Friday, August 27, 2010

Killer Nashville

This time last week I was on my way to the Killer Nashville conference at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, TN. It was a weekend jammed packed with great speakers and seminars. While the conference is geared for mystery and thriller writers there really is something for writers of any genre. It was a real learning experience and I know I'll be back next year. This is one conference where you really do get a lot of bang for your buck.

The first session I attended was CSI Don't Think So - How Television Gets It Wrong presented by Lee Lofland, an author and nationally acclaimed expert on police procedure and crime-scene investigation. The basic thing I learned is don't use TV crime shows for your research. According to Lofland, Southland is the most authentic and well researched crime show on TV. Lofland is doing a Writer's Police Academy in September that would be really helpful for anyone who writes crime.

Session Two was the always fabulous Sherrilyn Kenyon speaking on how she became a best selling author. If you've ever visited her websites you know she is a one woman promotional machine for her work. She's very conscious of her public persona and her biggest advise is to write what you love. I'll be taking some of her marketing advise to heart when Headlocks & Hexes comes out next year. She recommended book giveaways and bookmarks as promotional tools, and of course a fabulous interactive website is a must.

Next was lunch at the hotel buffet with MCRW friends, Rae Ann and Annie, and a few of Rae Ann Parker's friends from her YA group .  Annie Solomon was a speaker on a few of the panels. She writers Romantic Suspense and has a new book coming out in October, Two Lethal Lies. After lunch we went up to the elevator room to view the crime scene.

The next session I attended was Polishing Silver and Panning for Gold: Finding Treasure Through Revision with David Schlosser, Barbara Christopher, PJ Parrish, Sharon Potts, and Lawrence Light.  Some of the things they suggested: have a computer program to read you your WIP. Always carry a notebook for each WIP to jot down notes as they come to you. An insert or story board comes in handy with developing your plot and adding stick up notes for stuff to add or change. Fix major plot points as the happen, but wait until later to go back any correct smaller things.

Next was Two Faces of Psychopathy, presented by Dr. Stephen Benning, Ph,D. a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University. This was a really interesting presentation since Rowan, my anti-heroine in Headlocks & Hexes is a psychopath. The two characteristics of this personality disorder are fearless dominance and impulsive anti-sociality. By the end of the presentation I was pleased to learn that Rowan exhibits all the symptoms of both characteristics except for the abuse of animals.

The last session I attending on Friday was Lightening in a Bottle: Marketing and Promotion by Rick Robinson with panelist Sunny Frazier, Matthew Funk, Susan Whitfield, and Steven Womack.  They discussed the importance of social networking through Facebook, Twitter, Linkin and getting your name out there by posting on other writers blogs. He also suggested taking photos with best selling authors when you have the chance and tagging the photos on Facebook. This led me to set up a Facebook under my pen name of Jezebel Jorge.

Saturday began with Serial Killers and Other Serial Offenders by Richard Helms and panelists Carolina Bertrand, Nelda Copas, and Rick Reed. This was a very interesting and informative seminar with too much info to go into on a blog.

Next it was Elements of Award-Winning Novels with Beth Terrell, Annie Solomon, PJ Parrish, David J. Walker, and Steven Womack. The things I took away from this session was to write th book you want to write and chemistry and attention to detail are two key elements to any best selling novel. There's no formula for writing a best seller, it's more about capturing the magic with something different within the boundaries of a genre.

The afternoon was all about bestselling author Jeffrey Deaver. He is a fascinating speaker and captivated the audience with his presentation on Writing Thrillers: How I Do It. Here's his winning formula for a Deaver Bestseller - Short time frame, important deadlines for his characters, interesting esoteric information, and lots of surprise endings. He's a major plotter and does 140-180 page outlines on every book he does before even starting to write. He also saves each revision of his WIPs from start to completion of any manuscript and usually has about 10 documents before a book is complete.

Jeffrey Deaver also stuck around for the panel discussion on An Insider's Look Into The Future of Publishing.

I ended the day with one of the Ticketed Breakout Sessions with an agent Q&A with Jeff Gerecke, Jill Marr, and Cari Foulk. This was a great session to attend since I had pitches with all three agents the next morning. Marr and Foulk both requested to see my work.

After doing my pitches on Sunday morning I attended a two part workshop - Walk Through A Crime Scene Investigation with Sheila Stephens, a former ATF Agent, private detective and law enforcement consultant. I took so many notes on this workshop that I wouldn't even know where to begin on detailing everything she covered.

Killer Nashville was an awesome experience for me and I would recommend this conference to any writer who wants to network and learn more about mystery and thriller writing. I'm already looking forward to going back next year for Killer Nashville 2011!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Skip A Starbucks Day!

One of my MCRW writer friends, C.J. Redwine, is blogging today about her family's efforts to adopt a little girl from China.

Please visit her blog - C.J. Redwine - and help them bring Johanna Faith home to her new family.

And did I mention the awesome prizes that C.J.'s writer friends have donated to help this worthy cause?

Go check it out NOW!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ring Rats


ring rat (plural ring rats)
  1. (professional wrestling, slang) A promiscuous person, often a young female, who attends professional wrestling events primarily to seek sexual liaisons with wrestlers and other performers.

[edit]Derived terms

My definition - a person who goes to wrestling matches with the intention of having some type of sexual interaction with one of the performers. 

Although it's only Dylan that Rowan is interested in, that would classify her as a ring rat.

Some people find the term Ring Rat to be offensive. It doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, that billing seems to most irritate the girls who just couldn't cut it with being able to get banged by their favorite stars. The people who usually use this word as a slur or an attempted insult most likely got turned down by one of the boys. It always kills me to see the fat chicks screaming - "I'm not a rat. How dare they call me a rat." Honey, you're not a rat because none of the guys would do you... plain and simple.

I'll be the first to admit that back in the day I was one of the NWA's Finest. This was a term coined by the legendary Ric Flair to describe first class groupies. Yes, the boys did and probably still do rate them. It's kinda the same system as how the tours or shows used to be referred to as A, B, or C depending on the size of the venue and the crowd attendance. Well, more like opposite since a big arena with all the stars was an A show. A C level rat would most likely be much larger in girth and less attractive than a girl pulling an A level rating. 

If you were one of the NWA's Finest you got comped into shows. There was always a ticket waiting for you at the box office or you walked in the back door on the arm of your guy and were given a chair in the back away from the other fans. You got your hotel room covered, gas put in your car, and dinner or breakfast as part of the deal. Basically you had your pick of the entire locker room as to who you would be spending your evening with.

If you were a B - you got guys lower on the card. Occasionally getting comped or working a gimmick table was part of the deal. They gave the guys rides to and from the airport. Things of that nature.

C level chicks got to give blow jobs when there was nothing better available. They were the ones who bought the guys presents, ran errands for them, put gas in their cars, bought their food, paid for the boys hotel rooms, etc. I think you get the picture.

I'm not going to lie. It was a huge turn on to see a guy on TV and say - "I like". Then you go to the show, put a feeler out to see if you meet his standards, and bam the next thing you know he's fucking your brains out later that evening. Been there, done that, have the tee shirt. Well, I'd have the shirt if they made one. I can honestly say that I got every wrestler I ever pursued. It took me 6 months to finally get a certain someone, but he made it a game, giving me little teases and always stringing me along until we did the deed. Then after a few times of marking out for him I decided I still liked his manager better. Not that it didn't stop us from becoming friends and fuck buddies right up until he married.

I never had a one night stand with any of the boys. They always came back for more. In fact I'm still friends and keep in touch with the very first wrestler I ever slept with. He was my first love and will always have a special place in my heart. 

Things are very different now from the way they used to be back in the glory days of being a ring rat. With the territories you actually got to know the boys as people. They ran the same towns on a schedule to where it was easy to see a show at least once a week. Now, it would be a lot harder to get close to any of the guys in the WWE. Maybe not so much with TNA since they tape in the same place, but I wouldn't know because those days are way behind me.

This was way before the internet, Facebook, MySpace, cell phones and text messaging. I know it makes me think how much easier it would have been to have those things back in the day. A text would have been a lot for discrete than having to wait out back or have a security guard or ref passing information back and forth. But I guess it would also be a lot easier to slip up and get caught.

Here's a really bad example of how not to do things - The Kip Saga. All I'm gonna say is that crazy chick gives ring rats everywhere a very bad name.

My one ratting regret might be that I turned down two different rides on Space Mountain when it was still the ride with the longest lines in the whole park. But other than that, I am what I am and I wouldn't be the person I was today if I hadn't led the life I did. It also gave me all that great material for my Ring Dreams series. Let's just say the basics of my erotic short story published through Xcite really happened with the previously mentioned 6 month chaser in the real life starring role. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pretty Photo

When I saw this photo by Luis Rayo I instantly knew what I would want for a cover to headlocks and hexes. The hair would of course have to be red, coming down to cover the breast. Instead of the roses Rowan should be clutching a lit candle. The necklace would be her ruby encrusted pentacle on a silver chain.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


When my teenage niece came to visit me about a year ago she connected her iPod to my computer. That left me with an interesting mix of songs and artists in my iTunes collection. I've got everything from Patsy Cline and Rod Stewart (both my downloads) to her Taylor Swift, Paramore, Nevershout!, and Lil Wayne. I guess we both have eclectic tastes in music.

I was listening to some Taylor Swift songs this morning and thinking about what big songs she sings to be so young. Fifteen really makes you think, especially since my niece is currently that age. It's amazing how much one's world views change between here and there. 

Oooh, to only be able to see the world through those teenage ages if only for just one more day. I guess I'm too jaded to ever try to write Young Adult. I read the first book in the Twilight series thinking - would just just get it on already. Of course, Bella, being a teenager, it wouldn't have been appropriate for her to move that fast. I guess I just like my vampires a little, okay hundreds of years, older and wiser. Not to even mention hotter. Once you've fallen for Lestat, all other vampires pale in comparison. I don't see myself writing vampires because Anne Rice set the bar so high that I could never live up to those lofty heights.

I'm closing in on the 1/4 way mark in Lip Gloss & Lollipops. Tiffany is really coming through for me now. I know it was supposed to wind up being a menage with her, Trey and Brandon. But then Billy Dalton came along. And when Billy shows up, my plots take a life of their own. Her feelings for Billy are so much like mine were for my first love in the wrestling business. I'm using those emotions while writing this and I have to admit it's raw and real. At least inside my head. I hope it translates that way onto the pages.

In case there are any doubts, I am not a plotter. I start out with a very basic idea and let my characters take over from there. They tell the story. I'm just along for the roller coaster ride.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cover Me

Today I got my cover questionnaire for my debut novel - Headlocks & Hexes.

If you know me at all, you probably know how obsessively anal I am about the characters in my Ring Dreams series. I've got the Excel spreadsheets and plot lines and personal quirks on every single character in the series. So, thinking about seeing Rowan and possibly Dylan portrayed on the cover is slightly freaking me out.

Over the weekend I watched a really incredible move - Chloe. Amanda Seyfried's portrayal of Chloe is amazing. That character is so like Rowan in so many ways. Haflway through the movie I knew that if my books are every made into a series Amanda Seyfried would have to be the person to play Rowan.

Give her a good dye job to make her a redhead and add flowing hair extensions down to her ass and there you have Rowan the way I've always pictured her inside my head.