I'm Just Saying…

January 25, 2016

Yes, I Want My Fictional Characters To Be Happy. You Got a Problem With That?

Greetings fellow Scribes and Bibliophiles!

Let’s get right to today’s topic, shall we?

As readers, we all have favorite characters we’re attached to:

Readers and characters.png

Whether it’s Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Sherlock Homes, or Gandalf… there are quite a few fictional people we would line up to spend some quality time with. We admire them, we like them, we get them. And we’re pretty sure they would think we’re awesome too.

As we read their story, we are invested with a deep desire to see everything work out for them. We want them to be okay. We want them to be happy. No, really. They have to be happy.

But what about the writer? We create our characters, live with them, spend time with them, day in and day out. We become attached to them. We want them to be okay, too. And yet, we know they can’t be. So what happens when it gets to this…

Writer and character

See, this is a problem. You know why it’s a problem? Let me tell you why. Because as human beings we all want this –

Cinderella_-_So_This_Is_Love_-_1

Not this –

belle crying gif

We dream of living a happy, pleasant, problem free life of this –

cinderella and forest creatures

Not this –

cloverfield 2

Unfortunately, writers are screwed. We know that to write a really good story you have to have emotional, nail biting, gut wrenching, on the edge of your seat, down to the wire, zero seconds to spare… CONFLICT. If nothing is at stake for your character, you get this –

Karl Urban yawning

and then this –

chandler sleeping.gif

And that’s not good.

So, if you think about it, since all human beings want only to be happy and avoid suffering, then the goal of the writer is to make sure your character doesn’t get the first one, and can’t avoid the second one.

Bummer.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I’m editing my second book of The Fixer series, The Killing Kind. And I started to notice that for all the problems I set up for my girl Katerina, they never really got in the way, they sort of went like this –

red sea.gif

And then I noticed her life was practically like this –

 

singing in the rain gif.gif

Not good. Not good at all.

But, I like Katerina. She’s a hard working, decent human being. She’s a good person caught up in bad situations. She should get what she wants. She should be happy.

Oh crap.

So I saw my problem. And I set to work fixing it. Katerina’s got a long, hard road ahead of her. But I’m hoping there’s going to be some happiness in the future for her. Seriously, seriously. We’ll see.

And now… for the shameless marketing portion of this blog:

The first book in the series, The Fixer: The Naked Man, is on sale now for 0.99 cents on Kindle , Nook , and Kobo

Catch up on what’s happened so far because this summer, Kat will be back….

Final Teaser _2 Killing Kind.jpg

Until next time….

J.

 

 

July 1, 2015

A Strong Female Protagonist Walks Into A Bar…

I love writing dialogue. It’s probably because my first love was screenwriting. I’m still a cinephile. In my younger years, we didn’t have the money for a VHS player so I would take a tape recorder and a microphone and record movies when they played on television so I could listen to them. Again and again, I would listen to the dialogue, the rhythm, the patterns of speech, how it flowed.  One of my favorite writers is Robert B. Parker and as every Parker fan knows, the man had a gift for a character’s gab.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love narrative. I enjoy that moment when I come up with a sentence that flows, that works.  Usually it happens when I’m relaxed and not worrying over it too much.

So what does this have to do with the title of this blog post??? Because the next line after “[somebody] walks into a bar” is… “and says…” The opening sentence can be modified anyway you like but the ending never changes. Somebody has to say something.

“This guy bumps into a girl at a ski resort…” Here is one of my favorite examples of dialogue from one of my all time, top 5 favorite films ever, Charade:

Another big favorite is “This guy shares a ride from Chicago to New York with a girl…” When Harry Met Sally

In 20 days, my first book in 6 years (Oh my God where did the time go???… but I digress) will drop on Amazon Kindle.  Below is a sneak peek of Chapter 2 of the first book in The Fixer series, The Naked Man. I think Katerina Mills is a strong female protagonist even as she tries (and fails) at dealing with her ex-boyfriend. Sometimes the strongest person is a weak person who never gives up and never stops trying; somehow they make it through, in spite of the hardships and mistakes.

So here’s a taste of what I came up with for dialogue and I hope you enjoy it. And I hope you will visit the Amazon page for The Fixer: The Naked Man and pre-order to give it a try.

CHAPTER 2

 

Someone is in here. Kat froze in the dark entranceway of her apartment. A rush of adrenalin shot through her. Her mind raced. Get out. Leave. Call the cops. She saw something on the floor. Ignoring her instincts, she stepped in further, knelt down, and picked it up; a tie. Her eyes had adjusted to the dark and she stood up, placing a hand on a chair; a jacket was draped over the corners. The tension leeched out of her body. She didn’t know too many burglars who broke into nondescript, low-rent apartments to strip. The bathroom door opened and a slash of light cut through the darkness.

Philip emerged,  naked except for a towel around his waist. Seeing Kat standing with his tie draped over her fingers, he smirked.

“Hi, beautiful,” he said, “going to show that on QVC?”

“I hope your apartment is out of hot water,” she said, ignoring his remark.

His eyebrows quirked. “No, why?”

“How did you find me, Philip?”

He closed the gap between them. “I’m just back from Boston,” he said, caressing her cheek with a feather light touch of his fingers. “And I do have the skills to locate people.”

The heat radiating from him made her breath catch in her throat. He was wearing his usual “come hither” smile. Kat knew what that smile meant: a lot of enjoyable moaning and groaning in the night followed by regret and self-loathing in the morning.

“You should’ve called,” she said, walking past him into the bedroom.

The bed had already been turned down. A bottle of wine and two glasses were sitting on the corner of her low dresser.

“We won’t be needing those,” she said.

“No love for a friend?” he asked, dropping onto the bed.

“No love for an ex-boss.”

“But we’re still friends, right?”

“You have lots of friends. You won’t miss one.”

“But you’re my best friend.” He gave her a slow smile. “Aren’t you going to get undressed?”

Kat’s lips tightened. She hadn’t seen Philip in months. It didn’t matter. The college frat boy good looks never changed, the shock of dark hair, the body, lean and fit.

“You don’t mind if I do then, do you?” he asked and the towel was off.

He lay on the bed, exposed without shame and she allowed herself to examine him openly. The ripple of muscle across his stomach, his broad shoulders, were an open invitation for exploration with hands, lips, and tongue.

“I would ask how goes the temp gal Friday gigs,” he said, “but I can see by your new digs, not well.”

“I’m fine.”

“Yes, you are. I bet they all tell you how much they love you.”

“I’m used to hearing that line,” she said. “I don’t believe them either.”

“You didn’t ask how things are for me,” Philip said, glossing over her comment.

“You don’t look unhappy,” she said.

Phil stretched his arms back, lacing his fingers behind his head. “Things are great but I screwed up, you know? I made a big mistake… letting you get away.”

“Not interested,” she said, but the words had no bite.

She caught the soft expression on his face, the eyes narrowing to dark slits. All she had to do was say the word. His face said he knew she would. So did she. Already, her body was preparing, against her mind, her will, and her reason. The adrenalin of the evening’s activities was still pulsing through her veins, every nerve heightened, down to the tingling of her skin. She needed to take the pressure off.

“I don’t suppose you’d like to forgive me,” he said.

“Naked requests for forgiveness are a little tacky, don’t you think?”

Philip rose from the bed and came to her. His eyes held hers as he slowly slid his hands from her shoulders to her waist. He undid the zipper on her jeans, peeling them down, revealing her black bikini panties. Kneeling down, he brushed his lips across her belly. She wanted to run her fingers through his hair, dig in, and hold on for what was coming next. He glanced up with a sly smile. When he stood he caught her sweatshirt within his fingers and slid it over her head, leaving her black lace demi bra in place.

He spent a long moment taking her in with his eyes. “I wasn’t a bad boss, was I?”

“I thought lawyers never ask a question they don’t have the answer to.”

“Who says I don’t have the answer?”

“You slept with someone else.”

“Hearsay.”

“While you were sleeping with me.”

“Conjecture.”

“I found her panties.”

“Circumstantial evidence.”

“In your apartment. In your bed.”

Reaching around, he pulled the elastic band off the end of her braid. He slid his fingers through her thick chestnut hair, untangling the soft waves.

He let out a sigh. “Okay, I was an asshole.”

“Your point being?”

“Look at you,” Philip said, his lips brushing her neck. “Barely two years ago you were a wide-eyed innocent, a mere foundling. Look how far you’ve come. But you’re not there yet, kid. Not by a long shot. You need me to finish your education.”

His arms tightened around her and his lips closed over hers. She could feel her resolve melting as her body heat rose. She would not let him get away with this.

“You know,” she said when she was sure her voice would be steady, “I really appreciate this “seduce the secretary” bit but I’m not moved.”

He snapped the clasp of her bra, exposing her full, rounded breasts and began slowly caressing her. Involuntarily, she shifted closer to him; a small sigh escaped her lips. Taking one nipple between his thumb and forefinger, he squeezed. She gave a small gasp and shuddered.

“I’m sure you are,” he murmured with a wicked smile. He slid his hand between her legs.

“Forget it,” she said. “I’m ready.”

  • ••

The relentless buzz of the alarm woke her. The early morning sun cutting through the cheap, flimsy curtains cast a rectangular pattern on the tangle of blankets. She lay still for a moment, trying to orient herself, listening to Philip’s soft, rhythmic breathing.

She stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom. Flipping the light switch, she turned her face away from the glare of the bulbs. After a moment she moved to the sink. She took a long look in the mirror, running her hands through her hair. Her cheeks had a soft, rosy glow. Making a sound of disgust, she bent over the sink, splashing water on her face. But she could still feel last night’s warm, languid sensations permeating her body.

“Snap out of it,” she muttered.

Reaching into the shower and pulling the top knob, she recited her daily, silent prayer that it wouldn’t come off in her hand. She waited for the gurgle and click that would signal a half-hearted spray of water was ready to begin. She hovered under the warm stream, wishing it could wash everything away.

  • ••

Twenty minutes later, Katerina rushed around the cramped bedroom, dampness still clinging to her body.

“Good morning,” Philip said in a lazy voice.

She glanced over to find him propping himself up with both pillows. She continued to rifle through the closet searching for a suitable outfit.

“Wow, now that I get the full view in daylight, you are even more amazing than when I first met you,” he said. “Are you into yoga?”

“We are not having sex this morning,” she said, pulling out a blouse.

He gave a light chuckle.

She came to the night table and grabbed her earrings. He latched on to her arm and pulled her close.

“Good morning, gorgeous,” he said, his voice soft and low.

“What do you want, Philip?”

“What I’ve wanted since the day you left. Come back to work for me.”

She pushed away from him.

Philip swung his legs over the side of the bed and got up; he began pulling on his clothes. “You’re gonna drop dead working these crappy temp jobs, Katerina.” He glanced around. “This place is barely livable. The only thing you’re missing is a colony of roaches you could charge a sublet fee. You’re never gonna make rent typing and filing and your father obviously can’t pick up the slack.”

Kat didn’t answer. He’s  right. Every day, things are getting tighter. Little by little, I’m going under.  Her parents hadn’t sent money in weeks. She couldn’t reach them by phone, no answer to her texts or emails; and her father hadn’t paid the balance on this semester’s tuition. Kat had done the math. To survive, she needed fourteen thousand dollars in two weeks.

“You want to be a lawyer, you need to work for a lawyer,” Philip said.

“I won’t be practicing your kind of law.”

He finished buttoning his shirt. “That’s cold, Kitty Kat.”

He approached her and gave her a light kiss on the lips and then moved his lips close to her ear. “Can we just take a moment to recognize that you were incredible last night?”

The soft lull of his voice made her close her eyes; the nagging voice in her head kept saying she loved him. I’m supposed to love him. Her mindset of deluded innocence had been produced by a small town childhood where the message was unspoken but understood: sex means love. Love. What is that, exactly? What do twenty-three-year-old girls know about love anyway?

They stood so close she felt sure that he could hear her heart beating. His fingers sifted through her hair; a small sigh escaped his lips. For a split second he seemed like someone else entirely and then…“I wonder if you could hold on to something for me…”

Kat gave him a shove. Same old Philip.

“It’s not dangerous,” he said, tightening his hold on her.

“Then you keep it.”

“We’ve done this before.”

“That doesn’t mean we should do it again. There are lots of things we should never do again. Where’s the new secretary?”

Philip gave her his classic bad boy smile. “You were never the secretary. You’re someone I trust.”  Pulling a letter-size envelope from his jacket pocket, he held it out to her.  “I’ll pick it up in a week or two.”

“Fine,” she said. “I’ll put it in the drawer.”

She reached for it and he snapped it back.

He picked up her purse and opened it, slipping the envelope inside. “I’ll feel better if it’s with you at all times.”

Katerina opened her mouth to answer but Philip was already walking out of the bedroom, shrugging into his jacket.

She caught him at the front door.

“You’re welcome,” she said.

He turned to her. “I meant everything I said to you, kid, everything. Think about coming back. It’s a big, bad world out there. You’re not ready yet.” He winked at her and was gone.

She stared at her purse. He was right. He knew it. So did she.

Tossing the purse onto the chair, she went back inside to finish dressing.

 

 

 

 

 

June 21, 2015

If A Book Is Done… Is It Finished?

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I fell off the radar again, I know. I think I’d like to get the phrase “multi-tasking whiz” needlepointed on a pillow… but in my defense, I have been very busy with The Fixer: The Naked Man as you can see by the attached link…

Drumroll please while you click the link…

Yay!!! And when I saw the Amazon Pre-Order page live, I admit, there was a lot of this…

snoopy dancing

I also have to admit, that going through the process of writing this book, there was something very important I had forgotten about the writing experience. Something I had gone through with each of the last two books I wrote. I probably blocked it from my mind. I will explain.

It was two months ago when I announced to friends and family that I was done with The Fixer: The Naked Man. Done as in, done writing it, done editing it, where’s the Amazon upload page, let’s get this sucker scheduled because I am ready to show this to the world!!! Google the definition of done and you will see “ended,” “concluded,” “over and done with.” Right, that’s what I said. Let’s blow this popsicle stand, I’m DONE.

I looked like this…

 

happy writer

 

Good times.

Every writer needs an editor, someone who can view the manuscript with some objective distance. I wish that weren’t so because I have a stubborn self-sufficient streak, creatively speaking, and I would prefer to be able to do everything myself. I’m childish that way.

My mother is my editor. She’s smart and talented and amazing. She’s a voracious reader, a crack editor, and on top of it all designs and makes her own jewelry . For my first two books, Project Jennifer, and For Better or Worse, she was my first editor and her flawless eye for seeing things that… how does she phrase it… “need work,” was the reason those manuscripts were in such great shape before the publishing house editor saw them. So she read the “done” manuscript, made her suggestions, and announced, “You were concentrating on the story elements. You’ve got that covered. Now you have to work on style.”

As a friend reminded me, there’s done and there’s finished. Google the definition of finished and you get “(of an action, activity, or a piece of work) having been completed.”  Not just concluded, but completed. Tom-ay-to, tom-ah-to… but they are correct, whoever they are. Bastards.

And then I looked like this:

upset writer

Soooo…back to the manuscript, not once, not twice, but three times and hopefully, each round of edits has made the story better.

I’m so excited and grateful to share the very first book in The Fixer series, the beginning of the journey for Katerina Mills. I still can’t believe this happy accident happened;  almost a year ago the seed of this story appeared after a sleepless night of self-questioning. Why wasn’t I writing anymore? Why wasn’t I doing what I was made to do? The first image I had of Katerina was of a young woman in danger, facing an adversary, a powerful man, so much stronger than herself, matching courage and wits to save not just her body but her spirit as well. The story grew from there. The ideas have been coming and I’ve been writing them down and this story has grown far, wide, and deep. I can’t wait to share it with you all.

I hope you will “enter the dangerous world of Katerina Mills” and come along for the ride.

Take care,

Jill

 

April 13, 2015

E-book Cover Reveal for The Fixer: The Naked Man

Filed under: Books — jillamyrosenblatt @ 8:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Hi Everyone!

It’s here! I am so excited to reveal the e-book cover for The Fixer: The Naked Man….

The Fixer

Alan Gaites/Graphic Design did a fabulous job and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.

Stay tuned for more “Fixer” info coming soon, including an extended sneak peek.

Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com to get all the latest news first.

Take care,

J.

March 27, 2015

To Pinterest or Not To Pinterest…Is That The Question?

Hi Everyone,

The editing continues and The Fixer: The Naked Man gets closer to completion. Yay!!! I spoke to my graphic designer, Alan, and the process of a book cover has begun!!

Continuing the discussion of letting people know about The Fixer, can we talk Pinterest for a moment? I discovered Pinterest through an article on book marketing. It was important to make a Pinterest board for your book. An author needed to do this. The article didn’t really say why or how this was a necessity but it had to be done.

Fair enough.

I signed up. I have boards for my two books, Project Jennifer and For Better Or Worse. I like Pinterest. It took me a few minutes to figure out it was electronic scrapbooking but I’m in. It’s actually quite addictive, in a good way. When I put together my board for For Better Or Worse it gave me the chance to post pics of my inspiration for the Ian character: Ewan McGregor.

imagesCA2GXZLT

The weird,  wonderful thing about writing is inspiration can come from anywhere, a movie, a song, an actor or actress. There were 10 characters in FBOW and yet, I really only had a visual on Ian. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love the other characters (and you really do need to love them all, even the ones that are shits), but having that picture reference helped me to develop the character and identify tics and habits.  Like I said, weird and wonderful.

So back to The Fixer: The Naked Man. I had an idea of what Katerina Mills looked like before I made the connection to an actress that was the perfect match (more on that in a minute). However, the character of Charles Winter was the big surprise. I had trouble imagining him; I had trouble seeing him. I liked him but I couldn’t seem to get a handle on him; he didn’t stand out. I tried writing his description but it just wasn’t.  I consoled myself. He was supposed to be a one shot supporting character anyway. In, out, and gone.

When I moved on to writing the rough draft for the second book, I couldn’t stop thinking  about him. Would he come back? Meh, I would think even as he kept lurking in the back of my mind (characters do that, you know, they lurk in the subconscious,  just waiting for their chance to take over and run amok, little stinkers). I would think, maybe, he might show up again in a future book, someday… And then…

I was spending my Christmas holiday channel flipping and catching up on movies when…I saw Him for the first time (who for the moment will remain nameless). An actor who was the perfect inspiration for Charles Winter. He had it all: height, build, face, and that voice! That was all I needed. I had a visual and my character had the all clear signal: let the running amok begin!

That’s when the writing took off like (insert your cliche of choice here – I’m going with “a bat out of hell.” I like the old faithfuls :)). The whole relationship between these characters opened up. The direction of the series twisted and turned in unexpected ways. That weird, wonderful process of making connections and new meanings from narrative, plot twists, and dialogue began to flow. I could visualize what would happen to these two characters, what they would have to go through, the road they would have to travel, sometimes together, sometimes apart. Seeing my characters visually led me to seeing them emotionally. Now I’m even more attached to this series.  And…yet again, I point out my petit problème…I’m the only one.

Sooooo, back to Pinterest and my marketing conundrum. Question: Do I make a Pinterest board and post pics of the actor and actress who are the inspiration for these characters? Isn’t that doing the reader a disservice? Isn’t that depriving the reader of the fun of choosing for themselves? Does it ruin the reader experience?

It is nothing new that writers find inspiration in actors for stories. How many screenwriters have said, “I wrote this part for (insert name here).” I do wonder what would have happened if John Malkovich had said “Thanks but no thanks” to starring in Being John Malkovich. Awkward.

Let’s consider Jane Austen for a minute. When she wrote Pride and Prejudice , did she have a real life inspiration for Mr. Darcy? She could not have imagined that one day Colin Firth would be Mr. Darcy.

darcy

 

No offense to Mathew Macfadyen, his performance was excellent.

matthew macfayden

 

How about Sherlock Holmes? Is it Basil Rathbone,

basil rathbone

 

Jeremy Brett,

jeremy brett

 

or Benedict Cumberbatch?

benedict cumberbatch

 

Who would Arthur Conan Doyle choose? All of them? One? None? Will the real Sherlock Holmes please stand up? Actually, I think it is all of them, each in their own wonderful way.

The chance of the actors who sparked my imagination for Katerina Mills and Charles Winter starring in a film or tv adaptation of The Fixer series is probably something I won’t have to worry about now or any time in the near future. But as Jake Barnes said in The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

But I do wonder, do I reveal this part of this story’s evolution or should it remain the writer’s secret?

What do you think? Let me know.

Until next time, when I tackle yet another path in the marketing maze, The Contest.

Take care,

J.

P.S.: If you haven’t read the sneak peek yet for The Fixer: The Naked Man, please check it out!!! Go to http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com and have a look 🙂

March 18, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – Sneak Peek Coming Soon!

Hi Everyone!

Let’s get right to the important stuff first. It’s time for a sneak peek of Chapter 1 of The Fixer: The Naked Man. I’m so excited to share and I haven’t been sick to my stomach with nerves in a good long time so let’s do this! Okay, what you need to know:

What: The Fixer: The Naked Man Sneak Peek

When: Saturday, March 21, 2015

What Time: 11:00 p.m. (Please don’t ask me why, I don’t know,  it seemed like a good idea)

Where: http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com
Anyone who subscribes to my newsletter will receive it before Saturday at 11 because I promised subscribers first looks.

Okay, important stuff done. Now, let me tell you what’s going on. The Fixer: The Naked Man isn’t the only thing that’s been happening. Nope. In a fit of inspiration, I finished a full handwritten draft of the second book in the series. But wait: there’s more. I started writing scenes for the third book in the series. Is that all? That’s a negative. I’m so attached to these characters, I’m sketching out scenes in later books.

Is this good or bad? Depends on the writer you ask. Some never want to know what’s coming; it takes the fun out of the writing journey. I’m a McKee girl, myself. He’s an advocate for knowing your end game, up or down, positive or negative. The fun is using all your powers of creativity to craft the story to get there.

With all the writing I’ve been doing (and loving it) I still wonder a) how long it will last and b) am I getting to the point in the process when writers are so deep in their heads with their story (I am) they either start binge watching tv to turn off their brain (check) or they drink (not there yet. Give me time).

I’ve written in previous posts about my past creative drought, the doubts, second guessing, and general mind numbing anxiety that shut down my writing for a few years. Believe me, I’m thrilled and relieved to be engaged, all in, with this project. I’m attached to these characters, invested in the story, completely committed to seeing this series done. Yay for creative commitment!

Until….once again, I realize that in all of this excitement over my creative baby that there is one little issue.

No one else is attached to this story. 99.99% of the reading community doesn’t know it exists.

AND I HAVE ZERO KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL IN THE AREA OF MARKETING.

Bummer.

I admit it. I’m a marketing moron, a newb, a foundling, hopelessly flummoxed by the idea of mass advertising in order to introduce my book to readers. Twitter analytics?  Adwords? Blog tours? Page likes? Hashtags???

Clueless. (Okay, to be fair, I know what a hashtag is).

I did read that the recommendation for writers is write 70% and market 30%. Right now I’m writing 100% and marketing 0% (scratch that, I’m taking 5% for this blog post).

I guess I need a goal too, you know, how many readers do I hope to introduce to The Fixer series (that’s more of a question than a statement. Don’t I need to do that?)

So it’s time to introduce Katerina Mills and the beginning of her strange, exciting, and dangerous journey as a fixer.

If you like this post, please pass it along to as many people as you can.

If you like the sneak peek, please pass that along as well.

I thank you.

There’s nothing more hopeful, exciting, and frightening all at the same time than the waiting and the hoping that readers will discover your characters and love them as much as you do.

Until next time when I dive into the deep end of the Pinterest pool to consider the question: do you post pictures of the actors who are the inspiration for your characters?

Take care everyone. …

March 14, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – Character Profile – It Takes a Thief…

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been so busy with edits on The Fixer: The Naked Man (and writing book 2 of the series!) that I haven’t been sharing enough info about the book itself. Yikes! A problem all writers suffer from, from what I hear. We’re so busy writing, we neglect to remember we actually have to tell others about what we’re writing. I guess no one is stunned to find out I was NOT a marketing major in college. 🙂

Anyway, here is the next Proust Questionnaire for The Fixer series. This character profile is for Charles Winter, a man who excels at his profession: thief. Katerina Mills meets Winter when she is desperate – but he is not.

I hope you enjoy getting to know him… in future posts I will share more of the evolution of the Winter character, a process that took some unexpected turns. And yes, there will be a sneak peek coming soon…

As always, I love to get questions and comments. You can get in touch through my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com

Proust Questionnaire: Charles Winter

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A flawless theft.

What is your greatest fear? Getting caught.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Houdini. The man knew how to make an escape.

Which living person do you most admire? No one.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I have a weakness for a pretty face.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Self-righteousness.

What is your greatest extravagance? I enjoy living well.

What is your favorite journey? I’ve had too many to pick one.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Honesty.

On what occasion do you lie? When someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

What do you dislike most about your appearance? Nothing.

Which living person do you most despise? No one at the moment but I like to keep my options open.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  “It is what it is.”

What is your greatest regret? I have a weakness for a pretty face.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Next question.

When and where were you happiest? I’m happy now.

Which talent would you most like to have? Magician. That would cut down on the legwork.

What is your current state of mind? Calm and alert.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Nothing. Everything is as it should be.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I’m not in jail.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? William Pierce. He pulled off the Great Train Robbery of 1855 and got away with the gold. Well done.

What is your most treasured possession? I’m not attached to possessions.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? To be trapped in a small space with no way to escape.

Where would you like to live? A warm, pleasant climate.

What is your favorite occupation? The one I have now. What else?

What is your most marked characteristic? My voice.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Professionalism and precision.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Ingenuity.

What do you most value in your friends? Their silence.

Who are your favorite writers? Machiavelli. I appreciate a little moral flexibility if it gets the job done.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Simon Templar, Professor Moriarty, the usual.

Who are your heroes in real life? I have none.

What are your favorite names? Katie, short for Katerina.

What is it that you most dislike? Stupidity.

How would you like to die? I wouldn’t. But if it’s a necessity, quickly and quietly.

What is your motto? “It is what it is.”

December 6, 2014

New Contest for The Fixer: The Naked Man

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving holiday and all is well.

Since it’s the season for giving, I thought this would be a fun time to announce the first contest for The Fixer: The Naked Man.

I need to have an e-book cover made and I need help with ideas.

Here are the contest details:

Send me pics of book covers (print or e-book) that you like in the mystery/suspense genre. You can send them to me via the contact page of my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com ,  post to my facebook page, or email to me at jillamy@jillamyrosenblatt.com

I will pick out three book covers that I like so there can be 3 winners for the contest. If I pick out a book cover that you submitted, you receive the first 2 chapters of The Fixer: The Naked Man in a sneak peek pdf.

The contest opens now and will remain open until December 20th.

More details coming soon on The Fixer: The Naked Man so stay tuned!!

November 20, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To “The Fixer”

The last time I published a book was 2009. 2009. It’s no secret that writers have a myriad of problems; we’re a notoriously moody, preoccupied, anxious, and angst ridden bunch. There are two basic nightmare scenarios for writers: not being able to write and not being able to finish what we write. The jury is still out on which is worse.

I did write another book after For Better or Worse. It was called Deciphering Bella. It was about a married couple and the wife suffers from mental illness.  The story explores the level of commitment between a husband and wife when life events are what they “didn’t sign up for.” I loved that story. I was the only one. What can you do? It happens. I put it away.

And then something happened. It wasn’t as if I was doing nothing. I was doing lots of somethings. I went back to school, finished a Master’s degree, tutored English, wrote a few short stories, a bunch of blog posts, a screenplay, and created a cartoon strip (artwork and text). But a full story wasn’t coming.

It’s one thing to stare at a blank piece of paper. That wasn’t my problem. I had story ideas, lots of ideas. I even had titles. I never think of titles. Scenes would come to me out of the blue. But for different stories. Then came the great yellow pad debacle of Spring 2014. I could only write on small 4.5 x 7 yellow legal pads. Don’t ask. I now have piles of small yellow legal pads all over the apartment. Lots of small half-filled yellow legal pads.

I’m a follower, a. true believer, a practitioner of the Robert McKee method of structuring and writing a story. I took his seminar, read his book. His class changed my writing life. His class made Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse possible. The man is my Yoda.  But I couldn’t settle down. couldn’t do the outlines, the character profiles, the scene narratives.

And then something else happened. A few months ago on a Saturday night, my mother showed me an article on authors successfully self publishing on Amazon. I went to bed that night agitated and irritated. What was I doing? Actually, why wasn’t I doing what I was supposed to be doing? What I was meant to be doing? Early Sunday morning, I woke up to my moment of clarity. And an idea.

It was a spark. A young woman and a wealthy, powerful man. A story of mystery and suspense. She’s a fixer on the verge of failure. He issues an offer to help. He’ll fix the problem for her, for a price. I dug deeper into the idea. Who is this young woman? How does she get into this? There are several stories about fixers now, Scandal, and Ray Donovan to name a few. What place would Katerina Mills have? As I got to know her better, I realized that the novella stories would form an origin series. It will be exciting to see Kat grow and change into the woman she will become and how she will handle a world she is unprepared for. The pieces began falling into place as the magical process of the story parts connecting to each other took off.

So that’s what happened. I feel like I’m back and it’s an amazing feeling, even though I can only write the stories using cream colored paper journal books. Don’t ask.

Next post I’ll be introducing the characters one at a time, starting with Katerina Mills.

Don’t forget to check my website for updates and to sign up for the newsletter for the latest, news, giveaways, and contests. http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com

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