Slowly Page-Breaking My Way Through My Ebooks…

For anyone out there who has ever published an ebook, you know how important it is to make sure the manuscript you upload is formatted correctly. This can be–well, annoying. What looks good in whatever program you’re using to type your manuscript, may not transfer correctly, when you upload it to whichever service you decide to use to publish. For me, it’s Amazon’s KDP. At first, KDP and I didn’t get along–at all. Oil and water, I tell ya! But now we’re friends, because I finally figured out where to place my page breaks. 

For the past two weeks, I have been working my way through my ebooks (and my mother’s ebooks), correcting the page breaks. I’m happy to say, I’m nearly finished. Of the 27 books published under Woolaston Entertainment, I have corrected 22 (I never published an ebook for the original Our Lady of Righteous Rage, and I’m not planning to anytime soon). I now have 4 books left, and I should have them completed by middle of next week, by June 19 (June 20, the latest). What can I say: every day is a learning experience. At first, I looked at the horribly formatted versions of the ebooks as a failure, but now I see them differently. To quote Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, “To do something that you feel in your heart that’s great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that’s successful is a series of mistakes”. Truer words were never spoken. 

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Anatomy of “Her Name is Lola Vencent”

Once upon a time, a pair of college students decided they wanted to make some money. What did they do? Sell baked goods? Work in a grocery store? No! They became contract killers! Thus is the beginning of Her Name is Lola Vencent…

Lola Vencent is the valkyrie the readers of the Valentine series meet in the first Valentine book.  She worked for John Rafferty, marking specific targets for death, and killing a few people on her own as well. One day, a mistake is made, and Lola disappears for a while. When Rafferty tries to use Valentine to replace her, a misunderstanding erupts between the two women, which later turns around, leading the pair into, of all things, friendship. Lola later becomes a very important person in Val’s life. 

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Her Name is Lola Vencent

Her Name is Lola Vencent is the story of Lola’s indoctrination into the Syndicate (the network of crime bosses and criminals). The reader gets to learn about howLola and Barbara O’Riley are connected, how Lola got started as a hitwoman,how she met Allan and Mac Avery, and how she came to work for Rafferty.  I decided a long time ago, Lola needed her own book, because I think she’s one of the most interesting characters in the series. Technically, Her Name is Lola Vencent was supposed to be the first book in the Valentine Apart series, however, Allan and Mac was published first simply because I had more ideas for that story.  

There are three other significant characters in Her Name. They are Jacob, and the Entienne brothers, Vincent and Victor. Yes, readers can see Victor in action before…ah, I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll just have to read the series!

Her Name is Lola Vencent is available on Amazon Barnes and Noble, and Woolaston Entertainment

Anatomy of “Allan and Mac”

You would expect a story about a brother and sister pair who work as hitmen to be rather serious, right? They are contract killers, after all.  The story is bound to be filled with death, murder, shoot-outs and the like.  So, can humor be worked into the story? The answer is yes.

Allan and Mac isn’t your typical hitman story.  Sure, the siblings take on a few jobs, and yes, people get killed, but it’s not as serious as it seems.  They both have interesting ways of completing each job, including Mac’s idea of drowning an alcoholic in a tub filled with beer. Then, there’s the witty conversations that take place between the duo, during and after their jobs.

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So, how do Allan and Mac Avery fit into the Valentine universe? Allan is Lola Vencent’s boyfriend, and Mac is…well…she’s Allan’s little sister. Allan and Mac takes place shortly before the siblings meet Val Entienne, aka Valentine. One of the last jobs they work on together in the story, leaves them questioning if what they do for a living is really worth it; if they should call it quits.  This leads Allan to reconsider what he may be missing from his life, and how he can regain it.

What makes Allan and Mac work is the way the comedy and the drama are blended together. The Avery’s are able to do their jobs, get paid, and have a few beers together afterwards (while accusing one another of being drunk).  Humor is how they deal with the reality of what they do for a living. Do they kill people? Yes. But laughing about it prevents them from taking themselves too seriously.

Allan and Mac: A Valentine Apart Story is available on Amazon  , Barnes and Noble, and half price during the month of June 2019 on Woolaston Entertainment

A Snippet of “Lucia and the Saints”

I‘m working on a series of short ebooks, titled Lucia and the Saints.  This will be the second series to act as a spin-off from my Valentine series, and I’m certain readers are going to enjoy it. Here’s another little snippet from what I’m working on. Enjoy!

Lucia burst through the door, huffing and puffing with every step. She could hear John’s footsteps behind her, but she didn’t stop. She didn’t want to. It was always like this: the others looked at her, and saw a woman. A stupid female who didn’t belong in their world. She suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder. John had caught up to her. She paused, and he spun her around to face him.  “Don’t say it,” Lucia said. “I don’t even want to hear it.”

“You need to stop acting like a freight train every time someone says something you don’t like,” John said, dropping his hand from her shoulder. “You can’t run over every person who pisses you off, Lucia.”

Her eyes grew wide with anger. “Did you hear what he said to me?!” she snapped. “He said I was just some dumb broad. A broad! Who the hell even uses that word anymore?!”

“I heard him,” John said, in a soothing tone. “What? You don’t think I get that kind of crap all the time?”

Lucia sighed, and put her hands on her hips. 

“They look at me, they see some Irish hood,” John said. “A mick. Same thing I’ve been hearing most of my life.  They don’t want me hanging around their sons, they definitely don’t want me to date their daughters. They think I’m some kind of joke. They laugh at me. But so what?”

Lucia seemed to be calming down, listening to his words.

“Their sons will get high off of my drugs,” John continued. “And their daughters will dance in my night clubs. Then we’ll see who’s laughing, won’t we?”

 

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Connections Between “Valentine” and “Valentine Apart”

When the character of Allan Avery was first introduced in the Valentine series, he appeared in book number three, Queen of Hearts. By that time, I already had plans to introduce his sister, Mac Avery, later on. I came up with an interesting scene, in which the siblings are standing over a man inside the trunk of Mac’s car. This became a short story titled, “What’s in the Trunk?” That short story developed into a book, and unexpectedly, the Valentine Apart series was born.

The Apart series focuses on characters apart from Valentine herself (get it?).  Each book can stand on it’s own, but they generally end in a way that connects the main character of the story to Valentine. Thus, when you read both series, you’re bound to come across a common scene in a Valentine book and a Valentine Apart book. My goal was to focus on the lives and backgrounds of the people in Val’s life. How did Lola Vencent join the Syndicate? How did Jo Fuentes come to work for Kelly McCormick? And how did Kelly McCormick get started in the first place? Reading about who they were, offers insight into who they have become.

There is one major character in Val’s life who’s background has never been explored: John Rafferty. I’m working on that now, along with the introduction of another important character. I think readers will be very surprised at how Rafferty got started in the Syndicate, and who helped him make his mark in the first place.

The Valentine Apart series is available on Amazon , BN.com, and the Woolaston Entertainment site

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Connecting the Dots in Valentine Apart

June is nearly upon us, and I’m working on a few different projects. One of them, is a new addition to the Valentine Apart series.  This series will trace John Rafferty’s origins, the rise of The Syndicate, and the person who trained Allan and Mac Avery. The working title is Lucia and The SaintsI’m planning to release this series in the form of short ebooks, between 25 and 50 pages per book, for 99 cents each. It’s not ready yet, but in the meantime, here’s a tiny snippet of what I’m working on. Enjoy!

          Jacob sat at the end of the bar on the last stool, his glass in his hand. Every few seconds, he glanced at the two people, a man and a woman, talking at the opposite end, who were busy whispering about, what he could only assume, was him. Whenever one of them looked over at him, he would quickly turn away and find some random object inside the bar to stare at: the booths and tables in the dining area, the bartender or the waitresses, the endless wall of framed photos behind the bar. This was his job interview, and so far, it didn’t seem to be going too well.

          “He’s too young,” the woman said. “I have to tell you John, I’m completely against this.”

          “I think he has potential,” John said. “You said so yourself, Lucia: we need fresh blood.”

          “Fresh blood,” Lucia said. “Not young blood. This kid is way too young.” She looked over at Jacob, who had raised his glass to take a sip of his beverage. “Look at him!”

          “What’s wrong with him?” John asked.

          Lucia nodded towards the glass in Jacob’s hand. “He’s drinking chocolate milk, for Christ’s sake!” She spoke in a loud whisper, which got Jacob’s attention. He set his glass down, climbed off of his bar stool, and approached them. 

          “You know, you’ve really got a pair, kid,” John said. Lucia folded her arms. “But I like that.”

         “Thanks,” Jacob said. He used fingers to rake through his sandy-brown hair. “So, am I in, or out?”

         He’s drinking chocolate milk, for Christ’s sake!

          Lucia shook her head. “I don’t like this,” she said. “I don’t like this one bit.”

          “Let’s give him a chance,” John said. He reached up and scratched the back of his head full of jet black hair. “Let’s see how it goes. Lucia?”

          Lucia looked at John in surprise. “Oh, you better not say what I think you’re about to say,” she snapped.

          “There’s no one better for the job,” John said, shrugging his shoulders. “Show him the ropes. It’ll be good for him…and you.”

          Lucia turned to Jacob in disgust. She sighed heavily. “I put bullets in people for a living,” she muttered. “Now I’m a goddamned babysitter.”

 

 

June is Valentine Apart Month on woolastonentertainment.com. Stay tuned for more of Lucia and The Saints!

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In The Mood For…Writing?

How many times have you done this: you make plans to get some writing done. You tell yourself, you’re going to sit down at your computer (or notebook, if you’re old school like me), with every intention to get some work done. Then, you decide to check your email first. But only for a few minutes! Then, you see a link to a YouTube video you’d like to watch, so you click on that. Next thing you know, it’s been an hour and a half, and you haven’t accomplished any writing. Sound familiar?

I’ve been trying to force myself to sit in front of my computer in my spare time, in order to get some writing done. I start out in the mood to write, and then I find myself distracted. Email. Twitter and Facebook posts. Things I need to do for my website. Selecting which music playlist to write to. Selecting which incense stick to burn while I write. Laundry. What’s on TV tonight? Is there a Ghost Adventures marathon on Travel Channel? Well, maybe I’ll watch one episode before I start writing…

Next thing I know, no writing has been done. But I’ve listened to music, burned incense, and watched Zak Bagans and the gang make contact with a spirit. Or, I’ve watched Keanu Reeves kill a mass number of people in John Wick (Chapter 1 or 2, they’ve both been on multiple times lately).  I know I need to break this cycle. When I’m in the mood to write, I’m usually at my day job, where I can’t get any writing done. When I do have time, I’m not in the mood to write. So, what can I do?

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Should I read about my latest crush, or…write? Choices.

I decided to try something new. I went back to all of the things that made me want to write in the first place. My love of books and reading, were two of the things that led me to become a writer. So, I’ve been reading more lately: books, magazines, posts here on WordPress. I’m going to rediscover books that I’ve already read (I’m going to read The Picture of Dorian Gray for the fifth or sixth time). These simple little things are helping me get back into the mood to write again. 

It’s 5:00 on May 26, and The Matrix is on. Let’s see if I can resist and get some work done. 

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