Tag, I’m it!

I’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, which is a huge compliment—and also a relief, as I won’t have to cast about for a post topic and possibly end up discussing the gruesome details about why we just replaced the incontinent toilet in our small master bathroom and why the replacement is stylish and housebroken and everything but does deliver a particularly icy shock to one’s derrière first thing in the morning.

The person you have to thank for this is the brilliant Angela Quarles, whom I met through Six Sentence Sundays.  She not only let me beta her amazing time-travel romance Must Love Breeches but gave me some great feedback on one of my projects as well.  Her book  Beer and Groping in Las Vegas is out on December 19th.

Here are the rules I was given:

—Use this format for your post
—Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
—Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Here goes:

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your WIP?

This is self-indulgent like whoa, but I currently have three projects going, for given values of “going”:

I unearthed an old drawer novel for Six Sentence Sundays almost a year ago—I’ve received some terrific feedback about it and to my surprise, the story has slowly become a WIP instead of a Whatever.    When I started posting pieces, I renamed it Full Metal Librarian—I’d originally called it Daughter Of, which most people assumed was an incomplete sentence instead of a title.

The Pigeon Drop is my main project—I’ve just finished edits. The title is the name of a classic scam—a ‘pigeon’ in this context is a con-artist’s potential victim.

And I’m using Nanowrimo to jumpstart a new project—I always start these things with the working title Pirate Ninja Nuns From Mars until I figure out a better more apt different title, but I’ve already tentatively renamed this one Hard Limits.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Full Metal Librarian was a Nanowrimo-novel that developed from a short story I’d written after a seriously bad day at work. I armed the librarians, privatized and militarized the American Library Association, and rigged the books to explode if you left without checking ’em out (or didn’t bring them back in time). It was cathartic. And then I started imagining a society that would allow that kind of library system to evolve . . .

The Pigeon Drop coalesced from my fascination with classic scams and con artists—including Melvin Weinberg, who ended up working for the FBI after his arrest—an interest in how far rehabilitation goes, a few questions about forgiveness, and a couple timely articles about sickle-cell anemia and the difficulty of finding minority donors.

As for Pirate Nuns/Hard Limits, I’ve had this weird ‘what if’ crime lurking around for a while, though I was too involved with Pigeon to do much with it except scribble the odd note. And then I was talking to my friend Cha Cha about all this stuff that was happening to her all at the same time, and I told her she was a serendipity magnet.* She said, “That sounds like the name of a literate stripper.” And I said, “Ooo! Or a brilliant stripper who helps the police solve crimes and dances to pay the bills.” We laughed . . . but something about that strange character clicked with the odd crime. We’ll see how it goes.

What genre does your book fall under?

Full Metal would be shelved with the science fiction, but there’s a mystery in there, too.

The Pigeon Drop is a caper novel, so it would be shelved in mystery.

Hard Limits is looking like a Police Procedural/Amateur Sleuth cross, but we’ll see.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

In Full Metal, I’d like to see the main character, Clyota, played by Gina Carano, the former extreme fighter who starred in Haywire. Chris Hemsworth might do as her reference partner, Charlie, as long as he—or his fans—would be willing to have his hair buzzed. And since I like to dream with an unlimited budget, I think Kevin Spacey would make the perfect Pressman.

In Pigeon. . . possibly Gina Carano for Judith or maybe Mary McCormack (a lot of my female MCs seem to be kick-ass Amazons, which is definitely writing against type). MacRae, a reformed grifter is hard to figure . . . I think Peter Facinelli** would be good in the role,*** though he’s not exactly how I described the character. I’ve always imagined security-specialist Saul as a young Ving Rhames, though LL Cool J would be seriously awesome. I’m not fussed about Blaine, the legendary huckster the rest are trying to save—Morgan Freeman or Danny Glover would be just fine!

Hard Limits . . . Summer Glau^ comes close to how I picture the MC dancer, but that’s all I’ve got so far. I don’t usually cast my characters until their books are done—I usually give ’em their own soundtracks, instead.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Full Metal: In an alternate future, where the police are privatized and librarians are armed, the daughter of a posthumously convicted mass murderer is hunted by an unknown enemy as she tries to find the truth behind her mother’s alleged crimes.

Pigeon Drop: To save the life of their boss and mentor, who needs a bone marrow transplant, a group of ex-cons use their various skills to track down his estranged family before his enemies can do the same.

Hard Limits (so far): a homicide detective acquires an unlikely—and possibly dangerous—consultant when he meets a brilliant exotic dancer who seems to know far too much about the murder of another dancer.   (or, you know, Pirate Ninja Nuns from Mars save the universe from the Mad Monks of Neptune. . . it could go either way).

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

One month.

A year and a half . . .ish.

I hope thirty days. We’ll see.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I wouldn’t presume. It’s far too soon to be thinking about read-alikes.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See the answer to the second question above, but otherwise, I have fantastic friends who encourage and nag and commiserate and inspire, who beta and corral my commas and mail me their Kindle with their notes on it, and give me their awesome stuff to read and send cookies and snort jokes and truly filthy limericks and Librarian LOLS and pigeon tchotkes.

You know who you are.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Full Metal has cybernetic Press Corps, flying cars, a mass murder on a MoonBase, a possible corporate cover-up, armed librarians, a telepathic therapist, and a courtroom scene that owes a lot to Perry Mason.

Pigeon Drop has thieves, hackers, grifters, and muscle pulling several cons to reach their goal—and those are just the good guys.

The only thing I have for Hard Limits so far is the undeniably weird fact that my mother knew someone, off the top of her head, who could answer my questions about pole dancing.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

As I said, Angela Quarles tagged me.  In turn, I’m tagging:

Averil Dean: A good friend and a writer of  of incredible depth and imagination, her blog is a must-see and her next book, Tapestry of Scars (Mira, January 2014), is going to be a must read.

Jalisa Blackman: My First Reader, without whom Pigeon would not have been written past chapter seven. She is a teacher, a writer, a reviewer, and a world-builder extraordinaire.

Laura Maylene Walter: Laura is actually the Current Big Thing.  If you haven’t read her short story collection Living Arrangements, you have a treat in store. If you haven’t read her blog, you’re missing out.

Mike Allegra: Mike writes children’s books, including Sarah Gives Thanks (about Sarah Hale, without whom there would be no official Thanksgiving), which just went into its second printing two months after its release. His blog, Heylookawriterfellow, is a fun time.

Indy Clause: Poet, essayist, freelance editor, guest poster, blogger, all around snarktastic person.

It’s my understanding that you can substitute other written forms (poems, essay, short stories, etc) for ‘book,’ if necessary.

Ladies and gentleman, tag, you’re it!


*Yeah, I’m not sure where that came from, either.

**No, I didn’t know he was in the Twilight movies until I was trying to find his name—I saw him in Loosies earlier this year and thought he was terrific. His sparkling career came as a bit of a shock, to be honest.

*** Or Jeremy Renner, because I know some of y’all were waiting for me to mention him and will make pointed remarks (cough Watson, Cha Cha cough) if I don’t. He’d actually make an excellent Chet Menke—that slimeball—or Eddie Costello, but those roles are probably too small  to interest him now.

^Am I the only one who thinks Ms. Glau resembles a Sigourney Weaver/Tia Carrere hybrid, in the best possible way?