A New Season of Good Sentences

Writing Lessons from 2020 with
Angelique L’Amour

Well, the beast that went by the name of 2020 is dead. And while very few people will mourn the passing of what was certainly one of the worst years in the history of the United States, and, truly, of the planet. But we who remain have clearly learned much and have adapted to a world that looks nothing like the one in which we’ve spent most of our lives.

In the first episode of the second season of Good Sentences, Craig, Scott, and returning honored guest, Angelique L’Amour discussed some of the things they learned in 2020, about their writing and themselves.

Craig felt that 2020 helped him obtain a greater level of patience, and learn that he could work through challenging times. The pandemic altered his well-crafted plans (through the closing of school), and he managed to find a way to create in the face of it.

My favorite part of writing is having written.

Craig A. Hart

Angelique found that as the year started, and her entire family was recovering from COVID, she was able to write, often in snippets – 30 minutes here, an hour there. By September she was able to start working in earnest, and picked up the pace in October, then managed to write every day in November, then kept her pace up into December, right up until the holidays.

Scott, he learned that for him the act of writing is actually therapeutic, and he describes his scientific proof.

Plans for 2021

The trio went on talk about their writing plans for the year. Craig and Scott mentioned that they’ve got several projects planned. Angelique promised that she was getting down to business starting on the 21st.

A discussion of adventure stories, (and the decline of the genre), led to Craig and Scott revealing a peek at one of their upcoming projects, which in turn led to Angelique revealing something about an iconic adventure film and the connection to her dad (Louis L’Amour).

This episode also features Craig and Angelique making Scott blush. You’ll have to take their word for it, since it’s an audio podcast and all.

As is always the case when Angelique is on the show the conversation continued to touch on a variety of subjects, including bad reviews, Stephen King causing illness with his book Carrie and a near heart attack with Christine, and the additional pressure that the child of a world-famous author faces when preparing to share her work with the world.

A spirited discussion of the writer’s tool Plottr also occurred and there was a strong case made for Plottr to become a sponsor of the podcast. [Ed. Note: Dear Plottr, call us. Seriously.]

The best part!

And so we come to the best part of the post. You can listen to Episode 1 right here, or on most of your favorite podcast outlets (and least the ones that don’t suck). ENJOY!

Writing Lessons from 2020 w/ Angelique L'Amour Good Sentences

Craig and Scott talk with show super friend Angelique L'Amour on what they learned about writing in 2020, what 2021 holds for their respective writing careers, PLUS dire news that the U.K. may be on the brink of collapse thanks to an ancient legend.
  1. Writing Lessons from 2020 w/ Angelique L'Amour
  2. Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain
  3. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part 2
  4. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part I
  5. Mark Twain and Halley's Comet

E2 Books – A Name You’ll Want to Remember

Well, hello. Welcome to E2 Books. We’re glad you’re here. Well, I am. Craig, though the younger of us, is far more curmudgeonly. He’s happy, in his own way, I suppose. It’s just that his way is horrible.

S.J. Varengo wrote this post. Blame him.

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I’m thrilled to be Craig A. Hart’s writing and business partner. But I grew up in an Italian household and therefore am immune to all relational quirkiness. You’re talking to a guy whose nonno used to hide a bottle of wine in our house’s furnace and would climb inside of it to sneak a snort throughout the day. Nothing is weird to me. Nothing.

Alright. Craig is weird. Even to me. But it’s a delightful weirdness that has taken us from a chance encounter on Twitter to enough co-written work to justify a website devoted just to them. In case my convoluted prose has already disoriented and you have forgotten where you were, this is that.

In 2021 that chance encounter will have been ten years ago – this is unprecedented for me. Aside from my wife and my lucky underwear, very few things stick around for a decade. (And yes, in the case of the lucky underwear the “sticking around” is meant quite literally.)

I think it’s amazingly significant that our chance encounter was, literally, a collaboration. If you’ve never heard the story, I happened along a tweet thread that Craig had started which was a humorous take on the situation with a certain former governor of California and his affair with his children’s nanny.

In retrospect it’s odd. This was literally the first time we’d every encountered one another. We weren’t following one another’s accounts. If Twitter worked then the way it does now, I probably wouldn’t have seen the tweet, wouldn’t have suggested a joke or two, and wouldn’t have begun a ten-year friendship and an extremely rewarding professional partnership.

Our first collaboration – and yes, I’m spillin’ the dirt now – is not technically a collaboration. The second novella in the SpyCo, Assignment: Paris, was originally to be a ghostwritten work under Craig’s name. He had sent me a text that said, “How do you feel about ghostwriting?” I assumed one or more world famous NY Times best-selling authors had reached out to him to write all of their next blockbusters, and he wanted my opinion on whether or not to accept. My next question was going to be “How much are they going to pay you?”

Instead, he said, “I was actually talking about you.”

He gave me a few loose guidelines and told me to go to town. I could use characters he had created in the first volume Assignment: Athens. Or I could create my own. I, naturally, chose to do both. Anyway, he didn’t hate it. The first version of the cover, much to my delight, actually was attributed to Craig with S.J.V. By the time it was published he’d changed it to equal billing. I didn’t really care that much, although even after a few publications of my own by then, it’s always a thrill to see your name on the cover of a book.

But what I really got excited about was Craig’s idea to actually co-write the next installment, Assignment: Istanbul, which was the continuation of the Perry Hall storyline from Paris. Not only did we find we worked incredibly well together, but we wrote that entire book in an insane eleven-day burst.

Since then we’ve written several more of the SpyCo novellas, sending our agents all over the world, introducing a lot of great characters, but we wanted to do more.

Last year Craig asked if I’d come on to co-write the next entry in his very successful Shelby Alexander Thriller Series, which turned out to be Serenity Reborn. This ended up being significant, and I’ll tell you why.

By the time we began writing Reborn, I had finished my novel Jelly Jars, and Craig and I both felt that as great as the Serenity books had been to that point, we could work together to make one that took the story and the characters to a new level. We were thrilled with the result and began another co-authored entry in the series almost immediately.

Unfortunately several things occurred which caused us to shelve it slightly past the half-way point, one of which has probably monkeyed with some of your plans as well.

And then Craig was able to arrange a promotion for the first book in the series, Serenity, and got the very commercially sound idea of having a link in the eBook to our new, finished book number eight. And so, with just under 20 days in which to work, we finished Serenity Possessed.

It marks the first foray either of us has taken into a full-length paranormal book, (I have a ghost story in my updated book of short fiction, Welcome Home, and Craig, of course, is a ghost.) And we truly enjoyed the process. We’ve already tossed around some ideas for the next installment, which we’re thinking we might pick up where Possessed ends.

But we’ve also cooked up some other ideas as well. Several in fact. And so we’ve decided it was time to put together a website dedicated to our co-authored works, and as I hinted earlier, in my desperate attempt at reorienting you, this is it.

So, stay tuned, expect a link or two to some of our other endeavors, and enjoy the ride. Because you can rest assured that Craig and I will. We have enjoyed every ride we’ve ever taken. (Except maybe that one with Erik Therme when he took us to see the house where Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. used to live, but we’d had several pitchers of beer by then, as we got to the pub at first pitcher o’clock and Erik didn’t show until the end of second pitcher o’clock.)

You’re going to want to come back just for more of these seamy literary behind the scenes tidbits alone!