My post on the story structure of a heist movie in 15 sentences is my most viewed post and shows up on the first page if you google: How to write a heist novel.
I recently read Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig and loved it! And I’ve read and watched a lot. I considered this one excellent.
I was psyched when Elisa said she’d guest post on the background behind writing Coin Heist! Oh, and watch the video (link at the bottom). It’s pretty cool.
Check out Elisa Ludwig’s book page for purchase links and more information!
Pulling a heist is no joke, and while the process of writing about one is somewhat easier, there are still plenty of challenges for the author at the helm.
I had some preparation for the climactic scene in COIN HEIST as I’d already written the three books in the PRETTY CROOKED series (Katherine Tegen), all of which involve thievery, break-ins, scams, carjacking, computer sleuthing and code breaking.
Even so, getting four teens into the Philadelphia Mint required research—a lot of research. First, I read as much as I could about the Mint, its history and heists at all of the U.S. mints over the years.
Then, because I live locally, I cased the joint on foot, walking in as a tourist. (FYI: It’s a very cool place to visit, but it often gets slept on in the middle of Philly’s historic Old City district.) I wore my baby in an Ergo carrier, which, I hoped, would help me evade suspicion. Meanwhile, I took copious notes on my iPhone.
The tour allows you to watch the coins as they’re being made on the production floor, so after a couple of visits, I got a sense of how to physically stage the night of the heist.
However, I still needed some more information about how the computer hacking portion of the heist would take place. That’s when I called on Michael Viscuso, a computer security expert. (Conveniently, one of my day job freelance gigs happens to be writing for a company called Net Diligence, which offers cyber risk management services.)
Michael walked me through multiple scenarios for how it could go down, and together we decided on the best one for the purposes of the book—something teens could feasibly pull off. I knew I wanted a combination of hacking and real-life stealing, because frankly, reading about someone sitting at a computer, no matter how many risks they’re taking, is kind of dull.
Oh, and the part about the prom at Franklin Institute? I didn’t need to research it. I lived it. My own senior prom took place there, but we didn’t have a cool band like Jason’s headlining. We had a band called the Flaming Caucasians—which was about as terrible as it sounds.
For more information about the making of the book, and a tour of the sites involved, check out this video from Adaptive Studios.
Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers (formerly The Bookshelf Muse) have added two more books to their Descriptive Thesaurus Collection: The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes and The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws. To celebrate, they are hosting a race, and not just any old race, either. It’s the…
Writing is hard, isn’t it? Create the perfect hook. Make your first page compelling. Craft an amazing 25 word pitch. Knock out a query that will blow an agent’s mind. On and on it goes. And sometimes, well, you just wish someone would help.
From October 21st until October 27th, Writers Helping Writers is posting an OPEN CALL for writers. You can fill out a form, requesting help with critiques, book visibility, social media sharing, blog diagnostics, advice and more.
An army of Amazing Racers are standing by (ME INCLUDED!) waiting to help with your submissions. How many people can we help in a week? Let’s find out! Did I mention there are Celebrity Racers too–amazing authors and editors who know their way around a first page. Maybe one of them will pick your submission to help with!
Each day this week, there’s an AMAZING giveaway, too. So stop in at Angela & Becca’s new Writers Helping Writers website and find out how to take advantage of this unique, pay-it-forward event for writers. I’ll see you there!
Check it out and spread the word~
**The Only One by Magan Vernon — “Sweet and sexy!! Loved it! This is the type of story you read again and again.” –#1 New York Times best selling author Rachel Van Dyken
**Dominus by Christine Fonesca — “A thrilling end to a fantastic supernatural series!” –Leigh Talbert Moore, bestselling author of The Truth About Faking
**Dragonfly by Leigh Talbert Moore — “The characters were intriguing, the mystery and story were interesting and definitely have ME WANTING MORE!!!!!!!” –Mandy, The Romance Bookie
**Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel — “Beautiful. Heart wrenching. A true tale of love. It’ll make you laugh, cry, and have you running out to buy a tube of red lipstick.” –RaShelle Workman, bestselling author of the Blood and Snow series
**Clockwise by Elle Strauss — “First-person perspective done right makes a protagonist seem more accessible, and Strauss certainly does it right with Casey… Readers who “trip” back in time with Casey will wish they could stay longer in her strangely relatable pace.” –Kirkus Review
**Protected by Cindy Hogan — “This anticipated sequel sizzles with equal parts thriller, suspense and romance. A spine tingling story I could not put down.” – C.K.Bryant, author of Bound
**A Spy Like Me by Laura Pauling — “Move over Gallagher Girls, there’s a new spy in town! A Spy Like Me is a fast paced, high energy ride through Paris that left me almost as breathless as Pauling’s hot hero. Super fun beginning, great story, and an ending that won’t disappoint!” –Gemma Halliday, NYT best selling author of Spying in High Heels
**The Pack – Retribution by L.M. Preston — “The action in this book was phenomenal! There was never a dull moment. Shamira and the group were always fighting off the bad guys and with style too.” –P. Bradish, Amazon Reviewer
**Untraceable by S.R. Johannes — “This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page.” — Kirkus Review
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Q: What prompted you to write the Guide?
I resisted a long time in putting this together. I had this silly idea I was a fiction writer (which is also true), in spite of spending the last four years blogging consistently about the industry, and especially the changes wrought by indie publishing. It took the goading of several friends, over a period of time, before I realized that the blog was actually non-fiction writing (I can be excessively slow for Ph.D. engineer sometimes). The trigger for blogging the book – revising and updating old posts as well as organizing the content – was seeing writer friend after writer friend take the leap, often after reading something I had posted. And I realized there wasn’t a book out there that addressed the fears as well as the nuts-and-bolts about going indie. I could have just left the Guide on my rinky-dink blog, but I knew the power of Amazon (and other retailers) to connect people to books, and I figured it would help more people this way.
Q: Why should I read a book about indie publishing by Susan Kaye Quinn? I’m pretty sure she’s not a NY Times Bestseller.
I’m not an indie rockstar. I haven’t made the news as one of those “exceptional” breakout indie authors. I’m a solidly midlist indie author, which means I make a living off my works. I’m one of thousands of invisible indie midlist authors who, I believe, are the core of indie publishing, and why it’s changing the industry. The rockstars of indie publishing can inspire and lead, they can use their leverage to break barriers, but they can’t transform the industry on their own. The true change has to come, as it always has, from the grass-roots. I’m part of that grass-roots movement.
Q: Will this Guide help me get rich quick from ebooks?
Q: Will this Guide help me decide if indie publishing is right for me?
Q: What if I’m afraid?
We’re all afraid. Fear is an integral part of being vulnerable in the world by daring to do brave things. Fear stops many people from becoming the full expression of who they are. I won’t tell you not to be afraid in this book – I’ll help you see the fear for what it is, manage it, and not let it stop you from reaching for the amazing things you have ahead of you.
Q: What if I don’t have the first clue how to start with self-publishing?
The Guide is designed to take a first-time-publishing author from the decision to go indie through to writing that second book (and starting the whole process over again). It’s also designed to help indie authors who have already published, but are struggling: either with keeping perspective for the long-term, trying to scale up their businesses from the first book, or just trying not to drown in social media quicksand. My hope is that all my indie author friends will find something worthwhile in it, or pass it on to someone who will. The culture in indie publishing of sharing information is part of what inspired this book in the first place.
What are you working on right now?
As I finish up publishing my Circle of Spies Series – Vanishing Point (a novella) and Twist of Fate (book 3) will be out in October – I’m plotting and prewriting for a contemporary YA. That’s all I can say because nothing is set in stone yet.
How does it differ from other works in the genre?
It differs from my spy books in that it’s not about espionage or set in an exotic city in a different part of the world. Well, I can’t say that there won’t be any elements of spying in it, but the main character will not be a spy. I’m excited to start on something new.
Why do you write what you do?
I love a good mystery, secret, or impossible challenge for the main characters when reading, so I usually end up incorporating one of those elements into my writing.
What is the hardest part about writing?
This one is easy – not having enough time in a day! J
Here are the two wonderfully talented authors, I’m passing the baton onto!
Laura Diamond is a board-certified psychiatrist and a multi-published author of YA, MG, paranormal, dystopian and horror.
ENDURE (Book One of Endure Series)
Immortality ends with a few drops of blood…
Seventeen-year-old Justin’s anemic blood is a blessing. Or a curse. It all depends on who you ask.
In the Post-Collapse world where the immortal Vie lord over the rapidly diminishing humans, Anemies like Justin and his sister are rabidly sought after. Their blood is a drug—and a scourge. Justin’s blood causes the Vie to age—a priceless hope for the Earth’s downtrodden humans.
When Justin’s sister is kidnapped by the Vie, he strikes a deal with the human resistance, but they’re nothing more than a cult with delusions that a messianic Anemie will free them all. They believe that person is Justin. Justin thinks they’ll need someone a lot stronger than an anemic kid who can’t run twenty feet without getting dizzy. Between saving what’s left of humanity and saving his sister, Justin can’t decide which will get him killed first.
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble
E.L. Bates is a writer located on the north shore of Massachusetts. A storyteller from the time she could talk, as soon as she learned to write she began putting her stories down on paper and inflicting them on the general public. Stories of magic and derring-do have been her favorites from almost as young. She is a firm believer in Lloyd Alexander’s maxim that “fantasy is not an escape from reality; it is a way of understanding reality.” Also, it’s a lot of fun both to write and to read.
With two children at home, most of her time these days is spent in writing living epistles. Between those and the pen-and-ink stories, there isn’t much time for anything else, but when she gets the chance, she enjoys quilting, reading, and hiking in the beautiful mountains of New England. Magic Most Deadly is her first published novel.
You can find out more about E.L. Bates via her website, www.stardancepress.com, or on Twitter as https://twitter.com/ElouiseBates, or through her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/elbateswriter
Dorothy L Sayers meets Diana Wynne Jones in this exciting debut novel by author E.L. Bates. Magic, murder, spies, and adventure come together in …
Magic Most Deadly
For Maia Whitney, life after the Great War is dull, monotonous, and drab. Nursing soldiers in the bloody fields of France hadn’t been easy, but it was better than life at home, standing in her sisters’ shadows. There seems no chance for a change until the night she witnesses a murder in the woods.
The last thing Magic Intelligence Agent Lennox Davies needs is this outspoken, independent lady crashing his investigation. Bad enough that a murder happened on his watch; much less that she had to see it happen. He works alone, and he does not have time for Miss Maia Whitney’s interference.
But as Maia’s own magical talent blossoms and danger thickens around the two with every step they take, before long Len and Maia must rely on each other in a fashion neither has ever done before. If they can’t learn to work together, England itself might topple. Even worse, if Maia doesn’t learn to control her magic soon, she might do more to destroy them even than their shadowy enemy.
Can they set aside their stubbornness and self-reliance in time to save themselves—and all England?
Goodreads – Expected publication is September 30th!
Thanks to Laura and E.L. for joining in on the fun!