Monday, June 02, 2014

Big Easy Blog Tour

Welcome to the Big Easy Blog Tour, where writers talk about their writing process and the projects they're working on right now. I was suckered into . . . er, I mean invited to join the tour by my friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author Gloria Davidson Marlow who writes wonderfully chilling romantic suspense books that will keep you up reading all night.

Okay, on to the questions we're all supposed to answer.

1. What am I working on?

In between promotional efforts for my women's fiction book Symmetry and my YA novel After Me that's coming out this summer, I'm redoing my first novel, True Blue Forever, as a trilogy that includes a prequel about the main characters when they were children. This means I'm in the equivalent of Writer Heaven. Not only do I get to revisit my four favorite characters, I get to take a trip back in time to the days of playing outside until the streetlights came on, pinky swears and lifelong friendships, first loves and first kisses, broken hearts and broken promises, and that moment when you meet the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with and can't tell anyone because you're both eleven years old.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Actually, fitting my books into any one genre has always been a problem for me. One reason is that I have a penchant for writing about young characters dealing with adult issues. And although all my books include a love story that's central to the plot, they also feature sub-plots and other relationship issues for the hero/heroine that keep the books from fitting neatly into the required structure for romance novels. This has caused me a few problems in the past when pitching them to publishers and also with reviewers who were expecting a category romance and didn't get it. That's regrettable, but that's me. I like multi-dimensional plots when I'm reading, so that's the only way I can write mine.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Two reasons: First, I write stories that entertain me and just hope others will enjoy them as well. I've been making up stories to entertain myself since I was four years old. Sometimes I couldn't wait until bedtime so I could lie in the dark and envision the stories in my head. It wasn't until many years later when I began plotting my first novel that I realized I'd been plotting books all my life. The only difference is that now I write them down. This is why I don't really understand it when writers say they're so sick of their own book by the time it's published that they never want to read it again. I never get tired of reading my own books because I wrote them to entertain myself in the first place.

Second, I follow that age-old advice for writers to "write what you know." I write about epic loves that were meant to be because that's the only kind I know. My husband is my hero, the love of my life, and my absolute favorite person in the world. My characters might all be fictional people, but the love between them is the real thing. And since everybody in my family is a wise-cracking comedian, my books always have plenty of humor in them too.

However, I guess I probably need to point out here that the psychotic killer and other general scumbags in my upcoming YA novel After Me do NOT come from my real life. Neither does the smartass dead girl. Well, the dead part.

4. How does my writing process work?

I always start with the characters. After I have a clear picture of my protagonist and the other main characters in my head and my Blue Spiral Notebook, I ask myself the "what ifs?" What if this happened to them? What if somebody was trying to do this to them? What if they had to do this and couldn't get out of it? Etcetera, etcetera. Then I write a narrative overview of all the major plot points, making sure I have a strong beginning, middle and ending. This ensures that I don't get halfway through a book and stop because I don't know how to end it.

However, the overview sometimes changes as the actual scenes are written, because the characters often decide they don't want to do what I had planned for them. Sometimes the bad guys steal my heart and become not-so-bad guys. Sometimes my heroine doesn't end up with the guy I thought she'd pick. And sometimes someone just has to die no matter how hard I try to save them. When these things happen, I go back and adjust the overview to match the new plot developments.

And although I don't get stuck without an ending, I sometimes get stuck between how to get from Major Plot Point A to Major Plot Point B. I once left a pair of characters in a Jacuzzi for two weeks while I figured out what happened in their next scene. (Aside from a lot of wrinkled skin, they didn't seem to mind it too much. They were naked, after all.)

Luckily, I found a solution for when I find myself in one of those literary bogs. I use a tip I got from the amazing Laurie Halse Anderson and make a list of 25 things that could happen next, making sure that at least some of them are nonsensical. This works every time and has resulted in some of my favorite scenes.

Once I have the first draft completed, I try to let it sit for a couple of weeks before I start editing and revising, but I don't always make it that long because I actually love the editing process. When I do begin editing, I print out the manuscript so I can read it aloud to myself and Princess Tilly, my rescued Pomeranian. Not only does this do wonders for spotting stilted dialogue and problems with flow, Tilly thinks I'm the greatest writer in the world, so it also does wonders for my ego.

So that's the way I do it! Next up on the tour will be these talented ladies who'll tell you next Monday, June 9, all about their own writing processes and their upcoming books.

Lee Ann Ward -- Lee Ann is a former Senior Editor for a digital romance publisher and a multi-published author of adult and YA fiction. She's won several awards for her fiction and can't remember a time when she wasn't writing, having completed her first novel at the age of sixteen. She has four gorgeous sons, a sweetheart of a husband, two lazy cats, and the most rambunctious poodle in existence.

Brenda Barry -- Brenda is the author of a four-part saga of star-crossed lovers separated by the war in Vietnam titled Seasons of Love and War. Her husband was in the military for 21 years and gave her help and encouragement while writing her novel. They now live in Roseburg, Oregon, and when Brenda's not writing she can normally be found walking the trails with her husband and their little dachshund or traveling in their RV.

Angela Quarles -- Angela works at an independent bookstore and lives in a historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, Alabama, with her two matched gray cats, Darcy and Bingley. When she's not writing, she enjoys the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls and creating the occasional knitted scarf. She's had a varied career, including website programming and directing a small local history museum. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German from Emory University, and she has a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. She was an exchange student to Finland in high school and studied abroad in Vienna one summer in college. She is represented by Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon Associates, Inc.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spanning the Testosterone Scale

Welcome back to Sneak Peek Sunday!

My release party on Facebook this past Thursday was so much fun! Thanks to everyone who came, and congratulations to all the game winners. This week's excerpt from Symmetry features the first encounter between Jess's estranged husband and the soft-spoken man from her past. Just as Jess and Noah get home from their date, Lee shows up unexpectedly and loses it when he realizes that the "old friend" Jess had plans with isn't a girlfriend.

“Well, it shouldn’t make a difference to you either way, Lee, because we’re getting a divorce. What I do is none of your business anymore.” She turned to walk back to Noah, who looked as though he wished the Earth would open up and swallow him.

Lee grabbed her arm and stopped her. “Like hell it’s not my business! You’re still my wife, and I’m not letting any man put his hands on you!”

She whirled around to face him again. “Well, maybe I’ll come up with some story about being drugged and not knowing what I’m doing, then it won’t matter. Right, Lee?”

He moved her aside and started toward Noah. “Why don’t we see if your boyfriend’s willing to get his ass kicked for you!”

Noah held up his hands and took a step back. “Look, I don’t want any trouble with you, but I intend to keep seeing Jess.”

“Oh, really?” Lee sneered at him. “Well, I intend to break your face!”

Will Jess go back to Team Hunk, or will she defect to Team Sensitive? Buy your own copy of Symmetry to find out! And please also check out the other Sneak Peekers. Loads of talent on this list!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Reincarnation

Welcome to my first week participating in the Sneak Peek Sunday blog hop! I'm really excited about joining all the other great authors sharing their excerpts, so click on the blog name to read them all!

My contribution is from my novel Symmetry, which has been reborn thanks to my new publisher The Wild Rose Press. It's releasing to Amazon Kindle Select this Thursday, and the paperback and Nook versions will be available in July. Here's the blurb.

Jessica Cassady is a copyeditor for a small newspaper in Georgia where her husband Lee is a sportswriter. When he attends a convention in New York, Jess is shocked when she calls his room in the middle of the night and a woman answers. Lee swears things aren't what they seem, but Jess isn't so sure and kicks him out. Things become even more complicated when a sweet man from her past named Noah Hamilton shows up and makes Lee even more determined to get Jess back. Should she forego the beefcake brigade and give the sensitive type a try like her cat and her best friend Deb want her to do, or should she give in to the addictive rush she's always felt whenever she's close to Lee? It's enough to make any girl pull out her hair!

The excerpt I chose is the beginning of the first chapter and does a great job of showing Jess's dilemma when it comes to her hunky but clueless husband.

Jess always woke a second before she could complete the castration. Curses, foiled again. She blinked at the red numbers projected onto her ceiling by the clock on her night stand—4:23 a.m. Plenty of time to go back to sleep and finish the job, but she knew it was useless. She’d only end up dreaming about giving birth to a canned ham or grocery shopping in her pajamas, and Lee’s manhood would escape the knife again.

She snuggled against the body pillow occupying his place beside her in bed and got an indignant rowl from the Siamese cat curled up there. Jess smiled at the thought of what Lee would say about letting Ming sleep with her and decided maybe she’d tell him he’d been replaced by his feline nemesis when she saw him at the meeting later that morning.

She fell asleep reminding herself of how much better off she was without her two-timing, cat-hating, conceited jerk of a husband, and she dreamed he made love to her on the conference table at work, castration the furthest thing from her mind.

God, she hated him.

Five hours later, she sat across from Lee in the conference room at the Espanola Times and tried to focus on Thad Crandall’s weekly lecture about deadlines. If she hadn’t known better, she would have thought Lee knew what she’d dreamed about him from the way he kept nudging her with his foot under the table and flashing that damn blond-Adonis smile at her.

She tried to suppress the dream images of his face over hers, but every time she looked at him, her mind became a private movie screen featuring the world premiere of Position: Impossible. Shackled as she was with a redhead’s proclivity for blushing, she knew he noticed her agitation and probably thought it was from simply being near him.

Don't you hate it when your heart and your head (and a few other body parts) are at war with each other? Hope you enjoyed the excerpt. You can read the rest when Symmetry releases on Kindle this Thursday! I'm having a release party here all day on Facebook, so come join us for a chance to win a free copy plus games and other goodies!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Year, New Books!

Somebody notify the FBI to call off the missing person search. I found my way back! I haven't blogged since last June, but at least I've been busy while I was away. I have a new contract and cover for Symmetry from The Wild Rose Press, and I also got a three-book deal from Buzz Books USA for my YA series about Jada, the smart-mouthed dead girl who has to stay here and stop the scumbag who killed her. (More details about that coming soon!)

I absolutely LOVE my new cover for Symmetry. The cover artist, Debbie Taylor with DCA Graphics, did such a fantastic job creating a cover that perfectly represents my heroine and my story. That is so totally Ming looking at Jess and saying, "Hey, when are you gonna wise up and trade in that clueless husband of yours for that tall drink of water who's been hanging around here lately? I like him a lot better!"

I'm so excited about both deals and have some fun contests and promotions planned for the next few months. I'll also be taking part in Snippet Sunday again soon, so stay tuned for some tantalizing teasers!

Oh, and this isn't book related, but I also got the most adorable, sweet, precious little doggy named Tilly, one of three Pomeranians my son found abandoned. She has cataracts and can't see much, but she finds her way around just fine from sniffing and following my voice. She definitely found her way into my heart! I named her after Tilly Aston, a blind Australian woman who founded the Association for Blind Writers. Since I've been letting my hair grow out, we have the same hairdo. I can't make my eyes as big as hers though. ;-)

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday means another eight sentences from Shades of Blue, my WIP. Please also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone from these talented writers!

Last week we left Sam and JoJo after he climbs in her window in the middle of the night to get away from his drunken step-father, and JoJo is surprised to hear that his step-sister Britney helped him get away. After talking to Sam about how he and his mother have to get out and never go back, JoJo is terrified that they will never leave despite Russ's abuse. Sam sleeps on the floor of her bedroom and goes home early the next morning when he sees that Russ's truck is gone.

I got ready for school in a hurry so I could go next door and talk to Sam before Daddy came out to the car. When Britney answered the door, I had to bite my lip because her left eye was an ugly reddish-purple color and was swollen almost completely shut. She might be a spiteful tramp, but she didn’t deserve to get beaten. Especially by her own father.

Before I could think of anything to say, she turned around and called Sam then walked away. He came out of his room with his book bag slung over one shoulder and grabbed my arm when he got to the door.

“Come on, JoJo. I’ve got a lot to tell you.”

Bonus points to anyone who knows why I picked today's photo. ;-)

Shades of Blue is still a WIP, but you can buy my other books here.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Family Shards

Welcome back for another eight sentences from Shades of Blue, my WIP. Please also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone from these talented writers!

This week's snippet continues right after JoJo finds out Britney told Russ that Sam was trying out for football, but Sam claims she didn't do it out of spite. Here's the explanation.

“She had just come in the room and didn’t know he’d already hit me. I don’t think she would’ve said anything if she’d known how mad he would get about it.”

“Oh, I just bet,” I said, my fists squeezed so tight that my fingernails were cutting into my palms.

“No, really,” he said, “because when he grabbed me by the throat, she started yelling at him to stop. And she hit him over the head with a lamp when he wouldn’t let me go, then she told me to get out of the house until he sobered up.”

“Oh my God.” I didn’t know if I was more shocked because Russ had tried to choke Sam or because Britney had actually done something decent. I rose to my knees and put my arms around Sam’s neck. “I’m so glad you got out of there, and you can’t go back.”

If only it were that simple. More next week.

Shades of Blue is still a WIP, but you can buy my other books here.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sins of the Father

Sunday means time for another eight sentences from Shades of Blue, my WIP. Please also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone from these talented writers!

Last week we left Sam and JoJo at her bedroom window in the middle of the night. As promised, here's more about why he's there. This is after Sam has climbed in the window and is sitting on the end of JoJo's bed. He's just told her that his mom and Russ were both drinking heavily all night and arguing. While Sam was trying to help his mom to her bedroom, she accidentally called him Keith, his real dad's name.

I knelt on the floor beside his legs so I could look up at his face and said, “What did Russ do when she called you Keith?”

“He really lost it, JoJo--I’ve never seen him that mad before. He slapped my mom and told her he never wanted to hear that name again, and before I could say or do anything, he backhanded me and said it was my fault she did it.”

“How could it be your fault?”

“He said I’ve been trying to look and act like my dad on purpose because I want to turn my mom against him, and he said next I’d be wanting to go out for football so I could play the big shot quarterback like my old man.”

"You didn’t tell him you were trying out, did you?”

He looked at me and shook his head. “No, but Britney did.”

Now, don't jump to too many conclusions. More next week.

Shades of Blue is still a WIP, but you can buy my other books here.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
Like my Facebook Fan Page here