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Here is my story:
Hi! I'm Author Carey Ann Kramer!
I always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was little. My first success was at one of my tween birthdays when I decided to do something different. I wrote my first story, a murder mystery to be acted out. My friends loved it & said I should be a writer someday!
Years later, I dusted off my dreams, and "Welcome, to someday!"
To be a writer is my dream come true. You share in my journey every time you pick up one of my books, share one of my stories, or hug one of my characters at a meet and greet.
May all your dreams come true!
Q: Did you really write a murder mystery when you were young?
A: Yes, I did! It was a murder mystery and my friends and I did act it out. It was my first success as a writer and everyone loved it! It was written by hand and my mom made copies for me at her job. The packets were stapled together. I have been unable to locate a copy and will have to look again at my parents home. I have also extended a note to my friends to see if anyone may have kept a copy all of this time. If one surfaces, I'll be sure to let you know.
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: Yes! It was always my dream and when I was young I thought it would be a great occupation because I could live anywhere. I have always had a vivid imagination, and making up stories was something I loved to do. Anything that let me utilize my creativity was what I was drawn to. I read a lot as a child, as a tween, as a young adult, and as an adult. I love that stories can transport you anywhere, make you feel anything, uplift you. I always wanted to do something to make a difference in the lives of others but it took me a while (a great, long while) for me to find my path, to develop my voice.
Q: Did you ever want to be anything else?
A: Yes, I initially wanted to be a Veterinarian because I loved animals. Once I learned about some of the hard decisions that they have to make, I decided on something else. Being a writer has always been my "dream career" and now I write stories about animals. (The majority of my Children's Books are stories about animals learning good lessons.)
Q: Did anyone else in your family have an interest in being a writer?
A: Yes! My mom has always had a love of reading and ever since I was little she never went far without a book close at hand. I always thought since she read so many books that one day she could write one if she chose. I hear she may have a cookbook in the works. My father always wanted to write a book. He wrote these silly adventure stories when I was growing up and had typed them up on a typewriter (before the computer became popular). The Adventures of Cowboy Bob & Mr. Hogg. He wrote a new adventure periodically and then when he had a collection of short stories, he queried them to publishers.
The process to "query" means to send a proposal letter out to different publishing houses in hopes you could sell them on a good reason to publish your book, aside from, "it is my dream." My dad sent out probably what seemed like hundreds of letters and I think most of them came back as undelivered because by the time my dad had researched and gotten his list together (I think Writer's Market was out back then, cannot recall), the majority of the smaller publishing houses were out of business. Nothing ever came of his stories, and life went about as usual. I was a teenager when my dad queried his book.
Fast Fact - One of the stories, I believe it is Chapter 7, Huff and Puff until you... is based on something I used to do. I used to love to turn the air-conditioner on and my dad told me that I could no longer "touch" the thermostat to the AC. So, I huffed near the thermometer to make it come on. See, there is always a way! This story/chapter is about people who go around "huffing" on thermostats. It is funny, in fact his whole book is really funny. You should read it. (Note: if you are a child/parent, think it would be rated PG-13)
Years (and years) later when I managed to start getting my books out he pulled out his stories, and that was really neat! Something that had long ago been forgotten, he dusted off, and my husband, Roy, and I assisted my dad in self-publishing his Hogg Adventure stories on Amazon via CreateSpace (print Books with Amazon) and KDP (Kindle Books with Amazon).
Here is a copy of the dedication that my dad wrote in the beginning of his book:
For my readers,
At the age of 73, I never dreamed that I would ever be able to have my adventure series, Cowboy Bob & Mr. Hogg published. All I ever wanted in life was to write a book. I sent out over 120 letters to different publishers years ago and my once loved story was put away for many years and forgotten about.
It wasn't until my youngest daughter, Carolyn, pushed her writing forward under the pen name Carey Ann Kramer that I began to think about Cowboy Bob & Mr. Hogg again.
Inspiration is a funny thing. My daughter and I both inspired each other without realizing it.
I have found that long forgotten dreams will eventually resurface. You just have to grab on to the courage to make them a reality because after all, life is just an adventure, right?
The link to Amazon for my dad's book is:
His book is available as both a softcover book and an E-Book. You can also find a copy of the same dedication on the book details page under the From the Author section.
Q: Why did it take so long for your father not put a picture up on Amazon?
A: He preferred to use an old "cowboy" picture of himself (he would prefer not to post anything at all) but we have since misplaced it. I'll make a note to hunt for it again next time I am at their home. We took a promo picture of him, with Mr. Hogg in 2018, that is now on Amazon on his Author page. You can find pictures of both of my parents and the rest of my family on this website under Books/Series List.
The top two pictures are taken at the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, Tx. It is supposed to be one of the largest, if not the largest Renaissance Festival in the nation. My family and I go every year and it is always loads of fun. If you have children, be sure to go on a "Kid friendly" day which in the past has been on Sundays. I remember taking a school trip to the Renaissance Festival in the middle grade years and loved it. I thought it was really neat to be transported back in time to a different world. My husband and I always dress up, and sometimes my family. You can usually find us wondering around on the Fairy weekend and I usually wear my black & white short butterfly costume that you see in some of my Author photos. The butterfly picture was taken near one of the wedding chapels that they have on site. (This is *not* the butterfly costume for promotions for The Giving Butterfly. The Giving Butterfly butterfly costume is more like a princess type outfit with a big hoop floor-length skirt.)
The picture with my sister Susan and my mother below that is from the Kemah Boardwalk in Kemah, TX near the Aquarium restaurant. We usually participate in the Kemah MS Walk to support my sister who has MS.
Fast Fact: The Butterfly Series can be utilized for fundraising.
Fast Fact: I have been wanting to do a story about butterflies for years. I started dressing up as a butterfly each year for the Renaissance Festival in hopes a butterfly story would come my way. It did not. It was not until last year's Kemah MS Walk that my sister had asked me about what we could do to fundraise money. Some of the teams there were amazing and really worked hard to bring in some really big donations. Then at some point later, I realized, let's do a book and it would help people as well, try to connect them to the emotions of when a loved one gets sick unexpectedly. The Butterfly Series was born, purely out of this reason, to help others, and as a tool to fundraise money for different organizations (not just MS).
Q: How do you get your ideas for your books?
A: Ideas are all around us, you just have to open up your eyes to see them. For instance, I was waiting at a local fast food drive-thru window waiting to pay when I see a Management Opportunities sticker, inquire within stuck to the window. There was a bug that was on the window really checking out that sticker. I know, you are going to think this is completely silly, but I broke out my cell phone as fast as I could to snap a picture of it. Yes, I really did do that, thinking, "Huh...I guess that would be a good line of work for a bug to get into." The fast food restaurant, though he was stuck on the outside of the window, may have been a dream place for the bug to work. And voila, a story is born. All you need is a name for your character and see there, we have a story.
Q: Did you write a story about the bug on the window?
A: No, and I am not sure I will, or at least it is not listed on any of my project boards, yet. Ideas are kind of a funny thing in that something may just out of the blue pop in your head. So, I suppose before I completely say no, I will just say I have no formal plans at this time to write a story about a bug managing a fast food place. Though, now that I am giving this some thought, I will mark it down as an official idea. I have a tendency to forget ideas, so if something pops into my head, I am scrambling to write it down or make note of it somewhere so that I have it for the future.
Q: Where do you like to write at?
A: For serious writing, I need to be planted in a chair at a keyboard. I often tweet that anytime my hands are hovering over the keyboard that is a good sign. Or my favorite music is the tap, tap, tap of the keyboard as I type. For jotting down ideas in a spur of the moment scenario, for me it is like the world must stop while I do this type of thing before I lose the idea forever. I always carry a pen and some little notebook with me at all times lest you will find me writing on the back of an envelope or a napkin from a restaurant. Yes, I have done both of these. One story was thought up while at Walt Disney World in Florida, at Epcot, at the Coral Reef Restaurant, and no, the animal character in the story was not a fish nor an aquarium type animal. There is a reference to the story in Sprinkles Bedtime Express, and I often put in Easter Eggs when I can in the illustrations. If you access the special pop-up e-book for Sprinkles Bedtime Express you can find out all kinds of neat things about the characters, even the illustrator's favorite color.
Some of my favorite places to "write" where words seem to flow are places that are busy. Like a Doctor's office waiting room, the hair salon under the blow dryer, the bowling alley, sometimes at restaurants.
When words flow, I try to capture everything I can so that later I have enough notes to do instant recall on my story when I am sitting in front of my keyboard. I can be in the busiest of places and have an idea come to me. I will be the one who runs out of paper in my notebook and will have to jump up and scramble for some paper. Whether it be on the back of a flyer (my apologies to the businesses where I have used the back of your flyers to capture stories, but on a positive note, I will always keep them!), copy paper from the front desk of a hotel or just recently, I had a spurt of ideas while waiting for my husband at the eye doctor. The front office person was so kind to pick up my desperate situation and handed me a good stack of copy paper, upon which I used every single piece she gave me. If I am ever in need of an idea, I have a go-to list of places where I have found some sort of inspiration in the past, or have a good experience with having words flow at those locations.
Q: How many more books will you write?
A: I hope an infinite number! I probably already have more books that I can publish in a lifetime but I keep cataloging my ideas anyways. If I had an Agent (hint, hint) or a Traditional Publisher (wink, wink), I could get more stories out because right now I am doing most everything myself. For some of my stories, I use illustrators and have several more books that are illustrated that are waiting on book layout, story detail, and graphic design detail. I have a huge long list of books that I am trying to push through the publishing process. It would be nice to be able to have someone to hand off some of the extra things I do so that I can focus on my next book project. But I have learned that chasing dreams is not a perfect science, so you just have to do what you can in the meantime.
Currently, for the year 2017, I am self-publishing a book a month. So far, I am right on target. In fact, I have already released my May book(s), You are a Star Gift Books (two versions, one has a pink cover and one has blue cover). In fact, they were released earlier today, 5/12/2017. For this year, so far, I have published as many books in the first five months of the year then I have over the last 4 years. I released a total of 5 books between the years of 2013-2016, a total of 4 years. This year, I have published 5 titles (6 books, one title has two cover versions). So the next book I release will put me over the threshold that I have published more books this year than I did over the last 4 years.
I attribute the difference to rearranging the way I do tasks. This is the first year that I have chosen to do what I consider to be the hardest and most time consuming tasks (for me) first. For me, that would be graphic design for the book covers.
If I had assistance and/or could work with a team of people, I believe that I may be able to publish upwards of 30-40 a year. (Yes, I have the ideas and stories to stand behind that).
Q: What is your favorite color?
A: My favorite color is medium pink.
Q: What is Bunnycakes favorite color?
A: I believe Bunnycakes may share that detail if you read his special Pop-Up E-Book. You can click on all of the illustrations and the characters and find out all kinds of things. I will have to check whether or not it is included somewhere in the pop-ups of the E-book. A Character book will be coming out in 2018 that will detail everything about all of the main characters from the stories. We are currently doing Character photo shoots to get enough Character pictures (dressed up, of course!) for the book. The book will be really neat and will tell about the characters, their likes and dislikes, their favorite color(s), information on their journey, the books they are in, and their favorite quotes and lessons learned. There will be an autograph area for you to get all of the different characters autographs at the different meet and greets. I think it will be loads of fun and our home is full of constant chatter from the characters about their costume wish list. The book will be like a program with a spot for all the characters to add in something special for you.
To see a listing of the characters available, click on:
Q: How does your family help?
A: There are always so many other things to do that my family helps out tremendously! My mom helps dress the characters (and one of my friends from high school recently helped me shop for swim trunks for the Lazy Alligator from Sprinkles Bedtime Express). My mom is kind of in charge of the Wardrobe department and she is usually helping to alter something for me or like right now we are trying to work on over-sized butterfly wings for a new floor length princess like butterfly outfit for me to help promote The Giving Butterfly, Book #1 of The Butterfly Series. Ms. Bee is also available for meet and greets and will be traveling with me. I like Ms. Bee, she is always full of so much wisdom! My dad helps with props and several other members of my family help with things as well. My mom also sometimes acts as photographer and/or videographer and when you have your family as your film crew, anything can and does happen.
Here is a link to some funny You-Tube videos:
My family and I actually video a lot of things we do behind the scenes regarding trying to navigate our way through the self-publishing world. We have tons of footage, even with our extended family, at holidays, etc. At one point, we were actively courting TLC, but we have not been signed yet. We are seeking a TV show about our family, and I believe we can provide inspiration to a great number of viewers. We are about the farthest side away from perfect and half the time we are not completely sure what we are doing. We just have to learn by trial and error and then we usually know some really good ways how *not* to do things in the future! I believe I have probably made every kind of mistake there is to make regarding self-publishing and am always happy to talk about dreams, the lessons I have learned along the way, and some stories like why Book #2 of The Puppy Princess Series was published a whole year before Book #1. (I have a logical and reasonable explanation, but things did not work out quite as planned.)
We just recently got video editing software, so I suppose, for now, that duty will be added to my long list of tasks. So, everything is a work in process, and today you have to do your very best to get you to where you want to be tomorrow.
Updated 8/28/17 -- NEW Q & A with the Author
Q: What happened to The Love Frog release in July?
A: Okay, so self-publishing is kind of a hit or miss type thing. and I can say we are learning as we go. The Love Frog is a different format (Chapter Book) than we have published previously. Somehow, we did manage to get my father's book, The Adventures of Cowboy Bob & Mr. Hogg which is also a Chapter Book, out in 2015, however, we have not published one since. The Children's Books we publish along with the Gift Books are being published via a slightly different format due to the full-color interiors with pictures.
So, this is just one of those things, as a self-published Author where things do not work out right. As always we checked and rechecked the book, and then rechecked it again. We reviewed it, released the softcover book on Amazon (my July release) and ordered copies to bring with us to the East Texas Book Bash in Tyler, TX, Saturday August 5th at Harvey Hall. In the days before the festival, the error on the books was discovered. We pulled all the copies of the books except one copy that we left on the table as a display (we have cute little plush love frogs that go with the book) and also pulled the book from Amazon.
In the end, I missed the error, my wonderful husband missed the error, and my mom missed the error. All I can say is, "Welcome, to the Self-Publishing world when you do your very, very best with what you have. Sometimes, it is not always enough. Fortunately, we were able to catch the error before it got into the hands of any readers."
Eli the Elephant & the Secret Peanut Hideout, the 1st book in the Lessons Learned Parable Series is on hold until we fix the error in The Love Frog. Eli the Elephant is also a Chapter Book so the same issue will carry over until we figure out how to fix it.
Dovey, the frog character from the book was keeping a close watch on us. Lacey has arrived now (the other frog from the book, the girl) and now both frogs, Dovey & Lacey are anxiously awaiting their re-release of their book, The Love Frog. They are also waiting on their attire for their photo shoot for the character year book to be coming out next year.
I am seeking representation from a Traditional Literary Agent and/or Publisher. I have lots of stories waiting their turn to be published but currently we are doing everything ourselves, so the process is a little slower than I would like. If you are a "Page-Turning" Publishing House or an "Ambitious Agent" please contact me via social media. We are currently rolling every penny we have right back into our books and our characters (we are anticipating a stage show for the Summer 2018 and will be looking for Sponsors early next year), so we are not looking for agents or publishing houses that charge for their services at this time. I refer to "we" because my family joins in on the book making business to support my characters and I (the stories are not really about me but about my characters and the readers that read them). Right now, I am sitting on upwards of one-hundred books to be pushed through the publishing process in several different genres. I have Middle Grade (MG) and Young Adult (YA) coming soon as well as some books that will hit the Christian Fiction Market (Children, YA). All I can say, is I need help. I am specifically looking for an Agent/Publisher to hand things off to. We are also looking for assistance with distribution of the Gift Book Series (specific target audiences), currently available on Amazon. I have the characters to go with nearly all of my books, plus we have a lot of characters that will have books coming out soon. We currently house between fifteen and twenty different full-size mascot costumes that go with all of the books plus all of their individual costumes. We are planning to publish a character meet & greet yearbook next summer to showcase the characters, their books, and their individual personalities and personal wisdom/quotes from their books.
I can write, if you can publish. If you are a Literary Agent or a Traditional Publishing House and are interested in what we are doing, please contact us. The only question you might ask yourself is, "Can you keep up with us?"