When a group of masked mercenaries infiltrate the Bank of Philadelphia, the objective is to steal five pink Argyle diamonds from a safety deposit box. Things run smoothly until one of the gunmen; 28-year-old Liam Matthews ends up locked inside of the vault with 23-year-old bank teller Remi Catalano. One of them will make a fateful decision that drastically alters the robbery's outcome. In its aftermath, their actions inadvertently have a profound effect on the other, which will ultimately define who they both truly are.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Behind the Mask - Kindle Countdown Deal

Starting today, November 30th until Monday, December 7th, the Kindle version of Behind the Mask will be $.99 at Amazon.com.  

Behind the Mask - Kindle Edition 

If you don't have a Kindle, click the following links to download a free Kindle App for Android and a free Kindle App for Apple products.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Starting Saturday, September 19th until Saturday, September 26th, the Kindle version of Behind the Mask will be $.99 at Amazon.com.  

Behind the Mask - Kindle Edition 

If you don't have a Kindle, click the following links to download a free Kindle App for Android and a free Kindle App for Apple products.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Paperback!

As I stated in my previous post, choosing a cover image has been a lengthy process. And though I liked the "eyes" on the cover, I felt a single pink diamond, sort of hints at what the story is about more so than the eyes.

From the get-go, though I loved using the 'eyes' on the cover, I was concerned that the 'eyes' were going to come off as a book about terrorism.  I mean, I know it involves masked gunmen, who obviously aren't innocent people, but hopefully the pink diamond gives off a whole different vibe.

Going with the white, also took some time in deciding.  But I wanted it to stand out.

The paperback is currently available at Amazon.com and other outlets such as Barnes & Nobles.com.  However, the cover at Barnes & Nobles is a mock version that I ended up scrapping, so I'm currently trying to get Createspace to fix that for me.  The purchased book will have the updated cover.

Prices may vary.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Deciding on a cover has been a frustrating process.  Every time I think I've made the decision on what to go with, I change my mind.  

I have so many proofs of the paperback that I could start my own library with it. It's crazy.  

And though I've always loved the 'eyes' aspect, I sometimes feel it comes off creepy and that's not the vibe I want someone to get when choosing on whether to read my book or not. A cover has to make a statement. It has to POP to catch the reader's eye.  

For instance, Fifty Shades of Grey has the gray tie on the cover.  Even if you have no desire to read the book or don't care about 50 shades, that tie on the cover is synonymous with it.  All you have to do is see the cover and know what the book is.  So I wanted to have something similar and simple like that.  

And though the eyes make a statement, not sure it makes the right one.  So now, I'm swaying towards using a pink diamond on the cover. Because the pink diamonds are the catalyst for everything that happens in the book.  

Originally, I was thinking to use five pink diamonds scattered all over the cover. But then I thought just a single diamond would be better.  So I changed the design and went with one instead of five. But I ended up not liking the diamond I picked.  So it was back to the drawing board.  

I really want to make the paperback available soon and get it out there.  So hopefully the most recent choice is the ONE!  I'm waiting for the 'proof' to arrive in the mail, and keeping the fingers crossed that when I open the box, it's exactly what I want.   

Saturday, February 21, 2015

SALE! Kindle Countdown Deal

Behind the Mask is going on SALE

Amazon.com is running a Kindle Countdown Deal for one week. 

It begins Monday, February 23rd, 2015 and will be available for only $.99 until Monday, March 2nd, 2015.

If you don't have a Kindle, click the following links to download a free Kindle App for Android and a free Kindle App for Apple products.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions About Behind the Mask - Part 2

Are any of the characters based on real people?

Yes and no. I took certain traits and personalities from people I know but for the most part all the characters are just fictional creations.  Though Remi is sarcastic...some may say she sounds a teeny bit like me.  

Did the story go through changes, or has it been the same from the beginning?

The premise of the story and it's main characters, Remi and Liam have always been the same.  That said, I did start out writing the story in first-person or from Remi's standpoint.  However, I quickly found that was hard for me to do.  And decided to go the third-person route.

The very beginning part of the book has never changed.  I always knew the action would start with the bank robbery and work from there.  And my ending never changed either.  But there are things I took out, which I explain further down in a *spoiler section. 

Why did it take SO long to finish?

Because I had zero confidence in it and continuously second-guessed myself.  I always felt I had a story to tell, just wasn't sure I could actually tell it.  I was nervous that I used too much dialogue or wasn't descriptive enough. I'd constantly go back and rethink scenes and make sure it all made sense. Plus I did most of my writing in the winter months and slacked off once summer time came.  But that was mainly because I was still just writing it as an outlet.  To which I affectionately referred to it as my 'therapy' which probably sounds silly but I still think of it that way.

Once I was finished writing the whole book, it took me a long time to build up the nerve to allow anyone to read it.  And then it needed to be edited, like a million times. Trimming and correcting things, took an enormous amount of time.

*The following questions/answers contain spoilers from the book so if you haven't read it and plan to, don't scroll any further...  

Did I always plan on a sequel?

This is a definite YES!

I knew from the onset that Liam was going to leave at the end.  And that I had to stop the story at some point or I'd literally have a book the length of War and Peace on my hands.  But I had more story to tell and wasn't anywhere near ready to say goodbye to the characters.

And YES, I'm currently working on the sequel and it's coming along very nicely.  Believe me, I've stopped second-guessing and I'm just writing it through.

A lot of readers assumed Liam and Remi were going to end up together, why didn't I make that happen?

Because I like angst. And don't always want a neat and tidy, put on a bow on it, happy-ending.  I wanted the reader to begin reading the story and assume Liam and Remi were going to fall in love and all's right with the world.  But when that didn't come to fruition, I knew it was going to leave some readers disappointed, which is sort of the reaction I was searching for.

To be honest it was quite difficult not to get them together cause regardless of their lack of declaring undying love for one another, there was an obvious underlying attraction between them.  But it wasn't in Liam's character to give in so easily. Or even admit any sort of feelings. But I think his overprotectiveness spoke volumes.  Along with the music box and him giving her the keys to his apartment.  All subtle gestures that I felt were just enough to show he felt something.  I didn't want Liam to lose his dark edge and turn soft.

From Remi's standpoint, her admiration for him was more front and center.  Even after she regained her memory and wanted him to leave Philadelphia, she had gotten used to having him around.  And actually missed him.  To her, Liam represented security and the fact he went above and beyond to save her life, a couple times, he was by far her rock.

And other than him putting his arm around her or briefly holding her hand, the physical contact between them was purposely kept at a minimum because I wanted that moment near the end, where he finally embraced her to truly resonate with the reader.  Because that close physical interaction with Remi was huge for Liam. And at the same time, it gave her exactly what she needed in that moment.

What things did I change?

Here are some of things/scenes that were changed or deleted:

In the aftermath of the heist, while Remi was in the hospital.  I originally wrote a scene where Liam snuck into her room to check on her.  That scene is one of my favorite Liam moments (even though it didn't make the cut) because it was an early indicator of Remi becoming his weakness.  That said, I ultimately decided against it because it felt out of character for him and the plot worked better if he claimed he wouldn't seek her out or see how she was doing.

If you want to read it, here's a screenshot of the deleted scene (click the image to zoom):

The part while they were in the vault and she asked what she could call him, I originally had him come up with the name 'Pete' but I preferred leaving him nameless.

I also had plans for a mystery skeleton key that would be used later in the story or sequel. I needed a reason for Liam to go back to the vault after he and Tom left her there.  So I had Charles give Liam the order of retrieving something from another safety deposit box (which was the key).  But that key ended up being a thorn in my side as I couldn't think up a good reason for it.  So I went back through and removed all skeleton key references.

After Tom's shooting/death, I had Tony (Remi's dad) figure out that Liam was the one who saved her at the bank.  And had Tony be upset but okay with it being that Liam was technically a hero.  But after talking to my sister about it, she suggested that I take that out because Tony would probably  want to kill Liam and it was better to keep it a secret.  Considering that both Melanie and Scott knew the truth, one more person would not be good.  So my sister was right, it definitely worked better with Tony staying in the dark.

When Olivia offered Remi the job, I originally had her also give Remi a check for $25,000.00 as a reward.  And then for Remi to offer to split it with Liam.  But this time it was my husband who suggested I remove that part, because Olivia offering that great job was enough of a thanks.  And he was right, the extra money would have been overkill.

If there are questions or things you are curious regarding Behind the Mask just submit them on the Facebook Page.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions About Behind the Mask - PART 1

How did I come up with the story?

Back in 2007, on the soap opera General Hospital, there was a storyline which involved a heist of a hotel.  And one of the masked gunman got locked inside of the hotel vault with one of the employees.  So that's where the inspiration came from. But other than the two people and the vault, that's where the similarities end. Because though I enjoyed the GH story, I felt the direction the show went with the storyline and characters was all wrong. Just my opinion I know, but it sparked my own creativity and encouraged me to write my own story and put it down on paper.

Why is it set in Philadelphia?

For many reasons. The first being, I love Philadelphia. I live in Southern New Jersey and I'm only about 30 minutes or less from Philly. Growing up a Philadelphia sports fan and going to the city, there's just always been something special about it. The second reason, in the state of Pennsylvania, it's legal to carry a licensed concealed firearm. So for obvious purposes within the story, it made sense to have it take place where this was possible. The third reason was because of the regional rail line, which became a big focal point of the story. The fourth, I'm familiar with the city and though I relied on Google for some things, others I already had knowledge of.

Why are some locations/landmarks real while others are fake?

For legal reasons aka covering my butt. While researching writing fiction, I found out that using specific places such as hotels and restaurants, a writer is better off creating a fake place because real places might not take too kindly to being used in a novel. Even in a positive light. So after I finished the book, I went back and changed a couple places just to be safe. For instance, the Promenade Hotel was originally the Four Seasons....the Origami House was originally Morimoto's.  And the Village Grill was originally X-Finity Live, which is located by the sports complexes in downtown Philly. County Hospital was originally The University of Pennsylvania Hospital.  And of course, the Bank of Philadelphia is NOT a real bank and wasn't based on any bank in particular, just a mix of many I have been inside of.

I honestly didn't want to change any names but thought it was smarter to do so.

Where did the main character's names come from?

Remi Catalano:   I've always liked the name Remi (usual spelling is Remy) but when I was younger a good friend of mine had a cat named Remy and when I began writing the story, the name popped into my head. The last name Catalano might be familiar to fans of the 1994-1995 TV show, My So-Called Life.  The object of the main character's affection was named Jordan Catalano, played by Oscar winner Jared Leto. And the name stuck with me.

Liam Matthews:  To be honest the name Liam just seemed to fit the character. Which might sound weird, but that's the reason.  His last name though pays homage to my son, who is named Matthew.

Why did I make Liam a naval architect?

Since the story takes place in Philadelphia, which has many naval shipyards, having him design ships made sense.  Because I always liked the idea of him being an architect but adding the naval aspect was more fun and unique. Plus because he chose not to become a lawyer like his parents, I wanted him to do something that was in a completely different field of work. I also enjoyed being able to use the shipyard location.

Stay Tuned for FAQ - Part 2!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Remi Catalano

A 23 year-old petite, blonde, dark blue-eyed spitfire whose witty sarcasm and lively personality make her fun to be around.

The only child of Tony and Beth Catalano, Remi's life has been filled with love and support.  In fact, her family life is the complete opposite of Liam's.

Growing up in Bala Cynwyd (a suburb of Philadelphia) Remi's middle class world consisted of lots of friends and popularity.  Though not the best student, her grades were average.  More so because she just didn't apply herself and was more into the social aspect of school instead of the academics.  In high school, Homecoming Queen Remi was never lacking in the suitor department.  Far from shy and extremely confident, Remi could have dated any boy she wanted to.  That said, her tendency to seek out the bad boys trumped her good judgment.  An unfortunate trait that would carry on into her adulthood.

Never really sure of what she wanted to be when she grew up, Remi enrolled at the local community college...a couple times.  She'd start then quit and work various part-time jobs.  But nothing seem to click and she lacked the drive to find what was missing. So her parents allowed her to live at home and supported her financially, but they hoped she'd eventually become more ambitious and stand on her own two feet.  And her choice in boyfriends seriously displeased Tony and Beth.  Especially the last one, Kurt, who's currently serving time in prison for grand theft auto.

Remi's close circle of friends consists of Jenna, Melanie, and Abby.  Friends since grade school, all four were inseparable.  And it's Jenna, who worked at the Bank of Philadelphia, that suggested Remi apply for a teller position.  And to Remi's surprise, she was hired.  But who knew three weeks into the job she would find herself locked inside of the vault with a gun-toting masked man. And her life would never be the same!

Read more about Remi in BEHIND THE MASK.

Image: Eye Doctor Guide