Where have all the Female Super Hero’s gone?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Let me tell you who I am not.

I am not Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers whose talent is in using her seductive sexuality to misguide men into sharing their secret plans.

I am not Lisbeth Salandar from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a socio path who cannot relate to society but has the guts and know how to use a stun gun and computer hacking skills beyond the norm.

I am not Kate Beckinsale in Underworld running around in tight black pleather sucking blood and saving werewolves.

I am not Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil saving the future world from the Umbrella Corporation with super natural virus enhancing fighting abilities.

And while it is not a current reference I am not She-Ra princess of power either.  For those of you that remember her, I will forever have a place in my heart for the answer to He-Man (welcome back 1987).

I am Addison Towne.  An author, and a believer in what women can do when put to the test.  When I set out to write Suburban Task Force, I wanted to create heroes I could relate to.  Heroes that would hopefully end up on the big screen one day as well.  Not just heroes that could complete unbelievable feats of super human skills one after another while maintaining perfect hairdos.  My heroes had to have heart, a realistic quality to them, and at the end of the day, they had to be funny, because if we aren’t laughing we aren’t living.

Filmmakers used to be enthralled with the idea of a formidable female force.  One that could do normal human feats, such as ride a horse, drive a car and put up a fight when attacked all while ensued in an action scene.  But that no longer seems good enough.  Women have to be given more, like an extra oomph to make them worthy of action on the big screen.  For example, why do the women in the Charlie’s Angels movies have to fly up a fence during a fight scene?  Wouldn’t it have been just as cool a scene if they had stayed on the ground?

One recent exception to this would be the Salt movie with Angelina Jolie, although I think we all find it hard to believe her skinny arms could inflict much damage.  Yes, she jumps off a bridge and lands on a bus, but she does so without any extra help.   As excited as I was by this movie, I had to remember that her role was originally written for Tom Cruise, not a female character.

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy these stars and the characters they portray.  I just can’t say I get why an action star can’t be an every day ‘Jane’

We see it all the time with men like Bruce Willis in the Die Hard Series. He was just your everyday cop.

Or in the movie Unstoppable with Chris Pine, and Denzel Washington.  They were just everyday railroad engineers.  Or Tom Cruise in pretty much every movie.  He is just the everyday guy who can run, really, really fast.  No super human powers.  No using sex.  No sociopaths.

Writing Suburban Task Force allowed me to bring my vision of the everyday super hero to life; the moms, sisters, friends and women from my world.  I wanted them to be able to look in their purse and know they had the tools to survive.  I wanted them to step outside of their comfort zone and explore the strength from within.

I am lucky and proud to be a woman.  I like action.  I like adventure.  I like to shop and have fun.  So why is it so hard to find these types of women on the big screen?  Why is it not enough?

Why do you think the movies can’t accept us for who we are when presented with the need to survive?

I look forward to the discussion!

Addison

A Q&A with Chick Lit Plus

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Samantha March Q&A.

When did you know writing was for you?

 

I have always enjoyed writing.  I began keeping a journal when I was seven and it grew from there.  Poetry, short stories, songs and screenplays, it didn’t matter.  I just had to get it down on paper and out of my head.   Then one day I decided to sit down and actually write a book.  It was the most fun I’d ever had writing.

 

How would you describe your books?

 

Sarcasm wrapped up with action, adventure and real life humor.  I enjoy poking fun at myself and use those around me as inspiration for crazy real life scenarios.  Having people read the book and relate to it on some level is what I aim for.

 

Why was Suburban Task Force a book you wanted to write?

 

There aren’t a lot of real life super hero’s out there for women to relate to these days.  We can’t all be Angelina Jolie nor can we be Wonder Woman or Nikita.   Not all of us are tall, thin, gorgeous amazon women who fight in heels.  My characters take their heels off.  They use practical and some not so practical tactics to get through the day and sometimes, that’s just funny. 

 

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

 

Taking the idea in my head and getting it down on paper.  I type relatively fast, but sometimes my brain is two chapters ahead of where my hands are and the thoughts get jumbled up in the process.

 

What are your favorite genres to read?

 

Mystery, Comedy, Female Sleuths, True Crime.

 

What do you want readers to take away from your story?

 

Woman can band together and make a difference.  That love and friendship will get you through the toughest times and that at the end of the day it’s okay to laugh, have a glass of wine and enjoy life.

 

How important do you think social media is for authors these days?

 

Very.  Without it you can easily become buried under all the great books out there.  You have to find your niche and make an impact.  You have to devote yourself to the idea that you are a marketing machine as much as you are a writer.

 

What would be your advice to aspiring writers?

 

Let your friends and family give you honest feedback.  Try, try and try again.  Most importantly, go out and buy yourself a thick skin suit because at the end of the day you can’t please everyone.  You have to just know in your heart that what you’re attempting is something most people would never have the guts to do.

 

 

 

An Author Q&A Addison Towne Suburban Task Force

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?

One night the alarm went off in our house.  I was so scared I couldn’t move.  The police showed up and the back door downstairs had been busted open.  The very first chapter of the book is similar to that scene.  It was an eye opener and a wake up call that we can’t just expect others to take care of us.  We have to learn to take care of ourselves.  A couple of months after the break in had happened (we weren’t hurt and nothing was stolen) we were out to dinner with friends sharing the story.  Said out loud it was actually pretty amusing.  The story just developed from there.   

One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.

The desire to buy the sequel.   I jest.  I want people to walk away feeling accomplished.  Like, ‘I could have done that too.’  I want them to feel as though they know the characters like their own friends, and had a good time laughing and saving the day with them.

 

Why did you choose your genre?

They say to write what you know.  I took half of that to heart when writing Suburban Task Force.  I know women.  I know Suburbia.  I did not, however, know too much about self-defense and firearms.  I had fun researching the topics and then incorporating that into a ‘what would I do’ scenario.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Grammar and punctuation.  I’m laughing while writing that, but I like to write the way I speak.  That often ends up with a lot of unnecessary commas and pauses.  I am at the mercy of my editors.

 

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Have fun.  Keep everything you write.  Never delete.  You would be surprised how often an idea works well for another project in the future.

 

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

My immediate answer to that would be that I don’t have my series of 10 yet so, YES!  I do, and sometimes it’s not just writers block so much as life block.   I am not a full time writer and have to learn to juggle my other projects, a family and ‘life’ just like everyone else.  That seems to be my biggest obstacle.  I have a million ideas scrambled in my head just waiting to be written.

 

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Aside from a computer and a go to editor? A love of reading.  A supportive friend or family member who believes in you for the days you don’t. 

What would I be if not a writer?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

One of the questions I’ve been asked several times since the launch of Suburban Task Force is the hypothetical what would I be if not a writer?  My answer is somewhat always the same.  I’d still be what I am, a writer.  However, it may play out in other creative ways.

I grew up dreaming of stories and scenes.  I would often remake a scene in my dream until I had the version I liked.  Part of me was awake, conscious of the redone decisions.  The other part of me was filling in the scene with décor and visual surplus.  I always liked to have a minimum of three versions of any scene, shown from several different angles.

Luckily, I could wake up and remember my dreams.  I would write them down in a journal, and more often then not, re do the dreams the following night or week until it was ‘just right.’  Apparently this isn’t the norm for most six or seven year old’s.

There were several times I found myself unable to run or tied to something preventing me from running in my dreams.  When I was older I looked up the meaning behind all the ‘tied down and unable to run’ dreams and found that it is a common type of dream.

It supposedly means you feel you can’t accomplish something in the awake state, like something is keeping you from completing it.

As I read more, I recalled that as a 6 or 7 year old I probably wasn’t trying to accomplish too much nor did I have any residual stress from the workplace, so I dug more.

I read that most likely I was experiencing sleep paralysis (which is normal).  It’s basically your body protecting you from yourself, like keeping you from enacting the things you do in your dream in real life in your sleep. So if you’re running in your dream your legs might actually be trying to run in real life but your body will paralyze you temporally and in result you will struggle to run in your dream as well.

This was the moment I realized I was a visual dreamer tied down only by my own body.  Like any other dreamer, I took it to mean I should pick up, move across the country and be in the film world.   My mother was hardly convinced, but I was not to be stopped.

And so I worked in Hollywood in television and film.  I wrote copy, tag lines, produced segments, and worked on branding material.  And do you know what I realized at the end of the day?  I wasn’t a director, or a producer.  No.  I was the writer.  I was making the story.

I wrote Suburban Task Force in my head.  I dreamt out the scenes.  I acted out the dialogue.  The women were real.  They were fun.  They were honest with their fear and emotions.  They kicked butt.

Writing Suburban Task Force was a breakthrough for me, because I realized that no matter what career, job or path I took I would always find a way to be a writer within it.

 

Good luck to all you dreamers out there!

A Q&A with Mommy Booknerd Reviews

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Q.  What inspires your writing?

 

Without being cliché, life inspires my writing.  I write in the first person.  While it is a rare approach, the feedback from readers has been positive.  It was a risky decision, but it is how I write best.  So when I say life inspires my writing it is truly because I am writing as though I am speaking to the reader.  My daily life, experiences, thoughts, emotions and realities all affect the conversational approach of my writing.

 

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

Being able to say I started something and finished it.  I consider myself a serial entrepreneur and that means I start a lot of things and end up pursuing only a few.  With writing you have to force yourself to finish.  Many people say they are an author, but there are authors, and there are authors.   Jane Austin or Ernest Hemmingway.  Now those are authors.  I don’t even put myself in the same category.   But I can at least say I finished a book and people I don’t know can read and enjoy it.

 

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

Writing the next book.  I’m laughing as I write that, but really, along with taking the time to write it, which for me is tough enough with working and being a wife and mother, but then with all the marketing and social media and worrying about living up to the first one…writing really is the toughest part.

 

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

Well, I am already not just an author.  As I said above, I am a wife, a mother, a daughter and I am a business owner.  Being an author in my opinion is owning and operating a marketing company.  You cannot just be a writer today.  You have to be more.

I continue to look to the future – maybe film making, maybe a travel documentary, maybe starting a grassroots political campaign.  Who knows?  I am not one to operate by conventional standards.

 

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

Always one step away from the edge… of the fridge.

 

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

Of all time!  I love that in these posts we always act surprised when asked this question.

I don’t have an answer to that. I like series and so that makes it incredibly tough. Every five years the answer changes based on where I am in my life.  When I was 14 it was Forever by Judy Bloom.  When I was 25 it was the first Janet Evanovich book and the Daniel Silva Series.  Recently it was Stieg Larsson Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series and at 30 it was, wait, I haven’t turned 30 yet so again I cannot answer.

Please don’t ask to see my driver’s license.

 

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the easiest to write?

The action.  I dream in action sequences.

 

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the hardest to write?

There was a lot of research involved in terms of the layout of the Island the book takes place on.  I had to visualize the scenes in a real life environment and try to stay somewhat true to the location.

 

Q.  Which character from any book are you most like?

I think my love, (and inspiration for this series) is from the Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum series.  I feel like Stephanie Plum and I would make a great team.

 

Q.  What is your favorite season?

Fall.  I enjoy seeing the changing of the trees and the chance to start wearing comfort clothing.  You know, the kind that covers up the ice cream and M&M’s rather than shorts and tank tops, which are dead giveaways for my latest splurge.

 

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).

Well, this isn’t funny as much as embarrassing.  Since I am learning a lot in the self-publishing arena I did a last round of spell check on a version before uploading it online.  My spell check replaced all the words ‘chick’ to chic like a baby chicken.  My first round of books went out with a slew of baby chics as the main characters.  It was humbling to say the least.   Now I can laugh about it.  At the time I cried.

 

Q.  Are you working on something new?

I am!  My goal is to have the next in the Suburban Task Force series out by the end of the year.  I also have another book called ‘The Beginning of Why.’  I hope that going public with my goal will help push me to meet the deadline.

 

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A huge Thank You for taking the time to read this Q&A.  I really enjoy feedback and use it to help push forward in the series.  I am honored to be a part of this blog and of course, I hope you will take the time to read Suburban Task Force and follow along for the fun in the series.

 

Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover(s)?

I consider Suburban Task Force to be a fun book, and I wanted that conveyed on the book cover.  The characters are indeed ‘stereotypes’ that we can all relate to, or at the very least laugh with.   So I went with animated characters, threw in the lipstick gun and glass houses.  Every reader can get an idea of the ride they are in for.  The cover makes it clear that there is action, adventure and comedy coming their way.

 

An Excerpt From SUBURBAN TASK FORCE

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Excerpt from Suburban Task Force by Addison Towne:
We move like night stalkers down the hall, using our hands to feel the way, all the while trying to keep our
breathing in check. This is not an easy task. With every breath of air I feel a burning in my lungs. Like someone’s
inside my body, punching me from the inside, reminding me that I’m alive and crazy at that. I guess this is what they
call adrenaline. You don’t tend to get the same effect by doing a Cindy Crawford workout tape.
“Okay so that means if we take out 15 guys each, we’re good to go!” Suzie says enthusiastically.
“Are you guy’s crazy?” I whisper loudly. We can’t take out 50 trained soldiers! All we did was go on one selfdefense
weekend! We’re not trained for this! We’re not trained for anything unless you consider shoe shopping a
sport. You can’t be serious?”
“What? You think we’ll be killed so easily?” Chloe asks me.
“They have our husbands,” Suzie says solemnly.
“Okay, so what’s the plan then? We save our husbands and leave everyone else behind?” I ask with outrage.
“It has to be all or nothing you guys,” I say standing up. “We have to take them all or we have to try and get off this
island so we can notify someone qualified as to what’s going on here.” I finish and start to check out our new gear.
“That’s easy then, we take them all!” Suzie says standing up as well.
“Take them all and make em’ hurt for trying!” Chloe joins in.
“Um, okay, can someone please direct me to the sanity section of this little pow wow because I was pretty sure
you guys were going to go for the other option?”
They both shake their heads.
“So I have to be the rational one here? Be the one to come up with examples of why trying this rescue mission
on our own is an incredibly bad idea and all. Like being around for your kids, or simply coming home from this island
alive!” I look them dead in the eye waiting for them to give, but I get no response.
“Fine then, what the heck. I feel a little crazy, wasn’t diggin’ the good life too much, so I guess we find a way to
take them all!” I say with total sarcasm.
“We’re like the Suburban Task Force you guys,” Suzie says.
“Yeah, they don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into!” Chloe chants.
“If we can deal with snooty neighbors, traffic nightmares, screaming kids, and crabby husbands all while trying
to look good and stay in shape, well then they’ve got another thing coming!” I say and put my hand in the air and we
high five because in this situation it’s oh so cool.

A BLOW YOU AWAY WAKE UP!

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Typically I would write something witty or at the very least informative about my book, but today you will have to forgive me.

This post will not be about what my characters have in their closets, nor whom would play them in the movie version of my book (which by the way is in the works), but today, this guest post will be about my most recent wake up followed by a huge thank you.

It was a year ago this week that my grandmother passed away.  Today as I write this, I am sitting in the hospital while my father goes through his second round of chemo.  If my sons’ birthday were not this weekend I would happily bury the month of October forever.

On the one hand I am sad, distracted and unfocused.  On the other, I find myself with hours at a time where I can sit and write and accomplish my daily word count goals.  Writing has become not only my guilty pleasure; allowing an escape from reality but my release of the days stress and sadness.

Suburban Task Force was written for and about women finding their inner strength, their renewed love for their families and friends, and a blow you away reminder that everyday should be cherished.

As I near completion on the series sequel I find myself re inspired.  New characters are abound in an exciting journey to find their strength from within.  I am in love with this new empowered crew that has joined Jade on her next adventure.

This month, (and the Jade Lydell series), while it may not seem like it on the surface, has been my salvation.  It has been a true eye opener to remember to say I love you to someone everyday, to say thank you to strangers, to look beyond what you think you can be.

I had a vision when I originally set out to write the sequel of Suburban Task Force and everything changed along the way.  I took it as an ironic life lesson from my own book.  We have to learn to adapt, and use what we have at our disposal to ‘save the day.’

I hope you enjoy Suburban Task Force as well as the upcoming sequels.  Most importantly, I want to thank you for being a part of this journey with me and for allowing me to share stories of female empowerment to any and all of those who may need it.  Women are my inspiration.  Life is our opportunity.  Now go kick some butt!

 

 

A Q&A with Change The Word

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

-       How did you come up with your idea for “Suburban Task Force?”

 

One night the alarm went off in our house.  I was so scared I couldn’t move.  The police showed up and the back door downstairs had been broken open.  The very first chapter of the book is similar to that scene.  It was an eye opener and a wake up call that we can’t just expect others to take care of us.  We have to learn to take care of ourselves.  A couple of months after the break in had happened (we weren’t hurt and nothing was stolen) we were out to dinner with friends sharing the story.  Said out loud it was actually pretty amusing.  The story just developed from there.   
-  This is a book about some take charge women. Who did you use as inspiration for these characters?

 

The characters in Suburban Task Force are a culmination of several of my closest girlfriends.  Some would say the characters reflect one or two people specifically, however, I truly took different characteristics from a total of 10 of my girlfriends.  I am lucky to have such a funny and strong crew of ladies to use as my inspiration.
-  What sort of planning did you do in advance?

 

I had to do quite a bit of research regarding weapons and strategy.  I also tried to have an accurate description and layout of Catalina Island where the book takes place.  As an action/adventure comedy, I wanted to make sure the action was somewhat realistic and that I used the proper terminology.  However, some of the risks the characters take definitely lends itself to a less ‘realistic side’

 
-  What was the greatest lesson you learned from this book?

 

The greatest lesson I took from my book; just take the leap.  I learned that I had to believe in myself.  When I told people I was working on writing a novel, many just relayed a story about how many authors fail to get published, or how people always start writing but never finish.  I had to learn that you are responsible for your own fate.  Sure, life gets in the way and obstacles are always there to push you astray, but if you want something, you have to make it happen. 
-  What is your favorite latest read?

This is not a new book, but I had it sitting on my shelf and finally had a chance to read it the other day.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  The writing is simply entrancing.   I could not devour enough of it.  I am utterly in awe of her writing.
-  Who is your writing hero?

Anyone who writes and takes the time to get their story into peoples hands to learn, enjoy, share and love.

 

-       What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

 Write what works best for you.  I was told to rewrite my book since it is written in the first person.  I didn’t give in and I find many people enjoy the change of pace. 
Let your friends and family give you constructive criticism and don’t be afraid to put your story out there.   Someone WILL enjoy it!
-  What’s next for you and your writing career?

 I am working on a book of Essays right now called ‘The Beginning of Why.’  Also, the sequel for Suburban Task Force should be out (hopefully) by the end of the year!
-  Anything else you would like to share?

I would like to tell any and all ‘want to be writers’ out there to take the chance.  Learn about marketing, learn about networking, but most importantly learn about what makes you happy and then just go for it! 

Today I became ‘that’ Mom

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Today I became ‘that’ mom.

 

The one who drove her kid through Starbucks for chocolate milk and a croissant only to rush him to eat it in the parking lot at school because we were a half hour late.

 

Oh, and did I mention he’s three?

 

While I understand the value of time and the need to teach our children to respect it- I find myself often fighting against it.  I can honestly and without shame say that there are days I simply don’t take my son to school because I don’t want to deal with the time parameters.  He has the rest of his life to worry about time; being on time, having enough time, what time…you get the point.  Whether it’s the excuse of his being late for school, or that I would have to show up as the frazzled still in her PJ’s mom or just in general stopping him from playing and having fun, I find myself saying enough is enough and therefore let him stay with me at home.

Kids need routine, I know.  But we have to teach them the fun of freedom sometimes as well right?  Without this letting go, this freedom, I never would have written Suburban Task Force.  I broke free of the corporate time structure and now force myself to work within my own ‘time’ to accomplish my goals.

 

Now, let’s be perfectly clear.  I realize I am incredibly fortunate to have this ‘stay at home option’ as my husband maintains his respect for ‘time’ and as a lawyer charges hourly for it, allowing me to be frivolous with mine.  Working from home means I can shift my work hours if need be, to overnight.  Yes, I suffer, but admittedly I like working in a dark and silent house.  There was a time when I made the daily commute and corporate rounds while my husband figured out his path, and so I try not to feel guilty about it… but sometimes I do.

 

This post is really a thank you to time and to my husband for letting me find my way into writing.  There were characters like Suzie, Jade and Chloe waiting to get out of my head and explore this world on the page.  Without the time, they would never exist and I would always feel an empty place where Suburban Task Force should have been.

Lest I not forget the drive-thru.  Without the drive-thru they would definitely not exist.  Sorry husband.

Book Trailer for Suburban Task Force

Friday, September 21st, 2012

This is a short trailer I came up with to promote Suburban Task Force. What do you think about it?