Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WRITERS' WEDNESDAY #WW Next Big Thing Blog Hop #indie #author #ebooks #nextbigthing #bloghop

Welcome to the Next Big Thing blog hop on this fine Writers' Wednesday. I was tapped by Barb at Creative Barb's Wire to join in and I'm tagging a few writerly tweeps at the end of my post. Big thank you to Barb for including me in her list.

The idea of this blog hop is to introduce readers to our own current or upcoming project and then recommend our readers to those Indie Authors whose work we think they might find interesting. The genres all might be different from each other, but I think you'll find the writers I've linked at the bottom of my post to be interesting people.

Click through the jump break to find out what I'm going to work on next!

Sarah R. Yoffa's Next Big Thing

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?
Well, I had to struggle with how to answer this one--that is, under which of my 3 pen names I'd be answering the questions for this blog hop. I've decided to talk about the Banbha Series which will be a Romantic Suspense series published under the pen name "Sarah R. Yoffa." The name of the series is also the name of the first book in the series.

The name Banbha is an Irish Gaelic word and I went searching databases of Irish girl's names to find it. As a word, it means "unplowed land"; however, Banbha was the name of the patron goddess of Ireland and initially, she could have been a goddess of war as well as a fertility goddess. She is an Earth-Goddess so it seemed a proper name to use for the island base that my main male characters build from which to spawn their future lives.

That is, several of these lethal guys (and gals) get together, buy a fictional uninhabited island in the Azores and build a nice little private military training base there. Surrounded by pelagic sea life and pirates, they have an "interesting life" (in the Chinese sense of the word). Banbha's "symbol" is the triskele, together with her 3 sister-goddesses.

As noted on the Facebook Page for the Banbha Series, this is how I got the names for the first 3 books of the series:
  1. Banbha means "unplowed land" == Book 1
  2. Fodhla means "sod of the Earth" == Book 2
  3. Eriu means "land of abundance" == Book 3

2) Where did you get the idea for that book?
Oddly enough, I had a dream about Lacey and Rainey, the stars of what will be Book 2. I first imagined Ze'evi and Mags (the couple in Book 1) back in 2003 but I didn't feel a burning desire to write their book because I didn't know where the series was headed, just that it would be a series...of some kind. Then, 3 years later, enter Lacey and Rainey into my dreams.

They're both world-class killers, very lethal and scary people and in the dream, they were having sex involving BDSM-play (Rainey was tying Lacey up but she was topping from the bottom--the two of them can never decide who's in charge, it's hilarious) when *wham* someone's broken into the flat and is trying to kill them. It was hilarious to watch the two of them (in my dream) argue about who's in there, who's trying to kill whom (they both have enemies and actually bicker in a competitive way over whose enemies might have found them), and don't even get me started on the whose gun's better argument! When I finally woke up, I was physically exhausted and just lay there, waiting and listening to the silence to be sure it was really a dream. Or that I was really awake now.

I had never ever had a dream about a book or a character before this (summer of 2006) and I don't usually remember my dreams at all, but this one was very vivid, very real and left me certain it was more than just a dream. I haven't remembered a dream since I was a kid, and whenever I do, they seem to come true, so this was more than a little creepy to remember in such vivid detail. I mean who wants to meet lethal world-class killers? Not to mention meeting them in the middle of their sexual encounter. Write about them? Yes! Meet or dream about them? Not so much. Yowza! Lacey and Rainey both had my full attention from that morning on.

So I dreamt about them again. And again. Sigh. After dreaming about that scene half a dozen times again in the next 3 months, it was obvious I needed to write about these people or they'd never let me have a solid night's sleep again. It was truly starting to annoy me so I wrote about them for Nanowrimo 2006. I churned out 95,000 words of a first draft of the (working title) "Lacey / Rainey Story" and finally stopped dreaming about them. Now I was thinking up all kinds of plot lines instead.

The Lacey / Rainey story will be Book 2 of the series (Fodhla) not Book 1 (Banbha) and I'd like to tell the story of Zachary "Ze'evi" Levinson and Marlena  Magdalene "Mags" Dietrich first so I'm not going to really finish Banbha as my Next Big Thing but they are definitely going to be the anchor characters for this series.

3) What's the genre of the book?
Oops, already answered this: Romantic Suspense.

4) What actors would play the lead characters in your story?

Hmm...for Lacey Townsend, this is easy: a very young Catherine Deneuve, how she looked in the 1980s: that elegant beauty and classy style with the cool, calculating demeanor. Think Deneuve in the movie The Hunger (co-starring David Bowie). That was perfect! Lacey has the same innate lethality mixed with a sexual charisma and apparent lack of knowledge about her own sex appeal. She knows she's alluring, and can use it as a power to control and manipulate others, but Lacey has no clue why others find her so attractive. She also doesn't care. She simply uses what she's got to get the job done. She's a sniper with a perfect record. Only one man has ever been in her crosshairs and lived to tell the tale: Charles Rainford--and if she'd wanted him dead, he'd be dead ((ggg)) She never misses!

For Rainey (Charles Rainford), I'm not sure. I'd say Irish model Jamie Dornan, but he's definitely not bulky enough--or "Black Irish" enough. Still, he's got that magnetic sexy prettiness about him.

Rainey has dark black hair and eyes with the fair complexion of the classic Celtic coloring while Dornan has brown hair, light eyes and yes, a pretty face but nowhere near enough muscle.  Maybe Rainey's more like this shot of Colin Farrell but without the facial hair? Rainey has a thick growth but he's constantly shaving it off (he cracks me up with how the 2-hr stubble aggravates him). I also think Colin Farrell's too lean and lanky for Rainey. Add about 20 kg of solid muscle to Colin Farrell or put Colin Farrell's face and attitude onto John Cena's body and that's totally "it" for Rainey! Yeah, right. LOL. If anyone knows who that is, please send me a photo!!

5) How would you describe your book in one sentence (10 words or less)?
Welcome to the island paradise, Banbha--where life's a killer!

6) (a) How will your book be published, submitted through the traditional route to a traditional publisher or will you be handling it yourself through Indie Publishing methods? (b) If you're an Indie Author, will you be publishing through your own Indie Publishing company or in a collective with other Indie Authors?
I'll be Indie Publishing the book myself, using Beta Readers during development, possibly, during proofreading but I'll almost definitely use an outside editor for the final polish. I'll probably use an outside graphics designer for my covers though I have some good ideas (and would really love to use this Lori Earley painting for Lacey). Those haunted eyes and hunted posture are soooo Lacey! Alas, I cannot remotely afford to purchase / commission an original cover art piece by Ms. Earley. She's way above my price range (by several thousands!)

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?
As noted, I churned out a bit of the first draft in November of 2006 during Nanowrimo, the international event where writers try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I finished on Day 12. I passed 68,000 words on Thanksgiving Day and I hit 95,000 words on Pearl Harbor Day  (December 7th) at which point I stopped because I was no longer going to get to The End of the same story I'd started. My focus on killing people sidetracked me. I Tuckerized 39 Barflies in fun, fun ways but that completely distracted me from the actual plot of the story!

I write very quickly and it's always been that way for me, so it's no big deal to trash that first draft and just start again. I'd like to outline first this time. I need to find the time to focus on just one project at a time, too. I typically have 5 or so projects going at once, however, plus now I'm working 2 days jobs (yep, not one but two) so getting things done is something of a challenge these days! I think the reason the Banbha Series keeps getting put on hold is that I want to do it justice and I can't really do that with only 1/5 of my attention.

8) What other books within your genre are similar to yours?
I'd like to think none but it's pretty likely I've been influenced by both Elizabeth Lowell (and her St. Kilda Consulting series though I dislike that series, oddly enough), Ann Maxwell (another pen name for Lowell) and of course, by Suzanne Brockmann, whose intricate plots with multiple storylines are definitely a model I follow. I like the tone and edge in Shannon McKenna's McLeod Brothers books, too, though I doubt my sex is quite as searing hot as Shannon's ...well, close :) I certainly do not pull punches or close any bedroom doors on my readers! In the Lacey / Rainey sex scenes, of course, as I noted there'll be some BDSM play. In Mags and Ze'evi's sex scenes there won't so it's a good thing that's Book 1, eh? ^)^

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See my remarks under #2 above. It was either excise these two by writing their story down or keep dreaming about them having sex. It was really starting to get to me so I disgorged them. Rainey tends to pop up every now and then whenever I start writing about another man, though. I guess he's the possessive Alpha Male type. Hah!

10) What about your book will pique the reader's interest?
I think my characters are going to draw readers in and hook them so deeply, they won't be able to put the books down. That's usually the case with my writing and I hope it is this time, too! The plots will center around issues like human trafficking (the stopping thereof) and child abuse because Lacey and Rainey both were orphaned at the age of 5--and then molested by the adult world around them. I purposely paralleled Lacey and Rainey's "life story" circumstances to show how totally different people, suffering the same events, can turn out totally different as adults. It's all about how you cope and what you do with what you're given.

Rainey was a child prostitute "by choice" (can a child ever really "choose" to sell his body and soul?) but grows into a fairly well-grounded and self-confident adult who basically tries to save the world--or at least every child in it.

Lacey was kidnapped as a child by "Uncle Roger" (a man who married into her family by seducing and then murdering her aunt, then subsequently murdering her parents in order to steal her). She grows up with internal turmoil and self-loathing for allowing Roger to control her but she "martyred" herself as a kid in order to save her little brother, Mark, from suffering the same assaults. Later in life, she continues to protect Mark and his family.

The Lacey / Rainey story coincides with when Lacey finally tries to break free of Roger's blackmailed hold on her soul, while still trying to save Mark's children from becoming Roger's new focus. Of course, Roger Townsend will have to die :) It's just a question of who gets to kill him (haha). So many bullets. So little time!

You can read some snippets from the Banbha Series here on the blog. Just use the tag cloud to search for "Lacey" or "Rainey" or "Ze'evi and Mags and you should get a handful of snippets to read - samples that are totally out of order, totally out of context and totally out of date. Drafts change without notice!

That's it for my Next Big Thing. The following list of Indie Authors will be writing about their current or upcoming projects on Wednesday, December 5, 2012. You can click through right now and follow their blogs to be sure you hear about their Next Big Thing when it's published!

Even if they are unconfirmed participants in the Blog Hop, I really think you'll find their blog writings interesting to check out so click through all 6 of these author links for a treat.

Regan Black -
Bob Tyler -
Juliette Hill -
Sessha Batto - 
Junying Kirk - (unconfirmed for 12/12)
Vanessa Wu - (unconfirmed)

What's Next....
Next Monday I'll have some more remarks on the Fall of Advertising and Rise of PR. I hope to see you then!


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