Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On a roll!

As I mentioned before, I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. Not going for the ultimate prize at 50K words, just trying to replace the words I lost when I cut the last several chapters of Hidden Souls in the editing process in May. So, I have a measly goal of 15K words.

So far, I'm almost up to 4K. Keeping mostly on track, falling behind every now and then, but not too bad. Word sprints are about the only thing keeping me up with my word counts, so I guess I can thank Twitter for something :)

Anyway, since I've written some more, I figured it's only fair to give you another teaser.


Brushing off her hands and knees, she moved to the door and wiggled the handle. Unsurprisingly, it was locked. Shaking her head, she pulled the screwdriver out of her sock gingerly pressed her ear to the door, and only heard the soft breathing and grunting of the guard who had been sitting there before. Her hand shaking, she slowly worked the screwdriver into the small hole on the lever knob, pulling the knob casing off the door. Smiling, she worked the screwdriver into the gap between the door and the trim of the handle, sliding it off and revealing the screws underneath.


My, my, what is 'she' up to? I admit, Sophia surprised me with this skill. I'm gonna have to go back and investigate just how she figured out how to remove a door handle where there are no visible screws. I also might end up trashing this scene, at least in part, because I'm not sure how it would make logistical sense--if she's really locked in the room, 1) is she going to be able to remove the door handle, especially with a guard just on the other side of the door, and 2) would that really help her?

Food for thought.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pop Culture References

I was browsing the NaNo forums in preparation of starting to write tomorrow, and ran across a thread talking about which pop culture references you are and are not allowed to use in your novel (song lyrics are a no-no, just about everything else is fair game as long as you don't go into libel territory). One person commented about how (s)he does not use pop culture references in writing, because if the novel survives for 50 years, the novel might seem dated with those references.

So I thought about it. And my conclusion is that you can't avoid dating your novel. The Tomb, by F Paul Wilson, was written in 1984. It's sequel, Legacies, was published in 1998. There were so many references to technology that was commonplace in 1984 but wasn't around in 1998 (payphones, walkmans, etc), and visa versa, that Wilson opted to rerelease The Tomb after making heavy setting edits. These things weren't the focus of the book by any means--just helped get the reader into the setting, but dated the book.

Classics do it too. They are set in a specific time period, which is clear by the setting. It's part of the novel. Would Romeo and Juliet, complete with the language that they use to speak, make sense translated to modern times? Of course not. But the story remains true. Which is why it has been adapted and modernized, why West Side Story exists. Tangled tells the classic story of Rapunzel, a story that was written in the 16th century (and probably originated long before that). But it was modernized and made more acceptable for modern audiences, even if the setting (a kingdom without technology) wasn't changed much. At the time it was written down, it was something that might've actually happened down the block.

So to say that you aren't going to incorporate your culture of the time into your novel, which is set in modern day American (or wherever) is silly. The choices your characters make, the very people they are, depend on their surroundings. You cannot be a teenager or young adult in today's society and not be touched by computers, or celebrities, or what have you. You cannot ignore the tension between the religious right and the liberal left, or the constant debates over gay marriage and abortion that seem to plague the media. They don't have to be the foundation of your character's actions, but his or her upbringing will affect how they look at those of different race, gender, and sexuality. Or how he or she might react if the nation was attacked by Japan. Or how he or she talks and communicates with others (texting vs phones vs computers, etc).

If you write a good story, there's no reason not to believe that in 50 years, it still won't touch people's hearts. So avoiding references to the year that your novel is written is silly. Instead, focus on making sure that your story can touch people who may not understand the culture you describe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Book and a Giveaway!

No, no, not mine. I'm here today to promote The Rose Master, by Valentine Cano. I know, I'm slacking with my own writing. This is what happens when you move and start a job and have to live without internet for a week, but can't seem to find the time to sit down and write during that time. I'm working on it, promise.

But back to The Rose Master! This fabulous book hits stores today, so while you're waiting for something from me, go and check it out! And scroll down to enter for a chance to win lots of prizes!

The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that's hardly the most upsetting news. She's being dismissed from the home she's served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she's never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:

There's something wrong with Rosewood Manor.

Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.

As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them--some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.

When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn't prepared for. The creature is very real, and she's the only one who can help him stop it.

Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she's grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.

REUTS - Goodreads

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.
Website Twitter Facebook - Goodreads

And don't forget to check out her blog to see where she's hopping around on the blog tour, starting today!

Now, enter for a chance to win some awesome prizes!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cruising Along

Well, I think I got the climax of Hidden Souls re-written. I think. This is my third or fourth time working on it, so we'll see if it stands the test of time. Now I just have to link up to where I edited the rough draft with the climax and I'll be all set. My manuscript, including the bad ending, was sitting at 52K words, which makes me think that I should probably add in a subplot or two. But we'll see how it looks when I've tidied up the ending and added in some descriptions in other places.

Still debating whether or not to pursue publication, so I guess that would make a difference one way or the other.

I also found a place for Zach. I definitely think he'll be making a reappearance in Reclaimed Souls, but I tweaked him a bit and added him back in to Hidden Souls. So I can still have fun with him!

I got my schedule for the next year (July-June), and it turns out I have an easy July, and a moderately easy August, so maybe I'll join in Camp NaNo this year. At least for the word sprints and motivation to help me get parts of this book written. Or maybe to write Reclaimed Souls (possibly from scratch. We'll see).

As a thanks for sticking with me, I give you a very short teaser from the ending to Hidden Souls.


Sophia took a few slow, deep breaths and slowly pushed herself into a seated position. The ropes no longer bound her to the ground and she shakily rose to her feet, struggling to see anything in the room around her. "Hello?" She called out, tentatively moving her foot forward.


Sadly, any more than that and I'd give away some major plot points. Maybe next week, I'll give you another outtake. Or some background. Or something. I should probably get back to writing before I promise anything else :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sophia's Dating Profile

NaNo posted a great writing prompt to their Facebook page this morning, so I thought I'd take advantage of it.

The prompt: Give us a bit of your favorite character's online dating profile.

Username: AreGhostsReal

A/S/L: 19/F/Somewhere between the living and the dead

Self-Summary: Just a girl trying to figure things out. If you have already managed that, please, clue me in.

What I'm doing with my life: Attending college, solving crimes, trying to figure out what happens after death. You know, the usual.

I'm really good at: Procrastinating. But also very good at getting things done on a deadline. It's a gift.

First things people usually notice about me: I seem to talk to myself a lot. Except I'm not really talking to myself. I'm talking to this guy who keeps haunting me. You try getting rid of a ghost who doesn't know how to move on.

Favorites: I'm a sucker for Shakespeare. Also accents. A British or French accent will really make me swoon. Combine the two and I'm in heaven. David Tennant in Hamlet? Oh yeah.

Six Things I Could Never Do Without: Sleep. Food. Quiet time in the library. Honesty. Sarcasm. Chats with Nana.

I spend a lot of time thinking about: Death and crossing over. What makes some people move on and others not?

On a typical Friday night, I am: Exploring old warehouses.

Most private thing I'm willing to admit: I'm pretty sure I once caused a car accident.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just a Story

Today's prompt came from Twitter: "But it's only a story."

"The dragon roared and reared its ugly head. The prince jumped from the stone wall, stumbling on the rocky ground, just as the dragon's tail whipped against the tower behind him." Susan pointed out the crumbling tower on the page.

"Is the prince going to live, mommy?" Michael asked, looking up from the picture book.

"I don't know. What do you think?" Susan asked, holding the pages firmly between her fingers.

"The prince always wins. He's going to kill the stupid dragon and save the princess," Michael responded, nodding firmly.

Susan smiled and turned the page. "The prince's horse whinnied as he ran towards it, shying away as the dragon approached. Without pausing, the prince leapt onto his horse and galloped off, putting some distance between them and the dragon."

"Ugh, you're reading this story... again?" Melody asked from the door.

Susan looked up from the book. "It is your brother's favorite."

Melody pursed her lips. "But it's only a story. He knows it by heart now, and yet he keeps asking those same questions every time you read it."

Susan smiled and ruffled Michael's hair. "The story isn't about the beginning or ending. It's about the journey you take. And Michael has the imagination to fill in the blanks, to feel what the prince is feeling as he faces the dragon. Or to feel how angry the dragon is that the prince disturbed his sleep."

Michael nodded sagely as he pulled the book from Susan's grasp and began to turn the pages.

Melody rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, Mom." She waved her hand and walked away, her nose pointed toward the ceiling.

Susan glanced at Michael and smiled. "She'll understand one day," she muttered as she brushed her finger over the page. The dragon's scales shimmered for a moment, and the page shook, as if the dragon was rumbling in appreciation of the touch.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Six Sentence Sunday

Ah, this is the first time I've participated in Six-Sentence Sunday in a long time. This week's contribution is the start of the climax scene in Hidden Souls I started to rewrite this past week. I have no idea how they're going to stand up to my next round of editing, but they're a nice start for this epic rewrite that I have to do. Enjoy!


A high pitched squeal filled the air, echoing off the walls and growing intensity with each passing second. Sophia dropped to her knees, pressing her hands against her ears to stop the sound from ricocheting inside her skull. Through watery eyes, she saw the guards and Grace do the same. She squeezed her eyes shut and pressed her head against her thighs, desperate for any distance from the sound. Just when she thought her head might explode from the intensity of the sound, it stopped, leaving a silence that was both relieving and frightening.

Sophia took a deep breath and slowly raised her head.


Sadly, it seems the official Six Sentence Sunday has stopped, so I have no links to provide for you. But in the meantime, check me out on Twitter: @CLFiction

On another note, I graduate today. A degree several years in the making! Come June, I'll be back into the real world with a real job, except, unlike the last time I had a real job, I'll actually be living in my own apartment and paying all my own bills. Completely living on my own. It'll be interesting. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rewriting + Deleted Scene!

Rewriting is really hard. After much deliberation and torture on my part, I've decided to rewrite the last 50 pages of Hidden Souls. Part of this is because I took the plot in a different direction while writing flashbacks in Reclaimed Souls last November, and part of it comes from the fact that I never really liked the ending anyway.

And with rewriting comes writer's block. So that's where I'm stuck now. I also just need to get back in the groove of writing. Unfortunately, that's a little challenging when you have 5 projects in progress. Editing is not the fun part of this process, but it is the most vital.

But, I did find very interesting scene I wrote with a character named Zach. I completely forgot about Zach until I was flipping through the last bits of the print-out, trying to figure out where I took the ending initially. Clearly, he wasn't that important of a character if I don't remember him at all. Maybe I'll recycle him in book 2. For now, though, you get a deleted scene while I continue to work out how the heck I'm going to make the leap from what I have to what I want out of the ending. Wish me luck!


“There's got to be something here...” Sophia muttered, flipping through the pages of a rather large book.

“I didn't think anyone knew how to look things up in books now.”

Sophia jumped and glanced up at the intruder. He was tall, with blonde hair and a tan giving a slight glow to his skin. He was wearing a simple t-shirt with some intricate design and a pair of dark jeans. “I've found books to be slightly more reliable than the internet,” she responded.

He slid into the chair across the table from her. “But the internet contains much more up-to-date information.”

She shook her head. “Some books may be outdated, but that doesn't mean that the vast majority of the information on the internet is current.”

He reached over and lifted her book slowly so that he could see the cover. “History of Millsville. Reading up on our fine city's history, then?”

She shrugged and ran her finger down the page again. “I saw something downtown that peaked my interest, so I thought I'd do a little extra reading.”

He laughed softly. “A girl like you really shouldn't stay cooped up in the library like this.”

Sophia raised her eyebrow and set her pen down. “And what kind of girl am I?” she asked, the corner of her mouth going upwards slightly. She saw a glimmer out of the corner of her eye and turned to see Michael walking over.

The man didn't notice and shrugged at her question, leaning back in the chair and stretching his legs out under the table. “Pretty. Witty. Spunky.”

“Real original one, he is,” Michael deadpanned, staring at the intruder.

Sophia laughed softly. “Spunky, huh? Don't think anyone's called me that in years. I'm Sophia,” she said, extending her hand.

The man grinned and leaned forward, kissing her hand gently. “Enchante, madamoiselle. I'm Zach.”

“Seriously? He's laying it on a bit thick, don't you think?” Michael said, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the table.

“Nice to meet you, Zach,” Sophia said, blushing slightly and pulling her hand back.

“Is there anything I can help you find?” he asked, leaning over the table.

“Actually, I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, so I don't know how you can help,” she said apologetically.

“Yeah, you heard her... back off bud.” Michael leaned forward on the table toward Zach. Sophia turned slightly and raised her eyebrow at him, causing Zach to frown and look around in confusion.

“Something wrong?” he asked.

She turned back to him and smiled. “No, no... I just thought I saw someone in the corner. Trick of the light, I suppose.”


I didn't say it was a good deleted scene, mind you. Plus, you get it in its unedited form. Those always suck more. *nods*

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

I'm working on the editing! Up to page 114 of 164 (of the original manuscript. I'm up to page 125 of 175 in the edited version). Unfortunately, I now hit a point where I'm going to be doing major rewrites, so not entirely looking forward to that. But it's still possible for me to be done by graduation. Especially if I have some productive days.

Here's today's teaser:


She took a deep breath and looked him straight in the eye. “What would you have me do, Michael? Sit around and watch as they make Grace sicker and sicker? As she gets more and more angry at me for not helping her? I can't just sit and do nothing.”

“That's exactly what you have to do. You can't get involved in this, it's far too dangerous for a girl like you,” Michael said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

“What's that supposed to mean? I was given these abilities for some reason, Michael. It would be wasteful not to do something with them,” she said as she tried to step around him again.

He moved and blocked her again. “So call the police with your suspicions. Let them handle it on their own. That's what they're trained to do.”

She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. “I know that, but I'm in a unique place to help. I can't let that go to waste either.” Gathering her courage, she stepped around him once again.


Short, I know! But I don't want to give away too much of what's going on! Once I get the first draft revised, I'll post some of the chopped scenes. Something to look forward to!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I'm Alive!

So clearly, I didn't finish NaNo. Things just got absolutely crazy at the end of the month with interviews and trying to get time on an actual computer to write, and I just lost my motivation. First time I've participated and haven't won. Sadness.

And then I disappeared for like 5 months. Sorry about that. I have a couple things in the works right now (one medical narrative submitted to a student publication, one in the works for our school's literary magazine, and potentially an actually entry into On the Premises), and am determined to get Hidden Souls second draft done by graduation. Determined. I've been putting it off for like 3 years now. Seriously, I need to get it done. And then we'll see about the publication route. I haven't entirely decided what I'm going to do yet.

News, though!

Amtrack is having a writing residency program, where people basically write while taking a really long train ride. I've been encouraged to apply, and it sounds kinda cool and generally fun. But, in order to do that, I had to break down and get a Twitter account. So, you can now find me @CLFiction. Hopefully that'll be updated more frequently than this blog. I'm working on it, I swear!