Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why I Wrote my Pitch Wars Book

My friend Carlee asked all of us Pitch Wars mentees to blog the answer to this question:

Why did you write your Pitch Wars book?

I've thought over that all day. There are multiple answers.

I suppose it began with the shooting in CT. Something about that particular shooting shook me in a way I still can't account for. I wrote a poem about it. I fought panic attacks. I went from not being fond of guns to being terrified of guns.

Everyone was talking about school shootings in a way I hadn't heard since Columbine... when I was in high school myself. Everyone had theories and solutions and laments and fear and anger...

Somewhere along the way, I landed in a conversation about how the majority of school shooters are white middle-class males. And I asked myself what would make a girl pull off a school shooting.

I started writing a story then, but not this story. Instead, I wrote a story about a girl who is afraid she could somehow become a monster... in the background of Haven's story, there was a female school shooter on the news. Her name was Chris.

I danced around her.

I was afraid of her.

Haven's story couldn't hold me. I knew it was Chris's story I needed to tell, but I didn't know enough about her.

And being inside her head scared me.

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So I had to write her. Because writing what scares me is what I do.

Still, I was missing a piece. I didn't KNOW her story, so how could I tell it?

Eventually, a teacher made the news. And the news he made gutted me. I felt a violent sort of anger, and then I knew Chris's story. I knew what could make a girl pull off a school shooting.

There is a girl out there who never got to tell her story. She didn't kill a teacher or take a gun to school. She didn't live long enough to do any of that.

I wrote Renascence for two reasons... for justice and for truth.

The girl who didn't kill her teacher never got justice. I wanted to give her some in my tiny little way. But also, truth... the truth that violence isn't the answer. That no school shooter walks away in tact... even if they don't take their own life.

Like Harry learned about horcruxes... when we hurt someone else, we slice away parts of ourselves.

I wanted to get inside Chrissy's head AFTER the shooting, not before. We're all so familiar with the stories of before... the bullying and the depression and the video games and whatever other reasons or theories people come up with. The before isn't new any longer, and it's sad we live in a world where I can say that. The before is no longer surprising.

But the after... how would doing such a terrible thing affect the person who did it? How could she live after committing that crime? How would she feel?

Could the world ever see her as human instead of a monster?

Should they?

I don't have the answers to these questions.

All I have is a story. A story about a girl who makes a decision she may never be able to live with. I'll tell my story. You can draw your own conclusions.

Take a moment to visit some of my fellow Pitch Wars mentees and alternates at the following links:


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


To celebrate the release of Jessica Bell’s latest novel, WHITE LADY, she is giving away an e-copy (mobi, ePub, or PDF) to the first person to correctly guess the one true statement in the three statements below. To clarify, two statements are lies, and one is true:

The fastest Jessica Bell has ever completed the first draft of a book is ...
a. 3 days
b. 3 weeks
c. 3 months

What do you think? Which one is true? Write your guess in the comments, along with your email address. Comments will close in 48 hours. If no-one guesses correctly within in 48 hours, comments will stay open until someone does.

Want more chances to win? You have until October 31 to visit all the blogs where Jessica will share a different set of true and false statements on each one. Remember, each blog is open to comments for 48 hours only from the time of posting.

If you win, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to download the book.

Click HERE to see the list of blogs.

*This novel contains coarse language, violence, and sexual themes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Priscilla Watson, Fictional and Fabulous

I love a good writerly blog Meme. I was tagged by the fab E. G. Moore, and you can read her entry HERE.

My Pitch Wars book is dual POV, so I'm going with the MC that tends to get less attention.

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Priscilla Watson. She's entirely fictional. I gave her the name Priscilla as a nod to Elvis. She has a brother named Aaron. Her sister's name is Marlena Presley Watson, but she goes by Marly and I never actually tell the reader her full name. My best friend gave her the name Watson. And I later laughed, because she spends the whole story trying to solve a mystery.

2. When is the story set?

It opens at the start of May 2014 and finishes about 2 weeks later, with an epilogue set in 2015.

3. What should we know about him/her?

She's just returned home from a school-year in England. She is a theater junkie. Most of her relationships center around her taking care of other people, and when those people no longer want to be mothered, she doesn't know how to deal. At the same time, she is so dang tired of taking care of everyone. That's why she followed her dream to the British theater scene. No way she was playing mama to anyone from across an ocean.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Her best friend commits a school shooting. That alone is a game-changer, but she returns home to attack the problem in person and finds a sister she no longer recognizes and her boy best friend acting like a girl with PMS and her old friend, Twila shows up to mother her, forcing Priscilla into the opposite role from what she's used to.

5. What is the personal goal of this character?

She feels responsible for what happened with her BFF, and she's determined to fix it. Her obvious goal is to keep her BFF from getting the death penalty, but what Priscilla is really after is a chance to control her own life.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Renascence, from the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. There's a book of Millay's poems that features heavily in my story, and Chrissy (the shooter) was doing an independent Millay study the semester before she takes the gun to school.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

That's hard to say. The publishing world is all about patience. I'd love to tell you to plan it as Christmas gifts for 2016, but there's just no way to know.

And I tag Carlee and Tracie.

(Carlee, you can write yours up and I will post it on my blog)

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