When reality meets fantasy…

On my way to the library every week or so, I pass a beautiful 1960-something red Ford Mustang that is in desperate need of some TLC. I always give it a longing look, thinking if I had the resources, I’d go up to the door and make the person an offer on that baby.


Only because I’ve got an apple red 1968 Mustang that stars in my Teen Mobster Series. Sigh.

I’ve been a pretty big Mustang fan since the moment I put a car in drive. In fact, at my wedding over a decade ago, my husband and I drove away from the church in a friend’s orange and black one. So when I started writing Accidental Mobster, I knew I wanted the main character’s car to be something near and dear to my heart.

Enter the 1968 red Mustang in book one of the series, and a second Mustang (same year) in book two. The trifecta is perfected in book three with an addition of a black one.

But my real-life experience with this particular year of classic Mustang was limited to vast Internet research until just last week. At the ice cream festival in my husband’s hometown, we stumbled upon the festival’s car show. The first time through, the only Mustang in the show was a souped-up version only a year or two old. Still cool, but not quite what this girl was looking for.

Well, in order to get to the parade, we took another trek through the show about an hour later. The result?


DSCN4607    DSCN4609

Okay, so not my dream color, but hey, any day I get an appointment up close and personal with a 1968 Ford Mustang is a good day, people! And if this car is getting your engine revved, pick up the Teen Mobster Series, because you’ll get to spend some quality time with this car!

Five reasons ANYBODY should read the Teen Mobster Series

I love getting feedback on the first two books in my three-part Teen Mobster Series from Bluewood Publishing. People like the characters, the drama, the action, and the romance. Yeah, I’m kinda’ partial to it too:)

But apparently, I’m competing with a smorgasbord of technology for teen readers these days. I mean, who’s going to pick up a book with, like, words in it when you can watch a movie that will give you an explosion every 5.2 minutes? Who needs a plot? Who needs a realistic character? Let’s play a video game we’ve played five-hundred times and try to kill the same villain over and over again.


Let me give you (and I mean anyone over the age of ten who likes a little action, romance, and suspense–which is everyone) a few reasons to pick up Accidental Mobster and its friend, Undercover Wiseguy, this weekend.

1. It’s the Mafia. You’ve survived six seasons of The Sopranos and three Godfather movies. Who can give you your mobster fix now? That’s right. This gal.

2. The main character, Danny, can hold his own in a fight–even with mobsters. I’m sorry, but that’s just cool.

3. There’s money, and lots of it.

4. There’s explosions. And kissing. And gunfights. And family drama. And explosions. I mean seriously, who needs a movie when I’ve managed to shove all that into one trilogy?

5. It’s the Mafia. Did I say that already? You’re not cool unless you’ve made it. And this series will give you a head start on all that mob lingo.

I said five reasons? Well, here’s one more–in all seriousness now. This entire series gives a shout out to law enforcement–at least the good ones. And at the end of the day, justice gets served on so many levels, I promise you’ll love it.

Oh, and it ends with a wedding. I mean, come on!

So come on down and join the family…


My next big thing – or rather, two things

Generally, I like to play my “next big thing” ideas close to my chest, but I was asked to join this blog hop by the talented Paulette Rae, so I decided I’d tell you a little bit about the two books that will complete the Teen Mobster Series. If you haven’t read Accidental Mobster, well, you should. I mean, that’s if you like nail-biting situations that involve the Mafia and high school. AND, it’s only $2.99 for the electronic version, which is way, way cheaper than that Starbucks non-fat vanilla chai I gulped down today.

Anyway, here’s the scoop on how the rest of this YA series is going to shake out.

1: What is the working title of your book(s)?

The second book is called Undercover Wiseguy, and the third is Covert Criminal. Those aren’t really working titles. They’re just titles;-)

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always loved crime drama. I’m probaby the only twelve-year-old who was addicted to Law and Order. I have also scarfed down anything to do with the mob (I could sing you the intro to the Sopranos, if you were so inclined.) I also have a number of family and friends in law enforcement, which makes me pretty sympathetic to the enforcement of justice (with the exception of the random speeding tickets I keep getting on the same stupid road. Forget a breathalyzer for your car–I need enforced cruise control)..

LSS (you know, long story short), I was destined to combine my love of writing teen fiction with my obsession of crime drama.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Teen fiction. More specifically, teen crime fiction, with a heap of action, a dollop of humor, and a sprinkling of romance.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmmm.  If this was made, like, next year, I think Spencer Walsh from Good Luck Charlie would be great for the role of Danny, my protaganist, Elle Fanning for love interest Portia, Dayo Okeniyi from Hunger Games for best friend Reggie, and David Henrie and Lucy Hale for Danny’s semi-siblings, Vince and Julia Vigliotti. I think Gabriel Macht from Suits for Danny’s mobster godfather, Gino Vigliotti, and Alex O’Loughlin from Hawaii Five-O for everyone’s favorite FBI agent (see pics below).

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When teenager Danny Higgins goes to live with a mob family, he finds that keeping secrets and using his “street smarts” is the only way to survive.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Published by the most awesomest independent publisher, Bluewood Publishing Ltd.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six months. I wrote both books in the early morning hours and during my daughter’s naptimes in 2011.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

For the series: think Mario Puzo’s Godfather got cleaned up and went to high school.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My respect for law enforcement and my value of family greatly influenced this series.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s not like most of the young adult novels out there. These books are not ooey-gooey romance or paranormal craziness. If you like shows like Castle, Criminal Minds, or the Sopranos, you’re probably going to enjoy this series. And even though the series is appropriate for readers as young as 12, I have had many adults email me to say how much they enjoyed Accidental Mobster and look forward to the next two books.

Now, if you are looking for some more great fiction, you should definitely check out these other authors.

Paulette Rae – This sizzling romance author has an exciting new project with, gasp!, a hitchhiker. Check out the details here.

K.D. Berry – This fantasy author team is responsible for the award-winning Dragon’s Away.

L.M. Fry – For a fun read with a sassy thirteen-year-old protagonist, check out L.M. Fry’s Soul Seer. Major plus is the hilarity that follows with having a large family.

My dream cast for the Teen Mobsters Series:


Shane Harper as Danny



Elle Fanning as Portia



Dayo Okeniyi as Reggie



David Henrie as Vince



Lucy Hale as Julia



Gabriel Macht as Gino



Alex O’Loughlin as Special Agent —- (don’t want to spoil the first book for you!)



Punching through writer’s block

I’m working on a sequel. It’s going to be great, better than the first, I tell myself with all the enthusiasm I can muster. The problem is, when I sit down to write it, fingers poised at the ready above the keyboard, I freeze.

I’m not the only victim of second-bookitis. I recently read Prodigy, the spellbinding, completely irresistible sequel to the talented Marie Lu’s Legend. I love reading Lu, because I feel there needs to be more strong male voices in YA, and her Day character is definitely a strong voice. Anyway, in her acknowledgements, she admitted to sobbing at her computer in the process of writing the second book. I have to say, I can relate.

I’ve never had writer’s block before. The Teen Mobster Series just flowed from one book to the next, each segment of the story taking the main character, Danny, to a whole new level of fighting crime and making tough choices. By the time I wrapped up the third novel, I was arrogant enough to think that writer’s block was for pansies.

Enter my next series (TBA later). The first book also flowed. The theme is paranormal, and the practical side of me worries that my friends will finally get a good look at just how crazy I am. But then, the first book doesn’t dig me into too deep of a hole.

The second one? Well that’s a different story. As I write it, I’ve been staring at my computer, thinking to myself, “This is insane. My husband will finally realize I’m insane. My children will read this one day and discover I’m insane. My friends? They’ll smile and nod at me, all the while thinking, ‘She’s insane.'”

Needless  to say, with all that lovely positive thinking, the story isn’t quite flowing. It’s more of a dentist-pulling-teeth sensation. As writers, we lay our hearts and minds out for everyone to judge, and it is torture. The best part is that people fall in love with your story and characters right alongside of you. The worst part? Your crazy is let out of the bag.

But I’m no quitter. And as I’ve heard from dozens of writers on dozens of occasions, sometimes you just have to sit your butt in the chair and make the words happen. That doesn’t mean you’ll keep everything that comes through your fingertips, but it’s better than conscientiously avoiding the computer, telling yourself you’ll work on it “another day.”

And so, long story short (no groaning! I like puns!), writer’s block only has one remedy. Writing.