Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fandom For Preemies Compilation

I think I mentioned a while ago that I was making a contribution to the Fandom For Preemies fundraiser. I have done this each time the group has sponsored a fundraiser, and I really do hope I make some impact by doing so.

At any rate, this time, I donated the prologue to Found, since it was easier to donate that than to try to edit one of my old stories into shape.

Unlike what I've done before, in posting the story after a month of exclusivity, I will not be posting the prologue here. You'll still get excerpts every now and then, but you will not get the prologue in its entirety, unless I publish someday.

So, I encourage you all to head over to Fandom For Preemies to find out how to donate. Basically, if you donate $5 to March of Dimes by 1/1/13 and forward your receipt to them, they will send you the compilation.

March of Dimes is a worthwhile organization that has been so effective in their crusade that they had to change their focus from eliminating Polio to reducing the incidence of birth defects and premature births. I encourage you to check them out and donate whatever you can to help their cause.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! (NaNo Day 30)

That's right! Despite not writing a total of 7 days this month, I managed to squeak by and get 50K words down. AND, I managed to actually finish the plot of my novel. Now, I need to go back and do a lot of character building, because I was focusing so much on the plot that I kinda made some rather large jumps in the personalities of my characters.

But that's what December is for. Or something.

Some stats:

Days: 30 (minus 7, if you want to be technical)
Words: 51358 (by my word processor; 50659 by NaNo's validator)
Pages: 164
Characters: 7 involved in the action, one more that plays a key role in the story, and four others that are named.
Happy Ever Afters: 4, I think. But the readers only explicitly know of one.
Sequels: ???
Number of headaches: 1. Right now. I'm going to lie down now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (NaNo Day 27)

It's almost over. Almost. I can just about taste it.

All I have to say is that I'm really glad that I: 1) had Thanksgiving break this month, otherwise I would not have been able to survive, and 2) have been on Family Medicine and thus have had time (during lunch!) to actually do this. I have a little less than 6,000 words to write to finish this thing up, and it's going to be tough. I'm eating dinner at a friend's house every night this week (I'm a guest chef on Friday), plus I have choir practice tomorrow night. Thankfully, my Fridays are half days, so I should have a few hours to get caught up before making a mad dash to the finish by midnight.

I hope that my word count isn't too far off the NaNo validator's word count. I'm not sure how many extra words I'll be able to squeeze out before midnight Friday.

At any rate, here's a teaser for this week. This is one of the first intersections of the paths of the characters that did not previously know each other. The others come in a little later.

“Can I help you?” Dawn asked, putting on her business smile.

The woman turned and a look of surprise graced her face. “Sorry, I was admiring this beautiful wheel from outside and wanted to get a closer look.”

Dawn smiled. “It belongs to my grandmother. An old family heirloom that she's rather proud of.”

The woman smiled and gestured towards it. “May I?”

“Of course,” Dawn replied, taking a step towards the window. The woman stepped up to the display and ran her fingers over the wheel, turning it a bit back and forth. She followed the thread back to the spindle and glided her fingers over the tip of the spindle.

“You say this is an old family heirloom. How long has it been in your family?” the woman asked.

Dawn shrugged. “Generations. Nana hasn't told me all that much about it. She keeps telling me that one day she'll tell me the story behind it.”

“Are you not curious to know the history now?” the woman asked, raising her eyebrow.

“It's been a while since I've thought about it. The display just adds a nice touch to the shop.”

The bell jingled again, and Dawn turned to see Rowan stepping into the shop. He glanced at the woman suspiciously and gave her a wide breadth as he walked over to Dawn. “Who is she?” he asked softly in Dawn's ear.

She smacked his shoulder lightly. “Don't be rude. She's a customer. Or rather, she saw the wheel outside and wanted a closer look.”

He continued to watch the woman wearily. “Something's off about her,” he muttered.

Hope you enjoyed it. I'll post again on Friday or Saturday with a final teaser for you, as well as my final word count. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Names (NaNo Day 26)

I'm horrible with names. I love picking first names for my characters, because I always give them a name that means something.

Blanche, for instance, is the descendant of Snow White. Blanche is french for White. Voila. Each of my main characters has a similar story behind their name.

But last names are my downfall. I picked one at random for Ms. Blanche, only to discover that the last name I picked was someone I went to high school with... who was named Blanche. Fail on my part. But rather than sit there and go through dozens of name possibilities, and making sure that the names meant something for the characters, I posted it to my friends. What should I name my characters?

So, I now introduce you to my main character cast:
Blanche Mitchell
Aileen Fisher
Jason Johnson
Rowan Maxwell
Dawn Stern

And my supplemental characters:
Madge Reynard (affectionately known as Nana)
Wilhelm Herrmann
Thomas Fisher (Aileen's brother)
Harold and Eleanor Johnson (Jason's mother and father)

Everyone else, at this time, who has a name does not have a first and last name. For instance, I have Susie, the receptionist at the office Jason works. I have David, a stablehand at the stables that Aileen frequents. They aren't important enough to the story to either get names that matter or get both first and last names. Poor things, I know. Of course, Jason's parents fall into that category, but since they're family, they get a last name too. They just got lucky that way.

In terms of the word count... I'm back to being a day behind, but I've finally gotten a rough layout of how I want the novel to finish up, so maybe I'll be able to get all caught up and finish the thing by Friday. I'm debating whether or not I want to enter the Virtuosos competition. I'd like to think that I wrote a pretty good novel, but I know it needs heavy editing, and I'm not sure I'll have the time to keep up with things come January, when I start Surgery.

Well, I suppose it's a moot point if I don't finish the novel by Friday midnight. So I guess I'll just wait until then to see where I go from there.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (NaNo Day 25)

So... I got behind again this week. Actually, I never really caught up. So much for thinking my vacation would stimulate me to actually write. Mostly I've just been lazy. Which is perfectly okay, since I haven't had a break in 9 months, but it's hurting the word count a bit. I'm working on it still. I still til the end of the week to finish.

This week's six comes from the rising action as I rapidly approach the yet unknown climax. It is a conversation between Aileen and Rowan that takes place after Dawn is incapacitated and Rowan is frustrated with being unable to help.

He grumbled as he dabbed his jacket with a napkin. “Not that it matters much. She's far too interested in her dress-making than she is in a relationship right now.”

Her response was measured. “Did it ever occur to you that she feels the same way, but doesn't want to lose your friendship? Why on Earth would she go looking for another relationship when the guy she wants to be with is around her. ..."


For more sixes, visit Six Sentence Sunday. Be aware that many erotica authors participate and there is no restriction on the content, so enter at your own risk.

Follow my NaNo progress:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (NaNo Day 20)

Well, ladies and gents, I've almost managed to catch back up from last week's no writing fiasco. I'm up to yesterday's word count goal, which means all I need to do is write about 3000 words tomorrow and I'll be all caught up again.

Shouldn't be too hard, right?

It's a good thing I'm on break all this week. If I try really, really hard, I might even be able to finish completely before going back to school Monday. Stranger things have happened...

Of course, now I've reached the turning point in the novel, and I'm having to go back and explain some things that I've come to realize I need to let the readers in on earlier in the novel.

Which is where today's excerpt comes from. Previously, I have talked about how Aileen is a horse whisperer of sorts. But it seems as if she's having a bit of an off day now. Poor thing. I just keep doing mean things to her. To all my characters, really. But it's okay, they'll bounce back just fine in the end.

When she arrived, she found David calming down her horse. She approached slowly, and the horse neighed loudly, dancing away from her. Frowning, she sat down against the fence and waited until David put the horse back into its stall. He came out and handed her a bottle of water, sitting down beside her.

"I was worried when he showed up without you. What happened?"

She took a generous gulp of water and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "Something is up with him today. He was a bit skittish when I was getting him saddled up, but I figured he was just antsy about getting out, since I haven't been by in a few days. But he kept tugging at the reins the whole time I had him canter, so I tried to stop him. He didn't like that very much... he threw me off and ran back here. I managed to jump off so I didn't land on my back, but I twisted my ankle when I landed, so it took me a little while to get moving again."

David shook his head and took a swig from his own bottle. "Wonder what's up. You don't usually have any problems with the horses, and he seemed perfectly content to let me put him back in the stall."

She shrugged and tugged off her boot. "Maybe it's me, then. I must be having an off day." She pulled off her sock and winced at the black and blue splotches covering her ankle.

He whistled. "Looks like it hurts. You sure you don't need me to bring you anywhere? I mean, I know you're superwoman and managed to walk back up the trail by yourself, but it's only going to get worse now that your boot is off."

She squeezed her ankle slowly, her breath catching every so often from the pain. "I'll be okay, I think. Just need to get home and get some ice on it." She made to stand and quickly lost her balance.

"Oh, no you don't," David said, catching her arms. "We'll get you set up in the office until the swelling goes down. Then we'll wrap you up. You're not going to be able to make it from the car to your place with how it is now."

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (NaNo Day 18)

Yeah, I've been really bad at writing this past week. As in, I managed to get all caught up with everything on Monday, and then didn't write on Tuesday-Friday. And yesterday, the writing went very slowly. I have several thousand words to catch up on (still have roughly 7000 at the time of writing this). Good thing I have no responsibilities for the next week, huh?

This week's six is hot off the press, so to speak, seeing as how I just wrote it last night. So many things have developed in the past week, and our character's lives are intersecting in some interesting ways.

The scene takes place at Stitch in Time (the dress shop Dawn and her grandmother own), after Dawn is found unconscious by Aileen. She has been brought to the back room, where a bed has been set up for her. Rowan has arrived and is none too happy about the situation.

Rowan paced the room anxiously, constantly looking at the bed. “We should bring her to the hospital,” he argued.

“I told you before, Rowan. It will do her no good to go to a hospital. They cannot help her,” Nana said calmly, carefully examining her granddaughter's hands.

“What are we supposed to do then?” he snapped, then ran his fingers through his hair in frustration.

Nana can certainly handle her own, can't she?

For more, visit Six Sentence Sunday. Be aware that authors from across the genre and audience spectrum participate, so several entries are rated M (Mature). Read at your own risk.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (NaNo Day 11)

Welcome back! I've been hard at work this weekend, trying to keep my word count up. My region is having a slumber party next weekend, and since I'm free from clinical duties, I might actually go this year. I'll have to make an effort to go to at least one write-in before then, though, so I don't seem to randomly show up.

Bit of mystery in this week's post. You don't get to know who the characters are :)

"Good girl," the man said harshly. "All I want is your wallet, phone, and that pretty necklace you have around your neck."

Nodding, she mumbled against the hand. The hand tightened over her mouth, killing the sound in her throat, and his voice sounded in her ear again. "If you scream, I will make you pay," he warned before sliding the hand down from her mouth to lock his arm across her shoulders.

She swallowed harshly and fought the hysteria bubbling up in her throat.

I will tell you that this mugging is no coincidence, and that something taken from her will play a significant role in the story. Any ideas?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNo Day 8: Meet Dawn

Sorry I neglected to post yesterday. I was frantically trying to make up my word count, since I got 1000 words behind. I managed it pretty well, but I crashed right after I finished. Which might be the same thing that happens tonight, but I'm going to eek out a post first.

So far, you've met Blanche, Aileen, and Jason, and have seen a bit of the interaction between Dawn and Rowan.

Let's meet Dawn, then.

Dawn works in her grandmother's shop, Stitch in Time, as a seamstress. She got a degree in clothing design, and makes full use of it, designing a number of the formal dresses that they sell in the shop. She's quite proud of these dresses, thinking them an accomplishment. She's very much an introvert, and would much rather spend time in the shop working than heading out to bars to meet people her own age.

She also lives with her grandmother, feeling the need to act as guardian now that her grandmother's husband has passed. Her parents are less than approving of the whole situation, thinking her grandmother quite odd, and have thus severed contact with her.

She's best friends with Rowan. Everyone, except Dawn, is convinced that Rowan is madly in love with her, but she'll insist til her dying day that they're just good friends. He couldn't possibly see her that way, and he certainly makes no effort to hide the fact that he dates a new girl every time he goes out.

Right now, she's so focused on keeping her grandmother's shop running that she hasn't stopped to think about what she wants in life, but if you press her, she'll tell you the usual love, family, and success.

Follow my NaNo progress:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (NaNo Day 6)

Hope you all have been enjoying the little tidbits so far. I'm starting to hit a bit of a wall in writing myself, not because I'm not sure what to write, exactly, but because I'm not sure how I want to write it. I know the basic events I want to happen, but I need something to happen in between them, and I'm not sure how much of each character I should be writing.

At any rate...

Today you get a bit of a larger sample. Not too much, mind, but more than the 6 sentences you got on Sunday.

In this bit, you get to meet another character, Jason. Jason is near and dear to my heart, because he represents the frustration with my own schooling at the moment. But things will work out for him just like they're working out for me. Just as a quick background, this takes place at Jason's parents' home, where he goes for weekly dinners. He's just come from his work... he is a doctor-in-training, more commonly known as a resident.

Jason scoffed. “Just because I didn't want to spend my entire day in the library trying to cram information into my head during undergrad and medical school doesn't mean that I'm not driven. I am a doctor, after all. I'd wager that it's much more difficult to become one now than it was when you were in school.”

His mother placed her hand on his arm lightly. “Come now, there's no need to be upset. We're here to enjoy a nice family dinner, not to bicker. Harold, our son has done quite well with his life. Jason, we don't expect you to be the same person as your father.”

Jason rolled his eyes and Harold took another sip of his drink. “No, indeed. I've long given up on that expectation.”

Frustrated, Jason stood and left the room, seeking out refuge in the library. He wondered now why he insisted on putting himself through the torture of coming to this weekly dinner. Running his hand through his hair, he glanced around the room, taking in the large volume of books that filled the shelves. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something shimmer. Frowning in confusion, he turned to get a better look. After scanning the area for a moment, he saw a cloth tucked between two books. Slowly, he walked over and fingered the cloth gently, then gave it a sharp tug. One of the books it rested between shifted and fell to the floor, leaving him holding a piece of silvery cloth about the size of a handkerchief. He rubbed the fabric between his fingers and it seemed to shimmer more intensely, leaving a slight tingling feeling on his fingertips. Curious, he turned the cloth over, inspecting it closely.

The doorknob rattled, signaling the arrival of another person. Acting quickly, he shoved the cloth into his pocket and turned towards the door, forcing a smile as his mother walked into the room.

“Dear, I'm sorry about your father. He seems to be in one of those moods tonight,” she said, grasping his hand in her own.

He shrugged. “He's always been that way. I shouldn't expect him to change. I do have to get going, though. Got a busy day tomorrow, and I like to try to read up on my patients a little bit before I see them.”

She smiled beautifully and kissed his cheek lightly. “Of course, dear. Will you come back next week?”

“It is our tradition, isn't it?” he responded, giving her a small hug. Once she returned the hug, he pulled back and took his things from the butler. “I'll see you next week, Mom.”

She smiled and walked with him to the door, waving as he slid into his car and pulled away.

What is the cloth, you ask? He doesn't even know yet, so why should you :P Stay tuned for more!

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNo Day 5

I'm making steady progress. My average word count is up over 1700, which is pretty good. I think I'm going to end up completely trashing at least one of the scenes I've written so far, but I'm going to keep it as a placeholder at least until I finish the book and think of what I can replace it with.

Final word count for today was 8729.

So far, you've met Blanche, seen a bit of Dawn and Rowan, and gotten a couple of snippets from the plot itself.

Today, I want to introduce you to Aileen.

Aileen is by far the most outgoing of the girls. She's spunky, loves to throw herself into situations she probably shouldn't, and is good at going with the flow. She's currently in vet school, and has a talent for, shall we say, 'speaking' to animals.

“As I said, you're a natural at interacting with the horses. I've always wondered how you do it,” he said, squeezing her arm slightly.

She shrugged and discreetly ducked from under his arm. “I dunno. I just seem to get what they're going through and what they want. Some of them want attention. You ignore them and they calm down. Some are scared, or nervous. You reassure them and they're fine.”

David shook his head. “As I said, I don't get how you do it. I can't even do that with people I can talk to, and you can do it with dozens of different types of animals.”
She smiled and rolled the ball of her necklace between her fingers, backing away from him towards her car. “I guess I'm just talented.”

She's friends with both Dawn and Rowan, having gone to college with the both of them. What will be coming down the line for Ms. Aileen? You'll just have to wait and see.

Follow my NaNo progress:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday -- NaNo Style!

It's Sunday, which means for today's NaNo entry, you get a snippet of the novel. Since this entry has to go live practically before I get up in the morning, I don't have much in the way of progress today. No worries, I'll get you back up to date tomorrow.

Yesterday, you met Blanche. But, there are many other characters that are followed throughout Found. Two of them are Rowan and Dawn. You'll learn more about them in the coming weeks, but for now, here's a snippet of their interaction.

He smiled and leaned over the table to look her in the eye. "But I do enjoy it so much. You get all flustered when I irritate you."

She rolled her eyes and began cutting a long piece of fabric. "There are so many girls who would die to have you look at them like that, but instead you're here, in a seamstress' shop, wasting away all that free time."

"If you're so worried about me finding a girl to love on, why don't you ensure that I spend some time out looking for them?"

Yup, I think I'm going to like writing the two of them. They remind me of so many couples I know.

You can read other Six Sentence entries by visiting Six Sentence Sunday. Remember, there is no censoring in this group, so the entries may not be rated PG (or PG-13, or even R). Click at your own risk.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

NaNo 3: Meet Blanche

This novel is very different from those I've written in the past in that there's not a single main character. The story revolves around a group of people, all of whom are very important to the story, and all of whom have their own stories to tell.

Blanche is the first you're introduced to, though, and she's the one I developed first. So she has a special place in my heart.

Now, it's time for you to meet her.

Chelle: So, Blanche, tell me a little about yourself.

Blanche: Well, I've lived in the same town my whole life. My dad left when I was little; I remember a little about him, how he used to smoke his cigars on the back porch. My mom raised me after he left. She struggled, and I did my best to help her, even when I was little. She died recently, from a massive stroke. She's the only family I really had left.

C: I'm so sorry to hear that. Did you go to college?

B: I actually got several scholarships to go to college, so I was able to go without my mom having to get a second job to pay for it. I studied History while I was there. Now, though, I'm just working as a teacher's aide at the local community college. It doesn't pay very well, but I manage to get by with it.

C: Is there a special someone in your life?

B: Sadly, no. I was in a relationship for a long time through college, but it ended. I haven't really had much of a chance to date since, or at least, I haven't really made the time to go out and meet people. Now, with my mom's recent death, I'm afraid that my mood is too sour for most people.

C: What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

B: I love to read. I devour books all the time. Nothing like escaping reality for a few hours at a time.

C: Alright. Thanks for answering my questions. I'm looking forward to getting to know you more in the coming weeks.

Follow my progress this month:

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNo Day 1 and 2

So, I didn't write anything on NaNo Day 1. I have a good excuse! I was working all day (until 5), and then I had to study for an exam I had today. Since I was bad and slacked off on studying the past 4 weeks, I had a lot of studying to catch up on.

But, I'm over halfway through catching up today, now that my exams are done. Only another 600 or so words in the next 3 hours (then I have to leave for dinner, and then an afterparty... I'm a busy girl, after all) and I'm set. I think I can manage that. Maybe I'll even get a bit ahead for tomorrow.

Since I'm still getting to know my characters, today you get an excerpt. This is from the Prologue, where we first meet Ms. Blanche. Enjoy!

She pulled out several pieces of old, crumpled newspaper, dated back to before she was born. Frowning, she rummaged through the box until she encountered a solid object. It was wrapped in the newspaper, much like dishes were wrapped in preparation for a move. She unwrapped it slowly, feeling a combination of anticipation and some unfounded sense of anxiety.

As she pulled back the paper, she revealed an antique appearing comb, the type used for hair decorations in the Victorian times or earlier. The silver had tarnished considerably, but she could make out the beautiful filigree pattern on the top of the comb, twisted into the shape of a rose. She brushed her fingers over it gently, her mouth relaxing into a small smile. Setting the comb onto the table gingerly, she continued to explore the contents of the box. The next object she pulled was much more solid and heavier. She turned the wrapped object over in her hands for a moment before opening it.

Any ideas on what the second wrapped object is? (Fallon, no cheating :P)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Countdown to NaNo

National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo, NaNo for short, is quickly approaching. After much cajoling, my friend A.K. Morgen has convinced me to participate again this year. I was not able to participate last year due to impending board exams and the end of classes, but I'm back in the game this year. Probably next year too. I make no promises after that.

Even though I'm stuck on editing Hidden Souls, and haven't touched the Kamore world in ages, I've decided to start another story. Just adding to my graveyard :) I've had a couple ideas bouncing around in my head for a while, but the idea of writing some sort of fairy tale again has nagged at me for ages. After all, it's the 'in' thing right now.

Introducing... Found. That's my working title, anyway, since I am absolutely terrible at novel titles, but the NaNo website begged for me to put one in. In the coming weeks, I'll post snippets, character descriptions, plot bunnies, and anything else that catches my fancy.

For now, I'll leave you with the synopsis as it is in my head now. Be warned that my characters do take me on some odd bunny trails, so this synopsis may very well change by the end of November.

What if your favorite fairy tales weren't really fairy tales? What if they were real?

Blanche's life hasn't been going as planned. She's single, has a job she'd do just about anything to be able to quit, and now has lost her mother to cancer. While cleaning out the attic of her childhood home, she stumbles onto an antique mirror. Not just any mirror, but a magic mirror. Or so the inscription claims. Intrigued, she takes it home with her, setting off a chain of events that will change the very course of history. Will anyone get their 'Happily Ever After'?

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I know, I know. I haven't posted in months. I'm in some of the rough rotations in school again, and I'm finding a hard time to get the motivation to write (well, edit, mostly) during the little free time I had. I'm working on it.

But I'm not here today to talk about me.

One of my best friends is getting her book published this week. I don't exactly have the readers to get her to put the time and effort into writing a blog post for me, so I'm doing it myself.

The book? Fade, Book One of the Ragnarok Prophesies, by A.K. Morgen.

Why should you buy it? Well, beside the fact that I think it's an awesome storyline, and uses Norse mythology, something you don't see too often in stories... a portion of the proceeds does go to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, one of Ayden's favorite charities.

What do you do when you realize nothing in your life is what you’ve believed it to be?

When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him.

When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface. They don't understand what's happening to them or why, and they're running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.

Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophesy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.

You can learn more about the book and check out excerpts, as well as author interviews and whatnot at Ayden's blog:

You can also add Fade to your bookshelf on Goodreads:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday #6

I've failed at editing this week. I did manage to get through several pages last weekend, but ultimately, didn't touch my draft during the week. Don't really have an excuse, just didn't pick it up.

At any rate, this section comes from one of the scenes where Sophia is struggling with what is reality and what's part of her imagination.

Maybe her soul really did leave her body, just as a shell. No one said that a body had to have a soul to continue living. After all, they claimed those with severe brain damage were dead, but their bodies still mostly functioned. She would have to get Kate to watch her next time she slept. Or maybe she should try to go someplace else, force it to happen. But how?

Check out other entries at Six Sentence Sunday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday #5

I'm back to posting my six sentences. I've been fighting through my manuscript this week, and it's getting torn up. But, my dear friend Ayden Morgen demands a completed draft, so I sludge on.

Since I started over at the beginning, this excerpt is from earlier in the novel, before Sophia meets Michael (officially, anyway). Specifically, this section deals with the kidnapping itself, and how the students at Sophia's college are responding to it.

Another girl shrugged. "Missing children aren't exactly a commonplace occurrence here," she reasoned. "For a college town, we have a surprisingly low crime rate."

"Oh come on, Abby," another said with a scowl. "If it had been, say, Erica's younger sister, the mayor wouldn't have made a personal statement. Let's face it, he only cares because it's his daughter and he has the power to get the whole town involved in the search."

Not terribly exciting, I admit, but it is the conflict for the scene I'm currently working on. Hopefully I'll have a juicier tidbit for you next week. Until then, feel free to check out other Six Sentence Sunday entries (read at your own risk; many entries are from writers of erotic fiction).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Editing... For Real This Time

You may have noticed that I did not post a Six Sentence Sunday post today. The reason? For one, I didn't do any editing this week. I know, shame on me. But, I was also waiting to get a printed copy of Hidden Souls.

My rough draft (with widened margins) is 164 pages. The last 50 pages are going to need some heavy edits, I know already.

Why print my rough draft? Well, it occurred to me as I was going through the electronic copy of my first draft that I wasn't really doing any editing. Sure, I went through each page, maybe made a few minor edits, but I wasn't making those changes that would make my story stronger. I found a website that makes a lot of good suggestions about how to edit your manuscript (in ONE pass), so I decided to go that way. I got my copy this morning, and have spent about 2 hours going through the first part of the manuscript again. I'm roughly 11 pages in.

The good news? I cut my first scene. And it wasn't the scene I thought I was going to cut. It was actually a scene where Sophia is getting home from dinner. It's just a filler scene before she has her first dream. So it got cut.

The bad news? My word count before these edits is just under 50,000. My goal is to get it up to 90,000, which is the low limit of publishable for most novels. That means I have to bolster my word count quite a bit. Some of it will be with description, because quite a bit of my phrasing is really weak and my description of scenes definitely isn't what is in my head.

But I may end up adding a couple subplots as well. If you can read on the above picture, the book propped up behind my manuscript is my writing journal, where I write down all the ideas I have and flesh them out. Two of the subplots I plan on focusing on are Michael's identity (I did a little bit with last Sunday's post, and obviously the character sketch, but I really want to focus on it more), as well as Sophia's past. I haven't decided what her past is going to entail yet, but it will impact where she ends up when she projects.

Anyway, stay tuned for more excerpts! Hopefully, within the next couple weeks, I'll finish editing. Maybe then I'll consider sending out query letters.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Curse

Title: The Curse
Word Count: 1785
Genre: Historical Fantasy

Remember I mentioned a few months ago that I would be writing a story for Fandom For Preemies? If any of you donated and forwarded your receipt on, you'll have already read this. And I greatly appreciate your donation. Through the generous efforts of our friends and family, Fandom for Preemies raised over $400 for the March for Babies program, and over $2100 for other March of Dimes programs world-wide.

I promised that I would not post this story until May 20th, in order to allow those who did purchase the compilation a chance to enjoy it exclusively. But May 20th sounded like such an awkward day, so I decided to hold off until June 1st. And now, here we are.

This story is the backstory to a plot I came up with a couple months ago. I kept thinking about The Portrait of Dorian Gray, and wondered if someone living today would have the capability of doing that with photography. Which spun out into this elaborate plot featuring three girls (cousins, I think) who all have certain 'powers' dealing with photographs. I'm not sure I'll ever get around to writing the story that I did come up with, but I do have quite a bit of it planned out. So, motivation, once again, is the only thing lacking. Anyway, this story was the answer to my question 'How did it start?' Hope you enjoy!

The Curse

Light streamed in through the window, causing the still wet paint to glisten slightly on the canvas. The young woman seated behind it glanced at her subject again, then wrinkled her nose and dabbed a bit more paint onto the portrait.

“I know portrait sitting is all about patience, but are we almost done for today, Aliénor?” the subject of the portrait whined.
Aliénor looked up. “Hmm? Oh, yes, just a few more minutes. The light has almost gone for today.”

“Merci! Oh, dear, I don't know how you can manage to sit in one spot for hours. I normally take multiple walks a day, just around the garden, you know.”

Aliénor smiled and turned back to her work. “Yes, Comtesse Candale. You have told me many times your normal routine. I do appreciate you taking so much time to allow me to paint your portrait.”

“Oh, nonsense, dear. You are the most renounced portrait artist in the region. You know I always get the best.” The older woman's eyes sparkled mischievously.

“Naturally, Comtesse. Only a few more minutes, s'il vous plait.”

The comtesse rolled her eyes theatrically, but remained still, the corner of her mouth twitching upwards in amusement. After a few more minutes, Aliénor stood and placed her palatte on her stool. She wiped off her hands on her apron and smiled. “All done for today, Comtesse. I think one more sitting should finish it up.”

The comtesse stood and let out a squeal of delight. “Oh, you must let me see what progress you've made, dear,” she said as she moved towards the easel.

Aliénor held up her hands and shook her head. “We had an agreement. No one sees my portraits until they are complete.”

“Oh, surely you can make an exception for me...”

“Desolée, madame, but no. It takes away the magic for you to see it before it is finished.”

The older woman raised her eyebrow, then gave a short nod. “Very well. You are clearly set in your ways. I will just have to wait for the surprise.”

Aliénor smiled and pulled off her apron. “One more day should do it, and then you can see the finished work. Allow me to show you out.”

The older woman picked up a cane resting beside her chair. “I expect to be able to see it tomorrow, then. No excuses next time.” She smiled and grasped Aliénor's hand. “Do tell your mother to join us for tea, then. It's been ages since I've seen her.”

“Of course, Comtesse. I'm sure she'll be delighted to see you again.”

A footman appeared in the doorway. “Oh, wonderful, Baxley. Show me out so young Aliénor here can finish her portrait. I am just dying to see the effect she has produced.”

“At your service, madame,” the footman replied, bowing and holding out his arm for the older woman.

Aliénor remained watching the door for a few moments before she turned back and walked towards her easel. Sighing, she ran her finger along the edge of the canvas, stopping when she came to the painted image of a clasped knife hovering behind the comtesse. “However am I going to cover you up this time?” she muttered to herself.

“I don't know why you continue to paint if you're so disturbed by the images you see,” a soft voice said behind her.

Aliénor shrugged and turned. “I enjoy it, maman. And not everything is disturbing. I did paint a beautiful ring on Clarisse's finger, and she ended up engaged by the end of the summer.”

“Yes, but you did have to field those questions about how you knew what Vicomte Grundie's ring would look like,” her mother reminded her.

“Yes, well. Still... not everything is disturbing.”

“This one certainly seems to be,” her mother muttered, examining the portrait.

Aliénor sighed. “I feel as if I have some duty to warn her, but I'm not sure how I could possibly start that conversation. I would be laughed out of France for even suggesting that the Comtesse was in danger.”

Her mother grasped her shoulders and squeezed them slightly. “Just because you've seen it, doesn't mean it will come true, ma petite. Just etch in some more shadows behind her chair and you'll hardly know it's there.”

Aliénor nodded silently and picked up her brush once again, hesitating only a moment before gently brushing a darker paint over the horrifying image.


“Almost done.... there,” Aliénor said triumpantly, standing back to examine her work.

“Can I see it now?” the Comtesse asked eagerly, picking up her cane and standing up without waiting for an answer.

“Of course, just don't touch it. The paint is still wet yet.” Aliénor smiled stood to the side as the older woman sidled up beside her.

“Absolutely breathtaking, dear. I've never seen such details, almost as if the ruffles of my skirt would float away with a slight breeze.”

Aliénor opened her mouth to respond when shouting erupted in the hallway.

“Unhand me! I told you I would not leave until I saw her. How dare you!” A woman with a bright red dress and hair black as night stormed into the room, several footmen on her heels.

“Sorry, madamoiselle, but we could not stop her,” one of the footmen muttered, looking down at the ground.

Aliénor dismissed his concerns with a flick of her wrist and addressed the intruder. “Very well, here I am. Speak your piece.”

The woman's eyes flashed and she straightened her back like a snake preparing to strike. “I have come to denounce you as a witch!” she announced.

The Comtesse gasped and seemed to stumble back a few steps, but Aliénor only pursed her lips. “You dare come into my home uninvited and make such callous threats?”

“Oh, you can act as sweet an charming as you wish, but I know about your magic. You think it clever, hiding your little charms in your portraits, but I see through it.”

“Madame, what is your reason for denouncing her so?” the comtesse spoke up, seeming to regain her presence.

“Oh, you must be her latest victim. See, she hides these little things in her portraits, telling of things to come. Her portrait of me resulted in my husband forcing me to leave his house.”

“A portrait caused you to become dishonored by your husband? Typically that is the work of the woman, not of her portrait artist.”

The woman glared daggers at the comtesse and turned back towards Aliénor. “You remember, don't you? You painted me with my husband's family. Except that I wasn't looking at my husband in your portrait, I was looking at his brother. Henri spotted this and became suspicious. He left town on business last week, and came back early to find his brother and I in a rather... compromising position.”

Aliénor cleared her throat, clasping her hands before her to calm her nerves. “I only paint what I see, madame. It sounds as if you were the root cause of the problem, not me.”

The woman laughed coldly, sending shivers up Aliénor's spine. “Oh, I know no one will believe me, but I've heard whispers of your other portraits. A slightly rounder belly for a newly married woman, and a short while later she gives birth. A man without his ring loses his estate within a year. An unmarried woman with a ring becomes betrothed within months. A slight alteration in a crest, and the nobleman is banished. If you truly paint what you see, then you clearly see things that normal people do not.”

“This is preposterous!” the countess shouted, gesturing towards the footmen. “Take her out of here, she is disturbing my peace.”

“Oh, I'll leave, but take note. You may be well loved, Aliénor de Monspey, but for the humiliation you have brought onto me, your children will be outcasts for their magic, until the day that they feel the same humiliation I have felt.” Her eyes flashed green for a fraction of a second, then she spun on her heel and left the room, the footmen trailing after her.

Aliénor remained rooted on the spot, her heart pounding in her chest as the woman spoke her words. She glanced over her shoulder at the portrait of the comtesse again and bit her lip as her eyes danced across the now concealed dagger.

“Don't look so frightened, dear. Scary as she seems, her words are just that: words. She's no more a witch than you are, she just wanted to take her anger out on someone, and you seemed a good target.”

Aliénor smiled weakly and nodded. “Of course. I'm just not used to such confrontations. I'll have the portrait wrapped and sent to you in the morning, once it has dried completely.”

The comtesse leaned against her cane with both arms. “I do expect you over for tea, darling. Your mother too. No later than Thursday, you understand?”

Aliénor smiled warmly. “Of course. We will send word as soon as we are available.” Pulling off her dirty apron, she leaned over and kissed each of the comtesse's cheeks. With a significant look back at the portrait, she added, “Do be careful. With women like her running around, it's a wonder we're all as safe as we are,” she added with a weak chuckle and a glance at the portrait.

The comtesse frowned slightly, but nodded. “Of course dear. I look forward to seeing your portrait in my gallery.” With her smile locked in place, the comtesse turned and hobbled towards the door.

Once alone, Aliénor picked up her supplies and sighed softly. Hearing footsteps, she turned to see Baxley standing in the doorway. “Is anything amiss, madamoiselle?”

Aliénor swallowed the lump in her throat and shook her head. “No, no, just a little rattled. Thank you Baxley.” She smiled and turned on her heel, leaving the room with a swirl of her skirts.

“What was all that about, cherie?”

Aliénor turned to face her mother. “One of my past clients was upset about the way her image was represented in her portrait. She accused me of being a witch.”

The older woman pursed her lips, but Aliénor shook her head. “No, maman. I don't want to hear it again. I'm going to take a break from painting. Your wish has come true.”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday #4

I'm late in posting this week, only because I didn't have a chance to edit during the week. So, I didn't get my name on the master list on Six Sentence Sunday. Ah well.

We're much further into the story now. Sophia is still having a problem accepting that Michael is real, but recently had an interaction with Grace in her dreams. Michael is making things more difficult by hiding his identity, which is frustrating Sophia to no end. Just before this scene, she was seeking the solace of her bedroom, and found herself (and Michael) out on a cliff overlooking her home town.

She smiled faintly and turned back towards the town, pointing to a spot in the distance. “My house is somewhere in that area,” she explained. “I lived here my whole life, right up until I moved away for college.”

He nodded. “Me too. Though I lived on the other side of town, towards the movie theater.”

The plot thickens! If you've read the character sketches posted here for Sophia and Michael, some of this should be clicking together a little more.

Tune in next week for another thrilling excerpt from Hidden Souls!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday #3

I'm back with another installment of Hidden Souls. I'm dreadfully behind on my editing, but I'm starting to see just how much work this draft is going to need to be readable. I'm roughly 1/5 of the way through the draft, and hope to get through another 1/5 over the weekend, since I'm going to be starting surgery next week and likely won't have a lot of free time.

In our last installment, Sophia and Michael had just met and were having a little tete-a-tete. This week, we focus on Sophia. She's struggling with the idea that Michael is a ghost, and that she sees things that she couldn't possibly see. She's still in denial, but experiences something rather strange one night after talking to Kate.

Sophia opened her eyes to blackness all around her. She blinked rapidly, trying to force her eyes to adjust to the darkness, but the blackness remained. She took a deep breath, sensing a dampness in the air. She was definitely not in the safety of her room anymore. She sat up slowly, feeling around her blindly to get a sense of where she was, but she couldn't feel anything, not even the surface she was sitting on. It was as if she were floating in a dark cloud.

As always, you can read more six sentence compilations at Six Sunday. Use caution while going through the authors, as many of them write erotica.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday #2

It's time for another installment of Six Sentence Sunday. Welcome to those visiting for the first time.

A reader last week asked me for a description of Hidden Souls. I'm so used to people I've talked up my blog to reading (and thus already knowing about my long term works) that I realized I didn't really have a description of the story anywhere. So, I've changed one of the pages up at the top to provide a summary of my longer stories (Works in Progress).

The basic premise behind Hidden Souls is a college girl finds out she can see ghosts and move about as a 'ghost' herself. The plot is centered around a kidnapping she witnesses in her dreams (not realizing that it wasn't a dream), and the tale spins out from there.

Last week's SSS post was a byte from the start of the novel, where Sophia (the protangonist) was arguing with her roommate, Kate, about going out on a blind date.

This week, we're a little bit more into the story. We're now at the point where Sophia meets Michael. Except that she isn't quite convinced that what she sees is real.

Jumping in surprise, she looked over her shoulder to see Michael standing here, scrutinizing her list. She snatched it up defensively and slid it into her back pocket. “You go to school here, huh?”

He slid into the seat next to her gracefully. “I don't go to school anywhere. I'm dead, remember?”

Thanks for visiting, and feel free to check out some of my short stories while you're here. As always, you can check out other Six Sentence entries here. Many authors write erotic fiction, so click the links at your own risk.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday #1

So, after deciding to pull out my rough drafts and dust them out in an attempt to edit them, I figured a little extra motivation might not be such a bad thing. So, I'm going to work on participating in Six Sentence Sunday every week. I will use six sentences from whatever draft I worked on throughout the week. They may be sentences I'm trying to rework, or the finished product after going through a second (or third, or tenth) time.

This week, I'm starting with Hidden Souls. This excerpt comes from the very beginning, and I'm not sure I'll keep this scene when all is said and done. It's my attempt at humor (and it's a pretty bad attempt overall), but I'm not sure it does much for character development beyond saying that Sophia doesn't want to date right now. Still, it was fun to write.

Anyway, enjoy.

Sophia sighed. “Just get me out of this and I'll forgive you. And don't try to set me up on any more dates for a while.”

Kate's pout instantly turned into a beaming smile. “That means I can set you up! Yes!”

You can see submissions from other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. WARNING: Some of the entries are on the more erotic side of things, so... beware.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Rise of Huti

Title: The Rise of Huti
Word Count: 1934
Genre: Fantasy

I'm pulling out a couple of my rough drafts this weekend, since I've been letting them sit for years without really touching them now. And I have a bit of 'free' time. I actually have a lot that I need to do, I'm just completely unmotivated to do it. At any rate, this is another short story from the Kamore world. I wrote it ages ago, and recently went through and made a few edits. I'm still not sure how happy I am with it, but whatever. This isn't one I really plan on publishing, ever. Enjoy!

The Rise of Huti

Once, not too long ago, there was a time of deep unrest in our nation.

“We cannot stand for this! The Agnassen must be put down for the survival of our own people!” one man raged. Despite his old, wizened appearance, he was quite animated. His years seemed to melt away from him, though his long, gray hair remained the same. His cloak, which was stitched with a fine gold thread, showed his position as an elder. He looked around at the other elders of the village.

A young boy, sitting along the edges of the tent, worked a piece of yarn worriedly. His short black hair framed his face and put his eyes in shadow from the sun, and his worn, brown cloak indicated that he was a mere commoner in the village. He was only permitted in the elders' tent because he was the student of one of the more prominent elders, Tahi.

“Come now, Odar. War has solved nothing in the past. Why should we throw innocent lives away for such a pointless activity?” A slightly younger man, his hair still showing the brown of youth, remained calm as he sat beside the fire. The young boy straightened as his master spoke. “I think it far better if we wait it out. The winter will come soon, and it will be more difficult for the Agnassen to come over the pass to fight us. They will wear themselves out.”

Odar grew enraged at this suggestion, and responded with new fury. “How can we just sit here and wait? What if they manage to move over the pass before the white blanket settles over the land? How should we protect ourselves then?” His voice was loud and booming. “Or are you simply afraid of what might come to pass?”

Tahi remained calm and slowly rose from his seat on the floor. “I am simply showing respect for the lives of the young men that would be put in danger if we were to follow your plan, Odar. Not to mention the women and children who would be affected by such a loss.”

Odar's face turned purple in his rage. “What makes you so sure we are going to lose men? With a good plan, we can easily defeat the Agnassen, and not lose a life in the process.”

“A life is always lost when we result to war. Even if not one man of ours died, many would come back completely changed by the fighting. Is that something we would so easily wish them to deal with? War is not our only choice at this point, so why turn to it so easily?”

The others in the tent looked from Tahi to Odar, and back again. The two most respected elders had differing opinions as to what should be done about this threat to the people, and so the village would follow whichever had the most support from the other elders. Many of the younger men seemed to side with Odar, while the women and older men among them paid more heed to Tahi. The atmosphere in the tent was charged with tension.

The young boy chewed his lip worriedly. After seeming to deal with his internal struggle, he moved behind Tahi and whispered something in his ear. With a short nod, Tahi dismissed the boy, and the boy moved to the edges of the tent again. Tahi looked around at the elders. “Huti, my student, makes a fair point. Regardless of what we decide, we must ensure that the favor of the gods is on our side. It is pointless to chose a path that would only lead to our own destruction.”

The elders muttered their understanding of the idea, and Tahi continued. “Huti suggests we seek the guidance of Jaya. She would be able to empower us with the strength we need to face whatever situation is best. Her favor would be very important in determining the outcome.”

Odar seemed to glow at this suggestion, his face cracking into a frightening smile. The elders murmured their agreement, and the tension in the tent eased slightly. Perhaps they wouldn't have to choose between them.

An old woman stood and inclined her head towards Odar. “While it is clear that Odar should go, being the highest among the wise men, I believe Huti should accompany him. It was Huti's words that brought about this agreement, and he is to become an elder himself some day.”

Odar's face became tinged with pink once again. “I will not speak to the goddess with such a young boy at my side! It would be a disgrace!”

The old woman looked at him sharply. “Were you not a young boy yourself when you first made that journey up the mountain? Why should Huti be any different than you were? I can think of no one as brave as Huti in this instant, for only he and Tahi have the courage to stand up to raging men as yourself. He is to be one of our leaders some day, and must be prepared as best he can be for such a task. Do you know any better way to initiate him?” Her eyes seemed to glow with a power that her appearance did not indicate she had.

Odar looked as if he were going to retort, but backed down instead, bowing slightly to the old woman. Huti looked around uneasily, but the old woman rubbed his shoulder in reassurance. He felt strangely empowered by the gesture.

The two set off for the goddess' shrine the next morning, at the first sign of light. They left quickly, bringing only what was necessary for their travels. The journey would be a long one, as they would have to climb to the top of the neighboring mountain in order to find the goddess' shrine. It was said that from that vantage point, she could see all that was taking place through the land.

By the time they reached the shrine, night had fallen, and the only light offered was that of a waning moon. Still, the shrine seemed to glow with a soft blue light, and the two travelers set aside their packs to kneel before it.

Huti's ears perked up as he heard a soft rumbling sound, and his head raised slightly to see a sleek mountain lion sitting atop the altar. It looked at him with piercing eyes, and its tail swooshed silently across the altar. Huti didn't dare make a sound, and held eye contact with the lion for some time before Odar looked at him.

“What are you looking at, boy?” His tone was harsh and demanding, but Huti did not dare speak, only continued to look at the mountain lion. The lion stood and jumped off the altar towards them. Odar saw the movement and fell back in fear, making a strangled sound as he hit the ground. Huti stood and bowed slightly to the lion, breathing deeply so as not to let his fear show.

The mountain lion's tail swished again, and in a flash of bright light, transformed into a beautiful woman. She had light yellow hair, unlike any hair in the villagers below, and piercing blue eyes. Her dress was the color of the morning glories in the valley below, white with wisps of light blue around it. Huti stared at her, shocked into silence. Odar fell to his knees and at once began praising the goddess. She held up her hand to his praises, and he stopped immediately.

“Young one, tell me of you journey.” Her voice was angelic, light and singsong. She moved with a grace very much like that of the lion she had previously embodied.

Odar, angry with the attention she was giving Huti, began to answer. “We have journeyed far to see you, wise lady...”

She turned to him, her gaze suddenly cold. “I asked the young one, not you.”

Huti held his breath and glanced at the hateful look of his elder. The goddess turned to him, her eyes friendly and warm. He took a deep breath and began. “Jaya, we come from the Kamore people, the village in the valley. We have traveled all day up the mountain so that we might visit your shrine and ask of your assistance.”

She smiled. “And what assistance might you require?”

“Our elders are divided on how we should deal with the threat of the Agnassen. Some believe we should go to war, and others believe there is a better way, and that war should only be used as a last resort.”

“And what do you think, young one?”

Huti cleared his throat, glancing anxiously at Odar, whose face had once again turned pink with rage. “War cannot be the answer. It has been done in the past, and has not yet succeeded. If the Agnassen do not see the threat of war as dangerous, it cannot be the solution we seek.”

Jaya laughed softly and moved towards Huti. “You are very wise, young one. You can see the balance of power in play here. While it is easy enough to fight war with war, the balance of good and evil will never be equal then. Act in a way which would preserve this balance, and you will see favor in my eyes.”

Huti bowed, thanking the goddess. Odar, furious that his way was not truth, spoke quickly. “The Agnassen must be destroyed at any cost. They are a vile people, and must not influence the world anymore!”

Jaya turned to him quickly, her eyes once again a bone-chilling blue. “You dare speak against me, Odar? It is I from whom you draw your power, and I can easily take it away. It is only through my favor you remain a wise man. If you do not believe in my power, though, I'll transfer my favor to young Huti. He will become, I believe, the youngest wise man in your village.”

Odar looked at her, fear evident in his eyes. “No, Mistress. I did not mean to offend. I was only speaking my thoughts--”

“Thoughts that were neither asked for, nor appreciated. Huti shall take your place in the council.” She waved her hand and Huti's simple cloak became one of great elegance and power. Odar's cloak seemed insignificant in comparison, though it had not changed at all. “Take note of Odar's position, young Huti. He did not put his own people ahead of his greed and hatred, and it has cost him dearly. Do not put yourself in the same position.”

Huti bowed again, and sensing that he had been dismissed, turned and began to journey back down the mountain. The sky was turning pink in the east, and he would soon have good light to travel by. When he made it back to the village, he would be welcomed as the new elder.

And so, the Kamore entered a new era. They made peace with the Agnassen, at least for a time. Huti led his people through the challenges they would face and would keep the favor of Jaya, heeding her warning throughout the rest of his life. Odar never returned to the village. It is said that he died of shame on his journey down the mountain, though some say he still haunts the mountain, waiting for a chance to redeem himself with the goddess Jaya.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Writing For A Cause

I have signed up to be a contributing author on the Fandom For Premies fundraiser.

For those of you who haven't heard of this fundraiser, it is put together by a friend of mine (and some other authors) in an effort to raise money for March of Dimes and other organizations to help premature infants and children.

Basically, you contribute $5 to either March of Dimes or Team Losh, forward your receipt to, and after April 15th, you'll get a compilation of short stories from many authors. Most of the authors will be from the Twilight Fanfiction community, but others are involved as well, including myself.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to write yet, but it will be a piece of original fiction. I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head right now.

Of course, I will eventually post it here, but it will be available exclusively to those who donate until probably July 1st or so.

So, please, consider donating just $5 to this great cause.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Guest Post!

Not here, obviously. Rather, I have a guest post on another blog. One of my best friends, A.K. Morgen is getting her first book, Fade, published this month. I'm super excited for her, as it's been a long and challenging journey for her (though most of the battle was getting her to send out queries in the first place).

Anyway, she's off celebrating her 8th anniversary this weekend, and asked that I, among several others, take over the blog for the weekend.

So, I wrote about the story we wrote together over two years ago, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. We're still on our first draft, but it was definitely one of my favorite projects, and definitely one of my most coherent full stories.

Go check it out!

And to those of you who are here from Ayden's blog, thanks for visiting :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why is it so hard to write?

I've been writing for years. Seriously. I wrote my first story back when I was like 8. It was a horrible story, and I can't fathom why I wrote it, but I did. I even sold a copy of it to our next door neighbor's kid.

But my first real experience with writing for myself was my entry into the world of fanfiction, shortly after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out. See, I had to move that summer, so I was stuck in my mom's apartment while she was at work, with no idea whether or not anyone in the apartment complex was my age. And it was hot, so I liked to stay inside. Which meant I played on the computer. A lot.

I started reading fanfiction as a way to pass the time. And most of the stories that I read were horrible. Thrown together without a second thought, no development, nothing. So, I decided I could do better.

I ended up writing 5 full-length fics, and several one-shots over the next 4 or so years. Then, in my last year in college, my dear friends, A.K. Morgen and Naomi, introduced me to NaNoWriMo. I didn't write a novel that year, merely helped edit one. That never got done. We won't talk about that. The following spring, I had a lot of personal things go on, and the summer after I graduated from college, I ended up writing a memoir, as a therapeutic technique. I started writing short stories to challenge prompts, even submitted a few, hastily thrown together pieces.

That was 4 years ago. Now, I have a few ideas for new novels, but I can't seem to find the motivation to pen them. I have two rough drafts of novels that need to be heavily edited (because they're not consistent). And I have a folder of short stories that I started writing and never finished. I picked one up about 2 weeks ago, after I finished my exams for school. And I rewrote most of what I had down.

And then I got stuck. I realized that the draft I had written didn't have any purpose to it. It was about a girl under a curse, but I couldn't figure out why she was under the curse. I knew how to break it, but what was the motivation for the curse in the first place? How would breaking the curse affect her and those around her?

See, without knowing the reason behind the curse, I can't finish the story. And I honestly have no idea how to figure out the reason. When I got to this point in my novels, it was fairly easy to just start jotting down ideas, or writing out a character sketch of one of the characters. That allows me some insight into what my characters are trying to tell me. But this one... she's a mystery still to me. I mean, I know all about her, but why she got saddled with this curse? No idea. I know at some point, there's a boy involved, but I'm not sure how he plays a role either.

Maybe it will come to me in a dream. In the meantime, I'm stuck with writer's block. Maybe I'll start looking up prompts again. We do have a literary magazine that I'd like to submit something to this year.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Unusual Circumstances

Title: Unusual Circumstances
Word Count: 2227
Genre: Realistic Fiction (Fantasy)

I know, you're looking at that genre and wondering 'what the heck?' But, it's difficult to put this piece into one genre. It's a character sketch I wrote years ago (back in 2008) as a part of a collaboration project (which got about 4 chapters into the story and then went belly-up). The character sketch itself is realistic fiction. There's nothing completely unusual about it, though there are clearly things out of place. But, my character, as it turns out in the course of the novel, has powers. A la Heroes. Hence the fantasy tag.

I don't think I'll use this character again (though her name is one of my favorites, so that may come back). She was written in a weird time in my life, and I don't think I can get into her head again. But, I might use her concept again. She has a rather interesting back-story. As always, let me know what you think.

Unusual Circumstances

The room was darker than usual, though if she tried, she could see the corners. One lone fluorescent light beamed down on her face, causing the detective's face to be in shadow. His mustache seemed larger now, overpowering his other features, and it was certainly what made him distinct from other men. He was also quite large, though most of it was probably not muscle. If he wore glasses and put on a plaid shirt, he would look very much like the stereotypical high school geek, just a little larger. His badge gleamed a little. 'Denver Police Department' it read, and she rolled her eyes a little at him flaunting it now.

The man cleared his throat and her eyes moved back up to his face. She couldn't see him, as he was still out of the light, but she imagined him smirking a little.

“Please state your name for the record.”

She thought about giving him a fake name, or even the name of someone else she knew, but it was pointless; they already knew who she was. That's the only way they'd been able to find her. She took in a deep breath and stared down the man.

“Elizabeth Miriam Stern.”

He jotted down her name on a piece of paper. “And your birthday?”

“June 15, 1986.”

“Ms. Stern, do you know why you are here today?” She thought she heard him laughing at her a little, mocking her for being in this position.

She smiled a bit in response, hoping her expression would indicate she was mocking him in return. “Because you thought it necessary to drag me here after work. Though I am quite grateful you decided to wait until after work to arrest—sorry, detain—me. The hospital administrators wouldn't have taken too kindly to any of their employees being taken by the police while at work.” Of course, the hospital administrators were rarely pleased with what went on in the lab. She was just a lab technician, a rather low level job, and they treated her as such. It didn't matter that she was far more efficient than anyone else in there. One of these days, she will have saved up enough to move on to bigger and better things. Maybe she'd even put her college degree to use and do a little scientific research. Or maybe she'd get another degree that would give her the influence to tell those administrators to shove it.

He leaned forward onto the metal table separating them, his face finally coming into the light. “Come now, Ms. Stern. This is no time for fun. You know just as well as I do why you are here.”

She bit her lip in thought and tapped her fingers on the edge of the table. “No... nothing is coming to me.” She shook her head a little and smiled at the detective. “Though I do know that you can't keep me here without reasonable cause. That's still illegal for U.S. Citizens. Do you have any charges?”

The man's mustache bristled slightly, giving her the impression that they didn't have exactly what they needed for an arrest. “Very well, we'll do things your way. Where were you on the night of April 10th, around seven o'clock?”

“Nothing, hmm? Alright, I'll play. That was a Thursday, was it not? I was doing what I always do on Thursdays: sitting in my living room and watching my weekly allowance of television.”

“Any witnesses?”

She rolled her eyes. “My dog. She might maul you if you try to ask her, though. She doesn't take too kindly to people threatening me.”

He smirked again and rubbed his mustache thoughtfully. “Tell me, Ms. Stern, are you seeing anyone?”

The picture was almost too comical for her. If she were in any other situation, she probably would have laughed. “Are you asking me out, detective?” She smiled mockingly at him, meeting his eyes in defiance. He stared her down until she relented. “No, detective. My 'significant other' and I broke up a few months ago. Last I heard, he was on his way out east to New York or Washington, or some other big city out there. I haven't thought it necessary to look for someone else as of yet.”

“Messy break-up?”

“I fail to see how that is any of your business, but no. We parted on fairly good terms, though it was still difficult. The ending of any long relationship is difficult.” She turned her head away, closing her eyes to fight against the wave of sadness that crashed over her. The wounds were still too fresh to discuss with anyone, let alone someone who didn't know her. The break had been fairly clean, but the decision to break things off had been very difficult for her. Still was, if she was honest with herself.

He heaved a sigh and looked down at his paper. “We have a witness who says you were downtown at Cowboy's, arguing with a man on this night.”

“Your witness must be mistaken.”

“And if she's not?”

She smirked. “I already told you where I was. If you have any other proof that I was there, I'd love to hear it.”

He shifted in his chair and moved on to another line of questions. “Are there any people familiar with your habits? Friends, family, neighbors, anyone you're rather friendly with?” He stared her down, clearly hoping she would break and confess whatever it was he suspected she did.

She shrugged and folded her arms over her chest. “My neighbor, Samantha, takes care of my plants when I go out of town. I talk with her with some regularity, though I wouldn't exactly consider her a friend. All my family live out of town, and I only talk to my sister on a regular basis, every Sunday night. She's like a best friend to me, and would probably know me better than anyone. My coworkers, James and Heather, are familiar with my work schedule, should you want to interrogate them as well. I go swing dancing with a small group of friends every so often...”

“And who might those friends be?”

She glanced at him, clearly annoyed with the interruption. “Josh, Michael and Destiny. Destiny and I do things other than swing dancing as well on occasion. She's about as close to a best friend I have beyond my sister.” Of course, everyone else thought she was a tad bit too serious for her age, and opted to go out and party rather than take life seriously. “Other than my weekly television shows, and my work, I really don't have any habits for anyone to really know. I go to bed at different times every night, and do different things before I go to bed, depending on how I feel...”

He looked back down at his paper and jotted down a few more notes. She looked around the empty room while she waited for him to break the silence. There was a mirror on the other wall and she looked at herself carefully. Her long brown hair had fallen out of its bun, and wisps of it were now framing her rosy cheeks. She readjusted her glasses, knowing that she would have to go and get contacts one of these days. The threat of all those infections made her a little leery about them, though. Still, her ex, Joey, had said that she looked better without the glasses, letting her deep brown eyes actually be seen. Her face was still as youthful as ever; that's why she opted to work in the lab for a while, so that people wouldn't get so anxious about someone so young treating them, even if she wasn't really that young.

The detective cleared his throat and she went back to focusing on his face. “Do you associate with anyone named Ryan Smith?”

She thought for a moment. “The name sounds vaguely familiar, but he certainly isn't in my inner circle. He's probably come in for some blood tests or something. Are you ever going to get around to telling me exactly what you suspect I did?” She glared at him across the table, wishing she could use him as a practice dummy for her workout. He looked pudgy enough to give a little when she punched him, so it wouldn't leave her any worse for wear, and his annoying train of questions was certainly firing up her temper.

In response, he pushed a picture across the table. It was of a man, severely bloodied, dressed in torn and dirtied clothes. She looked at the picture with a mix of intrigue and disgust. She looked back up at the detective. “While I have no doubt I could inflict such injuries if I tried, I didn't do this. Now, unless you have any actual evidence linking me to this crime, such as the knife that caused all these wounds, I suggest you let me go.”

His head tilted in question, his eyebrows bunching together slightly. “How did you know it was a knife?”

She smiled and raised her eyebrows a little. “It's rather obvious, isn't it? The wounds are deep, and were clearly caused by at least a somewhat sharp instrument. It looks like fists—rather strong fists—could cause the bruises and potentially broken bones, but something sharp had to make the cuts. My guess is a knife, though without actually seeing the body, I couldn't tell you what shape of knife.” At his confused look, she continued. “I have a degree in biology. I know the parts of the body quite well, and took a handful of forensics classes when I was considering going into that field. I eventually decided that I would rather deal with live people than dead ones. Even if the dead ones don't talk back.”

He looked decidedly uncomfortable and looked back at his paper. “Just a few more questions, please.” He slid another photograph towards her. A close-up of a part of the body, the neck. It had a necklace around it, one with a column of progressively larger gemstones, alternating blue and white in color. “Do you recognize this?”

Of course she recognized it. It had been the necklace her sister had given her for her last birthday. It had been one of the only pieces of jewelry she would wear, along with the ring on her thumb her mother had given her before her parents disowned her. The necklace represented the strength of the relationship she still had with her sister, despite their parents' disapproval. The chain was different, of course, but the chain was most certainly hers.

She thought quickly and nodded slowly. “Yes, that's the necklace I got from my sister. It went missing about a month ago. I figured it had fallen off at work, and was devastated when I couldn't find it.” She hoped that was enough to convince the detective she was not the suspect he wanted. She wondered who would want to frame her for such a crime, and why her. She smiled at the detective, not betraying her thoughts. “Anything else, detective?”

He watched her face carefully and shook his head. “I'll be in touch. I highly advise you don't leave town until we get this all cleared up.”

She pursed her lips and stood, waiting for him to lead her out of the room. When she was finally in the bright light outside, she let out a long breath. She didn't particularly feel like riding the bus home, so she started walking, thinking the whole time. All she really wanted out of life was to help. She had long figured that the best way to do this would be through medicine, due to her fascination with science. One day, she hoped she might become a physician, but that wasn't part of her immediate plan. She didn't want to give up her entirely life quite so soon.

She knew she would have an easy time accomplishing her goals; she had graduated at the top of her class in college, and had a number of offers to work in biotechnology upon graduation. She had spent her last semester in London, and didn't want to be tied down to any one position for the rest of her life, so she turned them all down. Her parents weren't happy with her decision, but she took their disappointment in stride and did some introspection.

Of course, this all led her to reject much of what her parents clung to in belief, so they disowned her. Her sister had supported her all the way, and she guessed this was because her sister felt much the same way, but was too afraid to disappoint the parents. She did regret hurting her parents, but she didn't regret the year she spent traveling and holding temporary jobs after college. It was the best thing she could have done.

When she finally reached her apartment, she opened the door, only to be tackled by her rather crazy Golden Retriever, Lily. She took in a deep breath and smiled. It was good to be home.