Forgive Me Somehow, Danielle Steele

CLICK ME to buy!

CLICK ME to buy!

In case there’s someone out there who didn’t know, my big sis, Lucy Blue, is a much better writer than me.  So much better that I’ve let her take over my blog today to talk about her new release, Alpha Romeo.  It’s a scintillating tell-all book written in the style of a Hollywood memoir.  Think about it this way– it’s the book about Angelina Jolie that you’ve always wanted to read.  Lucy herself describes the book as being  throwback to the old Danielle Steele/ Sidney Sheldon days.  Anyway, today she’s taking over to talk about how she came to write Alpha Romeo and why it’s such an important book for her. 

***********

When I was a teen-ager, my mother’s favorite writer was Danielle Steele.  It was one of the many things we fought about.  “Those books are just garbage,” I would tell her.  “They all have the same stupid, melodramatic plot.  The characters are paper dolls.  They read like the back of a cake mix.  You read Thomas Hardy for fun, for heaven’s sake.  How can you read that crap?”

                As I recall, her defense usually ran along the lines of different strokes for different folks.  But if I’d been particularly obnoxious, she might point out that she couldn’t understand how her beautiful daughter could enjoy “sickness” like Stephen King and Anne Rice, either, but she still loved me.

                As I got older and started writing fiction of my own, she read every word I wrote.  She was what that sicko Stephen King would call my “first reader,” and she praised it all, even the stuff outside her comfort zone, even the stuff I never finished.  She encouraged me every step of the way, and when I sold my first book, a horror opus about vampires, consumptive whores, and Shakespeare, no one could have been more proud.

                Mama’s health was never great, but about ten years ago, she took a definite turn for the worse.  I was in the midst of writing about medieval vampires for Pocket Books.  I actually made my first draft deadline for The Devil’s Knight during a two-week leave of absence I had taken from my day job to take care of her after her second open heart surgery.  I don’t remember ever having the conscious thought to write a “Mama book.”  I was very happy with my vamps.  But right around that same time, reading a tabloid account of a celebrity divorce, I got the idea for Scarlett Cross, a movie star who’s been haunted her whole life by the violent death of her mother.  I started writing about her in first person, a technique I hadn’t used for anything but short stories since college, because that was just how she came out of my head.

                There are no supernatural monsters in Scarlett’s world.  Maybe at that point in my life, the real world seemed a lot scarier than any horror I could think up.  Maybe I lost the knack for believing in fairies and witches and vamps for a while.  I know I made Scarlett a movie star to keep the fantasy, to keep that distance–the same reason, I suspect, that all of Danielle Steele’s heroines in those days were fashion models and lady business magnates and the daughters of Russian nobility.  Those women go through hell, but they look fabulous doing it, and they never have to worry about stuff like money or bad plumbing (at least not after the first fifty pages).  I know for me at that time, the story of an ordinary woman watching her mother waste away was beyond my talent and strength.  But I could write the outlandish trials and tribulations of Scarlett Cross at lightning speed, wallowing in her pain.  I wrote her made-up memoir right alongside my paranormals, hundreds and hundreds of pages of her voice telling the lurid story of her life while my own life as I had always known it fell apart.

                And out of that came my latest book, Alpha Romeo, the story of Scarlett’s first love.  Mama passed away in 2008, years before my notebooks full of Scarlett gelled into anything like an actual book, but sections of that manuscript were the last of my writing she ever read.  “I love this one,” she told me.  “This one is you.  This is the one.”  And while I know my vamps are as much me as Scarlett, and I still think Danielle Steele’s writing kind of sucks, I love this story in a way I’ve never loved anything else I’ve written.  Because I know she would love it, not because her daughter wrote it, but because it’s her kind of book. 

****************

Our poor mother always wondered how she ended up with two daughters who liked to hide in a fantasy world.  I think it’s safe to say that we are exactly what she made us. Here’s more about the book:

If the tabloids only knew.

Scarlett Cross is the classic Hollywood princess. Daddy is a movie star; Mama was a supermodel murdered when Scarlett was only four years old. Now she’s eighteen pretending to be younger for the sake of her father’s image and starting her own career as the muse of a famous European auteur. But bad boy actor Romeo Kidd is everything she’s ever wanted. He makes her feel safe and loved and wanted for the first time in her life, and she’ll do anything to keep from letting him go.

If Alpha sounds like your kind of book too, you can click the image above and zoom right over to buy it!  It’s also available from Purple Sword Publications and All Romance if you prefer a different format.  They also have nifty-neato excerpts so you can test drive first!! 

Advertisements

Being Thankful

Well, I’m sitting here doing my usual Thanksgiving Eve ritual.  “Gone With the Wind” is on the television while I finish up making a gigantic pumpkin cheesecake.  It’s the same every year.  I don’t know what it is, but though I’m probably one of the most non-traditional person I know, I get a yearning for traditions during the holiday season.  And I feel cheated if I miss even one little detail.  Well tonight I’ve decided to start a new tradition.  This year has been one of changes.  Some good, some not so good… some yet to be decided.  But even when I’m down in the dumps, feeling like I’ve completely ruined my life, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for.

1.  My family.  I’ve talked about this before on my blog, but its so true that it bears repeating:  I have the most fantastic family in the world.  I keep seeing posts on Facebook about how people are lacing their turkey with Prozac or not looking forward to going home to their folks’ place or trying to figure out clever ways to avoid their parents or siblings and I can’t help but think, “I’m so glad I don’t have to do that!”  I love going over to my sister’s house and hanging out with everyone.  I have an amazing father, Alex,  that’s always the life of the party, 2 sisters, Jayel and Sarah,  that are the epitome of what older sisters should be, a husband, Tally,  that can only be described as Adonis and Rhett Butler all rolled into one, a niece, Katie,  that teaches me every day about unconditional love, parents and siblings-in-law: Derek, Justin, Doris, Mike, Brennan and Mandy,  that have welcomed me into their family with open arms and hearts, and an adopted sister and mom, Marcia and Alice,  that are always surprising me with their love.  And not to mention all the aunts and uncles and cousins that are too numerous to name without being tiresome.  I’m just overwhelmed at how lucky I am to get to spend the holidays with all of them.  It’s not an obligation, it’s a privilege.

2.  My friends.  Y’all probably hear so much about my friends that you either wish you could meet them yourself or that I’d just shut up about them.  People that know me will tell you that I haven’t always been the best when choosing my friends.  It’s probably because I always assume the best in people.  However, the friends I’ve made as an adult have been wise decisions and they are true friends.  Some of these friends are those kind that were probably family in another life:  Susan, Amy, Jen, Bill, Selah, Erin, John, Nicole, Stacie, Alan, Leigh– you all know who you are.  Some of them I met in conventional ways (i.e. work) and others in more unconventional ways (Second Life, Yahoo groups), but all of them are special to me.  I’ve also made a slew of friends on Facebook, some that I have had the pleasure to meet and assimilate: Nicole, Randy, Alexx, Bruce, Bobbie Jo, David, Mark and so many others that I just don’t even have the space to mention. People that have inspired me and encouraged me even when they’d never seen my face.  Fellow artists and dreamers that have bucked me up when I felt like giving up or maybe just made me smile with their kitty memes. And then there are  my teacher friends who still love me, even though I abandoned them:  Carole, Alisha, Harriet, Sarah, Tracy, Terri– and so many others.  I am thankful for you all.

3.  Writing.  It took me a long time to realize my purpose in life.  I went through all sorts of masks trying to figure out who I really am.  It wasn’t until about three years ago that I figured it out.  I am a writer.  I’ve tried to be an actress, a teacher, a store clerk, but what I really am is a writer.  None of that has ever given me as much satisfaction as finishing a story.  To breathe life into my characters is the most wonderful thing I can think of.  I suppose there was no escape.  My sister is a writer, my husband is a writer and my grandmother could tell a story like nobody’s business.  Writing has saved my life over the last year and I’m grateful.  When I didn’t like the world I was living in, I just made up a new one.  And when someone pissed me off– I just killed them in a book.  I know, now you’re trying to figure out who my victims were… I’m also thankful that there are publishers and editors out there that believed in me enough to let me do this professionally:  Kelly, E, Kharisma, Traci, Nicole, and Rebecca.

4.  Health.  I talk a lot about my mother, Anita, who passed away three years ago.  My mother and I were extremely close and when she died it nearly broke my heart completely.  I still have days when I miss her so much that I find myself sobbing on the couch.  Mom died after a twenty year battle with heart disease and diabetes.  She became ill when she was fairly young and we realized after she was gone that I had never really known my mother when she was completely well.  I’m so thankful that I’m older than she was when she first found out she was diabetic and still in fairly good health.  Sure, I need to lose a few pounds, exercise more and stress less, but I’m still active and feeling good. And that’s truly a blessing.

5. Home.  And I don’t necessarily mean a structure, though having a roof is nice.  I really mean a place where I can go where someone is there that loves me always.  Someplace that’s warm and safe.  Someplace where my husband hugs and kisses me and my dog annoys the shit out of me and lays in my lap sleeping.

Alright, I’m going to shut my mouth now and let you all get back to your own Thanksgiving rituals.  Think of me fondly while you’re shopping on Black Friday and I’m working.  Don’t forget to hug the people that you’re thankful for.  And as always, if you’re looking for something good to read on this holiday weekend– check me out.   Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

My books can be found  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold.

Childhood Memories and Coconut Rum

When I think back on my childhood, there are lots of things I remember clearly.  Like, getting a Glow Worm for Christmas when I was 3 or4.  Or swimming in the pool at an old mom and pop hotel in Charleston, SC with my mom.  Even the horrible day that we came home to a fire truck in our driveway and watched as our house burned to the ground.  Those are the things that are burned into your memory forever.  Even when I’m 85 I’ll still remember the feel of the cool water in that pool and how it smelled of chlorine and Sundown Sunscreen (with PABA!).

Luckily for me though, I get to relive some of my childhood memories each year when my entire family takes off to North Myrtle Beach, SC for an entire week.  It all started when, after my mother’s first heart attack, she decided that we all needed to get away for a week each year.   And thus the Family Vacation to the Beach began!  My parents, both sisters, my sister’s best friend and a fluctuating cast of characters that changed from year to year.   Most of the wonderful memories of my youth are in some way associated with that trip.

For anyone that has been on a trip like that, the vacation doesn’t begin when you arrive at the beach house– the trip begins back in January when you begin looking for that perfect vacation home.  Mom would get that little book from White Realty in Myrtle Beach every year about the middle of January.  And the race was on!  Some houses are too small, others too expensive; this one’s ocean front, that one is a fifty mile walk to the ocean.  So and so didn’t want to share a room this year with such and such.  We would wheedle and go back and forth and argue about the house for a good 4 months before finally deciding on the same one we went to the year before.  Since my mother’s passing, we’ve continued this tradition– even down to the wheedling over the house.

Its interesting how people get into routines and before you know it– its a tradition.  We find ourselves going to the same places each year and we actually feel like something is missing if we don’t.  I can’t take a trip to Myrtle Beach without spending an afternoon wandering around Barefoot Landing, shopping for teeshirts and the perfect ice cream cone.  You have to smear down with sunscreen and go out to the beach from 11am to 1pm every day and then come in for lunch.  Night time has to be a steady diet of home cooked meals followed by a tour of every ice cream parlor on the Grand Strand and finally when you’re so stuffed you can’t stand it– you stay up til 2am playing cards and drinking fruity concoctions laden with coconut rum.

Some people wonder why I have such an affection for summertime.  I mean, I live in South Carolina which in high summer is roughly akin to the gates of Hell. But in summertime, we get to be a kid again.  You can’t go home again, but you can go to The Beach.