It’s been a year since I published UNMASKED (the sequel to Behind the Mask) and I’m still currently working on the third and final installment to the series. And though the writing part has been going fine, the issue I’m having with it, I keep flip-flopping on the timeline. I didn’t do this with the first book, and I didn’t do this with the second one either, but for some reason, I’m obsessed with going back and forth with it in the third.
I started writing it with a clear vision of a specific time frame but then changed my mind. Then while I was writing it with the new timeline, I wasn’t feeling it, so I opted to go back to the original idea. To say, I’m pulling my hair out and making myself crazy would be a major understatement. But I also thrive on the craziness. Why? I have no idea. I will admit, I did flip-flop in the sequel but only with a location. In fact, I scrapped an entire section, then rewrote it and added things throughout the book to make it all fit. So, for me to flip-flop while writing this book, is NOT shocking in the least…it’s pretty much expected. I just wish I could find my footing and get my s**t together!
Anyway, once I stick with a timeline, I’m hoping to start posting some teasers soon.
I’m going to begin this update by stating…I always knew how I was going to end UNMASKED. I never wavered. That said, I had an alternate ending lurking in the back of my mind and written in my many notes. And though I opted to stick with my original ending, there was a part of me that debated on incorporating that alternate ending into a third book. And that’s just what I’m doing. In fact, there are reasons why I added a few things into the sequel just in case I did write a third. I know some readers were perfectly content with the way it ended and might choose not to read the third book, while others will be thrilled that I’ve decided to continue with the Liam and Remi saga. Guess we shall see what happens once I finish and publish it.
Right now, I’m currently working on that third book, which will make Behind the Mask and UNMASKED an official trilogy. I will periodically update this site and my social media accounts to let everyone know where I’m at with it.
I’m also working on another novel, which is a completely different story than Behind the Mask. This is a side project at the moment, but hoping it will eventually become much more.
Wishing everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and hope 2019 is a good year for all of us!
Kindle edition for my novel, UNMASKED will be available at Amazon.com for only $.99 starting Monday, July 16th, 2018. The sale will continue through Saturday, July 21st, 2018.
If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App (for other devices) for free at Apple.com or for Android at Google Play.
Excerpt from UNMASKED:
Though he was doing a good job concentrating on the task at hand, his thoughts once again betrayed him, by sending him right back to the Bank of Philadelphia. But this time, it wasn’t the meetings before or the actions afterward, it was right at the point when he and Tom retrieved the diamonds. They each had one of the two keys required to open the safety deposit box, and Liam thought about how as they unlocked the box, he was oblivious to Remi being in the vault with them. He was so focused on the diamonds that to him, she didn’t exist. Of course, she soon became very real when right before they were about to exit, Tom asked what they should do with her. Those dark blue eyes, he thought. It was as if those eyes could see directly into his soul. Liam remembered telling Tom just to leave her. Never realizing that it was at that exact moment, he began protecting Remi. Even with his own empty threats against her, looking back, he had to laugh at the irony. Other than knowing she was one of the tellers, she was a stranger to him and knew little about her but yet he was still compelled to risk it all for her. “You identified with your hostage, that’s a big no-no.” Remi’s own words certainly rang true, in more ways than one.
He gazed up at the full moon then started smiling. “No regrets, no emotions, no involvement…blah blah blah,” he uttered. Those words sounded so false now. While inside the vault, Remi asked who he was trying to convince, after his cold declaration that hostages were just part of the job. She didn’t believe him, and at the time, he thought she was dead wrong, but now knew she was right. It took someone like her to make him face reality. And face it, he did. The longer he laid there, the more he realized that not only did he want to go back to Philly, but he needed to go back. – Chapter 5
I recently found out that Amazon has the power to remove whatever reviews they want. Their reason…any reviews that can be considered biased, will be nixed. So, this pretty much sucks, when friends and family support your work and want to help you out by reviewing your book, only to find out that because of their close relationship to you, the review is null and void. I understand it, to a point, because apparently, it can skew a potential reader’s decision on whether to purchase a book or not. This is a recent policy because the reviews on my debut novel, Behind the Mask (2014), haven’t been removed and one of them has the same last name as me. Just saying!
Anyway, I’m glad I’m now aware of this little nugget because though positive reviews are great to receive, I also want them to appear genuine. And certainly, don’t want them to come across as false. Even though I know they are legit, some may not believe that.
This brings me to another area of reviews, an extremely ugly dark side. One that I knew existed but honestly avoided. Maybe I subconsciously chose not to read reviews for fear of what I’d see, but when I happened to notice the sudden removal of reviews for my latest book, Unmasked, that’s when I spotted a truly mean-spirited review (dated from April 2016 – Kindle Edition) of Behind the Mask This particular review was beyond scathing and this person did not hold back. And I’ve always said, can’t please everyone and I still stand by that. Plus, I’m the first to admit, my debut novel was filled with typos, grammatical errors, and the writing wasn’t the best, not by a long shot. But what it was…was something I was passionate about and put my heart and soul into for many years. I know a good editor would have done wonders for it, I’m not naïve or stupid, but editors are costly, so I opted against it. Probably not the wisest of choices. And for me to put myself out there was HUGE, and for those that know me, I’ve never been one to seek the limelight or be center of attention, so just allowing others to read my work was a big accomplishment. And I knew I had to grow a thick skin, that people were going to be critical and I had to learn to take it. I’m open to constructive criticism. Pointing out mistakes in a tactful way is fine and welcomed. Being bitter and doing it in a harsh manner, comes across like a personal attack, especially when it’s someone’s debut novel, that he/she self-published. It’s a learning process. I’m sorry that person had such an awful experience reading my novel; I never thought I’d provoke that much negativity and be cut down to the core like that. Hating a story is one thing, loathing the writing itself took it to a whole other level.
That said, it did make me go back and do the one thing I hadn’t done in a while—read through the entire book of Behind the Mask. The mistakes are glaring, and stick out like a sore thumb. It’s like reading the good, the bad, and the ugly all rolled up into one. Not making excuses, well maybe I am, but this was my first attempt at writing a novel, so I guess it could have been worse. Regardless, I’ve decided to clean it up, which is something I should have done sooner, but after I read it over so many times back in 2014, that I most likely began to skip over all the mistakes. It’s easier to do than one might think, which is why an editor is definitely needed.
So, in closing. For those, who have copies of the original Behind the Mask, whether paperback or Kindle edition, I thank you very much for reading through the mistake-plagued version and for all the positive feedback. When I’m finished revising (no story changes, just a more polished version with fewer mistakes) I’m going to submit it on Amazon. Kindle owners may or may not get an update that the book has been revised. I’ll make an announcement when I’ve done it, just in case.
Back in June of 2014, I began the difficult task of sending out query letters and a 10-page synopsis of Behind the Mask, to a list of literary agents I found at WritersMarkets.com. Having absolutely NO clue what I was doing, I researched how to go about the process. And I’m pretty sure I did it all wrong, but the longer I do this, the more I learn.
So, the query letter was awful, even when I read it now, I cringe. And the 10-page synopsis, which needed to basically spoil the reader, was harder to write than one would imagine. But I was undeterred in my quest to make a fool of myself. I say that because though I felt I had a decent story to tell, I wasn’t fully confident I had succeeded in writing it.
After skimming through the names of hundreds of agents, I just picked out ones that I assumed handled fictional novels. I typed up the required self-addressed stamped envelopes, stuck in the query letter, along with the synopsis and hoped for the best.
Since I self-published both of my books you can guess what happened. However, I had heard horror stories about some of the rejections letters authors had received, even famous ones. Therefore, I was prepared for the slaughter, but surprisingly the rejections weren’t as painful as I expected. That being said, after the tenth one or so, can’t say they didn’t sting a little.
I sent out 24 in all and got back 20. Some were just my query letter sent back to me with a few words written on them, stating how they weren’t interested. Some were a standard stock robotic letter, saying they couldn’t represent me. But a few were very kind and no one told me it all out sucked. Or that I should give up writing. There was one in particular who wrote the most amazing letter and told me how she saw it as a movie, but I didn’t submit a screenplay, I submitted a novel. Two completely different things. Not going to lie, can’t say I haven’t thought about the movie version, but I’m a realist. Even though she didn’t represent me, I never forgot about her letter. The following are just three of the rejection letters, to show the difference in responses. The first one is my favorite:
As I tweak this website, the one thing I decided to do was separate the two novels, Behind the Mask and Unmasked into separate sections. At first, I had them listed under a menu titled, ‘NOVELS’ but thought by giving them each their own identity made more sense. Because even though Unmasked is a continuation of the first novel there are things that are unique to both, that I think people would find interesting. Or at least, I just think it would be fun to give away some little nuggets of this long journey that has brought me to this point.
For instance, the characters of Remi Catalano and Liam Matthews have been a part of my life for 10 years now. 10 YEARS!!!! They’ve had many, many, MANY conversations in my head. Some made it to the books, some did not. I have tons of notebooks, post-its, and iPhone notes with scribblings that only I would understand what was written. I’ll read a few now and laugh at how manic they appear. I used to write while my son was playing travel baseball. He’d train for hours, so I would just drift off into Remi and Liam’s world. Never did I think, 10 years later, I’d still be writing about them and letting others read about them as well.
I’ll begin this ‘welcome’ post with a disclaimer…this website is a work in progress. After blogging via Blogger (blogspot) for years, this is my first time working with WordPress. And I’m learning as I go so this site may go through many changes and tweaks before I get it to where I’m happy with it. For those who already know me, that won’t surprise them, because though I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a perfectionist, I’m my harshest critic. However, I wanted to get this site up and running, instead of leaving it dormant. And since I’m releasing my second novel, waiting to launch this website, didn’t make much sense. So, here it is.