Tuesday, December 17, 2013

As the Wheel Turns

Sometimes luck and good fortune are just on your side. And while I'll admit, I've busted my ass for everything I've gotten over this past three years I haven't done it alone.

If you read yesterday's post on my Letters to Daniel blog you'll see where I have done a gratitude post. But like I said sometimes you just have to a sprinkling of good fortune and I seemed to be covered in the stuff right now.

So I'm blessed in the sense I'm writing the 8 book series of my dreams with a house where I'm going to get a kick ass cover. (Hekate Press is now accepting submissions by the way.) I'm 59 pages/15K into the second book and loving every second of it.

But the acting interest? I hustled for that stuff. But good fortune smiled on me in that they liked it. And finally I have someone passing my treatment and accolades onto agent/producers. Indeed I am covered in the glitter of good fortune and preparation meeting opportunity.

Not that other people haven't just as hard, if not harder roads, but I've traveled a pretty hard road myself. And this is all very, very sweet indeed.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chariots of Fire!

Everybody on the book front. I crossed the finish line! 70,261 words to be exact. I had to wait all this time because all of energy went into that book, leaving little left over for a blog post about how everything else around it is going on.

On the television series front there is increasing interest from the acting community from the likes of Jon Lindstrom and Sonya Eddy (Kevin and Epiphany of General Hospital fame) and serious interest from Cady McClain (Dixie of Tad and Dixie from All My Children) and Steve Burton (Jason Quartermaine/Jason Morgan of General Hospital & Dylan McAvoy of Y&R) have also expressed interest.

Rich Ridings of Highlander and a brilliant British stage, film, and television actor thought my work was strong enough to submit to the BBC Writer's Room.

And Hekate Press has offered to publish all eight books in the Bella Morte series. Busily at work on Bella Morte: Devil's Backbone.

Well folks, until next time...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dorian Lord is My Hero

Today I'm choosing to talk about the indomitable Robin Strasser aka the powerful and unapologetic Dorian Lord of One Life to Live fame. It is quite easy for me to see her as the the deeply  misunderstood, at turns vulnerable, but always villainous Queen Eleanor of Ke'lan.

I'm talking about her because she is the first actress or actor to say YES I wish to play this role. And she gave me another name, Emmy winner Susan Gammie, one of the best costume designers in the business. And since this is a costume drama one of those would definitely be needed. I passed on the treatment and the pilot to her and have my fingers crossed in a huge way.

Robin Strasser is no stranger to controversy as she has a strong will and strong mind and will express her opinion. Most recently this has been

via Twitter. And this is how I found her. I loved the evil yet vulnerable Dorian. She has done some wicked, wicked things, but when it comes to family she is always there for them and protective if not downright manipulative in the name of that love.

She likes her men younger and has gotten to play opposite the gorgeous Tuc Watkins and the ever popular Nathan Fillion of Castle, Serenity, and Firefly fame.

With each passing day things seem to look better and better for my like series and book (which currently stands at 52,095 words. And may get more on the day yet as I strive to hit 70K.

So while nothing is a fate accompli in this world until the ink is dry on the contract I have to say I think my Ma-Maw is up there looking out for me. Now just to find my Justice Xavier, my Bella Morte,the title character of the series and so many other character to pass it along to the right people.

Today I say, Dorian Lord, for all her faults is my hero today, or should I say the outspoken Robin Strasser is who, like so many others is cheering me on. I feel truly blessed today.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nearing the Home Stretch

So here we are again. Only this time I'm on the verge of crossing the great 50K divide. 70K, which once seemed so far away seems completely doable and possible. Plus maybe a little extra if need be.

But as it is I stand on this side of 50K. 48K+. I stand here thinking, wow, how did I freaking do this? The beginning was so damn hard. And the realization that this was going to be something special for me (writing wise) as my mentor said, it just kind of snuck up on me real easy like. Then gobsmacked me right in the kisser.

I want to say at this point I am still not at 70K. I have great respect for that number and that even though I want to dive immediately into the second book I

have no real clue as to what it will be about, where it will open or how it will end. I'm still trying to figure BELLA MORTE: BEGINNINGS ending out. I'm a panster by nature which makes all of my series interesting in that you ask yourself a very important question. Am I ready for my favorite characters to die? So far I have written romance. And suppose with all the love stories unfolding in Bella Morte you could call it paranormal romance. I think it's more urban fantasy but that's just my opinion. But from what I understand urban fantasy isn't selling. Steampunk is. So I'll call Bella Morte paranormal romance.

So as the 50K divide doesn't look so intimidating I will say, certain things seem to worth tying up and others will be left hanging wide open, first of all, the fragile reunion of father and daughter will be tested in a big way, the birth of the widowed Elizabeth Wilson's child is on the way, and a healing ritual has gotten to be blown up in a huge way. Not to mention the big reveal by the Queen Eleanor of Ke'lan to her young son Henri who is turning out to be much more devious than his mother ever dreamed of being.

20K+ to go. I think sometimes I'm not going to make, yet at others I think I've got a lot to get to in a small space. Does every writer experience this onset of madness?

Until next time...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Going the Distance

So I'm passed the halfway point and have my beer goggles on. The next hurdle is 50K and I'm hoping to reach it by Saturday. Ambitious, I know, right? Especially for me. I feel running out of juice. Or worse. Out of story. Although to be honest, this time around I don't feel myself running out of story.

The excitement I feel is that if I can just make it to 50K it truly will be all downhill from here.

Writing an epic seemed impossible at the beginning. But I suppose it's like the old adage, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Now, before I go puffing my chest out and thumping it with my fists I suppose I should remind myself of a few things first.

I have to make it to 50K first without the story petering out. And that folks remains a very perilous task indeed. For someone who's only made past 50K to the 60K mark one other time 70K remains a long ways away.

Which makes the next 8,909K so important. If I can make it there I know the next 20K is doable. I have done 20K. Honestly I can do 20K in my sleep. The problem is either surpassing it by much or getting stuck at 15K. Which is a problem I don't have to focus on too much right now.

I bought myself a reward at 35K. So today is divided into two halves. From now until 5PM EST. 1500 words. Fix dinner. Eat dinner. Relax until new episode of Big Bang goes off then 1500 words and no bed until I crank them out. Tomorrow it might be more difficult as my PR person at Jitterbug has FB Party planned for the launch of another book of mine.

As for news on the Bella Morte front. My mentor and friend has made quite the generous gesture that I can't share with the public at large. Suffice it to say. I am touched beyond words and it has generated quite the bit of excitement on this end. They know who they are and that I couldn't be more motivated towards that 70K mark.

Until next time...

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's All Downhill From Here...I Think

I didn't put this picture in the last post. My apologies to the character and to the reading public at large. I just wanted to say I've officially crested the halfway mark in BELLA MORTE: BEGINNINGS. 36,097 words of last night. That magical place in the marathon where you look back and go, hooray! I've done how much? You throw confetti and celebrate. And then as it went down when I ran my first (and up to this point the only) marathon I saw the bus full of half-marathoners go by and split off to their finish line. And I thought, oh fuck what have I gotten myself into?

This is what I've gotten myself into. An epic saga the likes my earlier self could never have written. And that folks is a fact.

And right now I have things to celebrate with. I have purchased the rockin' The Civil Wars audio CD. Even though I am writing some kind of UF or paranormal romance it is the appalachain sounding rock infused flavor of this band I discovered on Pandora that informs the heroine of Justice Xavier. A sword wielding, dagger slashing, gun toting bad ass torn between destiny and her hearts desire for revenge.

What makes things fantastic about this journey is that I have several Angels out there mentoring me and shining light on my path. One of whom gave me a huge blessing last night. I won't mention their name, should they be over innundated with similar requests. But I wanted to say thank you. Because even though the road is long and even though the blessing is no guarantee it could mean greater things on the horizon.

This blessing requires a great deal of patience on my part. Although it's not like I wouldn't have anything to do in the mean time. There are edits coming on CORNBREAD from MuseItUp. Edits coming from Hekate for two other series. 7 other books to write in the Bella Morte series. Cons and festivals to attend. Promotion to do. Contests to wait to hear back on.

Bella is my favorite heroine so far. Tough, yet tender. Full of rage, yet vulnerable. She's taken awhile to fully realize but I tore the first draft down to its roots and have started the arduous task of building her up again. Thank you, Bertena. Thank you, Delilah. Thank you, Lea. Thank you, Frank. Thank you, Dave. And thank you, Julie. You all know why I am so grateful. And one day all of you will too.

Friday, November 15, 2013

In The Darkest Hour

If you read my blog, Letters to Daniel, then you know I have bipolar disorder. What makes life functional is that I eat properly. Take meds according to a strict schedule. And get a good night's sleep.

NaNoWriMo wreaks all kinds of havoc on that. I like coffee anyway. Let's be honest I kind of abuse the stuff normally. Around NaNo time the only thing that I do correctly is take my meds. And even then, when I need the word count. I'll push my second dose ahead by a few hours so I don't get too sleepy to write. That coupled with an abhorrent abuse of caffeine and crummy sleep on a lousy mattress daybed that's 30 years old and falling apart is recipe for potential disaster.

On the plus side I have all the confidence in the world that Bella Morte:Beginnings will reach it's intended mark of 70K. I'm 2500+ words from the halfway mark. I remember when I ran a marathon yes folks this 297lb lady at one point lost enough weight and trained properly for a 26.2 mile footrace. Why? Because I'd always wanted too. The shorter distances of track and field were flashier more marquee events. But it was the marathon that both marked the beginning and ending of the Olympic Ceremonies. Hence my struggle to write a 70K novel.

I've written 60K. And I tried everything I could to get around having to have that many words in order to submit to Intrigue Publishing. So I knew a longer novel was in me. I just didn't know how to do it. So through a process that started with a simple tarot card reading and an idea for a character Bella Morte was born. As you know I am now on the path to finishing that novel.

The dark hour I am referring to in the title of the post is not a crisis of faith of whether or not it's good enough for New York. Or even a literary agent. Or that I'm going to finish it. Because, you see, I've made my mind up and set a clear goal and 70K will happen. Probably sometime during the first week of December.

The darkest hour I face is in the fear of rejection. And this doesn't just have to do with the book Bella Morte, it speaks to the fact I just spent $260 in contest entry fees. These are not scams. Their film festivals and Script Pipeline First Look. And the judges are Benderspink and Paradigm.

For those not associated with the world of film and television these names mean nothing. But I'm old enough to remember when Benderspink took online queries. Let me put it this way. In my early twenties I sent out 500 query letters. Got 5 responses. All of them no.

Honestly, I'm a better query writer now. I'm pretty bad ass at it. More yeses than nos. And I have credentials that make for a desirable package. But still in my bedroom with my 4 foot pre-lit tree from Big Lots to my left and my crummy bed to my right the fear in this 38 year old woman's body is intense and choking. I want to send out the query letter now before I get cold feet. But when I do that I inevitably choke on the enormity of 70K and the book is lucky to reach a full 50K.

I struggle, I have an incredibly successful small press career. 9 books out across three publishers. 1 self-published. 3 Amazon Bestsellers. Awards. A home for Bella Morte should New York not pick it up. Bu the fact remains I want that. I want it badly. I want the television treatment to get picked up. I want to be a showrunner for it. (Head Writer for those not familiar with television series parlance).

It's a lot to want. And at 38 I wonder if New York and Hollywood are meant to happen. In Hollywood it's an old boys network. And Hollywood is all about relationships. I know in some ways it's just insecurity and the illness talking.

Bella Morte is good stuff. The treatment kicks ass. The pilot kicks ass. The book has been awesome to write. In my darkest I wonder if anyone will ever see it. Read it. Or care about it as much as I do. I know some people will say you have successful blogs and what not. And  don't get me wrong I am sooo grateful for everything I have been blessed with. Great friends. Great publishers. And I've met a lot of cool people I wouldn't have otherwise met but I know in the end I don't want to write in a vacuum.

It is often said a book is not complete until reader reads it. And a show/movie isn't done until people have either viewed it on television or paid to see it in a theater. Even though I sit in my darkest hour, I know all is not lost because the story has not left me. And the only thing stopping me from seeing if Paradigm wants my book or my television series based on it, is a click of the mouse.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bella Morte Arrives!

I don't know else how to put it. Bella Morte the first draft was written in hot rush when I was probably manic as all get out. I didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted to do with the book let alone the 8 book series I'm slated to write under that title. In fact I just figured out what the full title for the first book should be. BELLA MORTE: BEGINNINGS.

Let me explain about the full evolution of this project. I went into briefly on Letters to Daniel but I'll explain a little more in detail here. I like having my tarot cards read A LOT. I like using them as a guide post. And it's nice to hear what I've been hearing. But here is the story Bella Morte, from inception of a book series to what has now come to include a television series treatment, a television pilot, and an 8 book series.

In April or May I forget when exactly Bertena Varney read my cards. The nature of the reading, what I was asking a lot it surrounded whether or not go small press or NY with my next series. I asked about another book Letters to Daniel, a memoir based off of a collection of letters from Letters to Daniel blog. And of course I asked about a screenplay that was in competition (which won, which the cards said I would). I asked what series I should take to NY. And she started spitting out information. She said a 4-8 book series about a tough girl who'd been through a lot. She said something about YA, and the first draft started Justice at 14. However the book was very violent. So I wrote in a hot rush. With no real clear direction. As I'd never undertaken a project quite so massive. So I pitched the idea to Hekate. She loved concept, I sent the 25K manuscript. I let it sit.

Then the itch hit me. I was writing screenplays and entering them into contests. But in my heart of hearts I've always wanted to write for television. My series of course. That's hard though. I'm older, in my late thirties, and I'm a woman. And they say Hollywood is a young man's game. But as I sat in my family's house (having moved back in around the GLADIATOR: The Gladiator Chronicles hit the virtual shelves in order to travel to festivals and cons and write with the hope of hitting on a book that would carry me to the top.) waiting for my ship to come in I realized if I wanted to write for t.v. I had best write me a television pilot first. That I could do.

While writing the pilot in October I made the discovery that Bella Morte the pilot was much better than the novella I had written. So enlisted the help of Grant Wilson in breaking in. He said he I needed a treatment. Now, my book synopses sizzle and sell. I can pitch verbally. I can pitch online. However, my treatments for film and television sucked outright. So I turned to showrunner and emmy winner Tom Sawyer for feedback. He gave me some blunt, but incredibly fantastic feedback. Invaluable where came to writing a treatment that looked like a treatment. And it was really good. I then turned to an anonymous but accomplished actor who gave me further feedback the revisions made the treatment great. It sizzled. It begged to be sold. Now to get someone to read it. I asked this actor if he liked what he saw would he kindly pass it along. But that if this was an imposition to ignore the request. He said if he liked the revisions he may pass it along. Now, that's not a yes, but it's a helluva lot better than no.

Having sharpened the vision of the television series, I now had a clearer idea of where to take my books. (And folks he got really excited when I mentioned the book deal.) Which of course in turn, got me excited.

Bella Morte: Beginnings introduces us to Justice Xavier, a member of an ancient group of mystics known only as the Order. They have risen in time of darkness to try and turn the tide of evil back from whence it came. She is believed to be the prophesied about child who will lead them all back into the light. The problem is, she doesn't want that on her. She's out for blood, plain and simple. The series is about her battle within whether to use her power to control the elements among other things for her destined purpose, or to let her soul consumed by her desire for revenge.

The book series is a solo effort, the television series is co-written  by me and Melissa Goodman. I will update you on the progress of series here and at its official website Bella Morte: The Series.

Until next time...