Monday, May 19, 2014

The "Flaw" In Our Stars...

I didn't like Draco Malfoy. And by the end of the Harry Potter series, I didn't like Dumbledore for the way he used Harry for selfish reasons. And who liked Belatrix LeStrange? Some characters will not be likable, even if by the end of the book they change.

The 'flaw' in these 'stars' of our works makes them more real. Recently, a reviewer said while she enjoyed Blonde OPS, she didn't like one of the characters.

But she wasn't supposed to like him.

We wrote him like that. (Nat and I didn't like him!) Didn't you ever have a co-worker, an employer, a teacher, a colleague, a classmate, etc. that you didn't like? Of course you did. And still do. There are annoying, bullying, arrogant, mean, etc. people out there (maybe you're even related to one or two). They are part of our world. So to say you didn't like a character isn't always a bad thing. And if there were nothing but likable characters, then I'd say a novel is a little shallow, even 'flawed.'

So bring on the bad guys, the gals you don't like, the people you can't stand.

Because that's reality.


Art courtesy of Microsoft.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My New Office

For today (and whenever I can manage it), this is my new office:

I'm sitting on my patio almost working as hard as the ants and watching the cats play. After a VERY long winter, I feel housebound. Being a summer-loving gal, the sun and outdoors brighten my mood. So I'll put up with the ants, and even the occasional inchworm to breathe free while I work. The changed perspective helps; my senses are stimulated and I think that helps my writing. (Nat and I wrote most of the Sirenz series and parts of Blonde OPS in this space. Maybe working out here will be as beneficial to my solo works.)

Tomorrow it will rain and I will be back inside, but I'll think about sitting outside again as soon as it's nice.

Change your work space--and not by just organizing your desk or dusting your bookshelves. GET UP! GET OUT! How about going to the park and working there? Sit on your balcony. Work on the beach. GO SOMEWHERE. You just might find that bestselling-book idea.

And who doesn't need the extra vitamin D?


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

And introducing....

Busy Week! I'm hopping from Anabelle Bryant's blog to here, then over to- well, you'll see.

While Anabelle and I have never met in person (yet!) we've gotten to know each other over Facebook (isn't it amazing how many people you can 'know' just through FB?). We're writers. We encourage each other, post about our lives, talk about books, funny things we see on social media, and writing. Anabelle's new book, To Love A Wicked Scoundrelis

available now, for those nights when you want a little wicked romance... If you're interested in her book, tell her I sent you! You can find her here.

And now Anabelle wants me to tell her:

What am I working on?

So many things! Blonde OPS did a surprise release at YA Fest, and my co-author Natalie Zaman and I will be doing a ton more signings and appearances. My solo projects include a ghost story called Cold Water (which I think I've sent to my agent. *note to self: check!). I'm finishing up (another!) round of edits on my sci fi novel, Lethal Dose, and just beginning the revisions on my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project, called The Meaning of Time which is not time traveling per se, but more time hopping. And there are so many ideas sitting in the pot...

Tell me one element of your current work that you really love:

In Blonde OPS, I love the non-stop adventure. There are very few spots that aren't filled with car-chasing, spy tracking, high fashion wearing, computer hacking, vespa riding, teen flirting action.

What part of the book did you most love to write?

Oooh, hard to decide! I love the scenes with bitchy Candace because she's, well, bitchy and those are the fun characters to write, and I loved writing the spy thriller stuff. After doing research on the Secret Service, and hacking, it was so much fun to write the vespa chase through Rome. I really want to do that!

In your writing process, what was the most difficult?

Blonde OPS was a work-for-hire; the premise and most of the characters were the creation of our editors, Peter Joseph and Kat Brzozowski of St. Martin's. They had a basic idea, but we had to fill in the details, add supporting characters, come up with the computer hacks, lay out the plot. Sometimes, they didn't like what we'd written, so we had to revise, revise, revise. It would have been so much easier if we were psychic and could read minds!

And now I tag Maria Andreu!

Her first book, The Secret Side of Empty, debuted March 11th, and is getting lots of notice.

You can check it out here, along with info about her other writings- magazine articles and essays. I'm looking forward to meeting her personally at the Somerville Street Fair, where we have an author's booth. If you're in Central NJ, stop by to meet both of us and other great authors, from PB to YA, on June 1st.

Finally, I tag Tori Corn! She, too, will be at the Somerville Street Fair author's booth and I will finally meet her there.

Her latest picture book, Dixie Wants An Allergy, has been getting a few nods of approval. Continue the blog hop here and check out her other works.

And now Jessica Souders! I met Jessica at the Romantic Times convention in Chicago, when her first book, Renegade, debuted. She's sequels and prequels since then- take a peek here and continue the hop to... who knows? But you can guess it'll be to more great authors you should know!

See ya soon!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Hippity Hop....

No, I didn't miss Easter. Thanks today to Agy Wilson, an artist (in more ways than one!) who tagged me for this blog hop. Agy's work includes writing, illustrating, crafts, and great political discussions on Facebook. We don't always agree, but that doesn't stop us from being friends. Please try to stop by her blog, see her work and offer her a comment. She'd love to have you in for a visit. Go here for a fascinating and fun peek at her numerous works.

Agy tagged me to answer some questions, and since I've done those before, I'm going to throw a twist in and answer slightly different ones to keep your interest:

Q. What's your favorite part of your new release, Blonde OPS?
A. Writing about wild Vespa/car chases, having the Secret Service tailing Bec, breaking into warehouses by picking digital locks, and having two swoony guys interested in me-- all happening in Rome. It's a fantasy I can never live except through Bec and Blonde OPS.

Q. How do you write one character when you have two authors?
A. Natalie and I adapt our writing process to the project. For the Sirenz series, we each had a character to develop as we wished (as long as it fit into the agreed upon storyline). For Blonde OPS, since it's a work-for-hire (editors came up with the premise, basic plot), we had certain characteristics and events that had to happen, so we drafted first a synopsis, then a detailed outline, getting to 'know' Bec Jackson in the process. Some things one of us would write, and the other disagreed with, and if we couldn't compromise, the editors made their preferences known when it was reviewed.

Q. Since Blonde OPS releases May 6th, what will you do next? Any other projects?
A. Nat and I each have our own projects, so while we cross our fingers (and toes, and legs, etc.) waiting to hear if there will be a sequel, we work on those. I'm finishing up the edits (again!) on my sci fi, Lethal Dose; ghost story, Cold Water, and my time-hop (slightly different than time travel) The Meaning of Time. And I have tons of ideas....

Q. Which do you prefer, writing with a co-author, or writing alone?
A. That's like asking if you like ice cream or cupcakes! I like both; each has their advantages and disadvantages. Writing with Nat can get zany--we come up with outrageous scenarios that even though we know they won't be used, it's fun to create them. Working solo, I make all the decisions of what goes into the manuscript--until my agent or an editor says "Cut!" Plus, it's a dream-waiting-to-happen to have a book writing all by little me.

Now I tag...

Cyn Balog!

I know Cyn from my early days at the annual conference for the NJ Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She was on a panel talking about getting that first book published. Oh, how I envied her! I admire her now- she writes under several pseudonyms and has a number of books out. Her latest is Drowned. (My husband's name is Nicola... funny fate!)

Check out her blog (and follow the hop) here to see her blog

And then there's Cesya McRae Cuono! I just met this Facebook friend at YA Fest in Easton, PA only 2 weeks ago. (And her name is pronounced "Ses-ya" which I didn't know...) I have her book, Elemental Reality, which I'm saving so I can read it poolside, with no deadlines to interrupt me.

See her other books and check out her blog with reviews, here.

Next up is Alexandrea Weis.

Alexandrea is a Facebook friend. We haven't met (yet!) but we've connected over author chit chat, life musings, and book talk (you know how that is). She is the author of 10 (so far!) romance novels. I will be reading them on hot summer nights...

Go here to see them.

These authors will hop from here to their blogs, and then tag others. So jump along!