FIT@50 / week 72
Release, Relief, Renew:
Talk about a week for the books. This has been one emotional roller coaster for Liliana Hart and I. Maybe more like that ride that spins and you’re in a tea cup until you vomit. No, that’s not the ride. I really don’t know much about rides because they scare me. The same way Liliana scares me the week of a new novel.
We survived the release of her 47th title on Tuesday. Barely.
We cut our European adventure short to head home for catching up on lots of work. Instead, we discovered why we travel so much. It really stinks not having the kids at home. Sure it’s quiet, and we can stay up or sleep as we wish. There are no house chores or responsibilities other than paying the yard guy with exact cash.
As fate would have it, we scored an early return of four kids, and meandered through a series of cancelled and delayed flights to round out the team with Max. Who would’ve imagined it last week, but the band was back together.
Within the context of our crew, we focus on doing things with one or two of the kids in one-on-one activities. I risked personal safety by asking the 14 year old if she wanted a driving lesson. Before I could finish asking, she’d thrown on both sneakers and was down stairs waiting by the door. I wish she moved like that for Sunday morning church.
I’ll admit, not having had a daughter, I’m kind of at a loss around the two girls. We really had a great time. She, because she was driving, and me because I was alive. I also kicked it with the little dudes almost every day this week by running errands and an orthodontist visit.
There’s something about making decisions when it’s not your mouth stretched open with metal extractors. But, I either approved more dental work, offered the staff tickets to a Rangers’ baseball game, or put the youngest on the market for adoption. I told them Liliana would call later to straighten things out. Three days later and a van keeps driving by the house playing nursery rhymes. She’d better call quick—I’ll miss that little dude.
Finally, tonight all four of us guys headed to Gateway Grand Prairie church for their Top Gun themed men’s night out. Zip lines, dessert trucks, volleyball and a worship session that began with guitars ripping on the movie’s soundtrack. Now that’s church. We high-fived and ate ice cream until it was time to drag it on home. Totally exhausted is the way to end a Top Gun night. Funny part was when I snarled, “Yeah, Top Gun” and they all shrugged while waiting for more ice cream. They’ll learn about Maverick one day.
Reflecting on this week, I cherish the moments that have made it so special, but I dread admitting the reality. Truth is, this is our last week of summer all together. Max goes back to school on the 8th and the others head off to a camp all week.
Liliana and I joke about how nice it is while they’re in school. We get so much more work done that way. What I’ve learned getting FIT@50 is that it isn’t about the work produced but the family moments created. I am thankful for a week that included a major book launch, early returns of the kids and surviving driving school. The landscape will look drastically different next week, but no worries. Faith says push forward, and push forward we shall do.
Until next week, “I feel the need. The need for speed.”
So how do authors come up with the names of characters in their books, or the actual title of the book itself?
Titles usually lend themselves to genre research, or what titles are selling best on the big distributors. Titles in a series usually follow a theme such as my wife, Liliana Hart’s MacKenzie Series – Need, Crave, Scorch, etc. to name but a few.
There is no one formula for the character names though. Some writers use combinations of family and friend names. Others use pets names, or maybe the name they would’ve given to a child.
Names are important for a character. They can plant an everlasting image in your mind without one descriptive word written. Think of Dudley DoRight for example. Any more character description needed?
When I began developing concepts for my new series, I wanted a main character to run the entire series. They’d have a dynamic supporting cast, but make no mistake, this guy was Da Man.
Liliana and I were cleaning out old stuff at my dad’s house one day. I found a pair of Joe Boxer briefs in a drawer of college era clothes and basically other junk I thought was worthy of saving some 30 years ago.
It hit me
Joseph. No, just Joe. Joe who? Joe Boxer, that’s who. Yeah, Sergeant Joe Boxer.
I didn’t even have the concept focus in mind much less plot, arcs, and action. That name carried a clear image of who he was and what he did.
Immediately, Sergeant Joe Boxer wrote the story for me. The first novel (not yet released) exploded in my mind. Within about a month and a half, I’d completed over 90,000 words of what only the Sarge could’ve accomplished.
He’s still in charge of book two in the series, and I can assure you that he remains the kick-ass action / adventure star who first popped into my head while sharing old college adventure stories with my wife.
You just never know, but you do learn to allow space. You might just be surprised who shows up in there.
What are some of your favorite character names?
What Lies At The Heart of Man
This week is a big week for me as I release Sabotage: Beginnings, a full-length novel in the Savage Souls Outlaw MC Series.
The story came quick, but the higher the intensity level of writing, the more complex and complicated the characters became. In an author’s world – they became real. Very real.
I’ve learned that’s the point when you slow down the writing, and it becomes an experience, more than an effort to craft a novel. The characters come to life and you find yourself becoming parts of who they are in as much as they manifest their creator.
I invited a group of readers to review an unedited draft of Sabotage: Beginnings earlier in the year. I didn’t know them personally, so there was no bias or obligation to slant comments toward a positive light.
The feedback was critical in refining the story to ensure it met actionable items I felt needed to be included in the work. Their comments were encouraging and they’ve begun posting reviews at Goodreads and various vendor sites.
I invite you to check them out. Once you read Sabotage: Beginnings I’d ask that you too take a moment to leave an honest review. Reviews really do help the author’s chance for success and helps improve the writer’s skill.
Goodreads Review 1:
I was very lucky to receive an ARC of Sabotage. Firstly, let me just say that in my humble opinion – the book was epic! I have been chomping at the bit to read about how Justice became the man he is and LS Silverii certainly didn’t dissapoint.
The story starts with our hero (Justice Boudreaux) and heroine (Israeli Mossad covert operative and serious badass Batya Cohen) on a government mission out on the outskirts of Pakistan – the mission: to retrieve Ben Ford (aka Grayman). The author descriptions of the terrain and surroundings were brilliant and helped set the scene. I could picture the sight Batya and Justice would have looked from their travels, ravaged skin from the baking sun etc, it made the story ‘real’.
I loved Batya. She was the very definition of empowered woman. She is the best of the best in her work and deserved the respect of her partner. I thought the banter between her and Justice was funny, it just seemed effortless, like they were kindred. When things took a dark turn for her in Afghanistan, my heart bled for her.
Justice was just so layered from the devoted softness towards his wife and daughter to the strong Alpha set on completing his mission and later to defending his family. He was larger than life and not one to mess with in the SS Series, in the beginning however he was all that but with a side of boyish humour and a lot of love to give to Batya.
Gray man…. he was deliciously complex. I simultaneously found him scary, funny, warped, intriguing…. the list is endless. Is it wrong that I felt compassion for him? This book explains how Ben ended up the way he has, in fact in this tale he is still on the path to becoming what we have seen in the Savage Souls series. It certainly gives food for thought on what makes a cannibal serial killer tick! The story travelled a long way and gave us some insight into the International Chapter President of the Savage Souls MC and his nemesis. I can’t wait to see what LS has in store for us next!
I was also lucky enough to receive an ARC copy of this book.
It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book – I found it a little dry setting the scene of Justice and Batya in the desert, but after chapter 3 it seemed to flow and move a lot quicker.
I HATED Justice in the Savage Souls series.
In fact I don’t think in all my reading I have hated a character as much. Could not stand him or what he did in the book and how he treated people. I just found him hateful….then I read Sabotage: Beginnings and well now I love his character and hate what he has been through. What he has been turned into because of what he has gone through.
He is a man that has gone through hell..more than once and come out the other side completely changed. This book is only the beginning of what he has gone through and what he will become.
I still think he is violent and hateful but I now know why he is like he is and that breaks my heart.
The connection he has with Batya is based on work ethic and ability to begin with – watching it develop makes you see Justice as human and not just a rogue CIA agent. The first real test of that connection is when you realise that that there is more to Justice than meets the eye.
Learning more about Ben and the CIA handlers and team behind Justice and Ben’s creation as such put Justice’s behaviour in an entirely different light. Ben is still really creepy and totally psychotic but very amusing.
All in all I loved the book. It really changed my perception of Justice not so much Fury and Sue but most definitely had me seeing Justice in another light.
Fantastic story and I am really looking forward to what the next book will bring and how it will meet up with Savage Souls. There seems to be a lot between then and now and I can’t wait to read how it unfolds….and if Scott can make me hate Justice again knowing his back story.
Goodreads Review 3:
Gritty and dynamic. To switch from the military/rebellious view of Justice to the psychotic serial killer Ben throughout the book definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. Lots of details, to which I was grateful for since I’m not used to this genre.
Goodreads Review 4:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was lucky to have received an ARC of this read.
I read the Savage Souls series and loathed Justice. Just reading about him and his characteristic traits enraged me. Then I read Sabotage: Beginnings and my heart softened. To know this man was tortured as a child by the one man who should have shown him and taught him love and compassion. Then to see what a government he trusted and loved did to him after serving his country so selflessly and bravely was heart breaking and while it doesn’t cause me to like his actions in Savage Souls series it at least softens my opinion of his character.
More so than the characters themselves and even in knowing that this is a work of fiction, it also makes me wonder what we as ‘civilians’ really know about what goes on or rather the lack of knowledge we truly have.
And I cannot end this without mentioning ‘Gray Man’. I work with mentally ill patients and Silverii has this ability to put the reader into the mind of this very disturbed being. I think only a person with experience in dealing with this type of profile could pull this off.
The talent of this author to transport you into his book’s plot and settings are unbelievable. This is a must read for anyone who has a tough stomach and heart! Be prepared it will have you on the edge of your seat and wanting more.
Highly recommend reading the Savage Souls series first.
To the Savage Nation faithful, I hope you’ll grab Sabotage: Beginnings right now.
To the uninitiated, I always offer the warning that this isn’t a typical MC romance. There’s plenty of hard-core reality with huge doses of clashes between strong characters who come to realize that black and white isn’t always so black and white.
If you’re new to the Savage Nation, I’d suggest you begin with the first book in the series, BROKEN – it’s FREE. Once you’re hooked, then pick up SAVAGE SOULS – The Complete Collection – It holds all five books in the initial series.
SF / FS,
INKSLINGERS BALL, Sheila Lowe’s fifth Forensic Handwriting Mystery, grabs your attention from the opening scene. The phone rings at 2:33 a.m., and Joel Jovanic, Lead Homicide Detective with the LAPD, must leave girlfriend Claudia Rose’s warm bed to investigate a chilling crime; the brutal death of a young teenage girl. You can sense his horror and determination to solve “this one” and you are right there beside him.
Flashing back three days, Lowe meticulously leads her readers through a labyrinth of events to the gruesome discovery, beginning innocently enough with the introduction of a character from a previous novel. Annabelle Giordana, a traumatized teen which Claudia helped through graphology in WRITTEN IN BLOOD, is now living temporarily with Claudia. Much improved, she still has remnants of rebellion that work their way to the surface now and then. They’re usually harmless – pouting or sulking when she doesn’t get her way – but this time, Annabelle gets in way over her head.
She meets up with a young street walker from her past. Angel – pierced, tattooed, and spouting gutter language – soon has Annabelle straying from the straight and narrow, enticing the underage girl to get a “sugar skull” tattoo just like hers. Annabelle succumbs. Soon she is boozed up, laid out in an old van with a strange man laying ink in a very private area, and totally unaware of the dark alley Angel has started her down. It’s an alley full of death and darkness with fingers reaching way into the past.
Several seemingly unrelated murders keep Jovanic’s team busy leading up to and beyond the opening crime. They investigate, interview, access police data bases, and soon connections appear. In the world of ink and piercing, it’s hard to tell what is innocent and what is deadly. Artistic ink covers jealous and vengeful hearts. It also hides a multitude of other crimes that the police seem powerless to stop.
The final climax is shocking. Readers may be prepared for something similar, but when this scene takes place, jaws will drop. The reverberations and mop-up will eventually bring satisfaction, although one small aspect may be open for question to some legal purists. INKSLINGERS BALL is definitely an outstanding addition to the series.
Lowe has departed from her usual single person POV in this novel. Forensic handwriting specialist, Claudia Rose, is very much a presence in INKSLINGERS BALL, working on her own assignments, teaching Annabelle (and readers) about the marvels of handwriting analysis, and assisting Det. Jovanic with his cases. It’s intriguing to see the different ways her profession (as well as the author’s) can be used to help law enforcement. But Annabelle and Jovanic get their own “say” as well.
And happily, Lowe has mastered the lingo of both the 15-year-old girl and the hardened cop. Their respective conversations are credible, and true to the ear. With Jovanic, readers are brought right into the police station and the patrol car. Crime scene protocol and technology are explained smoothly in both dialogue and description, making this book “almost” a police procedural.
With Annabelle and her trash-talking friends, the reader never feels he’s being patronized. The well-thought-out choices of words, attitudes and actions won’t age, even after the book has been out a while. It’s a tough task to accomplish, but here, very handily done.
The rest of Lowe’s writing is immaculate. She keeps the story moving quickly, building tension steadily with cliff hangers that don’t leave readers hanging too long, and evidence that appears in good time and is not held for chapters to sustain a false suspense. Her descriptions are concise but evocative; she never wastes words. Some readers may not like the instances of profanity, but it is not gratuitous and fits the characters’ personas. On the whole, INKSLINGERS BALL is a very enjoyable read.
INKSLINGERS BALL (as well as Sheila Lowe’s other Forensic Handwriting Mysteries) are available on Kindle and in print at Amazon.com.
Like Claudia Rose, Sheila Lowe is a court-qualified handwriting expert who testifies in forensic cases. The author of “Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous,” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis,” her analyses of celebrity handwritings have appeared in Time, Teen People, and Mademoiselle. Her articles on Personality Profiling and Handwriting Analysis for the Attorney have been published in several bar association magazines. Her award-winning Handwriting Analyzer software is used around the world and her profiles help uncover important information in background checks and pre-employment screening. She enjoys analyzing handwriting for individuals, too, helping them understand themselves and others better.
For more information on Sheila, please visit her personal website http://www.sheilalowe.com .