By Joe Sergi, Author of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy
I recently saw a review of Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy where the reviewer did not like the way one of the characters spoke. The book is about a teenage girl named DeDe, who develops the same super powers as a fictional comic book character named SkyBoy. Luckily, DeDe’s best friend, Jason, is a self professed comic book geek that helps her discover the origin of her powers and face the all-too-real enemies of SkyBoy. Jason uses perfect English and doesn’t use contractions, which annoyed the critic. Jason’s dialogue is intentional.
They say inspiration comes in strange ways. For Jason, it came, fittingly, from my experience at the New York ComicCon. The organizers had oversold the show and the fire marshal had stopped letting people in. Locked out, I sat on the floor to work on an early draft of Sky Girl. Instead, I found myself people watching.
I noticed all of the great shirts that people were wearing and immediately knew that Jason was going to wear a different geek shirt every day. This allowed for some great inside jokes. In the first book, the shirts are relatively straight forward with things like “Han shot first!” and “Frak!” In later books, he wears: “You can’t have manslaughter without laughter.” and “Honk if you are going to hit me!” At shows (or if you order the book through DCBService.com during June), when I sign the book, I draw different character sketches in the cover. As expected, Jason’s shirts are always different.
But, something else caught my eye while sitting on that floor. A fan with a wheeling cart full of books to be signed was getting irate about being kept off the floor. He started by calmly talking to the marshal, but soon was yelling at everyone. But, no matter how excited he got, his grammar never deteriorated, he never used a contraction, and he emphasized every syllable (think Sinatra in the younger days.) There are other people who talk similarly (a fictional example is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory), but this guy was incredible.
“This is not very fair!”
“I do not know why we cannot go in.”
“I cannot believe this. You are not very nice, kind sir.”
The entire rant was awkward, stilted, and uncomfortable. Most of all, it was perfect–Jason had his voice. I took out every one of Jason’s contractions. I read the sentences out loud stressing each syllable.”
Every editor who looked at the book tried to change Jason’s dialogue. But, like Jason’s inspiration, I would not back down. I even added lines of dialogue about the awkwardness of Jason’s diction.
So, if you pick up Sky Girl, I hope you don’t think,, “No one really talks like that”. Instead, I hope you remember my story. I would like to thank Fodder for Fiction for letting me explain Jason’s quirks.
Joe Sergi is an author who lives outside of Washington, DC with his wife, Yee, and daughter, Elizabeth. He has published short prose stories and articles in the horror, science fiction, and super hero genres. Joe has also written for comics in the romance, horror, science fiction, and super hero genres. Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy is his first novel. In 2008, Joe was selected as a semi-finalist in the Who Wants to Create a Superheroine contest sponsored by the Shadowline Imprint of Image Comics. When not writing, Joe works for an unnamed government agency.
I am pleased to welcome to Fodder for Fiction, the very talented Laura Breck, author of Secret Vegas Lives!
One of the primary goals of my writing is to give readers a world into which they can escape the stress of life. And a fun read for lounging on the beach or cuddling up with a blanket and a cup of tea. ~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance.
Another goal is to make a difference in the world. That is why each of my books will sponsor a community program, and a percentage of my proceeds will be donated to that organization.
I’ve contracted two books with Red Rose Publishing, and the first, Secret Vegas Lives, is currently available. The second book, Scandalous L.A. Desires is scheduled for a 2010 release.
I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my family, and although I work a full-time job as a financial analyst for a professional sports team, I write every evening and weekend.
I hope to be a full-time writer one day soon, and I take classes in every aspect of writing, marketing, and publishing. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, Midwest Fiction Writers, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, ESPAN, and Elements of RWA.
Mistaken for a blackmailer, socialite Valerie Kane will do anything to keep sexy Italian crime writer Antonio Daniato from publicly exposing her, and Antonio is wickedly intent on seeing how far Valerie will go to protect her reputation.
Bestselling author Antonio Daniato sets a trap to capture his blackmailers, and is surprised when well-known psychologist Valerie Kane stumbles into his arms. She swears she’s not involved, but he threatens to expose her unless she reveals her accomplice. When she bares her soul to prove her innocence, Antonio is fascinated by her honesty, but shaken by the intensity of his desire for her.
Surrendering to temptation, Valerie defies her family’s wishes and risks her reputation to let hot blooded, enigmatic Antonio into her life. But she uncovers evidence that he’s staging the blackmail scenes as research for his next book – and casting her as the blackmailer. When she confronts him, it’s his turn to convince her of his innocence.
Their outrageous sexual attraction keeps them in each other’s arms, but mutual distrust prevents them from admitting their deeper emotions. When the true blackmailer threatens to reveal Antonio’s double life, Antonio yields to his guilt and chooses to let Valerie go. But Valerie discovers his secret, and will fight for Antonio against an addiction whose hold on him may be stronger than their love
Hey, That’s A Great Idea!
Real life situations play a crucial role in my fictional writing. The idea for Secret Vegas Lives, my first published novel, came from a friend at a Vegas bachelorette party. “You should write a book about this,” she said. Heading home on the plane, I outlined the plot.
The story revolves around our hero’s life, and especially his secret. I love Antonio Daniato because he’s such a flawed, egocentric character. He’s a wealthy crime novelist who knows he’s a bad boy, and doesn’t care to change. He’s happy with his one-nighters and his decadent thrill addiction. Until he meets Valerie, and sees what he’s been missing.
My heroine, Dr. Valerie Kane, is an eminent psychologist who is at the wrong place at the right time, and is mistaken for a blackmailer by Antonio. Besides working as a psychologist, Valerie also volunteers at a shelter. I added this element to my heroine’s life because I’ve partnered with The Shade Tree Shelter of Las Vegas, and I donate a portion of the proceeds of Secret Vegas Lives to them.
The Shade Tree is a wonderful shelter for women, children, and their pets. So many women in abusive situations will not leave their pets behind, and they remain at home, endangering themselves and their children. Domestic shelters around the world should take note of The Shade Tree’s success. When I envision a child uprooted from their home seeking comfort from their pet, it makes me a little weepy. Read more about the shelter on my website.
Here is a spicy scene from Secret Vegas Lives that I hope you’ll enjoy. Antonio took her hand and rubbed circles on her palm, looking at her with those beautiful brown eyes. “It will be good, Valerie. We will be fabulous together. Say yes, baby, and I’ll have you moaning for hours.”
She was lost in his gaze, could barely draw a breath. Her womb tingled with anticipation, her mind befuddled by the image of her lying under him. Moaning for hours.
She had to snap out of it. She raised an eyebrow. “Does that line really work?”
He released her hand. “None of my lines work on you, do they?”
She sighed. Did he honestly have no idea that his smoky glances and wicked suggestions turned every inch of her body into a tingling time bomb?
“Not really,” she lied and steered the conversation to the blackmailer.
They compared his and Betina’s lists of suspects and came up with possible scenarios. For the next hour, Valerie didn’t notice the waiter frequently refilling their wine glasses, until she started slurring her words. She was tipsy.
He must have realized she drank too much and moved their glasses to the edge of the table. The waiter walked by, and Antonio said, “Two cappuccinos, please.”
“Thank you.” She fanned herself with her napkin. “I didn’t realize how much I drank.”
“You’re a lot of fun when you loosen up.”
“Loosen up? Thanks. Makes me sound like an uptight bitch.”
“Whoa, bella, let’s keep this pleasant, okay?” His smile was teasing.
“I don’t usually drink this much.”
He stared at her.
She asked, “What are you thinking?”
He rubbed his chin. “I’m going to use this scene in my next book. Two people, drawn to each other sexually, but kept apart by their suspicions of each other.”
She shook her head and regretted it when she felt the room spin. “Your books are not romantic at all. You should introduce a love interest for your cop-hero.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Everyone’s a critic. Okay, Doctor, how should I make my books more female friendly?”
She looked at him; his face seemed to float in and out of focus, just like in her dream. A light bulb went on in her brain, and she leaned forward. “I have an idea.”
“I do, too, but we’ll have to go back to my place —”
“Uh uh. About the book. You could make it more romantic by having the cop dream about one of his female co-workers. Then build a romance from there.”
“Might work. What would he dream?”
Her own dream replayed in her mind. “She’s in her office, and he barges in wearing riding leathers, sunglasses, boots…”
This was dangerous, but she didn’t care. She smiled seductively. “She watches him take off his sunglasses, his leather gloves and jacket. He’s wearing a white shirt, jeans, and leather chaps.”
His eyes held a serious look, and he shifted in his seat.
She leaned closer. “She gets up from her chair and saunters toward him, wearing nothing but a slinky black —”
“Stop.” His brows drew together. “For God’s sake, Valerie.” His hand fisted. “You push me too far.”
She sat back, sobered by his warning. She closed her eyes. What was wrong with her? He was intensely into her, and yet she deliberately enticed him.
With the wine spinning her brain, she‘d allowed desire to launch her out of control.
She couldn’t meet his eyes. “I…I’m going to the ladies room.” She jumped up out of the booth — too quickly. The room shifted. She blinked to focus, walked hesitantly to the back of the restaurant, and found the dark hall leading to the restrooms. As her hand touched the women’s room door, an arm came around her and pulled her back against a solid wall of muscle.
“You are poison.” Antonio wrapped his arm beneath her breasts. He pulled her backward into an empty meeting room and closed the door behind them.
Sometimes ideas for my books come from dreams, some pop into my head while reading other books, and once in a while, as with Secret Vegas Lives, someone blurts out an idea at a completely unexpected moment.
Please leave a comment, and one lucky person will be drawn at random to receive a goodie bag of my promo items.
Thank you so much to Fodder for Fiction for having me here today. Ms. Lisa Leibow is an amazingly talented writer, and I am privileged to be one of her blog sisters at The Roses of Prose, Authors of Women’s Fiction and Romance.
Secret Vegas Lives is available at RedRosePublishing.com