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.

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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”

Or

“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.

SHUSH!

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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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pocketa-pocketa

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?

QUIET!

 

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    First Sneak Peak at Dark Tremor!

    Chapter 1

     

    Let’s see what this baby can do. Jace revved the custom engine of his new ATV and grinned. The desert whirled by at 100 mph, he caught some air, and flew.

    “Fuck yeah!” What a rush. Better than winning at the tables last night.

    Back teeth chomped together when all four wheels landed. He turned the wheel in the opposite direction, rotated his wrists, and his ride sped forward. Sweeeeet. Ahead lay nothing but blue sky, a couple cactus, and a lot of empty miles.

    Above him a falcon circled, then swooped low. He only took his eyes off the terrain for a moment, but when he looked back, his vehicle rocketed, full speed towards a woman’s small form. With only a couple feet to spare, he cranked the wheel and held his breath.

    Shit. Where the hell had she come from?

    With each turn of the deathly merry-go-round, a huge boulder grew closer. Time stood still. Impact imminent. As he spun out, he swore a fissure ripped through the surface of the desert and the mammoth rock sank halfway into the riverbed.

    What the fuck?

    Another turn.

    The blob disappeared.

    His right front wheel hit something solid, and he flipped, and rolled. A sickening crunch, followed by an odd silence except for the spinning of tires.

    With some effort, he unclenched his jaw and took a deep breath. The sharp edges of the harness dug into his neck and the sky stood where the ground should be. But he was alive.

    Upside down, a woman, no, the woman who’d just caused this disaster, peered down, or rather up, and said, “Are you okay?”

    “Hell, no. I’m not okay, lady. Look at my ATV.” What a stupid question. Adrenaline raced through his veins, needing an outlet.

    Her face-load of attitude and army-surplus attire was covered in dust. “Listen to me, asshole. I don’t give a shit about your vehicle. Were you hurt?”

    He wiggled his toes. Good.

    Fingers. Good.

    Hanging like a bat, he wedged his legs and released his harness. The world righted itself when he jumped onto all fours and crawled out of the wreckage onto the still cool sand of the morning.

    “What the hell were you doing out there? I could’ve killed you.” His hand came back bloody when he rubbed above his right eye.

    “Me?” Her dirty brows furrowed. Blue eyes glared, white teeth showed, and no doubt, sharp claws hid inside the oversized jacket. “Didn’t you see the no trespassing signs?”

    “There weren’t any signs,” he growled, rolling his shoulders. A wave of nausea washed over him and his vision went foggy. He gripped the side of the ATV to keep from tumbling forward.

    She rolled her eyes. “You are hurt. Follow me.”

    A sweet little ass turned and walked towards a nearby hill.

    Before following, he tried to clear his thoughts and recall the sequence of events.

    Woman. Bolder. And…earthquake? Sure enough. He hadn’t imagined the two foot gash that zig-zagged across the river bed. What were the odds?

    Slim to none.

    Suspicious, he followed her up a steep hill, and through the glassed in front wall of some kind of cave dwelling. Figures. The badger had a burrow.

    “You live in a cave?”

    “Earthship. Entirely eco-friendly.” She pointed to a ladder-back chair and threw him a roll of paper towels. “Sit and try not to bleed on anything. Give me a sec’ to clean up.”

    While water ran from behind the bathroom door, he pulled off a wad of paper towels, and pressed it to one eye. With the other, he made a quick assessment of her space. Cheap, but sparkling appliances lined one wall.  On the other side of the island that divided the open space, a lumpy couch faced a fourteen-inch screen.

    Above, a wood railing circled a loft with a low bed.

    He jumped when an orange tabby landed on the large antique table in front of the glass wall. It padded around a short wave radio, and a laptop, making a dreadful meowing sound. It sat down next to a pile of rough, blue stones.

    Jace picked one up and whistled through his teeth.

    Turquoise. Beautifully veined. And not from a mine he recognized. Probably worth a small fortune.

    Wet-faced, she dashed out of the bathroom with a towel around her neck. “Put that down.”

    The gem fell from his hand and his mouth dropped open. Holy hell.

    Her newly scrubbed face revealed a pert nose and wide kissable lips, framed by long dark-blonde hair. But it was the damp, white t-shirt, worn without a bra, leaving little to the imagination that had his cock standing at attention.

    When she caught him staring, she turned bright red, and grabbed a sweatshirt off a chair. It was too late. His dick knew what it saw–and it wanted it.

    Bustling across the room, she struggled with her zipper while trying to balance a first aid kit under her arm.

    “I said not to touch anything.” She picked up the stone and put it back in the pile.

    “Sorry.” Arms raised, he stepped away, but couldn’t hide the widening smirk.

    “Sit down and I’ll clean your cut.” Small palms pushed at his chest, ineffectively, but remained, as if glued. She stared, stunned.

    The energy pulsing into him made his knees weak.

    No. No. No. Hell, no. He’d only felt that once before in his life and he wasn’t about to do that again.

    When he jumped back, she beat him to the punch line. “That is so not going to happen. Understood?”

    He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

    “Sit, before you fall down.” Her hands trembled as she snapped open the old metal first aid kit and searched the bins.

    Sitting, in one of two chairs, he noticed that there was two of everything. “So, you married?”

    “None of your business. Close your eyes. This is going to sting.” She pressed an antiseptic pad against the cut on his forehead.

    “Owe. Damn. Stop that.”

    Without thinking, he grabbed her hand and bam. There it was again. No denying it. She was a witch, and a powerful one at that. She’d probably be a perfect match for him, if he was looking for a mate. Which he damn well was not.

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