plotting

The Last Superhero – Music ♪♫

I’m close to publishing my next novel, The Last Superhero, a sci-fi fantasy romance about the last superhero to roam the Earth and the young woman that turns his life around. It’s a superhero story with a twist, exploring the human side of things instead of the usual/fantastic. More on that in next posts, I promise!

Right now we’re working through the edits for a December launch. Yay! And I want to start writing about it, kind of get the ball rolling.

One thing I do when writing is listen to music that either appeals to the characters or helps set the mood for a scene. It’s something I’ve written about before so I won’t bore you with details, what I’ll give you, for now, is part of this book’s playlist. Enjoy!

There’s plenty of action in the book and for those parts I have my own special “war” playlist:

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Meet the Characters: Scarlett Lang

I’d been wanting to write about the characters in my series, The Caregiver, for some time now, although I believe it’s a little too early to do so, don’t ask me why (maybe it has to do with the fact that I refuse to think of myself as an author). However, The Beast (Book 3) will be released into the wild soon and I thought it would be nice to give you some inside info about the main characters in the series (I may get to the secondary and tertiary too because I love them all so much).

Consider this something in the likes of loose character notes because these people tend to take matters into their own hands most of the time, leaving me as the mere channel through which they tell their stories.

So, let’s get this party started with the protagonist:

Scarlett Lang

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, USA, around March 1981 (don’t have an exact date but she’s an Aries) which makes her 31 years old at the time of books 1 and 2. Granddaughter to Adrian Lang, daughter to Daniel Lang and Margaret Lang. Became an orphan after her parents’ murder at 12 and went to live with her grandfather up until she was 17, when she married Xavi Pontevedra and moved to Puerto Rico. She didn’t become an active hit woman until after that marriage ended (only lasted a year) and she was taken under Rafael Cisneros’ wing back in Miami (right around 1999 – 2000). Rafael Cisneros was the one who coaxed her into becoming a nurse, all the while employing her as hit woman and helping her become the well-known assassin she is. Cisneros’ half-brother, Roberto, is another main character in her personal history, turning from childhood crush to lover around 2002 and keeping an on and off relationship with her until she’s offered the Interpol position within The Filius Project in 2005. The Gibraltar mission takes place in 2007, the Sayer mission in 2012.

      I wrote a post about face claims on my Tumblr and put up a collage with pics of the men in the series because it’s been so much easier to find male actors to fit my characters than female ones. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and like to think of every female character as an extension of myself, although the male ones are also extensions of myself… Or maybe it’s because I’m so jealous of them I can’t even… Emotions aside, I picture Scarlett a lot like actresses Emily Hampshire, Jemima Rooper, or Suranne Jones.
      I didn’t want to make her a sex symbol, nor a masculinized woman. A friend once commented on how much she liked to read scenes where Scarlett’s in a room filled with men and not have the situation turn into a sexual one (she was mainly referring to this vignette). Scarlett’s confident about herself and her abilities to the point of not having to prove them to anyone. And she prefers shirts and trousers rather than dresses, but I want to believe I’ve given her enough emotional balance to say she’s not a man with a vagina, or a woman with a dick, whatever rocks your boat. There is a lot of sex in Scarlett’s past. Part of it is revealed in Book 2, but Book 3 shows a tad more, and the possible prequels I’m working on thanks to the vignettes do have a heavy sexual component. There is the subject of BDSM, nevertheless, this is no Fifty Shades. I just wanted to show a female character that can walk into a dark alley and, although she’ll be scared shitless, can deal with the situation should she get mugged. And that, of course, enjoys sex as much as the next guy without feeling guilty about it.
      Also, I like that she’s got body issues like any other woman, to the point of even mentioning the fact that she can’t wear a gun between her thighs because she lacks the coveted thigh gap. This is also a loaded weapon in the hands of the wrong people. In Book 2 her new superior, DS Ethan Young, uses it when he tells her “I wasn’t aware that the Sayer mission was a deep penetration one. Romulus assured me you weren’t a honeytrap. Seeing you now I can tell what he meant. However, I know he was aware of the fact that Sayer was never a shallow man, unlike his colleagues.” The bastard. She may seem unfazed right then but, believe me, that kind of talk does hurt. And then he goes into slut-shaming mode in Book 3 and will keep it up in Book 4 because he’s a dickhead like that.
      Scarlett isn’t a complicated character, at least from my point of view. She’s pretty simple and even though she thinks she’s got a hold on life, she doesn’t. The situation she’s in is what’s complicated about all this and she’s trying to figure things out as well as she can. She’s made a lot of mistakes (haven’t we all?) and will keep making them until the day she dies.
      She’s no Cinderella. She’s a hit woman, for fuck’s sake. And even when she’s been dragged into this whole Filius Project shit, she’s never stopped being one of the best assassins in the world, which translates into a lot of money in the bank and a lot of traveling around. This being said, she’s no poor girl falling in love with a filthy rich prince. As a matter of fact, she may be one of the few that can look a drug lord like Armand in the eye when it comes to both nerves and financial stability. She doesn’t need anyone giving her anything, to the point where, in Book 3, she’ll be the one gifting Armand some pretty cool and expensive stuff. She has a life apart from him and his people and a lot of it will come to the light in Book 3.
      Even though she could be, she’s not alone. There are some revealing scenes in Book 2 where readers learn how Scarlett was abused as a child. This whole sad, dark past subject worked itself into the story. It was never my intention to do that but, somehow, it fit. However, this doesn’t mean she’s lived a secluded or estranged life, quite the contrary, she took it to herself to surround her persona with friends and allies that, although work related, regard her as part of their families and will do everything they can to help and protect her. Many of them don’t know what actually happened in her past (hence Bobby Cisneros’ reaction when it’s revealed) even when her grandfather, Adrian Lang, was also their acquaintance, yet that didn’t stop them from adding her to their circles. There’s Eliza Pontevedra too, who lived such abuses in tandem and acts as a sisterly safe haven when the past comes at them in waves. Then, when Armand comes into the picture, we can all see how she wins over his people and manages to bend them for her own purposes.
      “You seldom kill for your own benefit, Scarlett.” When Han, the Chinese Dragon Head, said this while I was writing Book 3 I had to pause and think for a while. There’s a scene in Book 2 where Scarlett has a bit of a breakdown after a very tense moment between her, Adrian, Bobby, and a very concerned George. But when Han spoke those words it all became so clear. Scarlett’s a hit woman. This means she’s paid to kill people that other people want dead, not her. Now the tables are turned and she’s finding out how different it is when you’re killing people you want dead yourself. It’s a whole other game she’s entering and it will prove not to be as easy as she thought.
All this said, I want to add that there’s a bigger character arc in the works between the vignettes/prequels and the books already in the series. This can be seen already in the vignettes (another one of those things that’s come as a surprise while writing them). The Scarlett pre-Gibraltar mission is very different from the post-mission one in a lot of ways. I like to think the pre-mission Scarlett would’ve never thought of getting married again, not even remotely, much less let herself get caught up in the illusion of planning a wedding and a happy ending kind of future…
But you’ll have to read Book 3 to know what happens with that!

Want to know more?

You can read THE CAREGIVER (Book 1 of The Caregiver Series) for free at The Caregiver Series Blog and Wattpad, or get it from Smashwords (free), Barnes & Noble (free), Kobo (free) and Amazon (99 cents).

TORN (Book 2 of The Caregiver Series) is available through Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

THE BEAST (Book 3 of The Caregiver Series) will be available mid-January through Smashwords and Amazon (the rest of the retailers will come later).

Random bits of inspiration for Book 2

I’ve said before that I take a lot of inspiration from movies. Then I read this post at the Park Theatre blog and thought ‘yes, exactly, we can get inspiration from odd places/things/people/whatever and it doesn’t mean we’re copying or using them as they came.’

In order to celebrate those random bits of inspiration, I’ve decided to share with you some of the many clips that have been in my mind while writing book 2 of The Caregiver.

All of these movies/series are awesome and you should watch them if you haven’t already.

From Wild Bill

From Love, Honour and Obey

From The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

From The Bourne Ultimatum

From The Night Porter

From Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead (the whole movie, but mostly Lucinda and Jimmy during the first 4 minutes of this clip)

From Alphas

From Layer Cake (no, I never get tired of this one!)

‘Ave Maria’ Montage (from Modigliani movie) and the Process of Writing

 “Do you know that moment when you paint a landscape as a child and, when you’re maybe under seven or something, the sky is just a blue stripe across the top of the paper? And then there’s that somewhat disappointing moment when the teacher tells you that the sky actually comes down in amongst all the branches. And it’s like life changes at that moment and becomes much more complicated and a little bit more boring, as it’s rather tedious to fill in the branches…” – Alan Rickman

There was a time in my life when I took painting lessons. I remember the first time I walked into the studio of a local painter, wanting to take classes. I can’t remember what age I was exactly (if you ask me how old I am right now you’ll see me doing the math in my head before answering, I think it’s a glitch in my brain), what I do recall is that he sat me at the corner of a long table –where all the other students were drawing–, gave me a piece of paper and a pencil and told me to draw whatever came to my mind.

So I did. I drew a horse, and a cat, and a dog, I think some birds, a mountain (come on, what is a picture without a background?), and I don’t know what else. Thing was, when he came back and looked at the picture, his eyes bulged. He turned to me, an expression of astonishment in his face, and asked me if I had really produced that from my head. I answered with a simple ‘yes’ and he gave me a contented smile. ‘That’s impressive,’ he said. I had no clue what he saw in what, for me, was another stupid drawing that would go into the rubbish bin. He was a great teacher. He loved my paintings, even framing them before my mother came to pick me up because he couldn’t contain himself.

Maybe that was what scared me away from it, and I quit the classes without any real explanation.

Painting has been something I’ve left in the back burner to focus on other things.

Things like writing.

I’m currently working on the second book of my series and, as always, I’m finding myself tangled in this alternate universe I’ve created. Writing a manuscript, to me, is feeling my chest tight all the time. Like living with a straightjacket on me 24/7. I can’t breathe, I can’t think. Everything revolves around this story I’m making up. Every character is so real I can sit down and talk to them, shout at them, fight with them.

Crazy, I know.

I also cry a lot while writing. It always happens. Sometimes I have to pull myself away from the computer screen and just let it flow. Open the shower and cry my eyes out because the weight of it all is pushing me down with incredible force.

What I’m writing may not be a masterpiece, but it takes every cell of my being to make it.

It was easier to write when I was a kid. I’d just do that: write. Now it has all become this humongous process. The sky isn’t just a blue stripe across the top of the paper anymore, it’s far more serious.

It’s cyan. Not blue. It has depth. It has shades. It has movement. It has a life of its own.

Today I watched the movie ‘Modigliani’ and loved it. It’s about the painter Amedeo Modigliani and his rivalry with Picasso. However, it was this scene that blew me away since it shows all the painters depicted in the movie making the one work that will be featured in a competition. It struck home with me and I know that any creative artist will see their own creation process in it.

I often wonder if all this will actually destroy me in the end. Make me fill my pockets with stones and walk into the ocean. What I do know is that it’s the air that I breathe. And even if it, one day, decides to kill me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Paper, Scissors, Markers

Paper, Scissors, Markers

I was happily working on book 2 and found myself with a bunch of papers, a pair of scissors and some markers. This is the product of it.

I have been M.I.A., I know. I’ve been writing nonstop and, well, I won’t deny how awesome that feels. So, watch out because book 2 is looking good!

By the way, those are all character names. Yay for clusterfuck!