Sunday, December 16, 2012

Not Impressed

Welcome back to Six Sentence Sunday!

Last week Jada found out from Flo, her Afterlife Advisor, that her penance also includes learning to deal with normal human emotions since she didn't do that when she was alive. Like Makayla Maroney above, Jada is not impressed. Here's her response.

SUBJECT: Redact this!

This seriously bites! I’d try to sue or something, but I’m sure it wouldn’t do me any good and all the lawyers are probably in hell anyway. I also think your department should have to pay your own penance for a screw-up like this. I hope your computers get a virus that replaces all your records with knock-knock jokes and bad puns.


Just a guess here, but I don't think her new e-mail addy will pass muster either. Thanks for stopping by, and please leave me a comment. I love feedback!

I'm still shopping Penance with agents, but you can buy my other books here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
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~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Deadly Treat

I decided to share this excerpt from Penance today instead of doling it out six sentences at a time on upcoming Sundays. I think its creepiness works better dished out in one skin-crawling lump. And it just seems appropriate for today, Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

This is the first of five chapters from the killer's POV.

After he dumped the tramp’s body in the lake, Julian drove the Ferrari back to the McCarthy mansion in Jacksonville’s San Marco neighborhood and parked it with the other cars waiting to be cleaned and serviced. No one had seen him take it from the garage, and no one was around to see him bring it back either. He’d made sure the security camera aimed at this area was turned off before he left for the day, and he knew the security crew was goofing off the way they always did when Morris McCarthy was away on one of his “business” trips to Vegas.

Julian’s own Ford Fiesta was parked in the staff parking lot where he’d left it. He got in and locked the doors, pausing to slam his hands and forehead against the steering wheel a few times and let out a stream of obscenities before starting the engine.

How could he have been so stupid and let her goad him into bashing in her skull before he got the chance to make her do the things he’d wanted her to do? He was supposed to be the one calling the shots, not her. That’s what the gun was for. It always turned them into sniveling little girls begging him for mercy, willing to do anything he said if he wouldn’t kill them.

But this time he’d been cheated. The little tramp had pushed his buttons and made him lose his temper. Sure, it had felt good to turn that pretty face of hers into hamburger meat, but not as good as the things he’d been planning to make her do. Now he would have to go downtown and find a hooker, and it was getting hard to find one who hadn’t heard through the grapevine that he liked to knock them around as foreplay.

His fury eased a little as he pulled out of the McCarthy grounds and passed the other mansions on his way out of San Marco. He loved pretending he was house shopping and would someday own one of the huge riverside estates instead of working as a personal assistant to the wealthy men who owned them.

By the time he reached the Interstate on-ramp that would take him downtown, he had consoled himself with plans to amp up the online relationship he’d been fostering with a naughty little thing who called herself WETNWILD16. She’d been dropping hints in her messages that sparkly things really turned her on. Vera McCarthy had an ample supply of what she called “disposable” jewelry—complimentary trinkets from upstart jewelers trying to get exposure—so she never missed the things Julian pilfered to send as gifts to his online Sugar Babies.

Yes, he’d start this one out with something sparkly, then he’d reel her in with something sporty and fast. And this time he would make sure she stayed alive long enough to repay him for his generosity.

What, you didn't think Penance was nothing but Jada's sarcastic attitude and humor did you? Don't try to keep this girl in any stinking boxes! ;-)

Penance isn't available yet, but you can buy my other books here. And if you like the kind of dark material in this excerpt, there's some of it in Different Roads too. 

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

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Delicious Dilemma

For my last Six Sentence Sunday featuring my novel Symmetry, I felt I needed to show why Jess has such a tough decision about which man she wants to be with.

Last week I left you in the middle of a testosterone-charged exchange between Jess's estranged husband Lee and Noah, the attractive man from her past. Jess manages to stop Lee before things become physical, but he makes sure that Noah knows Jess is still his wife before he leaves. He comes back in the middle of the night, reeking of whiskey and pleading with Jess to forgive him for all his past transgressions. She's not at all convinced, but she lets him sleep on the couch since he's in no condition to drive. This scene takes place the next morning.

Lee was still asleep when she got up in the morning, sprawled on the couch the way he’d taken a nap there so many times in the past. She stopped to look at him on her way to the kitchen and had to marvel at how, even while in dire need of a shave with his hair a mass of blond chaos and his bottom lip vibrating rather obscenely every time he exhaled, he was still the best-looking thing she had ever seen.

Her gaze was drawn to the way his biceps flexed on the arm bent over his head and the glorious shape of his lower body inside his wrinkled cotton pants. Her pulse quickened the way it always had whenever she looked at him. God, she was so hooked on him it was like having a chemical dependency--addicted to the hormonal rush her body always experienced when it was near his. She was nothing but a pathetic Lee junkie.

Which man will she pick? Her hunky, clueless husband or the silken-voiced sweetheart from her past? Buy Symmetry here and find out!

And please also check out the other Six Sentencers.

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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Male Egos R Us

When last we saw our heroine Jess, she was checking out a tall drink of water from her past and considering a switch from Team Hunk to Team Soulful. After the lecture, she goes out for coffee with Noah and agrees to have dinner with him the next night. The initial guilt she feels disappears pretty quick when she tells her estranged husband Lee that she's having dinner with an old friend and he can't stop advancing his career long enough to even care.

When Lee shows up at their house just as she's coming home from her date with Noah, she discovers that he thought her old friend was an old girlfriend. Turns out he cares a little after all.

“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.”

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

Oh, my. What girl doesn't appreciate a little macho posturing on her behalf? Tune in next Sunday to see what happens next!

Or you can just buy you own copy of Symmetry here. And please also check out the other Six Sentencers.

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

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Mystery Man from the Past

Happy Sunday, everyone!

This week's six sentences feature the man in Symmetry from Jess's past who shows up while she's separated from her husband Lee. To celebrate her new independence and reward herself for standing up to her mother, Jess decides to pamper herself a little. But since she's Jess, her idea of pampering is to get her first pedicure, take art and yoga lessons, and sign up for a lecture series on the Revolutionary War. Her best friend Deb tells her those things are an insult to pampering and that she's like the heroine in the nerdiest Chick Lit novel ever, which of course she is! ;-)

When Jess attends her first lecture, the speaker--Noah Hamilton--seems very familiar to her, but she can't place him. This scene takes place right after he's introduced to the audience, but it still doesn't jog Jess's memory.

Jess thought she might’ve heard his name before, but she had no idea where or when. As he stepped up to the podium, his gaze met hers again momentarily, and she got the feeling he was looking for a reaction from her, as if he knew who she was and wanted to see if she recognized him as well. Who the devil was he?

As soon as he began speaking, she knew. Although she thought they might have had more than one class together in high school, she remembered talking to him only once when he’d complimented her on an impassioned essay about tobacco company lawsuits that she’d written and read aloud in her sophomore English class. She recalled thinking then that his voice reminded her of the wind in the trees outside her bedroom window, a soothing whisper that had lulled her to sleep for as long as she could remember.

Uh-oh. Looks like Lee has some competition, huh? Find out next week what happens when these two polar opposites on the testosterone scale meet face to face!

Or you can just buy you own copy of Symmetry here. And please also check out the other Six Sentencers. Loads of talent on this list!

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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Six Sentences From Detention

My post is late this week because I had an editing deadline that I worked on exclusively until last night. I guess my brain was just too fried to remember to schedule my Six Sunday post. I thought about punishing myself ala Dobby the House Elf, but I decided my bones are probably too brittle for anything like that.

So I'm not allowing myself to use any photos, and I chose six sentences from a scene in Symmetry that features my heroine's mother in all her condescending, disapproving glory. Just imagine that she's looking down her aristocratic nose at me as well as at Jess.

This scene takes place when Jess's mother shows up from out of town for an unexpected visit. Jess has just told her that Lee moved out, and her mother automatically assumes it was his by his choice, which makes Jess laugh so bitterly that she spills her coffee.

“I fail to see anything remotely humorous about this, Jessica Elaine. Have you taken leave of your senses?”

“Yes, that’s it, Mother.” Jess took a napkin from the apple-shaped holder in the center of the table and blotted the spilled coffee. “Lee left me because I’m insane. He’s probably afraid I’ll murder him in his sleep or—even worse—that I might pull out his hair and make everyone think he has male pattern baldness.”

You can buy you own copy of Symmetry here. And please also check out the other Six Sentencers.

Okay, it's back to detention for me now. See you next Sunday on time, I promise!

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

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hands Down and Heads Up!

Last Sunday I promised to explain what I meant by the "hair pulling" reference in my description of Symmetry. Since I'm on vacay this week visiting my step-daughters, (one of whom is the beautiful redhead on the cover of Symmetry) I'm being lazy and letting an excerpt from one of my reviews do it for me. This is from Julie's review on the Girls Just Reading blog:

"What I enjoyed most was Jess's journey to figuring out why she liked to pull out her hair, strand by strand. This leads her to a self-diagnosis of trichotillomania or TTM for short. She begins to try to understand the triggers for this and takes actions to stop. I also liked how she developed a relationship with a young girl named Cara who did not have the support of her family in treating this disease. As a psychology major, I found it extremely interesting that this is a physical disease and not a mental illness. I can see why it would be misdiagnosed a lot of the time. I liked how this also brought her closer to her younger sister-in-law Lexie, and how she was able to help Lexie with her own issues with OCD.

Normally, I would think that authors would have to do a lot of research on a disease like TTM, but not Ms. Scarbrough. For her this was a personal novel because she deals with TTM herself. I always like it when authors use a subject matter they know personally as a source of inspiration for a character. I have a feeling that Jessica is a lot like Joyce in her way of dealing with TTM."

So there it is. I have trichotillomania. The six sentences I chose for this week come from the book's dedication and from the author's note at the end, and they explain why I wrote it.

This book is dedicated to all the people suffering alone who don't even know that what they do has a name. You are not defective, damaged, or mentally ill, and you are worthy of love and understanding.

I’ve often been asked why I decided to include a topic like hair-pulling in a novel instead of telling my own story about it in a book of non-fiction. The answer to that is twofold. First, I have TTM only to the degree that Jess has it, so it’s not a major problem for me—certainly not interesting enough for an entire book about it. Second, I figured the only people who read non-fiction books about TTM are people who already know what it is, and my goal is to raise awareness in the rest of the population.

See, I always knew there had to be a reason God gave me both the ability to write and enough hair for three people!

You can buy you own copy of Symmetry here. And please also check out the other Six Sentencers.

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

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Weakness For Obnoxious Pretty Boys

It's Six Sentence Sunday and time to introduce the characters in my third book, Symmetry. Here's a short synopsis to get things started.

When Jessica Cassady calls her husband's hotel room in the middle of the night, a woman's sleepy voice answers the phone. Lee swears things aren't what they seem, but Jess still kicks him out. As if that's not enough to deal with, she realizes that her hair pulling is more than just a nervous habit. Sure, Lee makes her want to pull her hair out, but this is ridiculous.

While Lee tries to win her back, things get even more complicated when Jess runs into Noah Hamilton, a sweet, unassuming history teacher from her past. Her attraction to him makes her wonder if—as her best friend Deb loves to tell her—she should forego the beefcake brigade and give the sensitive type a try. Sparks fly as these two polar opposites on the testosterone scale compete for Jess's affection. Will she be able to find her emotional center, decide which man is right for her, and finally achieve the symmetry she craves in every aspect of her life?

I'll explain more about the hair pulling next Sunday. For now, here's six sentences to introduce Jess's dilemma.

Jess always woke a second before she could complete the castration. Curses, foiled again.

She snuggled against the body pillow occupying Lee's place beside her in bed and got an indignant rowl from the Siamese cat curled up there, and she smiled at the thought of what Lee would say about letting Ming sleep with her. 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.

For some reason, most men don't seem to like that first sentence. Go figure!

You can buy you own copy of Symmetry here. And please also check out the other Six Sentencers. There's something for everybody among these talented writers!

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

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Steamy Sunday

One last post about Jaycee and Bud in Different Roads, then on to my third book, Symmetry.

I chose these six sentences for two reasons. 1) To show the passion that drew them together in the first place and binds them despite all their fighting. 2) To show everyone that my books contain more than just stormy relationships and emotion-filled scenes. The truth is my heroines are all pretty much hot-to-trot like a certain redheaded author who created them, but only with that one special guy. And I can assure you that these scenes are thoroughly researched and factually accurate.

“We were made for each other, Jaycee. Don’t ever doubt it, and don’t ever forget that you’re mine.”

She pulled him deeper still and begged him never to stop. He did his best to comply, but he finally collapsed in her arms and fell asleep still inside her.

Jaycee lay motionless, afraid to breathe because she didn’t want to wake him and have to let him go. She marveled at how perfectly they fit together that way and how she barely felt the weight of his body, and she decided it was because they were so much stronger together than either of them was alone.

I tried to pick a passage that was steamy but not too much for a Sunday morning coffee read. If you like more delicious details in your love scenes, there are plenty of those in Different Roads. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers, especially my friends Angela Quarles and Stephanie Lawton.

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

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Storm Warning

Six more sentences this week to show why Jaycee stays with Bud even though he frequently gets himself confused with the big yellow thing in the sky upon which all life depends, and they fight more than Walmart shoppers at a Black Friday sale.

This scene takes place while they're in college and Bud takes Jaycee home with him to meet his wealthy family. He argues with his dad about Jaycee then foolishly takes his bad mood out on her—something you should do only if you have a death wish. She tells him she'll walk the 200 miles back to school before she'll let him treat her like shit or wait around for him to start beating on her.

He walked to the doorway and she thought for a second he was leaving, but he only closed the door and came back across the room to put his arms around her. She resisted even though she wanted him to hold her more than anything in the world at that moment, then she gave up and leaned wearily against him. She always felt so tired when her anger subsided—maybe that was why she always held on to it longer than she should.

“I’d never hit you, Jaycee. I might be an asshole with a lousy temper and a big mouth, and I know I say stupid things when I get mad, but I’m not your father, and I swear to God I’d cut off my arms before I’d ever hurt you.”

She thought maybe she had wanted to hear those words from him even more than she wanted to hear him say he loved her.

So, yeah. Bud's not always the brightest light in the ball park, but his arms are Jaycee's safe harbor. Of course, they have to weather a lot more storms before she believes it.

You can read how they find their way here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers, especially my friends Angela Quarles and Stephanie Lawton.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two Sides of a Damaged Coin

One of my favorite things to do in my books is to make readers dislike a character, then make them change their minds. I succeeded with Wade in True Blue Forever, and I did it again in Different Roads with the guy Jaycee meets when she gets to college. He's a poor little rich boy named Bud Stanton who thinks—not unreasonably—that he is God's gift to womankind. Not only is he arrogant and spoiled, he drowns his sorrows in whiskey the same as Jaycee's abusive father.

He's everything she despises, and she wants him more than anything.

So why does Jaycee abandon a good-hearted guy like Cole for an asshole like Bud? The next couple of Sundays will be devoted to showing you, because there's no way I can do it in just six sentences!

This scene takes place early in their relationship, when they fight as frequently and as physically as they make love.

“You think this is some kind of game, Bud? That it’s funny to act like a lunatic and accuse me of being a whore, because I got enough of that from my father to last me a lifetime.”

“For God’s sake, Jaycee, just punch me. I’m a crazy, jealous asshole and you should bash my face in, but don’t leave me.” He closed his eyes and braced himself for a blow.

Jesus, he was a little boy afraid of being abandoned, and they were so much alike that it was scary.

You can buy your own copy of Different Roads here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers, especially my friends Angela Quarles and Stephanie Lawton.

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

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Loves Who Get Lost

Last Sunday I introduced you to Jaycee, the heroine in my second novel, Different Roads. This week I want you to meet Cole McGee, the first and only boyfriend she has in high school. This scene takes place right after Jaycee finds out that Cole won't go to college with her because his parents expect him to run the little diner that's been in their family for generations.

How could she have been so stupid as to think he was hers and that he loved her? She was glad to be done with it so she could focus on college and her career, because those were the important things—the things that would get her everything she’d always wanted. The things that would finally make her daddy glad she was his daughter.

And at least she hadn’t made a fool of herself and told Cole that she loved him, or that he was the best thing she’d ever had in her life, or that the only place she’d ever felt she could be herself was in his arms. And that when he was holding her, she almost believed she was just as good as all the girls with real parents who loved them.

Jaycee curled herself into a ball and cried until she ran out of tears and her heart was numb again, the way it had been before Cole had shown her how to love.

You can buy your own copy of Different Roads here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers, especially my friends Angela Quarles and Stephanie Lawton.

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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Hellion of a Heroine

I want to make it clear that I had a happy childhood with two loving parents, so I have no idea why an abused, motherless little girl named Jaycee chose to take up residence in my head and demand that I tell her story. But if you read my second novel Different Roads, you'll understand why I couldn't ignore her.

The video above does a pretty good job of describing Jaycee's story, but I chose six sentences to illustrate a little more of what made her grow up to be such a hellion and sent her down the road that ultimately saved her. This scene takes place while Jaycee is still in high school, and she forgets to leave on a light so she won't come home to a dark house.

And once again I'm extremely grateful that I've always liked exceptionally long sentences!

She counted to ten, then she turned the knob and pushed open the door in one swift motion, running with her eyes closed after all. She’d thought she knew the exact location of every piece of worn-out furniture in the living room, but she forgot the gym bag she’d left in front of the couch and tripped over it at a full run, ending up sprawled in the middle of the floor with the breath knocked out of her.

Heedless of the pain in her chest and lungs, she scrambled across the floor on her hands and knees, the nightmare returning in a vivid rush. She couldn’t see anything, but she knew something horrible was there, hurting her with its monster hands as it got ready to eat her at any second. She curled herself into a ball and sobbed in terror and desolation, a six year old once again with no one to comfort her, wishing with all her might that her daddy would come and save her.

But he didn’t come, and Jaycee stayed that way until the room filled with the gray light of dawn.

"Hope Chest," the short story mentioned in the video, can be found here, and you can buy Different Roads here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers, especially my BFF Lee Ann Ward.

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

Sunday, June 03, 2012

When Antagonists Attack . . . Your Heart

Today's six introduces the third of the three boys who fell in love with Jeana. Wade Strickland--the boy who gave Jeana her first kiss when they were eleven years old, and the boy who broke her heart.

I originally had no intention of Wade being anything but the antagonist in the story, since he hates Mickey and resents Billy Joe and tends to solve his problems with his fists. But he grew on me as I wrote, and he's one of my favorite characters.

This scene takes place when Jeana and the boys are seniors. Wade and his best friend Jimbo are sitting in Wade's Corvette parked on the bank of Chickasabogue Creek. Jimbo is the only one who knows that Wade loves Jeana, and he finally gets up the nerve to ask Wade why he can't forget Jeana since he has so many other girls crazy for him.

Wade stared at the water through the windshield and didn’t say anything for a long time. Jimbo wasn’t about to push him and had decided he wasn’t going to get an answer when he heard a heavy sigh on the other side of the car.

“Every tackle, every catch, every damn step I took on the football field was for her, but you know who she thought was hot stuff, Jimbo? A scrawny kid whose biggest claim to fame was doing handstands in the pool and whistling with his fingers. She’s the best thing I ever had in my life, and the only time I ever felt even close to being a hero was because of the way she looked at me. I’ve loved her since we were kids, and I’m never gonna stop.”

Okay, which of these three boys do you think Jeana ends up with? Tough choice, huh? To find out, get your copy of True Blue Forever here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers here, especially my BFF Lee Ann Ward.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Best Friend Extraordinaire

"I just loooovvvve Billy Joe!"

I heard this so many times while my beta readers read the manuscript of True Blue Forever that I ended up putting it in the book itself. In typical Billy Joe Dubose style, he tells Jeana, "Yeah, everybody loves Billy Joe. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it."

Here's six sentences to show you a little bit of why Jeana loves him.

He handed it to her and she tore off the paper to reveal a framed sketch of herself, and Jeana gasped as she realized she actually remembered the day depicted: a scorcher in late August the summer they were twelve. They’d been spraying each other with the hose, and her shirt was drenched and clinging to her budding breasts. She was pointing the nozzle at an unseen Billy Joe, laughing with her head thrown back and leaves caught in the dripping ringlets of her hair.

“You never gave a damn about how you looked,” he said, “and I’ve always thought you were the most beautiful creature on the face of the Earth. That was the day I finally got up the nerve to tell you how I felt about you, or I thought I had anyway. I remember watching your face while you were laughing, and I knew I couldn’t stand it if things ever got awkward between us because you didn’t feel the same way about me, so I chickened out and told myself that being your best friend was better than not having you at all.”

As always, you can find my books here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers here, especially my BFF Lee Ann Ward.

And this time the hunk featured in the picture is my adorable son TJ when he was sixteen--the absolute embodiment of Billy Joe. Everybody loves him too, especially me.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meet My Blue-Eyed Yankee

This week's six introduces you to Mickey Royal, one of the three boys who fell in love with Jeana at the fifth grade honors program. This scene takes place well into the book and gives a few things away, but it does such a great job of showing just how driven Mickey is about everything important to him that I had to use it. This is also one of those times I'm grateful that I write really, really long sentences!

After watching Mickey crush the ball repeatedly one night, the park manager asked him if he played anywhere locally. When he learned Mickey would be playing for the University of South Alabama in the fall, the manager offered him access to the cages late at night, along with a pass-key so he wouldn’t have to use any money. In return, Mickey promised to get the man tickets to the Jags’ games.

Mickey stayed in the cage every night until he was so exhausted that he thought he might be able to sleep in the bed where he’d made love to Jeana without the memories torturing him with the ghostly touch of her hands on his skin, teasing him with the scent of her hair on his pillow, and mocking him in the dark with the whispered promises she hadn’t meant.

It wasn’t something he could talk about with his mom or anyone else. The only person who would have understood why he went there was the reason he had to go.

You can find all my books here. Please also check out the other Six Sentencers here, especially my BFF Lee Ann Ward and critique partner Stephanie Lawton.

Oh, and feel free to drool over those legs in the picture, but don't get your hopes up. They belong to my husband and still look that good. You may envy me now. ;-)

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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Premature Expatiation

Yep, I jumped the gun on my last post. Went off half-cocked. Shot from the hip. Belabored this metaphor way too much . . .

ANYWAY! I decided that I should have started with an excerpt from the prologue of True Blue Forever that would introduce all four main characters and what ties them together. So, although I've already shown the girl my heroine grows up to be, here's a glimpse of her as a child. This scene takes place at the fifth grade honors program, and Jeana has just recited a poem she wrote.

Three of Jeana’s listeners were captivated by the girl who recited with such presence the words she had written. Eleven-year-old boys are notorious for hating girls, and yet three of them sat on metal folding chairs in the stuffy, overcrowded room permeated with the smell of corn dogs they would be served later for lunch and felt their hearts quicken at the luminescence of Jeana’s smile. They knew this girl was special, and each of them fell in love with her. Eleven-year-old love that could be felt but not admitted. Not yet, anyway.

And the three boys shared a thought: Someday, she’ll be my girl.

You can find all my books here and the other Six Sentencers here. My favorites are my BFF Lee Ann Ward and critique partner Stephanie Lawton, whose dirty mind I'm sure had a field day with the title of this post and the resulting idioms. ;-)

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

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Showing with Six Sentences

Welcome to my virgin post for Six Sentence Sunday!

I guess the best place for me to start is at the beginning (what a novel concept--bad pun intended!) so my first offering is from my first book, True Blue Forever. It’s classified as YA, but it’s really a coming-of-age novel with a nostalgic look back at first loves, first kisses, lifelong friendships, heartbreak, and some really tough choices the teenage characters have to make. And the setting is so Southern you can practically feel the humidity and smell the magnolias.

I think the best way to introduce The Blueness is by offering excerpts that show what makes each of the four main characters special. First up is our sixteen-year-old heroine, Miss Jeana Lee Russell—future valedictorian and proud band nerd.

“Don’t you know how incredible you are?” Mickey’s eyes searched her face and slowly widened. “You don’t, do you? God, you’re like a perfect work of art, and you don’t even know it.”

Jeana had never thought of herself as even close to beautiful, but now—looking into Mickey’s amazing eyes so full of his love for her—she had no choice but to believe it. Even if nobody else ever thought she was beautiful, she knew Mickey did, and that was all that mattered to her.

You can find all my books here, and please also check out the other Six Sentencers, especially my BFF Lee Ann Ward and writing bud Stephanie Lawton, who introduced me this fun promotional tool.

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie: A Writer's Review

"The book was better."

I'd say this is true for 95% of movies that are based on books, with 4% having the book and the movie equally good and 1% of movies that are better. (I'm a word person and don't play well with numbers, so don't hold me to those percentages. Hey, at least they add up to 100!)

So it was no real surprise that the theatrical version of THE HUNGER GAMES fell into the 95% category, yet I still found myself quite disappointed that this movie I had anticipated seeing on the big screen more than any other didn't quite live up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong--it's a good movie full of excitement, visual thrills and moving scenes. I'm sure anyone who sees it that hasn't read the books will think it's fabulous. It was just missing the deep, soul-stirring elements that make me love the book series so much.

It certainly wasn't the fault of the cast. While some of the actors were not how I pictured the characters, they all did a great job of bringing their roles to life and won me over. Especially Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Their scenes together were magical--both the action-filled and the emotional ones.

No, I think the biggest problem was the inherent limitations of watching a movie versus reading a book, especially a book written in the first person POV. While Jennifer Lawrence did a wonderful job of showing Katniss's amazing bravery, devotion to her family and strength of character, even her award-worthy acting skills could not portray Katniss's inner conflicts, subtle revelations about herself and her fellow tributes, and her ingenious ability to control her outward appearances and reactions because she knew she was always being watched by the entire country.

Not only did Katniss have to manipulate the spoiled Capitol citizens whose sponsorship she needed to survive, she had to be constantly mindful that her sister and mother were being forced to watch everything that happened to her. You really can't show this through facial expressions, and it's not something Katniss would talk about with anyone even if she could do so without being overheard. So it's a major part of the story's draw that is missing from the movie.

There were other important aspects of the story that I think the director didn't do justice to or omitted altogether. This was probably because of time limitations, but I think some of the special effect scenes and visual gut-punches could have been shortened in order to show things like how desperate Katniss was to find water when she first went into the arena and how she almost died of dehydration. She finds a water source immediately in the movie and never even gets thirsty! The same thing is true of the pain she and Peeta suffered from their injuries and how close they came to dying, and also the emotional bonding between them that developed gradually while they cared for each other. These things were skipped in exchange for more death scenes, and it kept the movie audience from connecting as much to Katniss and Peeta as readers do in the books.

For me, the biggest thing about both these books and the movie is the magnificence of the heroine. Katniss is both bigger than life and completely human at the same time, and I cheered for her not only because of what she meant to the story, but for what she meant to the millions of young girls reading about her. Her message is this:

You are capable of making a difference in the world every bit as much as any of your male counterparts, and don't ever let anybody convince you otherwise!

And while the heroines in my books don't inspire any revolutions like Katniss does, they do share her belief in herself and always stand up for themselves against adversity. If they inspire even a fraction of Katniss's fans, I'll feel as if I've made a difference as a writer.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tagged and Bagged: Lucky Seven

I got tagged by my critique group partner and fellow author Stephanie Lawton. As tagging memes go, this one isn't bad at all. Who doesn't like to share snippets of their books with readers to torture--er, I mean tease them and make them want to read it? This girl right here does for sure!

The rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 other victims …er, authors.

So here's mine from my current WIP, Shades of Blue. It's a coming-of-age story about a young couple who have to grow up a lot faster than they expected. I'm also including the photo I was lucky enough to find that is the embodiment of Sam and JoJo.

Russ turned to look at me, and his eyebrows went up over his beady little rat eyes. My skin felt as if it were trying to pull itself inside my body to get as far away from him as possible, and I wanted to pick up the nearest blunt object and chunk it at his fat, smirking, bearded face. Someday—I didn’t know when, but someday—that wasn’t gonna be just a wonderful fantasy. I was gonna do it for real.

“Well, if it ain’t little JoJo from next door,” he said. “Haven’t seen you around here in awhile. Looks like you ain’t quite so little anymore.”

Photo courtesy Tieshka Smith/Mom of
Three Photography. Copyright © 2010-2012, all rights

Now for the next 7 tag-ees. Is that a word? It is now!

Aston West
Janet Elaine Smith
Joe Prentis
Israel Parker
Lynn McMonigal
Pauline Baird Jones
Denise Robbins

On your mark, get set, GO!

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

Friday, January 06, 2012

Birth Announcement

"The End"

Really, are there two more beautiful words an author can write? For me, finishing a new manuscript is like welcoming a new child into my family.

Meet my bouncing baby girl named PENANCE.

After she’s murdered, seventeen-year-old Jada Gayle arrives in the Afterlife Admissions office and discovers that a hold has been placed on her account. Florence, Jada’s Afterlife Advisor, informs her that she must stay among the living until she finds and stops the man who murdered her—her penance for messing around online and getting herself killed by a sexual predator. After she’s matched up with a newly dead homeless teen on, Jada assumes the girl’s identity and gets assigned to a nice foster home in Miami’s Coconut Grove.

While she’s one of the transdead, Jada is not supposed to feel any emotions, so imagine her surprise when she discovers that an addendum to her penance was inadvertently left out of her paperwork: she must also learn to deal with normal human emotions since she didn't have them while she was alive. Ever since her father and best friend were killed in a drunk driving accident, Jada hasn’t felt anything. Now she’s bombarded with intense emotions she wishes would just go away.

Or so she thinks until she meets Lew Stanton, captain of the chess team and computer whiz. And if it’s not bad enough to have the hots for a nerd, Jada’s new best friend Annalee secretly likes him too, so Jada is torn between loyalty to her friend and the guy who makes her dead heart beat phantom rhythms in her chest. While Jada deals with all this unwanted teenage angst, the man who killed her is closing in on more foolish girls. Can she focus enough to stop him before he kills again?

My baby girl really kicks butt, huh? Even for a newborn!

Now begins the process of introducing her to an agent and/or publisher!

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