Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shadow Heroes

I know, I know. I should write more commercial. More accessible, but...

I like to challenge myself. More over I like to surprise my reader.

Now sometimes that tips over to shock, horror, or even revulsion, but hey, it surprised them! LOL :-)

To accomplish this by picking unusual heroes. Or at least make you think they are an unusual hero.

Many times my hero has to be so eccentric or I have such a large paradigm shift coming up that my hero has to stay hidden.

Hence the 'Shadow' Hero. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who HASN'T read Plain Jane but know that everything is not as it seems. which is exactly how I like it.

I love having a shadow hero. I love knowing something the reader doesn't. I love writing two people from the hero's perspective.

One appears to be the obvious hero. They are usually out front and center. But secretly I know that another character is the true hero. I know that they are the ones to fulfill the true hero's arc which makes it much more exciting to write.

Still confused? Think Star Wars. Classic Star Wars. Episodes 4,5, and 6

Over the course of the trilogy Luke is clearly the hero. He has a large, clear arc. He rocks.

However, if you look at Episode 4 (A New Hope) Luke has very little arc. He is enthusiastic. He wants adventure. He is chomping at the bit to get some action.

That never really changes throughout the film. Yes, he begins to get glimmers of his potential and uses the Force but his overall his arc is unchanged. Events happen around him rather than inside of him.

The 'Shadow Hero' in Star Wars Episode 4? Han Solo. He has a HUGE arc. He is selfish. Self-centered. Devil May Care.

No, you say! It can't be true!

Let's check. The standard way to check a character's arc (which can be done for any character, it is just that the Hero should have the steepest arc of all) is to ask the same question of your character at the beginning and at the end of the story.

"Would you risk your life and sacrifice for someone else."

At the beginning of Star Wars, Luke would have answered; of course. Yes. At the end of the movie his answer still would have been... Yes, of course.

Ask Han that same question of the beginning of the movie his answer WAS 'Hell no." By the end though, he comes through.

Solo's arc is far greater than Luke. Hence the shadow hero!

Of course there is another shadow hero as Vader, but that's another blog!

For any of you that have read Plain Jane, why don't you hit me up with a DM on Twitter with who you think is my shadow Hero.

Anyone that hasn't read it yet.... What in the heck are you waiting for?

Read 50 pages for free then pay only $2.99 for a chill to the bone thriller? #crazycheap
Click here to get started!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Villain

A.K.A. my nemesis

No, really, not just in the literary sense, but in a I-struggle-with-writing-them kind of nemesis.

I don' t like to spend a lot of time in the villains POV. Cuz, well, I don't like them.

I have to keep reminding myself that your Hero is only as strong as your villain. I guess I just like to keep the villain as much as a mystery as possible.

This even creeps into my television watching. Case in point I LOVE the L&O series. I even LOVE Criminal Intent. What do I not love? Um, the whole criminal part.

I hate knowing who the bad guy is. I don't really want to know their process or thoughts or feelings. I want to find all of that out from my Hero's perspective.

It is HIS (or HER) story not the villain.

Yet, I know a lot of readers really relish knowing exactly how bad the bad guy is and why they are that way.

So my deal with myself if one book has a prominent villain, the next has on 'hiding in plain sight.'

If you haven't yet read Plain Jane #howcome??? No seriously, if you haven't yet, I am going to tell you that I this is my favorite of all my 'in plain sight' stories.

No one yet has been able to figure out the killer by page 280. Think you are a better sleuth than that? Then head over to Smashwords and read the first 50 pages of Plain Jane for free and here's a 50% off coupon: RH88E to read the rest for just $1.50!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Indie Book Collective

Going Indie was a big decision for me.

I could have gone traditional small press, but I looked at the numbers and they just didn't add up.

First off, with the low advance, there was no way any house was going to put any marketing money into the book.

So basically I would have had to market the book myself anyway.

However to have the "privilege" of being in print, I would give up my digital rights. Now that Amazon has crossed the 1/2 way point and is now selling more (most likely FAR more by next year) digital books, I could in theory actually lose money on a traditional publishing deal.

I took a deep breath and choose to go indie.

Then the reality hit me. I had no one to blame but myself if the book failed. I couldn't point my finger at a marketing department or grumble about my placement on shelves.

I had entered the digital world.... ALONE!

Holy crap! What was I thinking????? LOL

Luckily I do social media professionally so quickly I realized I wasn't alone. There were a bunch of us Indies out there, selling our own books.

Quickly we gelled together and realized that we could create a type of marketing co-op to expand our readership and build out our sales platform... together.

So head on over to @indiebookIBC and our website and blog to learn more about how you can get your book out into the cybersphere and if you are a reader, find enough books to quench your thirst!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writing in a "Man's Genre"

With only a few exceptions, guy authors rule the roost when it comes to thrillers.

I know that I was encouraged to adopt initials rather than use a clearly feminine name on the front cover.

What is that about?

The sad fact is thought that guys, for the most part, will only read books by guys. Weird, right?

I mean, clearly this must be some kind of primordial/reptilian brain type thing because it certainly doesn't seem that any rationale and let's be clear, well-read man, who stands at the bookshelf and consciously think... Oh, that's is written by a woman... the lesser sex, clearly it will not be a good read.

Yet, that is exactly what happens in the marketplace.

What I find weird is, shouldn't guys find reading about death and sex written by a woman titillating? Shouldn't their reptilian brain go - chick= good?

Alas, that is not how it goes.

And above all else I am a realist.

While I choose to use my feminine name, that doesn't mean I can't put a set of sexy eyes on the cover. When creating my cover I looked at a lot of pictures and many were far more "Plain Jane," than the ones I choose.

Why? Um, I've got to have something to entice that reptilian brain :-)

How is it working? Well, my readership appears to be about 50/50 so either the male thriller reader has become more evolved and will to read a female (unknown) writer or the sexy eyes are doing their job :-)

If you would like to read 50 pages for free of Plain Jane click here & here's a 50% off coupon code in case you want to read the entire thing: RH88E

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I have a love/hate relationship with them.

I love going back to favorite characters, but always fear that the author/filmmaker has run out of ideas of what to do with them.

You know the term 'sophomore slump' and have seen or read it many a times. It is where the first book/film kicks serious ass, but then the next attempt, is just that... an attempt.

The plot feels like a retread. The characters feel like they are just phoning in their roles.

Since I knew that Plain Jane was just the first in hopefully many Harbinger novels, I knew I needed to address this issue.

I couldn't have my Hero go through a full arc. I needed to have him grow, yes. But be healed? No!

However the reader wants the sensation of an arc completed. You HAVE to have it or no matter your intentions, no one will read book two.

Luckily I have some writing under my belt and I developed a 'shadow' hero.

This is an apparently secondary character who is actually the one completing the traditional Hero's arc, only in the background.

All eyes are on the Hero, and let's be clear I had to make sure Kent went through ALOT, but if you notice, he is more sensitive in the end, he is not radically changed.

My challenge to those of you who have read Plain Jane is to tell me who my 'shadow' Hero is.

If you haven't read Plain Jane... Um... why not??? LOL

Click here to read 50 pages free and use this 50% off coupon RH88E in case you want to read the entire book!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I love to get some action!

To write of course. #duh

If I could just have a book that ricocheted from action sequence to sexual tension back to action I would be one very, very happy girl.

Yes, I know I need all the other stuff like characterization and scene setting and oh I don't know logic, but wouldn't that be a wonderful world?

Why do I like to write action?

I think it is because it so comes alive as I write it. Honestly no matter how well or in detail I beat out an action scene, it always surprises me as I write it.

The writing is so 'in the moment' that new ideas, prospects, and avenues open up to me. I can't tell you how many times I thought I 'knew' exactly how a fight scene would go only to have it turn on a dime and go in the complete opposite direction.

In the heat of battle my heroes come alive. During those moments they are the most 'bossy' and demanding of me to live up to their potential.

I think this is why I don't really find my characters until the end of the 2nd Act. The darkest moment. I need to see them at their rawest to really know who they are.

So, here's to action... and you know all that other stuff in between :-)

And yes, Plain Jane has plenty of action to check out so you should follow this link to read 50 pages for FREE!

Until next week!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I love scene setting... #thatisalie

I know how important it is. I get it. I know when it is missing in fiction that I read.

Yet, I still find myself pulling up short when it comes to this type of prose.

Now orienting you to the room, I am great at. Where is everyone. Does the action make sense, that stuff I am all about.

But telling you the shade wall paper or the stale smell in the air or the shabby curtains?


My brain just doesn't work that way. I think a part of me thinks that every part of writing gets to be fun.

That somehow if everyone ELSE would just suck it up and use THEIR imagination, I wouldn't have to set the scene.

Which is, of course, retarded. Because if someone else did set the scene, I am sure I would be pissed they didn't set it the way I wanted it!

So yes, would I love to just dive into dialogue and action? Of course.

Do I have to sit there and rack my brain for a more literary way of saying shabby? Yes.


So you will see in Plain Jane I luckily (or quite astutely) set the story in a rather grungy inner city. A nice noir setting with a palette of grays and blacks with only splashes of blood red.


To see what I am talking about head over to Plain Jane where you can read 50 pages for FREE and then if you wish to read the entire thing, here is a 50% off coupon code: RH88E

Until next week!