Posts Tagged ‘fiction’


As I’m sure I’ve already mentioned, character writing is my favorite part of the fiction process. Nothing else–except maybe the finished product–is as satisfying to me personally as the moment a character begins to tell his or her story. Sometimes, they reveal themselves in slow sections, teasing you with their secrets and the private details of their personas. Sometimes, they come fully-formed in an in-your-face moment of undeniable clarity.

My intrigue with the process of character development is what keeps me writing, and it is what has prompted me to elaborate on it here, and dig a little deeper into some of the characters I’ve created, with the purpose of learning more about the mystery of it in general, and maybe even learning a little more about my own process. And, one of the most frequently asked questions any writer receives is about the development of characters, so I thought it might also be fun for the folks who have read my work to see the inner workings of my imaginary friends 🙂

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The first character that comes to mind, for some reason, is Brytt Tanner, Sterling Bronson’s dim-witted side-kick in Beautiful Monster, so I’ll start with him.

Brytt came into existence pretty early on in the plotting of Monster,  and if I remember correctly, it all started–as it often does–with his name. My co-author, Mimi A. Williams, met a man named Brytt in the workplace. The moment she mentioned the guy’s name, I knew I had to use it.

The first thing I knew about Brytt was that he was a stripper. I’m not sure why that was–again, probably the name. It just sounds kind of strippery, I guess.

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Next came his physical appearance. I figured a bulky, muscle-bound blond guy would be an interesting antithesis to Sterling’s dark, brooding good looks. I don’t like to create characters who look too much alike, and second, I’m a sucker for contrast. After ascertaining the basics of Brytt’s appearance, the next thing I did was start browsing the internet for his doppelgänger. This isn’t something I always do, but at times, I’ve found it helpful. So, I found a photograph of a guy that fit the mold, and referred to said picture when I needed to expound on details. I considered posting that picture here, but have ultimately decided against it. I think it’s best to let readers fill in their own blanks and use their own imaginations.

Not all of Brytt was pre-planned. He–like all good characters–came with a little of his own agenda, and one of the first things that surprised me was his dim-wittedness. I don’t know that I would have deliberately created him to be such a lunkhead, but as is so often the case, this is how he kind of “revealed” himself as I wrote him.

And it worked… which is also very often the case when you trust your characters to do their own things.

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It was also a surprise to me that Brytt was almost–but not quite–as morally corrupt, sexually deviant, and as dangerous as Sterling. In the beginning, Brytt was created, I think, simply as a means to give Sterling–who lives by himself–more opportunity for dialogue. But as the story progressed and began to demand artistic unity, Brytt began to play a significant role in the novel.

Brytt’s last name was tricky. A strange thing happened as we got further into the story. We started noticing a pattern… an absolute overuse–and abuse, really–of the letter C. We had Claire, Connie, Carlson, Cassidy, Carson, Carlisle, and probably several other names that began with the letter. I wish I could tell you why C became such a prominent player, but I can’t–I don’t know. Wierd things happen sometimes. So, after we made the discovery of the letter Cs undeniable overuse, Brytt’s last name–Carson–was changed to Tanner. Tanner, because at the time, I worked for a company with the word “Tanner” in the title. I’d been at the company for thirteen years, and figured it deserved some kind of recognition for paying my bills all that time. Unfortunately, Brytt probably isn’t really the most complimentary thing to be associated with, but for what’s it’s worth, I like him. He amused the hell out of me… and hey, it’s the thought that counts…

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I can’t remember if Brytt’s addiction to cocaine was a surprise or part of the plan, but this was the most fun, and most challenging thing about him. His constant “pit stops” kind of became his calling card, his personal catch-phrase in a sense, and it was interesting to describe the physical symptoms, like his glassy eyes and powder-congealed nostrils–and it was a total blast describing the actual snorting of the cocaine. I know… I’m kinda twisted that way, but it was fun. The snorting of coke is not glamorous. I wanted that to be very clear when Brytt did his thing, and it turned out being more hilarious than anything.

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Brytt is, believe it or not, one of my favorites. He was fun because he didn’t allow Sterling to take himself so seriously. Well, maybe Sterling took himself seriously, but Brytt made it impossible for me to take him–and the rest of the story–as seriously. Brytt is one of the reasons Beautiful Monster was so much fun for me. He moved the story along like a good character, he played by the rules by not demanding more stage time than his part required, and he forced me to learn more about the darker, sleazier side of life. I absolutely love him, and I have no doubt he will reincarnate, in some form or another, in my future writes.

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Beautiful Monster is available in paperback and ebook format at www.damnationbooks.com, and everywhere books are sold.

If you like my blog, also stop by and give me a like at my Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/thejerodscott?ref=tn_tnmn

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Love

Dianna Love is the New York Times best-selling author of the Slye Temp novels, the Belador series and the Bad Agency series with Sherrilyn Kenyon as well as several other novels and series. I discovered her by accident a few years back, and it was one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made. I’ve been a huge fan of her work from the first sentence of hers that I read.

I was overjoyed when she agreed to do an interview for me, but when she sent me signed copies of several of her books, and said she wanted to do a giveaway on my blog, I was ecstatic. Dianna is one of the kindest, most open and giving person I’ve met in a long time, and her assistant, Cassondra Murray, whom I’ve also become acquainted with, is just as great.

For today, Dianna will be around to interact with her readers, answer questions, and let them get to know her a little. Just leave a comment. Also, those who leave comments today (February 14th, 2013) will be put into a drawing and three people will win one of three possible prizes. Dianna will give away a copy of LAST CHANCE TO RUN, JUSTIFIABLE, and  TIME TRAP (one book to each of three winners who comment.) She will also include a Keeper Kase with each one.

Before we get to the interview, here is a synopsis of each of the novels she will be giving away.

TIME TRAP:

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Her memory is blank.  Her future’s in question.  Her power is dangerous.

Waking up in an unknown world, Rayen learns only that she’s seventeen and is hunted by a sentient beast.  Terrified that she may never learn  who she really is or find her way back to her home, she’s captured in a  land that is at times familiar even if the people and the structures  seem alien.  When local law enforcement delivers her to a private  school, she’s labeled as a Native American runaway, and Rayen discovers a secret with deadly repercussions.  Forced into an unlikely alliance  with a computer savvy street punk and a gifted oddball girl to save  their world – and the future – Rayen finds the key to an identity that  no person would want.

JUSTIFIABLE:

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Children are missing, adults are  being murdered and a city is on the brink of exploding.  The key to  saving lives is a secret whispered in confession.

Once a beloved, award-winning investigative journalist, Riley Walker  now anchors for a television station rated the worst in Philadelphia.  That’s how it works when a top newsman makes an epic mistake in front of the whole world. The busier Riley stays, the less he thinks about the  one decision that will haunt him forever.  His vow?  Never get involved again.  That works until a killer uses Riley’s past against him, and targets a  child the world has forgotten. Riley is the only one who can save him,  but when Riley digs deep for the truth, he uncovers evidence fingering a powerful player no one will believe is guilty. Dangerous politics pit  Riley against a serial killer, and threaten all he’s fought to regain

To save the life of a child and stop a killer on a savage murder  spree, Riley must fight an enemy far greater than the tide of public  anger rolling against him. He’ll have to face his own demons, and the  horror of the child who died because the last time…Riley was wrong.

and LAST CHANCE TO RUN:

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To an undercover agent, she’s a Person of Interest. He’s interested.

Escaping the compound of a deadly international felon–with a fortune in rare, stolen coins hidden on her body–elite athlete Angel Farentino has to make the most important run of her life. Literally. With her father in prison, where he belongs, and a prior undeserved conviction hanging over her head, she has nowhere to turn and no one to trust. Definitely not law enforcement who railroaded her through a judicial nightmare. One step ahead of lethal men and dogs on her trail, she runs into the arms of a dark stranger willing to help her if she’d let him. But that would only get the sexy pilot killed. Between figuring out who’s sabotaging his undercover work for the DEA and trying to save his baby sister from herself, Zane Jackson has enough on his plate. The last thing he needs is to get entangled with a woman who’s treading on the wrong side of the law. But when the long-legged distraction races into the middle of his operation and stows away on his plane, a primal need to protect forces Zane to risk everything, starting with his heart.
Just leave a comment and be eligible to win!
And now, for Dianna’s interview. Thank you, Dianna, for the wonderful interview, and thank you, Cassondra, for your kindness and hard work.
Dianna Love Blogs with Jared Anderson Feb 14th 2013
Q: I’ve read that you never intended to be a published author, that one day you just wrote down a story that had been playing in your mind. What made you decide to write this story down?
*** I spent many years working alone way up in the air painting large murals.  I never liked listening to the radio (before Sirius FM) so I’d make up stories in my head to keep myself entertained during work days that lasted twelve to fifteen hours.  Then I stopped climbing so much and thought I’d write down the one that had been coming back to me over and over.

 Q: What was the story about?

*** It was about a woman on the run who was carrying a fortune in rare coins that someone else stole.  She has to stay away from the law until she can prove she’s innocent, but she stows away on the charter airplane of a man working undercover for law enforcement.  The story was published as a short romantic suspense, but  I’ve recently gotten back the rights to that book, rewritten it as a romantic thriller and put it out under a new title..but more about that later.

Q: What was your journey to publication like?

**** I was fortunate in that I sold the first book I wrote, but anyone who’s been in this business for any length of time knows that’s not ever “all the story.” Right after I sold, my first senior editor was moved out of that position and the new one who came in was entirely different to work with and we never could make a connection.  I eventually realized I was writing books that were too big for what that house published, so I switched gears and went in another direction toward romantic thrillers.  At that same time, I was also working on an urban fantasy series that I kept pitching, but was constantly  told was too unusual.   Fast forward six years and the urban fantasy genre had done some growing.  The Belador series sold at that point.  Regardless of what genre I’m writing at any particular moment, there is always a suspense/thriller element.

Q: Can you describe your usual writing process?

*** There are plotters and pantsers (seat-of-the-pants writers), but I call myself a hybrid.  I’m always telling writers to find “their own  process” and go with it.  All that matters, in my opinion, is producing a great story.  I’m a type-A person, so I prefer to plot out complex threads.  I generally start with brainstorming an idea then I write a couple chapters to get a feel for the characters, and then I start plotting.  If know I won’t write myself into a corner, that allows me the freedom to be as creative as I want when I’m laying down pages.

Q: How do you know when an idea is a good one?

*** I’ve never been asked that and love this question!   When I hit on an idea for several major surprises in a story, or something that will make a story very different, I get really pumped.  That’s the moment that I can’t wait to begin telling the new story.  I have to be entertained first if I’m going to write it. If it becomes slow or dull anywhere I stop and back up to where I was last excited about it, figure out where something isn’t working, fix it and move ahead.  I’m like a kid who is not easily entertained, which I think is a good thing because if I can write something that holds me, then I feel good about it holding the ultimate audience–the readers.

Q: Have you ever written a book that you were dissatisfied with, and why were you dissatisfied?

***When I was first writing I tried my hand at writing a character who was a beta male and found out quickly that I sucked at that, so I tossed that book.  I enjoy the high action of black ops type characters and thrive on putting characters into difficult physical and emotional situations, then figuring out how to get them out of the jams I’ve thrown them into.

Q: Have you ever read a book you wished you’d written, if so, what book, and why?

***I’ve read a lot of books that I’ve admired, but haven’t wished I’d written them so much as wished I’d thought of the clever idea that inspired the story.  Like the plots that Tom Clancy and James Rollins have written or the plot for The Sixth Sense or the Bourne series…or that last A-Team movie.

Q: Aside from writing, you enjoy fishing and riding motorcycles. These are very different activities. What is it about each of them that turns your crank?

***I was obviously a tomboy growing up.  I fished from the time I could hold anything in my hands and rode motocross bikes in my teens.  I still love to fish, especially light tackle, because it’s quiet and exciting at the same time.  With saltwater fishing, you never know what might bite.  I’m riding a BMW motorcycle these days and screaming along the highway is almost like flying on the ground.  I forget about everything when I fish and ride my bike. Those are two great ways to give my brain some down time, even though I do plot stories while I ride.  Then there’s writing, which is something I practically breathe.  I need to be creative and I love puzzles, which is what a complex thriller is to me.  I must have a challenge at all times.  It’s just part of my makeup.  Writing is one of the most difficult and wonderful challenges I’ve ever come across and hope to be doing it until my last day on earth.

Q: Which of your characters do you feel is the most dynamic and life-like?

*** Right now, I would say Evalle Kincaid, who is the key player in the Belador urban fantasy series.  She is so flawed and so loyal and so determined that it’s easy to cheer for her.  She fights for everything she gets and is shunned by many, yet she’s got a heart of gold and makes the hard choices even when she’s the one with the most to lose.

Q: If you could meet one of your own characters in the flesh, who would you choose to meet and what would you say to him or her?

***I would like to meet Angelina Farentino and thank her for inspiring me to become an author. She is the female protagonist in my first suspense story—the one I mentioned earlier.  I first wrote the story as a full-length romantic suspense, but cut the book down to a shorter novel to fit the publisher’s criteria.  I got the rights back last year, and I’ve just revised the story back to a larger, high-concept romantic thriller.  The new book is LAST CHANCE TO RUN, and was released in December as the prequel to my new Slye Temp romantic thriller series.  Angel and I have come a long way together.

Q: Have you ever based a character off someone you didn’t like and done bad things to them?

***No. I like creating really deadly villains and having the freedom to make them pay without feeling any hesitation or remorse.

Q: What is it like being a New York Times bestselling author?

*** I feel very fortunate to have books on the NYT and USA Today bestseller lists.  I’m humbled and thrilled to have reached this point in my career, and thank every person who has ever read one of my books.  I spend a lot of time on the road talking to readers and writers in an effort to give back for what so many have given to me.

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Q: You have collaborated with Sherrilyn Kenyon on several works. What do you most love about working with her?

***Laughing.  We met when my first book was out and we started touring together for her books over the next year.  It was during one of those trips when we’d just returned at two in the morning from a signing that we were talking to wind down and the subject of the BAD Agency series came up. I started brainstorming an idea for the series, because I love to brainstorm.  Sherrilyn liked it and suggested we co-write.  My answer?  Well, my mama drowned the dumb kids. 🙂

Q: What is the best thing about collaborating with another author?

***Those moments of discovery where someone comes up with a great element that you didn’t think of or the other person has a suggestion that takes the story in a direction that really jacks up the tension.

Q: What is the most challenging thing about collaborating with another author?

***I’ve spoken to a lot of writers and tell them to be careful about collaborating just because they are “good friends.”  If anything, that’s dangerous to the friendship.  The one thing I said to Sherri was that our friendship meant more to me than a contract and she agreed.  If the first book had created problems for us, there would not have been a second, but we’ve just released number six.  So the most challenging things are being secure enough to allow each other to edit at will, and trusting each other to do the right thing by the book.  When we started, we made a deal on one important thing – no sacred cows.  It didn’t matter who wrote which words – everything was up for revising or editing.

Q: What advice would you give to two writers who were contemplating a collaborative novel?

***I sort of answered that in the previous question, but I would add that it’s important to get documentation in place for the terms of the collaboration and what would happen if one of the two dies.  Make sure to go to literary or entertainment attorneys familiar with the business.

Q: What do you consider the highlight of your career as a novelist?

***Hitting the New York Times over and over again never gets old, but the first time I was asked to be the keynote for a large reader event was quite amazing.  I’ve given other keynotes since then, but it’s that first one when you’re so flattered to be asked and amazed when you walk in to a packed room.

Q: Which part of the writing process is hardest for you?

***I love to brainstorm and work out the puzzles of each plot, and I enjoy writing the scenes.  I write pretty clean so revising isn’t usually that big of a deal.  All that said, I get so caught up in the action and emotion in the first draft that it’s not until the second run through, or the polish, that I focus more closely on the physical descriptions and setting.  I know what they look like and I can see every detail as though it was a movie running through my head, but I have to work at remembering to include those things.

Q: What are you working on now?

*** I’m writing on my new Slye Temp series.   A blown CIA operation in the UK destroyed an elite mercenary black ops unit two years ago. Surviving members disappeared to heal their wounds, and have now resurfaced as part of Slye Temp, an agency contracting security work with corporate America.  At least, that’s what goes on above ground.  LAST CHANCE TO RUN was the prequel, and the other three books will be released this year.  NOWHERE SAFE  will be out this month—February 25th.

I’m very excited about a new venture into Young Adult fiction written for ages 14+.  I just released TIME TRAP, book one in the Red Moon series, under the pseudonym Micah Caida (co-authored with Mary Buckham).  It’s an epic sci-fi/fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games.  Early readers from age 12 to age 50, both male and female, have said “it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before.”

I also just released my first mainstream thriller, which was a collaboration with former NBC anchor Wes Sarginson.  JUSTIFIABLE is Book One of the Riley Walker novels, which blend Wes’s experience in investigative journalism, and Dianna’s experience writing thrillers.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the readers out there!  I hope every one of you finds your perfect hero or heroine.


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Of the many difficult aspects of writing that exist, none has surprised me more than the difficulty I’ve had with finding the right titles for my books. The title Beautiful Monster didn’t come into existence until the very last round revisions that Mimi and I did on the novel. First, we called it, very simply, An Evil Heart, deciding that would do just fine until something more powerful came along.

Then, for the longest time, we called the manuscript Gallery of Dolls, in reference to the abandoned mine shafts Sterling Bronson takes his victims to. I was never happy with that title, though, and probably drove Mimi crazy with my fixation on finding just the right name for this book. It sounded too much like The Valley of the Dolls to me.

Then, during the book’s final round of revisions, Mimi’s character, Brenna, said something about “the monster behind the beautiful mask…” and I knew that, somewhere in there, was our title. We played around with it a little before settling on Beautiful Monster. This kind of focus on the title of a book can be completely in vain though, as many publishers will change the title of the book if they don’t think it’s a marketable one. Still, my obsession doesn’t cease.

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Now, I am re-writing the novel formerly known as The White Room, which I recently changed to Cadence, which now is simply known as untitled. I don’t know why having a title is so important to me. I somehow feel like I can’t fully envision the book without the title intact, and yet, I usually don’t come up with the titles until the end of the process.

It’s my hope that as I’m plugging along, the perfect title will present itself to me when the time is right. I’ve been told by many other authors that this is how it usually goes, and I believe it.

If anyone else has a problem finding titles for their work, I found a useful article on the Writer’s Digest website that addresses the issue. I plan to look it over and incorporate the information: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/7-tips-to-nail-the-perfect-title

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Have a great weekend!

All best.


The writing life, for the most part, is not glamorous, but every so often, something really fantastic happens, and it reminds me of the reasons I wanted to do this. I’ve made a commitment to chronicle these things as a way of keeping myself from taking it for granted. I call these my “Rockstar Moments” because they make me feel like a rockstar! My most recent Rockstar moment came a few days ago.

Recently, I’ve been assisting my friend and fellow horror author, Tamara Thorne, in proof-reading some of her earlier books which are currently being converted into eBook format. Tamara does all the hard stuff – I just double check for typos that the scanning sometimes produces. I’ve been a Tamara Thorne fan since the ’90s, so really, it’s just an excuse for me to read really good books. Anyway, the latest Tamara Thorne book that’s been successfully converted into eBook format is Eternity.

Until I started proofing it, I’d never read Eternity, so this one was especially fun. I’ve read (and in several cases re-read) Bad Things, Haunted, Moonfall, and The Sorority Series (Eve, Merilynn, and Samantha) but there were still a few out there that I hadn’t had the chance to get.

I plowed through Eternity, trying very hard not to demand the chapters from Tamara faster than she could restore and send them. Whereas most great stories have their climactic end, Eternity felt to me like one big, wonderfully on-going peak that just kept getting higher and higher. Seriously. This book has it all: serial killers, famous missing persons, horror, shrewd humor, murder mystery, a dash of sci-fi, and even a bit of romance. What’s not to love?

So the fact that I genuinely love this book only makes my recent Rockstar Moment that much sweeter. After the conversions were finished, Tamara sent me the file to look over, and this is what I saw:

This is probably one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me. I couldn’t be more honored.

Thank you, Tamara, for your very kind gesture. Words fail.

Eternity is now available in eBook at: http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-ebook/dp/B00AA3WWW6/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1353445662&sr=1-7&keywords=Eternity. It will be re-released in paperback next year.

Also, be sure to check out Tamara’s Little Blog of Horrors at: http://tamarathorne.wordpress.com/


Dear Readers,

Hello, and welcome to Friday. It’s been a busy week and I have been slacking on my blog updates. Right now, it’s nine in the morning and the thunder is so loud that poor Gypsy, my female poodle, is a trembling mass of nerves. She hates the thunder. Sven, the boy, doesn’t seem to mind. I don’t mind it either. It’s what got me out of bed this morning as far as I’m concerned, thunderstorms are a great way to start any day. I do like my weather to be wicked…

Anyway, a few updates. I am this week’s guest on author Joseph Spencer’s blog. He asked me some great questions about Beautiful Monster and writing in general. It’s interesting how we often don’t even know why we write what we do until someone asks us about it. If you want to check it out, the interview went live earlier this week: http://www.josephbspencer.com/uncategorized/meet-market-jared-anderson-beautiful-monster

Also, this week, I did a little Beautiful Monster promo for Lee Brazil called, Crawling Into Bed with Sterling Bronson. This was a fun and unique experience that was great to be a part of:  http://leebrazilauthor.blogspot.com/2012/10/crawling-into-bed-with-sterling-bronson.html

Also, Tamara Thorne, my friend, fellow horror writer, and one of my longtime heroes had written a blurb for Beautiful Monster. It got left out on some of the earlier print runs of the Beautiful Monster paper back copies, but this morning, I noticed on Amazon that the publisher has now gotten it on there. I am very pleased by this! I was so excited I took a picture of it!

The picture I took is a little crooked and a bit blurred, but you get the idea. “Finally, a serial killer women can sink their teeth into.” That’s what Tamara Thorne had to say about Sterling Bronson, our serial killer in Beautiful Monster. I can’t even describe how cool it is to have someone whose work I’ve loved since the ’90s write a blurb for this book, and tell me she loved it and couldn’t put it down. I am flattered beyond words.

Also, this week, I’ve been concocting questions for the “Name That Serial Killer” contest that Mimi and I are doing for Halloween. The winner will receive a signed copy of Beautiful Monster, and, (per Mimi’s insistence!) a saran-wrapped “plastic doll” of their very own. (If you’ve read the book then I’m sure you get it.) Planning this contest has actually been a lot of fun, plus it gives me a great place to put all of the serial killer knowledge I acquired when doing research for Monster. To test your own knowledge of all things serial killer, join the contest by liking us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/beautifuldamnation?ref=hl where we will be posting information for the contest. We plan to hold the contest as close to Halloween as possible.

If you’re in the Salt Lake City area, Mimi will be doing a book signing for Beautiful Monster at The King’s English on October 23rd. I won’t be attending as I am several states away, but I will be there in spirit…and Mimi has tons of book plates that I’ve signed. So, if you’re close, be sure to stop by and get a signed copy of Beautiful Monster and meet Mimi A. Williams, who authored Brenna Carlson, the only chick who gave Sterling Bronson a run for his money. This is what The King’s English had to say about the book: “Beautiful Monster, by Mimi A. Williams, and Jared S. Anderson, is an insightful look into human dynamics with two damaged characters: one who needs love for self-value and one who can’t feel love at all.” Well said!

I managed to finish chapter seven of Cadence (formerly known as The White Room) yesterday. You’d think that fine-tuning a book you’ve already written would be an easy task. It isn’t. The main character was one of the biggest problems, so as you can imagine, the whole book basically needs to be rewritten. The voice is entirely different now, so even the scenes I am able to copy and paste need to undergo serious reworking. It’s tedious, and to be honest, unpleasant, but I’m still hopeful I can have it completed between December of 2012 and January, 2013. When it’s finished, I will submit it to my publisher and hope they like it enough to publish it. If not, I will just keep plugging along. On top of Cadence, I am also working on a sequel for Beautiful Monster with Mimi, and am about seven chapters into another solo project…PLUS, I have this killer new idea for a great book germinating in the back of my mind.

There are a lot of things to be written yet… I just wish there were more time in the day.

Finally, on a sadder note, Tom Piccirilli was diagnosed with a brain tumor and has undergone surgery to have it removed. Author Brian Keene has put up a page on his website for readers, friends, fans and peers who would like to help out Tom Piccirilli and his family: http://www.briankeene.com/?p=12584

In closing, Beautiful Monster is getting spectacular reviews, and I’m grateful to everyone who has read and loved this book. Thank you, thank you, thank you! For now, I need to get back to my writing!

All best.


When I contacted Patricia Scanlan a few moths ago, inviting her to do an interview on my blog, I didn’t necessarily expect a response. Authors are very busy people, especially number one bestselling authors like her! As it turned out, Patricia not only agreed to do an interview, but she turned out to be one of coolest authors I’ve met. We’ve kept in touch via e-mail for several months now, and every time I get an e-mail from her, I get a little giddy.

My wife and I discovered the books of Patricia Scanlan several years ago. After finishing Francesca’s Party, my wife told me I absolutely had to read it. I am a lover of all genres, but I tend to lean more toward thriller/suspense, and even horror. Still, I figured if it was that good, I better give it a shot.

I couldn’t put it down. After finishing it, I immediately went and purchased several more of her books and devoured them just as quickly. We recommended these books to everyone we knew, and my sister-in-law soon became a big fan as well.

After talking more about it, Patricia and I decided to hold off on posting her interview until the release of her upcoming novel, With All My Love, which is on or around Mother’s Day. In Ireland, where Patricia lives, Mother’s Day falls in March. Here in the U.S., it’s in May…so either way, it will be several months before I post the interview.

The thing I’m most excited about, however, the real “Rockstar Moment” is that after she and I got to know each other better, she asked me how I would like to be the first person in the United States to read With All My Love. She told me she had talked to her agent and they decided they’d like to send me a proof copy of the novel before its actual release. I was stoked! I eagerly gave her the information she needed so she could send it to me.

Patricia sent me an e-mail a couple of days ago, letting me know it would soon be on its way. This is, by far, one of the most incredible things to happen to me since I’ve begun meeting authors and traveling the writing circle. To receive a proof copy of one of your favorite author’s novels is an honor of the highest kind and I’m thrilled to be the recipient of such an awesome gesture.

It’s things like these that have inspired me to write these blogs, which I have dubbed “Rockstar Moments,” because that’s what it makes me feel like. Since beginning this journey, I’ve repeatedly been struck by the kindness and sense of camaraderie from the other writers I’ve met, and to have Patricia Scanlan among my friends is inexplicable. It’s just plain…rad.

I recommend all of Patricia’s books to anyone who loves a good story. Her novels have  a way of touching the human heart, moving the spirit, and making the readers feel at home in a way few authors are able to do. She’s written dozens of novels, and all of them have been number one best sellers. Her novel, With All My Love will be available Mother’s Day, 2013.

In closing, thank you Patricia Scanlan, for your great books, your wonderful gesture, and your friendship. I can’t wait to read With All My Love!


Of the many totally awesome benefits to getting your book published, probably nothing is as cool as getting letters from your readers, and in the short time since Beautiful Monster has been published, I’ve discovered there are three basic types of mail that readers will send an author: fan mail, hate mail, and just plain-strange-mail.

Each of these types of mail are important to the author who is interested in knowing his or her audience and/or learning more about his or her own strengths and weaknesses as a writer. It’s always great to get mail from readers, however, you have to be careful not to get too caught up in anyone’s take on your work. There’s something to be said about writing for one’s self.

I believe that anyone who writes a novel and gives it to the world has already got nerves of steel. Putting your work out there leaves you vulnerable, it makes you raw, and it is absolutely terrifying…but when you start getting feedback from readers, the good, the bad, and the ugly, that’s when things get real interesting. That being said, here are the types of mail you can expect to receive from your readers once your manuscript is published…based on my experience…

The first and best kind of mail is, of course, fan mail. This is the stuff that reminds you of why you wanted to do this in the first place. The writer’s of fan mail are always very excited about your characters and the world you’ve created. Many of these guys even share insights into your story and your characters that make you see your novel from an entirely new perspective. The writer’s of fan mail are your most important readers. These guys like you. They support you and they want more from you. Be very nice to these folks.

Another form of mail you’re likely to receive is the kind no one likes to get: hate mail. Before assuming that this kind of mail is limited only to writers of sex, violence and sensitive social subjects, be warned that receiving hate mail is almost inevitable. I know writers of the most delightfully sweet children’s books who have received their fair share. Realize that in a time when people are looking for reasons to be offended, there are no safe books to be written. The writer’s of hate mail like to tell you that you have no business writing. Sometimes, it’s your writing style that has set their vicious pens a-scribble. Other times, it’s the content. Too much sex, too much violence…not enough sex, not enough violence…these are all just a few of the triggers that get hate mailers in a dither of wrath. It’s best not to respond at all to these guys as any correspondence from you is only likely perpetuate the hate and increase the chances of them telling their friends and families what a prick you are…on top of being a lousy writer. That being said, don’t forget that even the hate mailers are important, though. As Oscar Wilde said, “there is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.”

Finally, of the three kinds of mail, the just-plain-strange mail is far and beyond the most interesting. These folks like to confess deep things to you. I suppose they figure that (if you’re a horror writer) you somehow understand their darkest, secret fancies. (These folks also tend to get the idea that your characters are real people with whom they would get along famously with, but that is neither here nor there.) There is not, in most cases, anything wrong with getting these kinds of letters. These guys are reading your books, and that makes them cool as hell. That being said, there have, however, been a few letters that have given me pause, and I would caution readers against revealing too much to a stranger, even one who seems to let his freak flag fly. There are just some things that need to be kept under the toupee.

And that is, as far as I can tell, the three types of letters that readers like to send to authors. As I said, all letters from readers are important, and the fact that I’m getting any letters at all is wonderful. I am still in the beginning of all this, but for what it’s worth, this is what I’m learning: don’t let the fan mail go to your head, don’t let the hate mail go to your heart, and… well, as for the just-plain-strange mail, I’m still not sure what to do with that…