Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

My parents were here in town for the holiday's, epically entertaining as well as bitter sweet as they drove off to the airport this morning. I'm pretty sure my mother did all our dishes for a week straight - seriously love mumsy! Only had one episode where the advent calendar went flying across the room in a minor fit of rage from my husband. The result of having not a moment to himself, having burnt the breakfast, dealt with a dog who peed on her bed, tried to open the door to the pizza guy while dodging dogs and holding the advent calendar in one hand as it fell off the back of the door. No wonder it went flying. A day by himself and out with the boys did him good and was much recovered 24 hours later.

As we say in Hawai'i, Hauoli Makahiki Hou ~ Happy New Year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

This just in!!

It's O-fficial! The Legend of Lady MacLaoch has a for real, honest to goodness, ain't-kidding-around ISBN number!!! Here it is from Lulu Publishing:

Dear
Becky Banks,

An ISBN has been assigned to your book

------------------------------
--------
ISBN #: 978-0-578-07566-2
--------------------------------------
Content ID: 9652597
--------------------------------------
Book Title: The Legend of Lady MacLaoch
--------------------------------------
 
Watch out world here we come!!
For those of you who are curious on what the fuss is about, the ISBN number is much like the number assigned to produce in your local supermarket. This standardized number now can be key punched into any book retailer's computer and all the book's info (title, price, size, publisher, etc.) will pop up. This also means that Legend has just become eligible for being sold in book stores around the globe.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Update

From a writing stand point things are quite mellow - edits for Legend are due back mid December. I'm putzing around with updating the Legend synopsis - my writers group and peer reviewers said it sucked, amen for honesty - and getting an ISBN number for it too. If you're bored and would like to know all there is to know about ISBN's check out this article through Lulu's Publishing: click here.

Also, I suppose now would be a good time to start a rumor about book giveaways. I've got a couple scheduled around release time so check back here often for updates on how to get your name in the pot.

Chow for now.

'Tis the Season

This is the view out my kitchen window a week or so ago. Very very pretty, and also very very ridiculous as Portland seldom sees snow before Jan and this was just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Anybody wanna wager what Christmas will be like? Green or white?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Work that muscle

They say that writing is a muscle and it needs to be exercised otherwise it atrophies into nothingness and your forced to move like a worm everywhere. Okay, so it doesn't really say that, but writing is a muscle and to work mine I'm writing a lil' short small (anyother adjectives I can squeek in there??) tiny story. Here's a piece (caution this is unedited, unproof read raw material... oh and copyright).


The rain hammered down on the windshield as Jenny and I made our way to the mechanic shop. I had been so relieved to finally find a BMW mechanic that didn't have a drinking problem or was as deaf as a post from too many SCCA races to hear that I wanted the oil changed not a forty minute hand gesturing session and hollering only to have him replace my transmission fluid and brakes.
    Earlier in the week when I'd been in my office reviewing the recent shoot for our May's cover issue, I remember Jennie coming in. The office was wide, luxurious and I'd bitten and clawed my way to that corner office on the 34th floor and loved it. Plush grey carpet and dark panelling, furniture hand picked from the designer’s catalog – everything was sleek and modern. I had admired it for thirty seconds before work swallowed me up and I was immersed into running the magazine. Jennie my staff editor came waltzing in that morning and flopped down in the semi circle of chairs in the middle of the office while I scanned the cover options on the work table.
    “You would not believe what I found.” She said smuggly.
    Jennie was five foot five inches in her comfy ballet flats, and well rounded good-hearted person that I truly enjoyed but felt that somedays I wanted to trade lives with her. A huge family, modest job that allows for her to scrapbook and knit to her hearts content, like me still single and looking. Though I'm not sure she looks much past the perfect men in the books she reads – the one's with half naked people in the throws of an orgasm on the covers. I'd probably read those books as well if I didn't know that they were both sprayed down with baby oil to mimic sweat, breasts taped/air brushed so they popped like they did, and his body was replaced with the other models' that had a great set of abs but not the face that worked with the shot angle.
    “What's that? And please don't tell me it's a new yarn color.” I said dryly.
    Jennie rolled her eyes, “It wasn't a new yarn color it was a new type made from alpacas from the Himalayas – they cost me a mint!”
    “Right.” I said feigning that I even comprehended what she was talking about.
    “Anyway, so you know how I've been on this trek to find the best import shop in the city right?”
    “Yes, you and me both. Please tell me that your ancient Peugeot has found one.” I said with a laugh and returned to my work, red pen in hand.
    “I did, and they do all years of BMW's”
    “Yup, and the one guy is a lush and the other is deaf, right?” I asked, not looking up.   
    “Nope. Young guy, newly opened shop off Sandy Boulevard-”
    “I just saw that the other day, I thought they only did Honda's and stuff.”
    “Nope, they do it all. And the best part?”
    I rolled my eyes, “They offer scrap booking while you wait.”
    “The head mechanic is hot!” she pronounced ignoring my snarky comment.
    That got a real eye roll from me, “Well did you ask him out with your oil change?”
    “Uh, no – probably will work up the gumption to ask out one of the other guy's there though he's more my type.”
    “South American, you mean?”
    “Yeah.” She said with a mildly dreamy look then came back to the point she was trying to make, “The head mechanic actually owns the place and he's not really hot per se but has that air about him that I thought would be perfect for you.”
    “And what's that?” I said stopping what I was doing, now thoroghly engaged with what she had to say.
    “Dunno, actually, now that you've put me on the spot. He's just has this air about him – unavailable, uninterested, but with him you sort of feel like you could take over the world. And even then he's sort of dark – with a past you know?”
    I arched a brow at her, “You just described, “complex” to a T my friend.”
    Jennie laughed, like a chiming bell tower, loud and ringing, “Yes! That's totally it. Anyway – didn't you say your door has a leak?”

    It was a nice shop off the main boulevard. I lived in the neighborhood once again with my father as he went through chemo sessions. It was a standard shop the office was up front with the parking lot and the four work bays stretched out next to it, the lot stretching back into the neighboring houses. In front of the open bays and next to the side street was extra parking and parking for the employee's. Fancy euro cars dotted the employee lot, most of them at least a decade old except for two. A red Toyota family car and the other an indistinguishable black two door monster coupe at the far end at my right.
    In the sheeting rain I could see my car sitting directly in front of us, the main office just off to the right. The sedan sat in the middle of the empty customer parking lot, motor on, parking lights working and I hoped the water seal at the rear door was fixed otherwise she was now officially a fish bowl.
    Jennie pulled us up behind my car, “Okay, I bet he's inside. Wanna borrow my umbrella?” she asked as rain sleuthed off the windows.
    “No I'm good Jennie – I'll just run inside.” I said coming back to the present, “I have to say, I'm impressed already that they have the car running – I bet the heater's on too.” I said giving her a winning smile, I could just possibly have found a new shop, “I like the attention to detail – now I'll go see what the damage is.”
    Jennie grabbed my arm as I reached for the handle, “Omigod.” she said squeezing my arm.
    “Wha-”
    “I didn't even see him—he's right there.”
    I looked out the sheeting rain of the passenger window and didn't see anyone, but leaned slightly and out the windshield. The wipers cleared away the water and I caught a glimpse of him.
    Even though it was a glimpse of a man, tall in mechanic’s wear leaning against the side of the building under the scalloped awning smoking a cigarette like it was the last one he'd ever have. A sheet of paper in one hand and an umbrella under the other he looked straight into the car and into my eyes.
    Realistically I couldn't see that far through the rain and movement of the wipers, and his features shadowed under the awning, but it could have been pitch black and I'd still have known who he was.
    “Shit.” I said like an oath under my breath.
    “I know right?” Jennie said misinterpreting me.
    “Wish me luck.” I said and got out of the car with my purse tucked wishing for all I was worth that Jennie had never found this place.
    Nathaniel Vellanova pushed away from the wall and in one fell movement opened the massive golf umbrella and strode toward me.
    Behind me I heard Jennie reverse out the driveway, leaving me to my past.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Wait

This is an ode to my editor Anne... whilst she slaves away editing line after line and word after word of the entire 175 pages of my manuscript, I pace. I fill the time with necessary filler of locating a printer for my brick-and-mortar release, write catchy synopsis, build The Legend website, put together a Book Sheet, ponder the implications of the ISBN number, and create a release calendar for these final months. But in the back of my head I'm always wondering, how bloody with edits will it look like when I get it? What is she doing now? What page is she on? Is it wrong to want to watch her edit it? Patience, they say is a virtue...

By the way, the answer to that last question is yes. 

And now I pace.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Status... better than quo

Alex O'Loughlin
These are exciting times!

The status right now is that the book is in the capable hands of my editor Anne deRidder who is reading line for line word for word of the entire manuscript and sculpting it to the golden masterpiece it will be at it's finish.

Meanwhile my peer review ladies have devoured all those same words and the feedback is in, just a few minor changes but aside from that there are four swooning ladies for a said Mr. Rowan MacLaoch... and well whisky, Scotland, and jam & nutella sandwiches.

For those who are interested here are a couple notable quotes from peer review:

A comment early on at the beginning: "I have a feeling I am going to have some late nights with this book! A sign of a good book for me is one that I don't want to put down and this is surely it."

"Becky---I love your writing style! Thanks for sharing this with me. As I am reading this, I keep thinking Becky--this is it---this is huge!"
Gerard Butler

"The thing I love the best is the chemistry between the main characters..."

Another outcome of the peer review session was the debate over what Hollywood actor would be cast for Rowan (main character, clan chief of the MacLaochs) and while it was a passionate debate there was only one clear winner, Alex O'Loughlin. If anyone is in touch with him can you let him know? Thanks.

Though I must have the last say... who else could be a better Scottish clan chief other than native Scotsman, Gerard Butler?

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Legend of Lady MacLaoch Page is here!!

This is a quickie to let folks know that the page dedicated to Legend is finally up and running! See above, or click here.

Also, with the excellent encouragement from my peer reviewer Annie Small I have an o-fficial author's book page on Goodreads. View The Legend of Lady MacLaoch's page here. If you have a Goodreads account be sure to add Legend to your list of "Can't Wait Books For 2011" -- WHOA!! It's actually happening. (!!!)



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sledgehammer Winner and Wordstock






For those in the know, my team (Disciples of Ba'alat) have won the Sledghammer Writing Contest and will be reading the short story (Varney's Revenge) this Saturday at Wordstock. Come see us, we're slated for the Wordstock Community Stage from 12p -1pm.

Read the full Varney's Revenge story here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Birds and the Bees

Illustration by Hoang Nguyen from Diana Gabaldon's The Exile
In the life of a writer you will sometimes, and more often in love stories, be called upon to write a sex scene. Now before you wet your panties thinking that it must be the easiest thing that a writer can do, let me let you down slowly. It's not. It's the most voyeuristiclly difficult thing you'll ever do... with one caveat: only if you're any good at it.

Now. The first thing to remember in writing is that as a writer you are a facilitator, this only applies obviously about stories that aren't about you. Being a facilitator means that your characters speak and show you their story and it's your job to write it down and this applies to sex. Sex for every human being is different, it still gets done in the same general way of one goes in the other, but there is much much much more to it than that.

For example, take two people named John and Sally. John and Sally have had an entire book devoted to telling of their story and now is the time when their relationship comes to the next level – no pun intended. If they are in the grocery store line as the facilitator you know that they don't just throw down their produce and start going at it. No, they buy their produce and take it back to Sally or John's apartment (let's say that they aren't' so horny that they can actually do that). Let's say it's Sally's apartment (she's much cleaner) and they get back there and finish putting away the groceries. It still isn't time as the facilitator to have them suddenly be without clothes and mechanically start jirating on each other. There needs to be build up, because two people don't just start having sex without a buildup. Even if the story is about a whore and a client, they don't just start having sex, money is exchanged first then they get down to it. Coming back around to my point is that when you have two characters who have arrived at the point in the story where the next step in their relationship is the ultimate and final piece of joining together, you have to know your characters well. You need to know them intimately. You need to know if she's clawer, if he's a talker, if she makes weird sounds or if he enjoys the soft skin at the nape of her neck. Because you don't write sex from your perspective you write it from theirs.

I am finishing the second completion (rewrite) of the end of my most recent novel and it means that I needed to re write the sex scene. And no, as some might think you cannot recycle sex scenes. There are little nuances that change with every rewrite, the small links in the character that break or become stronger in the characters persona that will change the way they have sex. For example in the original the main character enjoyed a heady foreplay that involved heads in dark places. Though this go round it's not that way, it's softer, more sweet and straightforward but still explosive in the finale.

I found that when I attempted to write the scene this last time that I had separated myself from my characters and was writing what I thought would be thrilling for readers. I'm surprised my characters didn't just stand up and walk away in frustration. Instead I had to scrap it three times before I started a fresh and said, “show me.” And they did, surprisingly it was much softer more poignant than I had originally written it. So, while you may think that sex is as easy to write as it is to do, think again. It is instead a labor of love.
Pun intended. :0)

Monday, September 13, 2010

O-ficial Edit

First half of the manuscript is with my editor! Somebody say a prayer!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Post by The Fur Littles

Lil'boy Al and Pugnatious P
Whath-up peeps! Thisth is Pugnatious P and Lil’boy Al, we are Mama-B’s PR Firm, The Fur Littles. We want to tell yous a bit about what the Mama-B has been up to regarding tha’ mosth rethent manuthcript: The Legend of Lady MacLeod.

See thith isth how it goeth. Lady and a dude fall in love a bajillion years ago, but they can’t to the humpity cause they ain’t married. So’s they’s decide let’s run away togetha, only problem is she’th already betrothed. To bad, she says and runs away with her boy. Well only prolem is tha’s she’s a Scot-ash chieftain's daughter and her daddy didn’t look to highly on the runnin’s away she was doin’ so he killed her dude - made her watch even - and then killed all the dude’s men and all his shiz. So’s it’th underthtandable that when she died in childbirth her last uttered wordth were mean. Real mean. So mean that she thort of got carried away and cursed the shiz outta her daddy. The curse was so strong that it stuck ta every single one of the clan chiefs, only ta be broken when one of thosth clan cheifths felt the pain that she had. Stho it was a long time, I mean long time. I mean stho long that it’s still present day and tha’ shiz still gots problems. And tha’s where Mama-B’s story comes in.

You ever heard of lil’ Blond Girl Ridding through the forestht? You know how she just skips along unknowingly coming across a big bad wolfy? Same thing. ‘cept the Blond Girl ain’t blond and sheths, well, smarter. See, as Mama-B putts it, the main character Nicole - but we all call her Cole - see her grandpappy died and when he did he left without splain’in a few things. First was how come bloodlines they’s were a family called Minary but everybody knew they’s were Bakers. And the secondsies was who the frackin’ heck wasth thisth Minary dude? Where’d he come from?? Mars? ... No Lil’boy Al he’sth didn’t come from the kibble bowl. Hush up... Where wasth I? Oh yeath. So she takes off for Scotty-town to find out, and boy what doesth she find there?? Lot’s a shizth. Cursesth and shiz.

Then there’s thisth dude, and he’s a clan chieftain in Scotty-town, histh name is Rowan. Yup, like Rowan Oak. And he’s been livin’ with thisth curse and he’s dark. I’m talkin’ turn out the lights you’re in a cave dark, so dark you gotta carry a flashlight, know-what-I’m-sayin? Okay so he’s not all that dark, well okay he is but he has a little light, tiny, small, incandecenst... shiz where am goin’ with thisth? Oh yea, well they meet on the izland of Skye in Scotty-town. And he’sth curthed, everybody in the wholes dang place knows that story, but he especially since he’sth livin’ fo’real righ’? Well up-and-atom one day and what happenth??? Shiiiiz, this pretty thing crosses paths withs him and he goes WHOA, whodat?? Only problem is he’s curthed and he’sth got PTSD. Sorta, well’s to be fair he’s gots some bad mojo from the war when he was wit the Royal Air Forces in the Uty-K.

What it all cometh down to folks is thisth: adventurth, cursesth, gunsth, love, smarty-pants momentsth, and a real good time. You’ll like it. Tell your friendsth to look for it early 2011 online at their local Amazon Kindle store.

Peas Out!

Puggy-P and Lil’boy Al

Monday, August 16, 2010

How Much is that Book in the Window...

Books.
Short ones, fat ones, skinny ones, long ones, paperback, hardback, UV coated, 12 pt. font size.

I had a speed learning course in book printing yesterday... and I'm still learning. For example, in the last book you read did you notice the width of the margins? So much so you could recall if they were .25 or .5 inches?

At one point John, my purveyor of book printing world, was showing me the millionth thing that I could alter which was, "Do you know what kind of font you'd like it to be in?"
I looked at the book samples he brought, "Um does it matter?" I asked thinking who would give a shit between Times New Roman and Helvetica? "I mean if people are paying more attention to the type of font I've used... I've failed as an author. No one should be that bored reading a book."

Next steps are to get a quote so we can see how much self-publishing will cost...

Anyone care to wagger what 10,000 books will cost?
Whatever the number is, I'm sure a strong drink chaser will be necessary.

Ciao.
B-Money

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Old School

I ask you this: when was the last time you wrote by hand? Recently? Like your grocery list? Or maybe your things to do list? Or the brief colorful memo to your coworker? Sure, you've used your writing skills recently... now I ask, when was the last time you wrote eight pages by hand?

Yesterday, I found myself standing in the road looking into my car wondering where the hell I'd left my laptop, cause I sure didn't have it with me. Of course after I calmed down realizing that it'd not been stolen but was simply still waiting by the door at home for me, I began to wonder what I was to do with the hour I had for my lunch writing session. That last sentence should surprise you. Because I was at work, and what I have tons of at work is paper and pens. So, once my wits came back I did things old school.

Every writer is different but in my case writing by hand works too slowly for my mind, only typing can keep up with the scenes whizzing from my brain into my fingers to be quickly typed in. Not to mention it's much easier come editing time because you don't have that extra (painful) step of transcribing the manuscript. However, I found that writing by hand slowed me down, let my mind mull over the actions of my characters and set the scenes up at the right pace for this final piece of the book. The ending to Legend has a lot of pieces culminating together and the slower I write allows for my mind to stitch together all those pieces and place well spoken words to the page.

It was beautiful, so beautiful that I wrote by hand again today. And if I were a waxing romantic I'd say that I'll write by hand for the rest of this book – but that'd be a lie. Transcribing is truly a b-i-t-c-h, and one I don't want to mess with more than necessary. So tomorrow, I'm back to the future... that is unless I forget my laptop again.

For those of you who are in Portland, this weekend is the second annual NW Book Festival downtown in Pioneer Square.

Good enin' and Happy Hump Day!
-SpankyB

Monday, August 2, 2010

And the winner is....

After much deliberations, arm wrestling, accusatory finger-pointing, and postulating on how it could be done better, number 5 was chosen.

Thanks everyone for your feedback!

Now it's off to finish the final scenes for Legend involving kidnap and shootings. Wee!

Happy Monday.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Photo! Follow-up

Yesterday was the day that I went home drank a margarita whipped out the camera and saw what I could do to capture myself for masses. Not sure how it worked, but I'll leave it to you to decide.

Here's what I gots:

1. "Welcome to my home."














2. "Hi!"

3. "Haha!"





















4. "Haha! OMG I can't believe you said that!"
And... 5. "Hi, how you doin'?"

Friday, July 30, 2010

photos!

Well it looks as though i've put it off long enough, its time to take my picture for my book's author picture... part of me wants to just hold the camera up and take a picture and the other more glamourous side thinks i should comb my hair and do a little makeup before snapping an image that will be imbedded forever in print and on the web... stay tuned.

Here's a great link to the issue of great author photos: http://www.flakmag.com/misc/franzen.html

Or maybe I should do the "Vaseline with big hair" thing... http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/12/books/haul-out-the-old-cliches-it-s-time-to-shoot-an-author-photo.html?pagewanted=2 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It has a name!!

In a complete serendipitous moment my book title came to me: The Legend of Lady MacLeod.

Truth be told the title probably came to me one morning as I stared out the breakfast room window groggly spooned cereal into my mouth. Ahh inspiration, comes in all forms.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Title...What to title it?

Currently I'm in the midst of editing my 3rd book, and most complete book. It is a story about a woman who just finishing her master's degree comes to discover that the bloodlines that define her as a family and whose name they've had for generations turns out to not be who they are. On a quest to Scotland to discover her true ancestry she finds more than just a name...

Isabelle Baker is her name and her book is one of love and family. Once I firm up the first couple chapters I'll post them here... Then I'm going to be taking ideas on what to name it. Right now it currently is holding a title of The Scotland Book. Which as you can tell not descriptive and a little broad in subject. :0)

Singer in the Snow and The Shape Changer's Wife

Singer in the Snow (http://www.louisemarley.com/as/louise-marley/singer-in-the-snow/) I found at amazon.com and didn't realize 'til I downloaded it to my Kindle that it is a YA fiction. So with that in mind it was a cute and interesting little book about an ice planet, a summer that comes once every 5 years, the drive to find a mate and a dramatic abusive home life of one of the ice planet's people. Only available now on the Kindle, or where ever you can find it around town.

The Shape-Changer's Wife. A very straightforward book about a magician's quest for more knowledge. Though in the process he finds love. It's a fairly dry and enjoyable love story, that when it finishes at the end you think, Huh, that was good. It is also a short book at only 200ish pages.

Nuff said about other books... I'll be posting from now on about my current book - the one I'm writing.