Mad Girl's Publishing, Unseen

A Thrilling Playlist for ‘Unseen’

I love music.

Well maybe love isn’t strong enough a word, because it has been instrumental (pun intended) in my personal writing process.

So to all the musicians out there-thank you.

Below are the specific songs that were integral to the writing of my romantic thriller ‘Unseen’; which introduces you to Samantha Locke, a volitive assassin, and Matthew Burke, a straight-edge spy, while they work for Erebus a nefarious agency headquarterd in Washington D.C.

UNSEEN EBOOK

 

 

The titles which have a (+) after them mean that from now until the end of time when I hear that song I’ll instantly think of a man’s final wish (Precious), when we first meet Lilly (Boys Wanna Be Her), or Matthew walking through the streets of D.C. (The Tune). 

The songs with an (*) are far fewer and what I like to call inspirational if you will.  The songs were written long before I started the novel, but when I hear them I feel as if they were composed specifically for me to create ‘Unseen’. 

Titles that are italicized are either directly or indirectly mentioned in the novel ‘Unseen’.

During the early stages of writing ‘Ava Adore’ by Smashing Pumpkins resonated strongly with me, so much that if I were to give the entire novel one song to sum it up, that would be the song to do it. 

So get on your favorite music app and listen to some great music while reading a thrilling book.

 

Jack

-Precious by Depeche Mode+

Recruitment

-Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches+

-Hurt by Johnny Cash

The Test

-The Tune by Wax Tailor+

-Strawberry Bubblegum by Justin Timberlake

-Bad Girls by M.I.A.

Stiff

-Bury Me With It by Modest Mouse

– The Letter Edged In Black by Johnny Cash

-Over and Over by Hot Chip

-Criminal by Fiona Apple

The Last Time

-Bang Bang Boom Boom by Beth Hart

– Wandering Star by Portishead

Locke’s First Mission 

-Rollercoaster by Bleachers

-This Is A Trick by (Crosses)+

End Of The Line by Sleighbells+

Looking Glass

Written In Reverse by Spoon

King Night by Salem+ 

-Man In Black by Johnny Cash+

-Dirt Off Your Shoulder/ Lying From You by Jay Z & Linkin Park

Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

– Terrible Lie by Nine Inch Nails+

Three Women

No You Girls by Franz Ferdinand

Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais) by Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais 

– Wasted Time by Best Coast

Truth or Truth

– Philosophize In It!  Chemicalize With It! By Kishi Bashi

– You Go Down Smooth by Lake Street Dive

– Ava Adore by Smashing Pumpkins*

Ghosts n Stuff (Nero Remix) by deadmau5

– When I’m Small by Phantogram

Paris

– 6 Underground by Sneaker Pimps+

– Hong Kong Garden (with strings intro) by Siouxsie & The Banshees

– Let It Fall by Lykke Li

Elevate by St. Lucia

Young Blood by The Naked and Famous

Night Terrors

– Harlequin Dream by Boy & Bear

– Every Day Is Exactly The Same by Nine Inch Nails

– Gooey by Glass Animals

Damaged Goods

– The Cat With the Cream by Belle and Sebastian

– Cut It Out by Kitten

Seven Cards

– Devil’s Spoke by Laura Marling

I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash+

– No One’s Gonna Love You by Band of Horses

The Broken Promise

– Highly Suspicious by My Morning Jacket

– Devil In Me by Gin Wigmore

The Arc

– Ink by Coldplay+

– Killer Bangs by Honeyblood

– Black Out On White Night by Sage Francis

– Crown On The Ground by Sleigh Bells +

Skin and Bones

– Lead Me Home by Jamie N Commons

– Something Is Not Right With Me by Cold War Kids

– I’ll Believe In Anything by Wolf Parade

– Always by Blink-182

Video Games by Lana Del Rey

Somplace by Jake Bugg

– Breakin’ Dishes by Rihanna+

Maggie’s/Saul’s Night 

– Black Tongue by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

– Phazing by Dirty South Featuring Rudy

– I Told You I Was Mean by Elle King

– It’s All Over by Johnny Cash

Locke’s Last Mission

– Female Robbery by The Neighborhood*

– Sing by Travis

Bullet With Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

– Tell ‘Em by Sleigh Bells

– Magic by Bruce Springsteen+

– Good Lookin Out by Kurt Vile

– Gamma Ray by Beck

– Why Do You Love Me by Garbage

– In Circles (Remastered) by Sunny Day Real Estate

Bleach 

– Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton

– Lady Luck by Richard Swift

– No Below by Speedy Ortiz

      Christina by Kitten

Friends With Benefits 

Bad Girls (feat. Missy Elliott & Rye Rye) [Switch Remix] by M.I.A.

– Animal (Switch remix) by Ke$ha+

– The Lament of Pretty Baby by Cursive+

Gasoline and Matches 

– You Don’t Get Me Twice by Sleigh Bells

– Knives Out by Radiohead

Video Games by Lana Del Rey

– Army of Me by Björk *

– Bitter Rivals by Sleigh Bells

I Know by Fiona Apple+

Golden State

– To Hell With You by Sleigh Bells+

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Mad Girl's Publishing, Unseen

Find out what’s ‘Unseen’

I’ve always loved a fast paced thriller, so back in 2015 I figured I’d write one that included everything that I wanted to read in a book.

Ater months upon months of typing at the keyboard, the trials of publication, and finally starting my own company and self-publishing I’m happy to announce that ‘Unseen’ the first book in The Greater Good Series is available now.

She is a volatile assassin driven by revenge.
He is an ex-Navy S.E.A.L obsessed with the greater good, tasked with being her handler.
Both Samantha Locke and Matthew Burke are under the watchful eye of a cryptic agency, Erebus, headquartered in Washington D.C.
‘Unseen’ takes the good-hearted spy, and vicious killer across the globe as they search for the murderers of their love ones.
Even if it costs them their lives in the search for the truth.

 

Just to give you a taste of the wild ride that you’ll take I’ve included the first chapter of ‘Unseen’ below….be warned it’s rated R.

 

Unseen

a novel by Melissa Algood

Chapter 1- Jack

“Where is she?”  

The question was followed by a right hook to Jack’s jaw.  The fist attached belonged to an olive-skinned, hook-nosed man.  A man Jack had once trusted with his life. 

Jack didn’t answer, even though he knew full well that not answering meant the beating would continue. Another punch turned Jack’s head into a buzzing machine, and would have knocked him over if the restraints tying him to the chair hadn’t kept him upright.

In the corner of the room, another man cleared his throat.  He was older, with age spots on his hands and silver hair.  He moved closer to Jack and his assailant.  

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, son.”

Jack spat on the floor of the barn, a single tooth fell, and blood stained the wood.  “You’re not my father.”

The older man moved closer, staying hidden in the shadows of the dimly lit building, but Jack knew his identity.  After all, he was the one that had made the job offer.  He wanted Jack on the Erebus team so badly, he’d been willing to hire Jack’s best friend, Matthew, too.  Jack felt a twinge of regret at having dragged Matthew into all of this. But then, Jack hadn’t known the full scope of Erebus’ plan when this all started.  

Jack knew he was going to die in this barn and Matthew would be his only hope to finishing this game right.  

“Genetically, you’re correct, but aren’t I the father you always wanted?  Picking you up out of that drunken stupor.  Your mother and I brought you on the team…”

“She’s not my mother.  You’re both lying sacks of shit.  Telling me I’d be saving lives by stealing and killing from the people that planned on ruining our country.  It was all bullshit!  If either of you think I’m going to work with Erebus, or with her at Lumos, then you’re fucking insane.”

The old man gave hook-nose a nod, and the beating began again.  The hook-nosed man grabbed Jack by the collar of his shirt, pulling him up, chair and all. Then he proceeded to shake him.  Jack supposed it was an attempt to keep him from losing consciousness.

“Just tell us where Lilly is,” hook-nose hissed.

“What, too afraid to say her real name?”  Jack taunted.

Landing another punch on Jack’s jaw, the assailant queried, “Why are you protecting some half-breed whore that you only met once?”

“Because she’s my blood.  I’m not going to hand over my sister to save my own life.  You know it.” Jack nodded toward the old man. “He knows it.  You’re wasting your time, because I’ll never talk.”

The old man sighed.  “Your mother…”

“She’s not my mother anymore,” Jack hissed,  “Not once I found out what she did to my sister.” 

Although he couldn’t see the old man’s face in the dark, nor make out his facial expressions through the film of blood that now coated his face, Jack heard the smile in the old man’s words.  “We created Erebus and Lumos years ago, your mother and I.  Your mother wanted to keep you in the dark. But now it is time to see the light.”  The old man moved even closer to Jack.  Sunlight from the slits in the barn door sliced across his withered face.  “Now you’re ready to take over Erebus.  It’s what your mother always dreamed of, you fighting alongside her.”

“If you just want me, then what do you need my sister for?”

“Your half-sister has skills we can use. Plus, she’s the key to exacting our revenge. As you know, we never forgive, and, for us, there is no forgetting.” He started pacing, occasionally glancing towards Jack.

Jack chuckled, although it proved painful due to the pounding his body had taken.  “You think she’s going to tell you anything?  You think she’s going to just give up someone who cares about her just because you ask?”

“We’re not going to ask.  She’s going to work for us, because we know who killed her father.  And you’re going to be her handler.”

Despite his broken ribs, Jack laughed again.  “I know who killed her father, too.”

The old man paused in mid-stride.  He turned toward Jack. “We’re talking about the rest of your life, Jack.  You would be in charge of all of Erebus, working alongside Lumos, and your mother. You would pick the targets. Defend the nation you love so much.”

“I won’t say it again, she’s not my mother.  And you can do whatever you want to me.  I’ll die before I tell you where Lilly is.”

“Such a waste.” The old man nodded at hook-nose again.  

This time the hook-nosed man walked to a long table to the right of Jack.  He rolled open a canvas satchel.  Jack didn’t have to see it to know that it housed implements of torture.  Returning, his sadistic assailant held up a pair of pliers for Jack to see.  

Jack felt his heart race, but all he could think was “please save her Matthew, find my clues, and save my sister; I couldn’t.”

Hook-nose moved to stand behind Jack, pulling on one of his cuffed hands.  Positioning the rusted metal pliers around Jack’s ring finger, he prepared to apply the pressure and cut off the digit. 

The barn door opened, a woman framed in the entrance. The sun made the woman’s red hair look like fire.  

“I found her,” the woman said.  Her Scottish accent reverberated in Jack’s brain.  “I found her for ya.”  She came towards the old man, handing him a piece of paper.

Lifting his face from the paper, the old man came to stand right before Jack as he instructed, “Bring her here.  We’ll have the place cleaned up before you get back from Baltimore.”

The woman left the barn, along with any hope that Jack had of saving his half-sister.

Hook-nose had removed the pliers from Jack’s captive finger. Turning to the old man, he asked, “What do we do with Jack?”

The old man looked at Jack, “What I’ve ascertained from our exchange is that you refuse to work with us any longer if your mother and I continue down this path to destroy a man that stole from us.”

“If it involves Lilly, then, yes, you’re correct.”

“A shame,” the old man shook his head.  Then, glancing at hook-nose, he ordered, “Follow protocol.”

In a last ditch effort, Jack asked.  “My mother is okay with you killing me?”

“Your mother and I started all this with the agreement that, no matter who was in our way, we would follow protocol.  If you refuse to work with us, then you are against us.  And you know what we do to our enemies.”

“Any last words?”  hook-nosed man asked.

“Fuck you!” 

The last thing Jack felt was cold steel on his forehead and his last thought Lilly.

 

Interested in reading more?  Click here

20 Questions With..., Uncategorized

20 Questions with…Pamela Fagan Hutchins

I refer to her as my mentor, and I tell everyone that she’s my Mom’s favorite author, but in actuality her most important role to me is friend.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins has numerable fiction and non-fiction titles, a multitude of awards, and can turn out books faster than you can say gluten-free brownies.  I met her in Houston where I attended her critique circle (the second I’d attended after going the Houston Writers Guild) and found that she could make her teenage child a meal, have a conversation with her husband, AND give all the authors valuable feedback that made me into the writer I am today.

I’ve also attended a conference in which she had her own breakout session.  Pamela spoke, nearly continuously, for five hours enriching the authors with her knowledge of the publishing industry while leaving us awestruck.

I’m thankful that she has been brought into my life, and anytime I need her she’s been there for me.  At this point I don’t know what else to say other than I’m so happy that she’s now moved to ‘Nowheresville’ where she can spend the days with her beloved animals including Feathers (on the left) and Kitty Katniss (on the right) who supported her as she wrote Bombshell which is out now.

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Twenty Questions With Pamela Fagan Hutchins

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

Oh, if it were only one. Cheaper by the Dozen, Where the Red Fern Grows, Lonesome Dove, The Great Santini, and a slew of female sleuth mysteries by Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, and many, many others.

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

Third grade.

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

Pat Conroy, Larry McMurtry, Liliana Hart, Craig Johnson

  1. What would you eat?

Ribeye steak (medium rare), baked sweet potato, and roasted Brussel sprouts.

  1. How do you plot out your work?

I brainstorm and storyboard with my story partner (aka my smart, creative, cute husband), then I do a little research, a lot of thinking, and make some chapter notes those loosely resemble an outline. I write character-driven mysteries featuring amateur female sleuths with strong women’s fiction themes, so I try to come up with a new way for someone to die with a fresh villain and interesting motivation at the same time as pulling off a fast-paced contemporary slice of a woman’s life. Ultimately, I just start writing, though, and let the characters tell the story. I update my chapter notes as I go, and I revise comprehensively one time before I turn it over to my content editor for suggestions, then my copyeditor for perfectifying.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

Both

  1. Is there music on?

Only during the final stages. I find it distracting, which becomes an excuse to procrastinate, and I have pretty aggressive deadlines, so I have to stay focused. Music can help me fine tune voice and tone, though, so I like it a lot during final stages.

  1. What inspired your last story?

My characters inspire my stories. Once I get to know them, it becomes clear that their paths will lead to good stories. Knockout is my third “Ava” mystery, and her journey from unknown to superstar to indie involves bright lights, big stages, and betrayal. I just have to put my butt in the chair and let her speak through me.

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

See #1.

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

Justified was really well written.

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

Ashanti is who I would cast in my Ava trilogy (Bombshell, Stunner, Knockout).

  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?

To date, my Michele novels have been the hardest (Going for Kona, Fighting for Anna, Searching for Dime Box), especially Fighting for Anna. It also won the Silver Falchion for Best Adult Mystery, so maybe being hard to write is a good thing.

  1. Which was the easiest?

My easiest novels so far have probably been my Emily mysteries (Heaven to Betsy, Earth to Emily, Hell to Pay). The protagonist Emily was based on a dear childhood friend and set in the town I grew up in, so it was a setting, culture, and characters that came to me more easily than some others have.

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

Women really seem to relate to my Katie mysteries (Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise, Finding Harmony). Katie is insecure, awkward, and her own worst enemy. I can certainly relate to that myself!

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the Maggie Trilogy. She’s a modern hippie turned junker/salvage artiste who owns an antique store in the Hill Country of Texas. And, oh yeah, she was a rising star on the music scene until she burned all her bridges and ended up broke and in a last-chance rehab. She’s wild, crazy, and super interesting. She first appeared in my mystery Fighting for Anna as a supporting character, and I knew I had to give her trilogy of her own.

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

I have a story about “polarity” between two lovers. It’s a Serendipity­-­type story but with my own Pamela twist, based on my husband’s and my meeting. I don’t write romance…so we’ll have to see if this turns out as straight up romance, or something cross genre with suspense.

  1. What’s your best fan story?

When we moved from Houston to our little Nowheresville, we made friends with another couple who had also transplanted. One day, when I was taking a group of writers out to breakfast from a writers’ retreat I held at our house, I ran into those new friends. It turned out that his mother was with them, and “my biggest fan.” It was fun to have our new friends discover I was a writer through her eyes. She’s since become a friend, too.

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?

Oh geez, I’ve written nineteen books! LOL, a sentence? Well, in lieu of that impossible task, here’s the intro to my 2nd Ava novel, Stunner:

 

They say be careful what you wish for, but they don’t know beef from bull foot. I jump out of the helicopter, which I rode over from Virgin Gorda for the sole purpose of making an entrance. Collin, my man, hustles forward. I clutch my floppy hat with one hand and take Collin’s fingers with the other as I concentrate on how to look graceful in a forty-mile-per-hour wind that creates a pelletized sand spout. On one side of us is crystal blue Caribbean Sea. On the other coconut palms bend nearly double behind a tiki hut with twinkling red and green Christmas lights. My eyes continue down the beach across the roofline of an enormous house and land on a thatched-roof pavilion with what looks like heavily loaded buffet tables.

 

All of this for the wrap party for my first album. Bombshell—that’s the name of the album—is memorialized on a giant banner across the top of the tiki hut: AVA BUTLER’S EXPLOSIVE DEBUT ALBUM, BOMBSHELL, FROM VENUS RECORDS. DECEMBER 15, EVERYWHERE. There’s a picture from the album artwork incorporated into the banner. In it, I’m a road-weary skank with eye makeup streaked down my cheeks and a ripped green lace top, but I’d do me.

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

Every one of my twelve novels features real people in fictional roles. Now your job is to guess who is real and who isn’t! I’ll tell you one for sure: Ava is based on my best friend from my years in the Virgin Islands.

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

Of mine, or of anyone’s? Woodrow and Gus from Lonesome Dove. Dan and Little Ann from Where the Red Fern Grows. Or my Katie J

 

You can find out more about Pamela Fagan Hutchins on her website at http://pamelafaganhutchins.com and purchase her work anywhere online, in ebook, paperback, hardback, or audio. Get free exclusives when you sign up for her newsletter at https://www.subscribepage.com/PFHSuperstars. Email  pamela at pamelafaganhutchins dot com if you’d like her to Skype with your book club or women’s group.

Be sure to pick up Knockout the third book in the Sexy Ava series out June 12.

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Andrea Barbosa

I can’t say that I’ve met anyone ‘famous’ per se, but I have met a silver medal winning poet, which is as close as I might ever get.

And that’s totally okay with me.

Andrea Barbosa is a throughly talented author and I’m so very proud to have my own work included alongside hers.  We’ve even entered many of the same contests and the only way I’m able to accept the loss of first place, is because she won it.

 

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Jennifer Leeper, Andrea Barbosa, and Melissa Algood (me) accepting our awards for the Spider Road Press Flash Fiction Contest 2016

It’s  not only amazing that Andrea is award-winning poet and author; but English is her second language, and yet she strings together prose that is pure magic.  The Brazilian born, high powered business woman never lets anything get in the way of her beloved son; not even her fictional characters.  Every time I see her she tells me about the latest in his life, and is always an internal part of his life.

So yeah, she’s a great mom too.

I’m so happy to bring author Andrea Barbosa to you, and to have her answer my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With…Andrea Barbosa

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child, so it’s hard to remember what book exactly incited that desire within me, for I loved all fairy tales. One tale that I particularly recall is Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose.
  2. How old were you when you started writing? 12, 13, maybe earlier.
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Shakespeare, Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anais Nin. Of course, they’re all dead but it would be a fantastic gathering.
  4. What would you eat? Anything vegetarian.
  5. How do you plot out your work? The characters take control and I plot as we go, usually.
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Evening.
  7. Is there music on? It depends. I like the silence but sometimes I need the music for inspiration for a particular scene or for a particular mood.
  8. What inspired your last story? My love for Greece and Greek history.
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. The Colossus of Maroussi (Henry Miller), The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde).
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? One movie that comes to mind as being well written is Arrival, as it conveyed a poignant story.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? To be Nikos, my Greek character in Olympian Passion, I always look at British model David Gandy. But since Gandy’s not an actor and wouldn’t have a Greek accent that Nikos needs to have, I’d choose Greek actor Apostolis Totsikas.
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? The romance novels are the hardest to write because I find the steamy scenes hard to describe.
  13. Which was the easiest? Poems are the easiest pieces that I write.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? The romance novels usually. In the second novel in the Olympian Love trilogy, Olympian Heartbreak, I did a lot of research about Greece. Several readers wrote to me praising the way I described the country, one even daring to say she felt that Greece was like it’s own character in the book, that I did such a good job that she felt she was in Greece while reading the book.
  15. What are you working on now? The final and last book in the Olympian Love trilogy.
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? Haven’t thought about that… ideas come and go but the one I had to write was my psychological thriller Massive Black Hole and I’m glad I was able to have it published.
  17. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? Since I write poetry, short stories, fiction, and romance novels, it’s hard to find a particular sentence for my style. So I’m giving you a verse that I really like from one of my poems: “and the images vanish like soft clouds up high, transforming the colors of my rainbow into the dark loneliness of my night.”
  18. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Not entirely but I believe there’s a little bit of people I know in every character.
  19. Who’s your favorite character? From the ones I’ve written, Nikos, the protagonist of the Olympian Love trilogy. I love writing him. He’s complex, enigmatic, a little mysterious, and of course, extremely handsome, a typical alpha male, and a Greek archaeologist.

 

Thank you!

 

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Chantell Renee, a wonderful reader, Myself, and Andrea Barbosa

You can find out more about the author on their blog http://massiveblackholenovel.blogspot.com/ , and purchase their work from Amazon. Andrya Bailey (romance): https://www.amazon.com/Andrya-Bailey/e/B01667R2D8.

Andrea Barbosa (fiction, short stories, poetry): https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Barbosa/e/B00DGXPK6W

 

 

 

20 Questions With...

20 Questions with R.L. Nolen

I was a fan before we met.

And when we did I couldn’t help but tell her that I loved her book while we were still shaking hands.

Deadly Thyme is a haunting love story, in a way, my favorite combination.  Throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure of signing my own works alongside her, had her input on my own work long before publishing, and she’s my go to when I find myself with a big issue in the writing world.

She’s lived all over the world, trained as a graphic artist, teaches our youth, and co founded the Houston Writers House which is a great place for authors of all levels.  I always learn at least one thing when I go to one of their Tuesday socials.

You might know her as R.L. Nolen, but I call her Rebecca, and she was integral in the publishing of Everything That Counts and in the future re-release of my romantic thriller (stay tuned for detail on that).

Until then Rebecca Nolen answers my 20 Questions…

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  1.  Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?  I believe the one book that made me want to writer adventure stories was “The Black Rose” by Thomas B. Costain.


2        How old where you when you started writing?  I distinctly remember I wrote my first book at the age of 16 that I hoped to get published. 

Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.  A.A. Milne, Charles Dickens, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell 

What would you eat?  I believe we would all settle down to a fine high tea in a small room with a roaring fireplace and linen tableclothes.

How do you plot out your work? I start with a small idea and write a page or two of how that will be a story.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening? I write best in the morning.
  2. Is there music on?
    Yes, I listen to anything quiet with an allegro beat.
  3.  What inspired your last story?  I was trying to come up with a plot and I was thinking about stray cats.
  4.  Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
    Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin, The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves, The Girls by Lisa Jewell
  5. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? The Good Wife, anything by Lynda LaPlante
  6. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? Some good looking Brit with green eyes.
  7. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? The very next book
  8.      Which was the easiest? Surprisingly the next book was a lot easier
  9. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?I’m so happy when readers “get” The Dry – it has many layers.
  10. What are you working on now?I’m working on the next Deadly book – Deadly Haste
  11. What story do you have to write before you die?I have to get a picture book manuscript published
  12. What’s your best fan story?I have a lot of fans with Deadly Thyme
  13. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
    That’s a really difficult one to answer. My style is so very different in each book. In The Dry I like my first sentence: “There was a lot of dark in the house in Jeffersonville, Virginia, several long halls, lots of doorways, and countless deep corners.
  14. Have you ever based characters off of real people?Of course, but I take bits and pieces of different people and collage them together to bring alive someone unique.
  15. Who’s your favorite character?
    My favorite character may be Morrigan Wasp. She is a fearless warrior and leader to her vespid colony

Find out more about Rebecca Nolen here.

 

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Everything That Counts, pictures, Signing Events

Celebrations and Zombies

I’m totally one of those girls that loves Pumpkin Spice.  It’s the only time of year that I change my Starbucks order-and it is well worth it.

Needless to say I will be busy this winter (I’m a hairstylist in the ‘real’ world (and I’m really damn good if you want your hair looking amazing during any of these events then book with me here.))  So I’m going to attend some really interesting events this fall which I hope you’ll enjoy as well.

The first is in support of the indie publishing company Spider Road Press (check them out they donate a portion of their profits to charity).  Harvey ruined the first date, but us indie authors can’t be kept down, so it’s been rescheduled for October 17 from 7-8:30.

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The food is amazing, the company will be friendly, and the readings will be hauntingly memorable which will include my piece ‘Julia’ (which will be included in the upcoming ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ from Mad Girl’s Publishing out 2018).

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Patricia Flaherty Pagan with ‘Approaching Footsteps’ which includes my piece ‘Thomas’ and myself with my debut ya novel ‘Everything That Counts’.

 

 

 

 

Second will not only be a blast for all ages, but part of the profits will be donated to a scholarship for a Houston child.

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I could go on and on about this event but to find out more about the Houston Zombie Walk and how they’re donating to education click here.  

Myself, Chantell ReneeJae Mazer, and Jessica Raney will be in there Saturday October 21 from 5pm until they kick us out. We’ll have candy, razor sharp wit, and a pen to sign copies of our work.

Hope to see you there!

 

20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Carla Conrad

When I think of this writer the first word I think of is class.

She is a true Southern beauty, highly educated, graceful, stylish, and kind.  Winston Churchill had many famous quotes, but Carla Conrad is the embodiment of “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”  Thankfully she’s never asked me to take that particular trip.

Carla is one of the many authors whom I’ve worked with in a critique circle setting, and helped shape ‘Everything That Counts’ into the novel it is today.  Although she is a romance writer (she’s been awarded over three times for her work in the genre) Carla is not afraid to read stories about bloodsuckers, or mass murder and give you valuable information on how you can enhance your story.

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I can’t count the many times that Carla has helped me out of a creative jam, but I’ll never forget what a true friend she is when it comes to my personal life.

Carla Conrad is a writer that every reader should be on the lookout for if you like mystery, intrigue, with a heart pounding hunk of romance to boot.  So without further adieu I give you Carla Conrad and her answers to my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With… Carla Conrad

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?
    1. Probably one of the Nancy Drew mysteries.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?
    1. I began my first mystery story when I was 11 years old. I think I titled it Treachery on the Amazon. I seriously doubt that I completed it. I still have a problem completing stories. I think I just don’t want them to end.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.
    1. You should enjoy this since it would require zombies. Two of the writers are dead:
      1. Dorothy Dunnett (deceased)
      2. Frank Yerby (deceased)
      3. Sylvia Day
      4. J.K. Rowling

 

  1. What would you eat?
    1. I’m more worried about what they would eat. Don’t zombies chow down on brains?

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?
    1. I need to be better at this. I straddle the line between being a plotter and a pantser. Plots percolate in my head for years before I conquer my inertia enough to put them on paper. Once I reach that point my outlines are more of a sequence of events I try to push, shove, squish and squash into a cohesive narrative resembling the three-act structure. I’m afraid that’s as good as it gets before I dive in.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?
    1. I’m actually most productive in the afternoon. Since I tend to be lazy, it takes me most of the morning to get going.

 

  1. Is there music on?
    1. I’ve tried several times to write to music, but I love it too much and find myself listening more than writing. However, I do find songs that inspire scenes and create a soundtrack appropriate to the book. The selections can be highly eclectic.

 

 

  1. What inspired your last story?
    1. The genesis of the idea came from a television special many years ago featuring David Copperfield. Like my heroine, I’ve always been fascinated with magic acts.
    2. I nicked the idea of large cats from Siegfried and Roy, who primarily performed with tigers. Not to appear a completely shameless thief, I gave Julian lions he named for artists he admired (or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
    1. I can do better: any books in the following three series.
      1. The Lymond Chronicles: (historical)
        1. The Game of Kings
        2. Queens Play
        3. The Disorderly Knights
        4. Pawn in Frankincense
        5. The Ringed Castle
        6. Checkmate
      2. The Crossfire Novels (contemporary)
        1. Bared to You
        2. Reflected in You
        3. Entwined With You
        4. Captivated by You
        5. One With You
  • The Harry Potter Series (YA fantasy)
    1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?
    1. My current favorite television show is Lucifer. The concept is unique and I love the tongue-in-cheek humor.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?
    1. The visual I used for Gigi isn’t an actress. Arizona Muse is a model who did a series of print ads for David Yurman jewelry. She’s done many other fashion features, magazine covers and ad campaigns, but the Yurman ads are the ones I used for Gigi.

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  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?
    1. Always the one I’m currently working on.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?
    1. The one I haven’t started yet.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?
    1. I have an excellent critique circle as you know, so I pay attention to their feedback.

 

  1. What are you working on now?
    1. Finishing a draft of Devotion and Deception, the first book in the Now and Then trilogy. It’s due to the editor the end of August. Book three, Forgive and Forever, is partially written. The big gap is book two, Reunion and Revenge.

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?
    1. Whatever I happen to be working on when the Grim Reaper appears. I’ll be like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black. Me: “Uh, can you hang on a moment, I only have 1,000,000 pages to go.” Don’t laugh. Completing his Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series may be what’s keeping George R.R. Martin alive.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?
    1. Sadly I don’t have any fans yet. (sniff, sniff. Pass me a tissue for my tears, please). I haven’t published, but I’ve won and placed in a few RWA contests.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
    1. It’s either the first line of Forgive and Forever: Disappearances can be deceiving.
    2. Or when Julian asks Gigi where she’s from and what she’s doing in Paris. “I’m from Houston, Texas, and I came to Paris to lose my virginity. Are you busy tonight?”  I could be more subtle, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, I liked the image of Julian choking on a swallow of espresso and spewing it back into his cup.

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?
    1. Not intentionally, but there are probably elements of my personality – or who I’d like to be – in both my male or female characters, and some of my husband in Julian.  I think most writers unwittingly or intentionally infuse different characters with aspects of themselves. How could we not? We spend years trying to impose our belief systems and values on our children. Thankfully, they usually retain only what they want and become separate individuals.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

I presume you mean a character I didn’t create. I’m partial to many male characters, but Frances Crawford in the Lymond Chronicles may be my all time favorite.

For female characters, number one has to be Scarlett O’Hara. Except for her inexplicable (and ridiculous) obsession with Ashley Wilkes, Scarlett has it all: courage, determination, self-focus, and defiance.

If you mean characters I have created, it better be one, or more, of those I’m writing currently.

Everything That Counts, Signing Events

‘Everything That Counts’ Release Party

It was amazing to finally have my novel out and available to the public, although Mother Nature had other plans.

For those of you that don’t live in Southern Texas like me (although I’m assuming Harvey is on national news) we’ve had some weather issues thus on Thursday evening many people were getting their homes prepped for the impending hurricane.

Thankfully I’m fine as is everyone that I’ve spoken to and I did have some great friends visit me at River Oaks Bookstore while I signed copies of ‘Everything That Counts’.

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Rebecca Nolen is a dear friend and fellow writer who has been integral in ‘Everything That Counts’ and really helped me get the editing process of the novel started.  Jason Brandt Schaefer took it home so without both of them then the book would not be as incredible as it is.

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Carla Conrad spearheaded one of the critique circles that I brought Blake’s story too, and she’ll be highlighted in next months 20 Questions.

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Patricia Flaherty Pagan has been one of my longest writer friends and she has started her own publishing company Spider Road Press which I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  She not only was in the critique circle that I brought ‘Everything That Counts’ as well, and my flash fiction piece ‘Thomas’ not only won an honorable mention in the Spider Road Press contest but it’s included in the thrilling ‘Approaching Footsteps’ available on Amazon and from Spider Road Press.

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Last, but not least, is my handsome man Izzy who has been with me through every draft that made me want to give up on writing completely.  All my love to you.

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I will have another release party-not during hurricane season-at a later date which will include a reading but I do greatly appreciate all those that did attend (including Chantell Renee which although I somehow forgot to get a picture of my fellow hairstylist author bestie!) (But we are working on another anthology (and looking for authors) for ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ out in ebook early 2018 )

 

Until then ‘Everything That Counts’ is available on Amazon as well as River Oaks Bookstore.  And don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.IMG_1991

20 Questions With..., Everything That Counts

20 Questions With…Melissa Algood

 

This is usually the time that I tell you how much I love the author that’s answering my 20 questions, or how we met, but this time I’m taking over.

I’ve throughly enjoyed reading my friends answers, because they all have done it so differently.  Honestly I didn’t expect them to put so much thought into their answers, or trying to figure out the ‘right’ answer, when in fact there is not right or wrong.  I intended for the author to interpret the questions however they wanted to, not for my ‘permission’ on how to answer.  Therefore I did cheat on pretty much all of the questions (if there is a way to cheat on questions that don’t lead to a grade).

So thank you to all of the authors that I’ve highlighted before, not only for being good sports, witty, and insightful, but for being my friend.

The first time I remember saying that I wanted to be an author was when I was about eleven or twelve.  I never imagined that people would really read my stuff, I mean at least not while I was alive.  Sylvia Plath has always been a favorite of mine, hence naming my publishing company Mad Girl’s Publishing after her poem ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’.

I am very happy to announce that I’ve publishing my first book-which will be officially released on August 24 at River Oaks Bookstore.  I hope that you’ll join me to celebrate the release of ‘Everything That Counts’ from 4-6 pm.

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I don’t really know what else to say-other than that writing isn’t something ‘fun’ for me-it’s a necessity due to the people that live out their lives in my head.  Thankfully at least some people like to join me on the journey – thank you for that.

So without further adieu I answer the infamous 20 questions

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Twenty Questions With…Melissa Algood

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?   ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams.  I remember reading the introduction (yes I’m such a dork I read the introduction to novels) in which he said that the story of Fiver and Hazel was originally something he told his daughters as he put them to bed and they begged him to write it down.  Also ‘Fool On A Hill’ by Matt Ruff-it throughly transported me and I wanted to take a ride like that as often as possible.
  2. How old where you when you started writing?  Young, maybe 11.  In middle school a tutor mentioned how detailed a piece I wrote for English was (I described a door creaking open as if a rat were being crushed in the frame).  I also wrote little short stories for my first boyfriends mother (a dramatized version of a woman crossing the street was my first).  In high school I pledged to write a poem a day which helped me the most overall, and I still read the poems if I want to go back in time.
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.  Richard Adams, Matt Ruff, Nicola Yoon, and Courtney Summers.
  4. What would you eat? Probably not rabbit…I’m picturing a sleep over environment which includes pizza and sodas.
  5. How do you plot out your work? I usually don’t.  I get a scene in my head, and I’ll play it over and over again until it is as clear as an Oscar winning film and then I write it.  Although this often causes a lot of work once I’m ‘done’ with the first draft so from now on I really need to do an outline first (but I did do that for ‘The Bakery Assistant’ which I have yet to complete and I lost the outline).  
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Whenever I can, but usually after I’ve had my coffee.  But I have written many a scene while a color client of mine has been processing (I’m a hairstylist in ‘real’ life)
  7. Is there music on? This is the most important part of the writing process for me-I will spend more time on a playlist then virtually any other planning of a piece.  It will get so intense that a song will forever be intertwined with a character or scene.  I have posted the playlists for ‘Blood On The Potomac’  and ‘Everything That Counts’ on this blog.
  8. What inspired your last story?  A client inspired ‘Everything That Counts’ but I’ve been working on a lot more short stories which seem to be inspired by the copious amount of true crime podcasts I listen to (My Favorite Murder, Up And Vanished, Serial, Undisclosed, True Crime Garage, Last Podcast On The Left)
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. ‘All The Rage’ by Country Summers and ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher because both stories are so fucking important for everyone on Earth to read especially young adults.  ‘All The Rage’ is so poetically written although the content is something most people won’t read because it’s a difficult topic.  Similarly Asher’s novel does shine a light on many things that American society wants to put in the dark and he does it so intelligently that you’re enraptured.  ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’ by Jandy Nelson is achingly beautiful more like an epic poem, or a song, than a novel.  And I wish I could create another world like George R.R. Martin, but I can’t plan ahead that well.
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, ‘House of Cards’, and ‘Master of None’ on Netflix.  I’m also the biggest fan of ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (which I binge watched while writing ‘Everything That Counts’), and ‘The Sopranos’ and my all time favs ‘Daria’ and ‘My So-Called Life’ and ‘Lost’ (which I binged while writing ‘Blood On The Potomac’).  As far as films I love ‘Donnie Darko’ although I’m not really sure what happened, and anything by Wes Anderson.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?  I kinda like Miles Teller for Blake, but I’m not sure if he’s tall/lanky enough…maybe he’s more of a Nat Wolff. Rachel Hurd-Wood or Daisy Lewis for Sophie, Britt Robertson for Zoe.  
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? I would say all of them, but for different reasons.  ‘The Bakery Assistant’ needs more research (so if you’re a lawyer on the east coast lemme know) ‘WinterGull Lane’ because it took me to such a dark place.
  13. Which was the easiest? Most of my short stories are quick as lightening, which might be why I write them so much more often.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? ‘The End’ is a short story I won an award for about a young boy who grows up during the apocalypse.  I didn’t get hung up on how it all went down, but what it’s like to actually live after everyone else is dead.  At a book release the wife of another author told me that she loved that George still found it important to look at the artwork that still existed on the walls of the hotels in Las Vegas, because what’s the point of living if you don’t have the opportunity to enjoy art.
  15. What are you working on now? The novels that I mentioned before, and to write enough short stories to publish my collection called ‘Everyone Dies’.
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? All of them
  17. What’s your best fan story? When I sold an anthology to a teenage girl at a Comic Con in Houston and she shared with me her journal of poetry that she carries with her, then later that day came by to told me how much she loved my story.  Or when I read my piece ‘Thomas’ at the Spider Road Press award ceremony and one of my friends told me that it was the only piece that made her cry.
  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? ‘We trudged onto the darkened stage covered in blood and glitter.’ from the story ‘Even Aliens Watch Reality T.V.’ my man’s favorite story that I’ve ever written.
  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people?  There are attributes that are based off real people, and I talk a lot so I listen to how people talk and infuse that into my work.  So yes, but not enough to have anyone worry.
  20. Who’s your favorite character?  I’m gonna cheat and say that I have a fav from each piece-Samantha Locke ‘Blood On The Potomac’, Blake Morgan ‘Everything That Coutns’, Claire Fisher ‘The Bakery Assistant’, and Stormy O’Dell ‘WinterGull Lane’

 

 

You can follow me on this blog, on TwitterFacebook, and you can buy all my work on Amazon

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Everything That Counts, pictures, Signing Events

Party Time for ‘Everything That Counts’

A novel takes a long time to come to fruition, and the story of Blake Morgan’s last year of high school was no exception.

I began writing ‘Everything That Counts’ as an escape from my heart pumping novel ‘Blood On The Potomac’, but it ended up taking on a life of it’s own, and I’m very proud of  this novel.  It is my love story to Annapolis, geeks, and for anyone that’s made a big mistake yet is attempting to redeem themselves.

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If you’d like to see a snippet of the novel you can check out First Chapter of ‘Everything That Counts’ (although it has been edited since then so it’s going to be even better!  And get your playlist ready because music plays a big role in the novel, get your headphones ready when you click Soundtrack to ‘Everything That Counts’  

 

I hope you’ll join me on Thursday August 24 from 4-6 pm at River Oaks Bookstore in the heart of Houston.  I will do a few readings, and I did buy a new dress just for the occasion, so please join me for the birth of a novel.

 

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