Saturday, June 30, 2012

So, What Do You Do?

When people ask me what I do I hesitate. I never used to do that. I always used to have a quick response.

"I'm a hair stylist!"

But ever since I got this little thing called a book contract, I hesitate. I want to scream from the rooftops, "I'm a frickin' author!!! I wrote a dang book!!" But I don't. Clearly I would be considered a crazy person for doing that even if it is the truth.

The thing is, I have two jobs. I do two things. One is the job I've had for about six years now and I can honestly say that I love it. But the other...is my dream job come true. 


If some one asks me what I do for a living I would have to say hairstyling because that's how I make my money but if someone asked me what I do in general I want to say that I'm a writer. So when do I get to say that and feel real about it? When am I more a writer than a hairstylist?

When does the waitress call herself an actress and why on earth would an actress settle for calling herself a waitress? If she gets a one-line speaking role she is an actress, she got paid. But maybe it isn't until she gets cast as a named character that she can say it or when she gets put in a movie with George Clooney or Julia Roberts.

I guess it all depends on me. Maybe it will take a while before I can assert myself and say, "I'm an author." It's okay to be two things and it's certainly okay to have two jobs that I love! For now....

"I'm a hairstylist who wrote a book!" :) It'll do.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Grey Area

It's the New York Times #1 best seller, Amazon #1 best seller, the film rights have been purchased for a cool 5 million dollars, it coined the term 'mommy porn' and no one can seem to shut up about this book. If you don't know the book I'm referencing you might be living under a rock.

Fifty Shades of Grey has become the fastest selling paperback of all time beating out the previous title holder Harry Potter. Now how the title of 'fastest selling' can jump from children's genre to erotic romance is beyond me but that's not what I want to talk about.

The really saucy chicks don't even try to hide it on their e-readers!

It's no secret that Fifty Shades of Grey (and it's sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) were once free online Twilight fan-fiction. Meaning in the original draft Christian Grey himself was once Mr. Edward Cullen and of course Anastasia Steele was Bella Swan. Confused yet? Fan-fiction is a tricky thing if you've never read it, been interested or written it. It's essentially found-object art. Taking something from someone else and finding a way to make it your own.

For instance, back in the day I used to write fan-fiction some of which was based on the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So the idea is I didn't create the characters of Buffy or Angel or Spike but I can use them to build my original idea into a new story. Sometimes Buffy would still be The Slayer, other times she was a regular girl with similar characteristics. Get it? It's all about taking and making.

So to me, the question is...is Christian Grey just Edward Cullen in witness protection? From what I understand, very little of the original fan-fiction story Master of the Universe (aka Fifty Shades of Grey) was changed before it was published under it's new name. Maybe only character names and renaming Forks Seattle. Does E.L. James still think of Edward when she's talking about Christian? And if so, what does that mean for Stephanie Meyer.

I can't say that I have even the slightest of answers for any of the questions I'm bringing up but the whole thing has me wondering. How is it not considered stealing, even just barely? How about Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter? He was a real man...that's someone's real identity. He was the sixteenth President of the United States and yet when you Google 'Abra' the first thing to come up is Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Do you think if he had living descendants today that this book or film creating a false history for him would've even been looked at by a publisher? (Side note: I have this horrible vision of my future child trying to write a paper for school about Lincoln and including the heroic details of how he not only freed the slaves but he also saved us from the vampires! Sigh.)

Are you f&%@ing kidding me?

Am I saying that E.L. James owes Stephanie Meyer money or something? No, because if I said that then I would have to say Stephanie Meyer owes L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries). And if I said that...well, hell, every author would owe someone something and we'd all be in debt up to our eyeballs to Shakespeare. I suppose it just goes to show that the place between inspiration and thievery, allusion and plagiarism is definitely a grey area*.



*clearly the pun is intended. Gosh.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tami Parrington : The Author Interview


I've really been enjoying the world of Twitter, especially meeting fellow authors like Tami Parrington! She was nice enough to have a chat with me.

Tell us about yourself:
I finally got down to business in my late 30s. I wrote a lot in high-school and shortly after, but once I got married and had kids, that got put on the side a lot until my kids were in their mid-teens. The muse can be put on a shelf (she doesn't like it much, but she'll stay), but she's always there when the time is right. Now I write for a living, having developed a full-time freelance career along with my fiction work. 
 
How long have you been writing?
Technically for about 17 years now, long before that as a hobby though.

What was the task of publishing/self-publishing/submitting/querying like for you?
Wow, I remember the whole submitting/querying part of writing well. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s it was definitely not my favorite part of the writing experience. Once I had a few things accepted it got a little easier, but it never really got easy. Now after being published, some of the things that happened during that phase of my career were heartbreaking and aggravating. For the record, I was never with one of the big 6. They were all mid-size houses. This was back when self-publishing often meant vanity publishing and new ebook publishers were just a blip on the industry radar. Most considered being published by an ebook publisher to be only a small step better than being self-published.
Man, have things changed. Well, some people still think that way, but it has improved greatly. After one debacle where a publisher closed the line that had just published one of my novels and left it an orphan I got fed up with the whole thing. I pretty much walked away from being an author, but found myself an editor for an ebook publisher. When they absconded with money due authors and editors I actually did quit completely for awhile. That's when I decided that freelancing was a better way to write and earn a living at the same time. I devoted all of my time to building a business, and I do still love it, but something was always missing.
When I came back to my first love, the entire atmosphere had changed quite a bit--thankfully. I had already put up a lot of my original books as ebooks on Amazon when I left before. All during the time I ignored them, they still sold little by little. What's great about ebooks is that they can live forever. They don't go "out of print" or get relegated to a back list unless you want them to. Self-publishing is so much less aggravating. Oh sure, there's the marketing, but I used to do a fair amount of that in the earlier days too.

What/ who inspires you?
Every writer I meet online inspires me in some ways. As for the "big guys" I'd say probably Stephen King and Anne Rice the most. 

What is your creative process like?
When I'm just starting a plot development, my creative process is a little sporadic, but once I get down to actually writing the story I am totally committed and "in" that life. I see it in my mind and type it on the page.

What do you struggle with as a writer?
I guess the answer to that would depend on the day you asked it. Over the years the things I've struggled with most have changed and flipped back and forth. I think now, one of the things I have the hardest time with is believing that the next story will come. I have lots of ideas, but I am always afraid that someday I won't have anything that will turn into a full piece. 

If you work a day job, how do you balance writing with your day-to-day career?
My day job is writing, and one of the great things about being a freelancer is that I can set my own hours as long as I meet the deadlines. So, when I want to/need to write my stories, I can.

How do you prepare to write? What do you do to get in the right frame of mind?
Music does it sometimes. Sometimes I just take a nap. I know that sounds kind of weird, but I start to "see" the story when I relax and start to drift off. I have to get up and write it immediately though or its lost. Other times I have to have the TV going. Since the house is empty I just need the noise.

What genre of writing would you love to try?
I've already written romance, women's fiction, fantasy and a crime/thriller. I think I'll just stay in those.

What's your guilty pleasure?
Watching reality TV. 

What are you totally obsessed with right now?
I think that's one of my problems I should have mentioned under the question what are you struggling with. At the moment I don't have any obsessions. That sounds like it should be a good thing, and maybe for a "normal" person it is, but I think writers do best when they have something they are obsessed with.

Tell us about some of your releases:
My most recent is a re-release of that book that was orphaned years ago--Dark Side of the Moon. When that all happened I did not have a digital copy of it. All that was left from that time was a few advance paperbacks I still had. So I had to retype it. I put it off/ignored it for years, but it always bothered me. I'm happy that it's back up for sale. It only had a very short life as the original paperback, but it had some very good reviews and I hated that it hadn't had a chance to 'live.'
In Dark Side of the Moon, Kia is a fanatic fan that connives her way into the life of her idol only to find herself mixed up in one of the most treacherous businesses in the world.
I also have Hell's Own. In Hell's Own, Alexander is a demon, unhappy with his life and dreaming of life on the surface where things are beautiful. He escapes from hell and has to evade the devil's attempts at bringing him back. When he almost loses the battle, he's found by Christine, a naïve girl who believes she has found an angel who has been doing battle with evil forces and is determined to help him. It's quite a ride from there.
Readers can find Dark Side of the Moon and Hell's Own, along with several other novels available on Amazon. Some are available on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and iTunes as well, and all will be when they are finished with this round of Select on Amazon. They can follow me on Twitter at @TParrington or Facebook or my blog at http://www.tamiparrington.com
 Here's a bit from Dark Side of the Moon :


"Excuse me."
Gabriel Evans looked up. His head pounded and his eyes ached. The woman in front of him should spark an interest, but the throbbing in his temples obliterated any ability to think. Damn, those legs could go on and on. Her legs were all he could see from his slouched position, but it was enough--definitely enough. His gaze moved up and down her legs and noticed the shake as her knees quivered.
"I have an interview."
I know that. Gabe shrugged off his alcohol-induced sarcasm as he winced and reached across the desk to grab the letter of reference that he’d read several times since receiving it. He’d had his personnel department set up the interview. Normally that would be enough, but not this time. This time he wanted to do the final interview personally--a decision he had begun to regret as his head continued to beat out an irritating rhythm that made his teeth hurt.
He plopped a fizzing tablet in a glass of water and smiled at the frail figure in front of him without raising his head.
"It’s been a long day." He motioned for the girl to take a seat. "So, Kia, that’s a pretty name." He enjoyed her shy smile. It cast a light on the room and made him feel a little more human.
He waited a few more minutes for the fizzing to subside and drank the glass down in a single effort, wincing at the taste and looking up over the top of the cup to watch his guest’s reaction.
Her smile faded. It seemed she didn’t approve. He deserved that, he supposed. This was no way to treat his voice, not with only a few hours to go before he had to hit the studio and lay down new tracks. He cleared his throat, and it scratched and objected to the abuse.
"Long day," he repeated, then turned to the paper he had placed on the desk. Faith had given her a sterling reference. He’d known Faith for as long as he’d been in the business. She was an acidy old crone, but when it came to costume design…none better. He studied the petite girl sitting across from him; she had passed muster with his own personnel department, as well. Now she stood before him for her final test.
"You like working for Faith?" He looked up to watch her expression. The motion drove a spike through his head--still, he kept his gaze locked on her.
"Yeah, Faith’s great. I’d kind of like to get out of wardrobe, though. That sucks."
Gabriel laughed and it sent a shard of lightning through his brain. He rubbed his temples for a minute and then looked at her. "She seems to think you’d be…let’s see, what was it she said?" He glanced back at the paper on the desk in front of him. "A sterling asset to your staff." Gabriel studied the girl as she sat there twisting her hands and waiting. "Wow. Can’t beat that, can we?"
Brown curls fell loose from her tight bun on the top of the head that shook hard in answer to his question.
"Why an assistant?" She didn’t belong here. The nappy, tight curls that clung to her head lacked the sophisticated polish of an executive in this industry… hell, in any industry. He grumbled inside. Her clean face, with only a trace of makeup was most definitely an indication of her middle-class, Midwestern upbringing. He wondered if she’d learned anything at all from the time spent in New York. How long had she even been there? He looked again at the letter from Faith. No dates. "Very sneaky, Faith," he muttered.
"Hmmmmmmm?"
"Nothing." Gabriel waved her off, still lost in his own thoughts. She had a nice dress. Casual, neat and clean, but her appearance wasn’t as professional as he was accustomed to in an assistant.
Gabriel searched the page in front of him and it made his eyes burn. "You’ve never done anything like this before, right?" He waited until she finished shaking her head. "There’s a lot involved." He looked to see if she’d back down. She didn’t falter. "You’d be an assistant to my first lieutenant." Gabriel pointed at an office attached to his own and Kia followed the motion with her eyes. "It’s a twenty-four hour a day job. You’d have to move in."
"I don’t live in!"
Gabe looked up sharply with his eyebrows raised. "You don’t, do you? How do you expect to be available whenever I need something? Whenever Bryan…" he motioned to the empty office again with a weak wave of his hand, "does?"
"I don’t expect to. I’ll be plenty available during normal business hours." Kia looked at the empty office, but her glance was interrupted by the loud laughter from the man on the other side of the desk.
"Normal business hours? Girl, what business do you think you’re looking to get into? We don’t do normal."

Thanks so much to Tami for chatting with me!! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday : My Book Boyfriends

Here's a lovely top ten list of the men I love from books new and old. They are all filed away as my fictional boyfriends.

10. David Qin from Strangers in Paradise

He's the sweet unassuming third wheel to Katchoo and Francine. 

9. Felix Katz from The Believer's Daughter
 Grace's tattooed, graffiti artist love interest stole my heart completely! 

8. Lucas Cabral from the Making Out series
 He seems like the bad boy, but is he really?

7. Nick from The Great Gatsby
 Nick could be one of my favorite characters of all time. 

6. Edward from the Twilight series
I can't help it. I was just as seduced by this vampire as every other 17 year old girl was.

5. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars
 
Read this book and try not falling in love with him. Consider it a challenge.

4. Judas Coyne from Heart-Shaped Box
The aging rocker totally grew on me and before I knew it, I was in love! 

3. Peeta from The Hunger Games series

The baker's son turned tribute who will steal your heart.

2. Vishous from The Black Dagger Brotherhood series
 Another sexy vampire....

1. Kevin Reed from The Low Notes

Shameless self-promotion? Maybe. But the truth is, I just had to write myself another book boyfriend :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lila Munro : The Author Interview



Welcome Rebel writer Lila Munro!
Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Destiny’s Fire, Salvation, Three for Keeps, the Force Recon series, the Slower Lower series, and the Identity series. She’s a member in good standing of RWA and Passionate Ink. Currently she’s working on sequels to several series to be released throughout 2012. And has a brand new line scheduled for winter 2012-13. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads. You can also contact her via email at lilasromance@gmail.com

How long have you been writing?

Since before I could read or knew how to spell. I was making up stories as early as I could form a thought past I want a cookie or Is it naptime. I recently did a fun blog for Melissa Keir that was a Lila Timeline of sorts and looking back at it I was reminded how many times I finished a work only to have it tossed in a dumpster because I didn’t believe in myself enough to go further than the nearest trash can and deposit said work.

What/ who inspires you?

Everything and everyone. I’m a sponge and so many times I’ll be out with my husband eating dinner or shopping and he’ll touch my arm and ask me where I am and what’s going on up there in that big brain of yours. I carry notepads with me everywhere I go and everything in my path is in danger of being jotted down as potential story fodder.

What is your creative process like?

It’s like a circus meets the carnival, throw in some Boones Farm and peanuts and we have a party up in here. (Actually my tastes have refined over the years and I now enjoy a good tumbler of crown, but don’t tell my muses—they think they’re still sixteen.) Seriously, I’m a very deliberate person and have notes everywhere on characters, timelines, plots…I love Post-it notes and they’re usually scattered about in spite of my best friend’s efforts to convert me to notebooks. Somehow it all comes together and I’m able to find the exact information I need even if no one else understands “the system.”

What do you struggle with as a writer?

Commas. I know I hear Elizabeth screaming at me clear from Indiana when edits roll around. Although, I’m getting better. The last round only had a few instances, so it’s possible she is breaking of my bad habits slowly but surely.

How do you prepare to write? What do you do to get in the right frame of mind?

Oh, I really don’t have any control over that. My muse decides when and where and how. I do control how long though. I’ve recently restricted my hours for family and health reasons and when the egg timer dings, that’s it. Some of my characters are none too happy when that happens in the middle of the big O, but hey, sometimes things lengthened are things savored. ;)

What genre of writing would you love to try?

Someday I’d like to give historical romance a go, but until I have the resolve to do the research involved that will remain a pipedream.

What do you enjoy about blogging?

I like that through that medium the readers can get to know me, the real person not just the invisible woman behind the book. I think readers enjoy that as well, knowing that there is someone actually writing and the words aren’t just coming auto-type from some super genius computer somewhere. I think they like to know I enjoy digging in the dirt and growing veggies and I have two elderly dogs that keep me on my toes. When I get a chance to talk about me, I become human.

What's your guilty pleasure?

Vera Bradley purses and bubble baths. I also have an extensive jewelry collection per my husband who believes it’s his duty to shower me with baubles and shiny things.

What are you totally obsessed with right now?

The fact that I’m on the back slide of my husband’s time at home between deployments. He’s only been home a couple of months and will leave at the end of June again for another year. I work like my butt’s on fire during the day trying to keep up so I can make the most of our time together in the evenings and on weekends.

Tell us about how the Identity series got started and where you are with it now.

Well, in all honesty, the Identity series was never supposed to be a series at all. I have a few friends in the know who practice less than vanilla lives and when coupled with a nosey broad like me who holds a degree in psychology and one in sociology, well, it’s a mixture for natural curiosity blended with an urgent need to grasp it all. Identity Crisis, book one, was supposed to be a stand-alone novella designed to scratch my itch. Needless to say, the itch didn’t go away and book two came along, True Identity. Knowing the rule of three, I figured I had to round out the series with a third, but in the middle of Assumed Identity, Dante—a very stern Dom—informed me that the story wasn’t in any way, shape or form finished and he wanted Julie no matter that I’d coupled her with Mason and what was I going to do about that exactly? Gulp! Yes, Sir? So, my most recent release was born, book four in the series, Assumed Master. I was writing the final scenes of that story and a character that had already appeared in two books started asking why I’d not given him a mate yet and threatened to flog me if I didn’t rectify the situation. Geeze! What is it with these dominant men? Fine, Master Allen. I called E and asked how she felt about yet another installment to the series, told her which character was talking and how he had wrangled himself a lollypop lovin’ gal. Of course she agreed and I’m not knee-deep in book five, Assumed Calling, which should come out late summer.

Assumed Master blurb and excerpt:

We may be born to the lifestyle,

Julie Stevens and Dante Larson always knew their tastes were a bit more eccentric than those of the average person, but acknowledgement of their chosen paths came at different times. While their lives have run parallel for the last twenty years, destiny always came knocking at the wrong time. Julie was a closeted edge player and before Dante could pull her free of her fears, Mason came along and dragged her kicking and screaming from her self-inflicted darkness, leaving Dante wanting. Although Dante’s been in love with Julie since the day he first laid eyes on her, he's happily married to Blake. But the tides are turning.

But Lady Fate dictates how it should be lived…


Still mourning the death of the only Master she’s ever known, Julie finds herself forced to live with the one man she’s been terrified of for years, Dante. While she has to admit something between them feels right, just as many things feel very, very wrong, starting with the fact he’s married to her gay best friend. Before she even has time to sort out her current predicament, another man catches Julie's attention. But after losing her mother, her sister, and her husband, can Julie come to grips with the fact that Keegan D’Amate jumps out of perfectly good helicopters for a living, rescue diving for the Coast Guard? And where exactly does that leave Dante, who knows for sure he needs a woman to complete his unconventional marriage? Quite frankly, he's tired of waiting.

***

"Where are you going?" Dante stood and almost went after him, but realized he couldn’t very well be two places at once and right now he was needed right outside this door.
"To pack her a few things." Blake started upstairs without looking back. "I think I remember how to do that much without being told."
Dante didn’t have time to analyze Blake’s words or their meaning right now. A brat was the last thing he needed at the moment.
A half hour later Blake returned with a rolling leather suitcase in tow and a matching overnight bag draped over his shoulder. Without so much as a sideways glance in Dante’s direction, he marched across the foyer and out the door. When he came back in, he took up a seat next to Dante, crossed his legs, and clasped his hands over his knee.
"Has there been any let up at all," he asked curtly.
"No, none at all," Dante answered, wondering how long this might go on. There were only so many things in the damn room. Sooner or later she’d run out of things to throw.
"You have ten minutes," Blake informed him. "If you don’t go in there after her, I will."
"You'll do what I tell you to." Dante tamped down his anger at Blake’s contradiction, chalking it up to sorrow.
"I will not," Blake clipped. "She needs you and if you don’t go in there, I will and damn the consequences. Whatever punishment you see fit to mete out later I’ll gladly take without regret."
It was then all fell quiet on the other side of the door. Dante sat forward and Blake uncrossed his legs and stood. Before either could go to the door, the muffled sound of Julie reciting William Blake over her sobs filtered through the mahogany barrier between them.
"I was angry with my friend. I told my wrath, my wrath did end," she hoarsely mumbled. "I was angry with my foe. I told it not, my wrath did grow."
Dante took a deep breath and moved for the knob, knowing full well the words were directed at him and Mason. The woman could conjure the most appropriate verses even in the midst of chaos. It unnerved him. When he pushed the door open, the sight before him was shocking in spite of the constant noise he’d heard for the last hour.
Not one book remained on the shelves. They were strewn over every square inch of floor amidst various trinkets and statues. The plants lay haphazard, some half in and half out of their pots, their roots exposed and their leaves crumpled and wilting. The desk was cleared of everything. It was all in a heap on the floor between Mason’s chair and the wall.
In the middle of the mayhem, Julie sat holding her arm and rocking, still repeating lines from Blake which Dante knew Mason would be reciting himself if he were here. That was one of the ways Mason soothed her. Too bad Dante didn’t know a damn thing about literature and couldn’t offer anything more than a few stanzas of a nursery rhyme starting with Hey diddle diddle.
It was while he stood there stunned, his heart cracking at the sight of someone in so much grief, he noticed the slow trickle of blood running down her arm and falling off her elbow in fat plops.

Find Lila's works on Amazon.com and All Romance Ebooks

Thanks so much to Lila for stopping by! Be sure to check out her work! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rebel Reasoning Blog Hop

Praise for The Low Notes by Kate Roth

"The story of Nina and Kevin is a must read for anyone who loves a juicy forbidden love." -Amazon.com reviewer Julie L. Young

"Kate Roth leaves no emotional stone unturned in this enjoyable, sexy read with an ending that will surprise you!" -Author of The Rock Star's Daughter, Caitlyn Duffy

"I think was falling in love with Kevin..." -Amazon.com reviewer Janet





When a chance meeting between high school teacher Kevin Reed and singer Nina Jordan ignites an instant spark, they must decide if it's more important to follow your heart or follow the rules.

After caring for his dying father, Kevin Reed, returns to his hometown of Wexley Falls, bereaved, unemployed and exhausted at the thought of starting a new life. After a failed blind date, Kevin meets young singer Nina Jordan who takes his breath away with the sound of her voice. The connection is instantaneous and mutual on their first date, but both are crestfallen when they discover days later, to their horror, Nina is Kevin's student at the local high school.

Deciphering between notions of love and lust, fate and coincidence, Kevin and Nina find themselves unable to turn their backs on what they can't deny is a once in a lifetime feeling. Told from both perspectives, The Low Notes explores a love that feels right even though it seems wrong.

Buy The Low Notes here:


Head back to Rebel Reasoning for more info on new releases or go see some of my favorite fellow Rebels right now...







Thursday, June 7, 2012

A pot that drains pasta?! That's my idea!



This has been a very frustrating topic for me for a very long time. It’s the moment when you realize your awesome idea has already been done. Yes it’s true there are very few original ideas and a lot of the world’s stories are just versions of classic tales in one way or another but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about seeing your exact idea stripped from your brain and shown before you in a movie trailer or a back of the book blurb.

A few years ago a friend of mine and I were challenging each other with writing assignments to try to get the sparks flying again. We had an idea for an assignment that we were going to hold on to for a while; write a modern spin of a classic fairy tale or Disney tale. We hadn’t officially given each other the assignment but one day I had a firecracker of an idea and I started plotting in my head.
I just love this fox.

A prep school kid named Rob is a social outcast and realizes he’s not the only one. In effort to help his friends whose parents are scraping to pay for school he hacks into the school’s financial database to lower their tuition fees and raises the rich/popular kids’ costs.

It’s Robin Hood with a modern twist right?! I was so excited when this idea came to me and I couldn’t wait to start writing it. I wasn’t in a rush. I started figuring out my names and characters. Who would be my Maid Marion, Friar Tuck, etc. I had a little notebook going with some of my kernels and then one day I turned on the TV.

I believe it was on the Hallmark Channel that day, a movie called Robin of Locksley. Here’s the synopsis :
After his parents win the lottery Robin McAllister is sent to the prestigious Locksley Hall. There he experiences how the sons of the school's benefactors, John Prince and his associates Warner and Gibson, are treated like royalty. Robin can't join archery club, he gets in trouble when he stands up for himself, and his parents are completely preoccupied with their new horse ranch. But it isn't until one of the school's scholarship students, Tommy, is in a terrible accident that Rob begins to take action against Prince, Warner, Gibson, and their sons. With a little help from his two new friends, Will Scarlett and John Little, and the ranch hand's daughter Marion, he electronically takes money from their company accounts to put towards Tommy's medical bills. However, as the operations become more costly and as a bubbling agent named Nottingham begins to close in on him, Robin questions his own motives. (Written by Max Vaughn via IMDB). 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! How was this movie (made in 1996 starring Devon Sawa. It’s not even new!) even on TV at the exact time I’d been pondering writing this story? How is it so similar?! I racked my brain trying to think of whether or not I had somehow watched this movie during my childhood and then managed to block it out so it could be my own original thought. I hadn’t.

Suddenly I was faced with a question. Do I write my version or do I give it up? My version might’ve been a little edgier than this wholesome after-school special but really how different could it be? The other thing on my mind was how could I possible write the story now that my brain had absorbed the plot of this movie?

Sadly I gave it up. I never wrote my Robin Hood take and probably never will. I still get mad when I think about it but it’s a phenomenon that may never go away. Maybe the universe shares a collective unconscious and the ideas are floating out there for any one of us to grab and claim as our own. 
Maybe the idea seemed great because I actually had heard it somewhere before. Either way it was a hard pill to swallow. A lesson learned about when to give up on an idea no matter how bad you want it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Doing Your Homework


I’ll be the first to say it, I hate research. I love just making up my own little fantasy world. But that’s unrealistic. Even if I’m making up my town and my characters and my setting, they still have things that need to be researched like jobs. Research, however irritating, is pertinent to writing.



By day I work as a hair stylist so if I were to read a book about a hair stylist I would expect the facts to be correct. When I read a book set in my home state I might be annoyed to read an unrealistic climate. These things matter even if they seem small.

When I was in eighth grade I remember writing a story about a girl in the nineteen fifties. Clearly having been born in 1986 I wasn’t privy to life in 1956. So I wrote my female lead going dress shopping at the local mega mall. Not exactly where she would’ve been going back then. Luckily no one ever read this story but if they had I would’ve been in for an earful from an editor.

Some stories need loads of research and there are plenty of authors out there who love that. Personally the stories I tend to write don’t need a lot. I write about writers a lot of the time…yes very Stephen King of me I know. I like to write what I know but that doesn’t mean I won’t step out my box every now and again. I have a work in progress right now about a band (surprise, surprise) so I’ll be researching and hopefully interviewing some real life rockers to get a better handle on how to write it. Fact checking is necessary because creating a realistic and readable novel is important to me so I’ll always do it.