Monday, June 30, 2014

Idea Gathering

One of the most frequent questions authors are asked is where our ideas come from. Most times they pop into our heads, at other times we find inspiration from a newspaper or television news headline. It doesn't take much to fuel our imaginations, just one little thing can spark an entire story line.

For instance, I sat in a waiting room today, watching folks come and go. All the while, I noted what particular thing about each of them caught my attention. People watching is a favorite pastime of mine, along with their walk, the tone of their voices, facial expressions, their overall reactions to whatever is going on at the moment, and best of all their anger, sadness, or laughter. Usually, I scribble notes in a notebook or write furiously on my iPad for future use. When I leave the house without either one of those items, I end up squeezing notes on store receipts, coupons or napkins. Whatever I have tucked in my handbag that works, gets used.

Staying current with trends is another aspect writers strive for. Whether it's clothing, the latest popular colors, phones and music, we take them all into consideration when writing. Trends change quickly, no matter if the story is in the here and now or taking place in another time frame, say the 1980's, then it's important we get things right. Some things rarely change, like hot dog stands or jeans for instance, which is kind of nice, because we can be assured of not having to chase that particular detail. It's surprising how authors are picked at because a reader is positive something took place at a particular time, date, period, etc. We hear about it often, and not generally kindly. Rest assured, most of us do our research and try real hard to get things right. Even when the town, where our story takes place, is a fictional place, or a country is one that doesn't exist, we usually base it on a place we're familiar with or have read up on.

Look around when you're out and about, see if you notice what's unusual about a person, you might find you like people watching, too.

By for now, I'll be back next week.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Favorite Author(s)

Honestly, I have more than one favorite author. I think everyone does, don't you? I must say that right at the moment, I'm still a huge fan of Karen Marie Moning. Her Fever Series is absolutely fantastic!!
Other authors I've found that offer wonderful stories are Blanche Marriott, Hannah Howell, Maeve Christopher, Janet Evanovich, Christine DePetrillo, Liberty Blake... and the list goes on. I wish I had time to do nothing but read, however, I'd never get my own writing done if that were the case. SO here's the scoop on what's happening in my writing room:

The Crusty Bakery series is now complete and available just about everywhere. They are: A Crusty Murder; A Crouton Murder; and The Focaccia Fatality. As you can tell by the names, they all include food. (my favorite topic!!) The main character, a bread baker by trade, seems to have the bad luck of falling into one murder after another. Her trusty next door neighbor, a tarot card reader, is helpful when it comes to finding out the who, what, and why of these incidences. Enter the handsome Scotsman, and the story takes yet another turn. These characters were enjoyable to write about.

In any Italian family, food is the most important part of life. Food is life-saving, can be sensual, and best of all... TASTY! In the Vinnie Esposito series, the stories always include food, whether it's Vinnie's mother's cookies or her father's yummy pasta dishes. So many readers tell me they are hungry by the time they're half way through the book. :>)  Marcus Richmond, a Rhode Island State Trooper, and Aaron Grant, an undercover FBI agent, and Lola Trapezi, the owner of the Salt & Pepper Deli, enter the mix and make for an enjoyable ride throughout the 5 books in the series. Book 6 in the series - Down Dirty Dead- is in the making and nearly half written.

Do you have a favorite author, or 2,3,4... LOL
Let me know who they are. I'd enjoy hearing from you!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Exciting News

There has been some exciting news around our house this past week or so that I want to share with you.

First off, though, I want to let you know about the new, updated, and gorgeous website that my publisher, Lachesis Publishing, has just unveiled. You can find it here:  Take some time to browse the pages and check out the books! It's a wonderful site, with lots to offer!

The second tidbit of news is... drum roll, please... I just released my new Zentangle book. YAY!!!
365 Tangles & Counting is available on Amazon under my pen name Jeanne Paglio. It took a good 9+ months to get this darling finished. I was so happy to get it out to the public, I nearly jumped for joy! On that note, I've begun the next tangling book, Zentangle by the Sea. It won't be as large a book as the 365 Tangles is, though, at the moment, I'm unsure how many pages it will be. I think it depends on how carried away I get. Here's the link for amazon.

Next in line... A friend and I are producing a children's book, my part is doing the illustrations. The plan is to have the book out by Christmas, if not before. I'll keep you posted on this project! It's not often that I get to stretch my artistic abilities in conjunction with an author. Fun, lots of fun!

Moving on... I've recently finished the last novella in the Deadly Bakery series. It's now in the publishing process at Lachesis, and is slated for release in early May! The Focaccia Fatality is the final book in the trilogy. Sorry about that! For those who enjoyed the first two books, rest assured that this one ties up all the ends. I think you'll like it. I know it certainly was fun to write. The series mainly takes place in Providence, RI. and uses many familiar places for people who know the area.
Here is the link for many of my books at Amazon.

Onward & Upward... It's been a long and harrowing winter, here in the northeast. New England weather is always unpredictable, but it has been cold and snowy. More so this year, than in the past few. I'd lost my mojo for a couple months, but staying inside more often than I usually do throughout the winter, ideas have been abundant. There are notes scratched on scattered bits of scrap paper, and the next Vinnie Esposito series book is well on its way to completion. On top of that, my daughter and I are writing a Linty Dragon mystery series for Lachesis. We're quite excited about the project and my plate is beginning to overflow. :>) Not complaining, not one bit!

Oh, and one more thing.... I'd like to thank my readers for their support, emails, and FB messages. I couldn't imagine I'd be where I am in the writing world, without you. Bless you, all!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An Adventure in Romance

This past summer, I had the urge to write a romance novel. Gathering my wits about me, I set off on this new journey and wrote a novella, To Catch a Billionaire. Never realizing how difficult it could be, since I generally write mystery novels with light romance in them, I found the romance genre to be more challenging than I'd thought it would be.

First off, I wrote the novella under the pen name, Dana Stone. It was important to me that readers not identify the story with my mystery novels. Why? Because it's a totally different genre. Or maybe it was a mindset for me, rather than for readers. :~)

The book made its debut, got some good, some so-so, and some not good reviews. Am I put off by that? Not really. Mostly, I find you can't please everyone, and it's plain to see that when ratings go from 5 stars to 1 star. I'm not offended or put off, but try to find something in each review that will help me write an even better book. (Though, there are those who just like to be just plain mean, :>). ) But, that's another subject altogether. So... here's the plan, as Dana Stone, I'll be advertising with The Romance Studio in  Later in March, Dana Stone be doing an online book tour, so stay tuned for more info on that.

I had a great time writing the story, though in retrospect, I realize romance novels are not my main interest, even though they have much merit. As Dana, I intend to make another foray into the world of romance, but it won't be just a novella, instead, it'll be a full-on novel with greater character development.

The new story line is already set out and involves a mysterious man whose hunting for a small jewel encrusted orb, that he thinks the main character has in her possession. The orb is detrimental to him and the well-being of his family. A family with powers that are threatened if the orb falls into the wrong hands. The heroine has had to make a new life for herself after a traumatic incident that left her overwhelmed with grief. After two years of struggling with her loss, she has begun to rebuild her life and find happiness in the mundane. Will the heroine trust this stranger enough to help him? Or is he untrustworthy and more dangerous than she ever imagined?

Let me know what you think of the storyline. I'm interested in hearing from you.

                      Thanks for stopping by,              Dana (aka J.M. Griffin)

Here's the link for To Catch a Billionaire