Tag Archives: Grand Central

Wicked Wednesday – Behind the Scenes: The Pine Barrens

sinscoversmallOne of our last Wicked Wednesdays was a Behind the Scenes look at Bradley Beach where our hero, Mick Carrera, has his home in my November paranormal romantic suspense release, SINS OF THE FLESH.

This time I’m going to give you a little Behind the Scenes look at another pivotal location in the novel — The Pine Barrens in New Jersey, also known as the Pinelands. Also known as the supposed home of the Jersey Devil.

The Pine Barrens is an enormous area of coastal plain, over 1 million acres large in South Jersey. It contains one of the state’s largest water aquifers and is both a National Reserve and a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve.
Lake Atsion in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Taken by User:Mwanner, 9 September, 2005 Used under GNU  Documentation License

Because of its size and location close to the Jersey Shore and Camden, not to mention its protected status, it became the perfect place for me to locate the buildings for Wardwell Laboratories, the company that is supposed to provide Caterina Shaw, our heroine, with her gene therapy. The Wardwell buildings are right on the edges of one of the Pine Barrens’ non-developed areas and because of that, there are several scenes which take place in the woods nearby.

Today’s Wicked Wednesday is about Mick’s first visit to the Wardwell offices and a meeting with one of the company’s founders.

Chapter 1

Mick Carrera understood what kind of man he was.



Skilled in the art of killing.

People came to him when no one else could handle their problems because Mick either solved them or eliminated them — if Mick thought elimination was justified. Some scruples remained buried in his soul, a secret he closely guarded. In his line of work, having scruples equated to weakness.

Dr. Raymond Edwards had presented him with the kind of job that possibly ended with elimination, although Edwards hadn’t come right out and said so during their short telephone conversation. The doctor had skirted around the subject with the skill of a ballroom dancer, insisting time and time again that all he required were the services of a security specialist to assist with a problem at their facility.

Mick’s initial misgivings made him wonder why he had even come to the doctor’s office for this additional discussion. His typical clientele preferred meeting places that were much less visible, but then again, maybe such transparency meant that the doctor had been truthful about the nature of this assignment.

He scoped out the office as he entered, taking note of the fact that there was only one entrance in and out. Not good in case of the need for a quick escape. As he passed a credenza located beneath a wall filled with diplomas, framed news articles and photos, he noticed a small bronze statue of a horse mounted on a heavy marble base.

The size and weight of the statue would make it a handy weapon for either cracking open a man’s skull or breaking through the plate glass windows which lined one long wall of the office. The clear windows were now darkening, the color becoming as deep and dense as squid ink and likely for the same reason – concealment.

Mick had noticed all the high tech security on his way through the entrance of the building. He had expected it even while worrying about it. He knew his image would end up saved on a hard drive somewhere from the assorted cameras throughout the offices, but if Dr. Edwards was on the up and up, this was one job that was too good to not consider.

“I thought you might like some privacy,” the man behind the desk said as he rose and offered his hand.

“Dr. Raymond Edwards,” the man said.

Mick shook his hand and with a nod said, “Mick Carrera.” As Mick sat, he caught a glimpse of another security camera behind the desk, aimed directly at his chair. When Edwards tracked his gaze, he said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Carrera. I’ll make sure all traces of you are erased from our systems.”

“I appreciate your understanding,” he said, even while wondering again why a supposedly distinguished scientist like Raymond Edwards seemed compelled to seek out the services of a man like him. Wondering what else the good doctor had erased from the company’s security videos.

Dragging his attention to the man seated behind the desk, he listened as Edwards offered a rather lengthy introduction about the work that his biotech company did and their many accomplishments. Edwards’ manner was outwardly confident and business-like, but Mick couldn’t help but notice how the doctor kept his right hand on the face of the file on his desk and fiddled with one corner of the thick folder, thumbing it again and again. The curled corner of the papers confirmed that Edwards had opened up that file more times than the good doctor wanted him to know.

When Edwards paused for a breath, Mick seized the opportunity. “Your mission is clear, Dr. Edwards. Your company specializes in developing gene therapies for the terminally ill.”

The man stiffened and immediately corrected him. “Our present group of patients is terminally ill, but we hope that what we learn from our current research –”

“Will help all of mankind in the future. So why do you require my services?”

Copyright 2009 Caridad Pineiro Scordato – All rights reserved.

Dangerous Women Blog Contest!

Dangerous ReadersThanks to those of you who have signed up for the Dangerous Women group, my new venture with a number of my writing buddies!

For those of you entering the Saturday contest, just post your answer on this blog to the following question:

What are the names of the hero and heroine in HONOR CALLS, my February e-novella Nocturne Bite?

I’ll pick a winner from all the comments entered by midnight EST on Saturday, April 4.

Here’s an extra goodie for you! If you place the banner above on your site and link it to the Dangerous Women group at

just let me know and you’ll be eligible to also win a T-shirt for my upcoming release, SINS OF THE FLESH.

Thoughtful Thursday – The Writer’s Life

Clip Art Courtesy of Kids' Turn Central(Sing this to the tune of Disney’s A PIRATE’S LIFE FOR ME (see below)!)
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Writer’s Life for Me!
We plot and we type,
We write and rewrite,
A dreaded synopsis we seek!
We sweat and we tweak,
We cry and we freak
That dreaded synopsis we seek!

As you can tell, I’m in a silly mood today, courtesy of too little sleep and the prospect of working on the dreaded synopsis for the second book in my Grand Central Publishing Series – tentatively titled STONE COLD SINS. I have the story in my brain, much of the synopsis done and the starting chapters.

But the reality is, I so-o-o-o suck at synopses! I guess it’s just a part of a writer’s life for me (LOL!) but I wish there was some other way to do this other than writing a synopsis.

Any suggestions?

Lyrics | Disney – A Pirate’s Life For Me (Yo Ho) lyrics

Writing Goals

Pecking Away Old SchoolThat big sigh of relief you heard this morning — that was me! I finished the manuscript for my November 2009 release, SINS OF THE FLESH, and sent it to my editor at Grand Central Publishing. A big woo hoo since the novel had gotten moved up in the production schedule which meant I had to finish it way earlier than expected.

Which leads to this Tuesday’s Tips about writing goals, namely, how to set them and how to keep to them.

When I first got the call about the available slot in November 2009, I thought WOO HOO which was followed by OH MY. Could I finish a book in that time frame? I asked myself which quickly led to a plan — X number of pages a week would lead me to a finished book by X date. That was the plan.

Why haven’t I given you any numbers there, like 60 pages a week? For starters, and as I tell every writer who asks me, there is only one right way to write a book — sit down and write. Whether you write one page a day or five, it’s only wrong if you’ve made a plan for yourself and don’t keep to it.

Why didn’t you keep to it? Too busy? Not in a creative mood? Unrealistic expectations? A combo of all of the above.

While I am now a firm believer that if you fail to plan you plan to fail, the most important thing to keep in mind when setting a writing goal is that your plan be reasonable. Don’t say you are going to write 5 pages a day when you know that in a typical day you only have half-an-hour to write. Unless of course you are going to find more time in that day.

How many pages should you strive to do in a day? Again, there’s no right or wrong. I generally write anywhere from 4 to 10 pages a day during my weekday commutes to my job. More on the weekends when I can get a few more hours of writing done. The key to your success is finding what you can do each week and that’s the key — committing to a reasonable weekly goal.

For example, if you know you can’t write on Mondays and Wednesdays because of family demands, set aside time on the other days and make it part of your regular schedule just like anything else. Let the family know that on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 am to 10 am, you’re writing. Stick to it. If your family sees how committed you are to your writing, they will support you. If they think you’re not serious about it, it will be difficult to get them to respect your desire to write.

Say to yourself, in those two or three days that I write this week, I want to write X pages. (A reasonable X pages remember). Before you know it, the pages will begin to pile up!

I mentioned finding more time to write. How do you do that? Well, what time do you get up now? 8? How about getting up at 7?

Do you write at night? I don’t normally, but when deadlines demand it, I come home from work and after dinner, write for another hour or so to meet the writing goal I’ve set for myself.

How about weekends? If you sleep in late on Saturday or Sunday, could you pry yourself out of bed a little earlier?

You would be surprised at how much time there is for you to get back if you think about your “lost” time each week.

Finally — find a critique or support group and tell them your goals. Tell them how you are doing on your goals and ask them to help you stick to them. As with anything else, a strong support group will help keep you motivated and moving forward.

I hope today’s Tuesday Tip helped!