Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Year Is It, Again?

To the modern world,

As of late, I've gotten some odd reactions from people when they hear I'm an author.

First of all, I have received some negative reactions from a few women as well, but the majority of them usually beam and say, "Good for you!" or "Fantastic."
It was the large number of male reactions, better fitted in a different century, that took me off guard.  

This is one of many, many similar responses.

"You wrote a book?" a man asks with a quizzical look on his face.
"Yes, " I say. "I wrote a book."
"Ah, a romance." He, and others, say this as if the notion of women writing anything that doesn't have a shirtless stud on the cover is inconceivable. (There is nothing wrong with romance; it's the assumption that bothers me.)
"Thriller," I say, dryly.
"Oh...well that's...(long pause)...cute."

Silly me, that's how I should describe bleeding through the writing process, then sweating through publication from now on: Cute.
Though, I'm sure this particular gentleman would have used the same adjective had he been speaking to a male coworker. No? No.

At the top of my Shovel List (things one wants to hit in the face with a shovel) is the man who told me I should quit writing and get pregnant already, because I'm not getting any younger.
Below him, I've reserved a spot for the handful of men who said something along the lines of: "Every story should have a protagonist...do you know what a protagonist is, sweetheart?"

Why, yes. Despite my lady-brain, I have managed to absorb the meaning of words, like, protagonist, antagonist, plot point, and subplot. Amazing, I know.   

I was always aware that female authors writing certain genres/characters may have to write under male or unisex pen names so that men wouldn't bypass it because they see the name Mary or Iris, but I suppose I never gave why? much thought until now.

Note that I'm usually very fond of the opposite sexI married one of themand not all men I speak to react this way, but the number of cave-man responses have been more than I ever would've imagined with the year being 2013. I'm not only pissed but, I often find myself standing there perplexed. Females editors, agents etc. are a majority in the publishing world, and the book shelves are full of female authors, so the only conclusion I can come to is that, perhaps, a percentage of the population didn't get the memo?

For anyone who missed it when it was first released:

Urgent News-Stop
From this day forth, women-folk will be allowed to write any genre of literature-Stop
Though we previously thought females only could write cook books, romance novels, and biographies on childbearing, it now appears we were wrong-Stop


Friday, April 19, 2013

Writing Essentials


There are a few essential things every writer needs
1: Something to write on; be it a laptop, pen and paper, or stone and a chisel. Check.
2: A story. Something to tell. That's not the hard part. It's usually the very reason you sit down in the first place. Check.
3: A writing space. Generally a place with a desk of some sort.
4: Peace of mind.

If you noticed, I did not check 3 and 4 of the essentials.
For reasons I don't want to get into, I have not had my proper writing space or peace of mind for a few weeks now and have spent every writing moment at places like Starbucks, The Coffee Bean, and Panera bread.
The problem with those places is that you cannot control the people or events around you, no matter how much telepathy and telekinesis you've practiced...trust me on this, I tried.
So, I was sitting at Panera bread in the middle of rewriting a very hard/emotional/plot turning scene and there was a 5 year-old boy at the table next to me screaming: "I H-ate you! I H-ate you! I H-ate you!" to his mother.
His mother, looked like she wanted to shoot herself, and was practicing I'm-ignoring-your-request-because-you-won't-always-be-able-to-get-what-you-want-in-life-and-this-is-a-valuble-lesson. 

A very good lesson in life indeed, and I don't disagree with the fact that she refused to give him the cookie because he'd already been rewarded a danish after he finished his sandwich. But, in that very moment  I was supposed to be deep into a scene feeling everything the characters were feeling so that it would come out legit, and I was thinking...well let's just say there was an inner monologue rated R.
So I packed up Ricky-Bobby (my laptop), gave the mother a smile, because I felt for her. Then gave the kid a smile too because, man, sometimes you just really want a cookie.

I moved to The Coffee Bean and planted myself and Ricky-Bobby outside because it was a really nice day. As I sat there in the shade of a tree, going back into my very intense scene, I heard bird song from the tree above. I thought it was nice. I was pretty sure my day was turning around and that I'd finally found a spot so perfect even the bird couldn't help but to brag about it in song.
Yes, that was what I thought, until he pooped on Ricky-Bobby.
My brand new laptop. I suppose looking back, I'm happy it wasn't me he decided to poop on, but at that moment, I felt horribly bad for Ricky-Bobby. I moved immediately to prevent an encore and ended up back at Panera bread, hoping that the lovely, screaming, mother and son team had left. They hadn't but, I found a much better spot on the other side of the restaurant.

I had a full fifteen minutes to enjoy my new spot until a scream-talker sat down in the booth next to me. If you've never come across a scream-talker, BEWARE.
It's a vicious human who prays on your ears as he uses his powerful voice to take you down. The creature won't be satisfied until you're either def or crying out in frustration because no matter what you do, his voice is all you can focus on.

Note to self: Never leave your iPod at home again, thinking, "Meh, probably won't need it."


Friday, April 12, 2013

Cloud 9


I've had the honor of living on cloud 9 since STALKING SAPPHIRE became a Nook First. Have visited cloud 9 once or twice in my life for short periods of time, but have generally spent more time on the less famous cloud 5 and 6. I'm going on day three here on 9 and, I'm not going to lie, I see what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday STALKING SAPPHIRE took a leap from 200 000's on the B&N rank to 721. I remember the number well, because I screamed it non-stop for twenty minutes straight...to my neighbor's delight.

About an hour later, it dropped into the 500's. I don't remember that number quite as well, because at this point I was extremely exhausted from all the screaming.

Last night, it dropped to an amazing 100 on the B&N bestseller list. I am completely astounded and I
never in my life would have imagined it going this well. When I saw Sapphire pass my all time favorite author, Marian Keyes' new novel, I swear I died a little and I'm now walking around up here on cloud 9 part zombie.

Now that Bob, my MacBook, is on his last leg I decided it was time to get another laptop. His name is Ricky-Bobby, named after my favorite fictional car racer from Talladega Nights, and so far he, unlike Bob, doesn't smell like a homeless man. A good sign I think and the start of a beautiful friendship.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nook First!

To all with questions,

I'm very proud to announce that my New Adult Thriller STALKING SAPPHIRE is featured on Nook First today! Then 30 days to come. Very exciting! (You can find the Nook link on the sidebar.)

Well, exciting for me, at least...and my husband...and my dog, Oreo. Even though she yawned in my face when I told her this succulent piece of news, I'm pretty sure it was a yawn of utter enthusiasm. 

For those of you who are reading this and thinking:
B: What is New Adult?
C: Who the hell names their dog Oreo?

I have the answers for 2 out of 3.

STALKING SAPPHIRE, is the first book in the Sapphire Series where we are introduced to the young Beverly Hills heiress, Sapphire Dubois, who--as opposed to her peers--doesn't spend her life shopping or partying, but instead, hunting and capturing serial  killers. 
This is all fun and games--as you all know the sport of serial killer catching can be--until one of Sapphire's adversaries finds out who she is, what she does, and comes after her. For the first time, Sapphire has to figure out how to find a killer who already knows she's coming and do it, not only before he gets to her, but before the life of an innocent young woman is taken. 

And, to answer some of the ladies: Yes! There is romance.

To make matters worse...and better, Sapphire also has involuntary crush/one night stand handsome detective Aston Ridder on her tail, watching her every move. 

The book(as well as its sequels) was specifically written for the New Adult genre.
Which being me to B.

As I started this book I knew exactly what it was, and more so, what I wanted the whole series to be. I was 23 at the time and I was having trouble finding enough books to read with protagonists my own age as I was in the giant gap between Young Adult (YA) and the adult genres. A lot of people, females especially, 18 to early 30s are kind of left hanging. They don't quite relate to the YA high school character anymore, but can't really relate to the female protagonist who is 35 and married with children either. That is where New Adult, a fairly new genre, comes in. It closes that gap and allows the 20-something to engage in stories much closer to their own world and language.
Though I've read and enjoyed YA books as a 26 year old and very adult novels as a 14 year old, it is nice to have the option to read about character's in your own age group, should you feel like it. 
I have big hopes for the future of New Adult and would love for B&N to one day have an aisle of it as big and grand as the one of their YA section. 

C: I don't know who would name their dog Oreo. She was a rescue and already named so we didn't want to change it. Ironically she hates those doggy Oreo cookies; the only thing in the world she won't eat. Perhaps she feels it's cannibalism.


Monday, April 8, 2013

For Bob


It was a week since my last post, and in that week I've gone through more emotions that I have combined in the 26 years prior.

Every time a new review of STALKING SAPPHIRE comes in I have heart complications until I know if it's a good or a bad one. If it's good, I annoy the people in my life by reading it over and over again until they start threatening me with kitchen knives, remote controls, carrots or whatever weapon happens to be in their vicinity at the time. If it's a bad one...well...I would love to say that I brush it off like the professional I am and that I say mature things like "Oh well, people have different tastes." Being neither mature nor professional this is not what I say.
I do, however, still appreciate the review and the effort the reviewer put in.

Luckily, I've had much more positive reviews than negative so far, I'm crossing my fingers that it keeps going that way.

In the past week I've also been dealing with the oncoming death of my beloved MacBook. His name is Bob, he is 7 years old, and lately he energy hasn't been the same. In the middle of doing important things like blogging, he dies, keeps being dead, then magically comes back to life whenever he feels like it.
Also, oddly, he smells a bit like a homeless man. I'm not kidding! My husband and I were convinced a homeless person had broken into our bedroom just to rub his chest on my computer.
I thought about taking him into the doctor--Apple Store-- but last time I did for a different issue, they laughed at Bob, and said he was old and out of date. I said "He's only six." They said: "Exactly."

That was a year ago and now, as I hurry to write these last lines before Bob cuts me off once again,  I know I'll be saying the words soon: R.I.P Bob.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sacrifice and Reward

Today, STALKING SAPPHIRE, my New Adult Thriller was finally released!
It is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks/iTunes, Kobo and more. I've put up the purchase links for Apple, Kindle, and Nook here, as well as on my website.

For every author, screenwriter, blogger, post-it poet, whatever it may be, who is not yet to the point where they'd like to be, I want like to say one thing: Do not give up!
I almost did, plenty of times...and now, obviously, I'm glad I didn't.

About 3 years ago, I was living an over-priced apartment in Burbank, CA, which had monthly ant infestations and rats in the walls, I was an unemployed waitress with writing aspirations and just one out of millions of other unemployed waitresses with writing/acting/directing aspirations living in Los Angeles.
At that time, I was still trying to be a screenwriter; convinced to my very core that I could never write anything as complicated as a book. (Ha!) I'd done decently at screenwriting competitions like Nicholls fellowship, but I wasn't exactly raking in the dough. I even spent a few horrible months trying to fix other peoples screenplays in exchange for something that was much below Writer's Guild minimums.

It was just a few months before I ended up losing my apartment that I started seeing/dreaming about a man, a killer, following a distressed young woman through a dark forest with every intention to kill her. Then suddenly, the tables turn. The young woman, previously in tears, turns out to be the hunter, and the killer, to his own surprise, turns out to be the victim.

I wasn't really sure what it was, or where it fit in, all I knew was that I couldn't get rid of it.
Deep down I'm pretty sure I knew the story was supposed to be a novel, but--again--I never imagined being able to write such a horribly complicated thing. So, I tried writing it as a webisode, short, feature, and TV series, to get it out of my head but none of it clicked and none of the constant images disappeared. Sapphire was pretty much torturing me. Pestering me daily. Haunting me nightly.

Finally, one day, I threw my hands up and said: "Fine, you bastard. I give up."
I sat down to write my first novel and the images that had been with me, for months at that point, became the opener to STALKING SAPPHIRE.

I'd love to say that the story was all roses and sunshine from there and ended in a very happily-ever-after way with today's release of STALKING SAPPHIRE, but I had about two more years of struggles in front of me before my absolutely wonderful agent would take me and Sapphire on and Diversion would pick up STALKING SAPPHIRE and its sequel.

Today, I feel like Sapphire is in my mind with a slightly superior smirk on her lips, saying: "Told you so."