached to a covered carriage waiting for them. He offered her his hand, like a gentleman, and assisted her up into the carriage. Once inside, she noticed everything was done in purple velvet. Light purple velvet seats, dark purple velvet curtains, and a medium purple velvet blanket to keep warm. She had not noticed earlier, but from her sideways glances, she could see that the Count had on the same color purple cummerbund as her dress. Just as she started to wonder who else had worn her dress—the coincidences were amazing—she heard music, and the carriage stopped. They had arrived at the ball.
And a synopsis…
The Demise of the Vampire Queen:
The Queen is once again ruling her subjects only this time it is a school for the ‘different’ children in Scotland. A school full of vampires, witches, warlocks, elves and fairies, one that is feared and hated by all who attend. A new group of witches and warlocks show up to her gates and cause all kinds of havoc within the school. Vampires and witches are at odds and only a few can see the survival of the school. An ancient lover and the Queen are reunited but at what costs? A new, as well as an old lover unite to attempt to take the Queen off her throne. Will it work? Will the Queen maintain her horrendous rule over the students? Can the spells woven work and change history? All will be told in the end.
Jodie Pierce lives with her husband, John, in Cleveland, Ohio along with four step-children. Jodie has had a fascination with vampires since they were introduced to her as a child and has had a long history with them. She has been writing since high school, keeping her love stories secret. It wasn’t until she started reading Anne Rice books, at the age of 19, that she was inspired. She realized she wanted to write about vampires. She was an exchange student in Brazil in high school so you will find some of her experiences from there in her stories. She also enjoys research and many of the places outside of the USA have been researched so the places, activities, attractions and food are actually real. She has published five short novels (Eternal Press), a short story in “Midnight Thirst”, an anthology (Melange Books), and has two self-published book on Createspace all of which can be found on www.amazon.com. She has several short stories that she still works on. She’s always busy with the next great vampire story as her mind is non-stop and even plagues her dreams. She wakes up at 3am sometimes and just have to write.
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