Monday Blog: October 15:Mood Music and Movies

In keeping with the spooky theme of October, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been up to lately. After all, all work and no play makes Nicole a dull (and sleep deprived) girl.

Mood Music

I like to listen to music while I’m writing. I try to listen to music that relates to the particular body of work I’m working on. If I’m writing a piece for Our Lady, I’ll most likely listen to Green Day or The Killers. For Valentine , My Chemical Romance or AFI or Mindless Self Indulgence, does the trick. I’m still working on Erin Michaels: Spooky B, ​so I’ve been listening to anything Goth or Emo-related. My primary go-to, is IAMX. I heard “Look Outside” playing in an episode of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, and I was instantly addicted. Plus, I’ve been listening to a lot of Bauhaus. One of my favorites: “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”.  Music helps me stay in the mood to write and focus on the subject matter in front of me. In fact, there’s a video on my Instagram account of the draft of Spooky B on my laptop and “Look Outside” playing in the background. 

 

Movies

Of course, I’m still watching movies! AMC’s Fear Fest has been very helpful. I’ve watched several of the Halloween movies this weekend, and A Nightmare on Elm Street last weekend. These are movies that are perfect for this time of year, and I haven’t seen them in a very long time. But hey: you’ve got to get out of the house, right? I’ve been to the movies as well. I’ve seen The Nun, which is part of the Conjuring series. It wasn’t as scary as I had hoped it would be, but it was still worth seeing. I’m debating whether or not I want to see the latest version of Halloween that just came out. Watching the other movies in the series recently has me wondering how Michael Myers is still around and if this movie was even necessary. We’ll see. I’ve also seen Venom. No, it’s not a horror movie, but I’m a Marvel nerd and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It was great, by the way. If you haven’t seen it, GO SEE IT!

 

Research

I’m still doing resarch for Age of the Daughter. I’ve come across some interesting information, including rituals for Samhain (pronounced sow-win or sow-ween). I may incorporate this information into the book, along with many other things I’ve learned about. 

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but hopefully I’ll have Spooky B ​ready for all of you next week. Until then!

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Monday Blog: School Daze, Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of my final Monday Blog for the month of September. This week, I wanted to talk about the high school experiences of some of my characters.

In the first Our Lady of Righteous Rage book, Amy talks about starting her first year of high school. She becomes a freshman at Benjamin Cardozo High, aka, “Dozo”. She takes a Creative Writing class, and meets Dee, who later becomes her best friend. She also meets Vanessa, the brains behind the Urban Collective, and Carmen, an artist. Mike, David, and Rob are also students at Dozo.

What draws Amy and Dee together, is their poetry. All of the students have to write a poem and read it out loud to the rest of the class. Amy and Dee read their poems and immediately become fans of one another’s work. Later, the two go to a pizza shop, and become friends.

I wanted to use the Creative Writing class as a jumping off point for the writing aspect of Amy’s life, because writing becomes a very important part of her career as a musician. She writes songs for her band. During her high school days, writing helps her channel some of her teenage frustration. After a negative encounter with her father and a mild fight with a girl from school, she pens the lyrics to “Wish You Well”.  I drew from my own life for this, because writing is how I deal with some of my own frustration. When you can’t just slap someone in the face, you write about it instead.

High school is also the time frame in which the members of Our Lady discover music, and begin forming their first band. For Nick and Aidan, the first band is Torch, which Nick later becomes the lead singer for. He begins teaching Amy to play the guitar, with a little help from Aidan as well. They also have their first live performances while they’re still in high school.

I could have easily began this story after the characters had reached adulthood, but I thought it would turn out much better if I began with their high school years. High school is that pivotal time in your life, where you begin to sort out who you are, and who/what you’re going to be. You discover so much about yourself and your friends during those four precious years, and you continue to learn things about yourself even after you graduate.

Until next Monday…

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…

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.

FW1

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.

insp2

 

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…