EBook Extravaganza!!!!

I’m having a sale on some of my Ebook titles in September. The following titles will be FREE (yes sir, free!) on the dates below:

Valentine: Sept 1-Sept 3

Fortune’s Wing: Sept 7-Sept 9

 

Our Lady of Righteous Rage: Extended and Uncensored: Sept 14-Sept 16

If you’ve never read any of these books, this will be a great time to check them out. They will be available in Ebook form on Amazon, for Kindle or Kindle App. Thanks!

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A Woman’s Place in “Young Kelly McCormick”

You’ve probably read stories about mob bosses or seen a few movies about underground networks of criminals. In the majority of those stories, the major players are men. In the world of the Valentine series, while the men seem to be in charge, in reality, its the women who are doing most of the work and running the show. (SPOILER ALERT AHEAD IF YOU’VE NEVER READ VALENTINE!)

Val Entienne, the title character of the Valentine series, is a young woman who knows how to handle a gun and was practically raised within the Syndicate (The Syndicate is the network of mob bosses, criminals, hitmen, etc). Both her father and her uncle worked for John Rafferty, who is known as the Head of the Syndicate, until her uncle was killed and her father decided he was ready to get out. Val unknowingly becomes part of The Syndicate the day she fires a weapon and saves her father’s life (BTW: she’s only six years old when this happens). From that day forward, she develops a reputation that has the toughest men in the Syndicate afraid of her. 

Val is just one of a small handful of women in the Syndicate: there’s hitwoman Lola Vencent, who once worked for Rafferty, Mac Avery, a freelance hitwoman, Kelly McCormick arranges hits here and there, and one of her best employees, Jo Fuentes. And I can’t leave out Barbara O’Riley, friend of Lola and fellow hitwoman. While there are plenty of men working in this business, these are the woman with the most widely known reputations. They’re the ones you turn to, when you need a job to be done right. Stiil, for the most part, these women are still treated like underlings: second-class citizens who don’t deserve to have a higher rank within the Syndicate. At one point, Rafferty even refers to people like Lola as “garbage men”, because all they’re good for is taking out the trash. 

Rafferty’s greatest enemy in the Syndicate isn’t another mob boss–it’s Val Entienne. When she makes a trip all the way out to California to rescue her father, she sends a message to the rest of the Syndicate: women don’t have to “stay in their place” anymore. They are just as powerful and just as important as the men. When you read the upcoming Young Kelly McCormick, you may learn that this movement didn’t necessarily start with Val…it started with Kelly. 

Young Kelly McCormick goes back in time to Kelly’s life as a twenty-year-old woman, living with her father and uncle out on Long Island. Her father works for the Syndicate, and its no secret. Kelly takes after her father, in the sense that she’s a problem solver. She does a favor for a man who ends up becoming her right hand, and she shows all of the men in the Syndicate, women are good for more than just being eye-candy. Her place in the Syndicate changes over time as she moves up in rank (if you’ve read the ending of Valentine 5: The Queen’s Fold, you know exactly what I’m talking about). 

 

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The heart of the story in Young Kelly McCormick is the idea that a person’s gender makes no difference when it comes to getting the job done. Kelly is the first woman to make a mark within the Syndicate of her time, and she creates an opening for women like Val and Lola. Without her, Val, Lola, Mac, Jo and Barbara wouldn’t exist. 

Young Kelly McCormick will be available for sale on Amazon later this month.

 

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SOLD OUT!!!!

Just wanted to share some fantastic news! All of my copies of 1st editions of Fortune’s Wing and Valentine are officially SOLD OUT! GONE! FINITO! I am so excited about this, because it means I can start fresh with the new editions I published via Amazon’s Create Space. SO, the Xlibris editions are finally gone. All orders will be fulfilled this week, so thanks again!!!

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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.

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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.

Art Imitating Life

Some of us are born with a tremendous amount of creativity, and some of us are not. You can see it when you observe children playing: some children came literally create their own world simply by using their imagination. I used to watch my little sister play with her kitchen play set, or talk to Elmo, her favorite stuffed toy (sorry for embarrassing you right now, Danielle!). It was the cutest thing! The kitchen appliances weren’t real, and Elmo couldn’t talk back to her (that I know of), but to her, when she was playing, every bit of it was real.

I was one of those kids who wrote books for herself. I made up characters, and had them go on adventures. Sometimes, my stuffed animals were the characters in my stories. Of course, these stories were very simple. Years later, when I became older, I came up with more complex characters and stories.

The more I read, and the more I learned about writing, the more time I spent writing. I started writing books because I had trouble finding stories I really wanted to read. I came across too many cliché stories: boys and their dogs, friends realizing they both want to be more than friends, etc. Same stories, just different character names. I eventually found myself wanting to read a story about a girl who is a badass and knows how to handle a gun, so I wrote one (Valentine). I wanted to read a story about an introverted emo girl who finds the career of her dreams, working for a punk band, so I wrote that too (Novocaine). I guess you do end up writing what you want to read.

But something strange happened. I never wanted to read about myself (hell, I don’t even enjoy talking about my personal life). I did find myself writing about myself, which is odd because there’s nothing very interesting or extraordinary about me. However, when it came to some of my characters, I needed a few mundane details about their lives, and I guess my life just came in handy. 

Some of my characters and I have a few things in common. Valentine and I were both raised in a single-parent home, and we both know how to fire a gun. Amy Edwards, Dee Seybrook and I were born in New York, raised by single mothers, and did a ton of reading and writing in our youth (Amy and I both started school early). Many of my characters have absentee fathers (for me, ditto). Amy and I both play the guitar. Haverdy Oyama and I both have tomboy-ish ways. And then there’s Dylan Maycriss: the black female Goth chick. Yep. That’s me, too. 

Parts of my life can be found inside the first Our Lady book. While I was born in New York, I grew up in Hampton, Virginia. Without experiencing a New York High School first hand, I had to rely on two things: my experience at my high school , Bethel, and my mother’s experiences at Benjamin Cardozo High, the school Amy, Dee, Carmen, Vanessa, Mike, David and Rob all went to. I’ve never seen the inside of Dozo, so most of what is described in the story, is actually from Bethel High in Virginia. 

A major part of my life can be found in the book, Novocaine. This book is semi-autobiographical. Some of Erin’s experiences reflect my own. She spent a lot of time reading when she was in school, which is what I did. She lived with her mother in Hampton, Virginia, far away from extended family members, just like me. Sadly, she and her mother nearly lost everything when they moved to Georgia to be closer to Erin’s uncle, who claimed her had made a fantastic investment that was going to make all of them rich. I’d like to say that part was fictional, but it wasn’t. 

Erin has experienced homelessness, depression, and a rebirth, just as I did. I’d thought about writing about my experiences with my extended family for a very long time, but I wasn’t sure of where to start (because there is A LOT TO TELL, AND ALMOST ALL OF IT IS NEGATIVE). Instead of going into every horrible detail, I took two events involving my family and combined them into one, and used that one in Novocaine. 

Sometimes the truth, is very, very ugly.

My art, has imitated my life. If my extended family ever read my books, they may be upset. But hey: sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes the truth, is very, very ugly. That’s one of the amazing things about reading and writing. We find ourselves relating to certain stories, because we can see ourselves in those stories. Maybe the experiences reflect our own, or the characters remind us of ourselves. Art very often, imitates life. Now, life imitating art, that’s a different story….

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Monday Blog: When and Where to Write

Welcome to the first blog post for the month of August! This month, I’m going to post some author tips: things I have learned that have helped me with my writing. This week, I’m starting with when and where I write.

Every writer has their preferences, as far as when they can get the most writing done, and where they feel comfortable. Some writers can sit up in their bed, with their laptop, late at night, and get a ton of work done. Some writers can get up at sunrise and write fifteen pages or six chapters. Personally, I’m not an early riser. I’m a bit of a night owl, and I’ve found I do some of my best writing late at night, because that’s when I come up with some of my best ideas. I have, on many occasions, awakened at three in the morning, and grabbed my notebook to jot down a thought, sentence, character, or line of dialogue that came to me.

Some writers can schedule their writing time. This has never worked for me. My creativity does not operate on a set schedule.  I can only write, if I’m in the mood. If I try to force myself at a particular time, I know my writing is going to suck. I’ve also learned not to write when I’m extremely tired. I’ve written paragraphs when I was on the verge of toppling over, only to read them later and wonder what was on my mind (or if I had been drugged) when I wrote them.

As for where I write, that changes from day to day. Sometimes I do my best writing at home. Other times, when I’m home, I just won’t feel like writing (especially if I went to work that day). At work, during my down time, I find I’m able to crank out a significant number of pages for my work-in-progress.

You know yourself better than anyone else is ever going to know you. You know what works for you, and what doesn’t. What may help one writer, may not help another. Do whatever works for you. If you can sit up until two in the morning, and write some quality material, go for it! If you do your best work after ten hours of sleep, and only write two pages a day, kudos to you. Writing shouldn’t feel forced. If you’re not enjoying it, then what is the point of writing at all?

BTW: here’s an interesting blog post on the best times of day for creative thinking:

https://lifehacker.com/the-best-time-of-day-to-get-ideas-according-to-science-1541494290

See you again next Monday.

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