Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Need A Vacation

I say I need a vacation all of the time. But what I really mean is I need to get out of the confines of my apartment.

Sure my imagination takes me places I might never be able to go otherwise. I mean really, would I ever want to meet a crime family and make myself the target of their enemies' wrath or the government's criminal investigation?

In my life things aren't always so black and white. And what may look like the guy wearing the star and white hat might really a wolf in sheep's clothing. Do I want someone to come along and love me? I think everyone does. Hence the dark fantasies of bad boys with the good hearts.

But I think I've stumbled upon what my story of the 3Day will be. But I've only got the 3-5th to write it and I have to wait until next weekend to do so. Hence, I need my Labor Day Vacation now. I don't want to wait, but rules be the rules and I have to wait.

In the meantime I have finished Book One in the When Doves Cry Trilogy, When Doves Cry: Tragedy. Books two and three Vengeance and Desire will be gotten to later. So it's not like I have any shortage of work.

However, I still need a vacation. Next Friday I'm getting a hotel room and carryout, then I'm writing into the wee hours of the morning. Then Saturday I'm going to see Cowboys & Aliens again. Getting lunch, then hitting the bookstore and writing some more.

Rest assured I'll be writing. I just wouldn't be breathing if I weren't.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Training For the 3Day Novel Contest!

Some call it crazy. Some call it hell. Others call it a trial by fire. I call it a pressure cooker which is going to yield a lot of fun. What am I talking about? The 3Day Novel Contest of course!

How do you write a novel in three days? Honestly I don't know. The most pages I've ever written in three days is 22 and that was when I was writing the end of a longer piece and I was filled with manic energy.

Now, I've participated in the 3Day Novel Contest twice before. Once handwriting the piece, the second time using my NEO. Now I have a computer. I plan on using it this time.

So, training? Really I don't know if there is a way to train. I have a vague idea of  what I want the story to be about. You can have a plot or characters, you really don't have time for both. The goal this year is 90 pages. And while I'm not getting a hotel at Nolin Lake for fun. I'm thinking about getting a room for the night or two here in town. Hopefully there will be a room with as many things that happen on Labor Day Weekend around here.

Training. Have junkfood and coffee at the ready. Carryout. Chinese, pizza, subs. Caffeine. Loads and loads of caffeine. Coffee and soda IS your BEST FRIEND. Turn your phones off. Keep the television off. Don't answer the door. Tell your friends and family ahead of time not to bother you not this weekend, but next weekend.

Want to be health nut? Put it off for a few weeks. Still need that morning walk, then do it but something else has to give. All I know is I paid good money to be able to torture myself like this and I'll be damned if anyone is going to come between me and that September 5th 11:59PM finish line for a third time.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Bookstore Write-In

These days when I go to the bookstore I enjoy the fact I can find a seat but I'm also nervous. Things are different. There are less books. There aren't as many people/customers and that's just a signal that people are getting their products from other places.

Now that's not necessarily a bad thing. Competition often separates to wheat from the shaft, but I have to say as much as I love my Kindle I love my print books. I love the smell of a bookstore and the coffee which is brewing there and the cheesecake that is offered there as well.

As for the write-in quality. I love to feeling I get when I walk inside. Like I'm going to work. And when I want to I can go on lunch break.

Some would call this nostalgia or an unwillingness to change. I would ague that they're wrong. I've embraced change. I have two epub contracts and have just received my final galley on my first contract with them. I'd like a print contract and an advance too. Because as much as I love my publisher I think I deserve either that or a slightly higher royalty rate. Don't get me wrong here. My publisher is wonderful and I would recommend them to anyone. I'm just talking here.

But I think epubs and traditional pubs are working at cross purposes here as if one another  are the enemy and Amazon and other distributors are coming out the true winners with the authors coming out the losers if we're not careful.

 Where does that leave the bookstore write-in? Hopefully the traditional publishers will see the errors of their ways with this class action lawsuit to keep the cost ebooks jakked way up high and epubs will see theirs and follow Bob Mayer's example. Read the man's blog, follow him on twitter, he is a veritable fountain of information.

As for me I'll keep my ear to the ground and pray that the bookstore write-in remains a fixture of the writing scene.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Evolution: Gerald Stuart as A Hero

Gerald Stuart hasn't always been a heroic character. He used to be a murderous son of a bitch. And while he still rules his organization with an iron fist, his love for Isabelle Ramone and his children redeems even the darkest corners of his soul.

He was once a faceless character who exsisted only to haunt Ariel and Adriana. Then he morphed into this man. A man who fiercely loved Isabelle in secret. Yeah. I know. Melodramatic right. I make no apologies because every step you to take brings you to where you are now. But Gerald as I know him now is much more interesting now than he was fourteen years ago.

I wish I could say Gerald is this complicated and complex character. But basic things drive him. He grew up without a family. Isabelle gives up hers to be with him and gives him one. He is driven to give her the world. His 'best friend' Leo says this makes him weak.

Gerald takes this as a threat. As well as he should. This is the first time I've ever sat down and written Gerald's story down in full. And Isabelle is turning out to have some more innocence to her than initially thought. I know that's Eva Green in the picture there. And that Missy and I have always seen Isabel Adjani as Isabelle Ramone/Stuart. Gerald is the man Izzy was always meant to be with. But how long are they meant to be? I haven't figured that one out yet. Until then enjoy the story.

Chapter Three
     “What is it Stuart?” Leo asked breezing into Gerald’s office. “She’s here isn’t she? You’ve got your toehold in that arrogant bastard’s office don’t you?”
     “Yes and yes.”
     Leo closed the den room’s door. “Then what’s with the dark mood?”
     “It’s nothing Leo.”
     “We’ve known each other for how long Stuart? We’re not girls but if you can’t trust me by now who can you trust?”
     “It’s not something I think you’d understand, besides. I gave my word and I intend on living up to it.”
     “Does this have to do with the girl herself? Because if she’s giving you problems I can handle that.”
     Gerald waved him off. “No no no. She’s no problem at all. She’s actually very sweet. I don’t want her touched by anyone.”
     Leo arched an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you’re falling for the girl.”
     “Shut up Falconeri.”
     “She’s been here all of one day.”
     “There are things you don’t understand.”
     “Again with the secrets thing. I could be insulted you know. But the girl is pretty and I can understand working her for info on her father might create a bit of a conflict for you. I’ll trust you on it. Isabelle is a pretty girl after all.”
     “Leo you’re treading on some very thin ice.”
     “You’re kidding me right? No girl is worth all that we’ve worked for…is it?”
     “Isabelle isn’t part of the business. She’s here expressly for her own protection.”
     “Don’t you see how that compromises our goals?”
     “I see how it compromises your goals Leo. I’m pretty sure that her sister Kate is still available. You want to mess around with her feel free. But Isabelle is off limits.”
     “Fine,” Leo said picking his teeth. “I bet her mommy and daddy were none to happy to have a lowly gangster whisk their pride and joy away like that.”
     “No they weren’t. Now could we stop talking about it and move on the real business at hand. Bugeye Wallace has been moving something all week and it ain’t the coffee everyone is so high on these days.”
     “Nope it’s not. But that shit is pretty damn tasty. Have you had any? Stuff is smooth like silk. Goes down real nice with a little creamer and sugar-,”
     Gerald slammed his fist into the desk, causing everything on top to rattle. “God damn it Leo. I didn’t ask for a review of the front product, I want to know what the hell it is Wallace is moving. And either you tell me and I mean tell me now or I’ll split you forehead wide open myself.”
     “Fine. Fine. They’re supplying guns to someone. I’m not sure who exactly. They may even only be the middle man. I’m not too sure yet. I’m going to need a little more time on that.”
     Gerald’s face took on a cold glow. “Leo, how long have we known each other?”
     “Since we were kids man.”
     “And I’ve always been able to count on you, right?”
     “Of course. What are you getting’ at Stuart? That you can’t trust me? Careful, I might take that as an insult.”
     “Leo, when an upstart, or an established man in our lifestyle starts moving guns what does that tend to mean?”
     Leo picked at his teeth again. “It means someone is about to make a move Stuart but it doesn’t mean their about to make a move on us. We’re small fish compared to Wallace.”
     “We have Senator Ramone in our back pocket. We’re no longer small fish Falconeri.”
     Gerald fell silent. Leo shook his head and said, “Women make you weak. Especially the innocent ones. Watch you’re back Stuart, they’re more dangerous than all of our friends and enemies put together.”
     “Get the hell out of here Leo before I show you just how dangerous I can be.”
     Leo laughed as he took hold of the doorknob. “If the Ramone women are so fascinating I guess I will go checkout the sister, what’s her name? Kate?”
     “Go. Now.” Gerald paused. “Before I shoot you in your back.”
     “Et tu Brute? See ya’ ‘round friend. I have a date tonight. But if I hear anything, you can be sure I’ll be right here, as usual, saving your ass, and keeping the cash flowing.”
     When Leo walked out the door Gerald hurled his glass at the door causing it to shatter and sending liquor running down the walls. Gerald knew he could trust Leo. He’d depended on him for most of his life. But the man was seriously cracked and had to be handled from time to time. He knew Isabelle was an X factor in all of this. She’d been there all of one night and Leo was already questioning his decisions and keeping things from him. Not only would he have to watch his back with Leo, he would have to watch Isabelle’s as well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cry Of the Reality Show Addiction

I know there are those here in the internet world who would bemoan the decline of civilization as we know it when they here POWER OF VETO or even T-SHIRT TIME. I even like to WATCH THE HAMSTERS late at night before I turn in for good. No, they aren't actors or even famous. Depending on their personalities and marketing skills they can become celebrities or even infamous. But while we here decry Jeni JWOW Farely and Snooki snagging book deals and becoming 'bestselling authors' I think we could stand to take a page out of their marketing bag o' tricks and learn a thing or two.

Let's take a look at the cast as a whole. People call them losers. Maybe. Likeable? Definitely. They're like one big huge dysfunctional family, but I find myself rooting for them against all reason. Snooki is the youngest and just looking for love. (Although why she hooked up with The Situation IS beyond me) And I like her, she's young and in need of protection. Which is why I love JWOW as well. She's always got Snooki's back.
Deena, she's just outrageous and funny. Hard not to like her. The ONLY female I have a problem with is Sammi, she's crazy. I was on her side until it became clear she blamed the girls for telling about Ronnie's infidelty. And finally I learned to like Ronnie. Although he and Mike are on a collision course.

What's so addictive about this show? My guess is because they function like a family. A crazy family.

Some decry reality shows as the decline as culture. I disagree. There are still books. There are still movies. And there are still other television shows.

Speaking of which I LOVED Cowboys & Aliens! It totally rocked. Get to the movies before it leaves the theaters!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When Doves Cry

Come October there is an anniversary date of sorts. Come October will mark the birthdate of 'the girls'. Just who are the girls exactly? The girls are Ariel and Adriana Stuart and the twins and their story has been gestating between me and my writing partner for fourteen years. For the longest time I've tried to sell Ariel's tale as a romance. But people have been totally turned off by the fact she's been seeking revenge for her kingpin father and mother's murder and has no remorse for it. Yet, they love the hero who has no qualms about what or who he is either. I've yet to understnd this. Missy finally told me don't sell it as a romance, people have certain expectations of a romance and perhaps When Doves Cry isn't a romance with the murder, sex, love, betrayal, and violence, just isn't what they want in an HEA.

I'll be the first to admit, people die in When Doves Cry.  Big TIME characters. You spend a lot of time with them. And bad things happen to the remaining characters which is something that shapes them into the people who they are. And to be honest I'm quite unapologetic about it because I love my twin Ariel Stuart and who she is and ultimately who she becomes.

When Doves Cry is like The Godfather meets Gone With the Wind. Big stories to live up to. I have no idea if I have the one iota of the talent Mitchell had in making a character likable enough to root for even in the face of being as dark as Puzo's world. Or having the cojones to think I can even pull something like this off.

Still, I love the story Missy and I have concocted over the years. She has handed Gerald and Isabelle over to me (the Twins parents) and of course Ariel and Stone's story has always belonged to me. Beale/Adriana/Frankie and the nemesis Leo is her story to tell.

For anyone who wants to see more excerpts here leave a comment and as the story grows pieces will be left behind for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let's Go To the Movies!

All me to introduce the cast of my new book, the family saga of the Stuarts. As you know by now I'm also an indie filmmaker who sees actors and actresses in my characters faces. In the family saga of the Stuarts there is blood, violence, love, sex, and betrayal. Reading for grown-ups I'd venture to say. But I have loved them for an eternity it seems and they keep coming back until I get them right. I'm sorry to say every incarnation of them up until now has seen a rejection pile. So either I'm doing something wrong or there's no accounting for taste. I prefer to think I've misclassified them. Maybe they're not a family saga because they're definitely not a romance. I think of When Doves Cry as a Godfather for women. So I'm introducing the famly and including a clip from the story. Let me know what you think. Be sure to include the link to your blog/site or Twitter/Facebook in your comment if you leave one. :)










Gerald Stuart wasn’t from this world of movers and shakers. Politicians and old money clashed with the Old World sensibilities of his hardened business sense which had earned him access to the Senator’s party. That, a few well placed checks, threats, and handshakes had guaranteed him a way into this New World of wealth and sophistication. He, along with his associate and childhood chum, Leo Falconeri ran their quickly expanding organization with equal parts iron fist and fluid efficiency. They disagreed on nothing and it was always clear Gerald was the leader with Leo the loyal lieutenant. But Gerald wasn’t content on acceptance into the circle, he wanted to dominate it and carry it in his back pocket.
     “Can you believe we’re actually in Senator Gray’s home?”
     “Keep it cool. We want to impress the Senator with our professionalism not to go gaga over his lifestyle.”
     A servant walked by with a tray of drinks. Leo took one. Gerald took two. “Watch and learn.”
     Isabelle sat by herself on the stairs. She hated things like this. Her father was always trotting her out for show his ‘guests’, really potential contributors. There was no telling how much they had paid just to be in his presence. She wanted no part of it. Tonight he had forced her to play the piano. His trophy prodigy-see look what I made-she hated the whole game. And her mother, she was just lost in her world of cotillions and running the household. Her only friend in the house was Rosa, ‘the maid’. She was black and lived on the property along with all the other servants. But it wasn’t Rosa on her mind. This party was supposedly in lieu of her eighteenth birthday party. Her mother had invited several eligible bachelors. However she only had eyes for only one of the men who had come inside her personal prison.
     Gerald Stuart had not been on her mother’s guest list as a possible future husband. He was a guest of her father’s for reasons unknown to her. He was older than her. Thirty years old. Dressed in a tux with blond hair and the bluest eyes she’d ever seen.
     He was different from the others. He had a reputation as having his hand in criminal activities. Yet the women in house liked him, causing their husbands and men to hold their wives and girlfriends a little closer. She noticed the man at his side too, Leo Falconeri. Where Gerald was lean and muscular with charismatic and dominating personality, Leo seemed a little out of his depth and just happy to be in the big leagues. She could see in Gerald’s eyes he had plans. But her mother would never let anything happen between the two of them.
     She stood up from the stairs she was sitting on and retreated to the music room and sat down at the piano. She may not be getting the man she wanted but she refused to be her family’s pawn in a power play for more status and leverage in Kentucky politics.
     She allowed her fingers to tickle the ivories and instead of playing the safe, chaste, melodies her parents had paid for her to learn she started to sing a song she’d composed. A love song. A ballad so haunting and sad and beautiful that whoever she was singing it to would love her the way she would love them.
     And then she launched into a bouncy poppy song of light hearted song of love lost. And when she stopped she whispered, “Why are you doing this to me Mom?”
     “Why is Mom doing what?” The English accent wrapped in velvet voice rumbled into the room and into her chest.
     Isabelle twisted around and her gaze came to rest on Gerald who was leaning in the doorway holding two glasses of champagne. She waited for moment as her heart skipped a beat. His charisma was electric and she couldn’t help but be pulled into his world.
     “Setting me up for indentured servitude,” she sighed as he walked in, shutting the door with his foot. “We shouldn’t be doing this,” she said as he handed her one of the glasses.
     “Doing what?” He asked with a charming smile and taking a seat next to her.
     “Talking with the door closed.”
     “And why not? Your mother wants you to find a fiancĂ© does she not?”
     “I don’t mean to offend you, but the last person my mother would want me to marry is you.”
     “None taken. But you’re eighteen, right?”
     He took a sip of his champagne and grinned. “And you’ve been watching me all night.”
     She dipped her head and blushed. He chuckled. She raised her head and said, “I know who you are and what you do. And that you would be the absolute worst choice in my family’s eyes. But I look in your face and I think…life with you would be better than anything any of these phonies here could ever offer me.”
     “I think you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” he said setting his drink down, gazing at her intensely, touching her cheek and brushing her lips with his thumb. “The question is, just how far are you willing to test that theory of yours out that I’m the best husband you could ask for?”
     Her breath caught in her chest. She had never so much as been kissed. Gerald Stuart wasn’t a boy looking to court her. Her was a man looking to change her world forever. She closed her eyes and wished for Gerald to rescue her from her gilded cage.
     “Ah…” he said, “what would you want from me that perhaps I couldn’t give you?”
     “Rosa,” Isabelle said with sadness.
     “Who’s Rosa?”
     “My maid.”
     “You want a maid? I can give you a maid?”
     “She’s the woman who’s raised me as long as I can remember.”
     “You’re right, I may not be able to do that for you. Will you come with me anyway?”
     “Soon. I need to prepare a place for you. Would you want a wedding?”
     “Yes,” she said her heart racing, her mouth dry.
     “How big?”
     “One that’ll embarrass my father.”
     “I think I can do that,” he said hovering around her mouth.
     “One that’ll shame my mother.”
     “I can definitely do that. Isabelle Stuart have you ever been kissed?”
     “No,” she said opening her eyes.
     He took the drink from her hand and set it aside and gathered her up in his arms, his hands travelling the length of her back. Her breath hitched as his mouth met hers in a lingering kiss. Slowly he deepened it, growing more passionate with each passing moment.
     Her heart hammered against his ribcage. And as his hand moved up the nape of her neck she broke off the kiss and leaned back into his touch as he trailed kisses down her throat. She held on tight. She didn’t know if Gerald meant a word of what he said, but at least for a little while she could pretend freedom was within reach.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Award & Challenge!

In last month's Romantic Times I saw where there was a challenge or rather a writing contest being jointed held and judged by Kensington/Brava and RT. They were looking for novellas in the romance genre and any subgenre of romance from 15,000-20,000 words. As anyone who is a regular reader of my blog knows I wrestle with Bipolar Disorder and often go through serious swings of high manic energy where I can create a massive amount and true lows where I can be unproductive and be borderline suicidal.

This last month or two has been a true struggle, leading to my lowest of lows this morning where I seriously considered walking away from writing altogether. I received some comments from people in the industry which well intentioned or not have seriously crippled my growth as a writer and what I want to accomplish in my life. When I woke up this morning I felt flat, depressed, and unmoved. When I announced to my best friend, screenwriting partner, and room mate I no longer wanted to be a writer she told me I needed to call the doctor about my medicine.

She also told me I needed to finish the book I had started, I needed to finish it. When I asked her why she told me she wanted to know how it ended. I wasn't sure if I could. I'm still not. I know I'm a writer and when I checked my email box I'd received a best in Romance Books Blog Award. That lifted my spirits and it made me want to open that 6000 word document up and made me decide to put a deadline on myself and churn out the words I needed to in order to reach 15,000 words. Maybe it will suck but I need something to shine the light at the end of the tunnel my illness has me trapped in.

So here it is, me with 9,000 words to churn out along with a synopsis and a cover letter before tomorrow night at 11:59 and sent off to Kensington/Brava before the clock strikes twelve. Checkout my shiny new award and new blog http://amyssportschatter.blogspot.com/. And you can find details on the contest at RT's website and Kensington's website. Wish me luck and good luck to everyone out there.