Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog

Holy cow, I almost blew it! Oh, maybe I did. Well, better to be late than never. My good buddy, Blaze McRob talked me into doing this Next Big Thing blog post. It's supposed to be part of a series from various authors in various genres. What the heck, I said, I'll give it a try. You are given a set of 10 questions about a recently released book or a current work in progress. I decided on The Hall, since it was my newest release, and I'm kind of in between things right now.

So, without further adieu, here are the 10 questions and my answers below. 

1) What is the working title of your next book? (or it can be your latest release):
My most recent book release was “The Hall,” about a wealthy Memphis book publisher buys an old castle-like mansion and ends up doing battle with a love-struck ghost he doesn’t believe exists.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I lived in Memphis for a little while and used to pass Ashlar Hall on the way to work. I always thought it would make a great setting for a horror novel.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Supernatural thriller/horror

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh God, you had to ask that one! I guess for the lead of Marcus Bishop, my heart would lean toward Karl Urban. Despite being a Kiwi, he’s got just the right look and personality for the part. And after seeing him in RED and Star Trek, I know he can lose the accent. Not to mention he looks dashing in a suit!

As for Prince Mongo, he can play himself- no one could do it any better! 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A man’s home is his castle, or could it be his crypt?

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
100% self-published. I only employed my editor and an artist to do some work for me.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About 6 months.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not exactly sure. It really is a very different kind of book, and I’m proud of that.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Ashlar Hall which is located at the juncture of Lamar and Central Avenues in Memphis. The old building is built like a castle. It even has gargoyles jutting from the roof.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
It is unique in that there are several threads in the story, and I also have Prince Mongo, who is a very REAL person involved. I asked permission to use him as a character, and he gladly agreed. Each chapter I wrote, I sent to him for approval. He was extremely pleased with the finished product and how his character came across. The Prince is a fantastic person all on his own, and it has been a real pleasure to work with him. 

Right, I've said my peace, and I hoped you enjoyed the glimpse into my contorted little mind.

Until next time, my creatively obsessed friends,


 The North Porch
 Inspiration for Khyripzhus

 Prince Mongo, the one and only!

You can find The Hall at the following links:

(Smashwords supports ALL ereader platforms!)


Sunday, December 9, 2012

How "Breaking Bad" made me a better writer

This post originally appeared on Indies Unlimited website.


As I’ve said before, I live in the middle of nowhere. We don’t even have cable TV. In order to get any TV, you need satellite. Well, our phone company about a year or so ago promised us we would have cable this year (2012). Umm, yeah, didn’t happen. So, since we have lovely DSL internet, we decided to do Netflix.
I normally don’t like shows like Breaking Bad, it’s not my normal viewing fare. My hubby got me into watching it—we watch 1 episode every morning as we eat breakfast. At first I didn’t like it, it was drama, drug-related, and in general, rather crude. But something happened after the first few episodes: I found myself looking forward to the next episode. Why? Suspense.
Each episode starts with a short trailer before the credits. You get a glimpse of things to come. My writer’s mind immediately clicked into this teaser. I wanted to solve the mystery of the trailer. And you know what? Those wonderfully sneaky writers usually threw me for a loop. I became intrigued. I wanted to watch more. Breaking Bad became my writer’s meth. I was addicted. I had to find out what happened to Walt and Jesse.
How did this make me a better writer? I began to understand how they manipulated time and scenes to increase the level of tension. Most episodes ended with a “cliff hanger,” making you tune in to see what happens. There are so many “that was close” moments, and “wow, those guys are idiots, and somehow they lucked out.” You can’t help but get tangled up in the story. Even the little things like Walt being related to a DEA agent (by marriage) adds to the tension of the story. Will Hank catch him? Can Walt pull this off?
My current WIP is a contemporary romance. It centers around a horse racing dynasty in the Lexington, KY area. As I re-read my initial draft, I realized there wasn’t enough drama. Not enough “OMG” situations that readers would get sucked into. There had to be more to the story. Despite it being a romance, there needed to be a serious ramping up of the events in the book. Horse racing is a dangerous business; I needed to make that more of a part of the story. The characters needed to better understand the consequences of their choices.
We’ve just finished season 2 of Breaking Bad, and I finally got to see how the charred pink teddy bear ended up in Walt’s pool. Oh, that was driving me crazy! And how it got there was a total shock—nope, didn’t see that coming. The writers have skillfully woven the characters together and events that change their lives.
I don’t consider myself a TV junkie, but this show has taught me some of the finer points of building tension, creating chaos, and bringing characters to the brink and back all while comfortably seated on my sofa. Now I need to apply what I’ve learned and fix up this romance so it will be like riding a wild race horse down the home stretch in a huge stakes race. I want you to wince, squirm, and cheer for the characters. And of course, I want a happy ending!

Until next time my creatively obsessed friends,