Monday Blog: School Daze, Part One

Monday Blog time! In keeping with my back to school theme for the month, I have a two-part blog about my characters’ time (and my time) in high school. This week, its part one, and it’s all about the time I spent in Creative Writing in high school.

I had been writing books for myself since an early age, and I often spent most of my spare time reading and writing. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school, that I discovered my “voice”. I was finally able to get into the Creative Writing class that was being offered, and it was the first time I felt like I was in a class with my peers. I was surrounded by other people who loved to read and write as much as I did! I finally found a place where I belonged. I worked on even more books because of this class. And, my writing improved. My greatest challenge, was letting other people read my writing, since I had only ever written for myself. But I was grateful for that, because it forced me to start working outside of my comfort zone.

I was able to use some of my experiences in high school in my writing in the years that followed my graduation. Some of those experiences can be found in the first Our Lady book, but I’ll save that for the next blog….

Until next Monday…

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Downtime

I have found myself in a familiar place, once again. I just completed another manuscript, finished all of the editing, and sent all the files to Create Space. Now, I’m just waiting for the email indicating everything is cool, and the book is ready for my review. So, I’ve got some downtime. How to spend it, how to spend it…

I have other books I’m working on, but I think I owe it to myself to take a little break from writing. I usually have a habit of jumping right into the next book, as soon as I finish one. This time, I’m going to put my writing aside, pick up my Fender, and get back to playing. I even cut my fingernails short so I could press down on the strings comfortably. I’m going to be in limbo within the upcoming weeks (I’ll explain this in a post next week, BTW) so I suppose it’s best not to get too involved in any serious writing projects right now. 

If anyone would like to share what they do during their downtime between books, please feel free to comment below. 

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Monday Blog: The First Step

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. A manuscript of a thousand words begins with a single word! Or image…or idea. It all depends on the writer.

Fortune’s Wing was created on the day I wrote the first line, “Was it a dream, or was it reality?” I wasn’t entirely sure of what story to attach to that question, but I knew I would eventually come up with something. I wrote the manuscript for the original book by hand, in 2002, and I watched a lot of anime, which gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with the idea of a boy growing a wing and going on a quest to save (or destroy) the world.

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My second published book, Valentine, was created from an accident. I was working on an idea for the cover of a different book, and I drew a picture of a girl holding a hand gun. My plan was to make her hair blond, with a pink streak in it. However, I got carried away and ended up coloring all of her hair pink. When I looked at the picture again, a brand new idea for a story entered my mind. And so, Valentine was born.

Our Lady of Righteous Rage began with something very dear to me: music—punk rock in particular. I’m a HUGE fan of the band Green Day, and their music has gotten me through some very difficult times in my life (I will save that story for another blog). The idea behind the story itself, is one that I had been carrying around inside my head for a few years, before I made the move to commit it to paper. I wasn’t sure of how successful it would be, and if I should make the characters human. I finally decided to just go for it, and write the story I wanted to write. About six years and ten books later, I think it turned out okay.

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My idea for The Witch of Fulton Lane developed after some friends and I had a 90’s movie party, and watched one of our collective favorites: The Craft. If you’ve never seen this movie, WATCH IT!! I’m not going to spoil it for you, but teen girls and witchcraft, can be a very entertaining mix. I started thinking, “What if I created a character who is a witch?” Then I took it a step farther, and thought, “What if she was BLACK?” It sounded a bit out of the ordinary, which is why I really liked it, and just went with it.

You just never know who or what will inspire you. See you next Monday.

Monday Blog: The Boys of Our Lady

 

 

 

We’ve arrived at the final blog post for the month of June. To close out one of this month’s themes, this one is all about the male characters in the Our Lady of Righteous Rage series. I won’t lie: this is my favorite W.E. series, and I’ve sort of been looking forward to this post.

Our Lady follows Amy Edwards and friends as they start a business, a band, and try to keep up with both, while jumping over hurdle after hurdle. What sets this series apart from the others I’ve published so far, are the characters: they are anthropomorphic cats. However, when you’re reading the books in this series, you may find yourself completely ignoring that, and just enjoying the story. Another difference: stream of consciousness. Each chapter is narrated by a different character (think William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying). On the surface, that may sound confusing, but I can assure you it’s not. The chapters are short, and there aren’t that many characters to keep up with. So, let’s get to the boys, shall we? (SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!)

David Sarconi: He and Amy start out as friends, then they become boyfriend and girlfriend, then they get married. And then, it all changes. David tries to be passionate about music, but he just doesn’t seem to be his thing. On top of that, he doesn’t think it should be Amy’s thing, either. He’s also Nick’s cousin, and while the two start out just fine, David changes and begins to distance himself from his cousin.

Nicolas “Nick” Lianetti: Born in Sicily and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Nick is the lead singer and primary song writer for Our Lady of Righteous Rage. Music has been his passion since he was young. His father wasn’t around very much while he was growing up, but it helped shape him into a mature and responsible young man (or cat). He’s very even-tempered; he remains calm in situations that would send any other person into a rage (such as a cheating girlfriend…).

Aidan Sirci: Okay, I’ll just say it: Aidan is my favorite male character in the series. Life knocked him down more times than not, but he just keeps getting up. He’s generally cheerful and in a good mood, cracking jokes and making sarcastic remarks. He’s Nick’s best friend, and Amy’s non-biological big brother. Tall, blond, and green-eyed, most of the band’s female fans tend to gravitate to him, even though he’s deeply in love with his wife, Dee.

Rob Zickye: He’s half Scottish and half German, and the tallest member of the band (six foot five, btw). He’s been in love with Amy since they met in high school, but the two don’t get together until later on. Rob is a self-taught drummer, and can play nearly any song by ear. He’s also my second favorite, and another character who’s father wasn’t in the picture (a common theme in this series). He’s protective of his family, especially his older brother, who happens to be bipolar.

Mike Murnsen: Mike knows his way around audio and recording equipment. He’s been helping his father at his store since he was young, and when Our Lady opens a studio, he helps them produce their first album. Later, he becomes their manager.  He’s married to one of  the founding members of  the Urban Collective, Vanessa. The two of them constantly bounce ideas off one another. Mike is quiet, but he has no problem standing up for himself, or the band.

Jon Sarconi: Amy’s adopted son. He’s actually David’s younger cousin, and the two of them adopted him shortly after they got married. After their divorce, Amy had to fight to get custody of Jon. He idolizes his mother, and wants to be a rock star, just like her. The older he gets, the more assertive he becomes.

Next week is the first week of July, so it will be time for a new theme. I’m considering running 2 again. One of them will be New Fiction: I’m working on three new books, and my mother is working on one, too! If you’re an indie author and you’d like to share what you’re working on, please contact me. I’d love to post some info about you and your work! Until next week…

Monday Blog: Drawing Inspiration from Nostalgia

 

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope all of you had a good weekend. In keeping with this month’s theme, I wanted to talk about drawing inspiration from nostalgia. I’ve been having a lot of nostalgic dreams lately, and thinking about things from my childhood. One such memory, is related to my desire to want to learn to play the guitar.

I thought this desire began when I fell in love with punk rock, but I recently realized, it started waaayyyyyy before that.  When I was about seven years old, I had a large plastic boat, which was a replica of Noah’s Ark. It came with pairs of animals and everything. I used to dump the animals out of the ark, and stretch rubber bands across the top of the ark, to make a guitar.  Then I moved up to using shoeboxes and rubber bands.

Of course, years later, I did acquire a real guitar, and then I began learning to play. This, combined with my love of punk rock, led to the creation of Our Lady of Righteous Rage.

I watched a lot of anime throughout my childhood, and started reading manga (or graphic novels, if you prefer). Shows such as Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Neon Genesis Evangelion, inspired me to write Fortune’s Wing and Valentine. I’ve mentioned this before, but if either of those series ever become films or TV series, I want them to be animated.

Then of course, there’s The Witch of Fulton Lane. You’re probably wondering what inspired me to write that story. I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, and The Craft is one of my favorite movies. I’ve been reading tarot cards for the past few years, and when I came up with the concept behind Fulton Lane, I was able to take all of my interests and knowledge, and work them into the story.

If you look carefully at what you’re creating now, you may find little bits and pieces of your own childhood weaved into your creation(s). This can be intentional or unintentional.  Nostalgia can be very inspirational.

Until next week…

A little something from “Righteous”

I’m still working on Our Lady of Righteous Rage #4: Righteous. Here’s a little sample from Chapter 62. Enjoy!

           “Think about it,” Nick said. “If it wasn’t for Our Lady, would any of us visit Kansas City or Chicago? Albuquerque or Scottsdale? Would any of us even venture out this far? We were just kids in New York, learning to play guitars and writing songs here and there. Now look at us! We’re playing gigs across the country. We’re just a little indie punk band, and people in Arizona and California and Illinois actually want to pay to hear us play! How’d that happen?”

            We were silent. It made me think about where I was, just a few years ago. Graduating from high school. Moving around with Mom. Homeless and living in a hotel room. Then, working in a bookstore. Working at Urban Collective. Making friends with rock stars. How did that happen?

            “It happened because it was meant to,” Mike said, standing up from his chair. “I don’t want to get too religious and freak anyone out, but I believe there’s a plan for everyone. Call it God, or the Divine, or the universe, or whatever, but there’s a higher power out there, that creates a purpose for all of us. I didn’t really know what my purpose was, until you asked me to be your manager. I didn’t think I could do it. But you had faith in me, so I just put my best foot forward, and did what I thought was the right thing. We’re here, because we’re supposed to be here. You feel me?”

 

Monday Blog: Things to Come: Righteous

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Welcome back, everyone. I hope you had a great weekend. For those of you who found yourselves snowed in, I hope you found plenty to keep yourself occupied. This is the final Monday Blog for the month of March, and I wanted to share some of the things I’m working on for Righteous.

 

The band hits the road…

The hardest part about writing this particular book, is writing about the individual shows. I’ve never played a live show, so I can’t draw from my own personal experience. What I can do, is think back to every live show I’ve been to, and use the performances I’ve seen as a basis for my writing. So far, it’s really helping.

 

More than just shows…

Righteous is about more than Our Lady hitting the road and playing gigs in new cities. I want the story to focus on some of the other characters the band meets along the way (for example, Carla Caliece. You’re going to love her!).  As I have done in the past, I will include a real event or two within the story, in keeping with the time frame (2013).

 

Things get a little more personal…

One of my favorite things about the Our Lady series, is the fact that each character has some degree of personal baggage. David’s issue is his divorce from Amy. Amy’s issue is, trying to live up to the expectations placed on her as a musician and a female role model. Nick’s issue is trying to write better music, and so on. Two bands who don’t get along are touring at the same time, playing the same cities. You know there’s going to be a fight or two…

I have to write new music…

Yep, this is a story about a band, so there have to be some song lyrics here and there, right? Right. Our Lady’s music, is my music. This book, and the idea of my fictional band going on tour, means it’s time for me to break out the old notepad and pen some new songs! But it’s cool, because I enjoy it.

 

Room for one more?

Will this be the grand finale of the series? No! I’ve already started making plans to write the next book! Yeas, I’m crazy like that. Not to give too much away, but the next book may revolve around some of the music Nick is going to write while he’s on the road…

I haven’t come up with a theme for April yet, but I’m always open to suggestions! Until next week…