Tag Archives: Writing

#FF One Lovely Blog Hop – You’ve been nominated! #Hop

Howdie and happy Friday! It appears I have been nominated as a participant of the One Lovely Blog Hop by the wonderful C.L. Schneider (check her book The Crown of Stones here and her blog here). This blog hop is designed to show our readers a more personal side to ourselves. Gosh knows I’m trying to do that every day LOL. I haven’t been on this platform a lot lately, and I apologize, but books don’t write themselves and if I don’t sacrifice at least something, the Manicheans Trilogy will take decades to finish. I promise though, you won’t be disappointed with the final result.

Alright, I’ve been challenged to list seven interesting facts about me. The rules are that I share 7 Lovely Facts about myself, and links to at least 15 blogs that I enjoy reading. If I’ve nominated your blog (see names below) please don’t feel any obligation to join in but, if you do, please link back to the blog of the person who nominated you (that would be me!), share facts about yourself and nominate 15 blogs (or as many as you can).

As Julie Jones would say, here goes nothing:

1) If I was given a choice, be imprisoned for life, and write, or stay free, but don’t ever write again, I’d choose imprisonment. Obviously, I never wanna be given that choice, but freedom of speech to me is more important than freedom of movement. Once you prohibit people from thinking and saying whatever the heck they wanna say, society is doomed. Abuse of power and censorship are death to me. Isn’t it what we fall victims to when terrorists kill because we’ve expressed ourselves? And why should I be afraid of speaking my mind? As long as I’m not inciting riots and violence, I’m free to speak and think whatever I want. That’s what the First Amendment tells me anyway. Now people’s understanding of this fundamental right is a total different ball game. And we have a tendency to take this particular right for granted. Restrain me to a chair, and prevent me from going anywhere, I’m gonna go mad real quick. But tell me I can’t say this, or that, and I might not be as aggressive. Stealth oppression is the worst.

2) I have four cats, but I’m no cat lady. I’m jumping on a lighter subject with this one. First, who determined the number of cats that makes someone a cat lady? Four cats is nothing. And no, I’m not in denial. If I had four turtles, would you call me a turtle lady? (I think this would sound offensive to some people.) Seriously? My house is clean. Doesn’t smell. My cats are cute. Like holiday calendar cute. I work, I shower, and my boyfriend is as much in love with these cats as I am. Therefore, revise your cat lady judgmental statements. So what, you’re jealous I have so many furry pussies to keep me warm at night? Your loss.

3) Unlike a bunch of people out there, I don’t hate Iggy Azalea. Who raised their hand and asked “Who the crap is Iggy Izalea-something spelled weird, whatever that name is?” Yes, I did that too. Thank God for Wikipedia. She’s a white rapper from Sydney, Australia, and she’s pretty popular right now. Some black hip hop artists are just slamming her for stepping into their territory, claiming hip hop is black culture, not white culture, blah blah, bunch of unnecessary drama and bad publicity, that made me like this Iggy chick even more, and these haters even less. The appropriation of anything just doesn’t scream tolerance to me, now does it? As soon as you say “it’s mine”, you sound like a selfish prick. Who made you the owner of anything? As long as you have the talent, and work your ass off for it, freaking take the reins. Drive, speed up under the influence, and crash for all I care. Black, white, yellow, green, at the end of the day, it’s hip hop, it’s music, it’s words on a page. It’s freedom of expression again! Jealousy, and under the belt jabs are just another sign of immaturity.

4) I’m lactose intolerant. Who cares if I can’t eat cheese, right? Or ice cream? Or drink milk? I don’t really care either. I can live without all of that. The problem is that sometimes, I’d like to eat cheese, because cheese is delicious, and well, I gotta pay attention to how much I eat. Lesson learned: pleasure causes pain too.

5) I learned to parallel park by crashing into cars. I say “crashing”, I should use “brushing”. Well “hitting softly” if you’re really technical. The reason is when the parking spot is really tight, and you gotta park, you have to jam yourself in there. Bumper to bumper, push the car in front, and the car behind, and tada, you just created your personalized parking spot with one half of the car on the sidewalk, the other half into a tree. And if you own a Smart car, you can park in any direction you want! Isn’t that sweet? We can’t say whatever we want, but we can park however we want! Life is just so full of surprises.

6) People have suffered from my elbows. And I will explain. In New York City, when the subway, or the street, whichever, is packed, and I’m talking not even one square foot of personal space available, when you move, and exit the car or have to walk through a thick crowd of tourist who just don’t give a flying banana about standing right in the middle of the intersection taking pictures of tall buildings, and not speaking English, so they can’t understand when you curse at them, sometimes, you gotta use the elbows. And the elbows work like this: open the arms like two powerful wings, and engage. The only issue with the elbow hit is that once I sent a girl flying to the other side of the underground pass, and the other time, a kid took one elbow in the face. It’s horrible, but I didn’t intend to hit anyone. I was just trying to walk out of the crowd. If you don’t live in a big city like New York, you won’t understand what jampacked is. I don’t really use the elbows that much anymore, now I’ve switched to breaking the crowd with my forearm-it works like a blade. I’ve noticed it’s less lethal, and I can sleep at night.

7) Last but not least, I’m a licensed attorney but I’ve never practiced. And it’s a good thing because it gives me an edge. I know about the legal world, and am truly inspired by it, but I feel like a spy. I know their secret, I belong to their private club, but I’m not really one of them. LOL The Manicheans takes place in a law firm. Brace yourselves.

Well, that wasn’t too bad. Now onto the nominations:

1) Minnie Lahongrais

2) James Garcia, Jr. 

3) Nina D’Arcangela

4) Axel Howerton

5) A.F. Stewart

6) Julianne Snow

7) Kim Koning

8) Clarissa Johal

It’s not fifteen, but eight very good blogs from great authors! Now hop on!

***

And remember, 32 Seconds is still available for 99 Cents on Amazon, and will be promoted in a ginormous book tour this February. You gotta love it!

32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn – YA Psychological and Paranormal Thriller

32secondsfinalcover.jpgTo the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

Click here to access the ebook. Happy reading!

My page… your words #amwriting

writers-quotes-story-writing-34823004-320-320When the characters take over and tell the story, and I become a mere slave to their whims and feelings, my duty as a writer has been fulfilled. I will do my best to transcribe everything, the way they see it, and live it, so that when I read the words I just wrote, I hear their voice, not mine.

I will feel their sadness, their joy, their anger and their fear. I will overcome obstacles, conquer new worlds, fall in love a million times and experience heartbreaks. Life will play like a movie on the screen, and I will be a spectator. They will travel, take me to foreign lands, meet monsters and superheroes. They will grow and learn, cry and laugh, live and die. When the book is done, and their story has been told, I won’t forget them. They will remain with me at all times.

I will write relentlessly until they tell me to stop. And once I know they’re satisfied with the end result, I will put my pen down, and smile. Because writing is my life, and their words the only truth I know. I will pull my hair but I won’t quit. They will comfort me, reassure me I’m on the right path even when I doubt myself. It is their journey I undertake, their goals I reach, and through their eyes, I escape to a better world.

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#TT Tuesday #Teaser – #32Seconds – Julie Jones Strikes Again

Drumroll, please! And Julie Jones is here to give you an excerpt of her upcoming story, 32 Seconds. Hope the week isn’t treating you badly – after all it’s only Tuesday – which means that the crap can hit the fan anytime now. It’s alright, we’ll stay positive, right Julie? At least, we’ll try.

***

My butt hit the pavement. As I opened my eyes, and tried to figure out where I had landed, an explosion popped right next to me. I ducked flat on the ground. 

From the corner of one eye, I saw columns of blackish smoke in the distance, and the ruins of a town I didn’t recognize. The air had turned into a toxic mess, making my eyes water. To add to the pleasant experience, a violent cough proceeded to shake my core.

The explosions continued and were deafening. My mind told me to run, but my body remained stuck in place. 

I rubbed my eyes to make sure this wasn’t a dream. It didn’t feel like a dream. Maybe the old witch I met by the one-dollar store did poison me with her chocolate, and I had landed in hell?

My body trembled from head to toe. From the little I could take in, the area looked like a war zone. I needed to find shelter before figuring things out. Struggling up on my wobbly legs, I turned in a circle, trying to find an escape route. I strove to regulate my breathing. My lungs burned. I wanted to get angry, to scream and pound my fists at something or someone, but I felt so weak. The same question looped inside my mind. Where the heck had I been transported to, against my will?

Asking Didi for directions was out of the question, since I had been robbed of my phone too. It was clearly my lucky day.

A shape moved ahead of me. I thought it was smoke, or an optical illusion. After a few seconds, I realized the shape was coming in my direction. Shizznit. Was it an animal? The thing ran quickly toward me. Soon I realized that something was actually someone, and that someone looked like a boy.

The muscles of my legs gave up and I fell to the ground. The cough was killing me. My heart was beating at a hundred miles per hour, my quickened breath jamming inside my throat as I stared at the approaching stranger. He opened his mouth and said something, but I didn’t understand a word through the ruckus of the incessant explosions. Through my watery eyes, I took in the sight of him. The dark-haired boy wore black jeans and a t-shirt, and his skin was covered in grayish dust.

He yelled something. It sounded like “un.”

Not sure what to say in response, I waved at him.

When he finally reached me, I noticed his eyes were glowing green. 

“Hey…” I slurred between coughs. To my shock, he leapt like a jaguar and grabbed my arm in the process.

“Run!” he yelled, and propelled me off the ground like I weighed nothing.

Caught in his grip, I had no choice but to follow.

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#MM Find Your Monday Muse!

Strolling yesterday among book shelves at Barnes & Nobles (always wondered why people hang out in bookstores but not in libraries), I told myself the day 32 Seconds comes out, I’m taking the place hostage until they kick me out. And if I don’t have the guts to take the place hostage, I’m dumping my book everywhere. You think someone will notice the book isn’t supposed to be there? An innocent bystander will totally buy it.

Anyway, long story short, yesterday I re-read my manuscript one more time and finally sent it for formatting and publishing prep. All the good stuff has to come to an end eventually. I’ll disregard the blood, sweat and tears, and the million hours spent writing this story. The torture was totally worth it!

I take the writing bug like an addiction. It’s not as out of control though. And while 32 Seconds gets beautified, I’m working on the first volume of the Manicheans (one out of many). I wouldn’t write if I wasn’t inspired by the Big Apple. I hate and love this town, but thank God I have it! It’s my muse. The stuff I see, hear, smell – the unmistakable stench of Times Square in the summer, the homeless passed out on the sidewalk, the teens smoking a blunt outside the bus terminal, the girls wearing clothing even a respectable hooker wouldn’t dare steal, all that stuff – it’s my life. I thought I could stay away from it, and just write from staring at trees – which I can do, but it’s just not the same – New York brings me back every time.

I not only live for this town, I also live for its people. The mix of cultures, languages, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and all the other stuff that make the City so unique, so vibrant, so entertaining, drive me to watch, listen and learn, until I’m full and words cascade down the page like a waterfall. Worse image would be like vomit, but I don’t really vomit words unless I’m pissed.

32 Seconds doesn’t take place in New York City but the City totally inspired me to write this book. Hope you’re as excited as I am for its upcoming release.

Stay out of trouble. Until tomorrow, folks!

#FF It’s all in the quirk

When it comes to books, do you like to cry or laugh? Or both? Do you want the love story to end well, or badly (like the dude or the dudette dies, not like Kramer vs. Kramer).

At the beginning of my writing journey, I was all about the darkness. Drama, death, destruction, you name it. Of course, I loved the darkness because my life was dark, or at least, my mindset lived in an era where fire hadn’t been discovered yet. Today, I love to laugh. I always loved to laugh, but I enjoy it more now than I did when I was five.

Long story short, my favorite stories (books and also movies) are the ones that are epic, dramatic but also funny. Tarentino executes this combo perfectly. And to me, the secret hides within the dialog. When one character breaks the tension with one silly comment, and I laugh, laugh, laugh…

I try to translate this in my writing obviously. Sometimes I go over the top and my editor says – hey, too much! Yeah, beating a dead horse doesn’t work well. It’s all a matter of balance.

When the character is quirky, you got me. I’m not saying silly though. I’m saying quirky!!

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#MuseMonday – The #Manicheans

Hello all!

Hope the weekend has treated you nicely – I started working on my next book, and the hair pulling has begun once again. As 32 Seconds is close to being released, I felt antsy and looked forward to plotting and writing Volume 1 of The Manicheans, which is the series I’ve been working on and off since 2010. Good things come to those who wait, and this project has been put on the back burner too often. I’m happy though to have had the experience of writing 32 Seconds, because now, I found my voice, and know how to tackle the story without rewriting it one million times over (I think this time, I’ll only have to write it 999,999 times over).

I was ecstatic to finally update the software on my phone to iOs8 and Apple has taken me now to the present – note that I didn’t say future, because I was longing to ditch my iPhone for an Android again! – but hey, Mr. and Mrs. Apple gave me the keyboard of my dreams and I can write on my phone – like I used to when I had a Blackberry and my Android. Needless to say, instead of losing my temper against the iPhone keyboard, I waited patiently until my phone would be a friend again. Our bond is now stronger than ever, thank you iOs8 update.

But I digress. I am one of these writers who cannot keep track of ideas on post-its or random pieces of paper, so my phone is my best tool when it comes to drafting my story. I usually write on my commute because it relaxes me. I rewrote the manuscript of the Manicheans three times already, and now comes the fourth time, the magic number! At the fourth draft, I usually have done all the research I need, and the plotting really begins for me. This is how I work, and I can’t plot unless I’ve done some serious character and backstory development.

I thought of a prologue. My first prologue was weak, and didn’t really give any information about the Manicheans and who these people were, and why you had to read about them!

So I came up with a new prologue. Granted it’s not perfect, but it’s getting there. As a treat, I’m pasting the prologue here. 32 Seconds is coming out soon, and the Manicheans will follow with a release next year around the same time. I love to give myself tight deadlines – one book a year is how I roll! 😉

Enjoy!

***

The Manicheans – Volume 1: Esperanza (to be released in 2015) – Prologue

A dream, it was all a dream. Wherever she went, the image of his face appeared in her mind and she drifted, looking for him. But he couldn’t be found. Not that he didn’t want to, she didn’t know where to start. Yeni was long gone and had become a bittersweet memory, with its smiles and kisses, and promises everything would be okay…

Nothing was okay though.

No words would help her now. She had given up hope and didn’t seek forgiveness or redemption. She had one last wish: vanish. Every previous attempt proved pointless. But she had to try one more time for the sake of it. She couldn’t take this loneliness anymore. She was tired of running, tired of finding something to do, tired of being here. Because reality didn’t appeal to her, she needed an escape. Drugs and alcohol worked for a while until they stopped working.

No, she knew she couldn’t be saved. She accepted the fact nothing or no one would change her mind. Resolved and defeated, she had one more card to play before the curtains closed.

Death. Cold, empty, peaceful. She was looking forward to it.

She grabbed the revolver and placed the tip of the barrel against her temple. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes. The index pressed on the trigger, she exhaled slowly and pulled. Despite the deafening noise, and the unmistakable smell of gunpowder, the bullet didn’t pierce her skin. Another time, one more failure. No matter how creative the chosen method was, she couldn’t die. The last one hundred and twenty six attempts hadn’t delivered the expected result either.

She grunted and threw the revolver across the room. Then, grabbing a bottle of scotch, she lit a cigarette.

Life just didn’t make any gosh darn sense. Especially when she couldn’t end it when she wanted to. Freedom didn’t mean squat. It was just a word like potato. A potato had a purpose at least.

Staring outside, she blew a purple cloud of smoke against the window and suppressed a snort. Why was her existence so darn pointless? Who was playing a joke on her? If God thought making her invincible was a gift, he could stop pretending to be Santa. What she learned from reading Interview with a Vampire is that there was no joy in immortality.

She watched people shuffle on the ground thirty stories below her, like ants moving relentlessly in one direction or the other, and she wondered what it would feel like to have a goal. Not necessarily a life changing objective, but something to be excited about. A date, a job interview, a doctor’s appointment or any kind of appointment, a social event, shopping sprees, lunch with the girls… She had nothing to do.

Only a miracle would change the monotonous existence she had been living for the past twenty-one years.

Since she didn’t believe in miracles, she had accepted nothing would ever be different.

Today, however, everything would change. She just didn’t know it yet.

Her name was Esperanza Negroni, and she was a Manichean.

9/11, Thirteen years later… Where am I? #911anniversary

Happy Thursday folks. Today is 9/11 so I have no idea how many people will blog about this because the wound is still fresh (and no, I’m not going to start a rant about politics and terrorism), but I have certainly not forgotten where I was, and what I was doing when the attacks occurred. I’d like to take a step back and reminisce a little.

Where I was: France. On September 11, 2001, I was 18 and was taking driving lessons. After an hour spent in hell with my instructor (getting your driver’s license in France is like searching for the Holy Grail, especially when learning to parallel park uphill), I pulled up to the driving school and another instructor
stormed out: “It’s like watching a movie and planes are crashing into the Twin Towers…” he said. What???? I was so in love with the United States (and still am), just hearing this made my heart bleed. Once home, I turned on the TV and bam, here it was, live. The attacks happened around 9 am, and in France, it was 3 pm. Prime time TV had some meat to chew on that day, and for many days after.

I was 18. I was still living with Mom and Dad, I was going to school, hated it but I was going, and never thought I’d be moving to New York. July 26, 2006, I landed at JFK airport, and have been living on the East Coast ever since. Next week, I’m taking my citizenship test.

Thirteen years later, I’m becoming a US citizen, I’m working in the City, I live in New Jersey with four cats and an amazing boyfriend, I spend my time writing books and dreaming greater dreams of writing full time, and I’m a happy gal. Of course, the road to happiness was paved with crap along the way, but the crap was worth it. Crap makes you appreciate the present moment (at least that’s what I tell myself every time I step in it).download

Life is so unpredictable. I never know where I’m going to land next. But it’s great. Makes the journey more interesting.

Look at the bright side, don’t step in too much crap (and if you do, well, it’s good luck, right?) and move on! Dwelling on the past doesn’t help (Julie Jones (32 Seconds) knows what she’s talking about, and so do I). Have a great day folks!