Last week, I blogged on a special day to introduce you to Arlen Black, the hero of my romantic comedy Queen of the Universe. He was one of 30 contestants up for Book Boyfriend 2017. I am blogging again today on a special day to announce …
Arlen won!!! ARLEN BLACK won the title of Book Boyfriend 2017!
At my very first RWA meeting over a decade ago, I won that month’s first chapter critique from the incomparable Susan Squires, and when they called my name in the meeting, I screamed out from the back of the room, “Oh, my God!” It was my first meeting and I learned in later meetings that the drawing for 1st chapter critique is usually a bit more sedate. But I was EXCITED! And I was just as excited when I got the news about Arlen Monday morning. “Ron, Arlen won! Arlen won!!” In my exuberance, I spilled my coffee all over my cat, Debbie. I cleaned her up, but she kept her eye on me.
Thank you to you all! To everyone who voted for me, cheered me on, and everyone who’s been loving book boyfriends over the years. This award thrills me because I have been loving books and book boyfriends all my life, and to have written some books that others find delightful just makes me so happy! Who are some of your favorite book boyfriends? Nat Eaton? Captain Wentworth? Michael Moscovitz? Ranger? Mmmrrh …
To see the Slice of Orange post that won Arlen the title, click here.
First and foremost, Geralyn Corcillo loves reader reviews! In other news…When she was a kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to constantly pick up litter and rescue animals. At home, she loves watching black & white movies, British mysteries, and the NY Giants. Corcillo lives in a drafty old house in Hollywood with her husband Ron, a guy who’s even cooler than Kip Dynamite.
Most people are a combination of various cultures, though I think their ancestors tended to confine their marriages and unions to one continent. Mine didn’t. As a teenager, growing up in the 1960s, I was always asked, “What are you, black or white?” I’d usually answer, “Both,” or “Neither,” not because I was afraid or wanted to fit in, but because it was true: Nicaraguan and Dominican parents, Middle-Eastern and French grandparents, and Chinese and African great-grandparents. (Hope I didn’t miss anyone). And born in Brooklyn, New York. “How sweet it is!”
This ethnic mix probably explains my preferred genres; Kid-Lit, because I am always looking for someone like me in children’s books; and Historical Fiction, because like working on a jigsaw puzzle, I travel the globe, mostly through books, in search of all of the pieces of me that, once united, will make me whole.
This quest has made me an avid multicultural reader. In every reading exploration I discover something about myself. Everything I write contains a key to who I am that reveals an aspect of my essence. It’s an awesome journey.
And while I seem to connect with everyone, I don’t really fit in anywhere; yet I love the empathy toward others that these various cultures have generated in me because it leads to a deeper kind of listening and understanding, which in turn informs and directs my writing.
I’m always learning, and changing, and growing, and I often have so much to say that I don’t know where to begin, or how to put it all together…like now.
So, thank you ancestors, for being willing and unwilling globe – hoppers. I am wonderfully made and you have given me much to think of and write about.
See you next time, on June 22nd.
Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York. Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.
The Pursuit Of A Juicy New Truth Can Be Tantalizing.
Prior to writing any new book I take time to consider potential characters, plots, conflicts, relationships and settings. Additionally, I do what many writers do; I seek out unique bits and pieces of information to tuck into my story. I’m always looking for a different way to add color, depth and dimension. It requires a lot of time and effort to find the most unusual, weird or provocative nuggets of truth. I’m constantly looking for the “what else” factor. What else is out there that I can add to make my story more readable and my characters more unique? In the end, this effort not only supports a personal learning curve and makes the writing experience more fulfilling; I hope it makes for a better book. And besides that, it’s fun!
Sometimes I pursue a tangent based on a remark I overheard, a comment on television, a magazine article or just some bizarre curiosity I’ve developed. I’ve had a blast investigating things like Wiccan marriages, time travel, spiritualism, bridal fashion design, mural painting, the migration patterns of the local whale population and professional kitchen appliances. Quirky, right?
In my next book I delve deeper into the power of gemstones and crystals and the various forms of Reiki healing These are both topics I have always been curious about but knew very little. In making up my many spells, I reviewed over five hundred different magical spells that I found in books, diaries and articles. I was compelled to discover exact language that working witches use in their spells before I felt comfortable writing my own. I love to take field trips to bookstores, museums, paranormal shops and libraries as I snoop out funky facts. And along the way, I meet the most interesting people; reflections of whom you just might see in one or more of my books.
Currently I am on a quest to learn more about Herkimer diamonds and Reiki healing. I had never even heard of Herkimer diamonds before starting this book nor was I aware of their potential powers. So cool! And Reiki healing was a totally new pool of information for me to dive into, because again – I was curious. I’m learning important concepts, new vocabulary, different ways of thinking and where to find even more information. Sometimes I tweak the data, changing names or enhancing certain traits or characteristics to better support the plot. Other times I just share facts and figures as I found them. It’s become like a treasure hunt for me. Unfortunately, I sometimes get way too carried away in my search, gobbling up precious writing time to pursue more data than I can ever fold into one story.
Although I feel truly free when writing in the paranormal genre, I always want to make sure that my stories include facts that are both interesting and whenever possible, true. If I can understand a topic better my characters might just sound smarter, more in tune and a tad more realistic to the reader. In short, I hope to make my storyline more believable.
Sometimes, sitting for hours with just me and my computer can get pretty tedious. However, forcing myself to learn something new and then challenging myself to integrate that information into my next story really does keep me on my toes. It forces my mind to stay open and hopefully keeps my writing fresh. Sometimes, just one juicy new puzzle piece will totally change the direction of the story.
There’s one other benefit; I am a cornucopia of sometimes useless, but always fun, facts and stories to add a little zing to any family gathering or cocktail party….if I ever went to a cocktail party that is.
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
A good story is made up from a host of elements that when jumbled together and skillfully molded become a glorious whole – just like Dixie Jewett’s fabulous horse. Plot, setting, theme, writing style and characters all must blend to make the whole pleasing. Being an omnivorous reader (yes, even when I’m not editing) I am happy with a plot driven or an action driven story, but I am smitten by a character driven tale. Reading a character driven novel is like crashing a party and making the acquaintance of new and fascinating people.
The main characters always have some attraction otherwise they wouldn’t support the story and make the reader care. Who couldn’t be enthralled by bossy Elizabeth Bennet and the steely D’Arcy, or Scarlett and Rhett? And then there’s Hannibal Lector, the very pinnacle of evil yet more compelling than a ten-ton magnet. Depending on how the story is structured we can learn their history upfront, or it is revealed through out the narrative, but there is always enough time and story space to make that all-important emotional connection through, not just history, but mannerisms, speech patterns, and motivations.
It is the secondary characters – the extras, if you will – that are often the most colorful component of great novels. Dickens’ genteelly mad Miss Haversham, du Mauier’s chilling Mrs. Danvers. Creating a supporting cast that adds a glint of darkness, a spark of humor or a touch of humanity to a story. Beyond helping to create a personality in a novel, this supporting cast is also critical to fleshing out the setting – you know you’re in NYC when your hero is depressed and seeks the ever freely given advice of street smart Dominick De Luca at his World Famous Hotdog cart. You feel you’re in San Francisco when the hero hears the Powell Street cable car and hops on to her morning repartee with Phillip the droll veteran conductor.
Secondary characters can be tools to move the action forward. If your protagonist needs to be placed in a situation that is out of character for her, use a secondary character to get her there. For instance, the contrary but kind old Mr. Kronke is Mia’s downstairs neighbor to whom she can never say no. Too ill to act on his passion for the horses Mia agrees to deliver his bet to the shady off license where she stumbles into a handsome man and so meets the hero.
Finally, supporting characters make great sounding boards to help the main characters work out internal conflict. Think about the key role lively dialog with the saucy office receptionist might play, or a hip bartender. Dithering Aunt Renada, for instance, is far more compelling than your main character’s long internal dialogue.
Just remember that you, the author, are creating a whole world and you must populate it. Your cast of characters can be useful, colorful, thoughtful, wicked, wise or witty but they should never be boring. Look at the world around you, note all the people you come in contact with, and you will have all the inspiration you need to create fantastic and memorable characters.
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.
I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.
Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.