Co-Writing A #Book and Other #Pirate Tales – Amber Wake Style

amber-wake1Since I was a bit occupied with my day job, my family, editing, beta reader feedback changes, rewrites, more editing, more rewrites and then even more editing, as well as formatting for both Kindle and Paperback, then uploading, rechecking errors, fixing errors and re-uploading AMBER WAKE, I didn’t really have much time to build a blog tour. (Poor pitiful me, right? LOL)

Therefore, I give you a blog tour in a loot bag, right here on my own blog! This is my first installment.

Ready the guns lads!

First, in true pirate fashion, I’ve stolen a few of the same questions my co-author of Amber Wake answered, just for fun and to see how our answers differ.

What is your book about?

Amber Wake is about Gabriel Wallace; a young, honorable Captain in the Royal Navy in 1705 London. He’s thrust unwittingly into a delicate and ultimately dangerous situation when an Admiral’s young and lovely (as well as untamed) wife is caught carousing with a young, dashing lieutenant, who just happens to be the newest officer on Gabriel’s crew. As a result of the young Captain’s innocent involvement, he is implicated in the murder of the Admiral and court-marshaled. However, he isn’t about to take this, nor the more intimate retaliation against him lying down. He’s prepared for a fight he’s been waiting for and in a navy filled with sheep, he’s a lion about to roar.

Consumed with vengeful purpose, he goes on a rampage, hell bent on making the Admiral who plotted against him pay in every way possible for his downfall. With his loyal crew, his closest friend Miles Jacobs, and that naughty new lieutenant, Maddox Carbonale, he takes his navy ship, the Majesty’s Venture, on a wild ride into a focused and deliberate maelstrom of payback…the old fashioned way.

What made you start writing it? 

Quite simply, my co-author, Ronovan Hester, came to me with an idea for a back story on my character, Rasmus Bergman, who was one of the main characters from DEMONS & PEARLS. I was still writing JADED TIDES at the time and I really liked Ron’s ideas, even though at the time they were still pretty basic but they fit in well with answering the question as to how and why Rasmus got involved with piracy. I ended up working that back story into JADED TIDES when Rasmus finally pours his heart out to Ivory and confesses his past life. I was grateful he’d shared his ideas for AMBER WAKE with me since that was such a game changing chapter of JADED TIDES.

Ron sent me several drafts. I was very distracted at the time, as I was in the editing and publishing stages of JADED TIDES, as well as working on a prequel novella, IVORY DAWN, for DEMONS & PEARLS. I would read some and then along would come another version. However, once the idea had settled in of the basic story and I began the initial stages of working on it, I was beginning to “feel” the tale, which is something I have to do before I will invest my time in something…especially a story I didn’t create. The most important reason I did this was I loved the story. The other reason was because I knew how much Ron had invested in it and how badly he wanted to be published. Before I knew it, I was all the way in and the rest as they say, is historical fiction. 😉

Do you see a possibility of a sequel to your book? 

At some point I’d like to continue Rasmus’ story. He’s one of my favorite characters. Most of the apprehension I had of even writing this book with Ron was my attachment to Rasmus. Allowing someone else the privilege of taking one of your beloveds and using them to create a new story is terrifying. I know Rasmus better than anyone. I created him for goodness sake’s and Maddox Carbonale as well. These characters are a part of me. It’s a big line to cross but I knew Ron read my books and was very familiar with both of these characters. I also knew, even if in Ron’s final draft (the one I worked on and beat the crap out of) either of them didn’t feel right or I felt they were too different from the men I created, I’d have the freedom and right to make adjustments and keep them true to who they were in my other books. Gabriel, however, was evolving into Ramus so regardless of who I know Rasmus to be, in the beginning, he was different, as he should have been. It took a series of life altering events to bring Rasmus to the surface.

I must say I also love a few of the characters Ron brought into the story. Adam and Gimby to be specific. I’d also like to get to know William Asperson more. He seems like such a gentle and innocent soul who unfortunately didn’t come into the story until near the end. I’d really like to get to know him better and push his buttons a little. I’m very good at pushing buttons and flinging my characters into situations to see what happens! After all, real people have flaws and faults and are far from perfect. Perfect is boring. Part of my passion for writing is digging out those hidden demons and watching them fly around a bit.

(Now one of my own)

What’s it like to co-write a book? What was your formula?

Having never co-written anything with anyone, there was no formula. As I said above, Ron wrote the bones and guts, and I stitched on the muscle and flesh…kind of like building Frankenstein’s monster and believe me when I tell you, I am not the easiest person to work with. I don’t have much time to write. I have to schedule my writing time around a very and I do mean VERY busy life. I work a full time job. Including myself, there are seven people and a cat living under my roof. Those seven people include three little granddaughters, all under the age of six. I babysit them in the evenings while my daughter teaches dance classes. I cook. I clean. I do the laundry and most evenings I don’t even sit down until 10:00PM. If I’m working on a book and I open my laptop to work, I work. Yes, when I’m in between books, I Facebook, play around online and relax but when I’m in work mode, I’m a force to be reckoned with and I make no apologies for that. I can be very unsympathetic to excuses or nonsense but I am in no way a Diva. When you only have so many hours in a day…most stolen from a night’s sleep, getting down to business is top priority. Unfortunately, sometimes that can translate into other things.

The simple answer is co-writing a book is challenging to say the least unless you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Fortunately Ron and I laid out the ground rules from day one. I loved the story but I would absolutely need to make changes. I would need to make revisions based on beta feedback. I would need to inject my voice in order to keep this book in line with my others and above all, since I was handling all of the nuts and bolts of the project, I would have the final say as to those changes. To some it may sound harsh but this is a business, not a hobby. Ron did an excellent job writing this book; the research, the story line and the characters were formed well and the drama was tight. I like to think of it this way: Ron brought the people to the dance floor and I played the music to make them dance. Together, we had one hell of party.

Mission accomplished I’d say for Captain Wallace – Bergman. Mission accomplished for Ronovan Hester and P.S. Bartlett as well.

blue_rose_tattoo_by_9rayne2

A Love So Big It Hurts and The Gift of A Dream

One of my granddaughters fell ill over the weekend. REALLY ILL.

What Matters Most

Saturday night I received a frantic call from my daughter that one of the twins, Harper, who had just been to see the pediatrician on Friday for a mysterious fever and an unusual bout of lethargy, lack of appetite and not wanting anything to drink was much worse. Unable to find an obvious issue, the doctor diagnosed her with an oncoming cold.

He was wrong. REAL WRONG.

By the time my daughter called me Saturday night, my granddaughter was pale, screaming in obvious pain, barely able to focus or function at all and was in dire need of immediate attention. I stayed with the other two girls while she and her husband rushed this terribly sick fifteen month old baby to the emergency room. I’m going to name the lousy hospital emergency room too – Harbor Hospital in Brooklyn, MD. It’s the closest one but by far their emergency room fucking sucks!

My seriously ill granddaughter and her desperately frantic parents sat for THREE HOURS waiting to see a doctor! How do you leave a baby as sick as this sit in a waiting room for three hours?! You fucking assholes all need to go jump in the Baltimore harbor! I hate you and I wouldn’t take my cat to you if you were the last emergency room on earth!

To be honest, I’ve always hated this emergency room. I have been there twice now with one of my granddaughters and both times have waited no less than three hours. The hospital itself is not my problem, just the ER. I gave birth to my son there and had an excellent experience. I’ve known others who have been admitted there who have had good experiences but they can shove their emergency room right up their asses.

My granddaughter was so severely dehydrated that she required three IV’s before she could even wet a diaper. She was misdiagnosed with a bladder infection according to the house pediatrician who saw her this morning and claimed her tests for bacterial infection came back normal. Apparently, they never did find out what was wrong with her and labeled it a virus of unknown origin. However, my daughter will follow up tomorrow with her pediatrician because a baby who was perfectly healthy on Thursday night, somewhat sick on Friday morning and completely dehydrated, lethargic, disoriented and screaming by Saturday evening needs a fucking diagnosis!!!

Thank GOD she’s better. She was released this afternoon as her fever was gone, she was eating and drinking and had wet her diaper several times. Could the three rounds of antibiotics have cured her? Could her little body have cured itself? Maybe one of these so called medical professionals who will send out an exorbitant bill for her care will magically figure this out.

Oh, and please don’t come at me with how wonderful the medical profession and physicians and nurses are. I KNOW how wonderful they are and have far more great experiences with them than bad. I’m speaking on this one emergency room and this one situation with one of the loves of my life. I’m sorry but you can’t touch this.

My opinion is this: If you can’t figure out what is wrong with a child who cannot tell you what hurts, go back to medical school or send her to a pediatric specialty hospital! A virus of unknown origin is NOT a diagnosis! If anything like this ever happens again, we are going straight to Johns Hopkins!

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

The gift of the dream is something directly related to this but a supernatural experience I will never be able to forget.

You can believe me or not. As you can tell, I’m in an “I don’t really care what anyone thinks” mood tonight.

Saturday night I was up very late. Harper’s twin, Scarlett and my eldest granddaughter, Esme were wound up and wide awake until after midnight due to the chaos and stressful evening prior to my arrival and my daughter rushing out to ER. They’d heard their sisters cries and seen the pain in their mother’s eyes and were difficult to settle down but somehow my grandmother magic kicked in and I had them both tucked in fast asleep by 1:00AM.

They conveniently live right next door so my husband had checked in on us allowed me to run over and make a coffee and grab my phone charger so as not to miss any updates from my daughter. Once he went home and the children were sleeping, the house fell silent except for the purring cat near my head on the back of the love seat.

Not that I slept. I was worried sick. I woke to every sound. Scarlett was fighting a cold and coughed a bit and whined. The cat leaping down and then her subsequent crunching on dry kibble in the kitchen. The occasional car driving by…you get the picture. Scarlett awoke at 4:30am for a bottle and At 5:00am, I received a text message from my husband asking me if I needed anything. He came over and checked on us and then went out and brought me breakfast and a well needed coffee.

I could see he hadn’t gotten any sleep either so I whooshed him back out the door and within minutes, that delicious sausage, egg and cheese bagel, a text from my daughter that Harper was resting in her room with medical attention, the knowledge that the other girls would most likely sleep until 10:00am, and the coffee, dropped me into dream land at last at around 6:45am.

By 9:15am, I woke, sobbing.

The dream started out horribly. I was in my daughters house and I opened the front door and a strange looking animal was trying to come in. At first, I thought it was a skunk as it appeared to have the while stripe down it’s back. I tried pushing it with my foot and closing the door but it got past me. I was screaming “No! No!” and suddenly behind it, chasing it were all kinds of cats. All different colors, racing past me so fast I couldn’t stop them and behind them were my children and some other people, chasing the cats!

I turned around and joined the chase but I was screaming at them to get the animal. My son yelled out, “Mom, it’s a big rat!” and I screamed back, “Well get it!” I turned back to the front door which I had finally managed to slam shut and the wall started to crumble away at the front of the house and a giant hole appeared and through the hole came more animals! All kinds, shapes and sizes and I screamed to run for the girls to get them out of the house and was shouting, “Help Me! Someone please help me!” when suddenly, everything went white.

I was sitting up on the love seat I was sleeping on and standing there in front of me in my daughter’s living room, was my husband’s grandmother. She was the matriarch of our family. We lost her last September. She was 93 years old. She was our rock. She was our light in the harbor, our adviser, our revered and precious elder. Her word was the gospel in our family and her loss was felt so deeply we are all still recovering.

Granny June Bug

Oldest Baltimore Ravens Fan!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have had no dreams of her since she passed. I think of her every day. I remember how she would scold us and discipline us and then take us in her arms and hug us and kiss us and make it all better.

She was wearing one of her signature light blue sweat suits with the flowery embroidery on it. Her hair was perfectly coiffed as it always was and she glowed. She looked so pretty. That’s what I told her.

I stood up and said, “Gran! Oh my God Gran! You look so pretty!” She held out her arms to me and leaned down and hugged her. She looked like she did the first time I met her over twenty years ago. I could feel her hands stroking my hair like she used to. She held me back away from her and said,

“Everything is going to be alright.”

I replied, “But Gran, we miss you so much. We all miss you.”

I grabbed her again and hugged her tight.

“She stroked my hair again and said, “I know honey I know. I miss you all too. Give them all hugs and kisses for me will ya? And tell them I’m wonderful. My beautiful girl. Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be alright.”

She started to pull away from me and I held onto her.

“No Gran, please don’t go!”

“Honey, I promise. Everything is going to be fine. Now I have to go.”

I was sobbing. She was gone. I was standing there in the middle of my daughter’s living room, sobbing.  I kept saying to myself, “This is a dream but everything is exactly right.”

What I meant was the room was EXACTLY as is really was. I can’t remember having a dream where the room was perfect. The stockings hanging on the mantle. The cat sleeping on the ottoman. The light on in the kitchen. The Santa clause on the ledge in the foyer. The baby socks on the floor. The blanket balled up on the love seat. It felt so real it scared the living daylights out of me.

My eyes flew open. Tears were running down my cheeks. I sat up and could barely catch my breath. I got up and opened the front door and stepped outside to somehow snap out of it but I was shaking. My hands were trembling and I started sobbing again. I texted my husband but he didn’t answer so I called him and told him I needed him right away. I told him immediately that my sobbing wasn’t about the baby so that he wouldn’t worry. Then, I told him about the dream.

I know she was there. She was there either as her soul, her spirit, her energy or some inexplicable image from my subconscious, that just happened to be able to replicate my daughters living room down to the baby socks on the floor.

The day before, my husband and I went to a fabric store because the eldest granddaughter decided she wanted her bedroom at our house completely redecorated in Disney Frozen, so I needed to make her all new curtains. When we were looking for the fabric, a family was picking out some fleece and the mother said, “Oh look at this. Granny June will really love this.”

I’m sorry but again, not a coincidence. You can say hearing her name in the store the day before triggered the dream but I believe in signs. Had we stopped to eat first like we’d planned, we’d have never heard that woman say what she said.

Last night, I was reminded of a similar dream I had…again, over twenty years ago. Almost the exact same situation. I was going through a terrible traumatic time in my life. My sister Barbara was always my rock prior to Granny June. She died very young at only 53. She was 19 years my senior and was like another Mother, as were most of my older sisters. I could always turn to her when something bad happened. She too came to me in a dream. Again, I woke up sobbing. Again, the room was exactly as it really was. Again I was embraced and told everything would e alright, which it was. The only difference was when I woke up from the dream with my sister, My clothes smelled like her.

Yesterday, after my dream about Granny June, I instinctively smelled my shirt. However, I only smelled a clean, fresh smell for a few moments and then I smelled like me. Then I thought…

My sister was known for her perfume. My Dad used to say you’ll smell Barbara coming in the house before you’ll see her.   I don’t even think Granny wore perfume but she always smelled fresh and clean. 🙂

Our little angel Harper is home safe and sound. Smiling, giggling and although she’s definitely not herself after having been through such an awful ordeal, everything turned out alright…again.

Goodnight my lovies.

Sweet dreams.

 

It’s the #Holiday #Season So You Know What That means….

Really cute children doing really adorable things!

If you’ve been with me at least since this time last year, these two cookie monsters might look familiar. Two of Baltimore’s finest little cooks are at it again for the 2014 round of cookie baking! I give you Granddaughter #1 (the eldest) and Great Nephew Ryder, ready for some cookie baking!

This is definitely a bit of a mixture of holiday cheers. I hope you enjoy them!

I’ve also thrown in a few unrelated bonus baby photos because…well…my grandbabies are so awesome!!! 

Es and Ry

2014 Baking session 2

2014 Baking sessionMy coworker is a Lego Maniac…we certainly don’t mind his decorating style!
2014 legos3 2014 legos2 2014 legos

Breakfast with the family and with Santa! Breakfast santa 2014 2014 Breakfast santa

Crazy and cute cousins!Kiddies 2014 2014 Santa tree Santa breakfast 2014 Santa
Babies in the bubbles…just because they’re big brown eyes will steal your heart.
Bathies2 Bathies1

We adults like a little party time too…

Partytime

And a yummy breakfast for the morning after a night out…shared of course with two of my favorite people lol

Anna and Kristof breakfast

Weekend Update – Book Signing Success – No Rest for the Weary

Yesterday I was blessed to finally have my book signing / pirate party / meet and greet for The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge.

I didn’t expect a huge turnout so I only brought 20 books…I sold and signed them all. 🙂

Here are a few pics from the event. I’ll admit it was fun to dress up and play Ivory for the afternoon and I brought along my crew of cousins to lend a hand…fast forward the fabulous foursome about twenty years..lol

 

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

Pirate Party3

Setting up the Room Pirate Style

Pirate Party4

The Crew’s eatin’ good today!

Pirate Party6

All gone. 🙂

Pirate Party7

Major Booty up for grabs!

Pirate Party8

This basket was HUGE! Filled with more treasure than you could shake a dagger at!

Pirate Party9

Another happy winner!

 

My amazingly supportive family and friends. These women are the definition of soul-mates. Can you figure out who’s who of the crew?

These are what you call FRIENDS.

These are what you call FRIENDS.

If I were ever to run away and become a pirate, these are the first three women I’d sign on as crew members. They are amazing beta readers. They organized this book signing down to the decorations and door prizes. They did set up and clean up and worked as cashiers, sold raffle tickets and handled the security…well, they made me feel secure in knowing they always have my back and support my goals 100%.

After the signing, we let the good times keep on rolling and a few of us headed out for the rest of the evening to hear my brother-in-law’s band, Shaky Magoo. I ran into so many old friends I couldn’t keep up with trying to speak to each one individually but I found myself wrapped up in the arms of so many of my old pals I was warm and fuzzy from head to toe all night. Sorry for the fuzzy pics though. I guess how I was feeling spilled over into my iPhone.

Shaky3 Shaky4 Shaky2 Shaky1

Shaky5

My favorite dentist with her arm in the air. It was fun seeing her out of the office. She’s a blast!

Then it was up early this morning for breakfast with this cutie and back to the usual grind of grocery shopping and laundry.

Breakfast

Then, later, a couple of hours with these two cherubs of love and joy.

Twinnies

Not to sound like a whiner but after my usual week of work, babysitting and daily writer dream pursuits…it’s fair to say I’ve had no rest what-so-ever this weekend and there isn’t any in sight.

Nothing new here!

Thanks for stopping by…see you next time!

Tata

Thanks to my friend Bobby Duncan for taking this very nice photo of me last weekend while I was helping my husband DJ a wedding.