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Sometimes when I write, it has to be totally silent. However, 99% of the time, music is required. Next to water, music is my muse. For DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, I discovered right away, my protagonists voice came out the easiest whenever I listened to classic rock. I was A-OKAY with that. There are so many amazing bands to choose from, while paying homage to the amazing music of the past.


Music has it’s own role in this novel and some amazing songs are referenced. Even though I wrote this novel quickly, I found myself like this:


Below is what contributed to my madness as I wrote.


Pretty Hurts, Beyonce

Fortunate Son, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Gold On The Ceiling, The Black Keys

Dream On, Aerosmith

Bleeding Out, Imagine Dragons

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones

Unconditionally, Katy Perry

The Needle and the Damage Done, Neil Young

 Secrets, One Republic 

Highway To Hell, AC/DC

I Will Possess Your Heart, Death Cab for Cutie

Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin

Nothing Else Matters, Metallica

Seven Wonders, Fleetwood Mac

Creep, Radiohead

Fat Bottomed Girls, Queen

Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey

  Counting Stars, One Republic

Every Breath You Take, The Police

Stan, Eminem

Hey Hey What Can I Do, Led Zeppelin

 Now, listen to them below!

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Writing the synopsis is evil. If you’ve ever attempted to do it, you know what I mean.


The idea of taking 84K words and smooshing all the exciting parts of the story into one or two pages is enough to make some want to give up writing.


Before I could attempt such a feat, I had to get caffeinated.

tumblr_me1lq5AWBB1qkbtx4o1_500I worked at it for days.


It was tough, but I did it.


One step closer to querying!


The novel is complete. Not only is it complete, it’s been edited by my handy dandy CP1. She wore her editing hat well as she suggested certain things be tightened to make DLS shine. It’s now in the hands of my Beta readers for Round 1. Once I receive their feedback, I will take any and all suggestions into consideration and make improvements as needed before moving to Round 2. I’m excited because I have published and unpublished, agented and unagented authors reading DLS to make sure it has that WOW factor, I tried so hard to achieve.


Something amazing happened before in my world last week. I was chatting with an agented friend of mine on twitter and her agent got involved in the conversation. She knew my MS wasn’t completed edited, but she was interested and wanted to read any polished pages I had. After fighting the urge to jump up and down kermit flailing, I sent her the first two chapters with my query. So, before I even started querying, I found an agent interested in reading. From what I understand, this is not something that happens, so you can bet I’m thankful she showed an interest. Now, I’m waiting to see what my Beta’s think of my full MS and what the agent thinks of the first two chapters I sent.


Up until this point, the only novels I’d ever written were fantasy and paranormal romance. I decided this time, I wanted to try to write something a little more commercial. Sprinkle in a few random visits with my muse and DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS was born. Started Feb 1 as a part of FebNo, I connected with my MC, sixteen-year-old Arissa Jayne and her life in the armpit of ‘Merica, Innsbrooke, Florida. (FYI: There is no Innsbrooke, FL, but my location for DLS is very loosely based on the area around Dixie County, FL).

As I wrote this YA LGBT Thriller, I discovered things about my characters, I’d never considered. For example, Arissa LOVES classic rock. Whenever I needed to get into her head, I just opened up Pandora’s classic rock station and within minutes, I was her.

Finally, the story drew to a close and I wrote the words THE END just so I could see them. Adrenaline coursed through my veins and I donned a large Cheshire grin. Whether this novel ever finds an agent, a publisher, or just runs through my friends and Beta readers, doesn’t matter. What matters is that I FINISHED IT.


That being said, I have my trusty team of CPs hard at work. The first half of the MS is already edited and ready to go. Now, the rest is waiting patiently for them to devour so I can send it to my Beta readers. In the meantime, I’m ending my self-inflicted hermit status and returning to civilization.


I am a plotter. I take an idea and I try to break it down into an outline. Each bullet represents something that happens in a chapter. If detail is needed, I elaborate. It makes it easier for me to stay on target and not run off into another world where secondary characters take over (that happened with this MS A LOT to the point where I had to rename a character and the cause behind their disability because he demanded he get his own book).

In February, I started this novel, so I started an outline.

DLS Outline

I hit 50K in the month of February. Took a break for the first few weeks of March and caught up on ABC Scandal. When I started back up, I didn’t write, but edited. I cut over 4K from the intro and in March added a total of 19K words, giving me a net of 15K. The homestretch came the first week of April and I finished the MS on April 6th in the wee early morning hours. My completed outline grew into the beast you see below. It is much more involved than my original and I added the yellow highlighting to signify whenever something insane happened due to my stalker, Secret. As you can see, there is A LOT OF YELLOW.

outline fini

I will admit, I did stray from the outline some, but overall, this worked for me. My first Thriller is in the bag and I couldn’t be more excited.

Question for all my readers: What’s your style? Are you a pantser or a plotter or some wicked hybrid?


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