An Accident Waiting to Happen

My Writing with the Stars guest today is Maria Zannini. She’s sharing about how she worked with her Brava mentor, Terri Brisbin.

So without further ado, please welcome Maria.


I almost didn’t submit Mistress Of The Stone to the Writing With The Stars contest. But I kept rereading the guidelines and one thing kept bringing me back.

The mentor. Each finalist would get a chance to work with a mentor.

I read all the author bios and it drove me dizzy with anticipation. I’d be lucky to work with any one of these authors. And if I became a finalist one of those poor veterans would have to work with me. It was in the guidelines. That’s almost like stone. LOL!

I entered, and to my shock, Megan Records phoned to tell me I was a finalist. Unfortunately, she didn’t count on me hanging up on her twice before she could tell me the news. (In my defense, it was a new phone, and I’m an idiot.) Thankfully, Megan didn’t hold a grudge.

Still, it would be several more days before I learned about my mentor. When I found out I had won Terri Brisbin, I said a prayer of thanks, then apologized silently to Terri because the poor woman had no idea how much trouble she had inherited.

Terri was terrific though. I bombarded her with questions and I took full advantage of having my very own mentor for a couple of weeks. We talked about the story, the presentation, and the genre. We talked about the industry and how important it was to be proactive.

I probably exasperated her with the last challenge with as many times as we volleyed it back and forth, but I have to say it was the very best of my work. By the time we were through that love scene smoldered on the page.

Through it all, Terri remained cheerful, optimistic and supportive. If I don’t go any farther than I have right now, it still would have been worth it because of what I learned from this generous lady.

I’m sure all of us would love to have an expert help us with some aspect of our work, but what would you like to teach if you could? What do you do best?


He shoved her in the opposite direction and walked her to the bed. If he meant to—Madre de Dios! Surely he wasn’t that mad. Not here. Not on her father’s ship.

“Blasted heretic! You know you can’t get off this ship.”

“I’m not getting off—at least not right away. What is our heading?”

“I don’t know.”

Daltry turned her around roughly then lifted her chin. “Come now, dearest, don’t play the witless damsel. It’s not becoming, especially on you.” He pushed her on the bed, one knee between her legs. “A pretty girl wearing leather britches and a shirt that betrays her womanly charms is quickly discounted as a woman of easy virtue.”

Luísa shot up in protest, but he shoved her down. She countered with a sharp knee to his cojones. His hands fell to his nethers and he staggered back with a raspy groan.

“What do you think of my virtue now, Inglés?”

Maria’s Bio:

Maria Zannini used to save the world from bad advertising, but now she spends her time wrangling zombie chickens, and fighting for a piece of the bed against dogs of epic proportions. She is the author of  True Believers, releasing October 18 from Carina Press and Touch Of Fire, published by Samhain Publishing. Her entry for WWTS is called Mistress Of The Stone, a pirate story with a paranormal twist.

Follow Maria on”blog ,!/mariazannini , , 

Thank you, Mia for being such a gracious host.

You’re welcome, Maria.

Maria’s mentor is Terri Brisbin, author of A Storm of Pleasure! If you love Scotland, you need to visit Terri’s terrific website for some wonderful pics.

Have you ever wished for a mentor? Have you ever had someone whose help made a difference to your life?

20 thoughts on “An Accident Waiting to Happen

  1. Maria Zannini says:

    Terri:br /br /Ref: …so I feared being no help at all for you. br /br /LOL! Are you kidding? I could kiss you! You#39;re brilliant, woman.

  2. Terri Brisbin says:

    Awww Maria! I had so much fun working with you on this. It was a challenge for me because I don#39;t know how I write, so I feared being no help at all for you. br /br /I was hoping you wouldn#39;t want to scream at me on that last challenge — the love scene one. I think it turned out beautifully and can#39;t wait for readers to see it. br /br /Good luck in this contest and thanks to Mia for hosting all the finalists here on her blog!br /br /Terri

  3. Maria Zannini says:

    Sandy, you are absolutely /A mentor is a gift and a privilege. br /br /Ref: five yearsbr /Wow! That#39;s fantastic.

  4. Sandy says:

    Good luck, Maria, and congrats on your release. br /br /If one is fortunate enough to have a mentor for any length of time they are blessed. I was lucky enough to have one for nearly five years. I learned so much from her. I just hope I retained all of it.

  5. Maria Zannini says:

    Tia: br /br /Ref: proactive how?br /br /Hoo-boy! That#39;s a couple of blog posts in itself. But basically it boils down to being responsible for your own /br /It#39;s all about putting yourself out there and being available and approachable.

  6. Maria Zannini says:

    Shelley: I would love to be a carry on bad on your trips. /br /I have travel-envy.

  7. Tia Nevitt says:

    Hi, Maria! I admit I#39;m awfully curious about the advice on being proactive–proactive how?br /br /I#39;m not sure if I#39;m ready to be a mentor. As a mentee, I#39;d be very interested in learning to b e a better editor of my own work.

  8. Shelley Munro says:

    Great post, Maria. Your experience sounds like both fun and hard work. I like Liz#39;s idea about rule-busting. Mentors are like gold, and I#39;ve been blessed to receive help from several writers in the /br /Recently, reviewers have all mentioned how the setting in my stories comes alive. Maybe my constant traveling has helped me in this respect, and I could pass this on to other /br /All the best with your upcoming release and your contest entry.

  9. Maria Zannini says:

    Mia: I love Halloween! And the more bizarre the costume, the more alcohol I#39;m sure was /br /Ref: Spunky heroinebr /That pretty much sums her up. :)br /br /And thank you again for letting me blog here. br /br /It was so nice of you to invite the Brava finalists to your place. It#39;s kind of like being invited to the big kids#39; playground. br /br /The whole contest has been a great experience. But getting hosted by big name authors has been the icing on the cake.

  10. MiaMarlowe says:

    LOL, Maria! Who else would think of making a WordSlasher Halloween costume? Very /br /I just have to say that I love your heroine#39;s spunk!

  11. Maria Zannini says:

    OMG! Keri!!br /br /Think of the great Halloween costume you can create out of /br /You can dress in all white and carry a giant red pen. Pieces of copy ripped out of manuscripts can be pasted on your clothes and /br /A word-slasher is a great talent. Thanks for visiting me!

  12. Keri Stevens says:

    Maria,br /In writing, I#39;m a fabulous cutter. I can slash words like nobody#39;s business. I have yet find the holy grail of minimal necessary verbiage (hey, look at the phrase quot;minimal necessary verbiagequot;–I mean, BLECH!) but I keep carving.

  13. Maria Zannini says:

    Liz: That is brilliant!br /br /How much easier would it be on new writers if we had someone to lean on–especially now with so much information on the web. br /br /It can be overwhelming.

  14. Maria Zannini says:

    Meghan: Pish posh! :)br /br /I am a firm believer that we all possess natural talent in /br /My 20 year old niece can cook rings around me. I#39;m lucky if I don#39;t starve to death some days. LOL.

  15. Liz Fichera says:

    That excerpt is very intriguing, Maria! br /br /If I had to teach something, I think I#39;d go with trying to unbrainwash a new writer from thinking they had to follow all the writing/publishing rules to be successful.

  16. Meghan Schuessler says:

    I#39;m way too new at this to be a mentor, but I#39;d love to be a mentee!!!! :)

  17. Maria Zannini says:

    Dru: When you have a 130lb lap dog, that#39;s an epic size. /br /Ref: mentorsbr /I think your mentor would be very proud of you. You#39;ve accomplished so much. br /br /Thanks for all the good wishes.

  18. Dru says:

    Hi Maria, I love your bio, zombie chickens and dogs of epic /br /My first job after graduating from college I had a wonderful mentor who taught me all that I needed to know to get ahead. Surprisingly, her daughter graduated from the same college I did and was in my class and I#39;ve never met /br /Good luck with your new upcoming book release and your finalist story.

  19. Maria Zannini says:

    Joanne, I would gladly be your mentee! You draw so much traffic to your blog using little more than the power of imagery. br /br /It#39;s a real gift. Thanks for stopping by.

  20. Joanne says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Maria. It must#39;ve been a great experience working with a mentor, and learning from her wisdom. I think if I were to mentor someone, I#39;d work on the vision we bring to the page, and I#39;d teach what I do on my blog. Looking through a camera lens has a way of opening up my perspective on life, which is a great tool to bring to our stories. So that would be the exercise I#39;d incorporate.

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