Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Heroine Confesses (How I Found the Author of My Story)

A blog post by Brenda Moguez

Nothing Is Lost In Loving
Release April 13, 2016

Finding my author

Brenda was sitting in the Barnes and Nobel loft overlooking the entrance when I saw her. The instant we locked eyes, I knew, I just knew she was the one to tell my story.

Finding Brenda spurred an odd déjà vu moment when you’re totally aware of the universe and know something WOW has just happened, but you’re too freaked out to understand it. I knew something had happened, but was in a frantic state and slow to process our connection. In my defense, I was having a bad day. It was the second anniversary of Bobby’s—my husband—death, and I had lost my job. I wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

My boss, Jack Francis, the stuff dreams are made of, had called, and over the phone kicked me to the curb. He cited economic challenges and a change in corporate direction, but really, it was all BS. He was the consummate actor, claiming how much he had struggled with the decision to lay me off knowing I was a widowed mother, even feigned concern over my loss of financial security. I was screwed. I was barely holding on when Jack said he wanted to stay in touch, and maybe become friends. “What the hell,” I remember the voice in my head screamed. How could I? I had had one too many colorful daydreams about the man involving birthday suits. No way, I wanted to be friends with the guy who had just fired me.

If Santiago, my seven-year-old, hadn't come barreling down the hallway, I would have lost it then and there. I got off the phone ASAP. After dropping my sweet boy off at school, I headed downtown. By the time, I reached Barnes and Nobel I was a basket case. Brenda was sitting in the loft lost in her own thoughts. I like to think she was waiting for something challenging.
For the record, I'm not the sort of woman to cry in my Chardonnay or whimper for the sake of it, but since I didn’t have a plan, I was scared. I didn't have much of savings and was worried my nasty monster-in-law would come after me. I was terrified she'd try to take Santiago away from me claiming I was an unfit mother. I wasn't, but since she needed some to blame for Bobby’s cancer, I was the lucky one she was fond of torturing. I supposed if my only son had died young, I’d have looked for someone to blame, but at that moment, I was too freaked out about being fired, and frankly, irrational and panicky.

I explained my mess to Brenda, hoping to pique her interest enough to tell my story. She was understanding but swore she was the wrong person for the job. I listened to her ramble on about her inadequacies, desperately trying to convince me, she was all wrong for the job, but the quirky and utterly frank way she spoke about passions, and heartbreak, convinced me otherwise. I needed her voice to help me find mine, her dogged tenacity she had drawn on to survive her own colorful life was exactly what I required to face my past and begin a new chapter in my life. Since Brenda and I were both at a crossroad, there was no doubt she was the one, actually she was the only one whom I would trust with my own dire tale.

Meeting Brenda so unexpectedly was a sign. Bobby used to say everything in life happened for a reason. Losing my job was a cruel twist of fate, but meeting the woman who would ultimately bring me out of past and into the present was definitely a signal from the cosmic forces it was time to get on with living my life.

I had spent two years lost in a time warp, reliving the moments in between the start of my love affair with Bobby and his final breath. Death is a funny thing, and one day when I start writing again, I might take a crack at breaking the secret to healing. For the present, I am taking life on day at a time. How about you?

Nothing Is Lost In Loving

Blurb: When Stella Delray unexpectedly loses her job a week before Christmas, which is also the anniversary of her husband’s death, she is forced to stop talking to his ashes, come to terms with her loss, and get her life back on track for her young son’s sake as well as her own. She never expected that posting an ad on Craigslist would send her into the arms of not one but two men, one of whom is her former boss. Now she’s working as an admin for a retired Broadway star, bookkeeping for an erotic video production company, and writing love letters for the mysterious "Oaklander." Adding to the craziness of her new life, her monster-in-law resurfaces and the father-in-law she never met shows up on her doorstep. With the guidance of her best friend, Bono, Stella will learn to redefine the rules she’s always lived by.

To Purchase
On Amazon

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Gambler's Choice - Inspiration

Surrender to imagination. Envision a fairy-tale horse prancing across the mountains and plains of ancient times, his unshod hooves lifted high in a dramatic trot. This white stallion, his thick mane unfurled like a flag, canters boldly toward an angry bull and the cheers of the crowd rise into a blue-hot Spanish sky.

The Andalusian is an ancient pure breed that has been carefully preserved over the centuries. In Northern Spain, cave paintings depict men leading Mesolitic horses with convex heads, solid muscular bodies, elegant necks and luxurious manes. Circa 1,100 B.C., Homer refers to the Iberian horse in his Iliad. Xenophon, the 'father' of modern equitation, praises the gifted Iberian horses and horseman who fought in the Peloponneisian Wars in 431 B.C. Julius Caesar wrote of the noble steeds of Hispania in "Del Bollo Gallico." The Iberian horse carried Hannibal across the Alps in his invasion of Italy (though the elephants got all the credit!). History records Richard I and many of his knights mounted on "airy Spanish Destriers".
In the heyday of European monarchies, the Andalusian's flair, style and formidable carriage made him the mount of choice for the aristocracy. Not only did the Spanish horse excel in battle but he was a fancy parade horse and an elegant fine harness animal. This popularity earned the Iberian horse a grandiose title, "Horse of Kings" or "Royal Horse of Europe." Indeed, there was a time when no crowned head would consider having a portrait painted on any horse other than an Andalusian.

The 17th-century Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens, chose the Spanish horse, with its robust body and flowing mane and tail, for his paintings. The artist is noted for his voluptuous, full-bodied nudes, and the Andalusian horse epitomizes the term "Rubenesque." The Spanish horse and Rubens' passionate style were the quintessence of the opulent Baroque era. As a popular painter and a pro-Spanish diplomat, Rubens' work and his pro-Spanish politics accompanied him on his diplomatic missions. Thus, via canvas, the Spanish horse was introduced to the high courts of Europe.
Rubens painted portraits of such famous personages as the governors of the Spanish Netherlands, King Charles I of England, King Philip IV of Spain, the Spanish Duke of Lerma, Kings Henri IV and Henri XIII of France, the Polish Princes Ladislas Sigismund and the Duke of Lerma. In "Capture at Juliers", Rubens allegorically depicts Marie de Medici mounted on a Spanish horse. Many of his works, including "St. George and the Dragon" (c. 1606-1610), feature the Spanish horse in powerful and fierce battle poses, which seemed to satisfy his taste for depicting violent action and lovely women.

Van Dyke, Rubens' most celebrated pupil, depicted Charles I on an Andalusian, and the Spanish painter Velazquez painted Philip III and Queen Isabel of Bourbon riding Andalusians. But in the late 18th and 19th centuries, the trend to greater size and scope in horses began to adversely affect the Andalusian's popularity.
Then a tragic plague followed by a devastating famine nearly swept the breed into oblivion, but, fortunately, in a few mountainous areas of the country, the Carthusian monks carefully preserved the depleted blood stock and began the long journey to re-establishing the breed. In order to conserve these rare horses for breeding, the Spanish government placed an embargo on their export and, for over 100 years, the Andalusian was virtually unseen by the rest of the world. Only a scattered one or two Andalusians came to this country prior to the 1960's, and it was virtually impossible to see one outside art or film.
Throughout history, the Spanish horse has remained remarkably pure. The Andalusian is very sturdy, with a long sloping shoulder which gives him a lofty and pleasant trot. His wide chest, deep heart, strong, short back and well-rounded hind quarters give him the ability to sit down on his haunches and balance on his hind legs. The crested neck with its curtain of silky mane and the thick, long tail add elegance and a story-book beauty. Though most people imagine the Andalusian as the dancing white horse, the Spanish Registry recognizes blacks and bays as well. The Andalusian ranges in size from 15 hands to 17 hands, with the average being 15.3-16.0.

In an era when the mounted soldier trusted his life to his horse, the Andalusian's strength and natural gift for collection made him the premier warhorse of Europe. When mortal conflict waged hand-to-hand, the Andalusian was the soldier's best friend or worst nightmare, depending on which side of the battle you faced him.

Dressage, today's fastest growing sport, developed as a means to school the superior warhorse. The so-called airs-above-the-ground, capriole and courbette, were designed to strike terror in the enemy foot soldiers. In capriole, the horse leaps into the air and kicks out with his hind feet. In courbette, he rears and jumps forward on his hind feet.
It is easy to see why a horse, so bold and quick, that he can dart near enough for a mounted bullfighter to place a rose between the horns of a maddened bull then whisk away before being gored, is a definite advantage in battle.

My experience with these magnificent horses was the inspiration for Gambler's Choice.

Linda Nightingale
To Purchase

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Didn’t you love the 1980’s? Layered hair, shoulder pads, lace gloves, eye shadow, and songs like “Sweet Dreams,” “Billie Jean,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “Maniac”? Such decadence and so much fun! I couldn’t resist setting my new mystery romance series in those glorious days. 

As a kid I adored child stars like Shirley Temple, Hayley Mills, and Patty Duke, seeing their movies over and over. So I created a heroine for my series who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Paper Doll tells that back story. Now at thirty-nine, Jana Lane lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. In PORCELAIN DOLL, releasing on March 16, Jana makes a comeback film, a murder mystery thriller. Life imitates art as Jana has to uncover who is being murdered on the set and why—before the murderer gets her! Jana’s heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous romantic co-star in the film, America’s number one heartthrob Jason Adonis. The other suspects include Jana’s James Dean type young co-star, her older John Wayne type co-star, her children’s Eve Harrington type nanny, the film’s gossipy makeup and hair artist, a local reverend trying to stop the film’s production, and Jason’s colorful agent.

How was I able to write about the ins and outs of a movie set? After college, I was an actor on stage, screen, and television, playing opposite stars Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, David Paymer, and Jason Robards. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novels would also be page-turning mysteries with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, and lots of clues leading to a surprising yet earned conclusion. Since coming from a funny Italian-American family, I also knew humor would play a role in my novels. As a reviewer wrote, I used my insider knowledge of show business to devilish ends!

And the fun has just begun. Coming throughout the next few months are more Jana Lane mysteries. In Satin Doll, Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll, Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. In Ragdoll, Jana stars in a television murder mystery series and once again life imitates art.

The early reviews for PORCELAIN DOLL have been amazing. For example:
"Porcelain Doll is Joe Cosentino at his finest. We are drawn back to the fashions and attitudes of the 1980's in a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion." -- Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine

“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” -- Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

“Murder, mystery, and suspense are high inside of this brilliant masterpiece by Joe Cosentino.” “Every page fills the readers with intrigue.” “Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly.” “Once you read it, you can't put it down.” -- Danielle Urban Universal Creativity Inc.

So let the camera roll, slate board crack, and spotlight shine on the world of movie-making and its captivating inhabitants in these romantic, entertaining, fast-paced whodunits with shocking endings. Lights up on the Jane Lane mysteries!

PORCELAIN DOLL can be purchased at any of the following:
Publisher website
All Romance

For more on Joe Cosentino: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Who Are Your Characters? By Jacki Moss

“Are your characters patterned after anyone you know?” That’s a common question interviewers ask a fiction author, because that’s often what readers want to know. As an author, I love when people ask that question! That means they want to know more about a character. It means that for some reason, they care. That’s always a good thing.

Characters are the most important part of a story. After all, the world revolves around people, the characters in our own lives, in our own stories. Isn’t everything really about people, about relationships, about how people interact with one another?

Accordingly, character development is key to drawing readers into a story. If you do it right, readers somehow identify with your characters. They either have similar traits, or hopes and dreams, or feelings, or fears. Or they may know someone like your characters.

You want to develop your character into a multi-dimensional, relatable actor, as well as cultivate a relationship between your character and the reader. It can be a friendship or an adversarial relationship. It can be a combination of both, depending upon the complexity the character and the situation he or she is placed into.

Allowing, drawing readers to put themselves into your character’s shoes creates a bond. Quirks and eccentricities give characters depth. We all have them. We are all amazingly alike and uniquely different.

It’s the author’s job to craft characters from the millions of similarities and differences we have.

So, the answer to, “Are your characters patterned after anyone you know?” is yes, and no.

My characters are bits and pieces of people I know, of people I’ve read about, of people who I only know from family and friend’s stories.

For instance, Cafton, my main character in With A Bullet, is loosely patterned after me, at my best and at my worst. His name, Cafton, is an old family name, first popping up in the mid-1800s and ending as my father’s middle name. I’ve always loved that name. It’s unique, memorable, and seems to have an implied quality of reserved integrity to it. Those are the qualities I wanted for my Cafton character.

Cafton and other characters have habits, eccentricities, and traits of other people, from friends, family, or perfect strangers who happen to come into my awareness.

And, yes, it is certainly possible that if an author notices you, you may recognize a smidgeon of yourself in a book.


To Purchase