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Welcome to my blog. Here, you will find information about my novels, life in Japan, as well as author interviews, discussions on writing, and more. Feel free to browse and if you enjoy a post, please comment. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MSH Blog Tour Week 13: Scenes

"What is the hardest scene for you to write?  Is it a battle scene?  A transition? Bridge? A luuuuuurrrve scene?  What have you done to overcome these hard spots and improve your writing?" That is the writing prompt for this week's MSH blog tour post.

I find action sequences to be the hardest to write, especially fight scenes. To be clear, action scenes and fight scenes are a little different in my mind. While each one has elements of the other, fight scenes are fights between two or more people while action scenes often involve running, moving, and usually non-living things. The car-flipping chase in Bad Boys 2 is an action scene (and probably my favorite car chase scene of all time) while Hulk versus Thor in The Avengers is a fight scene.

When writing them, you have to ask yourself what the purpose of the scene is. This will determine the majority of the action, as well as whose POV it should be. Not every action or fight scene has to be from the hero's point of view, you may want to do it from the villain's. But whomever you chose, make sure you don't head hop during the scene. This may be the most difficult thing to do in action/battle scenes with multiple participants. In Adventure Hunters I had to tackle this when Regina gets kidnapped. It was easy as a screenplay but once I turned it into a novel I had to make sure I didn't hop from person to person. I wrote the scene by splitting the focus between Artorius, Regina, and Lisa but by not repeating everything that had already happened. I also mentioned, after I switched to a different person, that they were aware of what the others in the scene were doing. For example, after leaving Lisa's head and moving into Artorius's, who was engaged in a dual, I mentioned that he knew of Lisa's fight that was happening as well. I broke each new head hop into a different section and tried to keep a sense of continuity by having each character comment, however briefly, on the previous action.

I often have a specific image I want to work into an action scene and work around it. If you want a rooftop chase sequence, you have to figure out how all the players get to the roof, why are they there, hazards of running up there, and a million other questions.

I find writing action sequences like car chases and such easier to write then fight scenes. The pitfall of fights is to write every swing, punch, and kick. You get too bogged down in details. I think the key is to highlight specific, special moves while glossing over the regular punches. If it is a martial arts fight, like in The Matrix, the kicks and punches come fast. You don't need to write where every hit lands, but what about special moves like the throat jab Neo gives Agent Smith. Detail works good for action sequences, but specific, highlighted action written powerfully work best in fights.

I often sit and visualize the action, trying to see it as a movie. Then I'll write a little bit, stop and visualize, then repeat until the scene is done. It is good to review your scene after you write it, especially with action scenes they tend to read much faster and seem shorter than when you're writing them. If you want a long sequence, like the highway chase from The Matrix Reloaded or rescuing the airplane from Superman Returns, you may find yourself needing to add elements.

That's all I have for this week. As always, thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Japan: Japanese Thoughts On America

Last post, I gave signs that a foreigner has been living in Japan too long. Now is the flip side: signs that a Japanese person has been in America too long, which was originally posted here. It's amazing the things that we take for granted being the same all over the world. 

“You know you’ve been in America for too long when…” jokes written by Japanese people.

These jokes are an excellent insight into the cultural differences between the United States and Japan. If you don’t understand why a Japanese person would associate these behaviors or ways of thinking with being in America too long, do ask in the comments, and we’ll get some explanation.
You’ve been in the U.S. too long when…
…you wear a T-shirt even in winter.
…you blow your nose in public.
…you don’t wear skirts any more.
…you feel you’re lucky when the train has arrived 5 minutes late.
…you think it’s natural to say thank you to a cashier in a supermarket.
…you use paper napkins like water.
…you are not surprised when you see a very fat person, and you feel you are slim.
…you don’t mind using a dowdy umbrella.
…you don’t even carry an umbrella.
…you feel uncomfortable when a shop staff bows to you.
…you go across a street when the light is red but there are no cars.
You don’t feel inconvenienced even if you don’t handle actual cash for an entire month.
When you’re able to drink blue or green colored soft drinks without hesitating at all.
When the fact that your waitress is wearing shocking pick nail polish doesn’t surprise you one bit.
When you’re watching a Japanese movie or television show, and for some reason you feel something isn’t quite right… After a while you realize that it’s because everyone is driving on the left side of the road.
When you receive compliments from others you’re not humble at all and just say “thanks”.
When you have your glasses or contact lenses prescription adjusted, and the strength of the new prescription doesn’t surprise you at all.
When you’re not excited or impressed at all when you see a real gun.
When you’re amazed at the cleanliness of the toilets in Narita Airport.
When you begin to think that you haven’t completely brushed your teeth unless you have also flossed.
When you start eating Oyakodon with a spoon.
When don’t think anything of young girls wearing camisoles that completely reveal their bra straps. To the contrary, when you let your guard down you find yourself doing the same as well.
When you’re back in Japan at a public toilet and realize that the people around you aren’t letting the water make a splashing sound when they’re peeing.
When find the the date format of, “2007/10/01″ a little strange.
When you see a size 30 cm women’s shoe in the shoe store and you don’t even respond, “Geez that’s huge!”
When someone tells you that, “American food tastes bad”, you think, “really?”
When you’ve got pictures decorating your desk at work.
When, for the past 10 years or so, you’ve had no idea what year it is according to the Heisei calendar.
When you leave a space of about 50 cm between you and the person lining up in front of you at the supermarket.
When your “skirt to pants” ratio becomes 1:4 (meaning you own 4 times as many pants as you do skirts, for girls of course).
When you have completely lost the habit of dividing up your trash.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy Birthday: James Cameron

James Cameron was born August 16, 1954. He is a filmmaker famous for having the top two highest-grossing films of all time (Avatar and Titanic), as well as directing The Terminator, Aliens, and others.

This one was a little more difficult. Why do I like the self-proclaimed "king of the world?" He doesn't have distinct visual style like Michael Bay or John Woo, but I rarely miss a Cameron film and often end up buying them. His action pieces are awesome, but what elevates him above the likes of Len Wiseman and others. I had to think about it. For one, he is consistent. Almost every film is a hit and very few are duds.

It finally hit me that his films are balanced. Possibly more than any other action director, or at least more consistently than any other action director, Cameron can balance action with human drama and characterization. This is extremely difficult to do. By their very nature, action films are action oriented. If you focus too much on that, critics and moviegoers say your films are shallow and popcorn fluff. If you focus too much on drama, the film is boring, trying too hard, and so on.

Cameron has managed to find a balance between characterization and action in almost every movie he has done. In Aliens, every character was unique and you knew what each one was like before they met their demise. You got the sense of the family dynamic between Sarah Connor and her son in Terminator 2: Judgement Day amid the explosions and chases. You saw Sully's struggle to follow orders and at the same time come to appreciate the Nav'i in Avatar.

While he brings the drama, he also tries to push the envelope in filmmaking and present something new. It was a brilliant decision by him to go in a completely opposite direction for the sequel to Alien. In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, it may have failed terribly. That is another good trait of his, the arrogance to believe that what he is doing is right. Titanic? Everyone knows the ending: ship sinks. But he believed the story he had would work. You have to be a bit arrogant and self-confident to be a director (or an artist of any kind). You have to believe in your work.

What're your favorite Cameron films? Comment below and as always, thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Japan: Maybe I've Been Here Too Long

I came across this post and had to share it. I didn't write it and the credit goes to the original poster. It is an interesting insight into a different culture. Lists like this are funnier to the people living them but I believe even my friends not in Japan will appreciate. It offers a glimpse into culture that no travel guide can point out. If you have any questions or comments after reading this, I'd love to answer them. And for the record, a lot of these apply to me.

The 101 Signs You've Been in Japan Too Long

posted by John Spacey, Japan Talk, September 19, 2012

At some point every foreign resident of Japan starts to wonder — have I been here too long? Here are the top signs you've been in Japan so long that you're basically Japanese:

1. When you're outside Japan you still call non-Japanese gaijin.

2. You've continued to work through a shindo 3 earthquake without slowing down or bothering to mention it.

3. You're giving the peace sign in most of your Facebook photos. 

4. You start to get nervous when there are too many gaijin in a bar. 

5. You don't find engrish funny anymore. 


6. You're allergic to cedar. 

7. Most of your vacations are geared towards taking hot baths. 

8. You've started to reserve seats with your wallet / purse. You don't have the slightest worry that it might be stolen. 

9. You get the urge to stare at gaijin. 

10. You bow when you're on the phone. 

11. You no longer feel that 3 seat bars are all that small. 

12. You regularly use a manga cafe as a hotel

13. When your train is one minute late you start to think it's your fault (maybe you have the wrong information). 

14. You no longer remember the English names for most types of fish. 

15. You're curious about people's blood type. 

16. You join Japanese bus tours outside of Japan. 

17. You've started buying those strange English t-shirts. 


18. You can't read a book in public that doesn't have a book cover. 

19. You're starting to believe that romaji is English. 

20. You ask people to "teach" you their phone number. 

21. You own a mama chari

22. It no longer bothers you that OIOI is pronounced marui. 

23. You get annoyed when young Japanese people use informal Japanese. 

24. You've become extremely nostalgic about sakura

25. You regularly sleep at work

26. You've often wished you had a doko demo door. 

27. You remember important dates by the heisei (平成) year. 

28. You start to think that oyaji gyagu are funny (the corny jokes told by middle aged Japanese men). 

29. You can ride a bicycle with a tiny clear plastic umbrella and not get wet. 

30. You can wear a yukata properly. 

31. You mumble Oh toh toh toh when someone pours your beer for you. 

32. You start feeling that many Japanese futon are too soft. 

33. You say heeeeey a lot. 

34. You enjoy cooking your own food at restaurants. 

35. You don't pull over when police flash their lights. 

36. At the first sign of a cold you wear a mask. 

37. You often ask police for directions. 

38. You can sing enka at Karaoke. 

39. When you use a taxi in your home country — you wait for the door to open automatically. 

40. You have accidentally apologized in Japanese in your home country. 

41. You don't feel Shibuya is all that crowded. 

42. You turn your headlights off when you come to a stoplight. 

43. You eat curry rice (kare raisu) at least once a week. 

44. Paying two months reikin (gift money) for an apartment doesn't bother you. 

45. You can hum the don quixote song. 

46. You can do seiza for 30 minutes without complaining. 

47. You can eat Cream Collon without giggling. 

48. You never travel with a toothbrush. 
Japanese hotels always provide a toothbrush 

49. (woman) You go naked at onsen without thinking about it but would never go topless at a beach. 

50. You think Chinese Kanji is hilarious. 

51. You run for the train in a panic because there won't be another one for 1 minute. 

52. You've taken a 3 day vacation that involves a 8 hour (or longer) flight. 

53. You only know the size of your apartment in 畳(jyou). 

54. You think of the "Japanese only" line at Narita as a status symbol. 

55. You don't mind when every channel on television is talking about food. 

56. You get the urge to yell sumimasen at restaurants in your home country. 

57. You started to think that noodles are an ok filling for a sandwich. 

58. You're starting to doubt your English pronunciation of Rs and Ls. 

59. You bought a little plastic chair for your shower. 

60. You have mastered more than one Japanese martial art. 

61. You drink corn soup from a can. 

62. You own more than 8 umbrellas. 

63. You can't take an international flight without buying duty free. 

64. You have used a stranger for support when sleeping on a train. 


65. You're starting to add -san to the names of other gaijin. 

66. You are starting to think natto tastes good. 

67. You chose your bank by its cartoon character. 

68. Your friends back home ask you what "genki" means. 

69. You look for umbrella condoms when you enter stores outside Japan. 

70. You've become very picky about rice. 

71. You think it's normal for people over 30 to read comics (manga) on the train. 

72. You bow when you shake hands. 

73. You think there's food in the basement of all department stores. 

74. You have a gold drivers license. 

75. You're not angry when politicians with loudspeakers wake you up at 8 on Saturday morning. 

76. You complain that young people these days are losing their kanji skills. 

77. You think 20 minutes is too long for lunch

78. You always back-in when you park — no matter what the situation. 

79. When you return to your home country you take lots of photos at the supermarket

80. You started to believe that bicycle related crime is a very serious problem. 

81. You complain about the dangerous lack of vending machines outside Japan. 

82. You have slept standing on a train. 


83. You're starting to think that coffee in a can tastes alright. 

84. You reserve half of your luggage space for omiyage (souvenirs). 

85. You buy kitchen appliances based on the songs they can sing. 

86. You have purchased eggs from a vending machine. 

87. You no longer get lost in Shinjuku station

88. You don't hesitate when you put 10,000 yen into a train ticket vending machine. 

89. You can't use a toilet that doesn't have lots of buttons. 

90. You've asked for an "American coffee" when you're in America. 

91. You believe that there's an onsen to cure all aliments. 

92. You're starting to get Japanese comedy shows. 

93. You think that corn & mayonnaise is a perfectly reasonable topping for pizza. 

94. You know the theme songs for most of the products at your local konbini (convenience store). 

95. You have said the phrase moshiwake gozaimasen

96. You buy sake by the jug. 


97. (man) You never give presents on valentines day

98. When someone is talking you say "unn" a lot to show that you're listening. 

99. You no longer mind having to pay for NHK. 

100. You have a hanko. 

101. You think stoplights are red, yellow and blue

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Gene Roddenberry Tribute At In Genre

I have a special writing event going on this month. At In Genre, every Tuesday will be special posts celebrating the birthday of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Posts from myself and other authors, such as Elizabeth Delana Rosa, Lisa Wooley, as well as Star Trek professionals David Mack and Dayton Ward, among others, will be put onto the website every Tuesday. Click the link below to read what everyone has to say about Star Trek and what it has meant to them. http://ingenre.com/category/ccontent/to-boldly-go/

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Japan: English Isn't Always The Same

English pronunciation by Japanese speakers is often ridiculed by native speakers. There is even a name for it: Engrish. The most common mispronunciation is the L and R sound, which don't have separate sounds in Japanese. There are about 40 separate sounds in English, while Japanese has around 20. In short, there are simply sounds in English that do not exist in Japanese. This leads to words like "stoker" and stalker" sounding the same to Japanese people.

But there are tons of articles on the topic, so I'm going to focus on something a little different. English is used every day in Japanese, often in a simplistic manner, mostly in advertising, music, and stores. This "Japanese English" is interesting because, while the words may be spelled correctly, the meaning has been slightly changed. An example I learned working in school was that students sometimes say their teacher is a skinhead. Can you guess the meaning? Nope, they aren't saying their teacher is violent or a racist. It means he is bald. The skin is showing on the top of his head. Skin+head. Makes sense, right? As soon as I learned this, I taught my students never to say skinhead in America. I told them what it means in America and taught them to use the term bald.

There are many more examples. If a Japanese person offers you ice in the summer, they aren't talking about frozen water. Ice means ice cream. I was at Baskin Robbins (called 31 in Japan) and saw a sign selling ice sand. My first image was of a dirty ice cube. It was an advertisement for ice cream sandwich. Sandwich often gets shortened to sand.

Shortening of words and names is common in Japan. Kimura Takuya, the most popular member of the group SMAP, is referred to as KimuTaku. This shortening is often applied to English, which often doesn't work. Beauty salons often advertise Hair and Make, as in hair and make-up. Here are more examples of English that has taken on slightly different meanings.

Top light = sky light
Long T = long sleeve T-shirt
Don't mind. = Don't worry, never mind. Said when you make a mistake, like missing a hit in volleyball. 
Baske = Basketball. I play baske.
Catch ball = the game of catch. I sometimes play catch ball with my dad.
Happy Christmas = often used as a greeting. Popular due to the John Lennon song.
Code = coordinate. Often used on fashion sites to talk about a coordinated set of clothes.

I hope you have enjoyed this little piece about differences in languages. Just because it is English, don't assume it means the same thing everywhere in the world. And if you travel abroad, don't get offended or ridicule because the English is wrong. As always, leave comments and thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Author Spotlight: Brenda Perlin

For August, I interviewed Brenda Perlin.

Tell us a bit about yourself (short bio). 
Brenda Perlin is an independent adult contemporary fiction author.  Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book, Home Wrecker, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfillment.

Ever since Brenda was a child, she has been fascinated with writing. She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume.  This sparked a passion in Brenda to pursue personal expression through writing. Once she was old enough to go to coffee shops alone, Brenda recalls losing herself in the world of writing, all while documenting her ideas on paper napkins.

“There is really no creative process, I just write,” – Brenda Perlin

Brenda’s first book, Home Wrecker, was published with Master Koda Select Publishing. Within a short time, the book developed a strong fan base and is continuing to grow as it both entertains its readers and leaves them in a state of profound reflection. In the near future, Brenda would like to have Home Wrecker expanded into a trilogy in order to tell the untold stories of her characters.

Do you write under a pen name?
No....Do you think I should?

What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
I remember writing short stories when I was in elementary school. I used to love putting words together like they were pieces of a puzzle. I loved building a plot and seeing how I could make the characters interact. When I was in my teens I used to write everyday in coffee shops on paper napkins. I used to keep these napkins in a box as a keepsake. When I eventually opened the box I found my stories so hard to read. It was before I used a computer. My handwriting is dreadful!

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?
I hope my only job will be writing. I have worked as a fitness instructor for years. I love helping people attain their fitness and life goals.

What books have you written so far?
Home Wrecker is my first. Now I am working on the sequel for the trilogy. I have also contributed to two books. 8 Slices of Cake has recently been released on Smashwords and the other compilation called Reality Bites that should be come out shortly.

Do you plan on being a full-time writer, or do you have other career plans?
I would love for writing to be a full-time career. I love the entire process.

Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a pretty simple person. I like being out and about with my boyfriend. I love music and I love to laugh. 

What do you write? Specific genres, ages groups, etc. 
Thus far my writing is reality oriented. I am calling my stories fiction only because I have changed, names, places and circumstances. Everything I write is real and has happened. I want my books to be open and honest. I am not sure what I will do next. I have so many stories from life to tell.

Why that particular genre/age group?
Home Wrecker is part coming of age, marriage/divorce saga, and somewhere in-between. I think a wide age range would be interested in my story. Definitely for mature audiences.

Are the characters in your books based on people you know?
Every character in the book is real and have been in my life. It is best to stay on my good side or you might end up as a villain in my next book!

How much of your books are inspired by real life events?

Who is your favorite character from your books? Why?
That is easy! Brooklyn, the main character is my favorite. Since my story is based on my life, I can relate to this character the most. After all, I have lived her story.

Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
From the minute I wake up in the morning I am thinking about writing or marketing my writing. It really is a full time job because I think about it all of the time. I cannot spend enough time working. There is just never enough hours in the day. I could see how someone like J.D. Salinger who pretty much became a hermit. That would be easy to do. With all the characters in my head, Facebook and Twitter I am extremely busy.

Where and when do you write?  
I do much of my writing with my laptop sitting on my stationary bike. I call it multi-tasking! I never really sweat but I can be seated in the same place for hours.

Do you have set times?
I tend to do my best writing in the morning when I am fresh. I can never wait to get started.

How do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?
I really do have to struggle to get what I want to get done but also have enough time to spend with my boyfriend. Thankfully I don’t have children so I can be a little more selfish. I have it pretty good that I do not have many commitments.

Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.? 
As far as rituals, I like to have bottled water and sucking candies at my side.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
I do like to listen to music when I write. Sometimes when I am working on something more intense I like complete silence. The quieter the better.

Do you have to be alone to write?
I don’t have to be alone but I do not love being asked questions or be interrupted while I am writing. I just try to ignore everything and everyone around me.

What makes your writing unique?
I think for thing, I don’t have a writing background. My writing is pretty raw. I pretty much write how I speak. Whatever it is that I write, it comes from the heart.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
I do seem to have a favorite theme which is the outcast. Since I can relate to not always fitting in with my piers I tend to gravitate to stories where there is a person struggling to get her/his own voice. I do love coming of age stories. Usually the character feels misunderstood in some way.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
The obstacles the I am faced with on a daily basis. At the end of the day most things work out but there are many roadblocks along the way. I have to learn to go with the flow and not stress over the little things. This is all new for me and this is a real learning process. Rome was not built in a day, right?

What have you learned about writing from reading the books that you love?
I think reading really helps as a writer. You just naturally pick up things along the way. I am new to writing dialog so it is good to read good dialog. Also, reading really helps one’s vocabulary and improves imagination.

If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?
When my book was first published I did it through a very shady publisher. I was so proud to have my book accepted by a publishing company that I really didn’t listen to my inner. I should have run for the hills but instead I signed a seven year contract that was a no winning proposition.

Is there anything particularly helpful you have found as you have written/edited/published? 
I think the most profound guidance I have received has been from other authors. Friends are not always as interested where these writers can relate to the struggle of trying to get your book recognized.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members in your writing journey?
Facebook honestly has opened up a whole new world for me. Had I not gotten involved I never would have met a brilliant writer, Arlene R. O’Neil who introduced my book to Kim Mutch Emerson of Master Koda Select Publishing. I do believe things happen for a reason and this has been a real blessing as far as I am concerned.

Did you learn anything from writing your books and if so what was it?
First of all I have learn a ton about myself. It has taught me that I could work hard for something as long as my heart was in it and as it so happens my heart is completely open to this journey. 

Do you design your own covers, or have someone else help?
Lucky for me I found Andrew JD Robinson, at Run Rabbit Run Films to do all my book cover. He is not only amazingly talented by wildly patient too!

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
I need all the editing I can get. For a while John Emil Augustine was helping with Home Wrecker. Since he is in such great demand I am not sure what I am going to do for book two. It could use some TLC. That is for sure. Thankfully Arlene R. O’Neil edited Home Wrecker! I am in pretty good hands!

Any advice for the editing process?
You can read your stuff over with a fine tooth comb but you can always use a new set of eyes. Things get missed and also another opinion is ALWAYS helpful!

Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book, or anything you have written?
Yes, that would be my entire life. I got all the inspiration from living long enough to have a story to tell.
When I first started writing Home Wrecker I planned on it being a story about the wedding business because I was planning my wedding at the time. When I was going through a divorce I picked my story back up. The subject took a 360 turn.

What types of hero or heroine do you like best?
I am drawn to the outcast. I like characters that are okay with being different and don’t thrive on having to fit in.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?
First and foremost as a writer I have to remember that my job is to entertain first and satisfy myself last. Sometimes it is easy to do it the other way around. A book should capture the reader for the sheer purpose of entertainment. If something can be learned along the way, then that is an added bonus.

How do you go about naming characters?
It was all random and was last minute. Originally I thought I would be able to keep all of the real names. Obviously, I was not thinking clearly.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?
As I said earlier I was first published by a very nasty publishing company. I was able to fight my way out of my contract and what a blessing that was because now I have a great publisher, Master Koda Select. I can communicate with them freely and I am treated like a person, not a number.

How do you find the marketing experience? 
There is just never enough time. I could spend 24 hours a day marketing my book and there would still be things left to do. Let’s just say it is rewarding but time consuming!

When you read, what is your favorite genre?
I still love coming of age stories, old literature, and fiction.

What books have most influenced your life?
Middlesex, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Catcher in the Rye, Franny & Zoey, Prince of Tides, Of Human Bondage, The Great Gatsby, and the list goes on and on.

Who is your favorite character from any book and why?
Holden Caulfield. Somehow when I first read the book The Catcher in the Rye I really connected with him although I am not saying I lie about things for no reason.

For reading, do you prefer ebooks or physical books?
I have just started reading ebooks which I didn’t think I would like as much as I do. I thought I would never want to give up paper books but now I think I am sold. It is so convenient in so many ways!

What is your most favorite book and why? 
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. The writing is so clear and precise and the main character, Tom Wingo becomes a part of you.

What is the worst book you have ever read and why? 
I had some really bad books in my opinion but I remember hating Grapes of Wrath when I was in school.  I will always think of that book with extreme dread.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That is easy, it would be John Emil Augustine. He has helped me with my writing in so many ways. We met during an interview that we did together. We were selected to be on the same show because our books are both reality based. We had much in common and started working together helping each other with edits. He had more to offer as far as editing because he was once an English teacher. Still, we work as a good team. I hope one day we will work on something together. I think our writing compliments each other.

Are there particular writers that you admire?
Pat Conroy, Summerset Maugham, Anne Tyler, Lisa See, Jeffrey Eugenides, Judy Blume, JD Salinger, John Emil Augustine and the list goes on. Then there are all my friends...that is a very long list!

If there was one author you could meet with and learn from one on one, who would you choose?
I would love love love to meet Pat Conroy. I love his ability to convey so much vulnerability in his stories. I would love to sit down his him and hear about his life.

Who has most influenced or inspired your writing? 
That would be John Emil Augustine. He has really pushed me to go a little further in my story.

If you could write a book with any current author, who would it be and why? 
I think John Emil Augustine could write a very good story. He is able to ask me a question about my story and inspires me.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

Only three you ask? Darn....I would love to meet Kim Mutch Emerson, Arlene R. O’Neil and Mark Barry but I think John Emil Augustine, Paige Bleu,  and Lisa Day would have to join us. What fun that would be for me!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
John Emil Augustine, K.D. Emerson, Arlene R. O’Neil, Mark Barry, Paige Bleu, Lisa Day, Jessica Kong, Susan Francis, Sarah Buchynski, Sarah Denier, Jane Carroll, and DeEtte Beckstead Anderton

Please share a bit about your newest release without giving away any spoilers.
This is from my new release Home Wrecker I (Home Wrecker Chronicles)

When Brooklyn meets Bo, their lives are instantly turned upside down. 
Brooklyn and Bo, each unhappily married to someone else, have to decide whether to stay with their spouses or give up everything for each other. Find out what Brooklyn's husband and Bo's soon-to-be ex-wife do to break them up.

Home Wrecker is the first book in a three part series that follows the main character, Brooklyn throughout her childhood, adult life and then what seems like an “endless” journey towards redemption.

What genre does your book fit into?
Well I am calling it fiction to protect myself from lawsuits.

What are your current projects?
Home Wrecker, Home Wrecker: The Brooklyn Chronicles and Home Wrecker: The Bo Chronicles.

Do you have any ideas that you plan to work on in the future?
I really want to write a children’s book. I have a feeling I need to do it. I am so connected with people who are misunderstood, don’t blend in with the crowd, and are unfairly judged. Also, I hate bullies!

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?
I am certainly still a work in progress but many of my dreams have come true. I have met the love of my life and have had my book published by such a wonderful company. Life is darn good!

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?
Yes, homewreckertheblog.com. Most of my posts pertain to my book Home Wrecker. Most of my blogging is from real life. I write from my personal experience and I am not very good at keeping secrets so I share probably more than I should.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
I am just that I am walking and doing what I love to do. Being on a Bestseller list with my writing or on Oprah would be pretty darn awesome!

In the movie of your {most recent} book who would play your characters? {Please give us the name of the book and the name of the character each actor would play} 
Home Wrecker I (Home Wrecker Chronicles)
Sandra Bullock would play the main character  Brooklyn 
Kevin Costner or Richard Gere would play Brooklyn’s love interest for Bo
John Travolta would play Brooklyn’s ex-husband Gerard
Susan Sarandon would play Bo’s soon-to-be ex -wife of Bo.

What is the best review of your work you've received to date? 
I have received some beautiful reviews but a wonderful reviewer named Natalie Walker Idrogo wrote something with such heart.
From the moment I started reading this book I knew I was going to like it. Little did I know by the end of the book I would fall in love with it.
Brooklyn's life from the beginning sucks you in.
She struggles to find herself in her relationships, her family and even in her marriage.
Brooklyn loses people she loves and looks for love in all the wrong places.
In the second part of the book (my favorite), there is something so compelling that Brooklyn has to face. It tugged at my heart strings and I couldn't help but shed a few tears.
As if Brooklyn hasn't endured enough on her wild ride of a journey, yet again she is hit with another mind boggling circumstance that is out of her control, nor is it any where near her fault!
This part of the book made my admiration for Brooklyn shoot up to a ten. Talk about an inspiring and strong woman. Let's just put it this way, I was wishing I could morph into the book and help Brooklyn with the hot mess she had come to have to deal with on a daily basis. UGH is an understatement but, I will keep it clean!

The one thing that inspired me the most was Brooklyn's FIRE, COURAGE, and HEART!
Brooklyn believes in what she is fighting for and never gives up.
As much as I would love Brenda to write a "Home Wrecker Part Two." I have to say not at the expense of this beautiful person I fell in love with.
"Home Wrecker" is a MUST read and I give it a five star rating.”

What format(s) are your books available in? 
Ebook for now but shortly you can get a paperback as well.

Is there anything else you would like to share or tell us?
Thank you so much Cody for taking the time to interview me. I really appreciate your support and generosity!
Home Wrecker I (Home Wrecker Chronicles)

8 Slices of Cake


I'd like to thanks Brenda for her time and effort in doing this interview. Remember, to support independent authors, visit their pages, read their books, and leave reviews. I hope you enjoyed this month's Author Spotlight and look forward to next month's installment. As always, thanks for reading.