Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It Just Didn't 'Happen'...

Happy happy and merry merry!

Hope y'all are having a restful holiday. I am -- and it included laundry, dishes and pirates. Really, pirates.

Ever wonder what made me want to write about serial killers and dead hookers and betrayals and hot detectives?


Well, check out the interview I did with Hydra Publications!

One question was: Have you ever hated something you wrote?

My response: I hate everything I write… until I read it later and realize, ‘Wow, that [scene, line, plot shift] was clever. Who wrote that? How can I do it again?’ It’s difficult for me to read my stories because the internal editor is always at her desk, tsking at something bad I’ve done.

To read the rest, pop on over to Hydra Publications. If you have a question that I didn't answer, leave a comment and I promise to get you the answer!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five Books that Influenced Me Most
by Chicki Brown

Thanks for inviting me to share with your readers, Rachel. If there’s one thing I love to talk about, it’s books. So when you asked me to talk about five books that have influenced me, I got all geeked!

Fifteen Beverly Cleary
I must have been in the sixth or seventh grade when I read this book, my very first romance. I copied this description from because it explains why a 13-year-old would love it:

“It seems too good to be true. The most popular boy in school has asked Jane out -- and she's never even dated before. Stan is tall and good-looking, friendly and hardworking -- everything Jane ever dreamed of. But is she ready for this?

Suppose her parents won't let her go? What if she's nervous and makes a fool of herself? Maybe he'll think she's too young. If only she knew all the clever things to say. If only she were prettier. If only she were ready for this...”

Need I say more?

Left Behind Series – Jerry Jenkins & Tim LaHaye
Once I read the first book in this series, it put a chillingly realistic spin on what I already believed from the Bible. The events in the books come directly from biblical accounts but are embellished for fiction’s sake. This series is a wonderful yet terrifying modern account of Christian beliefs on the end times.

Milk in My Coffee
Eric Jerome Dickey
I had never read a romance written by a man before, and this contemporary interracial story made me a sold-out fan of Mr. Dickey’s work. The fact that it was written in first person with two points of view intrigued me and was partially responsible for my decision to write a few of my own novels in first person.

Topaz Beverly Jenkins
Historical novels had never interested me on bit until a friend at Georgia Romance Writers insisted I read one of Ms. Jenkins’ black historical romances. In addition to writing emotional, sexy accounts, her attention to detail and research into actual African-American history, have made me a fan for life. The fact that Ms. Jenkins puts her research at the end of each book is just the icing on the cake.

Dark Lover
J. R. Ward
Until three years ago, I also had never read a paranormal romance. This is why Dark Lover was special and unique to me. I grew up watching Bela Lugosi’s Dracula on Creature Features as a kid, so vampires have always given me the creeps. But not the grown, sexy, urban males of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Once I read this first book, she had me by the throat (pun intended). Every book in this fabulous series is sitting on my keeper shelf.

Rachel says: Thanks for your list, Chicki! Beverly Cleary continues to be a favorite of mine -- I still have Ramona the Brave, the one I bought back in 1979 at the Scholastic Book Fair in my school's library. When she is old enough to fully appreciate it, I will gift it to my daughter.

Be on the look-out for Chicki's new releases on January 2. Until then, you can visit her at a few places:
Personal Blog:

What's on your list?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

25 Things Every Writer Should Know

Writers are usually smart people. The best of us read. And we read a lot. I mean, reading novels, matchboxes, the sides of buses... run away quickly if you meet a writer who doesn't read. There is no truth in him/her! Anyhoo...

Although we tend to be know-it-alls, we do not know it all. Gasp! And don't tell my husband I just wrote that because our sixteen-year relationship is built upon me knowing it all. But I don't, especially about my craft.

And I'm sure you don't. Don't be offended. You don't. And because we are all in this together, I'd like to share a post from a blog titled Terrible Minds that speaks gospel: 25 Things Every Writer Should Know.

My favorite is Number 13:

Cultivate Calluses

Put differently, harden the fuck up, soldier. (And beard the fuck on, while we’re at it.) The writing life is a tough one. Edits can be hard to get. Rejections, even worse. Not everybody respects what you do. Hell, a lot of people don’t even care. Build up that layer of blubber. Form a mighty exoskeleton. Expect to be pelted in the face with metaphorical (er, hopefully metaphorical) ice-balls. It’s a gauntlet. Still gotta walk it, though.

Are there other rules that you've discovered that aren't on this list?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Need Reviews for Your New Book?

I've used this fabulous website to find potential reviewers for The View from Here and No One Knows You're Here.

As a special holiday gift pour vous, I thought I'd share it with you.

Boom! You're welcome!

Oh, yeah. Buy my books. Did you know you can now gift books on Nook? Yes, you can.

And happy holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Definition of Love « Thought Catalog

So, I stumbled upon StumbleUpon. I know, tardy to the party.

And I stumbled upon this incredible piece about what love is.

The Definition of Love « Thought Catalog

Sometimes, it's hard to show 'love' and not 'tell' love when creating a character. This helps getting 'unstuck.'

One of the best pieces about 'love' I've ever read.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Black Kindle - - - African American Books on the Kindle: 99 Cents Baby!!! Its only 99 Cents

Interested in African-American Kindle reads that don't cost much? Please check out this blog I discovered while being Dr. Google this morning...

Black Kindle - - - African American Books on the Kindle: 99 Cents Baby!!! Its only 99 Cents: NUMBER 101  I know I’m behind.  I got so much to do and it ain’t shopping for Christmas.  My list is short, very short, my kid.  I have an i...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If You Like Mysteries, Boy, Do I Have a Site For You!

So not only do the good people over at Kindle Mystery Authors feature novelists that write mysteries, my favorite genre of ALL TIME, they are featuring me and No One Knows You're Here RIGHT NOW.

Please visit. Discover new writers. Discover great books. You'll be happy that you did!
Five Books that Influenced Me
by Joel Arnold

In a way, every book I’ve ever read has had some influence on me – at least on a subconscious level. Even a poorly written book, one that barely engages the cerebral cortex (or the ‘little grey cells’ as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot often says) at the very least makes you realize, “I can do better than that!”

So here is my list.

A House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs
Not only did this children’s novel introduce me to horror literature, it also introduced me to artist Edward Gorey, whose illustrations were the perfect compliment to the novel.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
I read this in the third or fourth grade and remember how completely immersed I was in this story of Billy and his two dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann. It’s about struggle, survival, love, grief and acceptance – a lot of tough concepts for a kid, but the story is unforgettable. I hope I can write something half this powerful some day.

The Shining by Stephen King
Not only did this novel introduce me to Stephen King, it also taught me a lot about writing – about pacing and the rhythm of words and sentences. It also cemented my love for all things that go bump in the night.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Of all the books on writing I’ve read, I feel this one is the best for those beginning on their writing journey. It’s not so much about the writing craft as it is about freeing your mind up and letting the words flow, which is an important concept for those writers starting out, and is a great wake-up call for writers experiencing writers’ block.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
I’m not even a fan of western novels, but this is probably one of my top three favorite novels of all time. The scope of this story is breathtaking and so well written and crafted, the characters so vivid and brilliant, I’m still in awe at this literary accomplishment. Its influence on me is simply that I wish to be able to write something as good as this someday.

Writing my own novel – Northwoods Deep – inspired me in that I felt like I was able to somewhat successfully write a horror novel with emotional depth, vivid settings and complex characters that – at least I hope – gives chills to those who read it. The novel itself was inspired (very loosely) by Hansel & Gretel as well as some Native American folklore and an early image I couldn’t shake out of my head of an old man creeping up the steps of a cellar, lifting a trap door and ascending into an old cabin in the woods. What exactly was he hiding?

Here’s the description of Northwoods Deep:
Deep in the north woods, two sisters become lost; one stalked by a murderous ex-husband, the other unable to rid herself of the leeches that appear mysteriously on her skin.

All are drawn to an old, dilapidated cabin.

Inside lives an old man with awful urges, accompanied by a Rottweiler possessed by something…unnatural.

But it’s what resides beneath the cabin that they should really be worried about.

Please join award-winning author Joel Arnold on a ride over the river and through the woods straight into terror in his newest novel, Northwoods Deep.

Kindle version:

For other ereaders:

Print version:

My blog:

Rachel says: Thanks for your list, Joel! The same happened for me with Lonesome Dove -- had never read or even liked Westerns, but this one... And then, I had to read all of McMurtry's writing! And Stephen King... can't say enough about how he's influenced me as a reader and writer.

What's on your list?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You Changed Me

Books are powerful things. I don't say that cuz I write them. I don't say that cuz I read them.

Think about it.

The fatwa on Salman Rushdie.

The book burnings in Nazi Germany.

Influenced some of the greatest movies ever made including Dracula, No Country for Old Men and The Wizard of Oz.

America's banning of books by Judy Blume, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Mark Twain, Richard Wright, Aldous Huxley, Stephen King, Joseph Heller, R.L. Stine, J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, Truman Capote and on and on and on and on and on....

Books influence how I write, how I think about life and also informs me of how others view life. For the next few weeks, I'll be sharing with you books that have changed my life. Other writers will also share with you books that affected them as well as how a book they wrote changed them in some way. Feel free to comment on influential books in your life -- and if you're interested in writing your own post for Writing in My Car, send me an email at!

Until then,here's my list (which I'll add to cuz THERE BE SO MANY, OMG!):

The Holy Bible
Lucky by Jackie Collins
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret? by Judy Blume
Forever by Judy Blume
It by Stephen King
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Sula by Toni Morrison
Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

What say you, book-lover?