Q&A (and brownies) with J.J. Murray discussion

Works in Progress > Silent Knight

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message 1: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Okay, the title is weak, but there's a point to it.

My editor has asked me to write an IR with a Christmas theme.

I know, it's nearly March. Why didn't he suggest this back in December?

My agent tells me that a Christmas romance will give me more exposure, and a Christmas-themed title can be re-presented year after year--hence, more sales.

The "trick," however, is to make the story timeless.

I'm mulling over ideas. The idea of a "silent knight" intrigues me somehow. But so does A Christmas Carol. Would she (or he) be the Scrooge? I don't want to do a remake/ripoff of This Christmas.

This is what I'll be writing next--provided I get a contract for True to the Game.

I just know it will be difficult to be writing about Christmas when it's 90 degrees in Virginia in August.

message 2: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) The business of writing is almost as fascinating as the art of writing. The best way to get into the mood to write about Christmas, is to watch Christmas movies - The Santa Clause 1-3 etc and white-out nothing says called like living in Antarctica(I know psychological thrillers don't exactly exude love but it is cold) ; break out a mini Christmas tree like bonzai tree size and remember it is always Christmas in July for car dealerships.

message 3: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
You're right. The holiday sales start in August now. I can just wait until then ...

message 4: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
My editor has suggested that I write a Christmas romance, but I have never read a Christmas romance. I'm usually putting the final touches on my spring release around the holidays, so the idea of writing one has never entered my mind.

I've seen some smarmy Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas romances on TV, though, and I really don't want to revise, emulate, or follow their "formulas."

I need your help!

So I don't write a formulaic Christmas romance, either tell me what the Christmas romance "formula" is or suggest a representative title for me to read.


message 5: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments I have only read a few and unfortunately I can't remember the titles. I do remember the themes though:

1) Reconcialition: a man and woman were once in love but separated by uncontrollable circumstances--the man was involved in some horrible accident and lost his entire immediate family. He blames himself, becomes a drunk and leaves town one day, after shutting out his girlfriend. Christmas comes around and suddenly the man and woman meet again because the man has returned home for the holidays to face his demons and of course, in spite of having moved on, they never fell out of love. The holidays bring them back together.

2) Healing: another story I read involved an angry woman who is bitter after losing her husband and kids on Christmas in a car accident. She moves away and doesn't come back to her hometown for years until her mother begs her to come home because her dad is dying and is asking for his daughter to spend what could be his last Christmas. She meets dad's male hospice nurse and he reawakens the woman's zest for love, family and of course her holiday spirit.

3) Loneliness: a woman can't stand the idea of spending another Christmas alone. She takes a flight telling herself that she is going to spend Christmas in San Francisco and then...surprise! she is going to jump off the Golden Gate bridge on New Year's Eve. Of course she meets a man on the flight who changes her life.

I guess the themes I have seen include those issues. There are a lot of novels with characters facing loss, sort of like your character in I'M YOUR GIRL. Matter of fact, if you'd written that and it was Christmas in the book...it would have been the perfect Christmas romance novel these days. It's loss, healing, new love, or reconciliation with old love.

message 6: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Thank you for this, Vacirca--and the long list of Debbie Macomber titles you sent me. Macomber is slightly fixated on Christmas, huh?

I wrote I'm Your Girl around Thanksgiving, so maybe I had the holidays in mind when I wrote it.

Y'all know me by now. I have to be at least slightly dysfunctional about the holidays. I suppose I could do an ensemble/family Christmas ... (thinking out loud) ... where H brings home her new man to meet her family only the family doesn't approve of him (or he doesn't approve of her family) ... several family traditions are ruined ... and then that long-lost love shows up, complicating matters ...

That plot sounds familiar, though. Hmm. What hasn't been done?

Okay, they live in a duplex, and she's his landlord. She disapproves of his "guests" she can hear through the walls but secretly wants him in the worst way. She doesn't celebrate Christmas because of something that happened in her past; he celebrates the bejeesus out of it so half the duplex is in the spirit while the other is barren ... She's kind of Scrooge-like while he's Father Christmas ... she wants to kick him out (noise, late on payments because he's so "generous" with his money) but lives vicariously through his exploits on the other side of the wall ...

I'm gone (Southern for "gonna") have to think on this for a spell. I want to break the formula and recreate the mold for this genre somehow.

message 7: by Vacirca (last edited Mar 07, 2011 07:48PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Yeah, Ms. Macomber seems to be the queen of Christmas romance stories judging by her long list. I figured checking out the plots, at the very least, would give a sense of the "mold" that has been done so it could be redone.

Anyway, the title SILENT KNIGHT is cool. I don't think there are any IR-themed Christmas romantic comedies. I suspect that in itself is a break in the mold. A lot of Christmas novels seem to be dealing with pain. However, I do believe pain can be funny at times if written that way.

What I did find strange is the way the novels seem to be poignant, heart-wrenching, just really deep with the heart-warming ending. But the movies tend to be comedies. I liked watching those weird, dysfunctional family Christmas movies over the years but haven't seen novels in that style.

Good luck.

message 8: by Denise (new)

Denise Tuggle (graphixgirl63) | 15 comments Hey Everybody!
Hey JJ!, sorry I am MIA most of the time but I have been keeping up with the posts and I want to add my 2 cents worth. FIRST: Lets talk about "She's the one" DUDE, it was off tha hook! I have to admit you have REALLY out done yourself with this one. When I first started to read it I really could not wrap the main character around my head. Katharina, was totally different from any female character you have dealt with. She was so out there and to see how you brought her back to reality was BEAUTIFUL! This book was seriously funny and it had a depth to it that I had never seen in some of your work. I loved the way you found a way to strip the main character from all the pomp and circumstance that she thought was her life and give her depth and character. I also love how you put a little of yourself in Pietro Lucentio. He was a trip of a character but he managed to bring out the best in her and give her back herself. ANYWAY you are on a roll with this one and I pray you KEEP IT UP! Sorry I only had the advance copy 2 months but I am a very busy woman, BUT I will try and do better next time. Thank you for all the good reads and I wish you more SUCCESS in the future! LOVE & PEACE, Denise

message 9: by Denise (new)

Denise Tuggle (graphixgirl63) | 15 comments JJ, why not write about how you and your wife spent your first Christmas together! To add depth make the main character a homless woman who has 2 kids, she can be very quiet and very humble individual which will be the hook that catches the attention of "HIM". He is slightly well to do not much to brag on but wants to find more meaning to his life. Why not set it from thanksgiving leading up to Christmas with the same "Holiday" theme but add a twist of some sort where they know they like each other but because of the difference of their worlds it seems impossible. I don't know! Just thinking out loud and trying to clear the cobweb's! Just a thought!

message 10: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Thank you for the kind comments, Denise. Unlike some critics, you took the book for what it is--fun.

As for our first Thanksgiving and Christmas ... Yeesh. We lived in a two-bedroom, one-bath farmhouse on 30 acres that had a well and septic from, oh, the turn of the century. The septic chose to back up on Thanksgiving Day when we had a house full of people overeating. I called every plumber in the phone book starting with the A's. Finally, a Mr. Roberts agreed to leave his family's Thanksgiving dinner to help us out.

I have never spent that much on a plumber since.

And then we ran out of toilet paper.

Christmas--yikes! We had a major ice storm knock out power to our section of the county, a tree limb crashed down onto the roof of my Sentra, and the pipes froze. I stayed in the cold, empty house with kerosene heaters while Amy and Joshua stayed at her mama's.

We tend to have memorable firsts.

message 11: by Denise (new)

Denise Tuggle (graphixgirl63) | 15 comments Hey all:
J.J., I hope that you find a good hook for your project. I would try and use something you have already experienced or someone you know has gone through. Real life experiences are harder to believe than fictional ones for some reason, but they make for interesting reading on the other side of the story. You have a very interesting life beginning and all! I would use it to help fill the story in. Use teachable experiences such as going through a bad patch in life and coming out on the winning side. Christmas is complicated so you can use a character who has lost ALL hope.....sounds familiar to me.....we have all been there! Or put them in a situation where there is almost no hope to be found...then GOD sends the Knight to straighten out the situation. Use humor, it helps alot to see things and laugh at ourselves. That's all I got now! "Should you become successful or get caught we will deny any or all involvement with this project and deny any self incrimination." This tape will self-destruct in 5 mins. GOOD LUCK!

message 12: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments I 'gree with Denise. Your real-life holiday situation sounds like it would be really funny. Drama upon drama.

message 13: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Hey JJ, I have a question: have you considered putting together a collection of short stories or novellas for this one instead? Either on your own or with other authors of IR fiction maybe? Just wondering.

message 14: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
To answer your question quickly, no. The longer answer:

I have never written an IR short story. Renee and Jay was a novella that I developed into a novel.

I could say it's because I think too big or think only in terms of 100,000+ words, but it's simpler than that. In general, short story collections don't sell as well as novels do, no matter if it's one person's short stories or a groups of writers' short stories. Which is weird since we live in a fast food, Reader's Digest nation.

A part of me wouldn't want to share the spotlight anyway (jes' bein' honest), and I've read reviews of short story collections that praise one story/author at the expense of the others.

Another thought: I will have trouble coming up with one Christmas plot idea. If I have to fill 200+ pages with short stories ... You get me?

And here's the final "dagger": I don't even think Kensington publishes short story collections.

message 15: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Oh okay.

I decided to ask because this week I had an ABBA-themed birthday shindig (LOL "Dancing Queen" "Fernando," "Chiquitita," "Mama Mia" and all the great ABBA hits)and as usual many of my guests gifted me books. Quite a few were recently published ss collections. I thought they were on the rise again.

I knew you'd never put one out before. I just figured I'd ask anyway since I also noticed that many Christmas stories come out as ss collections or novellas.

I wonder is it harder for you as a writer to come up with an idea when it's requested? Is it easier to write a novel when it just develops on its own?

Anyway, I am looking forward to reading your Christmas novel when it is published.

Don't forget to reset your clocks everybody.

message 16: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
On the hottest day of the year so far (101 with heat index around 110), I am 8,000 words into my holiday (2014!) novel.

Since Kensington re-titles my books anyway, I'm calling it Odd Ducks or No Ribbons Attached. I'm sure they'll come up with something like I'm Dreaming of a Caucasian Christmas.

Here's the bullet:

In Brooklyn (Prospect Heights), Hope Warren, a naturalized American citizen with an MFA in art and design from the University of Alberta (Canada), works 50 hours a week at a monotonous, mind-numbing job at Thrifty Digital Printing on Flatbush Avenue. Her co-workers are either gay or vacuous fools (or both), her studio apartment defines claustophobia, and her cat (Whack) doesn't purr. She saves every spare penny toward the beach house she wants to own by the time she retires, though she doubts that dream will ever come true. She also despises Christmas.

And her depression talks to her.

And she talks back to her depression.

Enter Dylan Healy, President (and sole employee) of Odd Duck Limited Greeting Cards, who brings life, love, laughter, Buffalo Boss hot wings, and some brutally ironic and ridiculous greeting cards into Hope's life. When one of Hope's doodles catches Dylan's eye, he convinces her to join him in making some of the most outrageous greeting cards ever.

And they sell ... well.

What makes this project unique:

It will be illustrated.

I plan to put in some or all of the cards that Dylan and Hope create using Paint.

I am having fun.

Just wish it would snow ...

message 17: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Wow. An immigrant. Where is Hope originally from?

Second: uhhh what does vacuous mean? :-)

message 18: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Hope is Canadian (Edmonton, Alberta).

Vacuous means "emptyheaded, ig'nint, unintelligent."

You must explain the tattoo! It is very cool.

message 19: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Title change: Odd Ducks (lame) is now The Last Place You Look (better). Why?

I had been using a zip drive back and forth among computers at work, libraries, and home. For a solid week, I did not make a backup.

I forgot the zip drive at the library Friday, they could not find it Saturday (I looked!), and just today at 12:30 PM it turned up. It was on the librarian's desk, which was ... the last place anybody looked.

So now you know where this title came from ...

message 20: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Duh, JJ. I knew what vacuous meant.

I looked it up right away.

So you tell me "Hope is Canadian (Edmonton, Alberta)."

J.J. Murray...I could have sworn you were gonna say Hope is West Indian! What about the request from my book swap homies and I? When will you write a Carib chick?

BUT *GULP* Canadian is good.

message 21: by Vacirca (last edited Jul 25, 2011 10:25PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Dag, you can see that little itty bitty picture? Anyway, as I study the pic, I notice the difference from real life. My skin is more chocolate syrup than honey. I must have been standing in super strobe light or something.

About the tattoo. Hmmm. Thanks for the compliment. You want one too? I can recommend someone. :-) I love, love, love them.

But unfortunately, I don't have any.

The "tattoo" is of one of the flowers I designed to have painted on my skin by a friend. I do that a lot. Get "skin paintings." I wear them like women wear accessories. I had that one done to match my dress for a party I went to. Another one was on my leg.

Why go through all that? Because I am very, very strange. Plus, I like to feel like I have a tattoo. LOL. I also get henna tattoos but they take so long and don't show up as well on my skin.

I like art and regret not getting the tattoos I wanted when I was younger. Believe it or not, my mother forbid me. :P

I believe if I get a real one now, it will be too permanent. Plus, it will be like I am trying too hard, if you understand where I am coming from. I'm officially grown folks now.

And people question your faith over things like tattoos I found out.

But one day I may walk down West 4th Street and do it just cause I can.

message 22: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Oh and thank you for changing the title from Odd Ducks. LOL. The new title is cool. But what happened to Silent Knight?

message 23: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
He is anything but a silent knight. She is the quiet one.

Body art. Hmm. I may have a use for this in this book. Ever wear a poinsettia or some holly/ivy?

message 24: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Funny. No.

message 25: by Vacirca (last edited Jul 26, 2011 11:59PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments But keeping in line with the Christmas theme of your novel and the discussion of body paint, why don't you have Hope "wearing" a painted-on Mrs. Claus suit which is really not a suit at all? Perfect for the inevitable Christmas love scene LOL.

But if you want her to wear a poinsettia on her back...ugly, but seems like great fun :-).

message 26: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Hope despises Christmas (some of her reasons are valid), so no poinsettias for her.

I asked Kensington to extend my due date for this novel to November 1, mainly because it won't come out for two years, but partially so I don't rush it. So that this holiday book has a chance to be re-presented year after year, I have to make it as timeless as possible with few references to current events. It's not as easy as it looks! For most of my books, I've been writing two years into the future. For this one, I have to write about a decade into the future.

message 27: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
VV, I have added a Haitian character (Aniya, age 9) to this novel. I think I'll have her complain about the aunt who painted the flower on her arm ... :)

message 28: by Vacirca (last edited Jul 28, 2011 10:38PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Look again, Murray, it was on my shoulder.

Personally I think it was cool...

Dude, like are you making fun of me?

And he was once one of my favorite writers too...

JJ Murray:

pa jwe avè m'!

Tell Aniya to translate that!

By the way, did you actually name your Haitian character after my Haitian cousin who is also my friend on Goodreads? (Aniya A from FL?) Cool! Of course naming her Vacirca would be cooler. That's Vacirca, spelled V-A-C-I-R-C-A.

Better you write a Haitian child...less headaches that way. So does that mean Hope is Haitian-Canadian? Or is Aniya a niece by adoption after the quake in Ayiti?

Anyway, thanks for the tribute. I will always be touched by it, even in the form of a complaint.

And just for your comment, one day, when it becomes a movie, I will paint the cover of Something Real on my...back. :-)

message 29: by Vacirca (last edited Jul 28, 2011 10:39PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments I'm off to use your group to vent now...

message 30: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
The child is wearing sleeves, hence the flower on her arm. Not many 9-year-olds go sleeveless in Brooklyn in mid-October.

I have been corresponding with a Canadian woman from Edmonton, Alberta, and she is "20% South American." Her family has been in Canada for quite some time, and she considers herself Canadian.

I did name the aunt VV :)

The child does speak a little Kreyol, which I promise to run by you prior to publication.

message 31: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments ROTF...20% South American, huh?

I was confused. I thought the child complains about the aunt having the flower. I didn't realize Aniya's tatie, (as in Tatie Vacirca, or Tatie Vadie maybe?) painted the flower on her arm.

Vadie (pronounced Vah-Dee) is my family Haitian nickname. We all have them. My cuz Aniya is Ni-Ni or Ya-Ya. I call her Annie.

Just in case you're not getting my hopes up, I will allow myself to giggle and get excited. It's cool that you named the aunt V.V. I still like Vacirca better, though. That's pronounced Vah-sierra-cah, spelled V-A-C-I-R-C-A.

Kidding (yeah, right!)*hoping*

I know, when someone gives an inch, don't demand a mile.

Sounds wonderful. God bless you...even more now that there is a Haitian in your work.

Naw, God will bless you and your work no matter who is in it. I pray for you and your family and your success often...for your work to continue to touch folks. I am sure this work will do that as well.

*whispers* even though my group and I would like to see JJ's take on a West Indian heroine one day. Maybe she can teach mine a thing or two.

Shhh! Don't tell him I am still begging for that. He may get annoyed.

message 32: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Looking forward to reading your upcoming works.

message 33: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Okay, okay. Tatie Vadie is Aniya's aunt. Aniya is a 9-year-old tomboy who once liked to be called "Ni-Ni." Now that she's "grown," she wants to be called Aniya exclusively.

She's also a Yankees fan. :)

She will be instrumental in getting our couple (Hope and Dylan) to have their first kisses in the back of a cab.

And no, I will not tell you how this child will get that to happen.

35,000 words in and rolling. As you all should know by now, I have already outlined it thoroughly and have the ending completely written. Now all I have to do is connect the dots.

message 34: by Vacirca (last edited Aug 03, 2011 06:26AM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments What?!

I am speechless, flabbergasted. So is my real-life cousin Aniya. What joy! I hope you don't feel as though I harassed you or anything. *wink* I am excited. My little cousins (15 years younger or more) who call me Tatie Vadie, out of respect, will laugh...maybe then I can get them to put down the I-Phone and actually pick up a book and...*gasp* read it!

Wow, already 35,000 words and counting.

Your novel is moving forward. It is interesting the way writers, such as yourself, are able to see the end before the middle. I have never been able to visualize the end clearly. Maybe I will try that next time.

My book? 232,146 words and deleting...

message 35: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
I don't feel harassed, V. These kinds of additions add "significant detail," a phrase a college professor used to spit at me all the time. "Always use significant detail in your writing," he'd say. These names are significant.

Broke 56,000 this morning as I entered chapter 13 (of 24), so I'm about halfway with the first draft. Hope and Dylan are eating at The Islands in Brooklyn. Curry goat, oxtail soup, jerk chicken, red beans and rice, banana dumplings ... You know, the usual first date meal.

I have decided not to do illustrations. I'm no artist, and Microsoft Paint isn't that easy for me to use. I have a shaky wrist, and my mouse has a mind of its own. When I told my editor there would be 27 (!) greeting cards inside, he said, "That's a lot." Too many. Maybe I should create them anyway and send them to Hallmark ...

Here's a "punny" example of a Christmas card:

On the cover: Man shoveling dirt over Christmas tree and presents … Inside the card: Bury Christmas

Think Hallmark would use that one?

In other news, True to the Game will be called A Good Man. My character is indeed a good man, so I'm content. That book will be out in March 2012. I should have a cover to look at soon and will post it here and on my website as soon as I get it.

message 36: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments HA! LOL about the "usual first date meal." In my world those foods are everyday meals...well except banana dumplings. I like regular dumplings.

Congrats again. So about the illustrations? It was a cool idea--straight cheese, though. (Sorry talking like the youngsters again). Why not get an illustrator? The guy who paints my parts might can help. Or someone from your area? Someone from the publishing company?

So will your cover be more of an illustration this time? Like SOMETHING REAL'S cover? Or a picture of a man shoveling snow?

A GOOD MAN? Hmmm, accurate title. Been praying for one of those to find a "good thing" in me for like 11 of my long 33 years...that should capture the attention of women searching for a good romance to read (and experience in real life).

But how does that feel when the editors change the titles of your work? I think as much as I pray to be published, I would have a fit. Titles are so important.

And at least your story won't be connected to one about drug dealers.

Still trying to get around to spending the $10,000 on an IPAD to read your other stories too.

message 37: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) Hi Guys, just read through all the messages. It looks like you two are keeping this group alive. Which I think is great.

message 38: by Vacirca (last edited Aug 08, 2011 06:03PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO my Carib sis! Where in blazes have you been? How ya doin'? How ya mama doin'?

Well, I like your flower Jo. It's pretty.

Jo I have to ask you about roti in Brooklyn. How can I contact you? You know what? Might as well do it here since we were talking about West Indian foods anyway. Maybe JJ will use this for one of the date scenes LOL.

Anyhoo, I have a mess of curry chicken coming for a party this Saturday and the Indian-Trini("Dougla") chick who bragged that she will make me three types of roti--Dhalpuri, Bake, and Buss Up Shut-- flaked (no pun intended). So what's the best place in Brooklyn to get roti? Please don't say Atlantic Ave...that's the end of the world from where I live now. There isn't good stuff in the Mt. Vernon/Bronx area.

I called my great-aunt (they're Indian-Guyanese) on my father's side but needless to say she was mad. Haven't called in months then I call and say, "Hey auntie, what's up with the roti?"

And she says to my cousin, "Eh-eh? Aww lawd, dese chirren! Ya 'ear how she call she aunt afta tree months so she cyan ask fa she roti?"

Anyway, after a guilt trip from here to Jerusalem about how I spend my time with my mother's side more than my father's, she said she's getting to old to be foolin' with roti and how if I spent more time with them, I would know how to make roti by now, same as I make Haitian food. I told her my daddy taught me, thank you very much, but I don't have a tava to make that stuff...plus who has time?

Serves me right, I guess. *sigh*

Any ideas, Jo?

message 39: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Anyway, you are all invited to my shindig on Aug 13th if y'all are free. Send a message for details. Jo, you can just hop on the 5 train if you coming through.

message 40: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) The only roti-person I know for good is a cousin, who is building a roti business. Unfortunately I feel like I am in a sort of limbo. I moved away from Brooklyn and lived in Atlanta for four years. Every time I go back there I feel like something has changed.

When my West Indian family try to brutalize me on certain things, I proudly tell them I am American. Only b/c that gets them more upset.

Thank you for the invite and my all means send me the address info via email.

message 41: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Pushing 86,000 words, chapter 18 of 25 ...

Some random tidbits:

*Hope (Canadian) is officially 33 (yes, VV, a good age to be)
*Dylan grew up in Brownsville (there's a point to it, him being an Irish-American in a definitely non-white place)
*Aniya (now age 5) is Haitian, very cute
*They eat EVERYWHERE in Brooklyn (including curry goat at The Islands)
*Her only friend is Kiki (Jamaican), a co-worker
*Dylan had once had a long relationship with Bahamian woman who dumped him

Yes, there is an "islands" flair to all this. My next book may even be called ISLAND GIRL. Already outlining it in my spare time ...

Okay, and now I need your help.

Explain ROTI to me. Saw a restaurant in Brooklyn hyping itself as having "the best roti in New York." I may have Dylan and Hope eating roti.

Hit me back on my e-mail (a3jmurray@msn.com), and I''ll probably ask you even more questions.

message 42: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) Brownsville! Where in Brownsville close to Utica or Brookdale Hospital.

message 43: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
I have them visiting the playground at the Brownsville Rec Center on Linden. He "grew up" in the Tilden Houses.

message 44: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) The BRC, I grew up there. I lived on Watkins. Wow!

message 45: by Vacirca (last edited Aug 11, 2011 09:51PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Sorry...for some reason, I no longer get emails stating there is a new comment. Maybe you guys have secretly blocked me so I can hush up.

Response to Jo's info on still-emergent roti situation:

Um, wow Jo. Thanks. That info and a quarter could really, like, buy me a bag of chips. ;-)

Just kidding...thanks for your thoughts. And should I email you? You should come really.

message 46: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) I like did my best. Idont know any quick roti places except Golden Krust and aren't we all tired of them all over the dang place.
Anyhow I recommend doritos. Teehee

message 47: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Okay Jo sent message via Goodreads...lost your email from before, sorry.

Response to JJ Murray's post on August 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Love it. You're my bestest friend now. ISLAND GIRL?? I can't believe it. I can't. I can't! Great! An excuse to celebrate with organic birthday cake ice cream (with organic cake batter ice cream and sprinkles and everything!) Cost me like $8.99 but first sweet in a loooooog time *shivering like a wet sheepdog*

And 33 is after all the "Jesus year"...hopefully she won't squander hers as I seem to be squandering mine. YAY for Hope.

Roti, my new bestest writer friend/mentor/Island Girl writer, can be Googled. You have probably done so already anyway since I am so late in seeing this discussion. But, alas, I shall send the email...

I am part Indian-Guyanese, and we make it too, but I will say that the Trininadians seem to make it the ways I like it best, no offense to anyone out there.

Okay so JJ...that restaurant that advertised itself? Um, can I get the name of that please? Still need roti by Saturday... This is a problem. My so-called friends keep saying, "I promise I will get you the info" and then *flop*. The promise falls short.

message 48: by Vacirca (last edited Aug 11, 2011 11:49PM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments You are so mean Jo...Doritos? LOLOL Funny thing is I can't find a bag of doritos for a quarter. They sell the small bags for like 50 cents...

But man, your info was more like outfo...cause I am still lost.

Just playing. Naw, I will find someplace.

But yeah, gyaal, I swore off Golden Krust...cause that's all you get from them:

A Golden Crust.

There is like no meat available when you try to buy a patty from them. Like do I really have to bring it back? Where's the beef? I go buy a beef patty and can't find the beef in the patty. I mean if the beef ain't in the beef patty, then where is the beef? I mean that's just plain cheap. And the coco bread be hard too.

At least that's the one in the Bronx, near Mt. Vernon border where I live...Dyre Ave. They sell entres too. So one day I bought jerk chicken and didn't want the rice and peas so I asked for their salad on the side. The heffa served up like three leaves of lettuce and three shredded pieces of carrot and called it a salad. I was like, "Dang, Ma, can I get some...tomato? A radish? Su'thin'?"

They are so cheap. And they are millionaires.

message 49: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) I have. No idea what american west indians do besides whine. Sad but true roti is roti for me if the curry is good I am happy. My mom is a curry lady.

message 50: by Vacirca (last edited Aug 12, 2011 12:00AM) (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments But every Jamaican says G.K. doesn't sell real Jamaican food anyway. It's true. The real Jamaican restaurants are the truth... love that jerk chicken straight off the steel black drums and their super fiya jerk sauce. My fav place knows me. He'll see me and tell his wife to get the hottest jerk sauce they got...kind that makes your eyes water and you still taste it two days later in your gut. Yum.

In my neighborhood...Jamaicans are the WIs that run thangs here...less Haitians and other Islanders repped in Mt. Vernon/N.E. Bronx area. Anyway, every summer during each weekend, several Jamaican families will take over all of the parking lots of either abandoned stores or strip malls and do Jerk Chicken/Jerk pork cookoffs. And every Friday-Sunday you can get Jerk meat right off the steel drum grill with two sides...and always with the manditory cabbage on the side of the two other sides (usually rice & peas and plantain)

Several families/groups are at war over this "competition" too. It's cool...until it's 3 am on a Sunday morning and soca/calypso/reggae is still blasting and you got to get up for chuch! in the morning.

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