Author - Nina Cordoba

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My interests are varied and I'm likely to write anything from funny to poignant to informational, so my blogs are organized by topic. Just choose your favorite topic on the left. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section or go to Contact and email me privately if you like. Thanks for coming by!

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1/23/2014 3:11:55 PM

Formatting and Technical Help for Writers (Or: Saving Your Marriage, One Glitch at a Time)

First, I must say that my husband is very supportive of my writing. He’s done many amazing things for me including building websites for both my pen names, complete with tools even a monkey could use for updating it, posting blogs, and sending book release notifications.


On the other hand, since he is my husband and a high-level software architect-slash-consultant (or something), he can get annoyed with my tech-tardation fairly easily.


Typical trouble shooting session:


Me: Oh no! I can’t get this whatchamadoodle to make the thingy for me! Help me, I’m in the middle of a book launch!(Mr. Nina comes over to help.)
Mr. Nina: Okay, let me sit down so I can fix it.
Me: You always do that, but then I don’t learn how to fix it myself.
Mr. N: (With a sigh.) Okay. You need to download the blah-blah. (No, he didn’t say “blah-blah,” but that’s how it translates in my brain. It’s sort of like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher.)
Me: The blah-blah? (My eyes flit desperately around the screen, looking for anything that says “blah-blah.”)
Mr. N: Yes, the blah-blah. (His voice says this is the most obvious thing in the world.)
Me: I don’t see a blah-blah.
Mr. N: No, you have to go to the blah-blah website and download the blah-blah.
Me: So which thingy do I click? (I see nothing that says it will take me to the blah-blah website.)
Mr. N: You can’t click anything here until you download the blah-blah! Just do what I tell you!
Me: I don’t know what you’re telling me! I don’t see a blah-blah button to click. I don’t know what to do!
Mr. N: Go to the blah-blah website! (He doesn’t say, “You moron,” but I hear it anyway.)
Me: How? How do I go there?
Mr. N: Type “Blah-blah” into Google! (He says it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world, and I realize it is the most obvious thing in the world.)
Me: You’re mean to me when you help me on the computer. (Hey, when you have no defense, go on the offense.)
Mr. N: I’m sorry. (I know he means it, even though he’s still trying to control his annoyed breathing.)
Me: Okay, I’m at the other site. What do I do now?
Mr. N: Download the blah-blah.
Me: Oh crap. Here we go again.

So, in the interest of marital bliss, I now use a third party to help me with some technical issues as well as my formatting. This third party is Terry Cotton who is now in the business of making writers’ lives easier inexpensively. (She can do this because it takes her a fraction of the time it takes me to figure stuff out.)


Terry is an old friend of mine, my actual BFF, who has held a number of technical jobs over the years. I used her before, during, and after my last book launch for a variety of jobs, including emergency tech support when my husband was in work meetings. It went so well, I suggested she provide this service for other writers. My husband seems relieved we don’t have to disrupt our marital bliss and his work day. (His exact words were, “Wow, she’s like the other half of your brain!”) And I’m relieved because Terry knows how to rephrase instructions into something I can understand.


Me: Terry help! It’s not working!
Terry: You need to download the blah-blah.
Me: I don’t know how to do that!
Terry: (In a calm, reassuring voice) Type “blah-blah” into the Google search page. Click blah-blah.com. Now, do you see the red button in the upper left corner?”
Me: Yes! I see it! I see it!
Terry: Click it. You are now downloading the blah-blah.


Terry has also formatted books for me, troubleshot website/blog issues, and used Skype to share screens and train me on how to use new technology. Drop my name and she'll help you too. (Okay, she'll probably help you anyway. I just always wanted to have my name dropped.)


Her website, with pricing information is www.terrycottoninc.com. You can also interact with her on her new Facebook page at facebook.com/terry.cottoninc.


My stress level has dropped just knowing she’s there for me, and I can spend more time in fiction world, away from all that icky practical blah-blah.


posted by Nina 2 Comments



10/9/2013 10:45:07 PM

The Essence of Elle-Always Dreaming of You

Pssst... Hey reader, want to get a FREE Nina Cordoba ebook?

If you sign up for my email list (used only occasionally for new book release notifications and contests) you can get the ebook of your choice. Just visit my Contact page, make sure the "Please notify me" box is checked and type the book title and file type (epub, kindle, pdf) into the "Your message" section and receive your free book. Ebooks available free:

Not Dreaming of You, Don't Make Me Make You Brownies, Mia Like Crazy, No More Mr. Nice Girl

I’m currently working on my first series and I think it's going to be tons of fun. Members of my email list will get first peeks at excerpts and be notified of my next book release. You will not be spammed and your email will not be shared.

Please post a review at your retailer or Goodreads. They are crucial in allowing me to remain a full-time author.

Thanks for reading! Big kisses!

Nina


 

In case you haven’t noticed from reading my books, I’m an armchair psychologist. In fact, psychology was my first major in college until I realized I’d either be sitting listening to people’s depressing problems all day or working in a psych ward. So, I switched back to journalism, which I’d sort of “majored” in during high school.

Anyhoo, while the media has been focused on wayward child stars, for decades, I’ve been intrigued by the psychology involved in the unusual situation of being a mega-star’s child.I’m not sure where it started, but over the years, I heard a few celebrities, like Rosie O’Donnell, mention how angry their children got over the paparazzi harassing them every time they tried to have an outing with their famous parent.Years ago, I remember Princess Diana imploring the paparazzi to please leave her kids alone and let them have a family vacation.

Michael Jackson handled the issue of fame by hiding his kids under blankets and masks when they were together. It made the family look even more bizarre, but it allowed the kids to spend time in public with nannies unharassed.

I ran across a documentary about the children of celebrities while channel surfing one day. Sally Taylor, the daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon was one of the children of celebrities interviewed. She said as an adult she deals with trust issues stemming from a childhood in which people were always befriending her just to get near her famous parents. She also mentioned the fear her parents endured over the possibility of their children being kidnapped or harmed because of their fame.

When I was creating Elle in Always Dreaming of You, I considered these situations and asked myself, “How does a celeb’s kid build a positive self-image in an environment that’s all about the celebrity?”

When my daughter was young and I’d take her on errands, everyone’s attention went to her. No matter how many times my shy three year old ignored  the lady who ran the dry cleaners, she always scrambled around for candy when we walked in, desperate to interact with my cute little girl. It’s typical in our society for people to notice and dote on children. They’re cute, especially when they’re someone else’s.

But in writing the character of Elle Lorrence, I asked myself what I would feel as a child if, wherever I went with my mother, people tried to knock me out of the way or trample me to get to her. Would I feel invisible?

This is why Elle tried to ditch the beautiful name she was born with—Liliana Brigitte Lorrence—and replace it with only the letter “L,” which her mother insisted on spelling “Elle.” She doesn’t see how she could possibly be qualified for a 3-syllable name. Her mother is all that has mattered in her world for as long as she can remember.

And what would one of these star’s kids have to achieve in order to feel like they counted in some way? When your mom or dad (or both) are worshipped by people all over the world, will you ever feel like you’ve done enough?

Some celebrity’s kids handle this by seeking the same type of fame the parent had, but most fall short. Some manage to achieve equal or greater stardom, like Michael Douglas or Kate Hudson.What about the others? How strange is real life when you’ve grown up in a world with a completely different set of rules, standards, and priorities? What would you need to learn if kept sequestered behind iron gates for all of your young life?

And how difficult would it be to make others understand you have your own issues when most people would assume you have a dream life?

My final question was actually the hardest to grapple with as an author. A main character needs to be relatable or sympathetic in some way. Many people believe money will solve all their problems, so I was afraid making Elle Lorrence relatable might be too much of a challenge.However, as women, many of us have struggled with mother relationships. Or have yearned for a life we weren’t sure we could create. Or have fallen in love with someone we thought we could never have.

In the end, I think it was Elle’s journal entries that convinced me she could pull off being the heroine of this book. Even though I know, on some level, that I wrote them, when I read them, I still feel like I was channeling her. It was one of those times as an author when I asked myself if I created the characters or if they created themselves.

The Always Dreaming of You Book Page of this site contains a description, excerpt, and buy buttons to major retailers.

To sign up for book release notifications, go to the Contact Page. (Your email will never be sold, shared or otherwise prostituted.)

Friend her at https://www.facebook.com/nina.cordoba.

Follow her at https://twitter.com/ninacordoba.

~


posted by Nina 0 Comments



10/8/2013 4:25:38 PM

Torturing Chris

Pssst... Hey reader, want to get a FREE Nina Cordoba ebook?

If you sign up for my email list (used only occasionally for new book release notifications and contests) you can get the ebook of your choice. Just visit my Contact page, make sure the "Please notify me" box is checked and type the book title and file type (epub, kindle, pdf) into the "Your message" section and receive your free book. Ebooks available free:

Not Dreaming of You, Don't Make Me Make You Brownies, Mia Like Crazy, No More Mr. Nice Girl

I’m currently working on my first series and I think it's going to be tons of fun. Members of my email list will get first peeks at excerpts and be notified of my next book release. You will not be spammed and your email will not be shared.

Please post a review at your retailer or Goodreads. They are crucial in allowing me to remain a full-time author.

Thanks for reading! Big kisses!

Nina


 

 

 

(I’m not doing a big spoiler alert because what I’m talking about happens in the prologue of the book, which can be read in the sample by anyone. However, if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about Always Dreaming of You before reading it, stop reading now.)


There’s a saying among writers that you have to torture your characters.

It’s true. If they don’t go through angst, misery, and disappointment, there’s not much to write about. But Chris was the last person I wanted to torture. Before he took on a life of his own, I think he was a touch of me (a non-Latin-looking half-Latin with a passionate Latin soul), but with my dad’s easy-going optimism and the chivalrous, gentlemanly nature of my favorite guy friend from high school.

However, Chris was enjoying his life so much in the first book Not Dreaming of You—dating for fun, hanging at parties, dabbling in teaching at the university and dialect coaching for movie studios—I knew something really dramatic had to happen to change his perspective. For his love story, Always Dreaming of You, he had to have a major problem that needed solving or a big hole to fill. He’d always been confident, well-adjusted and multi-talented. A minor set-back wouldn’t faze him.

One day it hit me what had to happen, but I really didn't want to write it into the book. To make matters worse, from Not Dreaming of You, we knew the Carsons and Villanuevas were a really nice, close-knit family. What kind of monster could stand to kill any of them off?

At first I decided I was too nice a person. I couldn’t do it.

Then, I reminded myself that good comedy is typically built on tragedy or misery of some sort. Why does Eddie Murphy’s character Axel Foley have to travel to California in Beverly Hills Cop? Because his friend Mikey is murdered and he needs to solve the crime.

Tragedy.

In There’s Something About Mary, Ted (Ben Stiller) found the girl of his dreams in high school, but she moved away after their one humiliating almost-date and he can’t stop thinking about her or move on with his life without finding her again.

Misery.

So, I had to do it. I had to make the one thing happen that would turn easy-going Chris all achy and lonely. His life had to feel so wrecked that even a confident guy like him could question his motivations and decisions…could even feel needy.

And now the deed is done. I knocked off Chris’s wonderful parents, and I must live with the fact that I killed for the sake of my art.

*Auditory note: In case you can’t actually hear my voice while you’re reading this, I delivered that last sentence with intense drama and the back of my hand to my forehead a la Rebecca Lorrence in Always Dreaming of You. (Please go back and read it again with the correct inflections.)

-

To sign up for book release notifications, go to the Contact Page. (Your email will never be sold, shared or otherwise prostituted.)

Friend at https://www.facebook.com/nina.cordoba.

Follow at at https://twitter.com/ninacordoba.


posted by Nina 0 Comments



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