Monday, June 17, 2013

The Ward Sisters Series

I posted recently about the first book in a series I'm currently writing. The series, The Ward Sisters, centers around three sisters, Emily, Annie and Charlie, as well as their closest friends. I thought I'd give you an idea of the stories in the series and the characters in them. Nothing too revealing - you'll have to read the books to really know all these people who have been living in my head for a while, now - just a sense of what is to come. This post is long, so you might want to digest in chunks. Just sayin'. The blog is intended to give people insight into my writing, but it's also a place for me to er, talk to myself, so to speak. Enjoy.

So far the series is:

Back to December (Ward Sisters #1)
Only One (Ward Sisters #2)
Right Here Waiting (Ward Sisters #3)
This Year's Love (Ward Sisters #4)
Just Realized (Ward Sisters #5)
Think of Me (Ward Sisters #6)
Untitled (Ward Sisters #7)

Book one, Back to December, is done and is in edits right now. I posted an excerpt from that - the meet cute between our heroine and her hero. That story centers around oldest sister, Emily, a writer for an arts publication, and the life-altering experience she has in the year of her youngest sister's engagement. In Back to December, you'll meet movie star Deac Roberts - aka Rob Deacon. Rob has his own extensive network of people in his life, and the story of how he meets and falls for Emily will greatly impact not only the two of them, but many of the people in their lives. Rob, as I've said in a previous post, might as well be Henry Cavill, because, well, he basically is. *swoon* I haven't been a fangirl of anyone for a good long time. When you realize the pretend boyfriend you've been writing about for the last year or two could actually exist in the form of one extremely hot guy in a blue supersuit, you turn into a total fangirl of said guy in the hero costume. Or at least I do. Charlie and Meg would be proud (read Back to December when it's available and you'll get that joke). Emily isn't, so far, any one specific person in my head unless you take Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor, give her Selene's blue contacts in Underworld and then give her Taylor Swift's former corkscrew curls (see Teardrops on My Guitar video for reference) and Lea Michele's nose. That comes close.

Book two, Only One, is complete and waiting to be edited. This story focuses on Rob's best friend, Liam Neely, who is also a bodyguard on Rob's team. Liam has a lot of baggage and it doesn't make him the ideal guy for a romance, as he'll tell you. When he takes on the task of being Emily's bodyguard shortly after she meets Rob, it changes his life both for the worst and for the better. Only One also lets us get to know Rob's assistant, Jenna Ackerman, who has a lot of secrets to keep. For those of you who like visuals, I see Liam as being like Dave Annable and Jenna a lot like Emily VanCamp. Anyone who was a fan of Brothers and Sisters will recall the two of them as a couple on that show, so if you Google them together, you'll find pictures of the two of them. And if you're a fan of Revenge, Jenna shares some similarities with Emily VanCamp's alter ego, Emily Thorne (and maybe a few with bff Nolan).

In book three, Right Here Waiting, you'll get to know Emily Ward's best friend, therapist Meghan Miles. We meet her briefly in Back to December. She's the snarky, sassy, fun counterpart to straight shooter Emily. Or is she? Meg's story challenges the way she has always seen both herself and her friendship with Emily. This story is my current writing focus and is actually one of my favorites to write so far. Mostly because I love the hero, Lieutenant Neil Murphy, a sniper in the US Army. I hadn't planned to write his POV, but he jumped in and had to be heard. Now I find I love hearing his sexy voice. Neil is best friends with Charlie Ward's husband, Dan. I didn't write Meg to be Katie Holmes, but Tom Cruise's former missus could probably do a kick ass job of playing Meghan Miles, both in looks and by virtue of roles she's played in the past. Neil could easily be the lovely Alan Ritchson, who will soon be known for his role as Gloss in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Again, wasn't ever into him before, but now that I see him when I write for Neil (and holy cow, I realized he auditioned for American Idol and Neil has a gorgeous singing voice), suddenly, I'm a fangirl. Not like I am for Henry Cavill, but still. More swooning. Isn't this why romance writers write, to give voice to our fantasies? Or is that just me?

Book four, This Year's Love, goes back to the sisters and focuses on middle sister, oncology nurse Annie Ward. She has a big chip on her shoulder from a lifetime of playing second banana to her older sister and always feeling like the fifth wheel in the group that consists of Annie, her two sisters and their two best friends. In Back to December, she plays a role as one antagonist for her sister. This Year's Love will both tell her side of that story and will also take her on a journey of her own, which will help define her role in her family going forward. You'll also get to know Josh Ricker better. He's Emily's park ranger ex-boyfriend and as this story will illustrate, she didn't really know him that well. Annie looks a lot like Emily, though in her mind she's the less pretty version. Annie is maybe a more direct version of Kate Beckinsale with deeper blue eyes than Selene, more wave in her hair than curls. Josh always looks a lot like Chris Pratt to me, but a combination of his laid-back, blonder, surfer look in Everwood combined with his physique from his turn in Zero Dark Thirty. Josh is big and brawny but he's also big hearted and looks the way he does naturally. No sane woman would say he wasn't handsome, but he's no Henry Cavill, er, Deac Roberts. They are vanilla and chocolate - which do you prefer? Okay, I like both but if I had to choose, it's Henry, er, chocolate all the way.

Book five, Just Realized, starts two years after Emily's story and involves Realtor Nina Jacobs, best friend to youngest Ward sister, Charlie. Nina plays a key role in Liam's story and trust me when I say that you'll want to know what happens next for her once you read Only One. Nina meets Neil's other best friend, Sargent Owen Nichols and from the get go, she completely misjudges him. She also takes the time to get to know Rob's new bodyguard, a guy named Noah Adams you'll meet at the end of Only One. Nina is trying to take charge of her life and in the meantime, misses the boat on some pretty important things along the way. Nina is a classic, voluptuous pinup girl with auburn hair and a lot more brains than you'd guess if you judged a book by its cover. She's more Marilyn Monroe than Christina Hendricks. I've yet to find a red-haired actress out there who I think is perfectly Nina. Owen and Noah are two very different men vying for her affection - Owen is more like Michelangelo's David or say, Channing Tatum. Like Nina, he's a lot deeper than he looks. Noah is less alpha looking but he's more of a calculating, introspective alpha than he is a beta. Noah was on his way to being an Olympic caliber swimmer in college, and he's still got the body to prove it. Like Liam, he's handsome but not necessarily pretty. Find me a green-eyed guy on the US Men's Olympic Swim Team who looks similar to Dave Annable and you're close.

The last story that's already partially written (I mentioned that I write through my writer's block, didn't I?), book six, is Think of Me, where you'll get to know Noah better and you'll also get to know Liam's sister, socialite Catherine (aka Mary Cate) Donati. As Liam will tell you, his sister is gorgeous and therefore, barely looks like she's his sibling, let alone his twin. I guess everyone has their own idea of what a gorgeous woman is, but with her brown hair and brown eyes, Mary Cate is beautiful in the way that almost all men and even most women would agree is attractive. She's smart and sassy and holding on to a lot of regrets. Many of which are related to Noah Adams. In this story, Noah's past collides with his present in some very unexpected ways.

For now, plans for the final book in the series are vague at best. The story will be about Charlie Ward and her husband, Dan Williams. I know where it's going, and while there are hints in every story up until this one, not a word of their story has been directly written, yet. No title, no synopsis. I can tell you that Charlie, in my mind (since she's a part of Emily's story as well as the others), is physically a Kate Hudson kind of gal - petite, blond, small busted, thin. She's smart - like her husband, she's an engineer - and she's fun. She also has a closet obsession with celebrity culture and spent many years drooling over movie star Deac Roberts. Yes, the man her sister meets in Back to December. Dan's a matter-of-fact sort of guy, straightforward to the point of being blunt, especially with his friends. He's smart and sharp. He's been loyal to Neil Murphy since they were 3 and has been in love with Charlie since high school. He's handsome, but as Charlie likes to point out, he's nowhere near as sexy as Rob Deacon or even his best friend, Neil. He's an everyman sort of guy, like James Marsden or John Kraskinski - in the right role, he's the lead, but he's usually the second banana.

There is always the possibility that, in the process of writing any of the stories that are not yet complete, someone will jump off the canvas and demand their story be written. For now, I'm seeing the series ending with Charlie for several reasons. The first, and probably the most important, is that the story arc I envisioned for the series makes most sense if it ends with Charlie. Plus, it's silly, but I have always liked the number 7. Doesn't mean we can't go beyond that, but at the moment, I'm thinking we'll end with lucky #7 and wrap up the series at the end of Charlies's story.

At which point, I'll move either forward or back - meaning new stories or go back to ones that are partially or mostly complete - because there are many other irons already in the fire. I wasn't kidding when I said you'd be surprised at what (or who) lives inside my imagination. It's a big group.

Friday, June 14, 2013

New Facebook Page

Everyone is on Facebook. Really. Everyone I know. I could have just gone back to my old page, but I wanted the new one to be about my writing because it's the reason I went back to it. So if you're here because you're interested in my writing, then you can check out my Facebook page, where announcements of sorts (especially related to giveways and such when that time comes) will be. I'm just Patti Korbet Author on good ol' Facebook. And with any luck, I won't get too bogged down by the insanity of having a huge family on a social networking site when my aim isn't to keep in touch with family but to get my writing out there. I mean, I can't hide from them. I won't hide from them. But Lord, help me if my new page turns into what my old one did. I can only hope that the lovely people at Facebook found a way to filter all that stuff easier. They did, right? Right? Please tell me they did.

Introducing...Back to December

In my first post, I gave my spiel about how I got here. Well, the sort of short version. Now to the nitty gritty of why I'm here in the first place: the writing. This story, Back to December, is the first in a series I'm calling The Ward Sisters.  Eventually, I'll talk about the story in more detail, maybe post about the songs that I listened to when I wrote (I like to listen to music when I write, which isn't always possible when you've got two small children and a husband who thinks writing fiction is just plain silly). For now, I want to give a sneak peek and the synopsis that will, hopefully, be accompanying the book when it hits Amazon.

Back to December (The Ward Sisters #1)

Straight-laced, 28-yr old Emily Ward thought she had it all: a steady, live-in boyfriend; a job she liked with great future potential; a decent apartment in east coast haven Portland, Maine; and a great family. Her 5-year plan was perfectly on track until the day her sister got engaged and things blew up in her face. Suddenly, she finds herself on a plane to Minnesota at Christmas, trying to escape her life and keep her career on track at the same time. When she literally runs into movie star Deac Roberts shortly after arriving in Minneapolis, she can't begin to imagine how much her organized life will get turned upside down.

Soon, she's swept into something she can't explain to herself, let alone to anyone else. Her family is baffled at her behavior and she's convinced that she had been on the wrong track for years. When the new path she's on takes a sharp left, she runs home with her tail between her legs. But while she helps plan her sister's wedding, she finds herself wondering which was the mistake - changing her path or running away from the new life. By the time little sister Charlotte walks down the aisle, she'll have her answers and they won't be at all what she expected. Can she live with it? Or will she keep wishing she went back to that day in December and did everything differently?

And now, a sneak peek. Every good romance story has a meet-cute. This one is no different. I hope you enjoy it and plan to come along for the ride!

Emily stepped out the door, putting on her gloves as she walked back down the path to the sidewalk. All of a sudden, as she approached the end of the path, near where she had parked the rental, she felt a huge mass slam into her and she was flying into the snowbank. She was disoriented for a moment when a man reached down to help her up saying, “Oh! I'm so sorry! Are you okay? I didn't hurt you, did I?”
She looked at the guy, too annoyed to even register his appearance. “Did you just crash into me?”
He gave her a sheepish smile. “Yeah. Sorry about that. I wasn't watching where I was going. Um, it looks like the handle of your bag broke.”
She looked down at the little bag with the toys in it and, sure enough, one of the handles had broken. When she checked the bag, there was only one of the action figures inside. “Oh no! Where did the other one go?”
“Other what? Did you lose something?”
“Yes! I just bought these two action figures and one of them is missing from the bag!”
“Maybe you forgot it at the register?”
“No! He put them both in the bag. I saw him. Maybe it fell out when you knocked me down.”
“Let me help you look,” he offered. Given that it was dark and the street light wasn't that bright, she could hardly say no. They looked around near where she had landed and didn't see anything. Then a guy rode by on his bicycle, all decked out in winter biking gear, and she heard the crunch of plastic packaging. The stranger grimaced. He knew as well as she did that the cyclist had just found the toy. He picked it up and his expression grew solemn. “Oh, I'm so sorry. It looks like it got broken.” He handed it to her.
“NO! Seriously? This is all your fault, you know. If you hadn't knocked me into the snowbank, I'd have made it to the car just fine!”
“I really am sorry. Look, I'll buy you a new one.”
You can't buy me a new one. This was one of the last two in the area. It's why I'm here in the first place. And he just closed the store. I hope you weren't planning to shop. This sucks. Now I don't even have time to get anything else.” Emily pushed the heel of her hand to her forehead.
“Can you shop tomorrow?”
“No! I was shopping now because I'll be too busy with work the next couple days and I won't have time!”
“Why don't you come into the store with me and we'll see if he's got another one.”
“Did you hear me? He's closed! And he told me that was it, he won't have any more of these before Christmas, anyway, so it would be pointless.”
“Look, the lights are still on because he was waiting for me to show up here at closing time. Just come inside with me. Let's see if he'll help us out, okay? What have you got to lose?”
She sighed. “Fine. I guess it can't hurt. Maybe he can order me a replacement and have it sent to my friend.”
“This is for your friend?” he asked as they walked back toward the store.
“Well, for her sons. I guess they really wanted these action figures and she couldn't find any for a price in her budget. I don't even know if I paid too much for them, but she's helping me out in a bind and I figured it was worth it if the kids got what they really wanted.”
“Let's see what we can do.” He knocked on the door and the owner unlocked it, letting them inside.
“Robbie! Great to see you. Oh! Hello, miss. Is there something wrong?”
“Mac, I just ran into her outside. Literally.” He reached for the broken toy and Emily handed it to him. “Do you think we can replace this one?”
“For you, Robbie, anything.” He winked. “I didn't wrap them, yet. Knew you'd want to look them over, first.” The guy went out to a back room and when he returned, he had a box filled with several of the Wolverine toys. Emily didn't count them, but there had to be nearly a dozen. “Here you go. You can decide which one to give her and I'll go out back and get the other two boxes. Everything else is wrapped.”
The stranger – she gathered his name was Robbie – looked at her then. Her mouth must have dropped open at the sight of the toys. He laughed. “Mac had already saved them out for me. I knew I could replace it for you if you'd just come inside here with me.” He put the broken toy in the box and took out a pristine one, whose packaging was even immaculate. “Here you go. I really am sorry about that. I wasn't paying attention.”
“No. It's okay. I mean, it's not okay that you weren't paying attention, but I won't hold it against you for the rest of your life. Thank you, for giving this to me. You're going to make a little boy very, very happy this Christmas. Not to mention his mom.”
“It's the least I could do. What was your name?”
Suave. She hadn't given it. She smiled anyway. “Emily.”
He stuck out his hand and smiled in return. “Hi, Emily. I'm Rob.”
She shook his hand without taking off her glove. “It's nice to meet you, Rob. Sorry I was so grumpy. It took me ages to get here through traffic, and I really don't have a single moment to shop after this. I've got a lot on my plate at work this week and this was my one shot. You saved me. Thanks.”
“Yeah, let's hope that doesn't ever happen again. To you or me. I better get back into town before I turn into a pumpkin.”
He laughed again. “Touche. Have a safe drive. And Merry Christmas.” He smiled.
“Merry Christmas to you, too.” She smiled back, then turned and walked out the door.
This time, she watched carefully as she headed to the car. When she was safely inside, she breathed a sigh of relief. At least she had something to give the boys. One less thing on her to do list. Now it was time to eat some dinner and make it an early night so she could hit the ground running tomorrow.

Biting the Bullet

I've been putting this off for a while. You see, I was once a big proponent of social media, proudly saying that I was on Facebook before everyone and their brother (and I mean my entire family) was on there. I've always prided myself on being somewhat tech savvy - I was writing email when it was sent through the mainframe at my University, in the years just before the World Wide Web meant anything to anyone, before Netscape fought with IE, before Firefox and Open Source, and long, long before citizen journalists wrote blogs or social media was a concept.

Okay, so that dates me. Fine. I don't care. I'm not a spring chicken nor am I an old lady - I am a woman at the end of GenX who sort of loves the idea of both the old and the new. Who knows she was probably born both at exactly the right and wrong time in history. And I am a mother who realized that, when my babies were really small, I was spending way too much time on Facebook and not enough time with them. So I left Facebook and then everyone else joined. Twitter and Tumblr, etc, etc, became the place to be. And I wasn't there. I was okay with that. Really, I was. I did other things and was glad for it.

Now, well over three years after I deactivated my Facebook account, I'm faced with a dilemma. See, one of the things I had been doing in that time was writing. I had always been a writer of sorts and had always lived inside my imagination in one form or another. But about two and a half years ago, a story that had been brewing inside my head for a long, long time decided to pour out of me. And I've been writing regularly ever since. I've realized in that time that the thing I have always wanted to be was a writer. I could give you my long, long, long career story right now, but I'll save that for some other time. For now, I'll say that I'm at a crossroads, where I realize that I have to put myself back out there in social media if I'm ever going to make this writer thing work.

So, here we are. I had to start somewhere and since I both want and need to write every day, at least a little, it seemed like the blog was the place to start. Why today? Well, it's self-serving. You see, today, Man of Steel hits theaters. And while that seems like a non-sequiter, it isn't. Let me explain.

Last fall, I was reading The Hunger Games trilogy and like many a fan, I felt like the last book had a huge gap that needed to be filled. I sat down and I wrote what I thought had happened in between the end and the epilogue. And I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And before I knew it, I had written something like 280k words. Yes, I said 280,000 and that wasn't in the course of several months, that was in the time it takes the people who participate in NaNoWriMo to write 50k. I'm never planning to publish it. Anywhere. But it got me writing every day, whereas before, I wrote occasionally - sometimes daily, sometimes in big chunks - and it got my brain working like a writer's brain. I've had all these ideas in my head for years and sometimes they make it to paper. Writing that fanfic got me writing like a real author writes. And it was so freeing! It was like I finally found my groove.

So, back to that story I began 2.5 years ago, as a way to focus a little more on me at a time when I was all about the small people - breastfeeding, diapers, etc. I had a lot done on that story. I really did. I felt like that was the place to start my real writing career because it was so far along, was something that had been brewing forever. Turns out, despite it being completely fictional, it's just too personal for me to see objectively yet. Instead, I turned to the story I began when that other story started feeling stale. See, when I have writer's block, I need to write through it and that's what I did.

The next story I wrote had a different title when it began. Its genesis was, originally, several years ago and had numerous false starts (occasionally due to tech problems - aka computer crashes), but the basic premise was always in my head. And by stroke of fortune, the concept was just perfectly timed for relevance in the current culture. By the time the first of the year rolled around, I was nearly done with the story. And then I hit a writer's block. There was a pivotal scene and I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn't bear to write it. So I took a break from it. And a series began, involving the secondary characters in that story. It allowed me to go back and write that scene and I'm happy to say that I finally finished the first draft of my first novel at the end of March. It's in revisions and will, with any luck, be truly ready for publication very soon.

All that time I was writing the story and I knew, in my head, what my hero looked like, who he was. When I write, the story is a movie in my head. Not a screenplay, just my own little movie inside my brain. And if I see someone who looks like my character, well, even better because then they feel even more real. But Rob, the hero in my story, Back to December, just didn't look like anyone I knew out there, famous or not. No one fit the bill.

And then ads for Man of Steel started appearing and I said, "My God! That's Rob!" Tall; brown, wavy hair; piercing blue eyes; sexy, mischievous smile; beautiful body; the kind of man who makes women swoon. Because, you see, Rob's a movie star who loves his job but hates everything that comes with it. He's good at his job, he's the perfect leading man, but he hates everything about actually being a movie star. He just wants to be an actor. But like every person out there who wants the job, he has to live with the fame and what it means.

Now, I can't speak for Henry Cavill, since I don't know him. But it shocked me to find that if I had modeled Rob after him, literally, I might actually have been close to the mark. I didn't. I swear. Rob is completely fictional and popped into my head long before I'd ever heard the name Henry Cavill. But Henry Cavill could be Rob, on screen and in real life. Except, you know, for the being British part, because Rob is a midwesterner through and through. What better time to introduce Rob and his heroine, Emily, than on the biggest day of his doppleganger's career? What better day to force myself to get back out there in the online world? Okay, maybe there is a better day. But I had to force myself sometime soon, and today was as good a day as any other.

So, my next post will be an introduction to Back to December. I have no idea how often I'll post here and no clue what day I'll go back to Facebook or open a Twitter account, but I'm sure I'll announce it here when I do. I like this stuff. I do, really. I sort of love it, actually. But two adorable, brilliant and sweet children needed me more than the internet did. In a few months, they will both be in school - one in first grade, the other in Pre-K - and mommy's role will change. It's time mommy's life adjusted to accommodate that. And it's time mommy finally started pursuing her lifelong dream.

This blog will surely be a combination of things - it will be a place for my writing, it will be a place to comment on things I think are important and it will be a place for people to catch a glimpse into my life. Like Rob, I've realized that I have to put myself out there if I want the job I love. Just not too much. I'm looking forward to sharing my writing. At least I'm trying not to be terrified about it. Maybe someday I'll have followers and fans - I know a few people who might care - but for now, it's okay if it's just about me.