Friday, December 13, 2013

Dressing (or Undressing) Sleepy Hollow’s Ichabod Crane

I’m a huge fan of Fox’s new TV show Sleepy Hollow. With season 1 nearly over – and the 2-hour finale scheduled for Jan 20th – I'm filling my time speculating on how the great writers of the show will sum up this amazing introduction to the world they created AND what Ichabod Crane might be wearing. His gabardine jacket and period clothing can only carry him so far. They’re 250 years old. Parting with the last thing that’s familiar to him, Ichabod would not simply let Abbie pick his new clothes. This is a character who is opinionated and insistent on what he thinks is “appropriate.”

 Fans of the show would agree that the hunky British lead actor, Tom Mison, would look good in anything. It’s tempting to treat him like a Ken doll and dress him up (or down) to suit our fantasies. (Whew! Is it hot in here?) As an author, I have an idea what the clothing style of each of my characters and often create an image board for each one as ideas for how to dress them, while staying true to character. But we must remember that in the case of our revolutionary war hero Ichabod, he would feel naked without a jacket for example (something I read on a historical clothing site). His clothes can change during the seasons ahead (Fox has renewed the show for round 2. Yay!), but this first attire switch would probably be Ichabod’s choices to make with Abbie’s thoughtful guesses on what would work for him.
So here are my thoughts on what clothes Ichabod might choose for himself.
Pants – His colonial culottes breeches (marking the more aristocratic classes – working class men wore full length pants) are down to his knees and his knee high boots come up to where the clothing ends. There are men’s military style pants with a similar look, but here are some that could work and that Ichabod might find practical and similar.

Boots – I don’t see Ichabod giving up his boots for sneakers. This is an area I hope the show wardrobe people have put a great deal of thought into. Those knee high boots are romantic and look great on Ichabod. Below are a few boot styles that could transition him into the present day without losing too much of the real character. Not sure he'd love the lace ups since his knee high boots are slip ons. Boots #2 are western style ropers, but the buckle might feel like his period clothing since buckles were often fashionable.





Jackets – As I said before, a revolutionary war hero feels naked without his jacket. A blousy tied shirt like he’s been wearing could be found today, but here are a few images of jackets that would cover anything he wears underneath. Even though many fans would feel that less is more, Ichabod would not agree. He’s modest and respectful of propriety. What do you think of these jackets? (Poor Tom Mison may be stuck in NC humidity in a jacket if Ichabod gets his way, but I think Tom is also a stylish man and would put up with Ichabod’s insistence.)

Shirt & Stock – I see Ichabod wearing open collar (without the more formal stock/tie that came more into style later in the century) similar to what he wears now with fabric ties used for buttons. Here are some images that might work, although he might also see a loose dangling neck scarf as practical.




Tom Mison at NYCC looking dapper in a scarf

Vests – I see Ichabod layering his clothes because the clothing he is used to wearing had its layers. As he gets more comfortable without a jacket, a vest might be a good compromise for his modesty.



Outer Coat – A great looking navy double-breasted pea coat would work well and the military styling would suit him, but here are coats in a similar style to a period Frock coat.



Undergarments – I see Crane dressing in boxers or some other form of loose fitting undergarments. No tidy whities for him. He wouldn’t like the tight fit. Even in his period clothing, he is wearing a hand stitched loose garment that almost hangs on his hips – not commando.


Fun stuff – If I were Abbie and could buy Ichabod fun stuff to wear (with a sense of humor), I might look for crazy Tshirts or funny boxers with a reference or image printed on them he may not understand – something he would wear underneath that only she would know what he had on, yet wouldn’t embarrass him in public.



Those are my thoughts on what Ichabod might choose to wear if he had to ditch the worn gabardine jacket. What do you think? If you were Abbie and took Ichabod on a shopping spree for clothes, what would you convince him to wear? He trusts you. He’d listen, right?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wizard World’s Austin TX Comic Con

Jordan Dane

I am no longer a Comic Con virgin. There, I said it. I joined the Writing Ninjas of TX at their large impressive exhibit where we chatted with readers about YA books and signed our featured novels. Our amazing book seller was The Book Spot of Round Rock, TX. The store will have our signed books on sale and on display if you didn’t make the Comic Con in Austin. Here is a link for their YA signed featured books.


Here are photos from Comic Con:

Grp shot at Austin Comic Con 2013
Bottom (L to R): Madeline Smoot, P J Hoover, Mari Mancusi
Standing (L to R): Jessica Anderson, Jo Whittemire, Danny Woodfill (Book Spot)

Kari Holt
Kari Holt as a Zombie - Scary
Me as Duck Dynasty
Me in my Duck Dynasty gear - even scarier


HarlequinTeen made sure my latest YA Crystal Fire was “in the wild” when Comic Con was on – a special exclusive for the event. The Hunted series is complete with both books now being available.

My Books
Crystal Fire & Indigo Awakening - The Hunted Series at Comic Con


I took some miscellaneous shots of some crazies I saw, but there were many more photos taken by the Austin Chronicle and I’ve included a link to their images below.

Hee Man
Hercules and his goddess? Don't know, but they were smiling.


Here is a link to the Austin Chronicle posting of many more fun photos taken that day by their photographers. If you ever get a chance to go to a Comic Con, join in the fun and dress up. Tap into your inner child with a flourish. You won’t regret it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Key Essentials for An Authentic YA (or Adult) Voice

Jordan Dane

Purchased from Fotolia by Jordan Dane

On Oct 17th at the KILL ZONE blog, I critiqued the first page of an anonymous author’s work –A Game of Days. Some interesting comments on the YA voice came from this post and I wanted to share more on what I’ve learned from writing for the teen market. My personal epiphanies.
Writing for the Young Adult (YA) market and capturing the voice of YA is less about word choices (and getting the teen speak down) than it is about getting the age appropriate decisions and attitude right. Urban fantasy or post apocalyptic plots can build on a world that is unique and unfamiliar. Books like the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or the Divergent series by Veronica Roth can have its own voice, so teens are familiar with reading books like this.
When I went looking for solid examples of teen dialogue or introspection to share at a workshop, I searched some top selling YA books, only to find the voice I expected wasn’t there. Sure there are YA books where authors can sound authentically teen, but to keep up the realism for a whole book can be a challenge and an overabundance of “teen speak” can date the banter or be too much for adult readers to catch. (Yes, adults are HUGE readers of YA.)

As you read through this list, think about how each of these tips might also apply to writing ANY voice, even book intended for adults. Many of these tips work for cross-genre writing.
Key Essentials for An Authentic YA Voice:
1.) Use First Person or Deep Point of View (POV)—This technique of “deep” POV, or “close third” person, is used in fiction writing as a glimpse into the head of your character. In YA, I think of deep POV or close third as conversational thoughts deep inside your teen. First person POV is like reading someone’s diary.

2.) Don’t be afraid to mix POVs—You can mix POVs (for example, first person for your storyteller and third person for other characters), but since it’s your story, only you can decide how you want it to be told. Many YA stories are in first person, but more authors are exploring a mix. By adding in the element of third person for other characters, you can let the reader in on what is happening outside your character’s head and add twists to your plot more effectively. Plus if you have secondary characters or villains who may threaten your protagonist, letting the reader in on what’s in their head can make the reader more fearful for your hero/heroine. (Most adult books are not in first POV, but first POV is very intimate and fun to write. My current adult book project has first POV for the main character, but third for everyone else. Very liberating.)

3.) Don’t worry about your vocabulary. Today’s teen reader can handle it. There’s no need to simplify your choice of words or sentence structure if the character warrants it. Just be mindful of the experience level and education of the teen in your story. A homeless kid without much education won’t have an extensive vocabulary unless there’s a good reason for it. If you’re writing a futuristic dystopian book, you’ll be world building and perhaps coming up with your own vocabulary or teen life choices or social customs that would be different from a contemporary YA.

4.) Character first or story first? In my adult fiction thrillers, characters usually come at me first, but in YA I think it’s important to conceive a plot then fit the best characters to the premise. This may help you conjure the most fitting character and voice for the story, without creating a cookie-cutter teen that follows you from book to book.

5.) Don't force it. As many kinds of teens there are, that’s how many varied “voices” you can create. As long as the story is compelling and the characters draw in the reader, the voice of YA only needs to match the tone, age, and character of that story. Don’t force voice or language that doesn’t seem real to you. Your protagonist’s voice should come naturally from the story premise and the conflict, filtered through your head as the author. If you force it, it will show.

6.) How does the story and character motivation affect your storyteller’s voice? One of the biggest mistakes writers make in YA usually has to do with the sarcastic voice. Biting sarcasm alone does not make a YA story. Without a reason for this behavior, the author runs the risk of making their character unbearable, unlikeable and a real turnoff for the reader. The manuscript must have a cohesive story with solid character motivation to go along with the attitude. Even if the voice is great, what happens? Something needs to happen. And if your character starts off with a good reason to be snarky, give them a journey that will change them by the end of the book.

7.) Know your character’s motivation. Sarcasm, voice, and maturity of your character must be driven by a reason in your story to add depth. Provide a foundation for the “attitude” your character has and don’t forget a liberal dose of poignancy. A reader can tolerate a sarcastic teen if a scene ends with brutal honesty or catches the reader off guard with something gripping to make the whole thing come to a real point.  

8.) Beware of stereotypes—Avoid the cliché character (the geeky nerd, the pretty cheerleader, the dumb jock). This doesn’t only apply to YA.

9.) Can you relate to your storyteller? Peer pressure, dating, zits, kissing, sex, being an outsider, not fitting in—these are teen concerns that, as adults, we have to remind ourselves about. With each of these words, what pops into your head? Does it trigger a memory, good or bad? Sometimes the best scenes can come from these universal concerns that haven’t changed for decades. Filtered through your own experiences, a scene can carry more weight if it’s still relevant and relatable.

10.) What is your storyteller like emotionally? What effect can raging hormones do for your character? Is everything a drama? Not all teens are like this. Some are withdrawn in front of adults or in social situations. It’s important to ask yourself: What are they like around their friends and who are their friends? I would resist the urge to create a character based on a teen you know if it’s at the expense of your plot. Certain aspects or perceptions of “your teen” can influence your character, but your book is fiction. That’s why I recommend devising your plot first before you place the right teen in it.

11.) Who or what has influenced your storyteller most? Like in the movie, JUNO, the teen girl had a dry wit that sometimes referenced an older person’s humor. Not everything was “teen speak.” She was influenced by the adults in her life, using references she heard from her dad and step-mom. Her pop culture references were peppered into the humor of another generation. She still sounded young, but her dialogue appeal was more universal. Don't be afraid to make up a word or phrase to suit your character's world.

12.) What journey will your storyteller take in your book? Getting the voice right is only half the challenge. Your YA book must be about something—a plot, believable world building, and the reaction and journey of a real teen amidst it all.

13.) Don’t forget the imagery. Teen readers have great imaginations and can picture things in their heads like a movie. Give them something that triggers and engages their imaginations. Picture your book scenes on the big screen and write them that way, but don’t go overboard and slow your pace. Teens get it. Give them a glimpse and move on. They’ll roll with the imagery.

14.) Turn off your parent switch—If you’re an adult and a parent writing YA, you may find it difficult to turn off your mother or father switch, but you should consider it. Kids can read between the lines if you’re trying too hard to send them a “universal parental” message about conduct and behavior. Simply focus on your story and tap into what your teen experiences were—without censorship—and without the undertone of sending kids a special message. Your story will read as more honest, without an ulterior motive.

HERE is a link on a video about one teenager’s story from The Onion News (DISCLAIMER: I had nothing to do with making this video):

For Discussion:
1.) Any other writing tips to make your YA voice read as authentic?

2.) What books have you read where the teen voice seemed very real and please share why you thought so?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last Day to Order Signed Books - September 30th!

The Houston Book Rave momentum is building. Over 62 authors at this event.

If you'd like a signed book from me or any of the other authors attending, visit this link HERE to find out how to order. Anyone can order and the details are on the link. Even international readers can participate, but there is a special rate for shipping. (find out more on the link.)

This offer is for anyone who can't attend this HUGE event in Texas, but would like a signed book. The DEADLINE for ordering a signed book is September 30, 2013. Books will be shipped the week following the event - November 4 - 8th.

For information on the November 2nd event, hit this LINK. If you are lucky enough to attend, tickets are free. There will be loads of giveaways and a costume after party.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blood Score FREE - for THREE DAYS!

My latest novel BLOOD SCORE is FREE on Amazon for the next THREE DAYS!!! (Aug 16-18) If you don't have a kindle, download their free app for your phone. Free is good, right? Enjoy and please spread the word. Have a great weekend.

Below is the link on Amazon Kindle:

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013 Authors Are Rockstars Tour - Interview & Giveaway!

The 2013 Authors Are Rockstars Tour is AMAZING. Join the second annual tour and visit each stop for fun and giveaways. My stop is August 12th with the fabulous PARANORMAL BOOK CLUB. They have a stunning blog where I'll be talking about my latest series The Hunted with Crystal Fire (book #2) coming out November 26th. My publisher, HarlequinTeen, is hosting a GIVEAWAY too. Comment and like my Facebook page to enter.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Blood Score Book Birthday! Special Limited Discount Price

I've released my first full-length eBook novel through Amazon's Kindle Select, an exclusive program I've wanted to try. My indie book is called BLOOD SCORE and I've included a synopsis and an excerpt below. I'll be offering it for $2.99 through the end of August, in appreciation for the readers who have supported me and my publishers. I'm also doing a special promotion through Indie Book Promo on Aug 3rd for this launch. Details to follow.

Croco Designs did the stunning cover and here is a LINK to their portfolio on DeviantArt. I love working with the designer, Frauke Spanuth, out of Germany. She's amazing.

My dear Okie friends and fellow authors/editors, Alicia Dean and Kathy Wheeler helped with formatting and editing. They made that effort painless and fun.

This book was a long haul for me with plenty of soul searching. I worked on it between my YA contracts. I believed in it from the start and loved the voice of my two detectives, especially Gabe Cronan. My kind of guy. My agent and I got an offer to buy it from a major publisher, but I decided that self-publishing might be a better fit for me. I'm hoping to build my virtual shelf of offerings in between contracts through traditional publishers, but with this being my first self-published full novel, I'll be feeling my way through the promotion efforts.

I am updating a Self-Pub Resources tab on my blog at this LINK as I learn new things. Check it out and stay tuned for more.


A dangerous liaison ignites the blood lust of a merciless killer

When a beautiful socialite is savagely murdered in Chicago’s Oz Park, Detectives Gabriel Cronan and Angel Ramirez find her last hours have a sinister tie to two lovers. One is a mystery and the other is a famous violin virtuoso.

A child prodigy turned world class musician, Ethan Chandler is young, handsome—and blind. He’s surrounded by admirers with insatiable appetites for his undeniable talent and guileless charm. From doting society women to fanatical stalkers and brazen gold diggers, the reclusive violinist’s life is filled with an inner circle of mesmerized sycophants who are skilled at keeping secrets.

After Cronan and Ramirez expose a shadowy connection between Ethan and the victim with a private elite sex club, they discover intimate desires and dark passions aren’t the only things worth hiding at all cost. A vicious killer will stop at nothing to settle a blood score.


 When Angel Ramirez’s iPod changed tracks and another song started, her cell phone rang and made her heart jump. A call this time of night for a homicide cop was never a good thing, but when she looked at the display screen, she recognized the phone number.

She answered the call as her face flushed with heat.
“Hello?” Her voice cracked.
“Yes,” she whispered.
Caller ID told her who was on the other end of the line, but she wanted to hear him say his name.
“This is Ethan.” His voice was soft and low. When he breathed into the phone, she heard the rustle of his bed sheets. “I couldn’t sleep…and I didn’t know who else to call. I hope I didn’t wake you.”
Angel shut her eyes and swallowed, hard. Ethan Chandler was a famous world-renowned violinist. With all the people in his life, she found it sad that he had to reach out to a virtual stranger when he needed to talk.
Had his dead girlfriend been that person for him? She didn’t feel like questioning Ethan’s motives for calling her at this hour, because she’d spent far too much time gazing into death’s never ending black mirror. She understood what it felt like to be lost and floundering in grief.
“No, you didn’t wake me. I couldn’t sleep either.” She pulled her blanket over her breasts and nestled into her pillows.
“Is that my music?” he asked.
Ethan had a smile in his voice and the intimacy of that made it feel as if he were lying next to her. She’d left her iPod playing. He must’ve heard it.
Angel knew she should have asked why he’d called her cell this time of night. He was still a suspect in his girlfriend’s murder. She should have insisted he stop reaching out to her like this, but the truth was…she liked it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Weird Stuff On my Desk

Jordan Dane

In a recent interview, someone asked me about my writer’s desk. They wanted pictures. My desk is in a constant state of clutter. I have books ideas, edit notes, and research piled high. Even though it looks like a complete mess, I generally know where everything is. I’m better organized online, but I am a packrat.

A better thing to talk about are the weird things I’ve accumulated over years and KEEP on my desk. While I was gone to the OWFI conference in Oklahoma recently, my husband waited for me to leave town before he cleaned my office. Basically he took the things I had in moving boxes and displayed them so it didn’t look as if we just moved in. I have taken over our upstairs media room and use it solely for my office. It’s like an apartment, suitable for my desktop sprawl so we can keep the rest of our house in order and pretend we are grown-ups. 

When I got back from OK, my office looked like someone could really work there. It was like taking a trip down memory lane, too. He hung my awards, recognitions, and B.S. degree. (I write fiction. Of course, I have a degree in BS. Duh.) He also has a section of photos on the wall - fun pics of salmon fishing with friends when we lived in Alaska. I have my writing contest certificates and old volleyball trophies and plagues when I was a player and coach in Alaska. My office is like a time machine now.

I tell people that I use toys to keep me plugged into my inner child so I could write YA, but that’s not entirely true. I am NEVER far away from my inner child. Since I chose not to have kids, I’ve never had to be a good example to ANYONE. So my inner child is totally me. Writing YA only gave me a reason to get worse. So the things I have on my desk were accumulated BEFORE I wrote YA.

Here are a few:

Pog Mo Thoin sign – a gift from my aunt and grandmother. It means "Kiss my Ass" in Gaelic. (Yes, I’m bilingual in obscenit-ese.)

Hat collection – My Greenbay Packer cap lights up and flashes & I wear my hardhat & bee antennas to ward off writer’s block.

Walkie-talkies – Doesn’t everyone have these on their desk? My husband and I recently used them to trap a stray Great Dane in our backyard to rescue him. True story.

Screaming Tomahawk – When you strike it on a surface, it screams bloody murder. I use it for scary scene writing to get me in the mood.

Mr Perfect Doll – Pull a chord on his back and he tells me whatever I need to hear. And no, he is not anatomically correct.

Diva Dog - This was a gift from very dear friends who thought Paris Hilton and I would have plenty in common once I got famous. The stuffed dog is a purse with a pen zipped into its back for autographs.

Okay so I have dished the truth about my office and desk where I write. Now it’s your turn. What is the weirdest thing on YOUR desk…at home or work? I want deets, people. We’re all friends here. I promise not to tell anyone, so spill.