Frequently Asked Questions...
Where did you go?
Well, I took a big trip. (In a wet locker room, to a hard concrete floor, to be precise.)
Before mid-2017 I was releasing an average of 6 books a year in multiple series. In 2017, I fell and damaged my neck and left arm one night at a pool where I was swimming laps. Since then I have managed 2-3 releases a year, as typing and sitting upright at a desk became increasingly difficult because of nerve damage.
I’ve had several more falls since then that have just compounded the problem. Each fall has resulted in rounds of physical therapy, etc. etc..
NOW, in Oct. 2020, I am starting another round of physical therapy and the doctor is hinting at surgical options to fix the damage to my neck/shoulder/arm.
I’m hoping PT does the job this time! I didn’t go anywhere—writing just got physically more difficult. At this point, thanks to dictation and other ways of getting the books done, I am now able to work a longer portion of each day.
I **should** if PT works, be able to be almost back to full-speed. I am hoping to have more books releasing each year.
This year, if Jac’s book is finished before Christmas (as anticipated!), I’ll have doubled the number of books released in 2020 than in 2019!
Why aren’t your books in Kindle Unlimited?
There is a simple answer to this—most of my readers do not buy my books through Amazon!
Kindle Unlimited terms require an author to only sell a Kindle Unlimited book on Amazon’s platform (Google Amazon author exclusivity for more information.). To put my books in Kindle Unlimited would deny the majority of my readers on Apple, Google, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble the ability to read the books on their chosen platform. Some readers on these platforms have been with me for ten years now, and I am not about to deny them access to releases.
Also, a Kindle Unlimited author makes a fraction of the amount through Kindle Unlimited as they would make if a reader purchased their book. I can’t, from a business standpoint, pull my books from the majority of my readers, just to make a fraction of my sales income, to serve a smaller market on Amazon.
So, no. My books will never be in Kindle Unlimited.
However, most of my titles are available for libraries to purchase. You can request your local library purchase a copy for you to check out.
Why do I not post a public release schedule?
See question one. I never know when I will be able to sit at my desk long enough to write. It takes me approximately 500 work hours (about 12.5 40-hour work weeks) to think up a book concept, write it, edit it, proof it, format it, design the cover, and send it to my own editor. Some weeks I may manage 20 work hours. Other weeks 50. It all depends on how bad the injury flare up is at that time—or when I have physical therapy.
PT is exhausting and painful. It sucks the creative juices out of a person like a soul-stealing vampire.
So in order NOT to break promises to the readers that I know I can’t keep, I will give a release date only after the book has been sent to my editor and she lets me know when she’ll have it back to me. After that, I factor in the time it takes to get the book ready for publication. Then, I add a week, in case there are unforeseen problems along the way.
Only then, do I post a release date.
What about Jude and the other free website serials?
Because of the nasty ramifications of the damage I’ve done to my neck and carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms, I had to make some significant cuts to what I could realistically type and do each week.
Unfortunately, the free stories don’t put food in the kid’s belly.
(And I have no clue how such a scrawny creature manages to eat so much food!)
Simple truth is, my books support my family, plus my mother.
Having to reduce my book releases each year meant I had to prioritize differently. I do plan to finish Jude. I have written more chapters for her, and I hope to start posting again in Oct. 2020. Jude will be finished, no matter what!
Are there more PAVAD books coming?
The last PAVAD book was released right around the time I fell for the second time. I intended to have another PAVAD book out each six months after that. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The books I have released since then were books that were already started/well on their way to being written before the injuries. The next PAVAD books weren’t in that stash.
However, I am now back on a realistic schedule! The next PAVAD book, SEARCHING, is in progress as we speak. I don’t have a release date yet, but it will be sometime in late 2020/early 2021.
SAVING, the book after that, featuring Nat Jones and Micah Hanen, will be a 2021 release, if everything goes according to plan. After that, there are more PAVAD titles planned, including spin-offs.
Why did Allan and Miranda not get together in Case Files 5 “Buried Secrets”?
Buried Secrets is a police procedural, not a romance. Miranda and Allan get together in the final PAVAD book, which will (probably) be titled ENDING. The Case Files series is a Mystery/Police Procedural series. It is not a romance series, though several of the books and novellas contain romantic elements.
Miranda and Allan will get together, but it’s going to take a while. They will pop up in several more books along the way and will be Very Important People in these books.
Are there more Small-Town Sheriffs books?
Yes. This series was one I dropped the ball on because of my injuries. They are the longest books in the catalog and are very complicated and difficult to write. But like all the series’ I have planned, they have a different tone and theme and feel. I want to explore that in more depth.
The next STS book will feature Murdoch Lake (Cam from HIDING’s brother) and Zoey Daviess (one of the Daviess siblings!). Hopefully it will release in 2021.
What about Dom and Madison and Jarrod and Haldyn from Finley Creek?
Jarrod and Haldyn’s website serial was another that I had to cut because of everything that happened. I do plan in 2021/2022 to do more with them. Dom and Madison will also get a book. There will be another Finley Creek “TSP” miniseries after the “Disaster” series concludes (Shelby Jacobson and Jake MacNamara are the final couple in “Disaster” btw.).
The new “TSP” series will be Dom, Jarrod, Gunnar, and (finally) Daniel McKellen.
Just how many Daviess children are there?
Well…at least 18, that I know of. I mean, we’ve all heard of women having that many children, right? Well, I guarantee this isn’t at all like “19 Kids & Counting”. There’re a few ‘twists’ along the way.
The story will be resolved sometime in 2021/2022, with (hopefully) all Daviess offspring located.
CURRENTLY (in age order) Luc (Redeeming), Caine (Lost in the Wind), Rafe (Wounds that Won’t Heal), Paige (Revealing), Zoey (Small-Town Sheriff #2), Ariella (As the Night Ends).
There are more siblings in there somewhere, and of course, Penelope and Simon!
What about the final Beck sister, Sydney?
Don’t worry, she gets her own book eventually. But right now, she and her buddies… (Josey, Penelope, and Grace) need a little time to grow up. I’m not ready to age the rest of my characters yet. Too much to do first...
What will you do with Clint and Maggie and the rest of the Masterson characters?
There are way more stories set in Masterson County. We’ll start off with Maggie and Clint in early 2021 (hopefully). After that, we may just head back to the Talley Inn (first described in Buried Secrets, though Flo appeared in the original Masterson series) to see what’s going on with Miranda’s family!
Ummmm…Where are your paranormal books?
In 2018/2019 I made the decision to pull all 26 paranormals from retailers as the books didn’t reflect my current writing standards.
I am nowhere near finished writing in that universe, and those earlier books needed to be as strong as later books for the overarching storylines to work as well as I intend them to.
The books are currently being rewritten and expanded to be richer and more action-packed. The books are being relaunched in coming months, after each has been rewritten and then edited by a wonderful editor who edits for publishers such as Hallmark and Carina.
The first two titles have each doubled in length, and have now been relaunched. Mallory’s book is coming in Oct. 2020.
You can find them under the new pen name “C.J. Brookes” or by visiting www.callejayebrookes.com. (That website is a little generic looking. I’m trying to glitter it up but that’s taking time!)
Where did PAVAD come from?
Criminal Minds, and every other FBI drama I’ve ever seen, basically. I have always known I wanted to write romance novels. And I was drawn early on to romantic suspense. I had had many false starts through the years, but was determined. Then one night I was watching television (which I very rarely do, actually!) and landed on Criminal Minds. It was the episode 7 Seconds.
The two main characters were interrogating a criminal. There was something so intense about that scene, and when the two characters looked at each other, I just knew. Those two belonged together. So, I started binge watching Criminal Minds. In 2008, I sat down to do my own FBI team. (I’d had four other horrible FBI series starts, BTW.) It expanded from there. I had 50+ characters with job descriptions, etc. already named within a week. Then came the research phase.
Now, counting the 5 Case Files, there are 23 PAVAD titles available. More are coming. PAVAD also spawned two related series’ (Finley Creek and Small-Town Sheriffs).
Where did Finley Creek, TX come from?
PAVAD, basically. I created a backstory for the character Carrie in WANTING. I gave this former street kid a loving father and four younger sisters that she had never met. Then in 2015, I decided I needed a break from what I was currently working on and decided to see what Carrie’s sisters were up to. Finley Creek was born. Izzie’s book, coming Oct. 27, 2020, will be title number 11. There are at least 21 Finley Creek novels planned at this point.
Where did Masterson County come from?
Well…I saw something online for Carina Press calling for cowboys. And as this was pre-falls, I had plenty of books piled up and plenty of time to work on something fun/new. So I created Joel and his Phoebe! I intended to submit it to Carina (a branch of Harlequin), but when I looked at the terms, I realized that I could have 3-4 novellas written before I even heard back whether they’d accepted the first one. So…I finished the first three before that first fall. I published them, then after the fall, I worked on the final book while I recuperated. I had two of the four books published before Carina’s submission time frame closed.
Where did Small-Town Sheriffs come from?
The Small-Town Sheriffs series just occurred to me one day, shortly after rereading GATHERING and writing HIDING that some of the secondary characters I’d created throughout PAVAD included a bunch of hot sheriffs! I had a few sheriffs in my Finley Creek’s Texas State Police force, as well. So…the series was born.
But I didn’t want something too much like either PAVAD or Finley Creek; I wanted something more complicated.
So the Small-Town Sheriffs are longer (although some recent Finleys are touching on similar word counts!), more twisty, and complicated and the villains are hopefully going to be more creepy.
Why the fictional Texas State Police in the Finley Creek series instead of the Rangers or a real police organization?
Well, first, there aren’t that many Rangers. Second, I wanted more creative freedom within my law enforcement agency. Plus, it was fun to create my own force, just like creating my own FBI division in the PAVAD series was enjoyable.
Are you ever going to write something new?
Yes. I have new series’ planned. Had I not had such a life-altering event happen in 2017 (nasty fall! Nasty, nasty, nasty!) that got worse each year since, I would have already released some new things. So…keep an eye out, check FB, sign up for the newsletter, etc. I will be writing new things in the months to come! They may be paranormal, futuristic, contemporary, historical, etc. I don’t know yet. But I know they will happen!
Why do so many of your books feature heroines or heroes with such complicated issues as autism, low vision, deafness, amputation, PTSD, etc.?
My belief is that we as humans are all special and unique, regardless of what conditions we may have, or what challenges we face. Throughout our lives we will all face obstacles. Some of those obstacles may be mental health issues, or physical issues (in my case—I have this crap with my neck/shoulder, ADHD, low-vision, severe carpal tunnel, and rheumatoid arthritis!—but none of these define me.), or economic issues, or grief, etc.
My heroines, especially—I love focusing on a heroine’s journey to acceptance of herself/triumph/coming into her own power!—are not defined by the characteristics or conditions that have impact their lives, but by how they react to those situations and to others around them.
What they think, believe, and feel.
They are so much more than that. I want my fiction to reflect the world today. And that includes not hiding these things in closets, but by writing about them as fully and as well-informed as I can.
Why do you have cursing/sex in your books? What do you classify your books as?
Well…my villains all say bad words. They are villains! Sometimes they say the “F” word! (Something my heroes/heroines rarely ever do.) My heroes and heroines sometimes say things when they are frustrated or angry. It’s realistic. As for sex, I write an open-door love scene if I feel that the characters involved have some sort of emotional growth that the reader absolutely needs to see. Otherwise, I use fade-to-black or closed-door bedroom scenes (mostly to save valuable word count real estate for other active scenes!).
One thing I don’t do is show a lot of gore/extreme violence—I’m squeamish with blood/guts, etc. I’ll admit it.
It’s why my Finley Creek medical romantic suspenses don’t go into detail on the medical aspect of things.
As for how I “classify” my books, I consider them “mainstream romantic fiction” and “romantic suspense”. On a heat level, I say they are about a 2.5/5. Right smack in the middle, like most mainstream romance novels I’ve read.
Where do you live? Where did you go to school? Where does your kid go to school? Etc.?
I live in Indiana, and my child homeschools. (Even before the pandemic!) Sometimes we travel in our RV. Although, for the past three years we haven’t been able to do as much traveling as we’d like--see the first question.
Other than that, I do not share personal information online. (Would you share this information with strangers on the net?)
This is to protect my family’s privacy, especially my daughter, from nosy questions from our neighbors (and boy, do we get some strange non-book questions already! I think they think that since we’re at home all the time the hubs must be a retired spy or something, or I’m a trained assassin, raising killer border collies…).
As for where I went to school…I attended college classes through Indiana University sporadically throughout the last two decades whenever time (and money) permitted. I’ll take a class or two now whenever the urge hits me and when time allows. I am eventually planning to get a BS in General Studies--when I get enough of the requirements met.
I’ve focused on fiction writing (of course!) and on psychology, criminology, history, and sociology, and am toying with studying gender studies next. I consider myself mostly autodidactic; when something interests me, I will study it on my own, then go back and take a class if there’s more I want to learn. I read encyclopedias as a kid. I’ll randomly read a textbook now just for fun. I’ve accepted who I am. ;) I’m a nerd. I like to think my varied interests keep my books original. You never know what might end up in one of my books sometime. Like abandoned copper or silver mines, etc. Or…1920s underpants…Or…well, you get the picture. I’m a nerd; I own that.
I have a great idea, will you write it for me?
No. Just simply, no.
I have plenty of ideas of my own I’m still wading through. I do suggest that you try writing it yourself. There are tons of resources to help beginning writers! I suggest starting with Youtube or the Great Courses. Writing is incredibly rewarding and fun. (And a lot of hard work!)
For helpful books: Writing Fiction for Dummies is a great place to start, as are Writing Novels for Dummies, Writing Romance Novels for Dummies, Save the Cat Writes a Novel, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Janet Burroway’s college textbook Writing Fiction (the best writing textbook I’ve ever found).
If things ever get where I want them to, time-wise, I may write my own non-fiction. I just never know…
Who is your favorite character?
I know the stock answer should be “Whichever one I’m writing now! Yay!” or “I love them all equally!” but the truth is, there is one character that has resonated with me from the moment I first created her.
Her humor and her “I must keep going through anything” spirit have touched the core of me more than any other character I’ve created. If I had my way, she’d leap off the pages of the book and become real so we could talk, or hang out, or just get to know each other a bit more.
It’s Nikkie Jean Netorre from Lost in the Wind.
I wrote Nikkie Jean after a rough period in life and I poured all of my bottled emotions out into that one character’s book. It’s still my favorite book so far. (I’ve only written three full books and two partials since then, but…)
Do you ever plan to stop writing?
No. Right now I am on a writing retreat an hour away from home, trying to train myself to do better dictating, so that I will free up some time to write even more books. I am planned out on books to write well into 2027 and beyond. I will hit year 10 of Indie Publishing on Oct 4th. (Puppy Freyja’s first b-day!).
Counting the paranormals that I pulled down recently, I have written 75+ books. I have many, many more in me. I don’t plan to go anywhere. I have kept doing this through thick and thin, ups and downs, and multiple rounds of physical therapy.
Despite the number of releases I’ve been able to put out each year decreasing to a third of what they once were, sales are stronger now than they have ever been. And I continue to see growth every year. Since I do very minimal advertising, I attribute that to readers sharing the word about my books. Every reader is greatly appreciated.
So thank you!
What are your pets’ names?
Border collie Liberty Ann (aka Lickerty the Border-goat—she has a reputation!), who is going on 15; beagle Jasper Horace Beagleman, who will turn 4 on Halloween; and baby Freyja Jade (aka Freyjie Jadie, Little Missy Fluffy-pants!<--It’s a long story!), who will turn 1 on Oct 4, 2020.
We also have Pierre the Garden Snail, and the Fowler’s toad Neville Toadbottom.
How can I contact you?
I can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and through facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CalleJBrookes. For updates on new releases and occasional freebie scenes, etc. check out the newsletter signup.