Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Write What You Know - Research of Broken Builds - #GuestPost by Rachelle Ayala



From Amy Manemann's Blog.

 There is an old bromide that says, “Write what you know.” I suppose the corollary could be, “Make up what you don’t know.” My latest book, Broken Build, certainly fits both of these concepts. It is a romantic suspense about software engineers in a startup where the build (software code delivery) is always broken. It spices up the pressure cooker, adding a pinch of murder and mayhem with a hearty dose of romance and killer secrets.

So how do I know what I know and what I have to make up? Writing is a lot about research and extrapolating. We take what we know and exaggerate them. Pull out the feelings and amplify. How did you feel when your cat went missing? Now, imagine it is your child. Gulp!

Same with technical subject matter. I suspect that not a lot of writers have actually handled a Glock. Yet I see that gun described in many thriller stories. You’d think there was a Glock shop down at the Wal-Mart where you can hold it, try it out, maybe shoot a few rounds so you can write about it. How about being hit by a stun-gun or teargas? Should we all sign up for the police academy so we can experience it on our own? Or do we take a painful experience, perhaps the day we peeled out our contact lenses shortly after chopping ghost peppers and exaggerate the pain?

A little research is a great thing. But a lot can slow the story down. For example, this book, Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation sounds very interesting to me. I can probably read this book and revel in all of the schemes for ensuring continuous delivery and integration of software. My main character, Jennifer Cruz Jones, would likewise love to brainstorm with me about how she can isolate build faults without interruption. But the average reader may glaze out. Therefore a writer must also hold back on dumping all of the wonderful pieces of research that she discovered into the story.

So to add to the bromides, “A little research goes a long way.” It is necessary for the realism of the story and to provide characterization traits. But at the end of the day, we are writing a storybook and not a textbook.

So “write what you know,” but don’t be afraid to make up what you don’t. And take the risk that someone technical might say, “that’s not the way it’s done.” Because the majority of readers would not have understood the technical detail. For them, “she hacked into the system,” was enough.


Broken Build (Silicon Valley Romantic Suspense) has just enough technical details to challenge the intelligent reader, but not enough to impinge on the main storyline. It is not a one-dimensional book for people who want to be spoonfed a story, but one that keeps the reader guessing and on their toes. The added bonus is that readers will learn about server virtualization and building code in the software industry. But the main theme is about love and forgiveness, a topic any of us can relate to.

Synopsis: When a woman wrongs a man… can a man forgive and love? Jen Jones hides a horrible secret behind her new degree, toned body, and exciting job at Silicon Valley’s hottest startup—until a man linked to her past is killed in a hit-and-run. CEO and founder Dave Jewell is about to land a huge deal. He doesn't need blood on his car, threatening phone calls, and Jen wrapped in broken code and blackmail.

A gang of thugs hunts Jen, and she takes refuge in Dave’s protective arms. Together, they must thwart a killer and rescue an innocent victim from their past. Love blossoms, but a damaging revelation points straight at Jen, threatening to tear them apart forever.


WHAT READERS ARE SAYING

Broken Build is an exciting story full of twists and turns, murder and deception, with a steamy romance.” - Amazon Review

“A smart & fascinating read with vivid writing and a very likeable main character...” - Amazon Review

“I applaud the welcome change from one dimensional predictable books that are just one big yawn.” – Amazon Review

NEW! See Broken Build's Showcase on Ganxy.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Writing Past Pain - Broken Lives and Broken Characters #GuestPost by Rachelle Ayala

From The Blood Burden Series Blog
Every one of us has experienced grief and depression, especially when someone we care about dies. These feelings settle on us at unexpected moments and can turn our mood from cheerful to despondent. Anger and frustration surface erratically and sometimes we wonder whether we’d ever feel “normal” again. Then when we’re calmly enjoying ourselves we might experience a sudden pang of guilt, like “how dare you have fun when your loved one is lying in the dirt? Have you forgotten so quickly?”

The main characters in Broken Build live under the cloud of a horrible secret. Jennifer Cruz Jones has a past she runs away from. Dave Jewell spent time in a mental care facility, unable to come to grips with the life he lost. The premise for Broken Buildcame from a problem I’ve often thought about. What would you do when you find the person who ruined your life is the one you’ve fallen in love with?

In order to portray my two characters, I relived every death I had experience among my family and friends. I pictured myself at the funeral, remembered the pain and wallowed in the guilt. What I didn’t expect was that between my second and third revision, I experienced another personal tragedy. A friend of mine and a fellow church member was gunned down at her work.

All the feelings of rage, helplessness, the fantasies of turning the clock back, the what if’s and the anger at the villain boil over. The unreality of it and numbness alternate with severe sadness. And catching yourself enjoying something turns into another bout of guilt.

Here are the sensations I jotted down:
“The dull agony, not really there, no energy to go forward, just going through the motions. Thinking about the departed, extra sleepy and prone to tears. The feeling of not really existing and not wanting to do anything but get by. The back of my head feels like exploding, like it’s a ticking time bomb, tick, tick, tick, and I want to lash out. Want to turn the time back.”

The following weeks were filled commiseration among friends, a memorial service and then the graveside ceremony. How desperately we cling to the memory of our dear departed while convincing ourselves everything is “okay.”

I don’t know why this happened, and I certainly don’t mean to imply it was for me to improve my book. Never! But all I can say is that Dave and Jen’s feelings became more real to me, and I believe there is an authenticity to my descriptions of their behavior.

Broken Build (Silicon Valley Romantic Suspense) was released September 11, 2012. Introductory price of 99c and a best seller in its category.

Synopsis: When a woman wrongs a man… can a man forgive and love? Jen Jones hides a horrible secret behind her new degree, toned body, and exciting job at Silicon Valley’s hottest startup—until a man linked to her past is killed in a hit-and-run. CEO and founder Dave Jewell is about to land a huge deal. He doesn't need blood on his car, threatening phone calls, and Jen wrapped in broken code and blackmail.

A gang of thugs hunts Jen, and she takes refuge in Dave’s protective arms. Together, they must thwart a killer and rescue an innocent victim from their past. Love blossoms, but a damaging revelation points straight at Jen, threatening to tear them apart forever.

Content advisory: language, sexual situations

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
Broken Build is an exciting story full of twists and turns, murder and deception, with a steamy romance.”

“A smart & fascinating read with vivid writing and a very likeable main character...”

“A Suspenseful - Romance with Mind-bending Mysteries!!”

Broken Build is available at: AmazonCreatespace, Smashwords