Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits with Kari: Featuring Author Cathleen Ross

Interview with Cathleen Ross: author of Dirty Sexy Murder available July 1st 2010
Kari: What has the transition of switching from erotic romance to writing a mystery been like?
Cathleen: People see me as erotic writer because my first published book, Man Hunt, was an erotic book way before erotica became a strong selling genre. I’ve always seen myself as a popular fiction writer as apart from DIRTY SEXY MURDER, I have just sold LOVE, LUST AND LIES a women’s fiction Cougar book where the heroine has to confront her Italian/American catholic culture when she leaves her marriage and takes up with a gorgeous young man.
Kari: Love the cover of your book by the way :-) Can you tell us more about your psychic murder mystery called DIRTY SEXY MURDER?
Cathleen: Often when we write, the worries we have in the back of our minds come through in our work. When I was a young girl, I saw a ghost. Since it was only once, it was no big deal, though I never forgot it. When my daughter was old enough to vocalize, she started to tell me about the people who visited her at night and stood by her bed. This kept up until she was about twelve. She also knew things she couldn’t possibly have known about the dead people she saw as some of them were family. When she was eight, I sent her to a ski boarding school for five weeks. She was in a dorm with other students and she used to see a nurse dressed in a long gown with a pinny over the top. She drew the costume for me. I later found out that her dorm had been part of a demountable hospital last century.
My own powers started to develop too as I approached forty. I could sometimes hear other people’s thoughts. If I knew the person, I would tell them and ask them if they had been thinking the thoughts. My friends would own up. Sometimes, I would be woken up in the night and see a person coming down a white tunnel. They’d always have a message for a relative. I have to admit I worried was I going mad, which is why my character, Marina, worries about her psychic abilities and wonders if she is going nuts. She works as a Brazilian Waxer and she has visions that her clients end up murdered, which come true. Evil looks like black swirling energy. Marina is intuitive and can sense the evil but she doesn’t know who it is coming from. She works as a Brazilian Waxer and she has visions that her clients end up murdered, which come true.
In DIRTY SEXY MURDER, Marina has to learn to trust her “gift” and understand how to use it. It doesn’t help that the man she is in love with has a computer science background and doesn’t believe in psychic phenomena. The hero, James, is based on my husband, who studied engineering at university. In terms of structure, these mystery/crime novels work well when the author has one believer and one non believer.
Kari: What has it been like to study with a spiritual teacher?
Cathleen: It’s been wonderful to study under my spiritual teacher because she taught me how to meditate and ground myself. There are universal rules on how to use psychic gifts with integrity. I’ve learned how to pull in my aura so that I don’t accidently go into people’s head spaces. I also learned how to pass on psychic messages so that I don’t distress the receiver. I only work for good and when I see something I prefer I didn’t, like men who are cheating on their wives or when I deal with murderers, I’ve learned how to handle that too.
What kind of "gift" do you have?I can see into the future for others but not for myself, which is annoying. Through either dreams or meditation, I get messages from souls who have passed over, which have deep meaning for those left on earth. If someone wants to know something, I hold a piece of their jewelry and I can give them an answer. I use the gift for good only and I never charge.
Kari: Any tips or pieces of advice for your fellow mystery writers seeking publication?
Cathleen: My novel is set in a Brazilian Waxing Parlor and my heroine is a waxer, so DIRTY SEXY MURDER is quirky from the get go. Several editors recommended to their publishers to buy it but for market reasons, it didn’t sell. I sent it to a small e publisher call Lyrical Press and the publisher also offered me a print contract. I think the smaller publishers have opened the door to newer writers. I would suggest others who are hoping to break into this tight market should enter contests to get feedback, hone their craft, connect with editors at conferences and send out to big and small publishers.
Kari: Who are your favorite authors?
Cathleen: Linda Howard, Gena Showalter, Nalini Singh, Vicki Lewis Thompson.
Thanks so much for being here, Cathleen and good luck with your new release. DIRTY SEXY MURDER is coming out in print on July 1, 2010


Cassy Pickard said...

Cathleen: Welcome to M&M! I loved reading your comments on "knowing" things about people and places. I'm a Reiki Master and have many stories about what I have learned as I work on people. I also have stories about "who" has visited me in my house. Many people just don't understand.

I really look forward to your release! Thanks again for being here and for being so open with your experiences.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Cassy worked on my back at the last RWA Nationals, and wow, she was spot on in finding exactly where I hurt...without even touching me. I could feel the heat of her hand. Freaky, yet soooo cool!

cdpickard said...

Okay, Kari. We have a date at this year's Nationals. I'll get my hands warmed up--just for you.

Cathleen, would you talk some more about how you "see" things and "know things?" I really am intrigued.

I'm also interested in knowing how that influences your writing. Is there a carry-over with your "knowing" stuff to your writing, or is it more a reporting-out, a story telling of what your experiences have been?

Thanks for putting up with all my questions. As I said, I've had enough experiences to want to know even more.

Lyn said...

In writing we are told to pay attention to the five senses. But when you write about someone with more than five, how does that affect the way you approach the story? It's funny--I'm a total non-believer, but I just love ghost stories and such. (I have the same kind of bewonderment about HEA.) I wonder if the experience of reading these stories is much different for a believer than for a non-believer? And have you ever converted anyone?

Have to laugh: I'd be annoyed, too, if I could "see" for everyone but myself. It would be so helpful to know which home improvement contractors are crooks, for instance! Very interesting article, and count on it: I'll be back to read further comments!

Cassy Pickard said...

Lyn, it's pretty amazing. My background is a PhD in research methodology. No one would have thought that I'd be someone who experienced what I have. My friends still think that I might have lost it. But, it's amazing.

Lyn said...

It humbles me to talk with people of great achievement, and I always go at it with the need to learn.

When I was much younger, I did some turns as a fake psychic. People want to believe. Now, I never took any money, just entertained people with it. Fake, yes; thief, no.

This is not to say that what you and Cathleen have experienced is false, only to say that it is ridiculously easy to fake it. Human beings love stories. Need them.

Cassy Pickard said...

Lyn: You are absolutely right. It is easy to fake and it is easy to believe when there is little proof involved. I get that totally.

My experiences have been such that I have a hard time thinking that my mind is playing tricks on me. Of course it is possible. My solid background in the scientific method keeps me always wondering. Yet, it's very hard to dismiss what I have experienced.

Cathleen? What are your thoughts on this??

Lyn said...

No, no! I don't mean to imply that your experiences are false. Since you are schooled in the scientific method, you have likely tried every mundane explanation for your experiences. (Hate to keep using that word, but don't know how else to express it.) Many people are more credulous, though. TV psychics are fakes, if anything I've read about the genuine article is true--that it doesn't happen on cue, for instance.

Different cultures have different explanations for the same phenomenon. For us, lightning occurs when a buildup of ions needs to be released. For primitive cultures, the gods are flinging thunderbolts. Love that word: thunderbolts.

Great topic, this.

Liz Lipperman said...

Wow! As another scientific person who looks for logical explanations for everything, I find myself being skeptic of all things paranormal. Part of it comes from watching shows like "Leap of Faith" with Steve Martin where someone (Deborah Winger) stood at the entry and listened to people talking when they walked in. Then she'd relay everything to him so he could look like it was miraculous when he knew things about them.

Then I wrote a story about a ghost (my sister) and some truly amazing things happened that made me certain she was there with me.

Long story short, I am not the skeptic I used to be and I'm looking forward to reading your book.

Thanks for being with us today at M & M.

Mary Martinez said...

Welcome, Cathleen to Mysteries and Margaritas.

Great blog. I loved reading about this.

Cassy and Cathleen I too have stories about something in my home who visits regularly or lives here. I'm not sure.

I can't wait to read your book.

Terri said...

Intriguing stuff.

Cathleen Ross said...

Hi Mary, Lyn, Liz, Cassie and Kari,
I'll try and answer your questions. For the earth bound spirit who I saw when I was a child, she was the color of a white sheet of paper. For people on the other side, they have a tunnel around them that looks like clouds. Sometimes, they are up close so I can see their faces and sometimes they are at the end of the tunnel and look like they are a long way away. They communicate both in words and symbols and I can also feel their feelings. What I always get is love or concern for the person who is going to receive the message, then I feel an obligation to pass it on which can be hard. I once received a message for an editor who everyone would know here, but I'd only met her once at Nationals so there was no way I was going to email her. I passed on the message through a mutual close friend who reported back that she cried because the message was from someone who had just passed away but had wanted to say how much he loved and respected her. In this case I saw a vision of a man on a hospital bed and the editor sitting by his side. I expect people to say this is rubbish because it sounds pretty weird to me but they never do. The messages are so personal. AS I said, I never ask or receive money, so if I have something to say, I always ask permission of the person, explain I have a message from the other side and give the message.

Cathleen Ross said...

Lyn asked how this affects my writing. When I go into a room with people who I don't know, I "sense" the room a bit like an animal does in a new territory. I know if someone has murdered people or is a criminal. It feels like the bad things they have done attach to their soul, but it's only through experience that I know this. My character in Dirty Sexy Murder is confused because she can hear, sees visions and can sense things, but she doesn't trust her instincts. Only through years of study with my spiritual teacher, have I learned to trust my instincts. I realize the whole thing is odd but then I'm a person who takes her chicken on holidays,so I guess I'm odd anyway.

Lyn said...

You are such a kind person, and anyone who travels with a pet chicken is okay by me.

This is for the others who have stories--does this sensitivity run in your family?

And, as a purely marketing question, would a sensitive character--such as yours, Cathleen--put the novel into the paranormal genre, or something else?

Eleni Konstantine said...

Cathleen, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Can't wait to read Dirty Sexy Murder and see how your heroine copes with her gifts.

Cathleen Ross said...

Good question Lyn. For me it's paranormal, for the market it's mystery/thriller with paranormal elements. Where it differs from the usual psychic solving the mystery-type stories is that my heroine isn't sure of her gifts. I think the reaction of "Did I really just see that?" is more realistic.

CC Coburn said...

Hi Cathleen,
As one of your research guinea pigs for the Brazillian wax story (ouch!)you know I just love reading what you're up to next.
congratualtions on the sale of Love, Lust and Lies and French Kiss - great title!)
I don't think I'm at all psychic, but I have had the hair stand up on the back of my neck when I visited Anzac Cove and Glencoe. At the time I didn't know what had happened at Glencoe (okay, call me ignorant why doncha? ;-) but at both places i got this overwhelming feeling of sadness.
My husband was an unbeliever until he saw a ghost in a 10th century castle we were staying in, in Tuscany. Thinking he was dreaming, he told the owner about it the next day and was chilled to discover there was a headless ghost called the blue lady. His ghost was blue and the room went really cold when he saw her! (((shudder)))

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Cathleen, do you see yourself as a psychic who wants to get a paranormal message across to readers or as a writer who is able to access research for paranormal events to help the plot of your novel?
I have read DIRTY, SEXY MURDER and it is a very entertaining, sexy story with lots of LOL moments and a lovely romance too.

Cathleen Ross said...

Hi Kandy
Definitely as a writer. I don't expect to change beliefs.
I wrote Dirty Sexy Murder at a time when my daughter was seeing dead people and I didn't know how to make them go away. In Dirty Sexy, Evelyn the Clairvoyant is a lot like me. She's stuck with her dead mother-in-law and trying to work out how to get rid of her. Dead people can be really annoying sometimes.

Michelle Douglas said...

Fascinating interview, Cathleen! When I was younger I so wanted to be psychic -- now I can see it for the mixed blessing it is. It must've been confronting to say the least when your daughter started seeing ghosts, but a heck of a spur to develop your own talents and knowledge.

DIRTY, SEXY MURDER sounds fab. I can't wait to grab a copy.

Thanks for sharing your story!

Nerine Dorman said...

Thanks for sharing, Cathleen. I've always been fascinated with the idea of a genuine psychic. I'm so glad my reality only goes slightly fuzzy at the edges only rarely.

I LOVE writing about psychic characters, however.

Cathleen Ross said...

Thanks for having me on the blog and for everyone's interest. In January I predicted that my lovely friend, CC Coburn would be nominated for a prize. Since that prediction, she's been nominated for three and won two for her first book. Each time she tells me I'm bemused because I can still see her sitting next to her editor waiting for her name to be called out but I can't tell what prize or when. See how annoying this predicting business is?
So I guess I'll end this blog on a prediction that there's more prizes to come for her.
You girls can hold me to that.
Cathleen Ross

Lyn said...

Thank you, Cathleen, and best wishes with the book. It's a genius title, BTW, and sounds like a very entertaining read. The idea of a heroine who is uncomfortable with and unsure of her great talent--that's very good.

Mel Teshco said...

I find this all so interesting, I've had quite a bit of experience with 'unexplained' happenings, unfortunately a lot of it wasn't nice and it's only as I've gotten older that I'm not paralyzed by fear (g) my daughter used to see a blue man at the end of her bed in army boots and little boy peering through her bedroom window. Think she's grown out of it now =)

CC Coburn said...

Thanks Cathleen! Hopefully your predictions for me will further come true (and for my daughter, Holly ;-) ).
I've actually finalled in a couple more contests, but they aren't decided yet.
I'll keep you posted!
Although, come to think of it, you might know before me. :-)