Dangerous Code, The Writer Reflects


DC-WIX-shit togetherI wrote the first draft of Dangerous Code over four years ago but put it aside. At that time, it would’ve been considered science fiction. Now, not so much.

Detective Colin O’Brien? Let’s just say he’s my dream guy. He can tell what you’re feeling by reading the tiny tics in your expression. An alpha male, he takes charge and is not intimidated by a brilliant woman. However, under that tough exterior, he’s wounded from a really bad first marriage. It’s so rotten he hasn’t wanted to talk about it. Don’t worry. I’ll get it out of him in my next book.

I want it

I love Megan, AKA Jenna Jones. I guess there’s a lot of me in her. I was heavy as a kid, but she’s a lot smarter and richer.

LOL. I also have a tendency to mix metaphors and can be slow at telling what people are really saying.  Under it all, my feelings are hurt easily and more than anything, I want people to like me but I hide it well.

My altar ego has a day job. She writes software and technically manages multi-million dollar projects. My company is on the leading edge of everything to do with speech. It isn’t that much of a reach to know where software is heading.

Jason, the story’s artificial app, is a mere stone’s throw into the future. Because it can code itself, it has unlimited potential. But just like a human, it needs to weigh out the junk from the real when it searches the internet. Sometimes it works and sometimes, well, let’s just say that can be bad.

Are you interested in more stories with this couple? I have so many ideas… What if Jason finds out there’s a plot to kill the president. What if the CIA is involved? Who would believe an AI application?

I think Colin and Jenna have a rocky road ahead of them. Two people so dissimilar are bound to have a lot of fights. Don’t worry though, I’m sure they’ll find their HEA… hee hee, eventually.






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What’s Inside a Writer’s Brain.

It’s 2017 and I am determined to share more of who I am and what it’s like to be me.

I’m a writer stuck in the body of a software architect. I read somewhere I should always introduce myself as a writer.

Let’s see how that pans out.
“Hi, I’m Stella Marie Alden, Best Selling Romance Author”


“Hi, I’m Susan Hammond, I work for Nuance. The company that makes Siri? Those phone programs that talk to you? Press one for one. Two for three? Or you can press operator, but no one competent will help you so best to stay with the automated system.”
I shouldn’t joke, that’s what pays my bills.

But sometimes, when I am in my day job, it doesn’t feel real. What feels real are the stories in my head. And there’s always stories. Even though I choose just one to focus on, there’re many clamoring in my brain.

People always ask me, where do your stories come from?

I say, how the hell do you guys shut them down?

I mean, how can you just watch people ahead of you in the grocery store, and NOT make up their life’s story? The handsome young man with potato chips, frozen meals, and razor blades. No ring on his finger, a cute dimple, nice leather jacket. Was he married? Did he leave a relationship?

What about the woman who’s dressed in high heels, designer jeans, diamonds? And buys Suave shampoo, hamburgers, and pita bread. Who’s she trying to impress?
It goes on and on. Because once I have the character, there’s no turning back. They live in my head, fermenting, waiting for me to say, “What should I write next?”

Me! Me! Me! They clamor.


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Where did Stella find her heroine?


I am Gemini.  A twin. Two people in one. A strange and odd mix.

At work, I am an extrovert; a cog in a huge cube farm where my job is to make order out of chaos. I am an interface between developers and conglomerates. If I don’t get a project into the hands of a client in the time promised by sales, my company could lose millions.

However, I am happiest curled up with a book under a thick down comforter or in front of the fire. I think I started to write because I couldn’t find enough novels that I wanted to read.

I like an occasional domineering male with a wimpy virgin, but not always. I like a regency romance with a dashingly dark duke and debutante but it’s like always eating maple walnut ice cream. Which, by the way, is yummy.

Sometimes, I want another flavor.

I have to admit, I love when a gorgeous genius with a clever mind attracts the hero.

A man who’s not intimidated by a keen mind with a bold spirit is the alpha I need.  I met him in my latest book, Dangerous Code.

Detective Colin O’Brien is street smart and able to detect a lie a mile away.

Our heroine, however, can’t read people worth a damn.

Its a fun match.

I spoke with a fan on Facebook yesterday who read the Beta copy and she loved the interaction between the two. She says her daughter is similar to the heroine. If you ask for an opinion, brace for impact. She also said it was awesome to speak to a writer who understands that personality type and how good my book made her feel.

Doing the happy dance.

She asked me where I got my idea. Usually the stuff in my head is pure imagination but I thought real hard. I got 99% on my SAT scores, I am overly-opinionated, and blind to many facial expressions.

In this case, maybe I do have a clue.


On pre-order now:


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How Do You Come up with Ideas for Your Novels?

Where do you come up with this stuff?

Honestly? It’s more like ‘How do I shut this stuff off.’

Can you elaborate?

Sure. I can give you a few. ‘A Witch to Die For’ started as a sexy daydream, where guy meets girl, during summer solstice. Then the ‘what-if’s’ kick in. What if he’s a witch and they need to make a witchy connection. What if she doesn’t know how? What if his family offers to train her? What if she’s really powerful and someone else wants her?

Another one?
What if…This geeky girl got this hard drive from a long lost brother who’s nothing but trouble?

Yet another?
What if…That key in my purse was really to a safety deposit box, and someone, desperate to be rid of it, dropped it there after a murder.

And so my mind goes

Wow. So how do you turn that into a novel?

At first it was pretty random. But now that I’ve studied the craft, I’ve started to formalize the process. Most important is ‘Goal, Motivation, and Conflict’. There’s a lot of really great articles out there, so if you’re interested on how-to, I might suggest to Google it.

But your first series, is medieval. Are you a history buff?

Not any more than most. What I like to do is put myself in some scene, and describe it. What if I lived in a drafty stone building? How would I warm up? What would I do to make it nicer? People are people. They want to be comfortable.

How did you figure out all the details in your book?

Google Search is an amazing thing.

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Today’s thoughts.

I never was much of a letter writer. I still am not. Why? Because, honestly, what goes on day to day is pretty boring. I often think of myself a lot like Walter Mitty in the original Thurber story, (not the Stiller movie). Instead of pocketa-pocketa going on in my head, there’s characters and scenes playing out. They talk, and jockey for position.

Bad guys explain why it makes perfect sense to do dastardly deeds. At some point I just have to agree. Otherwise I shall never get the laundry done, get dressed, and get to yoga.

Yesterday, while cleaning the greasy fan over the stove with a Mr. Clean eraser, I had to argue with the heroine about following the hero into battle. Honestly? I finally had to have her husband lock her in the dungeon.

Did that work? No. Because then the evil highlander, the one with schizophrenia, decides to use her and her son to discourage our hero from fighting to get his inheritance back.

I have to go to my day job now, and put them all mentally away, like the dolls I played with as a kid. But when I stop for a moment, they’re not real polite about waiting. What about the castle? What about love? What about justice? Will the head injury leave permanent damage?



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