Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Word From Jessica: On Love In Literature


L.O.V.E.


I wanted to write a little something about love. I specifically wanted to tackle some issues with love in the young adult genre and the way Kim and I approach it in our writing.

There are all different types of love. Some of the themes we've explored in our writing have been the type of love with history; you've known this person and loved them forever. The gradual falling into love. Unrequited love. Slowing getting too know someone, then Bam! You realized you've loved them all along. Forbidden Love. The love triangle. And of course, insta-love. There are soooooo many more, but we don't have all day, so let's begin.

In my opinion, insta-love is great if done properly. Unfortunately in most self published and mainstream novels alike, it is not done right. I think that's why it's getting the bad rep. Personally, I love that head over heels, love at first sight, lets run away together and figure it all out later kind of love. Sure, it's unrealistic, but honestly, are you really reading paranormal romance for the realism? Get lost in something that you think wouldn't happen to you and if you don't feel that "instant love" when you read it, it's probably done wrong. I like to consider it love at first sight instead of insta-love anyway. ;)

The love triangle. Played out! Yes, I'm guilty here too. In my defense... it just kind of happened. It wasn't planned, I swear! Love triangles are tricky, and often, very appealing. The drama of it. The mystery. Rooting for the protagonist to pick your guy/girl. It's just fun to read. Although I'm a bit biased as far as my writing is concerned, I think we've created a triangle that serves the purpose of the story and intrigues the reader. I hate to mention Twilight because I'm not a huge fan, but the Edward/Jacob thing was successful in my mind. There was a reason for it, there was drama in it, and it really made me feel something when I would read it. The end of the triangle played into a big plot point and was resolved. I have my own opinions about how it was resolved that I'll leave out so as not to incur the wrath of my Twilighter friends, but it was resolved. Like insta-love, I think if it's done right, it's fine by me. Reading a synopsis where they've even hinted at a love triangle gets a little eye roll from me, but it's not a deal breaker.

I really wanted to tackle a specific issue I've noticed in Anomaly. At times we've gone a little overboard on the romance. I personally like novels that have a great story but still spend some time "going overboard" on the romance bits. But I get that it can be distracting from the story. We've had a lot of people gush about the romance and a lot of people like the novel despite the romance. People tend to love Kismet. He's the ultimate nice guy. He and Caity have one of those "we have chemistry but were ignoring it for some reason until finally we give into it" kinds of love and I’ve yet to receive a single negative comment about it him, despite how unrealistic it is that he's a 20-something virgin. (Funny side note: I hadn't realized he was coming off like that and it was never my intention that he would be a virgin; just that he'd never had a real meaningful relationship. When I mentioned it to Kim, she said "of course he is". LOL!) Anyway, I digress.

Then there's Chase. Poor misguided, passionate, temperamental Chase. Without giving anything away, he makes his "mistakes." But yet, Caity still struggles with her feelings for him. PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THAT. They write about how frustrated it makes them and how annoyed they are when Caity even mentions missing him after all he's done. AND I LOVE IT. I am thrilled that something I've written has been able to evoke such a powerful response from readers.

I want them to scream "Caity, what the HELL are you thinking???" Because, although as a third party to this relationship it's easy to judge and to see the bigger picture that these people should not be together, you aren't Caity. You aren't blinded by those feelings and holding onto what once was and I don't want you to be. I want you to see things she doesn't see and I want you to feel a certain way at certain times and I think that's better than "Now I love him, now I don't."

(I'll get a little cocky here and say "If I wanted you to love Chase, you would.")

Yes, it's frustrating to see Caity swaying here and there with Chase after what would so obviously be enough for me or any of our level headed readers, but I think it's real. Caity is as real as we can make her. She's a flawed character with a lot to learn and a lot of room to grow. She's pushy and determined and doesn't always make the right decision or see the bigger picture when you want her too.

As far as Chase is concerned, we all know that girl/guy in the toxic relationship who keeps going back to that person after the horrible things they've done. It's something unfortunate but completely human. Of course I don't want to advocate "battered wife syndrome" but I do want to highlight that it happens. You can't just turn it off like you should. And I think that makes for great drama.

Let's talk about Madison and Caity. for those of you unfamiliar with The New Haven Project, (it's 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes&Noble) Caity and Madison are sisters. As a result of Caitlin's childhood at New Haven, Caity doesn't remember she has a sister. Years later she finds out that not only does she have a sister, but that Madison is not her biggest fan. Madison has some serious issues; jealously, anger, bitterness and pure resentment for Caity. Yet, Caity still tries for a relationship with her.

A few people have commented that Caity isn't trying hard enough and others have said they don't know why she's even still trying. I'll get a little personal here and say that their relationship was not planned out based on character development and what's best for the story line. It's based on fact. Everything that Madison and Caity go through, I've been through with my own sister in some form or another. Caity reacts to Madison exactly how I would react to my sister. So, I don't apologize or make excuses for the way Caity and Madison treat each other her or how hard either of them tries. The relationship between them is as real as anything I've written in this novel. Their love is different than the typical sisterly love. It's hard, it's complicated and it's ever changing, but I still consider it love.

I guess my point is, in the end, love doesn't always need to make you happy and lovey and full of hope. It needs to make you feel something. Elation, Anger, frustration, lust, heartache, sadness, bitterness... If you feel any of that while reading the love parts of our novels, we've done our job.

Love,

Jessica

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

FRACTURE is Officially AVAILABLE!

Fracture is officially available for download on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com! It can be purchased for $1.99 for Kindles, Kindle apps and Nooks!

Paperback copies will be available for $6.99 shortly!

FOR AMAZON:
http://www.amazon.com/Fracture-The-Haven-Project-ebook/dp/B00AHZRSYY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354749755&sr=8-2&keywords=The+New+Haven+project%3A+Fracture 


FOR BARNES&NOBLE:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fracture-jessica-gilliland/1113892285 

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writing Challenges: Writing for the Opposite Sex


With the completion of Fracture, we've immediately jumped straight into writing Defect, which is the third novel in The New Haven Project series. What makes this book so interesting and unique is that the story is not told from Caitlin's perspective...but from Chase's. 

The reason Jess and I chose to do this was to help reveal the depth of the ACT plot and, in part, perhaps give some redemption to Chase. We're not blind; we know that as we've written him previously, he comes off as a bad guy. And maybe he is, who knows? The thing is, with every character we write, we strive to show their layers. A bad guy might not be just a bad guy. In the same breath, a good guy might have some deeper, darker motives than you'd expect--just like in real life.

So that's something to think about.

Now, however, we face a new challenge that I hadn't actually thought of until I started writing Defect: I'm a woman. So how the hell am I supposed to write convincingly from the male perspective?!

This is even more difficult for me because my style of writing in inherently very descriptive. That's why Jessica likes me (other than the fact that I am uh-maaaay-zing): I can take very bare writing and turning it into something almost cinematic. I credit this to my lifelong love of words. I read for hours a day. I soak up sentences. I love the way words look, too--the curve of a letter, the way they combine to form a meaning. It's just beautiful...but in this instance, it's going to be a bane. 

Why? Because men don't give a crap what something feels like and they don't notice the subtle details that a woman would. They're visual creatures versus emotional creatures. A woman would look at another woman and immediately notice her clothing--how many inches above her knee her skirt is, the exact color of her cardigan, the style of her shoes, the way she's wearing her hair. A man would look at the same woman and notice...her boobs, straining against her shirt. And her long, bare legs. And the way her hair brushes the top of her ass. 

(As a funny side-note: my husband says that to write as male, and be believable, I should throw in some butt/groin scratching and some uninhibited farting. Siiiiigh.)

What have I gotten myself into?

Luckily for me, because I read a lot and I read all different sorts of genres, probably 80% of my library is compromised of male writers and told in the voice of male characters. I have an idea of what I'm expected to produce, and truth be told, I'm actually a little excited for it. Not that I don't love Caitlin. How could I not? She is, essentially, a part of me. But this is going to shake things up a little for me and it's going to give me a chance to prove to myself that I'm not just a one-note writer. 

Luckily for me, although I am a woman, I am not essentially a girly-girl. I like makeup and clothes and shoes with the best of 'em, but I also like video games and comic books and UFC. I've always considered myself a bit of a tomboy, so I suspect that it won't be that far of a stretch for me to write from Chase's perspective.

Have any of you written from the POV of the opposite sex? How did you draw your inspiration? How did you do it convincingly? Feel free to share your tips, tricks, and go-to secrets!

 

 

Monday, December 3, 2012

From Jessica's Blog: How We Co-Author/Screenplay vs. Manuscript

Note from Kim: The following as been taken from Jessica's personal blog, www.wrevs.blogspot.com. I think it's a wonderful and interesting article on how she and I write as a cohesive team in a literary world that is dominated by primarily single authors.

 

Screenplay VS Manuscript

I get asked a lot of questions about how Kim and I accomplish writing as a team and the almost cinematic quality of the story. We've gotten a lot of compliments about the writing style and how it doesn't read like two authors. To that I reply with a resounding THANK YOU! That was something we were worried about, but it seems to have worked out the way we'd hoped.

So! How do we do it?

Here's my theory...

I have a background in film. I've been writing scripts and sketching out storyboards for as long as I can remember and I watch more movies and television shows than I can name. When I write, I do it as if I were writing out a script. I see every chapter like a scene in a movie.

When Kim writes, she is writing as if she were there. She is literally writing things as if she were experiencing them. She is also a reader. She reads like I watch. This woman devours text and it shows. She is able to take my scripts and sketches and turn them into something that is acceptable as a novel.

We discuss the plot, the characters, the scenery, and basically every emotion, action and motivation of each chapter as it pertains to the story as a whole. Then I write out a skeleton and we pow wow again. Then I'll elaborate on the base and get some dialogue flowing and basically write out the script version then pass it onto Kim to "pretty it up." She will take it from there, elaborating on the actions and writing it as if she were in the scene. Then we read, re-read it it a few dozen more times, bite our nails and rethink the whole thing, let someone other than the two of us tell us how they feel, then one last round of edits and we're golden.

So, the reason it reads like a single author is because the 'voice' of the novel is all Kim. She wll keep most of my dialogue and a lot of the snippets that I write, but mostly she takes the base action and feeling and runs with it in her own style. We end up with all the action and emotion I plotted out written with her personal literary style. Sometimes all I write is "Caity and Kismet have a moment looking at each other over the fire." and she will turn it into six paragraphs of awesome.

Here is a little example of the before and after...

Jessica's first draft:

I made my way down the cold metal staircase and across the living room. I saw kismet in the dim light. He looked up at me with unexpected nervousness. It was too late to turn back now.


“Hi.” I smiled but I couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable. I couldn’t tell if it was me or him. I closed my robe tighter around me and took a seat at one of the stools.

“Hey. Can’t sleep?” Kismet was heating some milk on the stove.

“No. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

“Wanna talk about it?” He stirred in a couple of packets of chocolate powder and poured himself a cup.

“Not really. It’s…complicated.”

He took a sip of hot chocolate and nodded. I got the sense that he didn’t really want to hear it anyway. It felt like he wanted to run away from me to the solace of his room. But he stayed put. Instead he took a cup from the cabinet and poured me some hot chocolate.

“Here. This always helps me sleep.” He tossed a couple of marshmallows on top and smiled at me. I couldn’t help but smile back. I felt compelled to stare at him.

“What’s going on down here?” Spaz interrupted.

“nothing,” we said in unison.

“Woah. I wasn’t insinuating anything.“

“Alright well I’m going to sleep. See you guys in the morning.” Kismet ran off leaving Spaz and I to enjoy the hot chocolate.

“Don’t worry. He’s always like that.”

“So, you wanna tell me what happened?”

I looked at him and suddenly felt a wave of heat pass over me as my eyes watered. And then I broke down. The pent up anger and fear just poured out of me.
I felt sorry for poor Spaz. I completely blindsided him.

“No.” I sniffed trying futilely to hide my tears.

“Awe Caitlin, don’t.” Spaz cradled me as I bawled.

“I went back. I went back and nothing has changed. They are doing terrible things to those children and I can’t stop them. and Chase. He… He.” I couldn’t finish.

“Hey. Hey don’t worry. I know Chase. He can take care of himself and he would never let them hurt those kids like they hurt us.” He looked be dead in the eyes. “Never.”

I nodded.

“It will all work out.” He gave me a big hug and wiped my face with a napkin and sent me to bed.

Kimberly's final draft:

It took some careful navigation to get through the toy-littered maze of the boys’ room, but I somehow made it to the cold metal staircase and headed downstairs. The living room was silent and still, shadows invading everything. I felt uneasy standing there, amongst the dark silhouettes of their furniture. I could hear the wind blowing furiously outside; the warehouse creaked and groaned like it was alive, plaintive and deep. I heard something flutter quietly in the rafters.


I hoped it wasn’t bats, but it probably was. Ugh.

I made my way to the kitchen and went to turn on the light; the moment I did, a scream caught in my throat as I nearly jumped out of my skin.

Kismet was standing there, hair slightly disheveled, in a black t-shirt and blue plaid pajama pants. In one hand, he had a piece of bread. In the other was a knife smeared with peanut butter. He stared at me with just as much surprise as I stared at him. I was frozen to the spot; there was no way I could turn back.

“Hi.” My voice was unsteady. A tiny laugh escaped me on a shaky breath. I felt uncomfortable but in that moment, I couldn’t tell if it was me or him.

Kismet looked away, unexpected nervousness fluttering through him like the dark, quiet things in the rafters.

“Hey,” He greeted me back, clearing his throat a little. “Can’t sleep?” He walked over to the burners and swished a little pot around. Milk sloshed inside it. As he focused his stare down at the stove, his black hair slipped into his eyes and I felt a measure of relief pass over him. He was comforted to have his eyes hidden from me.

“I’ve got a lot on my mind,” I admitted, taking a seat on one of the stools that lined the faux-counters.

He glanced up at me quickly, carefully. “Wanna talk about it?” He stirred a couple of packets of powdered chocolate into the heated milk.

It wasn’t the question I expected from him and so it caught me off guard.

“Um, not really. I mean, it’s complicated,” I added quickly, not wanting him to think I was brushing him off rudely.

“So you keep saying. Everything’s really complicated with you, it seems.” He poured himself a mug, holding it up to blow on it cautiously before taking a small sip. I got the sense that he really hadn’t wanted to hear it, anyway.

He felt like he wanted to run back to the solace of his room, away from me. Instead, he took down another mug and poured me some hot chocolate, setting it in front of me.

“I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just—”

He raised a hand, cutting me off. “It’s cool. Don’t worry.”

I suddenly felt even more self-conscious sitting there. I could feel my hair was a mess. I pulled it over my shoulder and ran my fingers through the long, red waves, trying to smooth them out.

“Here. This always seems to help me sleep when I can’t.” He tossed a few marshmallows on top of the chocolate and offered me a small smile…one I found myself returning easily. I caught his gaze and for those few moments, I was compelled to just sit and stare at him as my hands warmed themselves around the mug.

“What’s going on down here?” A sleepy voice suddenly interrupted.

Spaz came staggering slightly into the kitchen, running his hand backward through his hair, his glasses tucked into the front of his t-shirt. He squinted at the two of us in the dim kitchen light, wrinkling his nose lightly.

“Nothing,” we blurted in unison. For some reason, Kismet took a step away from me and I stood up from my stool altogether, my hands clasped vise-tight around my drink.

“Whoa, chill guys. I wasn’t insinuating anything. Is there any left for me?” He nodded toward the burners where a small amount of hot chocolate was left.

Kismet took his chance.

“Alright, well, I’m going to sleep. See you guys in the morning.” He took his mug of hot chocolate but left the sandwich he’d been making and made a quick bee-line out of the kitchen. He didn’t look back and moments later, I heard the door in the living room softly shut behind him as he retreated back to his bedroom.

“Don’t worry,” Spaz murmured sleepily as he picked up the half-made sandwich and took a bite. “He’s always like that.” He chewed, took a drink of hot chocolate, and swallowed. “So…you gonna to tell me what you’re doing up?”

“I’m fine. I’m just getting some air,” I said, but I couldn’t even convince myself, much less him.

He gave me a flat look, slipping his glasses on so he could see me better. “Come on, Caity. I know you. It's been years, but I know you.”

I looked up at him and felt a wave of heat pass over me as my eyes suddenly watered. God, I was tired of crying, of the emotions swamping me. Alone in the kitchen with the one person in the Lair who knew what I’d gone through, all my defenses fell apart, and I was painfully vulnerable. All the pent up anger and hurt I’d been harboring rushed to the forefront and I just broke down.

Retrospectively, I felt sorry for poor Spaz. I'd totally blindsided him.

I looked down at my mug, my tears streaming down my cheeks, creating small ripples in my hot chocolate.

Gross.

“Aww, Caity, don’t cry.” Spaz crossed the space between us in an instant and put his arms around me, cradling me to him. I started openly bawling; I would have felt pathetic if it wasn’t so damn cathartic. It hurt to cry, but it was a good hurt. It was letting the pain out.

“I went back,” I told him, and I felt him stiffen. "They rebuilt it."

Fear interlaced with the subtle anger that shot through him, a healthy mixture of hatred and caution. To his credit, he just barely suppressed the growl that wanted to rise from within him.

“Nothing has changed. I went back, and it’s all the same. Different faces, different kids, but still the same. Worse, even. They’re doing terrible things to those kids and I can’t stop them. And Chase…he…he…” I tried to finish and I couldn’t. I dissolved into tears again.

Conflict boiled in Spaz as he held me and rocked me, trying to comfort me as he sorted through his thoughts. Eventually he hugged me a little tighter and murmured, “Hey, hey…don’t worry. I know Chase. He can take care of himself and he would never let them hurt those kids like they hurt us.” He pulled me back and looked me dead in the eyes, all his joking gone. “Never.”

I wasn’t so sure. Izzy had been hurt, hadn’t she? And he’d stood by while it happened.

I nodded. It was all I could do when words wouldn’t get past the lump in my throat.

“I know it will all work out,” He said firmly. He hugged me again and used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the tears from my eyes, giving me a kiss on the cheek.

The exhaustion swept through me again and took the place of the rush of the tears, and I was left weak and shaky. Spaz sent me to bed while he cleaned up the kitchen, and this time when my head touched the pillow, it didn’t raise again for hours and hours.

There it is! A little look into the process of blending screenplay and poetic literary writing that makes The New Haven Project what it is.  

FRACTURE Release Date!

Fracture received its final edits this past weekend and the finishing touches on its paperback cover today. As you are reading this, Jessica is working hard to upload the electronic edition to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These things are difficult to pinpoint, but with a little luck and a lot of crossed fingers, I am happy to announce that Fracture will be available within the next few days!

Of course, I will be posting an alert blog just as soon as we get the green light from Amazon and B&N. In the meantime, I wanted you all to see the paperback covers and get a peek at the synopsis for Fracture!

"After the fall of New Haven and ACT’s discovery of the Lair, Caitlin and the Punks are on the run again. They find sanctuary in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with an odd and slightly suspicious pair of Anomaly twins. Just as they’re getting settled, a series of murders and a strange supernatural occurrence draws the Punks back to Santa Cruz… but things are not as they seem. Caitlin’s loyalties are once again tested and her budding relationship with Kismet is challenged as the Punks face a secret danger that threatens to destroy everything they’ve struggled to protect."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

FRACTURE is complete!

Here's some fun facts for you:

It took nearly four years to write and complete the first novel in The New Haven Project series, Anomaly (not counting all the revisions and edits we did after its release, or the time it took to change the cover). 

It has taken only four months to write and complete the second novel, Fracture!

That's right, folks...as of 1:45pm today, November 27th, 2012, I laid down the final word for Fracture! I'm itching to tell Jessica but as of right now, she's sleeping. Grrr.

I have no idea why it took me so much less time to write this one, except...well...it is significantly shorter, I suppose. While Anomaly was well over 100,000 words, Fracture is only a little over 57,000 words. That could have something to do with it.

I'm so excited for you all to read it!

Now that Fracture is complete, it just has to be read over for editing and then it should be ready for you guys. Keep checking back frequently, as we should have a solid release date for you very soon! (But definitely count on it being available by early December!) 

Thank you for all your support and your patience while we finished this novel for you. Spread the word and tell your friends! 

Let's DO this thing!




 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"FRACTURE" COVER REVEAL!


Well, we promised you yesterday that we would reveal the cover for Fracture today...so without further ado...