A couple of links + an old post

Boring but accurate title.


1) The preorder page for The Shores of Spain has gone live over at Amazon, showing a release date of 7/7/2015.  Feel free to go over and preorder a copy (please!), or add it to your wish-list….or just read through the blurb (my editor, Danielle, writes great blurbs!)  I will update the rest of my webpage at some point…

2) I’m one of the guests today over at SF Signal’s Mind Meld, where we’re picking a book we’d love to be made into a film, and then casting it.  

Picking a book I’d love tosee as a film (or trilogy of films) wasn’t difficult. I’m a huge fan of Martha Well’s “The Fall of Ile-Rien” trilogy, and think they would make great movies full of visual detail.  The second part of the assignment…to cast those films?  UH….UH…


It turns out that my brain just doesn’t have a single movie-casting neuron. I put way too many hours into trying to figure out only four characters in the series.  I cannot imagine how a casting director looks at actors and matches them to teh gazillion parts in a movie.


FWIW, I don’t do this with MY books either.  I just don’t.  To get my mental picture of a character, I use a still photo. A person who moves and breathes isn’t the same for me.

Oddly, I always have a couple of actors in my pile of photos, but I’m not considering them as actors, but instead as a still photo caught in one second in time.  So, for example, for my character of the Brazilian, Inspector Anjos, I actually used a photograph of Matthew Fox, but one taken from a magazine. But it’s not Matthew Fox, the actor. In my mind,  it’s just a model in that specific picture…..

So If one were to ask me to cast one of my own stories, I would fail. Sad, but true.


To illustrate this, I’ve included below a post from my personal blog last year, which actually shows something of this process:


Every writer has a different method… (from April 25, 2013)

Yesterday I sat down to pick out pictures for the book I’m working on. This is a part of my process that I gabbled about a lot last year. I have big boxes full of pics cut from magazines and catalogs over years. When I’m trying to get in my head what a character looks like, I find a pic that’s close to what I want and I use that while writing. Often I lay the photos next to the computer (the characters for the scene I’m working on) which helps me keep my ‘characterization’ straight.

Now, I don’t think these pics are ‘exact’. I had someone complain last year that the photo character’s clothes weren’t period, or they were too young for a character’s age or…well anything. That misses the point. These pics are a starting point, not the actual characters themselves.

So here’s the batch I’ve collected for this book:

(See the arrow? That’s pointing to a picture from a cover from Seventeen magazine from 1987. That gives you an idea how long I’ve been collecting photos.)

So these are my two main characters in this book: Joaquim Tavares and Marina Arenias
Joaquim’s an investigator for the police, turning 29.
Marina works in an office converting hand-written records over to typed records. Photo is actually picked for the combination of ‘delicate’ and ‘slightly timid’.

I’ve got Duilio and Oriana up in the corner. I liked the expression on “Oriana’s” face and her large eyes, but she’s actually way too thin for the character (who is more of an Amazon). They’re on the islands of the sereia for a two-year term as temporary Ambassadors from Portugal (with Oriana as the actual Ambassador because the islands are female-led.)

The older woman in red is supposed to be Oriana’s grandmother, who is a made-of-steel politician. BTW, the actual woman in the photograph? Long time president of a university. Don’t let the kindly-grandmother-baking-cookies image fool you.

The other three are members of the Portuguese Embassy’s guard contingent. The older woman in pink is the captain (imagine her without a smile) in charge of the first female unit in the Portuguese Army, and so is in a situation where she feels she must not fail. When a couple of things go missing (including the blonde-haired lieutenant above), she is under a lot of pressure to find them, but in a situation where she can’t go looking (neither can Duilio or Oriana) which is where Joaquim comes in.

These are the ambassadors from other countries, the British Ambassador and his sickly wife, the wife of the Spanish Ambassador (he’s not shown because he’s so under her heel that he doesn’t matter), and the American Ambassadress (this pic is too young, but I liked the expression on her face.)

So these are characters in Spain: a pair of little kids and their mother up top, in the bottom left corner the siren who tries to seduce Joaquim, and in the right corner, his great-grandmother, a cranky old Catalan noblewoman -without- a heart of gold. The woman with the wild hair? She’s the prison’s soothsayer, and tries to keep Joaquim out of trouble.

Now there are a lot of extra photos left over. A couple might get switched out, too. I keep my mind open about changing character appearances and names at this point.

It’s a weird process, and I suspect a lot of people have similar-but-not-same ways of doing this.



ETA: As an interesting aside, I did end up switching out a few pictures, most notable the mother and two children. But otherwise, they all stayed the same.






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