Where I’m from…
I live in Australia with my husband and daughter, but I was born in a town called Neptune in the US state of New Jersey. I lived in New Jersey until I was about thirteen when I moved with my family to Florida. In my young adult years I lived up and down the east coast in places like Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia.
How I ended up in Australia…
I met my husband online in a chat room. We were friends for many months before our relationship started becoming more serious. We decided we wanted to meet each other in person, so I came out to Australia to meet him. I have not been back to the US since. We married about three months later and we are still happily married today (yeah, it can happen)!
When I started writing…
My first real writing experience took place when I was living in Florida. I was in high school at the time, and as part of my mass media class we were asked to write a radio script for a contest a local universities radio show was hosting. I was grouped with two of my other classmates and we decided to write a medieval spoof with a lot of Star Wars references called A Knight to Forget. We ended up winning 1st place in the contest.
I’ve always loved making up stories. I usually made them up in my head for my own personal amusement. Sometimes I shared them, but I never considered writing them down until I was in college. As part of my English class, we were asked to write a few short stories. My instructor was so impressed with some of mine he asked me to read them to the class (much to my embarrassment). One day after class he called me up to his desk and asked me if I had ever considered getting published.
It was not something I ever considered doing. I loved to write, but I loved to write for myself. I was really too shy to share my work with others. He got the gears in my head going though, and I started wondering, “what if?” I became involved in a simulation role-playing game online, which involved doing a lot of writing. It was much like a collaborative writing effort, but you had your own character that you wrote for. The more involved I became in the SIM, and the more compliments I received about my writing, the more my confidence grew.
I decided I would love to write professionally, but I had no idea where to start or what to write. So it was many years of just taking correspondence courses and lots of research about the industry before I really got my start. I began mostly with writing articles and short stories. I shared many of them at places like Suite 101 and other similar sites where you could share your work with others. I never had the courage to officially submit my work to a publication, however.
When I decided I wanted to write a novel, I took a novel-writing correspondence course. As I worked through the course, I had a nearly completed novel, but I wasn’t happy with it. I decided to try again… and again… and again…
I think you get the point. I’m a perfectionist, and I’ve never been happy enough with anything I’ve written to get it published. I learned my biggest problem was I was editing as I wrote. I made myself a promise this year (2014) I would just write and then edit. I would get the idea out and then work on refining it. So far so good…
Why I decided to self-publish…
I want to start by saying I have nothing against traditional publishing. I’m not afraid of a publisher or editor making drastic changes or “ruining” my baby. In fact, I have a friend who is a published author, and she’s done a lot of editing for me. On the last manuscript I sent her, she suggested an entire rewrite with some other suggestions, and I didn’t even balk at it. She had some great ideas. So my problem definitely is NOT that I am over-protective of my work.
Now that, that is out of the way…
My main reason for deciding to self-publish is I see the publishing industry changing very drastically, but I don’t see the publishing companies changing quickly enough to keep up. Not that it’s any fault of theirs. It’s not easy to make these kinds of changes in a big business (or even a small one). I feel as though I can better keep up with the changes on my own, and not find myself locked in a contract that may prevent me from adapting to a new technology or other things that may come up.
I’ve also got a very entrepreneurial mindset. I love the feeling of working things out for myself and the satisfaction that comes with succeeding at something I did myself. Keep in mind though, I did not go into this decision lightly. I’ve wavered back and forth for years, and when I decided I would definitely self-publish, I spent a lot of time doing research on publishing, marketing and promotion. I have taken courses on marketing as well, and plan to take more in the near future. Self-publishing is a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding too.
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Renee's Shadow Stalkers
One morning, Auren decides to take her training into her own hands. She only means to practice seeing the veil to the shadow world, the world of the shadow people and the source of their power. Instead, she opens the veil releasing a demon, a guardian of the shadow world, into the physical world.
With the deadly beast loose, she and Kado don’t have long to hunt it down and return it to where it belongs, or many innocent people could die.
The Hidden Truth (Episode 1)
A young shadow stalker is destined to enslave the people of the Serpent Isles, and the Galvadi Empire want this child of prophecy dead. Auren Trasks perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.
The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate (Episode 2)
Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.
Shadows’ Betrayal (Episode 3)
After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.
Forbidden Love (Episode 4)
Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?
Destiny Reconciled Part 1 (Episode 5)
Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?
Destiny Reconciled Part 2 (Episode 6)
Cathnor has been arrested and is facing a death sentence. The Dark Isle is out of control, and Kado is the only one who can help his people. So he prepares Auren for the possibility that she may have to leave the Dark Isle without him and face her destiny alone, but can she leave him and do what must be done?
Episode 7: Bound by Fate
Auren’s best friend was captured during the Galvadi invasion, and her rescue attempt goes awry. Now Auren finds herself in the hands of an enemy who knows her true identity…one who has the power to be either her destroyer or her salvation.
Episode 8: Broken
Auren doesn’t succumb to Makari’s torture, so he decides his father was right about her being the delohi-saqu. Now he resorts to more sadistic methods to extract information, which could doom the Coalition if Auren fails to resist.
Episode 9: Turning Tides
Now that Makari knows the truth about Auren, he has sworn to protect her and help her escape. But when the other guides become suspicious, Makari’s loyalty is tested, and he is forced to do something he swore he’d never do again.
Episode 10: Separate Paths
Auren finally meets Shai, Kado’s daughter, but she is too weak from her months of torture to escape the reconciliation center. Makari takes over Shai’s cleansing sessions, but that means Auren will face daily torture again. To make things worse, Makari disappears and Auren is given a task that means taking the life of someone she loves.
Episode 11: Escape Part 1
Auren and Shai begin their escape, but it doesn’t go as planned, and they are forced to adjust their plans. They are pushed to their limits, and Auren has to put her untried abilities to use or risk being recaptured.
Episode 12: Escape Part 2
Makari has decided to stay with the Galvadi for Auren’s protection. Auren and Shai are on their own, and nature seems to be against them. After being seriously injured, Auren falls ill and it starts to look like they will never reach their meeting spot with Kado on the southern shore.
Episode 13: Defiance
Three years have passed since Auren and Shai escaped the daily torture of the Galvadi. With Makari’s help, they have learned more about the Galvadi’s technology and discovered ways to overcome its effects on their power, which gave them an edge in the war. However, the Galvadi have spent that time developing new technology that could mean the end of the shadow stalkers.
Episode 14: Falling to Pieces
Things go from bad to worse after Cali is captured by the Galvadi. The new technology they have employed is making a rescue attempt impossible and endangering the lives of all the shadow stalkers. Auren refuses to give up though, but the more she tries to fix thing, the more Kado tightens the leash.
Episode 15: Into My Own
Just when Auren thinks she’d had enough of Kado’s overbearing and overprotective nature, he surprises her by apologizing and admitting he had been wrong. Auren finally accepts that she is not at fault for Cali’s death after visiting her in the shadow world, but Kado and Makari are still preventing her from confronting Drevin. They don’t feel she is ready, and Auren is beginning to believe they will never let her fulfil her destiny. It’s time she takes matters into her own hands.