Finding Long Lost Friends…

If you’re like me, as you get older you wonder more and more about your friends from the past. Are they happy, do they have big families, where do they live, what do they do, are they still alive and this one is huge: Do they even remember you?

Recently while checking my Facebook account, I received two friend requests. I was both shocked and very excited to see them as they were very good friends of mine from 11th & 12th grade. What were the odds that these two found me on a day that I totally needed a mood lift?

Needless to say, I didn’t get much done that day because I was too excited trading messages with them and rekindling friendships that I know will last the rest of our lifetimes.
See friends are super important to me because unlike some people who grew up in one house and had the same friends their entire lives (Like my daughter), I went to thirteen schools before I graduated high school, and I wasn’t even a military kid. (I’ll just note that to date, I have had 23 addresses in my life and have lived in my current one for 15 years) I have friends spread all over the US, but lost contact with most of them with each move to the next place. Now, with the help of technology, I’m finally connecting with many of these friends. I’ve found people as far back as the seventh grade when I lived in Sarasota Florida (My favorite place out of all my addresses).
I think it’s super exciting to connect with these people and find out about their lives, laugh about the things we got into, and share the trials and tribulations of our adult lives. Some were shocked to find out I was a police officer (see they knew what I did as a teen). Others are pleasantly surprised to find I was a writer, although a recently found friend asked me, “When did you start this? You hated reading and writing back in school.”
There are still a handful of people I would love to touch base with, if only to say, hello, I’ve thought of you over the years and I hope you are happy. I won’t give up in finding them and hope that maybe someday I’ll get the chance to say hello to them.
I have a story about finding a first love years later, it’s called Tempt Me Too. I hope you check it out! Or you can download a copy to listen from Audible Audio  
Also don’t forget to enter our Janaury Contest on our Home page!

Working with a friend

As a writer, you spend a lot of time in your head, and you know where and how you want your story to go, but what happens when you co-write with someone?

Everything Changes – that’s what happens.

Recently, a good friend of mine, Amy Manemann (she’s actually like a little sister to me), decided to write a book series together. We threw some ideas back and forth about two female detectives working together who were complete opposites. The ideas started to take form and we really started to think on them.

It’s wasn’t long before we had our characters decided. She is writing, Detective Evie Harper, a rookie detective who is by the book, thinks before she speaks and lives by her integrity. Me? I’m writing Detective Kali Man, she’s been in major crimes for several years and she lives by never getting attached to anything. She’s a love them and leave them girl who doesn’t hold back her thoughts.

So how does it work when you write with another author? There are many ways, but this is how we do it!

Amy wrote the first book, a novella called Love Lorn, that introduces her character. It released in March. I wrote the second book, Love Torn, to introduce my character and it releases in May. In August, our first Co-Authored Book, Love Inked, will be released where these two come together as partners.

Love Inked starts out with Kali coming into work. I wrote the first chapter and then I sent it to Amy. She read it – laughed her butt off – made notes and then sent it back. Then she wrote Chapter 2 from Evie’s point-of-view and sent it to me and I did the same back to her. Generally, we know where the chapter will go, but we don’t know how the other person is going to get it there.

There is a theme to our series, Twisted Love, and that’s why we named it that. We keep a document with plot ideas and scenes for certain books so we can keep them flowing. Right now, the series will consiste of two novellas that introduce the series, and then four full-length novels that carry through one major crime and several smaller ones. Ironically, we are still writing book 3 of the series, Love Inked, but we already know how book 6 will end – and we even discussed what could happen after! 

It’s exciting and challenging to write with someone else because you never know what they might throw at you, and how you are going to need to deal with it. It’s kind of like real life in that way and makes the story even more exciting.

We even have a group on Facebook where come May 1st, you can get to know both Amy & I along with our characters. We’ll be doing live readings of our chapters, character interviews and giving your a few sneak peaks about what’s coming in the future!

You’re Welcome to join the fun! The Twisted Love Series Addicts

In the meantime, Check out Love Lorn and meet Evie Harper and get ready for Kali to hit the bookshelves with Love Torn on May 19th!

 

The Case for Paperbacks by @AyalaRachelle

My bookshelf

My house is literally full of books. Books I’ve collected since I was a child [I still have a ragged Barney Beagle] to books I purchased just this week. If you’re like me, your kindle is also burgeoning with books. I have over 5000 at last count.

My friends tell me to declutter and sometimes, I have rather reluctantly said goodbye to many of my books (sniff, sob, I still mourn them). After all, why hold onto the paper or hardback when I can simply download an ebook to my ereader?

The answer is simple. With 5000+ books in my kindle library, I’m constantly forgetting I have a book. How many of you have gone to a book page, hit “purchase” only to have Amazon tell you you already have the book? Thank goodness Amazon does this, but that doesn’t count the books I have on Nook and Google Play, not to mention borrowed from Scribd or Overdrive.

So the other day, I got to thinking, and maybe it’s a dangerous thing since I’m supposed to be decluttering so that when my husband retires we can move… Books that I have in paper form are like friends I see in person, my neighbors, my cousins, my relatives, and my old school friends who live within fifty miles of me. Books I have on kindle are like social media friends. And while I love my social media friends, they don’t occupy the mind space and physical space as people I get together for coffee, walks, and parties.

It’s the same with ebooks. Now, don’t kill me here. I love ebooks. I love the convenience, the ability to have thousands in my account and countless more available at any time or any place. But I don’t “bump” into them the way I do with my paperbacks. They don’t bring back memories, and I don’t pick them up and flip to a bookmark or a crease in the spine or discover a long-forgotten sticky note or bookmark, and they definitely don’t transport me back to when we first met.

Paper books, meanwhile, are like old friends. A couple weeks back, in the throes of decluttering, I kept putting a set of books into a box, then taking them back out and reshelving them, then trying to resolve to give them away. I made excuses for them. They’re yellowed and wrinkled, no one would want them, and I can’t bear to throw them in the garbage. But they’re taking up space! Logically, all these books exist as ebooks. I can simply do as Marie Kondo says: to discard them, knowing that if I ever wanted to read them again, I can buy the ebook or the audiobook.

BUT… here is the big question. Will I remember them?

This particular set of cozy mysteries was written by Carolyn Hart. While flipping through these yellowed paperbacks, I was transported back to my younger days, scouring bookstores to buy her latest Death on Demand mystery. I’ve quite forgotten Max and Annie throughout the years as my reading tastes diverged to romance and suspense thrillers. But because I could not throw away that set of books, I am now reliving the 1980’s by re-reading my Death on Demand stories. I’ve even downloaded the audiobook so I can have it read to me–the font on the old paperback being kind of small for my senior eyes. I’ve rediscovered that series and was so pleased to discover that it is STILL GOING after all these years.

It’s all because I had the paperbacks. A paperback from 30 years ago can remind you of an author you loved and lost touch with. A paperback is like a loyal friend sitting on the shelf winking at you when you walk by, and a paperback is something you can pass on to others. As an author, a paperback is a living reminder to your readers about you. Who knows? Twenty years from now, the reader you have now might rediscover you and be joyously surprised that your series is still going on. Or your paperback has been passed from friend to friend, making you new friends to the farthest corners of the earth.

Now that, is like having a friend for life!

p.s. I have the black covered collector’s hardbacks of the Agatha Christie mystery library [a subscription series] and I’m NOT parting with them. Besides, my daughter has tagged them all already. Agatha is a friend for life and beyond.

What do you think? Do you buy paperbacks of the books and authors you like? Do you keep every autographed paperback of your writer friends? [I do]. Or do you let them go to share and spread the joy?