Writing, especially the "Kandide" series, is my passion.
But I've been a performer, writer, and businesswoman since I was eight years old when I invested all of my "resources" into a small magic trick. It was a total of 47 cents, and lead to a 25-year career as “America’s Foremost Lady Magician.” I traveled the world, starred in my own TV show, "Enchanted Palace," and performed in Las Vegas, Tahoe, and at a lot of corporate events.
During that time, I also invented magic illusions for David Copperfield, Lance Burton, and later Criss Angel, among others--and most recently, magic's newest sensation, Collin Key. I am still active as a lecturer, writer, and teacher in the world of magic. And also sponsor a young magicians’ group—an organization I founded with the help of the legendary actor Cary Grant at Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle.
My transition into the corporate world saw the creation of CMS Communications Intl., a marketing communications agency whose clients include many of the Fortune 500. I'm the CEO of CMS, and specialize in Brand strategy.
I am an avid collector of faery art--with one of the largest collections in the world, as well as an Animal Rights activist.
I am also the author of seven books, including the Kandide trilogy; two biographies: Siegfried & Roy: Unique In All The World, Butterly In A Storm, and two business books: Tactical Abyss, and Why Most Branding Fails.
Can you tell us about your latest book and your amazing characters?
The "Kandide" Trilogy is my passion. It is set in the world of Calabiyau--a land where magic is as normal as the sunrise, and, of course, evil is on a rampage. The characters, though magical, all have very human traits. Kandide, the lead character, is vain and spoiled. You won't like her when you first meet her. Lady Aron is a delicious villain--vulnerable, but evil through-and-through. Kandide falls in love with Jake, who is as stubborn as her, and represents everything she has disdained and feared all her life. Teren, Kandide's brother, is a prankster and wanna be wizard. He and Tara, Kandide's sister, are the most like me. She is a magical healer who would rather be in the forest helping animals, than have anything to do with the politics of the kingdom.
The first two books, "Kandide: The Secret of the Mists," and "Kandide: The Lady's Revenge are out. The third book is coming in May or June.
I love books with strong female characters, and all of the Kandide books have that, plus magic and adventure. There is also a message of acceptance woven throughout the books. But, as the reviewer at VOYA said, "There is plenty of action and strife to spice up the plot."
Do you write from an outline or do you let the story take you where it wants to go?
Though I do have a beginning, middle, and end in mind, the story really takes me where it wants to go. For me, writing is like what channeling must be. When I'm writing, I am the characters. They seem to have minds of their own. That's why I use so much dialog.
What are your thoughts on independent publishing versus mainstream publishing?
Both work. Sadly, mainstream publishing, like the film industry, is caught up in an ivory tower mentality. They are not much for exploring new ideas or authors.
I published my first "Kandide" book with Greenleaf Publishing. It did so well that Scholastic picked it up for Book Clubs and Book Fairs. It sold twice as many as they had expected. But let's just say that after that experience, I am soooo proud and happy to now be an Indy publisher. My second Kandide book is doing phenomenally well.
Do you have any good marketing tips for authors trying to spread the word about their book?
Yes, three words. Learn Social Media. Find extraordinary reviewers such as yourself, who are passionate, brilliant, and truly love books. Earn their respect, by helping and promoting them. So many authors think the world owes them. Help others first, and they will help you. Be gracious. Not everybody will like your work. But if they take the the time to read and review it, thank them. Even if it's a less that great review.
If you were not a writer what do you think you'd be doing for a living?
If I had all the money in the world, I would devote my life to animal causes. I am primarily a brand strategist. I work with Fortune 1000 companies to help them delineate their brands. I have a new "left brain" business book coming out called "Why Most Branding Fails." It's an entirely new look at branding.
What books have most influenced your life?
Mostly older books: "Looking Out for Number One," "Positioning," "Tipping Point," "Blink," "Davinci Code" (I adore Dan Brown's straight-forward punchy style of writing), "The Art of War "- Sun Tzu, and my very first book about fairies. It was originally published in 1906. My grandmother had it as a little girl. She gave it to my mom, who read it to me as a little girl. Then it got lost. But I finally found a copy in an antique book store.
Do you have any words of wisdom for any new or aspiring writers?
Write. So many people say they want to be authors but they never write. Just write. I work with a young teen who wants to be a writer--and he writes all the time. Like everything, doing it is the only way to get good at it. Go to Writers Workshops. It's a great way to get feedback. And study technique. Craft is so important in any creative skill.
Any new or exciting projects coming up that we can look forward to seeing from you?
Book 3 of the Kandide Trilogy. Then book four. And for those who want to learn about branding, "Why Most Branding Fails" will be out in the Spring.
How can my readers connect with you or learn more about your books?
The best way is through my website www.kandide.com or on Facebook. I try to answer everyone who writes me.
More about the Kandide Series
What if everything you loved was suddenly taken away... And everything you feared became your only hope?
Still a teen in human years, Kandide is spoiled, vain, and the personification of perfection. She is also heir to the throne of Calabiyau and keeper of The Gift, the key to survival for all Fae. When a tragic accident leaves her less than perfect, her own mother casts her away to a treacherous world where strange beasts roam the dark, lifeless forest and even stranger Fae rule the land. Kandide must battle hideous creatures, as well as her own internal repulsion for the 'Imperfects' she is now like, if she is to survive. But these are just the beginning of her troubles; within Calabiyau, a presence far more deadly emerges. Joined by her prankster brother, Teren, her tomboy sister, Tara, and a group of misfit Imperfects, the Fae Princess must challenge the darkest of creatures to face an evil worse than any she could have imagined if she is to save the very Fae who sent her away. Calabiyau will forever change, or will it?
What if you had to choose between letting your sister die or saving the land you are sworn to protect? Be warned. Beware. Enter this Kingdom only if you dare. Some days being Queen just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Having regained her throne—or so Kandide thinks—by thwarting the powerful and merciless Lady Aron, she is faced with even greater threats. When Kandide’s sister, Tara, mysteriously disappears, her wannabe wizard brother, Teren, and an Imperfect named Jake set off on a perilous journey to find the Bardic Council. They hope to discover the secret to breaking the spell that holds Tara captive. What they find are mountain paths that take them two steps back for every step forward, stalactites that drop to form prison cells, and caves with deadly tornados. What they learn is even more mysterious and treacherous. While Teren and Jake search for answers, Kandide uncovers a plot by the Banshee nation to invade Calabiyau. Her army is outnumbered three to one. Convinced that one or more of her own Council members are involved in this treachery, she finds herself in a desperate struggle of magic and might. Kandide must choose between letting her sister die or saving her kingdom.