Reading New Adult, Waiting, and Binging on Breaking Bad

August 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

I have been reading a lot of New Adult (NA) books. It turns out that this relatively new genre is what I’ve been writing in all along. College-aged protagonist experiencing first true love, first real relationship, first split from family, and trying to figure out what the heck to do with her life. I love this genre. Here are some NA books I’ve read, or are currently reading, that I really enjoyed.

Losing It

Losing It by Cora Carmack—(Read). Light, hilarious, fun.

Fallen Too Far

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines—(Read). Spunky heroine. Great premise. Great voice.

Faking It

Faking It by Cora Carmack—(Currently reading). Love. Love. Cade is my dream man.

Entwined with You

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day—(Currently reading). Just as sexy as the first two in the series.

Three days after I returned from RWA, I submitted the requested material to the agent I pitched to. Yeah, I jammed on it right away. I didn’t spend the last several months holing up every weekend and not getting enough sleep for nothing! Now, I play the waiting game. It’s not a bad place to be. I can do some supplemental research. Sketch ideas for the next book. Read—a lot. Re-invigorate my social life. And I really have to get on the social life thing. I hermitized for so long that my beta reader Dia is threatening some elaborate schemy-scheme to get me hooked up. And that sounds like a disaster and a half.


Dia and me. Don’t let that smile fool you.

I was one of the 5.9 million viewers who tuned in for the final premiere of Breaking Bad on Sunday. After I spent the last few months frantically catching up on the series via Netflix. Now I know what the infamous “Box Cutter” episode is all about, the one that Steven Michael Quezada brought up during the Breaking Bad panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE) in June.

Giancarlo Esposito said that filming THAT scene in the season four opening was tough. “I had to try to elicit some compassion somewhere behind my dead eyes.”

BTW, in person, Giancarlo is a very handsome, gregarious, charismatic man with an amazing, resonant voice. Not like Gus Fring at all. When an audience fan announced breathlessly to Giancarlo, “I love you,” he replied, “Did you just say I’m a handsome cat or what? Yeah! I love you, too!”


l-r: Steven Michael Quezada (Gomez), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring), Jeremiah Bitsui (Victor). Breaking Bad Panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo, June 22, 2013.

Steven Michael Quezada told the story of his audition, when Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan asked Steven what he thought of the script. Steven didn’t know who Vince was, so he said, “I read it twice. This shit’s so crazy, it just might work.”

When Vince said he was the one who wrote it, Steven thought, “Shit. I just blew it. I just did the opposite of what I tell my students to do. Just go in and read the lines. They don’t care what you think about the script. I don’t know what he [Vince] saw in me to give me the part.”

Giancarlo said, “You know what it was. You. You were being yourself. He saw you. When you go in, they want to see you. Who you really are.”


Reading into La-La Land, Working the Return, and ACE!

June 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

June 23, 2013

View from under a tree while taking a snack break during ABQ Comic Expo

View from under a tree while taking a snack break during ABQ Comic Expo

I started Entwined with You, but my reading has been limited to me trying to get in a couple of pages at night before I pass out. I’ve been getting to bed too late a lot, because . . .

The RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference in Atlanta is fast approaching, and I have to get my manuscript finalized, vetted by my Hot Tub Readers, and prepped for the pitch. The Return phase is coming along pretty well. Only problem is, I’ll go into a scene thinking that all I need to do is polish it up a little and then I’ll realize, oh, wait, this scene has been rendered totally obsolete by all the changes I made in the previous fifteen chapters. As Charlie Brown would say, “Augggh!”

Jazz got an impromptu water hose bath after I found her playing with a dead bird. Totally interrupted my writing sprint.

Jazz got an impromptu water hose bath after I found her playing with a dead bird.
Totally interrupted my writing sprint.

Headed to Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE) on Saturday even though I was tired and had a killer headache that Excedrin couldn’t even stifle for longer than two hours. I wasn’t missing ACE, though, no way. The art, the costumes, the Breaking Bad panel. (More on that later this week.) I got to see Michael Golden again, and picked up a luminous Power Girl print he created. I told him that I remember a lot of his tips from his storytelling workshop last year, and that I am applying them to my current project. “I’ll think a scene is really cool because it’s subtle, but my readers will say, ‘I don’t get it’ and then I remember: Okay. I have to spell it out again. Right here and now in this scene.”

MIchael Golden signs one of his prints at ACE 13

MIchael Golden signs one of his prints at ACE 13

Michael said, “Number one rule. People are stupid.”

Read, Write, Bliss Highlights of 2012

January 7, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s Good to Have Goals

I didn’t finish the novel in 2012. But enough of that. I’m going to focus on the positive— the accomplishments and highlights of 2012.

Made serious progress on the novel

Writers Journey

  • Finished draft 2.
  • Finished the detailed timeline.
  • Finished the in depth character bios.
  • Finshed the Save the Cat Beat Sheet.
  • Revamped the mythic outline after reading The Writer’s Journey
  • Started draft 3 which includes a lot of total rewrites and scrapping of old scenes and creating new scenes thanks to the whole timeline and character bio and save the cat thing. Oh, well. It’s gotta be done.

Finished my 2012 Goodreads Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge

I haven’t read 25 books in a year since I was in college!

Joined LERA


This group really knows the writing and publishing industry, all of the members are very interactive and supportive, and I look forward to the meetings because they are super fun.

Met a whole bunch of authors in person

Alisa Valdes—The Dirty Girls Social Club, The Temptation, The Feminist and the Cowboy

Author Alisa Valdes and her YA novel The Temptaion. At Bookworks bookstore in Albuquerque.

Author Alisa Valdes and her YA novel The Temptaion. At Bookworks bookstore in Albuquerque.

I love Alisa’s openness and honesty about everything. She proves that vulnerability is strength.

Alyson Noël — Fated, Faking 19, The Immortals series, Fly Me to the Moon


Alyson’s Soul Seekers series is set in New Mexico. She also turned me on to Save the Cat, and my “Save the Cat” moment in my book makes it much better.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips— The Great Escape, Natural Born Charmer, It Had to be You

Susan Elizabeth Phillips and me at her book signing in Albuquerque, NM

Susan Elizabeth Phillips and me at her book signing in Albuquerque, NM

SEP gave me the idea to nix the prologue in my book, and it’s better for it.

Darynda Jones —Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Third Grave Dead Ahead

Shannon with Author Darynda Jones

Me with Author Darynda Jones at Page One Books

I love, love, love Darynda’s Charley Davidson series.

Katie Lane— Going Cowboy Crazy, Make Mine a Bad Boy


Katie’s books may just make me check out the country and western dance hall here in town. I’ve heard there are a lot of pretty cowboys there!

Met Judy Blume!!!

Judy Blume and me! Gwen Goldsmith, a Minister who played the Rabbi in the movie, took this photo for me. Talk about divine intervention.

Judy Blume and me!

I’ll always remember how just about every twelve year old girl was reading Forever, on the bus and on the playground. We were so relieved that somebody was speaking to us frankly and genuinely about love, sex, and girlhood. And, yes, this is still my Facebook cover page photo.


Got a comic book signed by Len Wein.

Plus, my blog post was posted to the ACE Facebook page and to their blog on the SuperCon2K site.

The celebrity sightings!

Met Daniel Gillies at ABQ Comic Con


He’s even hotter in person, really easy to talk to (once I actually got up the nerve to walk over to him), and pegged me for several years younger than I am. Score!

Met Alexis Bledel at President Obama’s Birthday Celebration

Alexis Bledel and Me!

Alexis Bledel and Me!

I love Gilmore Girls, own every season on DVD, so this was a real treat.

Met the co-producer of Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl


Julie Dunfey’s advice to aspiring creators: If you have enthusiasm and passion for your project and communicate that, you can sell it.

Wrote for and assisted with production of the Cheza Jouer Films Sandals Worn Backwards trailer.

It was a total blast, and the trailer is fantastic. Check it out.

On to a fabulous and productive 2013!

Tidbits from the Storytellers at Albuquerque Comic Expo, 2012

June 24, 2012 § 5 Comments

What I really love about Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE), besides the people and the energy and the comic books and the art, is the chance to talk to the superb storytellers in the business.

“No amount of money matches a reader telling you they were touched emotionally by something you’ve written.” —Len Wein,  co-creator of Wolverine, editor of The New Teen Titans

Raven - Teen Titans 08

Raven – Teen Titans 08 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got to talk to Len Wein a little, when he was signing my New Teen Titans comic book, about what being an editor entailed. He said it equated to doing the least amount of work so that the other writers could do their best. He would make suggestions about the direction of the characters and the composition of the superhero group. He came up with the idea for the character that became Raven, one of the three females in the Teen Titans group of seven. Raven was the broody, withdrawn one, constantly battling her dark side, her demon father’s side, within her. In my opinion, she added a mature, mysterious edge to the series.

“I don’t have a favorite hero. I love them all. It’s like asking a father who is his favorite child. You can’t do it.” —Stan Lee, former president and chairman of Marvel Comics; Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of POW! Entertainment

Stan Lee’s genius was lauded by his contemporaries throughout the entire weekend of ACE. Allen Bellman, a comic book artist who started out drawing backgrounds for Captain America at Timely/Marvel in 1942, called Stan “the godfather of the comic world.” Michael Golden, creator of the X-men’s Rogue character, said Stan could cut through all the fluff to the essence, the heart of something. Herb Trimpe, artist for The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine, explained that Stan’s technique was to work from plots that were often hashed out via verbal pow-wows with the staff in his office. Len Wein marveled at how Stan could come up with the perfect name for a hero off the top of his head, after everyone else on the team had struggled for an idea. Stan Lee himself, at almost ninety years old, was one of the most spirited, engaging, and lively panel speakers at the Expo. He brought the audience to its feet when at the end of  the hour he said that being a writer is like being a god. A writer can make anything happen, can kill anybody off, can make somebody come back from the dead. “That’s why I chose to be a writer instead of the President of the United States.”

“End it. Wrap everything up in a nice little bow.” — Michael Golden, at his Storytelling Workshop

Michael Golden

Michael Golden (Photo credit: ElDave)

After the panel I walked around Artist Alley and came upon Michael Golden’s art table (where I bought one of his prints, a Golden Age depiction of Wonder Woman in her original outfit with the skirt, out in the battlefield, fighting Nazi soldiers). Golden asked if I’d learned anything in his talk that I didn’t already know. I told him I really appreciated what he said about the importance of a story having a satisfying ending. I then launched into a rant about how the movie 28 Days Later being shown with two different endings was bullshit (my words) and that turned into a great conversation about how the ending to Angel Heart was obscure, yet perfect (his words). The movie talk with Golden was a major highlight of my ACE weekend.

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