Frequently asked questions
What has been your biggest challenge in writing or publishing these books?
I find plenty of this work challenging, but I think my very biggest obstacle comes down to time management. I am not a fast writer by any means. I find I can get more books out by having at least three books in different phases of production: one in plot/outline, one I am writing the first draft of, and one I am editing. This lets me release at least 3-4 books a year. Then there is the marketing, blogging, etc. I never have enough hours in the day.
Do you ever help new and aspiring writers by reading and critiquing their work?
I wish I could. Early on when I was newly published, I did. However, things have reached a point where I don’t have time to do that anymore.
What advice do you have for a writer just starting out?
Keep writing, no matter what. First book is in edits? Start the next one. First book didn’t do so well in sales? Keep writing the next one. First book is doing spectacular? Congratulations—you’re working on the next one, right?
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! Everything that shows up in my life is potential fodder for showing up in my books, whether as a main plot, or a subplot. Politics, religion, raising children, new scientific discoveries, a video game, a piece of art—ideas are everywhere, and I grab them like a kid in a candy store.
What do you love most about being a writer?
My readers. I adore hearing I’ve touched their lives in some way. I’ve had a few tell me I’ve encouraged them to write too—how cool is that?! Not only do I get to create universes I want to visit, but those who have been generous enough to come with me branch out into their own unique worlds too. I love that.
Where can I see you? What conferences?
Unfortunately, I have severe social anxiety and have not taken the brave step of facing the crowds at conferences. I hope to overcome that eventually, but there are no plans to attend any conferences at this time.
Do you have a newsletter?
Yes! You can sign up for that at the bottom of any page of my website. At this point, I only send it out to announce a book is up for sale, so you’ve got a no-spam guarantee.
Where do I start with your three Kalquorian series?
Most start with Alien Embrace, the first in the main Clans of Kalquor series. The Shalia’s Diary books, start following the events of CoK’s third book Alien Conquest. The Clan Beginnings books are prequels to the main series, showing how the three men formed their clans. It’s all about the manlove there, so if that’s not your thing, feel free to skip it. Clan Beginnings can be read at any time, in any order, though I do recommend Clan and Command before you read Alien Revolt (if you do read m/m/m romance).
Do Kalquorians have nationalities or races amongst themselves? Like humans have their German, Italian, Chinese, etc heritage. Do Kalquorians have a version of this or are they all pretty much just Kalquorian?
Since all Kalquorians can trace their beginnings to a past race that came from another planet (check the The Kalquorian Empire page of my blog for full story), they see themselves as one nationality. There was a period during which they were divided like countries, but they still saw themselves overall as one race.
Can a clan in which a member dies get a new member?
Absolutely. However, it can be difficult, depending on how long a clan has been together and which member passed away. Not that any breed is more important than another, but in the case of the loss of a Matara, the female member is the rarest and most difficult to find. Even with Earther women joining clans, there are few enough of them that it is unlikely to happen. Imdikos are also rare and tend to clan young, so those would be in short supply and highly unlikely to be won.
Are there any clans/Mataras you had trouble writing because you couldn't connect to them as well as the others?
That's an interesting question. I actually haven't had any real issues connecting with any of my characters, at least on some level. Every character I've written has some facet of myself in him/her, even if it's only a sliver. I also do detailed character studies before I write the first word of a story. Character development is a huge chunk of my process, usually taking several days. I end up knowing my gang so well that I really can get into their heads and understand where they're coming from at any given moment.
I've gathered that when a clan is coming together that it’s important to establish a Dramok first, that if a Nobek and an Imdiko wish to be clanmates they seem to need a Dramok to clan them both. Why can't an Imdiko and Nobek be clanmates out right? Why do they have to wait for the Dramok?
You can blame that one on politics, as well as the early drive to establish balanced clans in the first place. Clans of the three male breeds and a female were not always the order of the Empire (you can check The Kalquorian Empire page of my blog for the history on that). As with any new social order, there was initially kickback against the clan system. It will come as no surprise that it was the larger number of Nobeks who weren't keen on sharing their rare Imdiko lovers or the even rarer Matara mates. And yes, the warrior majority did have the greatest opportunity to score lovers and mates due to sheer numbers.
Will you do another diary series after Shalia’s Diary is finished?
I never say never. However, there are no plans at this time to write another diary. If I do, it will have to be pretty fabulous, because Shalia will be a hard act to follow!
How far do you think you'll go in this universe?
It's hard to say. The main series may wind down in a few more books/years, or at least be temporarily suspended while new ideas percolate. But I don't see Kalquor-related books going away in the foreseeable future. There are still plenty of Clan Beginnings books, plus a huge number of stand-alones that could be written. I'm still bursting with ideas for books in the Kalquor universe.
Will there be a book about the very first clan?
Yet another story I'm dying to get to and have no time to do so in the near future. But yes, it is on the list.
Do you have a favorite Clan/Matara/Book?
I always fall madly in love with whatever clan I'm currently writing about. However, the clan that stands the test of time for me is Clan Tranis.
Are you planning to do more with the Nuns of Europa?
I would like to get back to them, but unfortunately my schedule won't allow me to do that soon. Hopefully within the next couple of years I can.
We know there have to be orphans from earth, how are they going to be brought into Kalquorian society, especially the boys?
Earther orphans are not brought to Kalquor. The Galactic Council of Planets is in charge of Earther refugees since Earth's government is now non-existent. As depicted in Sister Katherine, an orphanage for those children who lost their parents/guardians has been set up in Galactic Council space.
Are you going to do another short story collection like Alien Interludes?
I don't have anything planned at this time due to scheduling issues. However, once this war with the Basma is settled, I might consider another short story collection.
How do the international Clan of Kalquor books differ from the American versions? Are there added scenes?
The only real difference between the two versions are British vs. U.S. spellings. For example: colour instead of color, realise instead of realize. And of course, the different cover art. International sales for the Clans of Kalquor series are handled by Totally Bound Publishing, which is based in the U.K. I continue to self-publish the U.S. versions.
The Clan Beginnings books have really captured my imagination. I was wondering though, after they clan a Matara do they continue to have relations with each other?
The men continue to enjoy each other’s intimate company. In the regular series, they're just so excited with their new Mataras that the manlove falls to the wayside for a bit. Also, over half of the Clans of Kalquor readers do not want to read male-with- male sexual situations. Therefore, these scenes do not make it into the main series.
How did you come up with Kalquor? Is it what you originally envisioned, or has it developed as you write?
It has been so many years since I initially came up with Alien Embrace that I’m not quite sure where the exact idea originated. I was a huge sci-fi geek who wanted to write futuristic tales with romance. But as for the first moment the Kalquorian universe beckoned, I can’t remember. What I do recall is hanging out with girlfriends, talking about my idea for the book, laughing and discussing the physical attributes alien men should have when they took us away to re-populate their dying world. From that point, the whole thing just seemed to explode into being.
How do you come up with the Kalquorian names for characters and other miscellaneous alien terms?
The names and terms are usually based on an actual names and words that I play around with. I built the breed name ‘Imdiko’ (pronounced im-DEE- ko) around M.D. (as in ‘medical doctor’) since my first caregiver Flencik was a physician. Rajhir came from ‘rajah’, the Sanskrit word for monarch; and ‘emir’, a Middle Eastern prince, commander, or governor. As the clan leader, it fit him.
Are some or any of your characters inspired by people you know? Are they similar or were there changes during the creative process?
I am initially inspired by people I know or know of. Sometimes a complete stranger I observe is the basis of a character. However, my characters almost always take on a life of their own and end up telling me who they are, rather than the other way around.
Is there a legal Kalquor clanning age?
Kalquorian males cannot clan without parental permission before the age of 25. They can date, live with lovers, have sex, so on and so forth, but they cannot make that lifelong commitment until they reach 25 or convince their parents they are ready.
How did you come up with the quotes for the Book of Life?
Many of those are based on my own thoughts on certain aspects of spirituality. I have studied many religions because faith fascinates me ... on both spiritual and scholarly levels. Much of the Book of Life ideas spring from my studies of Buddhism, with some Taoism, Christianity, and Native American teachings thrown in as well.
Did I miss Shalia's description? What does she look like?
She looks like YOU, dear reader. I have never provided a description of Shalia because I wanted the reader to see herself as Shalia. There is a mention here and there of Shalia being underweight due to starvation, getting bigger because of pregnancy, and toning up from training. Otherwise, I have provided no hints on her appearance, leaving her to the reader's imagination.