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Frequently Asked Questions

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About the Author-Illustrator


- Can I meet you?

- Where do you live?
- Can I send you a letter or email?
- Are you on Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal, or other social networking sites?
- If I mail you my copy of your book, will you sign it for me? Or, how can I get a signed copy?
- Do you ever do book signings or readings? When and where?
- When did you start writing and drawing?
- Did you go to school for art or writing?
- How do I become a better author or artist?
- What books do you read? Who are your favorite authors and artists?
- What do you like to do besides art and writing?
- Are you married? Or do you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Do you have kids?

- If I mail you my own story, will you read it and critique it for me? Can you get me published? Will you work together with me on a book?
- Can I commission you? Can I hire you for freelance?

About the books: story


- What is the story about?

- Who is your favorite character?
- Why did you kill so-and-so off? S/he was my favorite!
- I want character-X and character-Y to fall in love, please!

About the books: general


- What are the books about?

- When is the next one coming out?
- Are there going to be movies made out of the books?
- Will your books ever be released in any other languages? I’ll translate them for you!
- I want to write fan-fic or create fan-art based on the books. How do you feel about that?
- I want to read your book for an assignment in school. Can I?
- My school wants to perform a play/make some art/do something else with your book. Is that okay?
- I found a typo, grammar error, or inconsistency in your book. Why don’t you send your books to me for proofreading before you publish them? I’ll even do it for free/cheap because I love them so much!
- I don’t have much money. Is there a way I can get your book for a lower price?

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About the Author-Illustrator

Can I meet you?

It's great that you like my work so much that you want to meet me. I'd love to meet you, too. Maybe someday we can meet. If I have any book signings or events in the future, I'll post them on this website, Google+, and my Facebook page.

Where do you live?

I live in California, USA.

Can I send you a letter or email?

I do not give out my physical address or mailing address. You can follow Kasmithart on Facebook or Google+, and post comments there.

Are you on Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal, or other social networking sites?

I am on Facebook and Google+, and you are welcome to "Like" my Kasmithart fan page and talk with other fans. I also post updates there.

If I mail you my copy of your book, will you sign it for me? Or, how can I get a signed copy?

I'm sorry but I do not give out my mailing address. I may have book signings in the future. I will announce them on Facebook an in the News section of this site. If I do another crowd-funding event, I will probably include signed copies of my books at some pledge levels.

Do you ever do book signings or readings? When and where?

When I have a reading or signing set up, I will put an announcement on this website and Facebook.

When did you start writing and drawing?

I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. I learned to read quickly and started writing very young. I had finished my first self-illustrated story by age eight. Of course, it wasn’t very good, but it was a dozen or so pages long, and had a beginning middle and end, and illustrations on every page. No, it will not ever be published.
I’ve been writing stories all my life, but very rarely actually finished any. I did complete a trilogy of books before my Dragonic Voyages series, and a couple other complete novels. However, I lost them all (along with a bunch of semi-finished stuff) when my hard-drive crashed. Since then, I always keep more than one copy of my stories in more than one place. The stuff I’d been working on, looking back now, I realize was not good enough to publish anyway, so actually, it was good that the crash forced me to move on and write new stuff, even though it was highly traumatic at the time. So the crash may have been a blessing in disguise. If it hadn’t happened, I might never have started writing my Dragonic Voyages series. Despite that, I will give out this piece of advice: backup your work.

Did you go to school for art or writing?

I took art and English classes all through grade school. In college I took some art classes and some writing classes, but my major was Zoology. I also completed a Graduate Certificate in Scientific Illustration. I’ve rarely taken any other sort of seminars or special art or writing classes.

How do I become a better author or artist?

Practice, if you want to. Practice will improve your work, but I have a policy that I should never force myself to do any art I don’t want to do. If it’s my hobby, I should enjoy it. If I don’t enjoy it why am I doing it? Being forced to do things I don’t like should be a job, because I get compensated for it, not a hobby, which I don’t get paid for (in a perfect world, we’d get compensated for our hobbies). But of course, practice does make you better at anything, so, definitely, practice will make you a better artist, but if you hate practicing, maybe you’re trying to make a hobby out of the wrong art form. Find something you like more, so you look forward to practicing.
Take classes, by all means, but if the instructor tries to force you to conform to one style, you’re in the wrong class. I believe you should follow your interests and discover your own personal style, not be forced to do what an instructor has decided is the best style in the world, but you should also try out many styles. Try to find classes that give you tools: new techniques and ideas to help express your own style and interests.
Get critiqued, and get opinions on your stuff. Some people will be cruel—ignore them. Some people will be effusive because they’re scared of hurting your feelings—be gracious. And some people will give you good feedback—try to consider what they say, and then decide if you want to follow their direction.
Be willing to try new things, new ways, new techniques, and explore new ideas. Also, remember: read good stuff; write good stuff. The work of other artists can be inspiring. The more you read and see and observe, the more ideas you’ll get and the better you will write.
That’s all the advice I have. Beyond that, follow your heart.

What books do you read? Who are your favorite authors and artists?

I’ve read a variety of stuff, but I almost always gravitate towards fantasy or science fiction. When it comes to visual art, I tend to like more realistic art of subjects that have character and personality or tell a story. I really like the elegance of black and white pen and ink work, as well as the opulence of acrylics. Here’s a list of some of my favorite authors and artists, but just because I mention them doesn’t mean I’ve see all their work, and doesn’t mean I like everything they’ve done. It does mean I have at least one favorite among their work, though.
Authors: Mercedes Lackey, Tad Williams, JK Rowling, RA Salvator, Richard Adams, Peter S. Beagle, James Patterson, Ginny Rorby, Ono Fuymi, Nakajo Hisaya and Watanabe Taeko (both author-illustrators of manga), Sherri Tepper, Martha Wells
Artists: Keith Brockie, Mel Grant, Schimm Schimmel

What do you like to do besides art and writing?

I like reading novels and watching movies, playing video games and hiking and gardening. I love dance, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had the time to devote to classes. I do hope to return to dancing some time, though.

Are you married? Or do you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Do you have kids?

I am married, with no children at this time.

If I mail you my own story, will you read it and critique it for me? Can you get me published? Will you work together with me on a book?

I wish I had the time, but I don’t have the spare time to read and critique other people’s work. A resource I recommend is your friends that like the same kind of books you like. They can tell you if your book is enjoyable, and might be able to give you constructive criticism, too. Only give your manuscript to people you completely trust, and put your name on your manuscript—on every page. You may also consider having the recipient sign a non-disclosure agreement before showing them your work.
I cannot get you published, but you can do it yourself. I’m not with a publishing house. I have no influence over anyone. If you want to publish you have to help yourself.
I’m not into collaboration on a book right now. I still have more of my own to finish.

Can I commission you? Can I hire you for freelance?

My hourly rate is $20 USD. I work on contract, not verbal agreements; this protects both me and my clients. My skills for sale are illustration, graphic design, and information design. I do not do web design (yet) because my skills are still inferior. I do not sell my writing at this time. I work only on projects that interest me, and that I feel have integrity. I do not do art-trades. If you have another skill for trade, I may consider it. My appologies for being so blunt, but my art is my business; these are my policies.
If you think you're still interested in hiring me for some freelance, here is my email. Serious inquiries only please. kasmithart@hotmail.com

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About the books: story

What is the story about?

Please look at the menu bar on the right of the page and click on the book you are interested in (such as "Book 1" or "Book 2"). There you will find plot summaries and sample pages, as I make them available.

Who is your favorite character?

I like all my characters in one way or another, even the bad ones, because they are necessary to the story and remind me that everyone has both bad and good in them. In my Dragonic Voyages series, Morrigan is, of course, closest to my heart, but I also really like Kyan, Sniper, and Leigh. In Book 2 and 3 I introduce new characters, and there are a couple among them that I am very fond of, but to avoid spoilers I won’t mention any names. In the Northnest Saga, Hawkwind is currently my favorite.

Why did you kill so-and-so off? S/he was my favorite!

There comes a point where an author realizes certain events have to transpire for the story to continue going forward. Usually, I never want to kill off anyone, and I don’t usually do so just for the heck of it.
Most often, when I create a character, I already have a general idea what his or her ultimate fate will be, if he or she is meant to survive or not, and for how long. Sometimes, a character will become an impediment to the story, or become extra baggage without a purpose. In those cases the character needs to be removed from the story. Sometimes the only way I can do that is by writing the character’s death. Other times, a character needs to die so that another character can react and grow because of it.
As an author, you learn over time to do what is needed for your story, and to serve the purpose for which you are writing. Sometimes the consequence of this is that characters must die. I will probably not kill off a character for the sole purpose of making my readers sad.

I want character-X and character-Y to fall in love, please!

I’m afraid that, once again, as the author, the choices lie with me and will be largely dictated by what the individual characters need and what the story needs in order to move forward and fulfill my purposes in writing it.
Often, when I create a character, I already know who the character will or will not fall in love with. However, if I try to get the character and his/her intended together and they don’t click, I’ll change my plan. That’s already happened a few times, actually, where I think two characters will make a great pair, but once I get them close I find out that they just don’t work. You can’t force someone to fall in love, after all.
You may think you know who belongs together, and maybe your hopes will be fulfilled, but if not, the best I can say is: write some fan-fic.

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About the books: general

What are the books about?

Please look at the menu bar on the right of the page and click on the book you are interested in (such as "Book 1" or "Book 2"). There you will find plot summaries and sample pages, as I make them available.

When is the next one coming out?

The Dragonic Voyages series is released and complete. There may be more stories for that world in the future, but none are being written at this time. My current book project is the Northnest Saga. The first book has been released and I'm hard at work on the second. I'm hoping it will be ready to go by the end of 2017. More books in the Northnest Saga are planned. I am soon to begin work on the sequel to Otter Twin Magic. It is probably too optimistic to hope it will be done by the end of 2017.

Are there going to be movies made out of the books?

There are no plans for movies, and currently I don’t expect it, so don’t hold your breath. Because I self-published, I own all of the rights to my work. There is no publishing house that I have sold rights to, who could then sell rights to a filmmaker. A filmmaker would have to contact me directly and negotiate with me for the rights, and you can bet I would want a hand in the screen- and script-writing, casting, and filmmaking process. I don’t think a filmmaker would really want to deal with the author being so deeply involved, so I imagine that would scare them off.
Besides that, it seems that fantasy movies based on books can either turn out beautifully (think “Lord of the Rings”) or really bad (I won’t mention any names, but I’m sure we all can think of some). I might be afraid to turn my story over to film even if I was asked, since I might be deeply unhappy with the result. Plus, movies are all about money, and that’s not how I like to work when it comes to art.

Will your books ever be released in any other languages? I’ll translate them for you!

It’s possible, but right now there are no plans to do so. English is my first language. I'm good enough at Japanese now to carry on some conversations, but I’m really only proficient enough for novel-writing in English. I don’t have an artistic feel for Japanese, so I cannot translate my books myself.
If my books become popular and it seems like there is demand for them to be translated, I will look into it, but I will be very selective in whom I permit to work with my story. Thank you for the offer to translate for me. When I begin my search for a translator I am not certain what methods I will use to find the right person, but I will probably put an announcement on the website.
Fan translations of my story are fine, but I will not endorse them, and if they are distributed by any means other completely free of charge I will have to ask you to stop.

I want to write fan-fic or create fan-art based on the books. How do you feel about that?

I would love for you to make fan-art and fan-fic! I write fan-fic and make fan-art of my favorite things, too. I think it’s a great way to increase a person’s own creative skills, and I believe that it is a way of enjoying and sharing the love of someone’s story with other fans.
I do think, though, that fan-art and fan-fic should be inspired by the original story and created completely from scratch. Redistributing or reselling my art or my words with or without modifications is a direct copyright violation and will lead me to take legal action. Additionally, please do not create any fan-fic or fan-art for profit.
People should treat each other and each other’s art with respect.

I want to read your book for an assignment in school. Can I?

I’m flattered that you think my work is classroom-worthy (is it, really?). As with any assignment, make sure it’s okay with your teacher first.

My school wants to perform a play/make some art/do something else with your book. Is that okay?

Schools have a special deal when it comes to copyright. I don’t know all the details, but I think of them as “copyright immune.” Generally, as long as it is in an educational setting, schools can take just about any piece of material in the world and use it or adapt it for educating young people. So chances are, it’s okay, and I can’t force them to stop (though I suppose I could ask nicely if it really bothered me).

I found a typo, grammar error, or inconsistency in your book. Why don’t you send your books to me for proofreading before you publish them? I’ll even do it for free/cheap because I love your story so much!

I’ll bet you did find errors, since I’ve found them, too, and chances are I’m already aware of them. Once I think I’ve found all of them, I’ll fix them and update my files so newer versions of my already published book(s) won’t have the errors.
Like any human, I make mistakes. Thank you for the kind offer to proofread my books for me. I currently employ only one proofreader—that would be yours truly. If my books become amazingly popular and I have the money for it, I will hire a professional proofreader and/or editor who has been trained as such and has the experience and whatever certification is required (can you tell I haven’t looked into this yet?) to proof and edit my work.

I don’t have much money. Is there a way I can get your book for a lower price?

I occasionally sell my Kindle books for free. Follow the Kasmithart on Facebook. I announce whenever there is going to be a free sale. It happens a few times a year for a few days.
The price on Amazon was set by me (if Amazon discounts the book, that’s not my doing). Over 90% of the price is for producing the book (raw materials and labor at the press) and Amazon’s cut. The rest is my profit, which offsets the value of the time I spend working on my writing, and other costs and fees that producing a novel incurs. Additionally, my profit is taxed by the IRS.
I wish I could lower the price for everyone, but it’s already about as low as I can go. As the book becomes more popular (I hope it will) used copies may become available. It’s even possible it might start showing up in libraries. You could request that your library carry it, and they may purchase a copy and put it on the shelf for borrowing. You could also consider hinting to family or friends that you’d like the book for a gift, or agree to split the price with a friend and share the book between you. I’m sorry, but those are all the ideas I have.

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Northnest Saga

Hawkwind's Tale

Dagonic Voyages

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