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How can four high school students pull off a major heist? Find out!

If you’ve known me for any length of time as a writer and/or reader or have stopped by the blog at all in the past few years, then you might know that I love heist movies and books! Love them.

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.

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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. 

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Thanks Elisa!!!

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Trilogies and cliffhangers…and some book news!

Trilogies and cliffhangers…and some book news!

Before self publishing offered authors a chance to strike out on their own, I always wrote books with the thought that it could be a series or a trilogy. I jotted potential storylines or subplots in notebooks that could continue in other books, some thread from the previous story that could be explored.

Personally, I don’t care for cliffhangers that end the story in the middle of a climax. In fact, sometimes, it annoys me so much that I don’t keep reading book 2 or book 3. I like each book to be a complete story. The kind of cliffhanger I don’t mind is the one where the story is wrapped up, but some new element or question or shocking reveal is introduced, one that keeps me thinking about the book until the next one is published, or at least one I remember when the next book is published.

How do you like your endings and cliffhangers?

On that note, Vanishing Point, A Circle of Spies novella has been published. This is an adult novella, revealing the secret past of Marisa Bent, Savvy’s mom.

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Lies can be deadly.

Before Paris, before Greece, Marisa Bent was nothing but a bored housewife, willing to do anything to protect her family. When she learns that espionage runs in her blood line and that a family of assassins are her archenemy, she’s willing to do anything to protect her husband and daughter and keep them in the dark. She even follows Will, the young, arrogant assassin, into the heart of trouble.

Using a mother’s instinct, she becomes the hero. More than once. This only seems to prove to Will that she is indeed a spy, bent on ruining his family’s enterprise. In the defining moment of her life, she must make the biggest sacrifice a mother can make.

Finally, the untold story of Savvy’s mother. Learn why she disappeared from Savvy’s life and the sordid details of her past with Malcolm’s family. 

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And, to finish off the series, Twist of Fate ( book 3) will be out in October. Add to Goodreads.

 

Thanks everyone! Tell me your good news!

 

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Isabelle Stewart Gardner: the person, the heist, the paintings.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a fascinating woman. From the get go she was an adventurous-do-her-own-thing kind of person. I loved reading about how she tried to run away to the circus or how she stole sleighs and would careen around Boston or how she managed to outbid large museums like the Louvre on famous paintings. When she became a widow, she slowly turned her house into the museum it is today. And this was in the 1800 hundreds.

Heist, my YA time travel mystery, is on a book blitz with Xpresso Book Tours for the next two weeks. The price for a limited time is marked down to 99 cents! Yay!

I thought I’d share a round-up of links concerning the museum, the heist, and the recent news release that the heist has been solved.

The facts: what happened, the stolen artwork, and images of the paintings.

The news release that the thieves had been identified.

A brief look into the incredible life of Isabella Stewart Gardner.

A wonderful video of the heist, it’s impact, and the museum today.


 

Check out Heist on sale for a limited time!

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Thanks! Keep a watch on my Twitter feed to links to guest posts, interviews and excerpts!

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Indie Life – Heist has been published!

Forgive me, friends, as I take this opportunity to announce my new release! 

 

Purchase at Amazon

The two thieves dressed as cops, buzzed at the side door, and the guards allowed them inside. They tied up the shocked guards, stole the paintings and walked away from the museum way too easily.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Musuem Heist is one of the most famous and most fascinating art thefts. And just this past year the breaking news released that it has been solved!

Through the time travel thriller, Heist, you will experience this famous art theft from the thieves gaining entrance to their mocking humor when they left an empty frame on the director’s chair.

I altered descriptions and names of the main characters: the thieves, the guards, and the detective, while still incorporating small bits of truth. The characters and the story are purely fictional. When Jack travels back in time to the heist, I kept to the facts of the robbery best I could.

Detectives have been obsessed with this crime. They’ve tracked down leads and traveled the world…to come up empty handed.

I invite you to experience the famous art heist through the eyes of Jack Brodie, my troubled hero, as he solves the mystery.

Thanks! If feel you like sharing my goodnews with a tweet, I’d appreciate it!

Visit the Indelible blog for the list of links and visit all the Indie Lifers.

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Onsite research for HEIST at the Gardner Museum.

It was a hot, sticky day in August, when I walked through the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the summer of 2010. The cooler temperature of the building was a much-needed relief. My husband and I spent our anniversary in Boston, so I included this necessary stop all in the name of research.

At first, I was disappointed when I learned I couldn’t take inside pictures and I couldn’t use a pen to take notes. But, of course, I should’ve realized. The art in this museum is worth billions and they guard it carefully.

I asked about the 1990 heist, and they pulled out a photo album. The lady seemed a little annoyed as if they were tired of the fame of the heist instead of the art that remained on the walls.

I strolled through the museum, trying my best to follow the path of the thieves, soaking in the mystery. I sat on benches and recorded sights, smells, sounds, textures, tiled floors, the lavish decorations, grand ballrooms, and the flowering courtyard that sits in the center of the museum.

Then we toured the building. A thrill went through my chest at the sight of the empty frames, along with a little bit of sadness. What makes a heist so fascinating? Maybe it’s the fact that this was never solved (until recently) and due to Isabella’s will, nothing can be changed in the museum. Hopefully, the art will be found in the near future and returned to their rightful place. When it does, I’ll be sure to visit again.

I toured the grounds outside, walked down the narrow side street that coils around the building. When I found the small park, if it can be called that, next to the museum, the writer in me grew excited, because I could use that space for the art festival that Fiasco and Jetta visit.

Then I toured the public garden, walked the wide-paved paths, let my fingers trace across the heads of the ducks from the famous book, Make Way for the Ducklings. I found a bench in the shade, pulled out my notebooks, and took notes on the sights, sounds, and smells.

I arrived home, armed with details to add to my story.

Walk in the paths of my fictional hero as he solves this famous art heist.

 Add to Goodreads and be ready for the release next week! Eek!

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