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Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in Contests, Guest Post | 41 comments

Guest post & giveaway with author Cheryl Brooks

1What is the difference between writing book 1 and writing book 10 of a series?
 
So much has happened since I first wrote Slave, book one of the Cat Star Chronicles. I wrote it with the intention of creating the sexiest alien hero ever conceived, along with a heroine who didn’t mince words and wore a pulse pistol on her hip like the toughest gunslinger the Wild West ever produced. In short, it was Star Wars, Star Trek, and Gunsmoke combined with sizzling hot, uncensored sex.
 
At the time, I was an untrained writer, and I inadvertently broke most of the romance genre’s rules. I wrote in first person. I used the f-word as a noun, verb, adjective, and expletive. My heroine’s name was Jack, and my hero was named Cat, and she rescued him as often as he rescued her, perhaps even more. Jack was a combination of Han Solo, John Crichton (Farscape), and Captain Jack Sparrow, with a little bit of me thrown in. Cat was based on a knight at Medieval Times, Mr. Spock, and your basic house cat. Cat was a slave, and Jack “found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime.” I wrote that opening line, never dreaming I would be called upon to duplicate it in nine more books. (I didn’t, of course.) I wrote the book I wanted to read, and I didn’t really care whether anyone else liked it or not. When I sold it to Sourcebooks, they had me change a few things, but the story was essentially the same as what I’d originally written.

After Slave was published, readers either hated it or loved it. There was very little middle ground among the reviews. Some people were puzzled by the humor, wondering whether it was intentional or not. But there were others who understood what I was trying to do. I was a critical care nurse for thirty-five years. I’d dealt with enough life and death situations to last a lifetime. I was ready for some fun, and yes, the humor was intentional. The book doesn’t take itself too seriously (neither do I), so if you’re looking for dark, angsty, dramatic, humorless stories, don’t read mine. You won’t like them. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a bit of fun, some super hot sex, a dash of mystery and action/adventure, intelligent heroines, and guys who just won’t quit, look no further. You don’t even have to like sci-fi!
 
OutcastSomewhere between book three (Rogue) and book four (Outcast), I was asked to start writing in third person. Basically, I didn’t know how. I was guilty of head-hopping even before I knew what the term meant. It wasn’t until I was writing Fugitive (book five) that my friend Marie Force read a scene and asked, “Do you always change POV (point of view) back and forth in a scene?” I was like, “Well, yeah…” Her response was, “That’s head-hopping, and you can’t get away with that unless you’re Nora Roberts.” Needless to say, lesson learned.
 
When I wrote book seven, Virgin, I was asked to trim five thousand words from the manuscript. My pal and fellow IRWA member, author Sandy James, came to my rescue. Together, we deleted over six thousand words, mostly unnecessary dialogue tags and conjunctions. My writing was now tighter than ever, and the pacing significantly improved. Since then, I’ve honed my craft, attending IRWA meetings, workshops, panel discussions, and conferences. I now have three critique partners and several beta readers. I’ve even taught a few workshops and participated in several panel discussions—some at local RWA chapter meetings and some at the Starbase Indy convention.
 
So when I tell you that book ten, Rebel, is the best book I’ve ever written, I’m not kidding, nor am I patting myself on the back. Anyone who has read the series from beginning to end can see my growth as a writer. Within the Cat Star Chronicles, I’ve created a world that is as real to me as any imaginary setting can ever be. All sorts of different species live there, some pretty and some not so nice, and many of my characters have recurring roles. My mind’s eye sees each planet quite clearly. I hear the characters speaking in my head, their words flowing through to my fingertips as I write. I feel their emotions as if they were my own. When they cry, I cry. When they laugh, I catch myself chuckling. And when they love, I feel it.
 
Hopefully, you will too.
 
 
image001About the author
 
Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse turned romance writer. Her Cat Star Chronicles series includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and the current release, Rebel. She is a member of the RWA and IRWA and lives with her husband and sons near Bloomfield, Indiana.
 
Find Cheryl online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
 
Buy Cheryl’s books at: Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Books-A-Million , Hastings , IndieBound , Indigo , iTunes
 
 
Rebel
 
Thanks to Sourcebooks, we have 1 copy of Rebel to giveaway. This is open to U.S./Canada residents only and the winner will be announced on July 5th.  Please read our giveaway policy before entering.  Good luck!
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

41 Comments

  1. Hi Cheryl,
    Good Luck on today’s blog hop!!

    • Thanks, Lori! It’s looking like a wild and crazy release day!

  2. Oh what I wouldn’t give to live on Terra Minor! Just to watch those Cat Men at work……. OH MY GOODNESS!

    • LOL! No kidding. The scenery has to be INCREDIBLE!!!

  3. Congratulations on release day! Great stop on the blog hop! Love these!

    • Thanks, Sue! Are we having fun yet????

  4. Congrats on the release! I know there is a ton to do on releases but you got this. It is a busy week for you with the blog tour!

    • Thanks, Amber! Today has been wild!

  5. Congrats on the release! I am looking forward to reading and reviewing it. I wonder whether your family is familiar enough with the series that they argue with you about the way you have things play out?

    • I go over some plot issues with my husband, but he’s never actually read one of the books! Not his thing, unfortunately!

  6. Happy book birthday! Love this book! Can’t wait for the next one. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Eva! Probably won’t be another Cat Star book for a long while, if ever. Sorry!

  7. OMG it’s at 10 already? I am sooo behind on this series. Congrats on hitting 10 though Cheryl, that is amazing!!!

    • Thanks,Rhianna!Have fun catching up!

  8. oooh… this series looks and sounds awesome :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Erin! Good luck in the contest!

  9. I started writing in first person too and my current WIP is in third person. Definitely a learning curve. There are elements I like about both POVs, but third person does seem to be the favored way to go for most editors.

    • It took me a while, but I got hooked on third person eventually. It’s easier to write a longer book when you can see events from more than one POV. Plus, I got into the guys’ heads and kinda liked it there!

  10. Hi Cheryl! I am new to you & your books, I have no excuse! I am sorry! lol But I am thrilled that I have now discovered you! Since I am a newbee – what is the best place to start at? Which series or book/short story/prequel/etc. is the perfect first book of your to read? Are all of your books in the paranormal/fantasy genre? Which of your books is your personal favorite to write and why? Oh, and which was your favorite to read? Or the one that you are most proud of?

    • Hi Cherri-Anne,
      I’d start with Slave, the first book in the Cat Star Chronicles. It’s a little rough in places, but it’s still the favorite of many of my readers.
      I’ve also written an erotic contemporary series called Unlikely Lovers. It’s a little hotter than the Cat Star series, but still fun!
      Right now, I’m most proud of Rebel, but Wildcat (book 9 of the Cat Star series) is a finalist in this year’s Prism Awards Contest, which is a competition for published authors hosted by the Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

  11. I have never read any of your books, Cheryl. You got me with Star Wars, Star Trek and Gunsmoke! I am putting you on my ever growing TBR list. This series sounds like The Wild Wild West on steroids! Thanks Haven for introducing another new author to me!

    • Thanks, Patty! Happy to be on your list!

  12. Really love the series. I want one of these men for myself. Congrats on the new release. So excited to read it.

    • Thanks, Stephanie! LOL! I want one too! Hope you enjoy Rebel as much as the rest of the series!

  13. Congrats on your new release! You have created a wonderful series.

    • Thanks, Lil! Believe me, it’s been a lot of fun writing about the cats. I’m going to miss them! Maybe even enough to write another book!

  14. gotta love those cats
    Cat Chronicles

    CB I stalking you
    Ravyn (Miniature black panther)
    teaching me to stalk like panther

    • LOL! Too funny, Pam! I need to meet this cat of yours!

  15. This series looks awesome!!

    • Hi Kayla! My cats ARE awesome! Let’s get you started on them. Good luck in the raffle!

  16. I have just discovered you.. This series of books looks like a lot of fun.. Looking forward to reading your work.

    • Hi Teresa! Hope you enjoy the series. Good luck in the giveaway!

  17. I’m stunned I read the very first book but didn’t realize it was a series. I’m going to have to catch up. I got the book from the library and loved it! When I went back sometime later to get it to reread they no longer had a copy and I was bummed. I’m excited that you took the book further then just the first book. I always thought that it would make a nice little series and apparently I was right. I’d love to win this book and delve back into the wonderful world that you created. Thanks for this great giveaway!!!

    • Yep! Been writing about the cats ever since. They should keep you busy for a while!

  18. This was an awesome post Cheryl. I have all of this series that I’ve managed to collect but haven’t read them yet. Now when I do I’ll keep what you’ve said in mind as I enjoy the series :-)

    • Sounds like a plan, Glittergirl!

  19. Hmmm, I have read Slave at least five times. The change of POV never bothered me. You can totally get away with it. I’ve never read a Nora Roberts book more then once but yours I’ve read numerous times!

    • Sweet! Hopefully Rebel will be worth re-reading too!

  20. Cheryl, I love your books and eagerly wait for each new one. Kerp writing. Love the cats and enjoy quite a few of your other books.

    • Thanks, Hyacinth! Maybe you’ll win another one!

  21. Interesting cover