Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Kathryn Scannell

Please forgive dear readers as recent storms and events have kept me from my blog and my Tuesday guest posts. Today I would like to introduce the most fabulous author in Kathryn Scannell. I needed to get her blog up much sooner but things have conspired to keep me from doing so. So without further ado here is Kathyrn Scannell!

There are some standard questions that authors who write M/M romance and who haven’t chose pen name which are either ambiguous in gender or suggest they are male, are asked over and over. They’re things like “How did you get into writing M/M” and “How do you do it when you’re not male?”  Or, as a friend so tactfully put it when I told her about having sold this novel “But you’ve never done it with a guy! How can you possible write a sex scene between two guys?”  (Yes, just for the record, I’m happily married to a wonderful woman. One of these days I’m going to write a F/F romance too – I just haven’t found good characters for it yet.)

The answer to how I write sex from a man’s point of view is exactly the same as how I write anything I’m not – elves, soldiers, journalists, lawyers, etc. – research.

When I decided it would be a good idea to try writing some stories about Danny O’Riordan’s romantic explorations, I knew I need to do some research. So the first thing I did was buy a second hand copy of “The Joy of Gay Sex” and read it cover to cover. It’s an excellent research source because it’s aimed at young men who may be exploring sex with another man for the first time. It covers everything. Although there are some very nice picture books out there too…

It’s also phenomenally helpful to have a couple of guys who will read your sex scenes and are comfortable enough with themselves and you to point out places where you got certain aspects of the physiology wrong, or missed important stages. I’m lucky enough to have two such gentlemen in my local face-to-face critique group.

Of course you do need an exceptionally mature and open-minded critique group to avoid having it dissolve in red faces and giggles when you start having discussions about who is where, and whether his arm would really reach there while his tongue is over there, and isn’t being tied up that way going to cause circulation problems after more than about five minutes?

Yes, these really are the kind of conversations you have when you get two or three people who write erotic romance or erotica together. We talk about plot and characterization too, of course, but those are far less entertaining to talk about.

That addresses the physical aspects of writing M/M sex scenes. In many ways the emotional and intellectual aspects are more of a mine field to negotiate. There are lots of people who have very strong opinions about how “real men” would act.  I’m probably going to lose some potential readers by saying this, but when it comes to writing about what the guys are thinking and feeling, I’m not writing men. Or women, for that matter. I’m writing people.

My experience of real people, as opposed to the characters I’m inventing for my stories, is that they come in a broad range. I know a guy who is so alpha he’s practically a testosterone superfund site, who also sews and had opinions on the fabric that his fiancĂ© should choose for her wedding dress. (And that got a very entertaining double take from the store owner, who was not expecting the bearded redneck to care if the brocade was polyester or silk.) I know another who has been blogging in detail about his grieving process after his wife of many years passed away from cancer.

Contrary to the standard romance tropes, real guys have feelings, and are allowed to express them. Not all of them will of course – there’s a lot of cultural conditioning in the way in many areas – but it frustrates me when I hear someone say a male character isn’t “realistic” because he has some of the softer emotions and admits to them. Real men come in all kinds of flavors and attitudes, and there should be room for that in fiction too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Playing In the Sandbox

Today I would like to talk about playing in the sandbox with others. I have friends, treasured few whom I like to spend time with. Catch a movie with, dinner and a movie with, or even go to the bookstore with. My best friend is my screenwriting partner.

I wish I could say I'm super thick skinned and do not wince at the bruises people inflict or the sand that they throw in my eye. But I learned the hard way this weekend there are things more important than an eyeful of sand from someone you're playing with. But I have learned this. Think real hard before hitting that SEND button because you may not have the support of who you think you might.

My Aunt Debbie once told my sister Brandy that she ought to be careful of what she did and said to me because my ability to cut with my words was as bad as someone else's physical punch. So someone threw sand in my eye this weekend and I wrote one letter, thought better of it and opted not to send it. When I got back to my email it seemed it had been done again. Having survived two tornado warnings and a wall cloud (I have a diagnosed phobia of storms that aren't do to let up until tomorrow) in the last week I was fried and expecting more. And I just lost it.

After I cooled down I sent a missive off to someone who might have a vested interest in this situation and they suggested I send off an olive branch. I sent the olive branch off and even addressed the situation on the lists involved.

To the person involved, I am sorry I was less than professional about it. I just wish my skin was thicker. But to anyone who is going to repost someone's work, try approaching them offlist first, and a reaction like mine might never have happened to begin with. Again to the party involved, I'm sorry for the less than professional behavior.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rider On The Storm

I don't know what letter I'm supposed to be on but between launching a new blog being caught in a car when a wall cloud formed and passed over head and being kept up by a weather pattern that started LAST TUESDAY, one which will not completely be out of here until next THURSDAY I am a bit behind on this blog.

Last Tuesday night got us started with an S curve signature squall line that produced at least 16 tornados touched down just in the Kentuckiana area alone. As I write this we've been placed under another Tornado Watch and more storms are headed this way. Rest assured there will most likely be a scene or two with a natural disaster taking place.

In this time I have gotten a bit of news. I was contacted by my content editor. Her words were ominous. Ever heard of the movie 'There Will Be Blood' try that on 100. She said I used words that made my work passive. And that we were going to go one chapter at a time. Like I needed to be spoon fed. She wasn't mean. She was just honest. Spell d-o-w-n-w-a-r-d s-p-i-r-a-l. Instead of going off and licking my wounds I asked her if she wanted my 3rd person draft. She read it, and when she came back with an email which reeked of utter relief, I was relieved. I didn't suck. I just had some hard work to do.

I'm not afraid of hard work. Of bloodshed. It's just a descent into madness I would like to avoid.

Thanks Lea and Joelle, you're the best.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I could sit here and tell you how to tweet and make tweet bubbles and FB  and connect them to your website and blog but I'm TEACHING that at the FREE MUSE BLOG CONFERENCE all during the month of June (go here to register: Instead I'm going to take today and post the first chapter of Another Way To Die to see if you like it. Let me know. No grammar corrections please this is not in edits just yet and I know it's not perfect. Let me know what you think of the story :)

Chapter One
     If I had seen Daniel Logan coming I would have run on instinct alone. Six months into training for a marathon and I was strong enough for the race. Fast enough to compete. And steady enough, had I had a gun I would have never gotten into this situation.
     My heart was pounding as I crested the hill, pushing myself hardest at the end of the run. And no matter how many times I did it, it was always hard. My mouth was parched, I was out of Gatorade and even though it was still freezing outside I was sweating as if it were ninety degrees.
     I was fast, but I was no match for Daniel. He ran like a fucking machine and even though I prided myself on listening for footsteps coming up behind me he came barreling out of the woods and at me it startled me, so I charged at him sending us sliding down a patch of ice.
     I slipped free and fumbled for my keys propelling myself into a blistering pace. The adrenaline kicked in and memories from a night long ago flooded me. Slipping out a window into the dead of night. Running through the streets. Through the woods. Running until I could run no more. I had run fast that night. I ran even faster now.
     My fingers were numb, I couldn’t even feel my car key as I approached my car. I’d often curse the piece of shit when the heat wouldn’t want to work. I didn’t care about the heat now. I just wanted the thing to start.
     My hands were shaking so hard I dropped my keys to the ground. “Fuck.” My voice was trembling and it felt like the ten years I had lived a free woman were coming to an end. And that my father had finally managed to find me. I scooped up the keys and as I slid it into the lock and felt the cold barrel of a gun press into my back.
     When he spoke his voice, cool, clipped, and accented, he wasn’t from Kentucky, he wasn’t even from the States, he was from England. “Just get into the car and everything will be fine.”
     Well, if Jack had found me, fine, but I wasn’t about to go anywhere without a fight. I hurled my head backwards and smashed my crown and caught him in the chin. Stomped on the instep of his foot, and elbowed him hard in the stomach, taking the wind out of him. I managed to wiggle part of the way free before his hand closed around my wrist like a vise. He whipped me around and fixed me with a cold, glittering, set of ice blue eyes.
     “You are coming with me. If I leave you here--,” shots punctured the quiet morning air and we both looked to another man, this one with jet black hair, had his gun drawn and was closing ground, fast. “You get the point. Now get in the God damn car.” He shoved me and a split second later my collarbone was burning like it was on fire.
     I staggered around the car and got in, locking the door. I had often referred to my Natasha as a piece of shit, and other choice words when she wouldn’t start, or the heat wouldn’t come on. But I prayed now that she would.
     I was starting to get light headed and dizzy. And as my kidnapper swung the car around the back window exploded. I ducked and screamed at the top of my lungs. We pealed out of the Iroquois parking lot and squealed onto the open road. I pitched forward. My shoulder had begun to ache. I put hand to it and it felt wet. I looked down at my fingers and they were smeared with blood. My hoodie was fast staining with it. Benjy had given that to me. “Damn it.” I muttered as the frigid air came rushing in. “This was my favorite piece of clothing.”
     He hung a sharp right and looked in the rearview mirror. He glanced in my direction and did a double take. “Why didn’t you tell me he’d shot you?”
     “Excuse me, I just noticed this little development myself. And I’d be driving home no worries if you hadn’t just decided to use me as your hostage.”
     He maneuvered out of his coat. “Take that off, put this on.” I noticed his gun. A standard issue nine millimeter handgun, black, no frills, fancy engravings, no flashy nickel plating. Jack’s men tended to fancy themselves real James Bond types when all they really were, were glorified criminals under my father’s private ‘security’ agency. The Organization For Truth And Justice. This guy though, my captor, didn’t fit the mold. He leaned over and popped open my glove compartment and pulled out an old pair of mittens. “Press this to the wound.”
     I did as he told me to. His gaze went to the rearview mirror again and the sound of gunshots permeated the air again. My heart had never really stopped racing but I knew that if that man succeeded in killing my captor I had no hope of ever securing my freedom again.
     “What’s your name?” I asked him.
     He looked at me as if I were crazy.
     “I’m Almira.”
     More gunshots. He began weaving in and out of traffic. Cutting people off, running traffic lights. “I don’t think now is the best time to have a coffee klatch.”
     “I could call you Rat Bastard with the English Accent. But I’d really rather call you something nicer.” If I had met this guy in a normal setting I might have been tempted to hit on him. Those eyes, when they’d seen I’d been shot took on a tender glow. He was athletic looking. Muscular, but not hulking in nature, and his short blonde hair set of his craggy, rugged features. This wasn’t a normal atmosphere, however, and I was going to do whatever it took to survive.
     He actually cracked a smile. “It’s Daniel.” He looked out the window. “Almira is a pretty name. Certainly better than Bitch with the Country Accent.”
     “Ha ha. You kidnapped me. What did you expect? That I’d just come along nicely?”
     “Most women do.”
     The gunfire was getting closer.
     “Christ, doesn’t he have to reload at some point?” I asked.
     “When you’ve been trained my Jack Sands you learn to be efficient.”
     “I know…” I whispered.
     “What?” he asked, his eyebrow going up.
     I thought of my mother. I missed her. She had failed me miserably, but I missed her all the same. “Nothing…” I said starting to pitch forward.
     “Almira!” He shouted pushing me back in my seat. Another gunshot hit the metal of the car. My eyes flew open.
     “Give me your gun,” I said looking at him.
     “You’re about to pass out. Get down into the floorboard.”
     “Give me your gun and I’ll get us out of this situation.”
     “You’re not thinking clearly. This is a hair trigger custom gun. The slightest amount of pressure and bullets will fly.”
     “With the exception of the park where you kidnapped me, would you say I’ve been cooperative?”
     He swung a hard left. “Where the hell is the on ramp?”
     “Two blocks. Give me the gun.”
     “So you can blow my brains out, I don’t think so.”
     “Daniel, I’m trusting that you’re going to get me help for this wound. Trust me enough to use the gun.” I looked down, his leg was shaking. I wasn’t the only one who’d been shot. He had a huge a stain of red on his pants leg. “I can get us out of this situation if you can get us on the highway.”
     He looked at me. “Are you afraid?”
     I shook on the inside. “As long as you can get us to safety I can handle anything that comes our way.” He looked at me in disbelief. I touched his leg. “I actually know how to treat this wound if it’s through and through.”
     His leg stilled. He ran his thumb over my lower lip. “Tough girl what am I going to do with you?”
     My breath caught. I didn’t let men touch me like that. Not unless they had leapt ever every hurdle and through every hoop I could erect. But I didn’t mind his touch. I even…liked it. I swallowed hard. “Give me your gun,” I said softly, “And I’ll get us out of here.”
     He reached into his holster and pressed the gun into my palm. Our eyes met and I knew that whatever came next I was in it for the long haul. He switched his gaze to the rearview mirror again. “Climb back there, but whatever you do, don’t get hurt.” His gaze was on me again. “Got me?”
     Our fingers brushed and a charge went through me. “I got you,” I promised.
     Crawling into the window opening I waited until we were on the expressway, and waited. Then the gunshots started in earnest and I saw the mystery man’s eyes. As tender as Daniel’s had been, this man had no soul. If Daniel died my fate was in this man’s hands. I wasn’t about to let that happen.
     I fired. And his front windshield shattered. He let out a volley of bullets. My other shoulder burst into flames of pain. I cried out.
     “Almira?!” Daniel shouted out.
     I didn’t have the stomach for murder, but I was a crack shot. I crawled out a little further and fired again his front tire blew. I shot out the front passenger side tire. But not before he let another volley of bullets spray. I tried to retreat but I got hit in the side and collapsed.
     “Almira!” Daniel’s resonate voice was a deep echo. I was a ball of pain and cold. His hand grabbed me around waist and pulled me back in. I slid limply into the backseat and looked at him. “Jesus Christ,” his mouth moved. The pain in his gaze was something I’d seen somewhere before. His face was haunting in its familiarity.
His foot was in the carburetor.
     I held onto his hand as if it were a lifeline. His thumb caressed mine. He dug into his pocket and slipped a Bluetooth into his ear. “Get me Jasmine, tell her to meet me at the Hilton, top floor suite. Bring her medical bag.” He paused and looked back at me. “Be sure to tell her she’ll get paid for her services.” He tapped the Bluetooth again.
     Tears were coming down my face. “Aaron…”
     He looked at me. “Who’s Aaron?”
     “I don’t want to die…I…I don’t want you to die…”
     “We’re not going to die.” I looked at me again. “We’re not going to die Almira, I promise.”
     Satisfied I let the darkness embrace me. And let the sound of his voice and his promise give me the strength and hope I needed to hang on so that one day I would see Aaron again.
     “Almira, Almira,” he was tapping on my face. I was hurting all over. My clothes were soaked with sweat and I was clammy to the touch. “Wake up,” his voice sounded far away but as hard as I tried I couldn’t keep my eyes open. “C’mon,” I felt his hand on my skin and I managed to turn in to his touch. His thumb stroked my cheek and he smoothed my hair back. “Don’t leave me tough girl. You’ve come too far to give up now.”
     “I don’t want to die.”
     His exhale was filled with his relief. “Hang on to me and I promise you won’t.”
     My eyes fluttered open long enough to see him squeezing into the backseat to lift me out and throw me over his back. He moved fast even with the limp I was sure was caused by the gunshot wound. His muscles rippled against my body but he didn’t seem to be straining in his efforts to carry me.
     Another set of footsteps. A Hispanic accent. “Ms Jasmine is waiting.”
     “See to it we aren’t disturbed Javier.”
     “Si Senior.”
     And then I wasn’t cold anymore. I was warm. I wasn’t afraid anymore. And I was only vaguely aware of Daniel’s presence. I was in a brilliantly white room and someone was sitting on a bench. At first I only saw him from the back. But I knew instantly who it was. I ran up to him.
     He leapt up and we hugged. He looked at me and held his hand out. “Walk with me.”
     I landed with a thud on the bed I was gazing up into Daniel’s face. He smoothed my hair back again. He spoke softly and took my hand, “Hang on, help is coming.”
     I looked at his leg, his entire thigh was soaked with blood. I tried to sit up. “You’re leg…”
     “Don’t worry about my leg. Save your strength.”
     A beautiful woman in a negligee waltzed in the room and dropped her robe.
     “Cover yourself Jasmine I’m not here for a good time. She needs your help.”
     She looked at me and I could’ve sworn I’d seen her face before. I dug my fingernails into Daniel’s palm. I saw death in her face. But my eyes fluttered again and I was walking with Benjy.
     “You have a decision to make.”
     I looked down the path we were walking, Aaron was playing in a field. My heart ached.
     “He’s fine Allie. It’s him He’s worried about.”
     I looked further down the road. It was Daniel. He was standing at the edge of a cliff. My heart ached again. But why? I knew very little about him. Other than he had kidnapped me. And that I’d had felt a powerful connection to him from the moment I’d been shot.
     “All I know is his name.”
     “Really? Look closer.”
     We had stopped. There was a car nearby. I felt like I should recognize that car. I looked closer. I was convinced I’d seen that car before. But I didn’t know from where. I crept up beside him and looked towards the bottom. A swollen river filled with rocks and rapids. I looked back towards Benjy.
     “It’s okay. We all have our role to play.”
     As I stood there next to Daniel I knew he needed me as much as I needed him. I took his hand. He looked at him as if he’d been waiting all this time to see me again and he took me in his arms, holding onto me as if he were the one who needed me.
     “Please,” he murmured, “be patient with me.”
     A searing hot lancing pain shot through my side. I screamed.
     “Shut her up Danny or we’re going to have unwanted company.” I fisted my hand and sucker punched her as she finished stitching me up. Blood poured out of her nose. “You stupid fucking bitch!” She screamed grabbing her nose and stumbling backwards.
     I sat straight up. “If you want some come get some. I’ve taken on beasts much bigger than you and put them down.” I looked at Daniel. He was pale and grimacing. I examined myself. I was patched up. The bullets, or what remained of them sat on the nightstand. I should’ve been a little more embarrassed that I was in nothing but my sports bra and running pants but I didn’t have time to worry about that. Daniel’s bleeding had to be stopped. “Give me your bag. Leave the antibiotics and pain pills and then get the fuck out of here.”
     “You’re not a doctor.”
     “No, but I’ve treated this kind of gunshot wound before and if you don’t want a split lip to go with that nose you’ll get the hell out of here.”
     She made a move as if to attack me. I didn’t shrink back, but I braced myself. The adrenaline might have been flowing but if she punched me it would hurt like a son of bitch and I would be of no use to anyone.
     She charged at me but the sound of a safety being released made her freeze to the spot. Her expression was unmistakable. It was of heartbreak and betrayal. I turned around. Daniel was on his feet. “Do what the girl said to do.”
     “But Danny--,”
     “Do what the girl said to do or I will shoot you dead.”
     She hurled the items at me but I caught them easily. Adrenaline was a beautiful thing. But I was trembling on the inside. Jack had taught me how to be a master assassin and how to treat different kinds of wounds. I never mastered the cold blooded element it took kill someone who was doing something he didn’t like. I often assisted them in their getaway which resulted in punishment for me. I shivered at the thought at it.
     “You’ll regret this Danny. You’ll regret helping her. She doesn’t fit into your world. Not like me.”
     “Fine. But remember this, this one, she’s going to bring a whole load of hurt into your life. The kind you won’t be able to get out of.”
     “If I get three I’m pulling the trigger.”
     “Bye Danny. Next time best bring an army because I won’t be alone.” With that Jasmine made her dramatic exit and he collapsed to the bed.
     “Take you’re pants off.” I ordered.
     He dropped him. I had to pretend to be okay with the fact he didn’t have any underwear on. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I could feel Jack’s breath on my neck. The stench of his cigar permeated clothes. And the feeling of his clammy hands on my body. I didn’t realize it but I was shaking.
     “If you can’t do this I can.”
     I clenched my jaw. “No. Fuck him. Fuck all of ‘em. They do not get to control my life now or ever again. Lift your leg.” I ran my hand down the back of his thigh. It was warm, firm, soft, solid in my hand. It took the feeling of shame and held it at bay. “Damn it, it’s still in your body.”
     “Can you get it?”
     “Yeah. But it’s going to hurt like hell.”
     “Then take it out.” He lifted my chin and gazed into my eyes, “I know you can do this.”
     I bit down on my upper lip and nodded. I fished around in the bag and found a headlamp and slipped it around my head and turned it on. I took a scalpel and a pair of tweezers and went to work delicately searching for the bullet and any piece of cloth that may have gone into his leg. After a few minutes I found the bullet and set it aside. I went back in and found a stray piece of fabric. I exhaled and grabbed the alcohol and a straw. The wound had to be cleaned out. I couldn’t have him getting an infection and dying. I hesitated, then took his hand.
     I poured the alcohol into the wound and I held onto his hand as he held onto mine. I placed the straw at the wound and sucked the solution out. I spit into a wastebasket next to the bed. I stitched it. Bandaged it. And went into the bathroom and closed the door, and turned on the water in the massive walk in shower and sank down to the ground and started to cry softly.
     I thought of Benjy. I could have gone with him. But there was Aaron to consider. But Daniel. I had never willingly helped one of my father’s men before. They were all glorified rapists and murderers. Why had I been drawn to him from the beginning? Why had I chosen him over Benjy, my best friend? I could hear him talking through the bathroom door. That deep, resonant, British voice rippled through the door, into the shower, and touched my heart.
     “Jack, no. I don’t need any help. Yes I had a hostage. The operative word here is had. I dropped her at a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Does it matter where I’m at? I’m in a safehouse recovering from a gunshot wound Troy Adams surprised me with. I’ll find him Jack and I’ll bring him straight to you. Fine. Goodbye.”
     There were footsteps and a knock at the door. I rubbed my face as the water turned hot and slicked my hair back and pulled my ponytail holder out.
     I said nothing. He worked for my father and I had helped him. He had hidden my identity and lied that he no longer had custody of me. I was at his complete mercy. The door slowly swung back. His shirt was off but he had pulled his pants back up. He looked at me with something I rarely had been given in my lifetime, compassion. He approached slowly, with caution and respect. He grimaced as he slid down next to me, slowly placing his arm around me as I leaned against him. He stroked my hair back, taking my hand as I held on to his leg with the other.
     “Are you going to hand me over to my father?”
     His body stiffened.
     “If you are then let me pretend that you aren’t going to.”
     “You saved my life Almira. Troy was sent to find you. When he went to create his own business Jack sent me to find him. I found you by accident.”
     “How long have you known it was me?”
     His body stiffened again.
     “Since your father intimated Troy reported to him that I had taken a hostage and he suspected it was you.”
     I said nothing for a long time. My voice shook when I finally spoke again. “I know Troy. He’s been hunting me for a long time. The last time he got close he killed Benjy. I barely got away.”
     “Jack thinks you have a son.”
     Tears started to run down my face. “Promise me you’ll kill me before you send me back to my father.”
     When he stiffened this time he spoke abruptly. “I’m not a rapist. And I’ve yet to send a woman or child into Jack’s system.”
     “Then why do you work for him?”
     “Because I was betrayed once in a way that left me vulnerable to him. I thought he was something he wasn’t. And by the time I figured it out I was in so deep I didn’t know how to get out.”
     I curled in close to him, the adrenaline drained from my body. I ached to hold him close. To absolve him from the sin of working for my father.
     “I like you Daniel. I don’t know why, but I trust you. Whatever you need from me while you have me, I’ll give you.”
     He sighed, “I don’t deserve someone as sweet or as kind as you Almira. But whatever happens, I don’t regret having met you. I just hope I can live up to what you think you see in me.”
     I reached up and touched his cheek and gazed into his eyes. I touched his lips with my fingertips. He took my hand and kissed them before leaning down and kissing me. And when I kissed him back it was magic. His lips were soft and firm and when our tongues touched I felt as if I were on fire. The kiss seemed to go on forever. At times slow and sweet, at times hard and passionate. It was as if our souls, long ago parted had been reunited. My body ached for more but finally, when our eyes opened and he was peering into my soul. It was in disbelief.
     “I don’t deserve this,” he breathed.
     The water was growing cold but I didn’t care. I just wanted to sit there and be with him forever. “I’ve never wanted anyone more than I do right now.” I desired nothing more than to be close to him. To cling to him. To be with him.
     “You don’t understand. I don’t deserve you. I don’t want to hurt you. It’s not that I don’t want to be with you.”
     “Then just sit here with me. Be here with me.”
     He nodded and lips touched again and I knew then what I would know forever he was the one. That no matter what happened next, he would be the one to set me free.

Happy Scribbles! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

O is for Overview: A Video Tale of Another Way To Die

Hey everyone I wish I could tell you I was feeling 100% better but I'm not but an offhand comment has made me feel like I don't know what I'm talking about or doing but here I am slogging my way through the depression like I do anyway.

Today Is an easy day I'm going to share some videoes from my Another Way To Die playlist then give you my next appearance date and what I'll be doing. So without further ado here are the songs:

Daniel Logan isn't Ordinary:

Almira Sands just needs him to Breathe:

Beating her father seems Impossible:

They would do anything for one another:

I'll be at COFFEE TIME ROMANCE April 29th from 8-9PM EST talking about Another Way To Die, Lost Legacies, and sneak peeks. There will be giveaways of books, e-books, short stories, and movies and guest authors along with me to keep things lively.

Enjoy today's post and remember to stop on by Coffee Time Romance next Friday!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Say Hello To Charlotte's World

I am proud to be hosting Charlotte's most unusual interview today. Charlotte Volnek is a Muse author and I am happy to have her today. This interview is from her upcoming release Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. So sit back with a cuppa, a cigarette or a bagel and enjoy!

Meet Jack Dahlgren
Well, hello there young man. I’m glad you’re here. It’s Jack, right? Would you like to tell us a little bit about your story?

Hi. Yeah, thanks, I’d like to share a little bit about my adventure with you. As you said, my name is Jack…Jack Dahlgren. I’m the main character from C.K. Volnek’s Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, a ghost story for tweens. I’m 12, almost 13. I like to remind my dad of that. He treats me like such a baby.

So, where are you from, Jack?
I’m from Ohio. My dad moved us to this beach house on Roanoke Island about two months ago. I wasn’t too happy about leaving my old home. It was the only place I’d ever lived. But Dad got laid off last year, so when my Great-grandma Ellis left us this house on Roanoke Island, he was excited. Said it was the answer to his prayers. Some prayer. He went to scope it out and found a job in Manteo. That was it. He up and moved us, not even asking if it was okay by me.

What is Roanoke Island like?
It’s an island off the coast of North Carolina. Lots of trees and the beaches. Dad thought I’d love to live on an Island. Like that’s the cool thing to do or something. The ocean is pretty cool, but for me to live here, it’s awful. None of the kids at school want to have anything to do with me, always teasing me about our creepy house. They say it’s haunted. It does look like it. It’s pretty run down and Dad is either at work at the marina or fixing on the house. He never has any time for me. He won’t even let me go exploring in the woods or go up on the bluff ... not since Kimmy’s accident.

Who is Kimmy and what happened to her?
Kimmy’s my little sister. She’s six. She fell off the bluff next to our house two weeks ago and is in the hospital. The bluff isn’t that high, but she hit her head on a rock and she’s been unconscious since. Dad blames me for her accident. I’d do anything to take it back. I didn’t know she’d followed me up there! But Dad thinks it’s all my fault. I guess he’s right, because I wasn’t supposed to be up there either.
Mom’s been with Kimmy since she fell. I wish she’d come home. I miss her. And it seems I’m always in trouble with Dad, especially when she’s not here. He’s so mad at me. He promised I could get a dog when we moved to the island. But he hasn’t mentioned it since the accident. Now, I’ve found this big Mastiff. He’s a cool dog and I’ve got to find a way to make Dad let me keep him. That dog needs a good home and he’ll be great to have around. He’s already saved me from whatever that thing was I came across in the cave. It would’ve killed me if it hadn’t been for that dog.

What is this thing you found in the cave? It sounds scary.
It’s hard to explain. But, it is scary. It’s really big and ugly…and stinks really bad. This guy I met, Manny, says it’s pure evil, conjured up a long time ago, from when the first colonists landed on Roanoke Island in 1587. It has something to do with the mystery of the Lost Colony. I read about it in history class, how 117 colonists disappeared...gone…without a trace. I think this creature had something to do with it.

That is quite a mystery. Who is this Manny you talk about?

Manny’s cool, even if he is an adult. He’s a Native American Shaman. And he’s going to teach me how to whittle. He seems to know what this thing in the cave might be and says I’m the only one who can stop it.

How can you stop it?

I don’t know yet. Manny says I have to figure out what it is and why it’s here. He says he’ll help me, with some of his magic, but I have to be the one to stop it. And I have to stop it before Kimmy comes home. I promised her when the ambulance took her away that I wouldn’t let anything ever hurt her again.
Plus, if I can stop it, maybe Dad won’t be so mad at me anymore. It’ll show him I’m responsible and then he’ll have to let me keep that dog. But first, I’ve got to solve this mystery and destroy the monster...destroy it before it destroys me.
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, by C.K. Volnek. Due out September, 2011 by MuseItUp Publishing.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

N is for Numb

This post a little bit of a cheat. Numb is the second book in my Lost Legacies series. But I'm not going to be discussing it. And I may or may not provide a small clip of it at the end of this post. I haven't decided yet. This numb is more about my mood and what it's like to struggle with bipolar disorder on a daily basis and how sometimes even when you do everything the doctors tell you to, things aren't so swell.

Here recently I've had to stop taking one of my medicines because of side effects (doctor's orders no worries), but the effect has been a hypomanic state which led to a crash which I am now wading through. Depression. All I want to do is sleep, which sucks the energy and concentration out of anything you want to do. And it has numbed me out.

So everything becomes a personal attack even if it is a personal attack. I feel like I do a lot and nothing is appreciated and that no one understands where I'm coming from and when I'm able to crawl out of bed I fear I might say something I'll truly regret.

Let me say this: the spotlight is on Bipolar Disorder right now because of people like Catherine Zeta-Jones opening up and going into treatment for her struggle. I hope people take the time to find out about this illness and understand it doesn't make you a freak and that sometimes you just need a little kindness or that you may feel raw. Because it's not just a matter of  not being 'lazy' or just 'getting over it'. And right now I don't feel like 'getting over it'. I'm depressed and I spent most of yesterday in bed and it wasn't any fun.

But I still took my meds and I'll continue taking them. An excerpt seems out of place so I'll skip it for now. At least on this blog. But stay tuned, and if you're showing any symptons of depression or mania don't hesitate to reach out, it could save your life.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

M is for Movies

I LURVE MOVIES. And I lurve all kinds of movies. But right now the Summer movie season is upon and I usually am less than excited about this time of year.

This is the time of year Hollywood trots out the tired old franchise's and beats the old sequel horse to death. But as I look out over the last days of Spring (movie season not actual Spring mind you) I see two movies I'd still like to see along with some others I know I must 'there' for come opening day.

First up for Spring. HANNA. A tale of a trained hitgirl going to take out the people who have been waiting to kill her, (or is it use her) upon her maturation. One review called it a tale of complicated daddies and wicked stepmothers. I think it's thriller gold and right up my alley and I'm dying to see it. This film is NOW PLAYING.

Then there's WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. Based on the brilliant NaNoWriMo novel by Sara Gruen this novel has massive visual and emotional appeal and if the movie delivers on the trailer's promise of a fantastic movie It will be completely worth the price of admission. OPENS APRIL 22.

Then there are the heavy hitters: HARRY POTTER YEAR 7 PART 2 which has been descibed the movie as one that does. Not. Stop. If you asked me which movie series I preferred I'd say I liked this one over that other one that shall remain nameless. Especially at the risk of getting hatemail. I certainly got jumped at a conference for expressing this view, don't want a repeat situation on my hands.

THE GREEN HORNET. Ryan Reynolds. Peter Skaarsgard. Superheroes. Supervillians. Angst. True love. Did I mention Ryan Reynolds? I am soooo there.

X-MEN UNITED.  Hey I wanna go if only for the cast James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and who is that hot baddie playing Magneto?

And the one I've been waiting for since December of last year COWBOYS & ALIENS. Here we have the writers (Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci) from the newly REBOOTED STAR TREK movie franchise working with the director of IRON MAN and the uber producers of Steven Speilberg and Ron Howard this looks fantastic. Of course what comes of it remains to be seen. Their take on the film is serious, void of any camp that the graphic novel is laden with. Did I mention DANIEL CRAIG and HARRISON FORD were in this potentional jauggernaut? It OPENS JULY 29.

Those are just the highlights. I'm sure I'll be checking in on the others like Super 8 from J.J. Abrams, One Day, and lots of others. Grab a bucket of popcorn buy that movie ticket and a coke and settle in and enjoy the show.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Lost Legacies

In the series I am writing I am in total lust with the man who inspired the character I love. I mean, who can blame me?

When I saw Daniel Craig emerge from those crystal blue waters cut like an adonis in blue Speedo trunks. Water glistening from his muscled body, eyes as blue as the water, one part confidence, two parts sex, and one hundred percent oo la la his take on James Bond was more brutal and dark straight from the start. He was what in romance parlance we writers call a rogue. And I me some rogues. And my lust born a desire in me to write my own romantic suspense "James Bond for girls" series.

Daniel Logan on the other hand is the character I am in love with and can't seem to get out of my system. Worn down by bad choices and experiences in life he often makes impulsive decisions in the name of someone else that don't always work out like he intends them too. And the woman he loves is Almira Sands. And he will do anything, including kill, in the name of protecting her from the forces that conspire to keep them apart.

In book one of the Lost Legacies, Another Way To Die, Almira is on the run from a past she can't seem to shake. And when Daniel kidnaps her she does everything she can help her escape from another baddie, Troy Adams, in hopes that he will free her. Instead she is wounded for her troubles and he is forced to decide, help her or continue on in his mission to find his daughter, Abagail.

I love Daniel Logan so much I'm adapting Another Way To Die to screenplay form and am hard at work on book two of the series, Numb. I'll be launching a new blog site dedicated wholly to the characters and stories of the Lost Legacies in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout for it. Until then you can find me at,,!/pages/Amy-McCorkle/173811662670780 and here of course,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Killer & Karen's Chaise Lounge

Assassin. Mercenary. Hitman. Killers all, in some shape or fashion but in romantic suspense or suspense in general they are studies in motivation and characters which present themselves as rich with possibilities as to what drives them to do the things they do. Can they be redeemed by the love of a good woman. Are they drinkers? Womanizers? Do they smoke? Are they religious?

I like these kinds of characters on the page. Having faced demons hiding behind a badge or a uniform I know for a fact not all of them are good guys.

So Another Way To Die was born out of my infatuation with the idea that a thug could be turned good under the right circumstances. And the right circumstances was his past reaching out to force him in the form of Almira Sands and her determination to love him no matter what he was, no matter what he'd done and no matter what he would do in the future.

In order to create a hero deserving of that he had to do something out of character straight off the bat, the killer would have to save her life even if it meant risking his own skin to do it.

Daniel Logan was my kind of hero. And now I'm facing book 2 of their journey and deciding on a great deal of things. Do one of them die? Whose point of view should it be from? Just to what links will they go to to be in one another's arms? Oh and I'm adapting book 1 to screenplay for production!

I am at Karen Chaise's Lounge all week discussing Another Way To Die and where I'll be over the coming months. Come join me and Karen!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Judging A Book By It's Cover

Today I am blogging for the enth day in a row and I'll admit it, I'm tired. I don't have the verve I did on day one and I am struggling with some depression and mania my illness brings with it. But sometimes you have to find a way and I have  found a way, with a little Universal nudge to do just that. And I am going to combine my blog hops, the A-Z Challenge, with the Fellow Writers Blog Hop. Judging a book by its cover.

I have Bipolar Disorder and sometimes I have it and sometimes it has me. The preconceived notions people have about this disorder and those with a mental illness in general is that they are lepers and that they are limited in their ability to function within the confines of the world as you see it.

But here's the reality of the situation. I am smart. I am articulate. No, I don't like large crowds, and yes I do smaller groups better. I love writing because it allows me to control (lol or at least think I control some part of my world). I am not stupid. Yes I take medicine to manage my moods. But no, I am not crazy. There are people who are not mentally ill who perpetrate some of the vilest crimes who are perfectly sane.

My struggle can be a daily one. And to look at me sometimes you might think she's completely 'normal'. Here's a fact Jack, the only difference between me and someone else is, to borrow a phrase from Christopher Titus, is that "we're just the ones who've been caught".

I do, however, recommend, if you are suffering from any symptoms of mania, depression, or any other mental illness to seek treatment. That doesn't necessarily mean they're coming to take me away ;). That may mean doing something simple as reaching out and talking to a professional therapist. Getting some perspective is profoundly helpful.

If you are seeking more info on bipolar disorder and how you are not alone look up Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos of General Hospital) and research his personal story @

I am also at all this week discussing Book One in my Lost Legacies Series #AnotherWayToDie. and on Twitter

Monday, April 11, 2011

Soap Talk- A Break from the Challenge for a Guest

Today I bring you the wonderful Gina Vetrone Wilson. She is a Soap Opera Blogger. She writes recaps and interacts in the Daytime Drama world as bother author and fan. She brings a unique perspective as she is what we hope to have one day-a devoted fan who tunes in next time to see what we have written. She can be found on twitter @SourceGina and she is a delightful if not passionate to the point of salty viewer. But get her on your side and she's a great friend to have in your corner. Without further ado I bring you Gina Vetrone Wilson.

Watching soaps has been part of my daily routine since I was a little girl. I dreamt of one day starring on Young and the Restless alongside Scott Reeves….and then I grew up, but my love of soaps never wavered. In fact, it only increased. So, I started a website with the purpose of blogging about soaps and my life has changed immensely since. A major factor in this change is the abundance of social networking sites that allow me to reach out to a variety of soap fans and soap stars alike including Twitter and Facebook. While my soap site didn’t work out the way I had desired due to creative differences between partners, I wouldn’t be a part of the great soap writing crew that I am now had it not been for that experience.
Being a soap blogger has its ups and downs. Some soap fans are so serious about their favorite characters that they will literally curse you out if you say anything negative about that character or their storylines. It matters very little to me because of the convenience of the unfollow button but the negativity can sometimes take a toll if my mood is a little on the dark side.  The positive elements of soap blogging far outweigh the negative elements.
The best part about being a soap blogger is being part of a huge group of people, men and women, who love the same shows as I do and have the same thoughts and theories that I do. When I meet new people while I am out and about one of the first questions I ask is “Do you watch soap operas?”. Surprisingly to me, I always get a “No, but I used to a long time ago” response. Now I can just turn on my computer or text one of my soapsters and chat about my stories as much as I please.
Sadly, it is almost impossible for someone like me to break into the soap business for financial gain. However, I don’t think that is my real motivation. Soaps are a dying breed, a genre that is sure to no longer exist in years to come. This is a gloomy prediction, yes. If we look at how things have been going though, I think you can agree that I am not totally off with my theory. Many of my favorite soap operas have been canceled over the years. Each time it is like losing a little piece of myself. Another World, Sunset Beach, Passions, Guiding Light, As the World Turns…. These cancelations affect every soap fan, even if they don’t watch the shows. It breaks my heart. My motivation comes from my love of soaps. I get “paid” with good friends and feelings of accomplishment. *Insert cheesiness here*
Rumors have been hitting the web in regards to One Life to Live or All My Children being canceled. At this time, I doubt that will happen. I hope it won’t happen. Game shows and talk shows do not do it for me. I know that is how a lot of soap fans feel, so why do the networks feel the need to mess up a good thing? We can watch Drew Carey and Wayne Brady all day long but it will never give us the satisfaction that a good three hours of soaps will. If you ask me, and I know you didn’t, the networks should ignore daytime altogether and stop trying to change it. Unless changing daytime involves adding more drama, more sexiness, and more characters we love to hate via more soap operas. I am just saying.  
One of the most frustrating things about soap blogging is fan negativity.  Very few soap fans are uber positive about soaps ALL the time, which is perfectly understandable. But when fans are constantly bitching about storylines, actors, characters, hirings, firings, writers, head writers, producers, etc. on Twitter and other forums, I think that the execs take notice. If the fans are not invested in the shows, why should the execs? And if the fans aren’t invested, why are they still watching? It takes more energy to bitch about it than to maybe laugh about it. We all know how soaps work. Soaps are bipolar. One week it’s a snooze-fest, the next week you find yourself not wanting to walk away from the tv for a second. That is how it has always been.  That is how it should stay.
The BEST part about soap blogging is being able to interact with soap stars from every soap and every generation. Everyone from Jeanne Cooper, Susan Lucci, and Steve Burton to Lexi Ainsworth, Chad Duell, and Kevin Schmidt are on Twitter now. Some soapies such as Michael Muhney, Alison Sweeney, Sarah J. Brown, Brandon Barash, Kristen Storms, Laura Wright, and a few others respond to fans on a normal basis (luckily me included!). If you are not following these actors, maybe you should. Talking to your faves can be a delightful experience. (All stalkers excluded)
I think I have rattled on long enough. So, in conclusion, as long as the soap world will have me, I will continue to write about my stories with pleasure.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I is for Intensity in Another Way To Die

My favorite stories whether they be film, books, or short stories are ones that contain a strong element of intensity. I like my heroes to brood, my heroines to be tough but vulnerable, and for the story to move at a fast clip. None of this mamsy pamsy crap. In real life it's okay for my men to cry and in my stories it's okay for my hero to show emotion but to bawl like a baby? Like I said in real life yes, in my stories oh hell no.

In Another Way To Die Daniel Logan is a mercenary. My best friend says I like that word but in all reality he's a hitman burned by life with little time for tenderness, but my heroine, Almira Sands brings it out in him. His emotion for her intense in every way.

Instense love and devotion evokes both the tenderness and murderous sides of him when it comes to her and it must say something about me that I like it that way lol. Their lovemaking is hot, intense, and unapologetically early on and frequent throughout the story. And when their quiet moments come along her confessions of pain earlier on in the story allow for him to admit his about painful experiences in his past.

Daniel Logan is my favorite of my heroes. He is brooding, tortured, dark, and waiting for the love of Almira Sands to redeem him. And while their is a brief moment of tears he is not a crybaby. A beta is good for a lifemate, an alpha is what I prefer in my books.

Almira is just as intense as Daniel. Abused off and on throughout her lifetime she doesn't sit around feeling sorry for herself. She is a survivor and how she has made it this far without being broke is a small miracle. And she too is waiting for the love of a strong man to help heal her shattered heart.

I am now at work on Numb, the second in the Lost Legacies Series. I love Almira and Daniel and some of the characters surrounding them. Another Way To Die is due out from January 2012. Come checkout #MuseBonella at and the continuing saga of the tragically misunderstood alter ego of our fearless leader.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Harold Goodman

On December 23rd, 2010, one of the best people I had the priviledge to know passed from this Earth due to the perfect storm of unfortunate events and circumstances, some of which were preventable and some which were not. He was robbed of any time he had left with his family by arrogant doctors, insensitive nurses, and sloppy medical care. But I'm not spend any more time on that facet of his life. Today I am going to talk about why Harold Goodman was such a special person to me.

Often we meet people who alter our perception of the world for the better in a fast flash of light and rumble as an announcement of their presence. Harold wasn't like that. He had gravitas and if he wanted to rumble he could rumble with the best of him. But really he had this way growing on you that you couldn't deny.

Of Missy's family he was the one who opened the door to acceptance with the rest of them. Because let's face it. I'm unusual at best, weird if you don't understand where I'm going from and if you're a 'normal' person faced with an unusual girl well, you might not know what to do with one another at first glance. But when my family began their usual fare of well, knocking me down routine he always let me talk and he never said a bad word about my family.

He took care of his family. He called Jessica his baby, Shannon his favorite, Missy his number one, and his wife Neshea his everything. He was the typical dad in that he loved his children and the husband who would do anything for his wife. He and Missy would spend every Sunday watching the NASCAR races, Shannon and he loved motorcycles and loved to frequent the Harely Store, and to Jessica's young Jedi he was her Yoda.

They all miss him terribly. And funny, so do I, but even when my family makes me crazy, like they're doing today, I try to remember what a hole they would leave if they were suddenly gone.

Harold, you were my favorite outside of Missy of your family even though you thought I was weird. And thanks to you I have a relationship to your family I might not have otherwise had.

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for George Clooney

Why George Clooney? He's an actor. A hot, sexy, actor, but really, what does he have to do with writing? The man isn't 'just' an actor. He's probably the hardest working man in the business. And his role has changed over time. And through it all he has remained a class act with his friends, his fans, and his co-workers.

Back when I was first starting to write with my eventual best fried and Co-producer "er" was a hit and we were totally in love with Dr. Doug Ross, the bad boy peds surgeon with the heart of gold. During that time Missy and I decided to lose weight and train for a marathon. I was narrow minded and diligent, laser focused on training for the 1999 Walt Disney Marathon. Missy wanted to lose weight but the early morning training sessions were hard for her. She was not a morning person. I was.

We were both huge fans of George Clooney. Who wouldn't be, yummo. But one morning when things were really bad for Missy I got angry for her and tore off a fan letter to George Clooney telling him about how during her lifetime whenever things seemed their bleakest, there he would be on her television set. Almost like a guardian angel. And I let him know what she was going through at the time and  that I personally would never watch Batman & Robin on principle alone. I stuck it in the mail and didn't give it another thought.

The man has produced, directed, and acted in some of the best films during my lifetime. Missy and I bonded over multiple viewings of One Fine Day & From Dusk Till Dawn. Both underrated fims, not just because he's in them but because they're just damn good movies. Love me some Seth Gecko now. He's an Oscar winner, an activist who puts his money where his mouth is, and a loyal friend. He has famously said he would never get married and never have any kids. So what? At least you know what you're getting into when you get involved with him. Most guys just let you believe you can change them. I had boyfriend like that. Rest assured, I would have rather had Clooney. I'm sure the sex would have been much better. ;)

Well I was in a car wreck. The following day I checked the mail and the SASE I had sent in hopes of getting an autographed picture back for Missy had something in it that looked like a flyer. I was pissed. Until I got inside, opened the envelope and saw that he'd written her a short letter on two pieces of an er episode set to air later that month. It was a note of encouragement to Missy and the episode was about friendship.

So anytime I hear someone talk smack about George I let them know straight up, the man may not be perfect (because really, who is?) but he's a great guy and a class act the whole way.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Fandom

Fandom is often I a phrase I hear relegated to speculative fiction, sci-fi, or fantasy whatever medium you find it in. Actually the first time I heard of it was when I started watching Highlander: The Series. Mmmm Duncan McLeod and Methos. What can I say I have a soft spot for those hunky immortals. And was a part of the -Files fandom before I ever knew what the words meant. More recently it's been Lost. Oh I how I miss that  show.

There were a great many mysteries about the island, but the show was never about any mystery except that of the human heart. What was good versus what was truly evil. And how these people deeply affected one another's lives.

Everything about this show was spot on. The acting, the music, the directing, and most importantly the writing. Everyone had a mission and it created lightning in a bottle. Lost was a cult show that went mainstream and was often over looked at awards time. Re: Terry O'Quinn and everyone else who finally got a nomination during the last season you were ALL ROBBED.

The show was watercooler conversation. And while everyone had their favorites. Jack, Sawyer, Jen and Kate. My favorites were the more troubled of souls Sayid and Claire. Sayid warred within himself throughout the whole of the series and finally re: spoilers dead ahead sacrificed himself so that the others might live. The beautiful reunion of Jen and Sun only to have them die in one another's arms was tragically beautiful. Kate killing the Man In Black was awesome. And Hugo aka Hurley always brought them together and it was perfect how he was put in charge of the island, and Ben's redemption to become Hurley's number 2 man was perfect as well. The best was when Jack is reunited with his father and the forgive one another in death. I bawled like a baby. This show was terrific from start to finish.

There were people who loved the show who hated the finale because they didn't get all the 'answers' to the mysteries of the show. If you had gotten the answers and there were just so many of them it would have ruined the emotional impact of the spiritual journey which is what the show was about. The JOURNEY.

So whenever you sit down to write that first draft of your book, your screenplay, your poem, your graphic novel, remember it's about the journey that first time around. You can make it about the destination later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E-Publishing and E-Marketing

There is a lot of discussion as to what is going on in the publishing world and what makes a 'real' book and what constitutes marketing. Words like epub and social networking float around as much as Big 6 these days and if th Big 6 don't get with it they'll go the way of the dinosaur faster than say a current format of Facebook.

There are a ton of e-pubs out there and there are a ton of organizations in the writing world telling you print is the only legitimate form of publication. DON'T YOU DARE LISTEN TO THEM!

The fact is both forms are completely legitimate. But I've decided to take the electronic route with MuseItUp Publishing. And I love it. I may get an agent in the meantime but I couldn't ask for a better publisher period. The place is like family and is urber supportive. I suppose it is easy when everyone is playing on an even field, but coming from a filmmaking background I know that just because you're one of the 'boys' doesn't mean you're going to be treated that way.

Some other organizations you might want to checkout too are Savvy Authors and EPIC, EPIC is the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition. Savvy Authors is an online writing group which offers workshops, chats, and conferences throughout the year. EPIC is $30 a year as is Savvy but they're invaluable with the tools they provide.

How do I promote an e-book? Honestly you have to start your platform from day one. You're selling yourself, and if you don't get out there and do it no one else will. You're platform is who you are. I'm a writer and indie filmmaker who gets angsty and passionate when people don't listen to her lol.

Bare minimum (and I'm quoting Christine Bell on this) is email loops, a website, twitter, facebook, and a blog. I've always had trouble mastering this. But I finally opened up my ears and started listening. Lea Schizas recommends one hour a day or one day a week on the self promotion.

There you have it folks. Take it for what it is. I hope this is helpful. Until next time you can reach me at on Twitter @AmyLMcCorkle, Facebook at!/pages/Amy-McCorkle/173811662670780 on my website and here of course. Happy scribbles.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for the Director's Chair

I once said the tale of me and Missy's first experience as filmmakers was a story unto itself. As a novelist I work by myself the process of directing a film is one of collaboration. One which you have to balance your vision with the needs and desires and machinations of the members of the cast and crew and sometimes you pick winners to work with and sometimes, well sometimes you do what we did. Pick some winners and pick some divas and drunks to work with.

Our first director's experience was an experience in: How Not To Pick People.

As great a find as Pam was, there was one young woman who started off the rehearsal by saying, 'I don't think she would talk that way'. Another red flag were these words, 'I hope we don't have to be off book by Monday' the Friday before filming started. Off book is a polite term for 'lines memorized'. Oi this young woman and another young man changed the dialogue every single time we did a take! Talk about an editing and continuity nightmare for our script supervisor and me and Missy in the editing bay.

We had to work without a/c in the middle of July in Kentucky and it was the hottest day on record for the year at that point. Humidity is hell! As we wrapped for the day and the location was beginning to cool a nasty storm system blew through and hurricane force winds knocked a tree on a house nearby and took the power out. Mind you we had an actress from Texas who was due to fly out the next day who still had two scenes left to film and those same actors were pulling stunts that would have gotten them fired on any other set.

Honestly, Missy and I were green and Too Far From Texas was our first experience on any movie set but we'd been writing scripts for 7 years at that point with some interest from Lee Daniels (Monster's Ball, Precious) and Zide/Perry (American Pie) but never really able to breakthrough. In fact Lee Daniels liked us so much he passed twice in one year. The second time he called personally to tell me and Missy not to give up because was had talent but that 'You're the Reason' wasn't quite what they were looking for. It had many elements that Precious had but it was more a love story than those things in the end so they had to 'pass'. That's Hollywood's way of saying no without saying no.

Directing is hard because you never really know what your cast is going to be like until you get there on the first day. There may be warning signals, you say the character dresses like a tomboy and she brings cheerleader, bordering on hoochie clothes, but often times there's nothing until you're on the set and she's constantly saying 'am I in the shot', one of your leads is bucking to drink real beer in the shot, and the other is drinking behind your back.

Too Far From Texas was a lesson in what NOT to do. But we had to do reshoots with three of the loveliest actors I have ever been privvy to know. Paul Reynolds-the Brit who would not quit. Probably the most professional of men and just a real stand up guy I feel like got the short end of the stick with this.  Heather Kustes, a sweet, soft spoken girl who restored my faith in actresses as a whole. And a troubled guy with a good heart Donavon Shain, who had more raw talent and charisma than he knew what to do with.

I wish them all well and much success in the future adventures.

Happy Directing!