Seriously? Okay, if you're really interested… pictures too?
My mother tells me I was born in Texas a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted. She’ll also tell you I was a born storyteller. That I believe—I have the detention notices and bad-conduct reports to prove it. However, the path from minor hyperbolist, or as I prefer to think of my former self, Grand Master of the Art of Self-Prevarication, to the author of the New York Times Notable Crime Novel and double Rita ™ finalist, Wanna Get Lucky?, the book that launched the bestselling series, was a bit tortured.
Someone once told me I lived a peripatetic life—yes, I had to look it up. And he was right. I’ve been everything from a mom, business owner, accountant, wife, pilot, flight instructor, lawyer …worse, a tax lawyer… to a writer. The three personas I’ve kept suit me the best: mom, flight instructor, and writer. And the other personas I’ve tried on then shrugged out of and discarded like an itchy coat were great grist for the story mill.
Chasing stories keeps me busy and out of jail…for the most part. Researching in Vegas can be a bit… sketchy.
Prodded by the next adventure and the police, I keep moving. I lived in Vegas for 15 years—the longest I’d stayed anywhere. And I get back there often. But other places, too, are calling.
Someone asked me the other day where I lived. The question stopped me cold. Finally, I said, “On Southwest Airlines, third row, window seat, either side.” Always in search of a story. And the adventure would be perfect if they could just stock a split of nice Champagne.
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I get this question a lot so I’ve made a list for you here: Reading Order
You know what they say about idle hands? Well, an idle mind is worse—it can get you into all kinds of trouble…trust me on that one.
That’s the short version. Here’s a slightly longer explanation: I don’t listen to music when I exercise.
Back in the day, when my life was so stressful my head would’ve exploded if I didn’t have daily meet-ups with the Stairmaster, I’d find myself stepping like mad for an hour while staring at a brick wall. My brain wasn’t down with so much idle time while the rest of me was so busy. So, we started the what-if/how-do-they game—a favorite game of mine. I’ve always been an avid reader—to the tune of my mother always admonishing me for having “my nose in a book.” One day, well into my hour of stress reduction through physical obliteration, my brain asked, “I wonder how they write all those books we read?” and I was off. Man, talk about a very deep rabbit hole 🙂 but it’s been a fabulous ride.
And writing is super cathartic—I can explore all kinds of things that might seem like Gordian knots to me. You know, stuff like…men. 🙂
That all depends on what you like to read. As a writer, I’ve broken all the rules and have chosen to write across different genres—keeps me challenged, engaged, and hopefully makes me a better writer.
If you like light and funny with a good dose of mystery and romance, try the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Series and/or the Brinda Rose Humorous Mystery Series.
If your tastes tend to run toward darker stories (no gore and with the hint of hope at the very least) then the Kate Sawyer Medical Thriller Series is a good fit.
Romantic Suspense? Try Deep Water.
Women’s fiction? Crushed is your story.
Yep, I have career ADD…but all are fun stories and were really fabulous to write.
Courage…and a sense of humor. 🙂
Humanity. I think bad guys are much more interesting if they have a noble goal or some sort of humanizing trait. Evil for evil’s sake isn’t that interesting to me.
I’m not sure I decided to add snark to the Lucky books, specifically to Lucky’s own voice, it just happened that way. When I was a kid, my mouth always got me into trouble. Finally, I’ve found a way to harness the sarcasm for the Forces of Good—or at least in a way not to anger my grandmother. And when Lucky started talking to me, she had a strong dose of sass in her.
When I set out to write Wanna Get Lucky?, I knew I wanted to write a romp through Las Vegas. I had the characters and the setting but no real understanding of narrative drive. So, I threw a young woman out of a tour helicopter into the middle of the Pirate Show and let the story unfold. A bit of murder to keep the plot moving, some wisecracking and Vegas mischief to make you laugh, and some romance to keep it interesting. A bit of a mash up, but it works.
My first series featuring Lucky O’Toole is a light, romantic mystery series. At the time, my life was pretty dark, so I enjoyed the laugh-out-loud snark of Lucky and her pals.
But, now life is a bit brighter and I find the darker side, my love of thrillers calling to me. I’ve always loved thrillers, especially psychological thrillers, medical thrillers, women in jeopardy chase books, that sort of thing. Fast-paced storylines with deep, well-rounded characters—I wanted to add my name to the list of writers who have delved deep into these waters.
I’ve always been a science geek. When I first went to college, medical school was my target. Alas, life got in the way, but it didn’t dim my interest in the field. And today, technology is honing a sharp edge in the medical field raising lots of possibilities for cures. But where there is a good use there is also a bad use—the yin and the yang. Nothing ever comes without a price. Great for storytelling.
Ideas, ephemeral things… Actually, I’m one of the lucky ones: ideas pummel me ALL. THE. TIME. Now, that doesn’t mean every idea will make a good story, but the ideas are plentiful. Weeding them out, paring them down to the good story ones is a bit harder.
And really, if you look, ideas are everywhere. All you have to do is ask “what if?”
What if there’s this woman who works on the Strip in Vegas and she has to handle all the silliness that happens at a hotel, but she can’t even handle her own life? That turned into the Lucky O'Toole series.
Back before I married, I dated a guy who was totally into wine—I mean like crazy into wine. I didn’t know a whole lot about it other than I liked dry Champagne and hated California-style Chardonnay. The more he talked, the more I learned. And one day I asked, “What if there was this woman who grew some amazing grapes. And there was this guy who could make great wine, but who had a divided loyalty and some tough decisions to make?” That ended up being Crushed.
And on it goes…
A plane to Paris.
The second would be a beautiful trail in the mountains. (I’m shifting to dictation. My brain works better when I move.)
Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics
I have a ton of fabulous pros to try to keep my grammar honest (or at least consistently off in servitude to “voice”) Among them:
– Christie Stratos at Proof Positive
– Kimberly Cannon
– Janell Parque at An Author’s Accomplice
Kate Tilton at Kate Tilton's Author Services, LLC
Social Media Manager?
I can fly airplanes. Perhaps not a secret, but I have precious few talents. 🙂
And, oddly enough, I’m also a certified Holistic Health Coach. Yeah, I know…but I LOVE that stuff.