Category Archives: Top 10 List

Top 10 Signs You’re Near the End of Your Novel

Editions of FrankensteinAs some of you may know, I’ve been finishing up the latest Leine Basso Thriller. Well, I have great news–THE BODY MARKET, Leine Basso Thriller #3 is fini ! Once it’s in my editor’s capable hands, I’ll be gearing up for the launch–right now it’s looking like a January 1st release. The book will be available for pre-order, so check back here or, hey! Why not join my mailing list for updates, sneak peeks, and other free stuff 🙂 ?

As I was nearing The End, normal activity just kind of fell by the wayside…you know, like showering, cleaning, cooking, answering the phone, emails…all that frivolous stuff…and I realized it happened at the end of each book with alarming regularity. I asked some author friends if they experienced anything similar and every one of them concurred. So, to prepare for the next inevitable episode of reckless disregard for personal care and housekeeping that ensues every time you’re close to finishing a book, here are the

Top 10 Signs You’re Near the End of Your Novel…

  1. You go into cardiac arrest and frantically hit ‘save’ every time your laptop screen blips
  2. The cat won’t even bother to come into the office because of the stench
  3. There aren’t any dishes in the kitchen—they’re embedded in your desk and the floor in your office and have dried, crusty green things growing on them that you consider having for lunch because you don’t want to take the time to cook
  4. You realize you no longer have a cat because you forgot to feed him and he’s decided to live at the neighbors
  5. You wonder when your spouse/roommate grew a beard and realize your protagonist has to have one because it’s a metaphor and will make the story so much richer whereupon you comb through your manuscript searching for places to insert the new description which changes the story so much you have to re-read the damned thing again and you’re sick sick sick to death of it and then decide to scrap the idea half way through
  6. You’ve forgotten your sister’s name and call her Max
  7. Your spouse/roommate opens the door and peeks  their head in and asks  an innocent question, like where’s the kitty litter, and you jump down their throat because you were in the zone in the middle of a scene and they freaking have no idea how hard it is to get there and now you’ll never ever find that flow again and don’t they know they just ruined the whole entire book because of that one stupid question and then they storm out of the house and don’t come back for a week and you can’t remember why they left because you’re back in the zone and writing again
  8. On Friday afternoon you think you’ve written THE Great American Novel, and PBS, Netflix, HBO, and Amazon will be falling over themselves to secure the rights to make it into a movie/series/extravaganza/orgy-of-fantasticness
  9. On Saturday, after a good night’s sleep, you know it’s the worst dross that has ever been devised by anyone, living or dead, and doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air as an ISIL terrorist and seriously, you call yourself a writer? You’re sure your career is over and your readers will think you’ve gone off the deep end and will tell you to just quit, quit now while you still have your dignity—and you consider it.
  10. You’ve been writing in someone else’s point of view for so long you’re surprised to see yourself in the mirror
  11. You go to the bathroom and devise a brilliant way to get your protagonist out of the corner you’ve written them into and try to take notes on toilet paper with a half-empty tube of toothpaste because there’s nothing to write with and you’re sure you’ll forget. Then, when you get back to your desk, you realize the idea won’t work and throw the painstakingly written notes in the trash and realize now there is no more toothpaste but that it doesn’t really matter because you haven’t brushed your teeth in weeks
  12. You can no longer find the living room because of the dust cloud
  13. You can’t remember where the ‘on’ button is for the vacuum, and wonder where the USB port is
  14. You think Personal Hygiene is a suburb of Cincinnati
  15. You get to the end of your Top Ten list and realize you’ve forgotten how to count
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Happy Writers

2010 - A year plenty of HopesI just ran across this golden oldie by former literary agent-turned author, Nathan Bransford, on the Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer and thought I’d share. He’s hit the nail on the head, IMO.

Happy Saturday!


My Top 10 List of Kick-A$$ Women in Movies

I love to watch strong female characters in movies and read about them in books. When I was growing up, I read spy novels and watched a lot of James Bond movies. The Bond women were stunning but one-dimensional. I wanted to be the female equivalent of James Bond. I searched, but couldn’t find much in the way of this kind of female character, so I contented myself with made-up stories of women pirates and spies. Fast-forward to 2012. Everywhere you look, there are more and more strong, capable and kick-a** women.

I am so stoked.

When I wrote the first novella in my bestselling Kate Jones thriller series, Bad Spirits, I wanted to be sure to make the heroine toKate Jones Boxed Setugh, but I also wanted her to be flawed. She gains in her understanding of herself throughout the series and learns to trust, as well as take care of herself in dangerous situations. I have heard from as many male readers of the series as I have female, and consider that a compliment in so many ways. The fact that men enjoy a strong woman protagonist as much as women do speaks volumes about the shift in our society and the acceptance of strong, capable women.

 In my novel, Serial Date, I consciously chose to make the heroine as capable and badass as possible, and she has a ton of flaws. I’d always wanted to write a book about a female assassin, and chose to have Leine Basso, the heroine of the book, opt-out of the business by choice and ‘retire’. When Leine’s estranged daughter is abducted by a man claiming to be a serial killer, she’s forced to rely on old skills to find her, and must come to terms with who she really is. The second novel in the series, Bad Traffick, shows more of Leine’s badassity when she works to rescue twelve-year-old Mara from the hands of ruthless sex traffickers.

 Below is a list of my Top 10 Kick-A** Women in Movies. The list is by no means exhaustive—in fact, I came up with 25 off the top of my head, but this is a blog post, not an epic J.  I also didn’t include the many television characters who have contributed so much to female kick-assity.

And now, for the Top 10 Kick-A** Women in Movies (In alphabetical order)

  •  Captain Niobe  – The Matrix Reloaded (Jada Pinkett-Smith) Awesome, competent, resilient and fierce. I definitely wantMichelle  Rodriguez her in my corner.
  • Captain Trudy Chacon – Avatar (Michelle Rodriguez) I totally love Michelle Rodriguez and the women she portrays. Captain Trudy Chacon is one of the many characters she plays so well with a gnarly kick-butt attitude.
  • Carolina – Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Salma Hayek) If Salma Hayek isn’t the whole package, I don’t know who is. She’s gorgeous-sexy, intelligent and can wield a machine gun like a pro.
  • Evelyn Salt – Salt (Angelina Jolie) Say what you like about Angelina Jolie– I adore her willingness to take on the roles she does. She takes her image seriously when it comes to the message being sent to young women and I applaud her. Go, Angelina!
  • Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games (Jennifer Lawrence) The character of Katniss tapped into the powerful belief that a person can win through effort, perseverance and ability. The awesomeness of this story is that she’s also a young woman.
  • Mallory Kane – Haywire (Gina Carano) When I watched this movie I was struck by the pure physicality of Gina Carano in the lead role of Mallory. She’s all woman with sex appeal to burn, knows her way around a firearm and totally owns her power. So refreshing.
  • Ripley – Alien (Sigourney Weaver) What can I say? Sigourney Weaver is a total badass when she comes up against a freaking alien. Scifi/Fantasy delivers its share of kick-butt women, and Ripley’s an all-time favorite.
  • The Bride – Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2 (Uma Thurman) OMG. I love these movies. Uma’s character has more determination than an army of Visigoths.
  • Tina Turner – What’s Love Got to Do with It? (Angela Bassett) Yes, Ms. Turner is a real person, not a character, but her tenacity and grace are so inspiring, I think she’s a kick-a** woman bar none and I had to include her. (Besides, Angela Bassett was amazing in the movie!)
  • Trinity – The Matrix Reloaded (Carrie-Anne Moss) How can you have a top list of kick-a** women without Trinity? Great emotional control and she knows her weaponry.

How about you? Which strong women characters do you love to see on the screen?


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