May 30, 2014

Donovan's Deleted Scene

When I was editing Hurricane Crimes, I cut out the scenes from Donovan's point-of-view. Why? Because there weren't enough scenes from his point-of-view and I liked the idea of him being more mysterious. Let's just say I wanted to keep my readers in the dark when it came to Donovan Goldwyn. *wink* But there was one scene I hated eliminating, so I want to share it now.

This scene starts up immediately after Donovan goes into his brother's house alone.

NOTE: This isn't an edited version.


Donovan’s eyes immediately went to the spot where he had seen his brother’s dead body. Two feet of water drowned the inside of the house, but his brother’s body was no longer there. He took a couple of sloshing steps into the living room.
     “Coming back to the scene of the crime? Do you think that’s wise, Goldwyn?
     He went still as one of the officers who murdered his brother emerged from behind a wall. His hands became fists. “What did you do with my brother?”
    “Buck and I threw him out like the trash he was.”
    “You son-of-a-bitch!” He lunged. His fists cracked into Chewy’s face one at a time. He felt Chewy’s nose snap beneath his knuckles and it felt good!
With blood drizzling from his nostrils, Chewy retaliated against Donovan by tackling him into the big screen television, and pummeling him with his fat hands. His breath dislodged from his lungs when one of Chewy’s fists collided into his gut and the other connected with the side of his rib cage.
Blow after blow kept oxygen from his lungs and rattled his ribs. He did the one thing he knew could cripple any man during a fight; he thrust his knee into Chewy’s family jewels.
Chewy’s beer-soaked breath blew out of his mouth in a gust, his enraged eyes widened, and he toppled to his knees with his hands cupping his manhood. 
Donovan doubled over too. He was breathless, his intestines burned, and his ribs creaked. He struggled to pull himself straight. When he did, he came level with the gun Chewy pointed at his chest. Instinct kicked in, prompting him to grab the lamp from the stand behind him and swinging it at Chewy’s outstretched arm.
The gun went off and a bullet dived into the television just an inch past Donovan’s shoulder. A fraction of a second later, the lamp flew into the wall, causing the delicate light bulb to explode and the base to crack, splitting the lamp in half.
The gun fell from Chewy’s hand and dived into the standing water. The two men wrestled dangerously as they each tried to get to it first, but then Chewy clobbered Donovan in the side of the head with a hefty fist.
Pain was a firework show beneath his eyelids. Lenses of pitch-blackness capped his vision as sparks of electricity exploded all over his skull. He crumpled to the ground. Chewy jumped onto him and pinned his shoulders, keeping him beneath the water. He lashed out with his arms, blindly attempting to hit Chewy. His legs kicked furiously, creating a turbulent sea above his head.
    His lungs were expanded and unmoving, holding hostage his collected breath. His brain screamed for oxygen. He opened his mouth and screamed beneath the water.

QUESTION: What did you think? :)

To find out what happens to Donovan (and Beth) you can read their short story. The ebook is $1.99 on Amazon.

May 27, 2014

Writing About: A Car Accident

A car accident can be exciting, scary and devastating. In this post I will give you 4 steps that can help you write about a car accident.

1.    How does the car accident happen?

A car accident can’t just happen when a character blinks, although it can happen in a blink of an eye. Even if your character(s) don’t see the oncoming car, the reader at least should.

What causes the accident? Does someone run into the middle of the road? Does a car swerve into the wrong lane, or run a red light? Is the driver of the other car drunk? Is someone distracted by their cell phone?

2.    Use Vivid Prose

Describe how the hood crumples, the glass shatters, and the sound of squealing tires. Tell the readers about the character’s impact into the steering wheel, airbag, and windshield. Describe then pain of the seatbelt digging into their hips and how thheir ear rings from getting hit in the side of the head by an airbag.

Does the car roll? Show the readers what the car looks like when it rolls, and what happens to your characters inside the car. Do more cars become part of the crash? Describe each car as it slams into another. Give your readers a vivid image of everything that happens during the car accident.

3.    What happens after the car accident?

Does a fire truck and ambulance come to the scene? Do firefighters have to cut off the doors to get your characters out? Are they rushed to the hospital? Are their injuries minor or serious? Describe their injuries and the pain they feel.
TIP #1: Mention the bruises your character gets from the seat belt and steering wheel. And don't forget the burns from the airbags. I can verify that exposed skin will feel like it has a slight burn. (Thank you, Cherie, for reminding me!)
TIP: #2: Everyone reacts differently in traumatic events, so you can let one of your characters go into hysterics and another be calm. (Thanks, Slamdunk!)  
TIP #3: Shock (acute stress reaction) occurs after witnessing or being in a traumatic event. Common reactions are numbness and detachment. You can have your character go into a state of shock after their accident, which typical wears off in 24-48 hours. When it does pain becomes present and emotions run high. (Thanks, Stephanie!) 
4.    How does the accident play into the plot?

Everything that happens in a story has to be part of the plot. The car accident needs to impact the story even if it’s just for a few chapters, or is the climax.

In one of my (unpublished) flash fiction pieces, a man becomes paralyzed after being hit by a car. I reveal how he deals with this trauma and overcomes it. Even if your character doesn’t have long-term injuries, maybe they have a broken arm that makes work difficult. Or perhaps your character suffers brain trauma and is unconscious while his/her lover waits by the hospital bed.

Whatever the outcome of the accident is, follow through with it to the end, or until their injuries are healed and insurance money has been paid.

QUESTION: Have you been in a car accident? If you would like to offer some insight about what it’s like, I would be honored to read your comment.

May 26, 2014

Liebster Award

Kristin Smith nominated me for the Liebster Award! I was thrilled when I found out she picked me along with ten others for this honor, and I have to admit that I never thought I would be selected. My blogging journey has been a long one and the recognition I've received from bloggers recently has left me amazed. Thank you, Kristin! And thank you to all the bloggers who follow me and frequently comment. You make my blog worthwhile. :)

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers. The goal is to help people find these blogs that are worthy of a bigger following. In German "Liebster" means kindest, beloved, valued, and welcome.

The current rules for accepting this award are:

1.    List 11 random facts about myself.
2.    Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated me.
3.    Nominate 11 more blogs who have less than 200 followers and let them know they’ve been nominated.
4.    Post 11 new questions for those bloggers to answer (if they wish to accept the award—it’s completely optional).

11 Random Facts about Myself:

1.    If you asked me in high school what I wanted to be, I would’ve said a psychologist or a police officer. I always wanted to be a writer, but no one accepted that as a legitimate career choice.
2.    I have about 61 story ideas I still need to write. And more come all the time!
3.    I am a big fan of the shows Scandal, Once Upon a Time, and Grey’s Anatomy.
4.    My lucky number is 4.
5.    On my left arm is a dragonfly tattoo.
6.    I dream of going to Ireland.
7.    The longest scar I have is 10 inches. (From spine surgery.)
8.    When I drink coffee, it's always decaf.
9.    I own all the Charmed seasons and have marathons whenever I can!
10.  I don’t watch much football, but I am a Green Bay Packers fan.
11.   I’m right handed.

11 Questions from the Blogger who Nominated Me:

1.    What are your favorite pizza toppings?

I could eat a plain cheese pizza and be blissfully happy, but I do like adding pineapple or black olives. And having ranch dressing on the side to dip my pizza in is a must!

2.    Who is your favorite superhero?

I know the popular thing to say is probably Batman, but my favorite is the Man of Steel . . . Superman.

3.    If your house were burning down, what would you take and why?

This is a great question because I think about it a lot, as I live in Florida. My first priority would be to round up my cats. I adopted four kittens last year, and although they are adults now, they are still my babies. Next, I would grab my booksmeaning the two backpacks, two boxes, and whatever notebooks I have in my desk drawer. If my stories went up in flames, my life as a writer would cease.

4.    If you had a time machine, what year would you travel to and why?

I answered this question once for PK Hrezo’s blog fest and I said I’d want to go back in time to when I was about five, so I could experience the happiness before life became a struggle. Now, thanks to a story I’m working on between my other WIP, I would say 17th century England to mingle with pirates and gain more knowledge than all the research available put together. Do you think this trip would qualify as a tax exemption? ;)

5.    What are you afraid of?

Fire. I had a close encounter when I was twelve years old. A brush fire nearly took my home and ever since that flaming, traumatic day, I’ve had a serious fear. 

6.    What's the best book you've read in the past year?

I haven’t read all the books I want to read for this year, but since I must choose no it would be Fearless by Christine Rains. Here is my review if you’d like to read it:
I adore Christine Rains' imagination! An old spirit guide disguised as a stuffed hippo named Tawa? I wouldn't be able to come up with anything more creative if I tried! I love strong heroines and Abigail White, one of the Fearless, is just that with swords and monster-killing abilities. I also love sexy, mysterious heroes and you can't get any better than a tattooed and muscular man named Demetrius of the Darkwood clan. Pointed ears doesn't diminish his hotness in the least. *wink* These two characters are great together. Their banter is extremely entertaining, and their personalities are fun. I haven't read such a great duo in a long time.
Fearless is a fun story full of monsters, lust, mystery and twists. It's now one of my favorite reads. I recommend it to everyone with playful imaginations. 
Fearless is a FREE short story ebook, which you can find HERE

7.    What is the best vacation you've ever had?

I haven’t really been on many vacations, but the one that sticks out for me is the only time my family took a vacation together when I was twelve. We went to Fort Lauderdale and stayed in a hotel on the beach that was built in a square around the swimming pool. I learned how to swim in that pool. But my favorite part was sitting on the beach at night with my family and watching the ships sail across the horizon.

8.    What's your biggest pet peeve?

When people don’t rinse off their plates (or bowls). I hate finding plates in the sink with crusted food and dried sauces on it. Ugh! I’m getting mad just thinking about it. haha

9.    What's your favorite love story?

This was tough. I finally decided on A Walk to Remember.

10.  What is the best thing you've done in your life?

I’m not really sure what to say for this one so I guess the best thing I’ve done is . . . live.

11.   List five adjectives to describe yourself.

Determined, creative, friendly, smart, and blonde.

My 11 Nominees:

1.    Natasha Duncan-Drake at Tasha’s Thinkings. Her A to Z was all about vampires and so much fun! 
2.    Sophie Duncan at Sophie’s Thoughts and Fumbles. Natasha and Sophie are twins, but they each have something wonderful to offer! 
3.    Gina Stoneheart at Dawning on a New Day posts the most thought provoking, inspirational posts I’ve ever read!
4.    Stephanie Bird at Stephanie’s Studio is an author and artist. Her blog centers around art, nature, and spirituality. 
5.   David Walston at Blah Blah Blah Yackity Smackity. His posts are always entertaining and his comments never fail to make me laugh. 
6.    Lisa Thomson at Lisa Thomson Live blogs about divorce support. Even if you’re not going through divorce (I’m not) her posts are still empowering.
7.    Holli Moncrieff at A Life Less Ordinary. Every Friday she posts a chapter from her book, Lost. 
8.    Melanie Schulz, author of alternative fiction. She is an amazing writer! 
9.    Sarah Foster at The Faux Fountain Pen is a writer worthy of more followers.
10.   Fe at Felicity Writing Away. She shared beautiful poetry for A to Z that everyone should read.
11.   E.J. Wesley, author. I don’t actually know how many blog followers he has, and for a lack of male bloggers, I’m nominating him anyway!

And the 11 Questions I’m asking them to answer:

1.  If you were allowed to read books by only one author, who would it be and why?
2.  What is your favorite dessert?
3.  On a Friday night, what are you most likely to do?
4.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
5.  Who is your favorite literary character? (You can pick one hero and one heroine.)
6.  What is your biggest dream?
7.  What song could you listen to over and over again?
8.  If your house were burning down, what would you take and why?
9.   Who is your inspiration, your hero?
10.  What advice would you give your teenage self?
11.  If you were not in your current line of work, what would you be doing instead?

May 23, 2014

Why I'm Self-Publishing my Detective Thriller by E.E. Giorgi / Guest Post

I am pleased to welcome, E.E. Giorgi to my blog. I hope you all enjoy her guest post below. :)

This is the story of my book, a detective thriller with a premise deeply rooted in genetics, and why, 4 years and so many agents later I decided to self-publish.

First off I should tell you that I'm still happily signed with my current agent who's been my greatest supporter throughout this literary adventure of mine, even before I signed with her.

I've always been fascinated by genetics. A lot of sci-fi books deal with genetically engineered humans. But what I find fascinating is that 80% of the genes that would turn us back into animals are already in our DNA. They are just inactivated.

The inspiration for CHIMERAS was the following question: What if the pseudo-genes that control the vision and sense of smell of a predator were to be turned on again? What if some kind of mechanism had the ability to turn those pseudo-genes into genes again? Would an ordinary man suddenly become a... predator? And then I thought that these would be the perfect traits in a police investigator. That's how LAPD Detective Ulysses "track" Presius and his extraordinary sense of smell was born.

Unfortunately I was a little impatient and I made the mistake that 99% of wanna-be authors make: I queried too soon the first time. However, I got the attention of a very successful and reputable agent who loved the idea but said I needed an editor. I thought it made sense since English is not my first language, so I contacted the editor he recommended. The editor had worked with some of the agent's clients, also non-native speakers.

The editor turned out to be a total fluke and tried to rip me off. So I said, "Thank you, but no thank you." Back to square one.

I knew my premise was good but my story still needed work. So I rolled up my sleeves and went back to work. I did a complete rewrite. In the meantime, I met a retired LAPD officer who answered all my questions on the LAPD. He added stories, anecdotes, lingo, acronyms (OMG, the LAPD have so many acronyms they make you dizzy), and even gave me a tour of the old Parker Center in downtown Los Angeles. So cool to hang out with a police officer. :-)

Eight months later I was ready to query again. I sent out a first batch of 12 queries to the top notch agencies in NY. No takers. So I sent another 12. This time I started receiving the first requests. I sent another 12, and then another 12. I think in the end I was close to eighty queries. Three months later I got my first offer of representation. After that they kept coming. I had eight offers and was dizzy with excitement. Somebody liked my book!

CHIMERAS was on submission for two years through two different agents. I had no problem finding agents. Publishers, though, was another story. My book is a hard-boiled detective thriller, and my main character is a modern Philip Marlowe with a genetic twist. If all editors kept hitting the same nail, I would've known where the problem was. But some requests were at the opposite ends. Some made sense, others didn't. I fulfilled the requests that made sense and ignored the others.

If you don't fall in love with your story and characters, how are you going to make readers fall in love with them? You might try and write something trendy, but great stories aren't made with the head only. Great stories are made from the heart. And believe me, readers can tell stories that are made from the heart from the others. So that's why, two years later, I decided to pull the book off the submission table and self-publish.

Yes, self-publishing is scary. And yes, it requires a lot of work. But it also gives you the freedom to make your own choices, to fulfill your own story. I'm publishing my book so I can finally claim that Track Presius -- and most importantly his quirks and uniqueness -- is mine. Whatever happens, I remained true to my story, and that feels good.

CHIMERAS is the first in a detective thriller series featuring LAPD Detective Track Presius. 

Book Description: Haunted by the girl he couldn't save in his youth, and the murder he committed to avenge her, Detective Track Presius has a unique gift: the vision and sense of smell of a predator. When a series of apparently unrelated murders reel him into the depths of genetic research, Track feels more than a call to duty. Children are dying -- children who, like himself, could have been healthy, and yet something, at some point, went terribly wrong. For Track, saving the innocent becomes a quest for redemption. The only way he can come to terms with his dark past is to understand his true nature.

E.E. Giorgi is a scientist, a writer, and a photographer. She spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she's somebody else. On her blog, E.E. discusses science for the curious mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. Her detective thriller CHIMERAS, a hard-boiled police procedural with a genetic twist, is now available on Amazon.

May 20, 2014

Digital or Print Editing?

Some time last year on She Writes, I was drawn into a discussion about digital versus print editing. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about editing and wanted to revisit the topic.

With Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds, I did a lot of editing on the computer. After about three rounds of editing for each story with my editor, let’s just say I didn’t think printing out 50 pages (for Hurricane Crimes) and 110 pages (for 30 Seconds) was worth the paper and ink. 

There is also the romantic writer side of me that hates the thought of striking beautiful black and white pages with red ink.

Before these rounds with my editor though, I still did most of my editing on the computer as I found it quicker to apply the edits directly to the document, and easier since I wouldn’t have to search for the errors in the document after fixing them on paper.

On the other hand, I like to print out my flash fiction because it seems as though it’s easier to find small mistakes on paper than on the computer. Even after reading Hurricane Crimes several times (Too many times to count!) I still found a few minor errors during my second round of editing with my editor that I was surprised we hadn’t caught before.

For more on editing: How to Edit a Book

Every writer is different though, and it's important to find what you are comfortable with and what works best for you.

So . . . .

QUESTION: Which do you prefer? Digital or print editing? 

May 16, 2014

Poems by Beth Kennedy

Beth Kennedy is the heroine of my ebook, Hurricane Crimes. She likes to write poetry at night to unwind. Below you'll find three of her favorite poems. One of them is about domestic violence, as she is a self-defense instructor and helps many women in abusive relationships. There's also a poem about canoeing, her favorite sport. But she wants me to tell you that she's not a poet and to be gentle on her. :)



Beth Kennedy

A hurricane is on its way.
Rain falls onto my skin,
sinking into my veins.

Waves crash into the beaches,
filling their wet claws with sand,
taking away my home in pieces.

Wind gains the strength of gods,
extracting vengeance on my land,
it doesn’t ponder, it doesn’t stop.

Hurricane Sabrina is on her way,
and she has one goal in mind-
me and my last day. ©



Beth Kennedy

He is a crow and not a dove,
not worthy of her precious love.
She is a woman and not a pet,
doesn’t deserve this slow death.

He’s not worth the pain she’s put through every day,
she could’ve prevented her life from becoming this way,
but she stayed and nothing turned out okay.

He is a demon and not an angel,
not worthy of her sweet favors.
She is a queen and not a tragedy,
doesn’t deserve this cruelty.

What he shows to everyone is just a disguise,
at home he becomes a monster that wants her soul to die,
but she still stays and puts up with his marital crime.

He is a killer and not a savior,
not worthy of anything at all.
She is perfect and not a sin,
doesn’t deserve what he gives.

He controls her mind and makes her believe everything is fine,
she’s living a nightmare from day to night,
but she still staysnow God please keep her in your hands.

She is a woman,
she is a queen,
she is perfect,
she is me.

One sweet day she decided she had enough,
It was time for her bruises to heal and for her life to go on from here,
With her, she is taking the promise of a better life.

She is a warrior,
She is safe,
She is a survivor,
She is free. ©



Beth Kennedy

Arms straining, struggling, hurting, burning,
the current rushes beneath me.
Lungs expanding, filling, shrinking, emptying,
the sun’s rays touch my skin.

On the river, I can escape.
On the river, the canoe and oar are part of me.

Arms strainingI battle the rapids,
the current welcomes me.
Lungs expandingI breathe in exhilaration,
the sun’s rays calm my body.

On the river, I can see clearly.
On the river, I know life is like canoeing.

Arms weak
the current takes me to the falls.
Lungs heave
the sun watches me take the plunge.

On the River of Life, I can’t escape.
On the River of Life, the canoe and oar are inside me. ©

I hope you enjoyed her poems. If you want to read her short story (and find out how her poetry journal comes into play) you can find the ebook at Amazon for $1.99. :)