Friday, December 5, 2014

Deadlines & Sapphire Dubois #3 Update

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who has written to me, and asked about the third installment in the Sapphire Dubois series. Although patience is a virtue, it's also undeniably boring, so I'm eternally grateful for yours.

We're sill working on the titled, but the third book is coming soon! Yay!
I just finished my second deadline, which means, I only have one more to go before Sapphire #3 is off to the presses. I still have quite a bit of work ahead of me, but I'm so excited to get to share the new story with all of you shortly.

Although the final weeks before the last deadline is the most stressful step in the process, I feel have learned to enjoy the mayhem now. Around this time, my home lay in chaos, I lose anywhere from 5-10 pounds, my dog is overdue for a haircut, my "normal" job suffers due to my lack of focus, and there are literally pages of manuscript EVERYWHERE. I found page 134 in my purse yesterday. No clue how it ended up there.


For the past week, I haven't slept more than four hours a night, and somehow, I didn't feel tired. I felt superhuman and focus on what needed to be done. I felt fab as I finally printed and bubble wrapped the manuscript--I'm still not sure why I felt the need to secure paper. I buckled her up, and drove her to the UPS store. She was, after all, going to my agent, aka: her secondary mother who has shared custody.

Then, as I signed the shipping doc and stood there listening to the UPS guy's detailed story about his Comic-Con costume, I crashed. I don't even recall driving home.
All I remember is walking through the door and pouring myself a captain and coke to celebrate with. I set it down for a second to get comfy on the couch, then...

I woke up a few hours later, feeling rested. My flat captain and coke tasted like...well, shit honestly, but it didn't matter. I was taking my moment and choosing to enjoy it.

Now, I get a few days before the cycle starts over. Though I often plan to just chill and catch up with friends on these days, I can already feel my fingers itch to work on Project X--my next, and first book outside of the Sapphire series.

For those of you who have asked about the possibility of a Silencing Sapphire book club on Wattpad, good news is on the way :)

Xoxo,
Mia

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's All in the Name

All major and minor characters have names (said Captain Obvious).

But what many don't know, is that specifically chosen names can effect how the reader perceives the characters--consciously or subconsciously.

Famous Characters and their Names' Hidden Meanings




Katniss Everdeen from Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games Series.
Katniss, as described in the books, is named after a plant that's called Arrowhead or Sagittaria. It shares a name with the Zodiac constellation that is also referred to as The Archer. Fitting, considering our heroine's talent.
 
 
 













The main character from Disney's The Lion King is Simba. In Swahili the name literally means Lion.
I might name my next character Human, just to make sure people don't confuse her with a Water Buffalo.
















The antagonist from George Lucas's Star Wars is Darth Vader. Darth means Dark and Vader, Father. Had Luke known that the name of the enemy meant Dark Father, he may not have been as surprised at the delivery of the famous line.














Harry Potter's archenemy is Lord Voldemort, a man with obvious good-looks and a breathing problem. His deep desire for immortality is displayed in his name. Vol de mort in French, means Flight of Death.


For the Sapphire Dubois book series, I often use names to show how the characters relate to each other. For example...

STALKING SAPPHIRE
Sapphire Dubois is a Beverly Hills heiress who hunts and traps serial killers. I chose the name because it was different and wildly un-liked. I wanted to use the name to empower the view she has of her rich society. She dislikes her own name which represents the life she was born into, but does not want.

My main male character--and Sapphire's love interest--Aston Ridder, has a name people can't get right. He, in turn, dislikes his first name because it has caused him grief over the years.
His last name, Ridder, is a manipulation of "Riddare" the Swedish word for Knight. A foreshadowing to the fact that he often shows up to rescue Sapphire.

So, why did I opt for both of my main characters to have the same issues with their names?
Through their common problem, the reader gets a subconscious message that Aston and Sapphire belong together and that their similarities bind them, without me ever having to say it.

Other times, I use the names to show what function a character has to my main character.


For instance, lacking a proper parental figure in her life, Sapphire goes to a priest, her confidant, to get advice and guidance.
                                                                                                              
The priest's name is Father O'Riley.
At first glance it describes his job, but my reason was always to display his role as a father figure in Sapphire's life.

There are a million different ways to use names: hidden meanings, on-the-nose, foreshadowing, symbolically, metaphorically...

As the evidence above states, I'm far from the first writer to do this, and I can guarantee I won't be the last.

Xoxo,
Mia

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Last Day at the Office

Then
It seems like it was only months ago that I moved my desk into my very first office, the room meant only for writing. Perhaps it seems it was only months ago, because it was, in fact, only months ago.

After five short months at the house, my husband and I are now being pushed out by our persistent, and non-paying, tenant of death, known to others as the Arizona Scorpion—ugly little bastards with poisonous, sometimes deadly, tails.

Thinking back, we should have moved out the day we realized there was a problem, but due to the fabulousness of the rest of the house—the five burner stove, two offices, a soaking tub—it was easier to hope we could pull through.

Admittedly, the stove’s fancy fifth burner was never used—four is quite enough—and the soak tub was only used as a shower. But I still wasn’t willing to leave my new office which screamed of creative endeavors, and untold literary journeys.

Up and till this house my “office” has been in several un-office-like spaces. Often living rooms, sometimes bedrooms, various coffee shops, the bathroom once. Though, I can’t for the life of me remember why I chose the John for that day. Point is, this office, this space, belonged to me and my books, and I had a hard time letting it go. I knew if I left the house, its new tenant mightn’t be pleased if I dropped by to use the office every day.

Alas, after five months of scorpion hunting, checking the dog’s kennel, my shoes, bed, and underwear for scorpions—yes, underwear. I prefer my privates private and scorpion free—I finally realized, all good things must come to an end. Especially when infested with scorpions.

Now
It is with great sorrow that I spend my last day at this office, before my husband and I move into our new, scorpion-free, two bedroom apartment where we will “share” the office. We’ll be “sharing”  for two days, until I find him way too annoying—as husbands often are—and volunteer to move my desk into the living room, kitchen, or possibly the John.

Farewell words to my office: Thanks for the time I got with you. Hope the new tenant spills less coffee on your carpet. Though, considering the carpet is coffee colored, I never saw a problem with it.

Farewell words to the scorpions: Enjoy my house, you fu**ers.

Xoxo,
Mia

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Killing and Resurrecting Your Darlings

As I entered the stage of rewrites with Sapphire Dubois #3, the expression Killing Your Darlings came to mind. English author Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch was the first to say it a century ago, though I think he actually said 'murder your darlings'. The expression has since become widely used not only by authors, but in many professions that involve editing. I, for one, first learned the term in film school.

So what does Killing Your Darlings truly mean?
It means to cut a scene, piece, sentence, or dialogue which you personally hold dear, but which doesn't move the story.

I've killed plenty of darlings through out the Sapphire series. Silencing Sapphire left more figurative bloody body parts behind than I can count. Most of them were scenes I felt were important to the characters, but did not fit in with the movement or slowed down the plot too much.
This is sometimes traumatic, but it's part of the job, and there's nothing you can do to change it...

unless...

You're writing a series.

The upside of a series as opposed to a stand alone, is the opportunity to give mouth-to-mouth and revive an old dead darling when you get to the next book. I never truly delete a scene; I keep all Has-Beens for each book in a separate file together. Partly to make it easier to track them, partly because I imagine the poor rejects will feel less sad and lonely if they're surrounded by other rejects.

When going through the editing process with my agent for Silencing Sapphire, we spent a lot of time discussing a scene which held significance to the characters, but was unrelated to the plot. After much debate, it ended up being humanely put down.
As I was writing Sapphire #3, I found that the old deleted scene from Silencing Sapphire, fit perfectly with the plot movement of the new book. All I needed was CPR lessons and possibly a crash cart.

But before you grab the defibrillator and yell "Clear!" beware and ask yourself one question: When you raise the dead, do they come back the same?

For the scenes you've deleted months ago, but still think about and still have that gut feeling about, I say yes, go ahead and give it your all to resurrect them.

As for the rest of the rejected Darlings, well...
if Mary Shelley and several Zombie movies have taught us one thing, it's that some things are better left dead.

Xoxo,
Mia


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

6 Things to do when Attacked or Abducted

There are a lot of benefits to being a writer. One of the most important ones for me, is the ability to  place knowledge in another mind.
My character, Sapphire Dubois--Beverly Hills heiress/Martial Arts fighting vigilante--may seem like the epitome of fiction at first glance. However, I always try to implement real life self-defense techniques, along with other useful information, in each of the Sapphire books.

If you ever find yourself being attacked or abducted, here are a few tips and techniques that could help save your life. (Some of the techniques below are from Stalking Sapphire, Silencing Sapphire, and the upcoming third book in the series.)

6 Things to do when Attacked or Abducted


1. Do Not Panic.

To not panic and to think rationally feels impossible when someone is grabbing or attacking you, possibly with a weapon. However, to breathe deeply and to stay calm so that you can strategize and take in the event and all its information, could actually give you an advantage over your opponent.
If you are being taken by someone who is intending to kill you, their actions are often based on emotion which clouds the logical mind.
If you need to create an ultra capable alter-ego, or pretend that you are your favorite hero/heroine to calm yourself, then do so.

2. Throat Punch.

For females dealing with a bigger, stronger, male offender, know he has weaknesses too. The throat, especially the trachea, is extremely sensitive.

If you are ever in severe danger a hard punch to the trachea can stop your opponents breath and even cause him to choke to death. Never do this to anyone if you aren't absolutely certain your life is in danger.


3. Head-butts.

You can head-butt your opponent from the from or the back. If he is behind you, holding your arms, or chest, launch your head backwards as fast and hard as you can.
If the opponents is in front of you, aim your forehead to the bridge of their nose as hard as possible. Not only can this cause a broken nose, but also cause their eyes to tear up, giving you the advantage.


4. Escaping the Trunk

If you are taken and placed in the trunk of a car, know that all cars manufactured after 2002 have a trunk release lever inside the trunk.
If the car you are placed is an older than 2002, look for what you can use inside the trunk. Jacks, screwdrivers, and tool kits tucked with the spare tire can be used as weapons.


5. Anything is a Weapon.

Whether you're being taken, or have already been abducted, know that even the most mundane room can have weapons in it. You could use something as small as a pen to defend yourself. Look around for things that are sharp or hard, then use your imagination and the element of surprise against your opponent. Example: if you're held by chains, you can use the chains to wrap them around your opponents neck. Do not be afraid to hurt them, odds are they're already planning on hurting you.


6. Survival

We, humans, are genetically engineered to survive. The Fight or Flight response from our ancestors, who lived in much more perilous times, is still inside us.
You are stronger and smarter than you think!













Xoxo,
Mia

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Meet The Author

Just like so many other authors and writers out there, I have spent the past few years living split lives; having two personalities, if you will. In one life, I'm Mia Thompson, Author. In the other, I'm nameless and merely one of many employees who works eight hours a day, then picks up their modest paycheck every two weeks.

The general public may not realize how many of the authors they see on book shelves are still nurses, accountants, store clerks, and waiters. For most of us, writing is our passion, and work, only something we do to feed our needy bodies, pay our pesky bills, and afford clothes other than the PJ's we wear in front of the computer.

I often feel I'm living two secret lives. At my day job, creativity is not welcomed. The rules and orders we are given aren't meant to be bent or questioned, but followed to a T. Me, and the girls I work with, are not expected to be talented, intelligent, or to know the difference between who and whom. We are simply there to be friendly and fun while we execute Corporate's will.

I hardly ever mention to my customers that I'm an author. When I do, it seems to confuse them. Perhaps it's because they feel I don't look like an author (whatever an author is supposed to look like?) or perhaps, it's because I'm working and not sitting in front of a desk with a quill in my hand, quoting Whitman. Often they look at me as if I have ruined they way they see the world: a place where nurses are nurses, accountants are accountants, and the guy who picks up your trash will never be the one to write the next Great American Novel. Because of this, I find it easier to pretend that during nine-to-five, the author doesn't exist at all.
What our costumers and clients rarely know, is that while we scan your groceries, drawn your blood, calculate your receipts, and wipe the crumbs off your table, we are miles away. We are actually adventurers, spies, warriors, aliens, and kings of places you've never heard.

Meanwhile, at my other job, which I like to refer to as my career: My mind and my creativity are my most prized possessions. The title Author, automatically comes with a stamp of authority (whether you feel it's accurate or not.) You are the brand. Without you, the writer, there is only a blank page.
So, just like I don't mention that I'm a writer at work, I don't mention what I actually do for a living, as an author. In every blog, tweet, and interview, I shy away from the subject. Why? Because I don't want to ruin any possible image the reader may have of me and my books.
What the reader rarely knows (with the exception of NY best sellers) is the author they love, might be the very same person who sacks their groceries, draws their blood, and picks up their trash.

Living these two lives: the worker, the author, is much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...minus Hyde's tendencies of beating people to death, of course. In each of the two personalities hides another. Behind Dr. Jekyll's smile, there is a creature with a deeper will waiting to get out. Within Mr. Hyde's wildness, there is a calm, presentable, man waiting for his turn to come out and be social.

Perhaps, a comfort, to me and my kind (author-who-are-yet-to-live-off-their-writing) is that one personality, could not live without the other at this moment in our lives.
Perhaps without the mindless jobs which pay our pesky bills and feed our needy bodies, we would not have the same ability to dream ourselves away at will.
   

Xoxo,
Mia

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Rough Draft

At 11am this morning, I finished the rough draft of Sapphire #3.

Comparison: A completed, published novel is a nicely put together plate of food: the meat, the potatoes, the vegetables, and the sauce are strategically placed together so that each individual taste and fragrance complements the other.

The Rough Draft means I have peeled the potatoes, marinated the meat, chopped the vegetables, and made a roux for the sauce.

Either way you look at it, it's all food, but it'll taste like crap if you eat it raw.

After the Rough Draft is completed, the real work starts. I spend very little time on my rough draft compared to the rewrites. The first thing I learn when I arrived at my first day of screenwriting class was Writing is Rewriting. Well, technically, the first thing I learn was: Don't be late for class. But, the understanding of Writing is Rewriting was such a valuable lesson that whenever I dig into my second, third, or fourth draft these days, I still hear my old teacher's words in my head.

Of course, just because I have the knowledge, doesn't mean the journey I'm about to set on will be any easier. Ahead of me lay months of questioning every word, storyline, and character movement. There will be at least 132 times where I'll feel like I will puke if I have to read the manuscript one more time. And, despite the serious effort of waving my hands in front of my eyes and breathing into a paper bag, I will break down and cry like a baby at least once...but probably more.

There will be jovial times where I finally nail a scene after months of trying, and times where I wish I would've became a podiatrist instead of a writer, because not even a foot can stink as bad as whatever I just wrote.


Comparison:

My brain before rewrites.















My brain during rewrites















Of course, there are upsides to rewriting as well. First: because of the struggles, the crying, and eventually the breakthroughs, I believe rewriting is what makes you grow the most as a writer.

Secondly: my brain tastes delicious cooked sunny side up and with a side of bacon.














Xoxo,
Mia

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Happy Birthday(s)

Hi Everyone,

Today is May 20th and the birthdays of two very special people in my life.

The first person, I literally owe my life to. She nurtured me, read to me, stuck with me through my terrible-teens years, and went through the (from what I understand) traumatic task of birthing me. I am, of course, talking about my mother.
Someone who read both Stalking and Silencing Sapphire recently asked me if I based Vivienne, Sapphire's terribly unfit mother, on my own mother. For those who have wondered the same, the answer is no. I did, however, base Julia, Sapphire's ever caring housekeeper, on my mother.

That said... Happy birthday to my mom, Ylva!

The second person whose birthday it is today, is the character herself, Sapphire.
I chose May 20th for Sapphire to pay a homage to my mom, knowing she would read it and
giggle.

I don't know if other authors celebrate their characters' birthdays (or if it's even considered sane to do so?) but I do. I don't get a gift or bake a cake, mostly because there would be no one to blow out the candles, but also because I'm terrible at baking cakes. But I do wake up on May 20th and think: today is my mother's and Sapphire's birthdays. 

That said...Happy Birthday to my favorite character, Sapphire!

In other celebrations, I just reached my 50 K mark on the rough draft of SEVERING SAPPHIRE, which means I'm getting close to the climax and, inevitably, the end. Something that's always bitter sweet to me.

Xoxo,
Mia 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

LV Conference Sum-up: Part 2

Hi Everyone,

Last week I did part one of the sum-up from the class I held at the Las Vegas Writers Conference.
I showed how movies are plotted, what plot points are, and how to use them.

This week, I will show you how you can take those same Plot Points, twist them to match your novel, and use them to improve the plot and pace of your manuscripts.

Since novels vary so much in word count, the plot points below can be adjusted to match your specific book.

If you're like me, a New Adult author who writes below 80 K, then you might need to move the Plot Points closer together.

If you're like R.R Martin, or Stephanie Meyer, or anyone who writes books that range from 800 to 1000 pages, then you'll need to space the Plot Points farther apart.

In this case,  I adjusted the screenplay's Plot Points to fit an average sized novel at 400 pages.
If you need a refresher from last week, don't worry.
I'm reposting the Screenplay formula and Plot Point chart.

SCREENPLAY




NOVEL




What are the PLOT POINTS?



Before the first Plot Point, we establish the character’s world as it is. This is where we get to know our character and their everyday life before their world changes.

The INCITING INCIDENT or The Catalyst, is where the story kicks off. The Inciting Incident is the first movement of the plot that takes us away from Status Quo and leads us in a new direction.

The NEW WORLD is known as Plot Point One. This is the end of Act I and where we enter the new world. This is usually where the characters make a choice to commit to a journey, or a goal.

The ALMOST KISS Moment. In a Romantic Comedy this could be the point where one, or both of the main characters, have a moment that shows us that they have feelings for one and other. If it’s not a romantic comedy, this is usually a moment where the character almost gets something they want. But they’ve either gone about it the wrong way, they lose it, or experience a setback.

The MID-POINT is where the plot or character movement takes a dramatic turn. Most of the time, but not always, it's for the worse of the character.


The POINT OF NO RETURN is usually where the characters have regrouped from whatever happen at the mid-point and it’s the development of the final plan. Whatever choice the characters make here, they can’t go back.


The TWIST is the End of Act II, also called Plot Point Two. This is where a big turn of events take place. Usually this is where the protagonist has reached their goal, but when they do, something unexpected happens.

CLIMAX: This is where it all goes down. The climax is your typical Good Vs. Evil duke it out, our character battles his or her antagonist, whether it’s an actual physical “Bad Guy” or an emotional one.

THE RESOLUTION: Is the end of Act III. This is a very quick thing, a few minutes tops, where we see the outcome and how our characters lives have changed, hopefully for the better.


If anyone (whether you were a part of the conference or not) have any questions on this, feel free to comment. I'll be happy to answer anything!

Xoxo,
Mia

Monday, May 5, 2014

LV Conference Sum-up: Part 1

Hi Everyone,

As mentioned, I had the honored of being a part of the 2014 Las Vegas Writers Conference at the end of April.

This was the first time I've attended a writers conference as a Faculty Member instead of a some-what-shy, Attendee. A big thanks to the Henderson Writer's Group and to all the attendees who made the conference an absolute blast.

Since I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, interacting with people who are--despite my love for them-- not real, but fictional, I'd almost forgotten what it was like to be around other writers. To be put in a room full of people who practically radiate creativity and talent, as a writer, is to feel at home. A special thanks to those at the conference who came up to me and shared your stories, and personal trials and tribulations. I enjoyed speaking to you all immensely!


One thing I did as a Faculty Member was to hold a presentation, titled: How to Strengthen Your Plot by Using Screenplay Formula.

For those at the conference who missed it, for those who attended the classes, but may want a refresher, and for those who are just curious about how I plot, here are the notes from my class:


SCREENPLAY STRUCTURE

 Screenplays are generally plotted with an expected page count of 110. One page in screenplay, usually equals one minute of screen time.

Act I, is where we’re introduced to the characters, and their core issues.
Act II is where the ups and downs of the plot takes place.
Act III is for the Climax and Resolution.

The numbered pages (15, 30,45 etc.) are where the Plot Points happen.

Plot point = the beats of your story. They're the structured twists and turns of the movie.








As you can see in the drawing, each Movie has 8 Plot Points.

Before the first Plot Point, on page 15, we establish the character’s world as it is. This is where we get to know our character and their everyday life before their world changes.

Page 15: Is known as the INCITING INCIDENT or The Catalyst. This is where the story kicks off. The Inciting Incident is the first movement of the plot that takes us away from Status Quo and leads us in a new direction.

Page 30: Is known as Plot Point One. This is the end of Act I and where we enter the NEW WORLD. This is usually where the characters make a choice to commit to a journey, or a goal.

Page 45: This is also known as the ALMOST KISS Moment. In a Romantic Comedy this could be the point where one, or both of the main characters, have a moment that shows us that they have feelings for one and other. If it’s not a romantic comedy, this is usually a moment where the character almost gets something they want. But they’ve either gone about it the wrong way, they lose it, or experience a setback.

Page 60:This is known as the MID-POINT, not only because it’s the middle of the movie, but because this is where the plot or character movement takes a dramatic turn. Most of the time, but not always, it's for the worse of the character.


Page 75: is called the POINT OF NO RETURN. This is usually where the characters have regrouped from whatever happen at the mid-point and it’s the development of the final plan. Whatever choice the characters make here, they can’t go back.   


Page 90: This is the End of Act II, called Plot Point Two or THE TWIST. This is where a big turn of events take place. Usually this is where the protagonist has reached their goal, but when they do, something unexpected happens.

CLIMAX: This is where it all goes down. The climax is your typical Good Vs. Evil duke it out, our character battles his or her antagonist, whether it’s an actual physical “Bad Guy” or an emotional one.

THE RESOLUTION: Is the end of Act III. This is a very quick thing, a few minutes tops, where we see the outcome and how our characters lives have changed, hopefully for the better.


Next Week, I'll add the section on how you can take the screenplay's Plot Points and stretch them to fit your novel's format!

Xoxo,
Mia




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mover's Hell

Hi Everyone!

Pardon my long silence, but I have spent the past weeks in a something called Mover's Hell.

My husband and I just moved into what we believed was the perfect house. A place so big, we'd finally get our own offices.

However, for the past weeks, we've dealt with no water, followed by leaking water. No A/C, followed by no gas. A washer that didn't work, and a drier that did work...until my husband messed with it and accidentally put it in permanent lock mode. Last, but not least, scorpions. Yes, scorpions. Little poisonous suckers with absolutely ZERO understanding of private property and personal space.

We also haven't had Internet or TV until today. I was relieved when the cable guy finally showed up this morning, because after unpacking boxes, assembling furniture, and trying not to step on poisonous freeloaders and having no entertainment to comfort a deprived mind, The Shining's "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" popped into my head more than once.

Though I hoped I'd be tapping away on my computer in my very own writing space by now, this is the current state of my office:












Sorry Sapphire, it's going to be awhile.

Xoxo,
Mia

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SNOW vs FROZEN

Hi Everyone,

Snow White was the first Disney movie I ever owned and I watched it religiously as a child. The movie was Disney's first feature and was made in 1937.

A few days ago, I watched Frozen and realized just how much our world and fairy tales have changed. I also realized what messages the old fairy tales were sending to young boys and girls.

SNOW WHITE
Protagonist: Snow White
Skills: Dancing. Baking. Cleaning. Napping.

In Snow White, our heroine foolishly bites the poisoned apple that a stranger/creepy old lady (the evil
queen in disguise) offers her. She then falls into an eternal sleep while the men in her life, the seven dwarfs, chase down and take care of the evil queen; a woman who's only motivation for her evildoing was that someone else was just a little prettier than she was.

So, not only did our heroine get herself into this mess by being pretty and foolish, she also remains inactive in solving the issue at hand.

Don't get me wrong, it is completely fine for a MC to make mistakes...as long as he/she tries to fix what they did wrong.

Luckily, the handsome prince, a character we really don't know that well, shows up and saves the day
by offering Snow White a Loves First Kiss/True Love's Kiss.
Our protagonist awakes, the prince swoops her up in his arms, and takes off with Show White on his steed.

In short: Girls, it's okay to be foolish and unproductive because a cute boy will come along and save you at some point. Boys, buckle up, you have to do all the work in the future and fix your woman's problems...no pressure.

Again, this was 1937, but it does reflection the era that was and would remain common for quite sometime, where women stayed at home and men had to do the work.

Fast forward 77 years to Disney's most recent movie Frozen , where they spin Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Snow Queen into something new.

SPOILER ALERT.

FROZEN
Protagonist: Anna
Skills: Fearless. Stubborn. Selfless. Delivers a mean right hook.

Although out heroine, Princess Anna, is somewhat na├»ve about love in the beginning, she doesn't set out on her adventure because she's running away from her problem like Snow White did, but to proactively help her sister, Elsa.

When things later go haywire Anna ends up with a "frozen heart" and can only be saved by an Act of True Love. The words 'True Love's Kiss' come up.

As it turns out, the act of True Love is not preformed by a handsome price that pops up to save the day, but by Anna herself when she sacrifices herself for her sister.

In addition, the handsome prince Hans--who Anna earlier thought she wanted to marry--turns out to be a douche bag. Anna's real love interest, Kristoff, a rugged mountain man, swoops in and offers to take care of Hans for her. Anna refuses and clocks the prince in the face herself. Hurrah! Victory for all...except Hans.


Xoxo,
Mia

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 Las Vegas Writers Conference

Hi Everyone,

As I've mentioned briefly, I'm very excited to join the faculty of the 2014 Las Vegas Writers Conference!

Between April 24 - 26, I will be on an Agent/Author panel along with my very own agent, the lovely Elizabeth Kracht. This session will allow writers to ask any questions they might have about agent-author relationships.

As some of you may know, I was a screenwriter before I became an author. Because of my years of screenwriting studies and trying to break into the madness that is Hollywood, the wonderful people of the Las Vegas Writers Conference have granted me the pleasure of holding my own workshop.

My class: Using Movie Structure to Strengthen your Plot (it's a working title) will be about taking the precise structure of screenplays and implementing them into your manuscript to help improve pace and plot. I'm hoping this workshop will help other authors as much as it has helped me!

I'm incredibly honored and grateful to be apart of the Las Vegas Writers Conference faculty and would like to send a big thanks to the organization! 

If you are a writer, or just interested in attending:

Click Here to Join!

 

Here are some of the other work shops:


* Dialogue, it is not just people talking
* Plotting First Draft to Final Draft
* That’s How We Roll: Setting up an Author Tour both Online and Offline
* Self editing for fiction writers – Edit yourself
* Multiple point of view
* Author/Agent panels – The relationship and how it works
* Building an Author Platform Self-Publishing Demystified:  Taking the Reins of Your Own Publishing Journey
* Building Your Own Writing/Publishing Empire:  Strategies for Turning One Book into a Full-Time Living
* Ten Ways to Upgrade Your Manuscript
* Savvy self-publishing; bonuses and traps of DIY
* Workshopping the Query
* Creating Characters
* Balance – How to intertwine narrative, description & dialogue


Xoxo,
Mia

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Special Thanks to the United Kingdom!

'ello Everyone!

I saw these ratings this morning and would like to send a giant THANKS to the readers of the United Kingdom!

Stalking Sapphire and Silencing Sapphire were both topping the UK's Amazon lists in January and I cannot tell you how excited I am about the amount of 5 & 4 star ratings the series has received.

To put some true effort into my Thanks the UK, I will spend the rest of this week drinking Guinness and singing along to Robbie Williams with my car windows rolled down. I will also do my best to drive the Americans nuts with phrases like: "Feeling a bit knackered today, are we?" and confuse/repulse them when they're looking blue by saying: "oh, keep your pecker up."

I'm strongly considering wearing this hat, but fear I will lose all respect from my friends, husband, and dog if I do.











Cheerio,
Mia

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Launching @SapphireDubois

Hi Everyone!

The day is finally here!

Sapphire Dubois' own Twitter account launched this morning and I'm extremely excited to get to share this side of Sapphire with you all.

Like I said before, Sapphire's Tweets are separate from the progression of the series and won't give away any spoilers. Instead, you'll to get to hear about Sapphire's everyday life as the Serial Catcher and a Beverly Hills heiress. The tweets are Sapphire Dubois' untold adventures.

As opposed to the books, Sapphire's Tweets are in first person. So for those of you who are already fans of the series, get ready to get to know Sapphire Dubois in a whole new way!

Follow Sapphire on Twitter





Xoxo,
Mia

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sign up for Newsletter & Get Stalking Sapphire FREE

Hi Everyone!

Today Diversion Books are offering a FREE copy of my New Adult Thriller STALKING SAPPHIRE (eBook) to anyone who signs up for Diversion's Newsletter!

Click to Sign Up & Get Your Free Copy


Overview

Sapphire Dubois is keeping a deadly secret.

 While the young and obscenely wealthy of Beverly Hills spend their nights with trendy celebs and drugs at the hottest clubs, 22-year-old Sapphire Dubois has a different hobby: she hunts serial killers. Luring, trapping, and anonymously handing over So-Cal's most wanted to the police is a better high than any drug.

But Sapphire's secret may not be so safe, as one of the very people she hunts is watching her every move. Aware of her true identity and her unconventional activities, he's determined to put an end to Sapphire once and for all. Paired up with her involuntary crush Detective Aston Ridder for her own protection, Sapphire now has to rethink her strategy not only to keep Aston in the dark, but to figure out how to capture a killer who already knows she’s coming.



Xoxo,
Mia

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sapphire Dubois on TWITTER

Hi Everyone,


SAPPHIRE DUBOIS ON TWITTER Coming Soon!
For those who've read Stalking Sapphire and Silencing Sapphire and feel like the third book in the Sapphire series is too far away...

Come next week, I will launch Sapphire Dubois's Twitter account! You'll be able to follow my MC, Sapphire, on her adventures as the Serial Catcher and a reluctant Beverly Hills heiress.
The Tweets will be unrelated to the storylines and progression of the series. They'll be Sapphire Dubois's Untold Stories.

This will be a chance for Sapphire's fans to interact and discuss the books and Tweets!
If you haven't read the books, feel free to join in anyway. The tweets will introduce you to Sapphire and her two worlds.

More details, and the link will be up next week!

Xoxo,
Mia




Friday, February 7, 2014

Publishers Marketplace: Sneak Peek at SAPPHIRE #3

Hi Everyone,

I was as giddy as always to see SEVERING SAPPHIRE's announcement on Publishers Marketplace this week.

I'm still not used to reading my own name on official statements and I doubt there will ever come a time when I don't do the one-man Wave and squeal in excitement. Excluding the teenage years when I thought I was the sh**, playing it cool was never my thing.

I'm also very honored to be next to the incredibly talented Lily Gardner, author of A Bitch Called Hope.




Xoxo,
Mia

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

First Reads & Writer's Conferences

Hi Everyone!

Have had my first mini-read of the first few chapters of Severing Sapphire and have to say the reaction was more positive than I expected. So positive that I, being a somewhat neurotic writer, chose not to believe it and immediately preformed an interrogation in a shady room, with a lone chair, and a single bright bulb dangling over my reader's/detainee's head.

I finally had to give up and let him go. Not because I believed him, but because I realized my DVR was full and I couldn't risk Being Human getting deleted. So, my detainee got lucky...this time.

With that, I'd like to officially announce that I will be attending the 2014 Las Vegas Writers Conference. Late April, I'll be on a panel along side of my lovely agent, Elizabeth Kracht. I'll hopefully be able to answer any questions that come my way.

For anyone in the nearby area (or not, depending on how far you're willing to travel) there's still plenty of time to register to attend.

Click to Attend the 2014 Las Vegas Writers Conference





Xoxo,
Mia

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Order of the Sapphire Series

To accidentally read a book in a series out of order is one of my worst pet peeves.
As a reader and a writer, I absolutely hate spoilers and want to spare anyone out there who feels the same way by putting the Sapphire series in its proper order.

The Sapphire Dubois Series


STALKING SAPPHIRE - BOOK 1
Published






Click to Purchase







SILENCING SAPPHIRE - BOOK 2
Published






Click to Purchase







SENTENCING SAPPHIRE  - BOOK 3
Published





Click to Purchase








Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SEVERING SAPPHIRE: 3rd book in the Sapphire Series

Hi Everyone!

After receiving tons of questions and requests about the next book in the Sapphire Series, I feel the need to clarify a few things:

Yes! There is a third book in the works and I'm typing away as we speak! Its VERY tentative title is SEVERING SAPPHIRE.
Yes! It is the continuation of  SILENCING SAPPHIRE and will be published by the best publishing house in world (possibly universe) Diversion Books.
No! It was never my intention to end the whole series with Silencing Sapphire's cliffhanger. Though often a bit grouchy in the morning, I'm not quite that mean.


That said, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who has written to me! Your sweet words about the first two books and your hunger for the third book warms my heart and astonishes me.
It is safe to say I no longer feel this series is mine, but to yours. Thank you!

Xoxo,
Mia

Monday, January 6, 2014

Silencing Sapphire AUDIO BOOK

Hi Everyone!

To all you out there who have ears, I'm happy to announce that SILENCING SAPPHIRE's Audio Book is OUT!

It's narrated by the one, the only, Elizabeth Morton, who has done as fabulous of a job with the sequel as she did with Stalking Sapphire. Few people own the talent of bringing characters and worlds to life with their voice and Ms. Morton is definitely one of them.

SILENCING SAPPHIRE's Audio Book is available on Amazon.


                                                      Click To Sample & Purchase



Xoxo,
Mia

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Swedish Christmas: not for amateurs

Happy 2014 Everyone!

After a long Christmas Vaca in Sweden, I'm back in the States...physically, at least. With the 9 hour time difference, 48 hours of no sleep, and 3 never ending 'I'd-rather-kill-myself-than-sit-here' plane rides, it's safe to say I'm massively jet lagged. I've experienced some difficulties communicating like a normal human being and frequently find myself saying things, like: "And then I went on the airplane and flew...you know, in the sky." Or, "There's something yellow in the middle of my egg."

While the Americans' looks of: you-should-be-medicated, aren't pleasant and the memory of the airplane ride, where I got fondled by a Ukrainian woman who seemed to have a sleep version of Alien Hand Syndrome, was slightly traumatizing, the trip was worth it.

I got to spend two weeks with my family who I love, but don't get to see very often and I completely dove back into the culture I grew up with.

I joined my mother and sister in the traditional Swedish holiday baking of "Lussekatter". I read the traditional text and lit the fourth Advent candle (something my sister and I have never done, but somehow decided we've always done). I dutifully watched Donald Duck a 3 p.m. (the equivalent of the Americans' A Charles Brown Christmas tradition) and pretended not to be bored.
Though the time away from my home land has made me love and appreciate the Swedish traditions more than ever, it's evident that there is a new, more Americanized side to me now.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, one of the major Do's at the Swedish Christmas table is schnapps, and a lot of it. Each adult gets a shot glass by their plate and once the dinner starts, that shot glass is never empty. No matter how many times you down the schnapps, someone will refill the glass before it touches the table again. Should you at anytime not take your schnapps, OR grimace at the burning bitter aftertaste, you are to be laughed at and friendishly ridiculed by your company. This Swedish tradition is NOT for amateurs, and this...is where I faltered.

As an 18 year-old (the Swedish legal drinking age) I had no problem with this tradition. I'd take every schnapps and hide my grimace no matter how badly my throat burned. But after seven years in America--where I've focused more on writing than drinking--I've become soft. I've grown accustomed to not being plastered on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

When it was time for the first schnapps, I could not bare to down it. I couldn't even bare to down half. I took a sip, yes, a sip of the shot...and grimaced.
This was, of course, noted and the laughs and jokes about my unpatriotic wussiness filled the room.
After repeating my sacrilegious sip at the second schnapps, and receiving even more ridicule, it dawned on me: my American years hadn't only made me sensitive to alcohol, but also made me a bit of a rebel. When someone later called for the third schnapps, I forgoed the shot glass completely and grabbed my girly wine glass instead. I raised it, higher than I've raised any schnapps, and joined the cheer with pride.



With my Christmas vacation behind me, and the third Sapphire book in front of me (yay!), I was happy to come home and lay my jet-lagged eyes on this big box. Though I'm fairly certain it wasn't from Santa, but actually Diversion Books, it felt like it.




Here are some of the links for both Stalking Sapphire & Silencing Sapphire in print:

Barnes & Noble

Stalking Sapphire

Silencing Sapphire
 
Amazon.com

Stalking Sapphire

Silencing Sapphire


Xoxo,
Mia