Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Giveaway Each Month

This month's giveaway:

Water for Elephants
By Sara Gruen

Why I liked this book:
It has the element of romance, and a man going slowly insane towards the end of his life.  He is still defiant, much like he lived his life, and is kind of an awesome old man.  Between the flash backs of his past and his current situation, Sara Gruen paints a beautiful character for you to fall in love with. 

Who would like this book:
Anyone that likes contemporary fiction or likes romance.  There are enough elements of both to keep readers entertained.  This book is also in very good condition, I wouldn't say it is perfect enough for a gift - but if you knew someone that has been wanted to read this, it might make a good "random" present.

The Giveaway Contest Details:
  • Must be in the United States OR pay for shipping outside the U.S.  (Shipping is free for U.S. winners)
  • There is only ONE copy of this book, the winner will be picked via random.org
  • Follow the rafflecopter instructions below!  The giveaway starts at midnight eastern time tonight and ends February 1st.  This will be the first installment in a year of giveaways!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 26, 2011


My new work in progress, inspired by Sarah Rios (or really, just one of the many people that has been encouraging me to write this piece).  I'm up to 7,000 words, and hope to finish an additional 25k before I go back to work (next Tuesday).

A brief tidbit:  Jeremy told his parents that he was a werewolf.  They thought he was insane and dropped him off in Rioss Hospital.  It is in the hospital that the story unfolds.  Here's an excerpt:

         But the scream was so guttural. It had seemed urgent, like life or death. Usually, when people screamed in here, it was madness. It would be shrill and would last for minutes, and it would happen again and again. This was once, and then it was silenced. The doctors wouldn’t have been able to get to her that fast.
I don’t know why I was so worried. Screams happened all the time at Rioss, but all the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Something told me not to go to bed, and I stayed up, eyes trained on the window. If I saw a shadow, heard any footsteps, I would lunge. Five minutes passed without any more noises, just the usual shuffling of feet to the sides of me. Some deep moans from people that were forced into sleep by enough drugs that would induce a coma on any normal person. The window remained empty, but it was my only way to see out of my dingy room.
If anyone was coming for me, I would be ready. Ten minutes passed. Then fifteen. Then the shadows on the walls changed. Someone moved outside, but too fast. Someone was - another scream. Blood curdling like the one before, but on this floor. Again, it died as quickly as it had started. I heard the same voice, still muddled. Relax, it said. I crouched close to the wall, my heart pounding in my chest. Five more minutes, then ten. The shadows changed patterns again. A distant latch on a door clicked into place. Silence.
After a few more minutes, the only thing I could hear was the pounding of my blood rushing through my head.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2012 TBR Pile Challenge

I probably have entirely too much stuff going on in my life - but what is one more?  On top of trying to find an agent, polishing my NaNo novel, writing 40k a month for four months (this month makes number two, I am at a low 11k, but it's getting there... somehow), finding a new job, finishing my third novel, prepping my NaNo for queries, and self-publishing a set of short stories that is in the form of a memoir, why not add a reading challenge?

For the year, I want to read 50 books.  And I don't post reviews, I've said that before.  Therefore I will miss out on some entries to the prizes - but I will still recommend anything that I read and enjoy, as usual.

The TBR (To Be Read) challenge is simple:  Look at your shelves.  Remember that book that you bought one year ago that you wanted to read?  Remember that book you bought five years ago?  Well, now is the time to read them.  Dust them off and finally sit down with your To Be Read pile and finish them!

I don't know how many books I have littering my shelves that are in my To Be Read pile.  I know practically all of the Redwall series hangs there - though I've read Mossflower twice.  I know House of Leaves keeps on getting half read and I can't finish it because I get scared.  Hot Zone is the same reaction.  I have Breakfast of Champions and The Yearling.  There's probably quite a few others that I am not remembering right now.

My problem is, I have recently been given the opportunity to write for Examiner.com again as a YA Fiction examiner.  Most of what I have on my To Be Read shelf is not YA.  So, I'll have to do this challenge and still balance it with the rest of my reading... and writing and life...

Though, I must admit, I am very happy to have a lot of goals.  My goal for my To Be Read shelf is to read fifteen books that are on my shelf.  When I post my monthly recommendations, I'll note whether it was a "To Be Read" book or not.  I might finish more books than I recommend, but that is always the case.  At some point, I'll make a way to track my progress (maybe another sidebar element?)

If anyone joins the To Be Read Pile Challenge - let me know!  I'd be happy to have some followers along for the ride.  There are some fabulous prizes along the way too :)

The fabulous hosts:
Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Own Regrets

Is it too late to take it back?
Dripping blood from mangled flesh
Hanging upside down
Deep, solid puddles of the blackest red
Is it too late to take it back?
Your wrists in mine, broken with a twist
Crackled screams as your ribs caved in
The blackened bruises already showing
Is it too late to take it back?
Flesh singed with a flick of a flame
Putrid smells of rotting ash
Drifting pieces, melting off, disintegrating
It’s too late to take it back.

Your body’s cold, numb to my touch
It shows the years of my own regret
Hanging upside down, tied up and beaten
Throat split, hanging open in useless flaps
The flames lick upwards, breaking everything
The horror and nightmare of every sound
Tormented screams echo inside me
I grind my fingertips into my own flesh
It’s too late, much too late
But I’m still sorry just the same.


Sometimes it feels like I'm flailing, falling, looking for a place to grab hold.  The endless air drifting above and below me.  It's not a free fall, no, much slower.  Much less fun.
Though every once and awhile, the words form around me and start to make sense.  Even if the poetry doesn't come out right, it makes my brain settle.  The ground comes back underneath my feet and I begin to climb again.  No one is hurt, no one suffered.  The feeling that pulsated through my brain is now on paper, some of the darkest or lightest words I may have ever written sprawled before me.  Is it worth it to display myself so publicly?  Will they get what I'm originally speaking of?  Or will some English teacher twenty years from now stumble across my work and teach it as a metaphor of something that is so far off base, so far removed from the original point?

Artwork stuns me, sometimes.  Baffles me and makes me feel so small and huge at the same time.  The overwhelming feeling is also underwhelming - the world is at my fingertips, but I'm floating hundreds of miles away.  May the window to my soul make someone else reflect on their own, may the opening of my words make someone's pulse resonate with mine.

This is me.  This is not me.

It's all very existential.  And that's my mood:  Existential.

Winter Wishlist: Week Three

I can't believe week three is already here!  The holidays are just around the corner for me - and I soon get to leave work and be free!  Free [for a week]!

With that being said, let me introduce you to Winter Wishlist Week Three!  This is the week where we talk about bookish and literary programs that occur either locally - or I suppose wherever.  I looked into trying to find programs in Los Angeles, but I'm honestly at a loss.

But I remembered the two fabulous places that I personally volunteered at when I was still living in Boston.  They were both a TON of fun.  One is specifically books, the other is books, toys, clothes, and a bit more general.  They have awesome staff and are generally great nonprofits to support. 

Remember to check out everyone else's blogs as well - this has been a super fun blog hop!  You can click on the snowman photo to see the blog hop's full list of participants :)

Prison Book Program is located in Quincy, MA.  And it is exactly what it sounds like.  They send paperbacks on all subjects to inmates, in attempts to get them educated, entertained, etc. while they spend time in prison.  The inmates write letters to the program, specifically requesting books.  Some of them have even been able to get their GED and learn a lot of stuff through their stay.  The idea is that they enter back into society reeducated and more prepared for the world around them.  There has been a lot of thank you notes, letters, from inmates saying how this program changed their life.  It was really touching to be working there during the holiday season.  If I find another program like this out in Los Angeles, I really hope I can spend a weekend or two volunteering there.  You can learn more about them at: http://www.prisonbookprogram.org

Cradles to Crayons has offices in Boston and Philadelphia.  It was really fun working there for a night - we did a lock in program.  Me and some of my friends from Emerson were in the books section, sorting through all these different kinds of fiction and non-fiction for kids of all ages.  They also have toys, clothes, etc.  It's a huge warehouse with just piles of stuff.  They manage on helping low income and homeless kids every single year, not only with toys, but with books.  I think it's a great place, awesome staff, and a whole mess of rewarding fun. You can learn more about them at: http://cradlestocrayons.org/

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blog Hop

There's another awesome blog hop going on (and though I cannot get the widget to work, I can still link to it).  Take some time to cruise the other blogs over at: DL Hammon's Blog There are some really good entries out there that went overlooked the first time around.

The deal is you re-post one of your previous blog entries.  This is mine from when I first started blogging, and didn't have many followers.  It is from Derrick's perspective (one of the really good friends of my MC in Good Criminal Heart - work in progress) and I think it captures him almost perfectly.  I love Derrick as a character, more than my MC, to be honest, and that's why I loved this post.  This is not supposed to be a finished piece, this will never be published (except on here).  This is Anthony's story, not Derrick's - but Derrick plays a huge role.  It was a fun exercise, and I still invite feedback if you care to give any.

Here's the original (with some editing to spiff it up a bit!):

Kelli slid towards us after the show was over.  I tried to turn my back on her, but something about her made it impossible.  It might be the fact that she follows your eyes wherever you turn.  She wouldn’t let me forget about her.  So eventually I gave in.  There was nothing about her I particularly liked – but it wasn’t like I hated her either.  The ratty nest of bleached blonde hair with black underneath, the dark make up coating her eyes, the pink lip gloss that she used, the over-sized t-shirt that she wore dangling off of one shoulder, it all made her a complete scene girl, and for whatever reason, she had decided to fall for me.  I never could tell her that I wasn’t that into it, into her, but I figured, what else did I really have going for me at the time?  She wasn’t a bad girl, she just wasn’t particularly nice either.

“So where are we going?”  She smacked her gum chewing lips together and tossed her hair behind her shoulder, it fell in a clump.  I looked to the guys – they were already doing their thing.  Anthony was talking with Tyler and Jess about god knows what, and Eric was already off with his girl, what the hell was her name again?  It was one of Kelli’s friends – I didn’t know.  I always thought it was weird that someone would be into him.  Eric was scruffy, he had long hair, was kind of dirty, and was really lazy.  Sure, he came up with great lyrics for our band and was somewhat of a musical genius, but if we weren’t going to become famous, he really had no future to speak of.  Kelli’s friend was what you would call gorgeous, short, petite, a pixie brown haircut and eyes to make you melt.  I never understood it.

“No idea,” I shrugged the band’s gear onto my shoulders.  “Tyler, is your car open?”  He was still talking to Anthony – who looked bored, but he always looked bored.  The crossed arms, jaded look in his eyes, shuffling his feet every minute or so, yup, bored.  Maybe Anthony was always bored.

"Tyler, your car man?”  He tossed me the keys without even looking.  Kelli swooped down and plucked them off the floor.

“Perfect,” she got a smirk on her face.  I almost sighed, but followed her swaying body out back towards the car.  I put in two of the cases, shut the trunk, and turned around before Kelli crashed into me.  Her lips collided with mine.  I wondered if other guys ever felt this way – completely and utterly molested when a girl kissed them.  Did they just “go with it to” or were they actually into it?  And it wasn’t that I wasn’t into Kelli – okay, it really was that I wasn’t into her, but what was I supposed to do?  So I kissed her back and felt miserable about it.  I continued to keep up a charade with her, and for what?  She was just using me, probably not the same way that I was her, but it was still similar.  She had no interest in the type of person I was, she probably couldn’t even tell what color my eyes were if I shut them.  She was just, dare I say it?  A groupie.

That’s when we heard the screaming and saw Anthony and Tyler run into the alleyway.  “Should we go help them?”

“Naw, let them take care of it – Tyler’s strong, I mean, you’ve seen the guy right?”  Kelli rested her head on my chest.  On instinct, I put my arm around the small of her back.  “He’s so handsome, I mean have you ever seen his muscles? Ugh.”  I made a face as Jess came up from behind Kelli.

“Excuse me, bitch?”  Jess's lips pursed, her hands on her hips.  Jess was overprotective of Tyler, for good reason.  Tyler never realized how many girls threw themselves at him on a daily basis, but Jess did.

I inched myself away from them as their voices raised, cussing and screaming at each other.  I stared up at the sky, I could just barely see the outlines of the clouds in the dark, midnight blue.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter Wishlist: Week 2

Week Two of the Winter Wishlist Blog Hop!

This week is about posting what I would love to give during the holiday season.  So this is kind of like my monthly recommendations, in a way.  This is going to include books and bookish things :)  There are so many awesome recommendations out there - so please check out the other blogs that are participating in this hop!!  Here we go!

The Books

The Child Thief - YOU MUST READ THIS.  I can't believe I forgot about it until now.  Brom's version of Peter Pan is not only fantastically mischievous and a little evil, but our main character is a problem child of his own.  This version of Peter Pan is more twisted than what you get from Disney, and it's so well written.  Beautiful words, characters, and voices.  Really, I cannot say enough about how much I love this book.  Seriously, put it on your wish list - now.  (Maybe I should do a giveaway of this book at some point - ooohh boy).  [As Read Now, Sleep Later points out:  This is a very dark book - you probably shouldn't read this if you are squeamish or don't like dark books]

What Dreams May Come - Yes, I know it was a sappy cheesefest of a movie (but honestly, I love Robin Williams), but the book is something else.  While the movie only scratches the surface, the book dives into philosophical topics of what afterlife is like.  Matheson did his homework - he took a little bit from every kind of religion out there, and interviews from people who were clinically dead before coming back.  And he mushed it all together.  I love this book.  It's a good story, regardless of what you believe religiously or otherwise.

The Vanishing - Here I am being a creeper again.  This book is about a man who finds his wife's kidnapper.  She disappeared without a trace.  And the ending... *shudders*  For a good, short, creepfest, you should read it.  Great character development, great plot, overall... love.

Bookish Things
These might be more writer things, and I might be doing a bit of a shameless plug in promoting them (I designed them) but I still think they are great gifts.  (I bought some for myself for Christmas, and we might buy them for someone else we know for a birthday - shh!)
Regardless, you can get both designs from:  http://adorningschemes.spreadshirt.com/

If you don't know what "I'm on a horse!" is from, you can look at the comic strip for NaNoWriMo:
Anyway, I think that's it for now - if I think of any other recommendations, I will post them later this week :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

What an incredible giveaway!

Okay, I don't normally blog about giveaways on other blogs - but this is epic.  I mean epic!  Not only are there like 20 different books and crafts (okay, I got too excited and didn't count how many there actually are, but trust me, it's a lot) - BUT there is always a giveaway of agent critiques.

That is such a priceless thing in the publishing world!  I'm so entered to this contest - and I think it is incredible! 
So hop on over to the YA Highway's Giveaway!

Note:  Giveaway closes Monday the 19th at midnight PST.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Can We Guess Your Character's Age Contest Entry

Brenda Drake is holding another awesome blogfest contest.  With your comment below, remember to try to guess my character's age as well!

I'm still unsure of this as a beginning -- the first chapter always seems to be the hardest for me.  Though I think it is "getting there."  Any comments/helpful insights would be very welcomed :)  I always love constructive feedback!
           My father dropped the last bag with a huff and looked over the long winding sidewalk up to the main set of brownstones xxxxxxxxx.  "Are you sure you don't want us to come in with you?"
            I shook my head.
            My mother arched her eyebrow.  She looked at the measly two bags that I had packed.  "We could come back with more of your stuff, you know.  It's not a far drive."
            I shook my head.  I didn't want anything else.  Everything that had been left at home was there for a reason.  The old jacket from Ched, the worn out skirt that was too small that had been to one too many parties... everything was a reminder of who I used to be.  This was a fresh start, or it was supposed to be.  Though, I didn't know how much of a fresh start I could get here.
            My mother wrapped her arms around me and held me in a hug for a little too long.  I was used to this, after everything I had put them through.  I patted her on the shoulder, attempting to let my thoughts cross into her head.  It would be fine, I wanted to convince her.
            My father hugged me for just a moment before he pulled away and took a hesitant step toward the car.  "We should at least bring your bags up, kiddo.  What if they start asking too many questions?"
            I held up the pad of paper and tried to smile convincingly. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Soul Therapy Excerpt

            She shed her clothes in the hallways, after making sure that no one else was home.  Steam from the hot water of the bath slowly circled, filling the room.  She eased her breathing and pressed down on her legs.  They were still shaking furiously from the dream.  The icy feeling had stayed with her, even though the images of the thunderous sky overhead had long since disappeared.  A layer of ice formed on the window, cracked and spreading outward in fingerlike spindles.  Jess rested her fingertips on it as she waited.  It didn’t feel cold, but she did.  Her bones ached, her muscles were strained from the intense walk that she had felt.  It wasn’t real, but she felt it.  It was impossible, but it had happened.
            Her fingers ruffled through her hair one more time.  Jess tried to convince herself that she wasn’t soaking wet, that it was all a dream.  The hollow feeling that had carved itself inside of her seemed unwilling to let go.  She tested the water with her toes, then slowly lowered herself in.  The heat prickled on her skin, almost scalding hot at first.  Jess curled up in the water, feeling it floating across her skin.  Her breathing steadied further as warmth spread through the rest of her body. 
            She closed her eyes, but for a moment too long and was back in the field, staring up at an angry, darkened sky.  She pried her eyes open and gasped.  The force of her breath knocked her back into reality.  Jess stared at the running water, her hazel eyes intense, wide.  She tested her eyes, blinking for moments too long and felt herself falling into the other reality, into the dream.  Jess stretched out her legs in front of her and turned the water off.  How long could she go without sleep?  

Slowly, I am getting better at editing.  I start to see the patterns in my own writing, and I try to pry them back.  Forcing my words, my sentences to be more open, fluid, and less repetitive.  This excites me, actually.  For once, I think the prospect of editing my work is fantastic.  Being able to recreate the flow, craft each sentence into being full and complete.  This particular descriptive passage I liked the first time around, but with one sweep of editing, I like it even more.  I still remain enthusiastic over this piece, and I hope I can find an agent out there that feels the same.

Winter Wishlist - Week One!

I am really excited to take part in Read Now Sleep Later's Winter Wishlist.

It is such a beautiful idea.  The first week is where you post the things that you would like - books and such to read.  The second week, you post things you would love to gift to other people.  The third week, you write about a non-profit for bookish things.  I think it's lovely, and since it is winter, and it is even cold where I live (it's almost never cold here), I figured this would be a great way to warm my bones.

The Books

Apparently, the holidays for me is a time to read really creeptastic books.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a place where everyone can hear everyone's thoughts?  This is already caked in drama from the start, but then your main character starts getting pursued by trackers.  Oh great, now where could he possibly hide?

The Road - talk about your worst nightmare.  Trying to protect your son in a post apocalyptic world?  Horrendous.  I hear things about this book, snippets and pieces that always intrigue me... And I really want it.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - you had me at labyrinth and possibly murderous.  Possibly murderous?  Really?  "Possibly?"  This means I have to read it just to know if they are murderous or not, forget the rest of the plot line ;)

Carrier of the Mark - I have seen this book everywhere, I feel... except in the Los Angeles libraries.  (Really, Los Angeles?  Really?!)  I've seen so many posts about it, that I just have to read it.  And besides, I'm a sucker for supernatural romance.

As far as bookish things go, I'm not really in need of anything anymore - since I have a feeling that my husband has finally gotten sick of me using our flashlight as a book light.  ^_^

But after blog hopping and looking at the other lovelies things, I remembered the super awesome nerdiness that is book ends.  Specifically these book ends (thinkgeek.com likes to squeeze every penny from my wallet... *sigh*):
If you would like to join in the fun, simply jump in below and visit the original blog (Read Now Sleep Later) for all the details!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Giveaway Winner & NaNo Reflections

Congratulations goes to:
I will be in touch on G+ for your address :)  The winner was chosen by random.org.

Thank you all for participating and following my blog.  I promise now that I am no longer suffering from bronchitis, I will have more time to update.  Like now!

I just finished NaNo.  This was my first attempt and a successful one at that.  It excites me, because my goal is to have three finished manuscripts (not polished, but finished) and three awesome query letters by the New Year.  Once the New Year hits and the agents have had a week or two to sift through their inboxes, I am going to send my query letters.

I have this feeling.  It's a lightness that I haven't felt in a long time.  I think most people call this "optimism," but I'm going to call it "success."  I feel like there is success ahead.  I know life is a roller coast, but I'm going to try to stay at the top as long as I possibly can.

NaNo has given me a nasty habit of wanting to write every night.  I say nasty because I could be spending time with my loving husband.  But in reality, I couldn't be happier with this new habit.  I wrote 1,100 yesterday, and although that is not close to the numbers that I reached during NaNo, it is still something.  It is still writing, and it was by choice.  I don't have a NaNo deadline hanging over my head.  This was my decision.  
I don't think I was this excited about writing and reading since fourth grade.

In fourth grade, I was only excited about it because my teacher had this awesome closet with some pillows in it.  If you finished your work early, like I always did (yes, I was a huge, tiny-faced overachiever), you could sit in there and read quietly.  I always snuck away whenever I could.

It's hard to imagine my bookwormy little self.  I had no self-confidence.  And thinking back on it, I didn't really need it.  My friends were all characters in those books that I read.  I was surrounded by mythical creatures, talking pigs, fake wars, vampire bunnies... you name it.

And when I think about the few human interactions that happened when I was younger, I start to see myself through another set of eyes.  The girl that hiccuped every time she stood in front of the class.  The girl that sat next to the same boy on the bus and never spoke.  The girl that chose to read news articles that dealt with questions and answers on how parents should raise their kids (e.g., if my son/daughter has an obsession with eating worms, what should I do?).  The girl that spent time in a closet and read by choice, by choice.  Yeah, that girl was weird.

And that girl brings you these words today.  There's nothing wrong with being a bookworm, there's nothing wrong with a love of writing.  There's also nothing wrong with a little social interaction every once and awhile.  ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monthly Recommendations

With NaNoWriMo now at a close, I present to you my monthly recommendations.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
YA Dystopian
I had to admit, looking at the premise of the story, I was a little skeptical as to whether or not I would like it.  Uglies is the first book of Westerfeld's series - and it is based on looks.  Everyone is ugly until they are 16, then they get an operation and turn pretty.  But life isn't so easy for Tally Youngblood and nothing seems to go as she planned.  The end of the first book put me in a daze, although it did take me awhile to really start loving Tally as a MC.  She seemed very boring at first, very run of the mill, but as you soon find out, her coming of age story brings her into excellence.  I quickly grabbed the second book in the series, Pretties, and was not disappointed.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
YA Dystopian (of sorts, more futuristic, but in a society that is so dystopian that our main character doesn't even know that much about the past - they don't even have guns - bows and arrows all the way!)
Do not judge this book within the first 25 pages, I almost did - and I almost missed out.  Moira Young action packs the book, it's 460 pages of dialogue and action.  What was hard to swallow was the way the main character, Saba, talks (writes).  She doesn't use quotations, she uses "an" instead of "and" but once you get past the dialect, this book is fantastic.  I couldn't put it down - and literally finished reading it in a day.  Though the style was hard to get into, once you are into it, you are there.  Saba's world comes to life and you are enthralled by this strong girl that is going across the world to save her brother.  This is the "princess saves the prince" story, and it's really incredible.  For a debut novel, Moira Young certainly hits the mark.  Highly recommended.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
Adult Fiction
Another debut novel that is fantastic.  Tom Rachman creates the world surrounding the newsroom.  This book is great to pick up once and awhile if you don't have time for longer works - each chapter is a very fluid, brilliantly written short story that focuses on one of that staff members, and even a reader, of the same newspaper.  The story is interwoven to an extent, and each comes to its own brilliant ending.  This is worth a read, because the stories are beautiful.  His characters are deep, flawed, and perfect all at once.  Some of the stories are funny, heart-wrenching, or downright disastrous. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving.

My head has been swimming in congestion.  I've been fighting off this illness for the past week and a half.  Right before Thanksgiving, I finally got the smallest amount of sleep and my immune system failed.  I officially got a head cold that knocked me flat on my butt.

I don't do well with head colds.  The congestion makes my brain feel like I'm looking at everything through a fog.  I hadn't written in three days, until today.  Today I labeled "50k or bust" day, and with the help of some wonderful people on G+, I was able to finish my NaNo word count.  I imagine I have about 60k more until it is finished (see progress bar "Soul Therapy).  I'm hoping to keep it around 60-70k when it is all said, done, polished, and pretty.

Finally, I have reached two goals.  One novel is finished, NaNoWriMo is "finished."  This means I am very close to being finished with my second novel.  Which means (exclamation point) that I am very close to being done with my third novel (say what?!).  I've decided to attempt to write a novel a month - until I burn out.  Then I will switch to hardcore editing and querying until I find an agent.  I figure if I can finished three this year, then hopefully I can send my manuscripts to a bunch of different agents at once.

Until I burn out, I'll continue writing.  When I burn out, I'll research agents, look at publishing houses, trying to get myself into as many slush piles as possible.  I don't care how long it takes me to get noticed, because I have to make this work.

I am still sick, coughing occasionally and blowing my nose so much that my nostrils are raw.  But I finished my goal.  Now I need to get better, then finish the novel.  As soon as I feel good, I am going to start writing again on a daily basis.  I'm excited about it and looking forward to it.  Every day brings its own challenges, and I'm trying to make all of my challenges into creative ones:  What are my characters going to do today?

One thing is for certain:  Every day is going to be an adventure.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 21: Have a Teaser

She clung to her legs and squeezed her eyelids together.  Come on, she said to herself.  Come on, if I can just get back there one more time, I know I can figure it out.  She imagined the field.  She could almost taste the sweet air that had once filled her lungs.  A bird flapped its wings.  She opened her eyes and stared at the graffiti covered door in front of her.

Jess swung her leg out, kicking the toilet paper dispenser.  The force of it reverberated in the walls and sent a shock wave through her leg.  Her nose scrunched as the repugnant smell from the toilets reached her nostrils and nestled there.

Her head spun, the ground fell away from her feet.  She floated on nothing, and the turning of her stomach wouldn’t stop.  Jess hopped down from the toilet and threw the lid open, just in time to retch her stomach bile into the stained toilet.  It only made her gag more, seeing that spill out from inside her.  

Though a part of me is disappointed, I am grateful my manuscript is no longer "hanging in the balance."  I received a solid "No," which means I have more places to submit it to!  I have never received a rejection, other than for short stories, because I've never submitted.  The fact that I had the strength to submit, finally, only gives me more hope for myself as a writer.

And besides, there were only 30 (35?) winners out of 300 - and there are some brilliant, unpublished authors out there.  RUHE may not be the strongest piece of work by me, but it is the first finished piece.  It is coherent, and it does have a decently strong female lead, but it is more of the typical coming of age.  

But I'm very excited for Soul Therapy (again, I still need a new title) because it is less typical, and my main character suffers from huge anxiety - see excerpt above.

I think she touches on something that a lot of people overlook.  Panic disorder is a real thing, something that many people struggle with, myself included.  Granted, I'm not nearly as bad as Jessica is, but I find it hard to control my own emotions.  A surge of fear sweeps over your every cell, the hairs on the back of your neck stretch upwards and you can't explain it, you simply are worried, panicking, over everything.  You think, this is it, this is the end of the world, the end of my life.  Your breath outruns you and your body starts to act like your are drowning on air.

It's heavy, it's frustrating.  And a lot of people don't discuss it.  Hell, a lot of people think that it is "normal" to have some anxiety.  There is a difference between a stressful situation versus being unable to breathe, move, or function because you are shaking so much.

If I had known panic attacks existed when I was younger, I wouldn't have assumed that it was "normal."  I would have realized that there was something different about the way I see the world.  And with that knowledge, I might have handled a lot of things in my teenage years in a very different manner.  Though, I must say, my curling up into a ball underneath the covers with my teeth chattering because I was freezing in 100 degree weather certainly makes for a good character.  Jess is the pinnacle of that:  Someone who is afraid of disappointing anyone with massive anxiety attached.

And I love her, probably a little bit too much, because she is so close to home.  RUHE was the opposite.  I had no knowledge of that girl's life, I had never been in her shoes - I still think her story is interesting, but I didn't have such a connection with her.  Jess is different.  We're kindred, and because of that, I think Soul Therapy will be my stronger piece, and possibly, the first piece I get published.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shameless Plug

I don't normally promote my husband on my blogs - mostly because he makes music, not writing.

However, I write to a lot of his music.  It tends to put me in the right frame of mind to write, which is partially why I fell in love with his brain.

I'm so proud of him because last night his music aired on Bones.  That's right, Bones.  This is the second biggest thing for us - his first was his band landing a spot on True Blood - but this was his own band, his own project, and his completely independent song.  It was played during the action/gun testing sequence and it was pretty awesome.  We were both so happy seeing it last night, so I just have to put it out there for any Bones fans!

Slighter - "No Control"
That's a teaser music video of the song, and you can find link to his other work through there!  I'm so happy for him.

My Internal NaNo Dialogue

Anyone that is interested in seeing the method behind the madness.  This is literally what I think about while I'm writing, specifically my NaNo project (for which I did go off of an old story, but I completely revamped, rearranged, and changed the whole thing).

Hey - what are you doing here?  I didn't recall giving your character more than two lines originally.  What are you doing in the shop?  Now my main character has to interact with you?  Is it going to be embarrassment or further proof that my MC isn't, in fact, crazy?  Regardless, you are hindering my whole plot by being here, but fine, I'll go with it.  Yay conversations.  Are you don't yet?  Awkwardly shuffle out the door - that's better!  Main plot line, GO!

Okay, so this is actually coming together, it's actually making sense - but that conversation between the two of them seemed a little too heartfelt.  Then again, who am I to say that?  They've been dating in high school puppy love for about a year and a half - so naturally, yes, they are going to be a little heartfelt, right?  Hopefully?  But now what?  They had this awesome conversation that reconnected them, but they aren't supposed to be reconnecting!  If anything, he's supposed to be turning villainous and vapid.  Then again, his concern could grow more now, making him slightly more... protective?  Overbearing protectiveness to the point of driving my MC crazy is now a GO!  Success, gold star, now let's wrap this up so I can get some coffee/tea/wine.

I guess it is good that some things happen that are very unplanned.  It makes for more realistic situations, I think, and keeps me on my toes.  When I feel like things are getting too easy for my MC, something else comes in to make things a little.. different.  Even if they don't change dramatically, it is the little things that make a story come to life.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 12 Excerpt

I've been really lame lately and haven't been keeping up with my excerpts like planned.  However, I'm proud to announce that I passed 30k words today, which means my novel is about half way done.  I'm actually insanely proud of what I've been working on.  There was a scene that I wrote today that actually made me cry while I was writing it.  And no, I cannot give you that excerpt because it is too crucial to a turning point in the novel.

However, I can write another conversation that my MC has with Luke.  I won't describe exactly where they are - I'll leave that up to you to decide (and leave that up to you to someday by my finished novel and figure it out for yourself).


They sat in silence for a moment. "Hey, I have a question for you."

"Shoot," Luke said.

"Do you remember this? When you wake up? I know that my dreams are always fuzzy, but my nightmares are so real."

Luke laughed, "I thought you said I wasn't real."

Jess shrugged, "Even if you aren't, I figured it might be an interesting story."

"No, I don't remember as much as I wish I did. Though, when I came back here, everything was crystal clear. Even before you showed up, I could remember everything, down to the blush that goes across your face when you got angry with me the other day. I mean, it happened again today, so it's not that hard to remember." A twisted smile grew across Luke's face.

Suddenly, Jess felt a pang of guilt from holding Luke’s hand. Even if he wasn’t real, the act felt too real. She let her hand slide from his and ruffled her hair, hoping that he wouldn’t take note. She let out a long breath. “I don’t know how much longer I’ll have.”

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day Six Teaser

Day Six NaNoWriMo:  So far so good.  I'm sitting pretty at 18,363 words, but that could change with the weekdays coming up.  It's a lot harder for me to find time to write when during the week.

Here's a short excerpt from my novel.  I've always wanted to use the first line in this part, I just never thought of a way to fit it in... until now.

“He’s your antagonist,” Henrietta said matter-of-factly.

“This isn’t some stupid movie, this is my life.”

Henrietta shook her head, “No, I meant. He is going to be the catalyst for some change in your life. He has to be, otherwise you two wouldn’t make a connection like that.”

“He’s just some guy in my dream, that’s all.” Jess refused to believe anything more. She couldn’t. That would be a complete test of her faith, a complete reversal of everything she had once believed. It was all too much. Though, it had been nice being able to talk to someone her own age about her anxiety. Someone that could listen without the judgment of God weighing on her shoulders.

“If you are so sure of that, child, why did you come all the way here to ask me about him?” Henrietta peered over her register. She plucked out another box of tea. “Do you still want it?”

Jess sighed. Of course she did, what other choice did she have?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day Three Teaser

Safely settled at just over 10k words, I would say that this has been a very successful three days.  I completely a few word wars tonight with some good friends on G+.  I must say that G+ has probably changed the face of writing for me forever.  It is still a solitary act that happens entirely within me, but I can challenge myself and boost my creativity by enjoying the conversations with others that are like-minded and competing toward a similar goal.  Not to mention getting and giving advice has never felt so nice.  It's a great community, and I'm very happy to consider myself not only a writer, but a NaNo participant.

With that being said, here's the teaser from earlier today.  It's a dream sequence:

His mouth morphed, skin flicking off of it. His tongue rolled out from inside, and his jaw snapped as it dislocated. Teeth stretched out of his bloodied gums, growing into sharp knives and his eyes turned to blood lust. He growled at Jess and took a step forward, claws growing out of his shoes, his clothes disintegrated as he grew fur and grew twice the size. He took another step and reared back on his legs. Kroags launched himself at Jess, and she could almost hear the tearing of her own flesh over her high pitched scream.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day Two Teaser

You should all stay tuned to this blog, we're going to have some fun over the next month.  With NaNo happening, I'm going to very proudly post some excerpts, or frustrations (whatever happens to be in my head that day).  Today, you get another small excerpt:

“Yeah, weren’t you?” He took a gulp of coffee, wincing at the heat. “I mean, I’m always fascinated by his sermons, his words.”

“You mean the Bible’s words?” That’s all it was to Jess, just readings. Readings of passages that have already been read hundreds of times before, and warnings to those that decided to stray from the path.

“But he gives them life, you know? It’s in his… I don’t know, just the way he says it. I love it. Greatest pastor ever.” Kevin pecked Jess on the cheek. “I should go help out my mom, you should say hi. She’s running the bake sale today.”

Jess stuck out her tongue. The two things she didn’t want to get roped into, talking to Kevin’s mom or the bake sale. There was something about the way that Mrs. Clifton looked at her that always felt like Jess was being judged. Like that somehow Jess had an unholy spirit, an unholy soul… and that she would somehow corrupt her perfect son. Kevin was far from perfect, but Jess supposed, from a Christian point of view he was very pious.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

NaNoWriMo has kicked off.  I think every Tuesday in November, I will have a small excerpt from my novel, what I have been writing.  I successfully already made it through day one without too many bumps and bruises.  I got up early this morning, at 5:30am.  I made some chai tea and sat down with my AlphaSmart.  I wrote the entire first chapter in one go.

My NaNo novel is a YA Coming-of-Age.  It's a combination of realistic fiction meeting an element of fantasy.  This excerpt is the first few paragraphs of the story.  The working title is Soul Therapy, but that is subject to change.  I haven't decided if that's a "good" enough title for YA.  It feels like it could sit a little bit heavy handed.

            Jessica slumped in her seat.  Her mother gripped the wheel like talons, eyes set dead ahead, unwavering.  Jessica had grown to know that look so well.  It was when her mother got lost in thoughts of her father, how their world had shattered seemingly overnight.  Jessica knew it felt like a lifetime when the divorce happened, but really, he was just gone one day.  Her mother never really could get over that.
            “Okay, well, I’m going to go inside, alright?”  Other students flooded into the high school off of busses.  At least her mother worked so early in the morning that Jessica could get a ride.  “Mom?”  Jessica ran her fingertips over her mother’s knuckles.
            Her mother gave her the sideways glance and that sweet smile, used to cover up anything bad hiding underneath.  “Have fun.”  Her eyes shifted back, out the windshield, unregistering.
            “I’ll try.”  Jessica snatched up her bag and got out of the car.  She closed the door with a bit too much force behind her.  She looked over the high school, Westbury High.  She only had one year left, but she was ready for it to be over.  It felt long overdue, with as much drama that had been building.  She couldn’t really stand to be home anymore, with her mother acting as a shell. 

Monthly Recommendations

On the first of every month, I will be posting a few books that I have read that I recommend - and why I recommend him.  So here is the first of the month recommendations:

Trapped by Michael Northrop
YA Realistic Fiction
A quick read where you are inside the head of Scotty Weems, who is trapped with seven other kids in school during the worst blizzard.  Having lived in New Hampshire, this kind of storm seems a little unbelievable, but Northrop really gets the terror that Weems is going through.  It is a retrospective story, and in the first chapter, Scotty tells you that not all of them made it out alive.  That had me hooked.  I call it a "snack read" as it is quick and light, but still fun.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
YA Dystopian
While the first book, The Hunger Games, still remains my favorite, the second installment is definitely worth the read if you liked the first.  And if you haven't read The Hunger Games, I highly recommend that you pick it up.  It's more of the first with some twists and turns, and still focuses on Katniss' emotional confusion - love is a complicated thing, isn't it?  Especially when you are both fighting for your lives...

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Adult Dystopian (less extreme, though)
Some of the concepts in this are a little too adult for a YA reader (as in, I wouldn't recommend this for a 16 and under reader).  I think 17+ would be good for it - especially adults.  Since Dystopian novels are all the rage right now, I figured I would pull this recommendation out of my hat.  It was one of my favorite reads in college.  Kathy grows up in a private school, where they learn the "meaning" of their life.  They will all become donors, where they will slowly have their organs harvested.  This is not a rebellion story, but a tragic tale of love and coming-of-age where these children have all accepted their fate from the very day they were born.  Very twisted, but beautifully written.  And hey, they even made a movie that you can watch with some popcorn once you read the book.

That's all for this month.  If NaNoWriMo doesn't consume all of my November, then I will have some more recommendations on December 1st.  I have quite a few books that have been recommended to me by other people that are on my to read list.  We shall see.

Monday, October 31, 2011


 The Giveaway is closed!

In celebration of NaNoWriMo month, I am going to be doing a giveaway. 

No, it's not a book, but it's a lovely necklace that I think is super cute.  I bought two of them, one for me to keep as a token of my first year in NaNo, and the other for a giveaway.

You do not have to be participating in NaNoWriMo to take part in this giveaway.

How to Enter:
Open from October 31st - December 4th 11:59pm PST.
Only open to U.S. and Canada
  • (+1 mandatory entry) Follow this blog and leave a comment
Additional Entries, include the links in your comment:
  • +1 entry:  Follow me on G+ (leave your user name or link to your account)
  • +1 entry:  Tweet about the post (link to your tweet)
  • +1 entry:  Follow me on Twitter (leave your user name)
  • +2 entries:  Write a post or share my G+ post linking to this blog (link to your G+ if you didn't share my original post)
  • +3 entries:  Write a blog post about this entry (link to it in your comment)
  • +1 entry: Add up all of your entries and include the total
The winner will be announced on December 5th - if you do not intend to check my blog then, please include your email.  If I do not hear from you by December 7th, I will be going to the runner up on the list.

That's right, you can get up to 10 entries to this one, but you only have to do the one mandatory entry!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can You Leave Us Breathless Contest Entry

Brenda Drake's blog is hosting another contest:  Can You Leave Us Breathless? with some amazing prizes.  It is open today, Oct 21st.  Feel free to enter something that will "take their breath away."

Meanwhile, here is my 303 word entry, an except from my manuscript, Kingdom of Obsession (title still pending):

We lived on a curvy street, and the sun was hitting the leaves just right to make the bend in the road framed beautifully.  I took off the lens and shoved it into my pocket and shot a few photos.  I heard a loud beep, turned around just in time to see the yellow school bus shatter my mailbox into a million pieces.  I saw the look of terror on the driver's face, trying to slam on the brakes again and again.  And then I died...

Or that's what I thought when I saw my dead mother standing over me.

“Oh, thank Heavens!”  She clutched her chest with older hands than I remembered. 

Catherine, my ex-best friend, was standing on the other side of my mother.  “It’s about time!”  She had put on a few pounds than when I had last seen her, eight years ago.

And the first words out of my mouth in the afterlife were, “Cat, you died?”  My mother and Cat looked at each other, quizzically.

“Still hanging in there, thank you very much.”  She scoffed.

“Wait… I’m not dead?” 

My mother was wide-eyed, hair grayed and falling across her face in wiry tufts.  “Honey, you’ve been in a coma for the past nine years.”

My spine tingled until it stopped feeling, everything was shifting sideways, and my vision went blurry.  I heard this rapid beeping somewhere off in the distance and my brain swelled.  “Where is Dennis?”  The two figures standing over me looked at each other.  “Where is he?!”  I grabbed my mother’s old leathery arm.  “Where is Asher?  Where’s my son?”  Nurses came running in.  I was being pushed down into my bed.  I couldn’t breathe with everyone on top of me.  I thrashed in a panic before I felt a sharp prick in my arm.

Gearing Up

Pardon me for not posting more frequently.  I've been neck deep in RUHE revisions (which are going along nicely, but not as fast as I originally hoped).  On top of that, I've been doing some brainstorming and character building for NaNo - and really, really inspecting their past.  I found that with RUHE the characters surrounding my main character were weak.  I knew little to nothing about her history or her decision to stop speaking - simply that she did stop speaking.

So I took to my new mirror of doom.  I scribbled furiously across it.  If you've never tried writing on walls before, I encourage you to do it (somewhere that you can eventually wipe off, of course).  There is something very satisfying about writing until the whole wall (mirror, in my case) is full and then your words are just staring you in the face.  I know, I know, I'm a little crazy, but aren't we all?  And isn't that why we write?  To hide behind the "It's okay, I'm not crazy!  I'm a writer!"

Regardless, I've been scrambling.  I want to polish my manuscript in order to submit it into a contest (November 1st).  I want to finish outlining my NaNo story so I can actually start with a solid basis on November 1st.  And that's that.  I haven't felt this kind of pressure since I left college.  And I suppose that's a good thing, because there's really this fire that's been lit under me.  I needed it, I needed the shove and push back in the right direction.  I mean, heck, I finished RUHE in a week (not polished, but finished the main story arc)!  If I can do that, dedicate a week of my life to being insane once every two months, then maybe I can finally get somewhere. (:  I'm a lot closer to wherever "somewhere" is than I was a month ago.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Song to Wake to

Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy... with a bit of Romance

Song to Wake to is the first book in the Levels Series by J.D. Field.

I don't want to pin this as a YA Romance, because I feel like the story line is more coming-of-age.  Maddy Bride, our 16-year-old narrator, has just transferred into Levels (as Maddy refers to "it's kind of like Hogwarts").  And let me just say, as a Harry Potter fan, I really wished I went to a school like Levels (you know, one that actually could exist without magic and such).

Maddy meets the mysterious Eddy Moon.  She is drawn to him, for some inexplicable reason.  This is the part where the book sounds like a story you read before, but J.D. Field puts an amazing, fresh spin on it - but I won't give away what the spin is, you'll have to find that out for yourself.  Through her estranged relationship with Eddy, Maddy finds out a lot about who she is and how she sees the world.  There are fantasy elements to it, but not overwhelming to turn someone off that isn't into fantasy (and enough fantasy to make the rest of us that love fantasy happy). 

I really liked this book as the debut novel of the series, and I will pick up the next of the series.  For those of you that don't want another series book, Song to Wake to stands decently well on its own.  Though, by the end, I definitely wanted a little more.  Which brings me to the only downside of this novel - the ending itself feels a little rushed.  However, I think this was done as a ploy, because now I want to read the second novel.

So, I suppose the upside is there is more where this came from.  And it sounds like the next of the series, Rock Anthem, is set to be released on November this year!

You can purchase Song to Wake to for .99 cents through:  Amazon or Smashwords.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Hi everyone!

Thanks for all those who participated in the giveaway of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.  Random.org helped me pick out the fabulous winner.

Congratulations goes to:  Beesha

You will be receiving an e-mail shortly from me!  

Everyone who didn't win, I will have many more giveaways in the future.  My husband and I have been doing some spring cleaning in our house and I'm excited to be able to pass on a few gems to new homes.  

Upcoming blog posts:
  • More spooky stories for Hallo-month
  • Updates on NaNoWriMo in November
  • Updates on RUHE (my finished, but not polished manuscripts)
  • Some more original short stories and flash fiction
Also, I am going to be doing a once-a-month "book recommendation" post.  This will range from YA, to SciFi, to Fantasy, to Contemporary, and pretty much everything that I think is worth reading.  I won't bore you with the items I don't recommend - but instead just recommend the ones I like.  If there happens to be a month where I don't read anything mention-worthy, then I apologize in advance. 

I will have two more reviews coming out that will be promoting self-published authors (one book I have read and recommend to YA Urban Fantasy lovers and the other book is still on my shelf).  I will only do this for self-published authors, as there are already too many fabulous review sites out there for books that you can find on the shelves of your library.  With that being said, tomorrow I will be posting a review on Song to Wake to by J.D. Field.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh the internet...

She told her story.  Everything about herself unfolded through words, interweaving and designed together to make anyone passionate about how she felt.  She felt powerful, after reading those words, her words, staring back at her from the back lit LCD.  There was something about it that she couldn’t explain, except the desire.  That was thicker than ever.  She was hungry for it, hungry to divulge all of her secrets in the form of stories.  And she was delighted when people ate them up.

When she met Kevin for the first time, he really seemed to get her.  “Heather, you are so sensitive… but I love that sassy side.”  Her mouth skewed for a moment before she realized it was a compliment.  But it was strange to hear after just one cup of coffee.

Three years later, Kevin watched as Heather walked down the aisle, dressed in a gorgeous draping gown that flowed behind her.  She felt like a princess, everyone’s eyes on her, noticing her for the first time as a beautiful creature, instead of a beautiful writer.  Kevin whispered sweetly into her ear.

A year later, Kevin put down the morning paper and winced at her over his cup of coffee.  “Love, there’s something I have to tell you.”

Her eyes narrowed.  They hadn’t had the perfect relationship, but nothing had gone seriously awry.  She was waiting for that moment, always on edge that it was just inches away.  That everything was too good to be true.

“Remember that guy that always commented on your stuff online – scryer?”  Kevin swirled the stirrer in his coffee.  “Well, that was me.”

She thought about this for a moment.  Kevin had been following her for years… Probably ever since she had started the blog.

“It was no accident when we ran into each other in that coffee shop.  I fell in love with you before you even knew I existed.  I loved you so much, and I still love you, and I really hope that doesn’t creep you out, because, gosh, Heather, I really do love you.”

She had no reason to be frightened, or scared, because Kevin was her husband.  She knew him through and through, he was a good man.  Albeit probably a little desperate for my attention, she thought, but that was something that I loved about him.  She smiled sweetly and kissed him on the forehead.  “I only wish you would have introduced yourself sooner.”

So I started this with the complete intention of making it into a horror, but I just couldn't.  Kevin was too nice of a character (darn him for making my brain turn to mush).  Anyway, I figure there are enough "woes of the internet" online and maybe, for once, we should have something sweet come out of a semi-stalker, because really, how often does that happen in real life?  Anyone have stories of a stalker that turned out to be good?  Or a little bit too obsessive internet follower?  Just curious :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost Soul

estherase photos on flickr
The twisted bones that curled together to form fingers reached into the beetle’s body.  A bloodied bone from some other small creature lay to the side, wielded as a weapon against this beautiful black, green beetle.  Its fingers were sharp, like serrated knifes,and with ease, the fingers flicked the exoskeleton away.  Pieces of green oozing blood pooled underneath the body.  The bloody substance stuck between each piercing finger, dripping around the beetle like snot on a cold winter’s day.

As the bones plunged themselves deeper into the thick skin,the beetle let out one last sigh of breathe before shuddering, dead.  The hands curled around the heart, still warmwith the last beat.  One finger poked inside the heart, wrapping the arteries around its tip.  It torn and shred at it until half of the organ was outside the body, the final vein snapping off with a sickening pop.

Its mouth opened.  God, please, no.  And the teeth closed around the flesh, tearing through the soggy, metallic mess. I tasted it in its teeth, my teeth. I felt it as it slid down its throat, my throat.  And I watched it fall through the gnarled cracks of my body, landing on the sidewalk and oozing out its remaining green blood.

When the ghastly skeleton had its full, it flew upwards into the sky.  The wings beat like hummingbirds, but silent.  Fast and furious, it flew through trees, barely dodging leaves.  If I could throw up, I would.  And then its eyes would land on something else, another creature to mangle, and off we would go.

Being trapped in a gremlin’s body with no control, seeing all the awful things it eats… or rather, doesn’t with all the cracks and holes in its body… feeling everything, tasting it all.  This was hell, and I could only assume that I was a doomed and lost soul.

This prompt was created by Bliss Morgan who does "Nightmare Fuel" (aka "Write Terrible Things with Me").  She does one every single day - and I have, sadly, been unable to keep up between work and editing and my brand new PS3 (darn those video games).  This this image struck me, so I had to.

Also, I have a giveaway for Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall.  Check it out!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Giveaway Contest! Before I Fall

Giveaway is officially closed.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is a great coming of age story.  It is about Samantha Kingston, who has a seemingly perfect life.  But something extraordinary happens when she dies:  she wakes up.  She lives the same day for seven days, each time getting a new chance to get it right.  It is kind of like Groundhog's Day, but with a teenager trying to figure out the tragic events that lead to her death.

She finds out who she is, who she wants to be, and even kisses someone that she would never dream about.  She races against the clock, in attempts to save her own life.

I received a copy of Before I Fall from when I was working at Barnes & Noble.  We got advanced reader's edition - which is the copy that you will be receiving.  It is paperback, but still in good condition.  I liked the novel.  I feel I would have loved it if I was still coming of age myself, but Lauren Oliver does put together an interesting plot line.  If you enjoy YA novels, you'll enjoy Before I Fall.

How to enter the giveaway: (Closes October 15th, 11:59PM Pacific Time)

Open to U.S. & Canada only.  Will extend the giveaway internationally if you pay shipping.
  1. The only mandatory entry: You must be a follower of the blog.  Leave a comment saying that you are a follower and want to enter the giveaway. Include your e-mail if you don't plan on checking this blog on October 16th.  (1 entry)
  2. (+1 additional entry) Tweet about this giveaway and link to your tweet in your comment.
  3. (+1 additional entry) Follow me on twitter @Broken_Fallacy
  4. (+3 additional entries) Blog about this giveaway and link to your blog in your comment
  5. (+1 additional entry) Add up all of your entries in your comment (you can have a total of 7 entries!)
If the winner does not claim the prize by October 17th, 12:00PM Pacific Time, I will contact the next person in the list.  I will be using random.org to choose the winner.

If you do not win the give away, you can purchase Before I Fall from Amazon here.

Good luck everyone!

Additionally, my cohort on  Adorning Schemes is running a giveaway through Whimsical Poppysmic's blog for a free pair of her upcycled bottle cap earrings!  These are great holiday gifts!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Line Prompt

I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. It was minutes after, actually. After the screaming match that ended with my trousers and boxers drifting down onto the apartment complex’s front lawn, I took off in my car. I had no idea where I was going or where I would end up, but decided to have my first drink as a newly single man.

It was in the bar that Dean slapped me on the back. “You look like you need a drinking buddy!” His teeth looked like they had been cut from a magazine and placed on his gruff man’s body. They didn’t fit him at all. In fact, Dean was probably one of the most awkwardly shaped people I had ever met, hands and feet huge for his lankly limbs, and a face that a burly man would have.

I was immediately intrigued. That and I couldn’t say no to a free drink. A few whiskey sours later, and I spilled my guts. “And she tells me to get out. I mean, she was the one cheating!”

Dean grabbed my shoulder, “You’re better off, forget her! So many more people out there.” He looked around, “I’ll tell you what, I left my wife. We didn’t even divorce! Met this gal out here, she’s great. I live my life with no baggage, you know? None of that hard stuff.” He took a long drink.

I grumbled into my drink. The ice had already melted, watering down the whole mess. “I thought I had done everything right, and now, all I have are some pants and underwear.”

Dean thought about this for a moment. “Okay! I know, let’s just go grab something! If you could have anything from your life with her, what would it be?”

Without a thought, “My laptop.” I had scrambled to get away from the whizzing plates that I had forgotten to grab it.

“Great, let’s get it!”

I drove to my old apartment complex and marched up the stairs. With Dean by my side, my new drinking buddy, I was ready to face my wife and get all my stuff back, not just my laptop.

The door opened. My wife looked at me, then Dean, her eyes widened. Her mouth held itself agape, nostrils flared in disbelief.

Dean’s face held the same expression. His lips formed the whisper, “Patricia?”


Thanks again to Nina's Prompt & Share on G+. I'm having entirely too much fun with these.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

YAtopia Pitch Contest

I have submitted my pitch for my story RUHE to the YAtopia Blog Pitch Contest with agent Mandy Hubbard!

It closes Wednesday at Midnight (I am unsure if this is technically 11:59pm or technically Midnight on Thursday, but technicalities aside!)  It is still open right now!  If you had a finished manuscript that is YA or MG and you are looking to pitch it to an agent, you might as well do it on the YAtopic blog!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Late, I'm late!

The wind ruffled the leaves in the trees. She felt herself slipping. Her eyes grew wide, sucking in the last bits of the gorgeous robin’s egg sky. The wheat melted around her skin, caving way to the bed sheets she was lying in. Her eyes shifted from seeing the blue, melding into white, then just shadows danced on the walls of her ceiling. A tear ran down her cheek as she knew she had to leave her place behind, leave what she loved.

What she loved, the thought pang in her head like an arrow. The clock, where was the clock? It was spilling out onto the floor, the contents from this morning’s not-so-great wake up. She cursed inside her head. She grabbed a jacket, didn’t even bother looking at her hair, and flew down the stairs. She glimpsed at the clock in the hallway.

Already ten minutes late, he was going to kill me. She ran to the car, jammed her key in the ignition and sped off. Every light seemed to turn red in front of her, she slapped the steering wheel and screamed at the light. Then she screamed above her head.

“This really isn’t cool, okay? Just stop it, stop messing with me today.” But she knew why the universe was. She was messing with it. She was playing inside her own head and leaving this world behind. A smile crept across her face. She realized she didn’t care if she was late. Who cares about this world, when I have my own?

She pulled her car up to the restaurant twenty five minutes late. She bounded into the dimly lit place and scanned the room. Before the hostess could say a word, Jess was off. She weaved in between tables, ducked under a waiter, and slumped down in the seat.

“I’m sorry.” Her words came out without meaning, without sympathy or worry, without concern. She couldn’t find a reason to fret over him anymore, though she really wanted to. Something was telling her it was time to let go.

“No worries.” Kevin flashed a brilliant smile that captivated the light of the candle that was almost burned out on their table. “I knew you’d make it.”


Today's prompt is brought to you by the fabulous Nina Pelletier on G+.

"This week we are going to put your character (or yourself) in a specific situation. Your character is late, he/she's late for a very important date, no time to say "hello", "goodbye" they're late they're late they're late.
400 words or less - Show your character rushing against time."

Be sure to circle Nina to participate in any future prompts - they definitely are very fun.  

Friday, September 30, 2011

Five Sense Setting

Nina on G+ is running a writing prompt today, as she is most days.  So if you need inspiration for some exercise to do, hers tend to be fun, but also challenging (some more than others).

Today was on setting, using all five senses, less than 500 words, and no -ly words (and trying to keep adverbs to a minimum).

If you come up with one and post one yourself, please link me to it in a comment - I love reading other people's writing, and also love getting feedback :) 

Here is mine (which will eventually be apart of a longer piece): 

She stood in the meadow of wheat and stared out over the vast space before her.  A single tree stood to her right and she placed her fingertips on the bark.  The tree felt warm, as if bursting forth with life.  A small smile stretched across her face.  She felt the rough grooves of the tree, melding underneath her touch.  Her eyes reflected the yellow wheat in front of her, the sun hanging high in the sky.  For some reason, even though the whole world glowed, the sun wasn’t too bright here.

There was a single bird flying through the small breeze, chirping and carrying himself along with the patter of his wings.  The breeze ruffled the leaves in the tree before tussling through Jess’s hair.  It smelled of thick syrup and warm, fresh bread.  She could get used to this. 

Jess picked her way along the wheat.  As soon as she thought it would be perfect to have some place to sit, she walked into a clearing.  A single, fallen log was lying on the ground, untouched and perfect.  She let her feet slide her down onto the log.  It gave more than she expected, and felt like a cushion.  She placed her hands on either side of her body and felt the wood.  It was still solid underneath her fingers, but it was comfortable everywhere else. 

She looked upward, gazing at the few clouds that hung low in the sky.  They seemed to drift with the breeze.  She could almost taste them on her tongue, moist and light clouds.  She could eat one of them, balls of cotton candy just plucked from the sky.  She reached her fingers up and twisted them inside the cloud.  A piece of it broke off, coming back down to earth grasped in her hand.  She lifted it up to her mouth and smelled the sugar, the delightful mysteries that this place held.  Her lips curled around a corner.  The stickiness of melting sugar spread throughout her mouth, got caught in between her teeth, and she swallowed.  She was satisfied, she couldn’t ask for a better place than this.  It was peaceful, and she was alone… for once.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: The Hunger Games

I have been devouring books again - and this one was an easy one to sink my teeth into.  I know, I know, I'm a little late.  I saw the article in Entertainment Weekly about the movie and was intrigued by the plot line.  I wasn't expecting much, since most Young Adult books that get turned into movies typically are not that great of a read (there are exceptions here, of course!).  But I can't imagine that the movie is going to do this book justice.  Suzanne Collins nails it.

First off, her world and characters are very believable.  The main character, Katniss, is coming-of-age in a world that isn't so friendly to teenagers.  In fact, the government requires them to fight to the death.  One male and one female from each district are brought to the capital and entered into the Hunger Games, where the last male or female standing wins a large prize for their district and themselves (not to mention they are still alive).

Katniss comes from District 12, the coal mining district and the poorest.  All odds are stacked against her when she steps into the arena.  Suzanne Collins plays against your expectations.  She puts you in Katniss's head - swarmed with emotions, misread signals, questions, and anger.  We, as the reader, see oftentimes what she doesn't.  We understand more than she does because of how we were brought up - but that just makes Katniss more likeable, because you understand her, even when she doesn't understand herself.

I am definitely going to pick up the other two novels in the series - I was very pleased that this book.  Even the ending left me satisfied but still questioning a few things.  And the descriptions are almost lyrically playing over and over again in my head.