"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~E.L. Doctorow

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pen Names

So what do you guys think of Pen Names?

Lately I've been contemplating whether or not I should use a pen name or not. I know, I know cart before the horse and all that but unfortunately (or fortunately which ever way you look at it) that is how my brain works.

In the end, I think I came to the realization that the only reason I would choose to use a pen name would be for my kids' sake. For whatever reason - good, bad or indifferent - I wouldn't want my kids to be intruded upon because of my literary life.

So for you authors out there - how did you decide what to put on your by line? Do you use your real name or a pen name? What made you decide?

A Balancing Act

So I was wondering the other day if an author could balance two projects at the same time (more specifically an author without the benefit of a staff, editor, or agent to help them out). Do you think you could give equal attention to two different stories at once? Do you think you could keep the characters from melding into the other story? Would you ever attempt it? Or do you think sticking to one story at a time is the way to go?

What would you do?

Monday, July 18, 2011


Today I just needed to post up this inspiration. It was just something that tugged on my heart this morning and I hope you all find the inspiration in it that I did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We authors are a weird bunch.

Okay I just had to say it, but let me expain before you start yelling at me for being rude.

So I was having a conversation with my best friend and she asked me how my writing was going. To which I said, it was going very well. I loved the new character that I flushed out. And the dialogue was just flowing fabulously. All in all, it was great! (which it hasn't been for a while)

Then this exact sentence came out of my mouth, and I realized exactly how odd we writers are in general. I said, "I finally figured out how to kill them! Its going to be great and I can't wait!!"

Yup..... just let that sentence sink in for a second.

Hahaha. I then proceded to say "Geez, if anyone who didn't know me, just read that they would think I was a murderous psychopath!" Where else could you get away with saying that and not have the police busting down your door. :D

So have you every said or done something in regards to your writing that suddenly struck you as being sincerely weird?

Inspiration: This man just screams Summertime so I decided I needed to share a few.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Did you ever...

Did you ever have one of those days where you just want to disappear from your regular life for a couple hours so you could just do something fun? Just for yourself?

Today is one of those days. However here I sit at my desk of boredom, staring out the window and wishing... So since I can't get away, I'd love to hear about where you guys would go if all your responsibilities could suddenly be put on hold (and kiddos were at grandma's house).

Personally chilling out at the local coffee house with air conditioning, a frozen, heavily-caffeinated beverage and a laptop sounds like heaven right now. :D What about you?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Children and books

If there is one thing that I love about my daily mommy responsibilities, it would be those precious moments that I can snuggle up with my kiddos and read a bed time story with them. Just me and them without any deadlines, to-do's or anything else. I love it!

Anyway, recently, my five year old son asked me to start reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to him - I was thrilled to say the least. You see the Harry Potter series holds a special place in my heart, so the fact that my kiddo wanted me to share it with him had me overjoyed.

So just out of curiosity I wanted to ask all of you...Do you have a book/series that you are just dying to introduce to your little one? Or were excited about sharing with them?

Read for a Good Cause

For those of you who have been around this blog for a while know that I'm all for supporting a good cause. Well today I found a good cause.

Goodreads is hosting a reading event on their site in conglomeration with First Book. For ever 10,000 people that add "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan (their current Book Club book) to their shelves, they will donate 1,000 books to children in need. They are up to 2,000 books already!!!

So head on over and add their book to your shelves. And give the kids a better glimpse at the literary world we love so much.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Inside the Author’s Studio

Inside the Author’s Studio

Samantha Sotto

1.) So your debut novel – BEFORE EVER AFTER - is due out on August 2nd. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

BEFORE EVER AFTER is a modern fairy tale about true love, happy endings, new beginnings, and everything in between. It follows the story of Shelley, a young widow who discovers that her dead husband may in fact be very much alive—which would be wonderful if the bearer of this news wasn’t her thirty-two-year-old husband’s thirty-two-year-old grandson. Shelley’s search for answers takes her from revolutionary Paris to medieval Prussia to ancient Venice, and finally to a place where she discovers whether love is truly everlasting.

Three years after her husband Max’s death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max’s long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.

As outrageous as Paolo’s claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max’s stories of bloody Parisian barricades,medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her “happily ever after.” And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

2.) Where did your inspiration for this novel come from?

There are two ways you can deal with traffic: you can sit in your car and slowly go insane, or you can plot out a novel.

It might have been the Dr. Who marathon I had just emerged from or the “hangover” I was nursing after reading the Time Traveller’s Wife (I couldn’t stop crying about Henry!) or a combination of both that made Max, my main character, hitch a ride with me that afternoon. I didn’t know much about him then, except that he had a talent for staying alive, had a soft spot for chickens, ran an offbeat European tour, and was not a vampire. I began to wonder more about his “lifetimes” and the people he had met along the way. That’s when I discovered that he had a wife, or rather, a widow – who had no idea who he really was. I knew then that I had to hop aboard Max’s Volkswagen van and take a detour into his and Shelley’ s story.

You might say that the research for this book was done years before I even had the idea to write it. I lived, studied, and traveled through Europe and have always been drawn to its crooked cobblestone alleys and tucked away corners. These forgotten nooks whispered stories that the history books left out. The “gaps” I found between by my travel scrapbooks and formal research became the places and times Max filled in with his secrets.

3.) That sounds amazingly fun to both read and write. So I guess since your settings are based on real life places you've visited, the question is are your characters based on real people in your life? And if so, which ones?

I wish ;-)

4.) Hahaha. Okay fine be that way. So who’s your favorite Character then?

Ugh. Do I have to choose? I love all of them! Well, okay, since you twisted my arm (ow).

Max. He believes that you can get through anything if you have a chicken. What’s not to like? (Don’t tell the others. They may never speak to me again.)

5.) Sooooo when were you bitten by the writing bug exactly?

During the Great Infestation of 2009.

6.) Can you tell us about your publishing process? How long was it first word to printing press?

Hmm. Let me see…it took me one year to write the book, a couple of months to find an agent, about a month to get a book deal and a year and a half to get the book to press…*converts glacial time*…so that comes out to a bazillion years, give or take a trillion.

7.) Feels that was some times doesn't it? :D Well we are all excited to read your book, but we have to wait! However, I see you've had many authors review your book already. So what was the ARC process like?

I’m still saving up for therapy…

8.) You mention that BEFORE EVER AFTER is inspired by your experiences traveling through Europe, I can't imagine picking a favorite place in Europe, but give us your top 5 must sees on a European dream vacation?

This is a TOUGH question. You’re trying to torture me, aren’t you?


Okaaaaay…here it goes:

1.) Museé Rodin, Paris, France - If you’re looking for a nice quiet spot to escape, have a coffee at the nice little café in the museum’s lovely garden.
2.) Keukenhof, Lisse, The Netherlands – It’s the world’s largest flower garden. Need I say more?
3.) The Roman Baths, Bath, England – Unless you’re a fan of lead poisoning, I wouldn’t recommend taking a dip in the ancient spring. The building that houses the spring however, has been voted the most romantic building in Britain.
4.) Venice, Italy – I don’t have a specific favorite spot – which is exactly why I love Venice. There’s no better place to wander aimlessly.
5.) Herculaneum Excavation Site, Ercolano, Italy – Luckily, you don’t need a Tardis to travel back in time to see this “frozen” Roman town.

And for those of you who are familiar with Inside the Actor's studio, here's the part where I break out my James Lipton mask and start with my own version of the Proust Questionnaire. For those of you who aren't familiar with the show - this is a rapid fire interview.

Harry Potter Finale - opening night or wait?

Opening night!!! The sleeping bag is packed and ready.

Sci-Fi or Fantasy?

Let’s put it this way: If I ever found myself in the same room as Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling and David Eddings…my head would explode from glee.


Waiting for the next Doctor Who episode and the next season of Game of Thrones is all the anticipation I can handle in my life right now.

Home cooking or Take out?

Nothing beats my husband’s cooking…unless it’s movie night and I have a craving for garlic and cheese pizza.

Happy or sad endings?

Give me a memorable and satisfying happy ending and I will love you forever.

Thank you very much, Sam, for giving us a little bit of your time. I hope the count down to the release date goes smoothly for you. And for the rest of us - Be on the look out for BEFORE EVER AFTER due in stores on August 2nd!