Monday, December 17, 2012

How it feels...

You know when you first buy a book?  Or you pick up an old book that's been sitting on the shelf for awhile?  You know how you try not to be noticed when you smell it?

That's kind of how I feel today.

Except I don't care who sees me with my nose so far in my book that I might as well be snorting it.

The proofs of "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" came today.  I sent two copies to my dad - one will reside with my grandmother.  She's my last grandparent - and she told me on Thanksgiving, "I hope to be around when your name is in print."

And now it is.

Terrance wasn't originally intended to become a paperback copy - but my grandma kind of sealed the deal with that comment.  I love her to pieces, and after she said that, I needed it to happen. 

Getting the copies today in the mail was amazing.  They are thin - as a novelette would be.  It stands at 50 pages.  But heck, I think they are 50 really fantastic pages, and it is only $3.99 for a copy of the book, which will be only $2 more than the ebook.

I say it is quite a steal for 50 pages of good content, especially since magazines sometimes are more than $4 each.

Anyway, you can get the paperback version yourself from CreateSpace.

Or you can purchase an ebook from Amazon or Smashwords.

I will be here in my room smelling my book until I fall asleep.  And if you are an author and haven't smelled one of your books yet, you should.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hardcover Giveaway Winners

Congratulations goes to Katie D and Miaka!  You both have e-mails regarding your prizes!

For anyone who didn't win a prize - don't worry!  The ebook giveaway is still live.  You could win one of three titles!  Enter below - if you are already a blog follower, that's one free entry.

And, to add a cherry on the top of this Holiday cake, anyone that wins a prize will also receive a free ecopy of my newest novelette, "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade"!

Happy entering!  We will pull the winners for these three prizes in four days!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Published and Giveaway!

Remember that post I made way long ago about how I was going on a self-publishing adventure for "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade"?

Yeah, I barely remember that post myself, but the point is - I've done it.  I'm proud to announce that my not-quite-novella (aka novelette) is published and available on Amazon or Smashwords!

In addition to this super fabulous amazing news, I will be adding good news to it!

You know that Winter Giveaway that's still going on?

Well, each winner within the giveaway (there will be five winners) will receive a free ebook copy of My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade.

 How's that for gifting before the holidays?

Now, if you don't know what Terrance Wade's Summer Vacation is all about, you should read this super awesome blurb:

Terrance’s dad always said, “Never let your mother through that door.”  So when she comes in through the window, Terrance figures it’s okay.

His mom says, “Terrance, your dad doesn’t want me to show you the world. But we’re going – tonight, now."

Terrance, a naive yet astute 7-year-old, doesn’t know he’s being kidnapped by his mother.  Instead, he thinks she’s a secret agent, and he believes they’re on a mission to save the world. 

If that's not enough to get you interested, let me tell you why I personally loved writing Terrance.  He's absolutely silly.  He's one of the silliest kids in the world.  He constantly finds ways to undermine his parents (unknowingly), and he frequently misunderstands things.

It's currently priced at a small sum of $1.50.  It's 15k words, and I firmly stand behind the "99 cents per 10k words" philosophy.  If you don't feel like buying it, but are interested, you should head over to the giveaway and enter!  There's five chances to win (the two hardcover contests close tonight)!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Winter Giveaway on Now!!

Don't miss the Winter Giveaway going on now!

Personal/writing update:

This week is going to be insane for me, but I'm ready for it!  I'm attempting to publish "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade"as my first self-published piece (novelette/long short story/whatever you want to call it). Working with some awesome people on G+ to get a decently professional cover done.  They've had some amazing feedback.  Also am doing the final edits this week - as well as last minute formatting.

On top of that, Brenda Drake and Company (way too many awesome people to mention them all) are hosting a pitch contest (need to apply to that still)!  I have ten people that I want to submit to, but I need to narrow the list down to three.  I still haven't chosen between Where We Collide (formerly known as Soul Therapy) and RUHE.  Hopefully I'll get some feedback from one of my friends soon which will narrow the choice for me?  Maybe?  (Indecision!)

My other writing goals for December?  Finish Good Criminal Heart the first draft and completely edit Where We Collide.  I wrote the first draft for my NaNo last year and haven't touched it since.  But I love, love, love her story - or rather, fell back in love with it.  So I'm ready to edit it.

Which is why I need to edit it now - in case I do choose it for the Pitch Contest - if it gets chosen, then it needs to be polished.  Or at least, it needs to be in second/third draft form.  :)

Then I move onto The Unanswerable for self-publishing while querying Where We Collide and RUHE.

And I have a tight reading deadline...  These are all self-imposed/due to the fact that I go to the library way too much and bring home way too many books.

I'm reading Dust Lands by Moira Young right now.  On my shelf:  John Dies at the End by David Wong, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Partials by Dan Wells, and Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor.  I'm trying to get through all these this month.

Guys, I'm excited.  I haven't had this many deadlines in a really long time - and I feel kind of accomplished - and stressed out!  It's a good stressed, it means I'm actually doing things!

Hope everyone else is doing well out there!  More updates to come!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Giveaway!

Success!  We have four fantastic YA books to giveaway and one fantastic New Adult book to giveaway in two separate giveaways!  Sorry for making you guys fill out the form twice - but one is international, the other is not (and different entries for each).

Below is the rafflecopter for the hardcover book giveaway.  This is for United States only, the international giveaway with ebooks is further down.

The hardcover prizes:

Deadline by Chris Crutcher.  A story of a high school teenager who finds out he is terminally ill.  Instead of undergoing treatment to possibly give him a few more "sick" years, he chooses to forgo it.  With a one year deadline, he finds out what life is really about.

Saying It Out Loud by Joan Abelove.  Based on her own experience of losing her mother when she was coming of age, Mindy has to figure out life for herself.  Her father turned inward, and her life has turned to sorrow.  Very moving and powerful piece of work.

The Rafflecopter for these two hardcover books (US only)  but don't forget the second, international giveaway below!:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to check out the other giveaway below!

The ebook giveaway is open Internationally.  These authors have graciously donated one copy of their ebook to join the winter giveaway.

The ebook prizes:

The Between by LJ Cohen.  Lydia Hawthorne is on a good track in her life - that is until she is snatched by the Fae.  She is thrust between two warring sets of Fae, Bright and Shadow.  Lydia is supposed to choose a side, pick one side to win the war.  The fate of Fae lies in her hands, but worse, so does the fate of her family.

The Clockwork Giant by Brooke Johnson.  Petra Wade is a self-taught clockwork engineer who dreams of becoming a member of the Guild.  Emmerich, a Guild recruit, has been hired to make an automation.  Emmerich learns of Petra through a chance encounter and knows she can help him.  In secret, they build the clockwork giant, but a soon learn of a sinister conspiracy from within the Guild.

Balor Reborn by Paul Carroll - New Adult.  Fionn Murray, a university student, has to become the unwilling hero when spirit of tyrant Balor comes back with a vengeance. With his house mate Michael, Fionn must decide to run or face an evil that could consume the world. Based on the old Irish myth of Balor of the Evil Eye, this is the first in the series seeking to revive the magic of Ireland.

The Rafflecopter for these three ebooks (International):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNoWrimo: The Finish Line!

The finish line is just up ahead, and I haven't reached it yet, but I'm about 3,000 words and a good glass of wine away to finishing NaNo - but that doesn't mean the novel is finished.

I might have to stop writing consistently for awhile and start editing every other day, writing every other day once NaNo is over.  Terrance still remains to be finished - and The Unanswerable is no closer to getting done.  At least I will then start making progress on new, and old, books.  Because editing all the time is too hard, and writing all the time makes me want to edit!

However - I do have some awesome, unrelated NaNo news.

To celebrate the whole "Holidays are coming!" thing, I'm going to be doing a big giveaway.  I have quite a few books that have been lying on my shelves - and I feel like they need new homes.  While I love my bookshelf, and I think it's great that I have a nice little library, it makes me sad when books get dusty and never get revisited.

I know it doesn't earn the author any money to give away books myself - but at least I'm spreading the word and the love of the book around.  I wish I could do both, but at least there's love - and giving!

Check back - because the giveaway is coming!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoWriMo: Productive Procrastination

While I am actually standing strong at 29,464 words on day 15, I am still finding small ways to put off writing.  Today's productive procrastination was creating a cover for Where We Collide, which was formerly known as Soul Therapy, my 2011 NaNo project.

Where We Collide is not edited.  It is sitting as a rough draft quietly awaiting the day when I'll come back to edit it.  For some reason, it always motivates me once a book has a cover.  Doesn't really make sense, considering this is a mock cover.  This cover might never exist outside of my computer.  Even so, seeing a mock cover makes me want it.

Even though today was full of procrastination, I just rushed through four chapters worth of outlining for my current NaNo project, Good Criminal Heart.  I even have enough motivation to work on "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" tonight.  Why?  I think the finished novel starts to feel tangible.  That makes me feel like it is closer to being finished, even if it's not.

Other than "wanting to finish" your piece, what motivates you?  Have you tried  making mock covers for your pieces? 

How is your NaNo going?  Are you procrastinating?  Are you getting stuff done?  Are you doing a bit of both?

Cheers to motivation, I hope everyone finds some today!  Especially you WriMos out there, we only have half a month left!

Friday, November 9, 2012


I really have no excuse for why I've been so quiet other than NaNoWriMo.  I don't even think that's a good excuse, but I'm still using it anyway.

We are nine days into NaNo, and I am almost breaking 20k on Good Criminal Heart.  Finally going to see this project come to completion after seven years of sitting on it.

At this point, I am standing on a finished novelette ("My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade"), a finished novella (The Unanswerable), and three finished novels (RUHE, Where We Collide, and Rioss).   Which means I need some realistic goals for myself in order to get these all published/shopped.

I'm still aiming for "My Summer Vacation..." to be self-published prior to the holiday season. 

The next few months will be busy.  After NaNo, I will get RUHE queried again and work on getting Where We Collide ready for querying.

How is everyone's November going?  Are you participating in NaNo?

Also, side note, if you want to keep up with my NaNo progress, I'm posting Main Character Facts along with word counts on my Google+ Page.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What happened to October?

There's this month.  It's called October.  I don't know if any of you have seen it, but I certainly missed it.  What happened to all the goals I was going to accomplish?  The days flew by, and I'm wondering what the heck happened to October.

Just to clarify it to myself, here's the story of October:

Last weekend I joined the army of the undead.  That's right.  My husband and I did the Run for Your Lives race.  No, not as runners.  Never as runners - are you kidding me?  I couldn't run to save my life.  But I can stumble around and scare the living daylights out of people.  We signed up to be zombies during the race, and as you can see, our makeup was... delicious.  Highly recommended for any zombie fans.  It's a lot of fun being dressed up in goop with good people by your side.

This weekend, we got lost in a corn maze.  By lost, I mean I kept peeking at the map so we wouldn't get lost because I hate getting lost.  My accomplishment was peeking less this year than last year.  Next year's goal is to stick the map in my purse and forget it exists.

We carved our pumpkins for the holiday.  I almost thought it wasn't going to happen this year, because like I said, the month of October disappeared.  Mine's the one with the moon and the cat.  Last year it was an owl, this year it was a cat.  I'm going to attempt to carve Jack Skellington at work tomorrow - we'll see how that goes.

Other than that... I did some critique partnering.  I've been reading a lot of 2nd and 3rd books in a series for the "Let's Finish What We Started" Challenge by the MA-YA group on goodreads.  On the fifth book now, Promised by Caragh O'Brien, and I still love the series even though that amazon review ruined the ending for me.  (Thanks person who wrote a huge spoiler in the title of your review.  You rock.)

My beta readers got me back Terrance so now I have to sit down and actually edit his story.  It shouldn't be that hard, sitting at only 15k to edit, but editing is always taxing.  I have one more person to send it to, but I want it to be polished to receive some final, last-minute insight - just in case I missed something huge.

NaNoWriMo is creeping up around the corner.  I'm not ready for you yet, November!  Stay over there!

Though, I must say, I've been outlining Anthony's story this week, and I love his character again.  Everything that felt trite the first time around is getting knocked out.  The biggest conflict is better than ever (his own self-consciousness) and the people in the story now accentuate it, instead of derailing it into another plot line entirely.  Oh, and my husband likes the new developments.  These all bode well, and I'm excited to get my hands moving across the keys again...  But I still hope I can finish Terrance by the weekend, else I might not be able to finish him in time for Thanksgiving my absolute deadline.

How about you guys?  NaNoing?  Ready for it?  Was October just as busy for you, or did you manage to find a weekend to breathe?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Work in Progress Challenge

I was tagged by the lovely Brooke Johnson and thought that maybe I should talk about the work I am going to do for NaNoWriMo.  I have written this before - but it is undergoing a complete rewrite.  Half of it was in diary format (blech) and half was rewritten, but not as well as I would like.

Complete overhaul for NaNo, and here we go with the questions!

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress? 
Good Criminal Heart - though this is pending.

2. Where did the idea for the WiP come from?
Honestly, most of it was inspired through my love of the show Queer as Folk.  And I realized when I was younger that there wasn't much YA GLBT literature available.  I read Blue Coyote and loved it, even though it was heart wrenching.  And I invented this character that I blogged through, which people really responded to.  He left the blog and started to come to life on paper.

3. What genre would your WiP fall under?
YA Contemporary.  There is a twist of romance, but it is more of a coming of age story.

4. Which actors would you choose to play characters in a movie rendition?
My first instinct is to say Ian Somerhalder for Anthony, because he does dark really well.  But, no offense to Ian, but I don't think he can pull off "16 year old boy" anymore.

This is really hard for me.  First, Anthony is shorter.  Second, he has darker features, but light eyes.  And third, he's supposed to be attractive, but hard on himself for his looks because he doesn't think he's attractive...  So, as far as looks now goes, I would say Brendan Meyer, especially since this obviously won't be filmed for a few years, and he's still young.  Also in some of the modeling photos of him, he has that serious look that I think would be great for Anthony's character - but I've never seen him act, so... I really have no idea how he would work in the role.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your WiP?
Abusive father, abrasive mother, sister that's a little too close for comfort, partying band members; check - what causes Anthony to go over the edge is the one thing he never expected to find:  love.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I hope to find an agent for all my works.  I have three other finished YA novels that are being re-worked/edited.  I have one novelette that will be self published soon, which is more geared towards adults.

7. How long did it take you to write?
The concept of Anthony I've been working on for eight years.  I've put him down numerous times only to come back and fall in love with him all over again.  Hopefully this NaNo will see him get finished - or at least closer than he's even been to finished.
8. What other WiPs in your genre would you compare it to?
This is kind of like Rioss, my story about a rather angry werewolf who is trapped in a mental institution.  Jeremy and Anthony are creatures of emotion - they hate to say it, but they both wear their hearts on their sleeve.  Mostly because the rest of them is too cold to hold a heart anymore.  As far as other books go?  Possibly The Outsiders, but Anthony is more like Dallas than Ponyboy.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this WiP? 
I adored S.E. Hinton when I was growing up.  The darkness that she portrayed in people, the sad, terrifying situations her characters get into, only to grow at the end.  Those kinds of work made me really want to write.  I would like to think that Anthony's story does S.E.'s inspiration some justice.

10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest about this WiP.
This is my only YA book that actually has sex in it - though it might be open to interpretation by some.  It also deals with some heavy hitting topics:  homophobia, abuse, drugs, alcohol, depression, and religion.

I tagged Anthony Deaver and Sarah Rios.

If 1000th.monkey (K) sees this and wants to partake, I would love her to :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nightmare Fuel: Day One

I'm several days behind in Nightmare Fuel, but I really want to edit these flash fiction pieces and make them something worth reading.  If I don't have any good ideas for a photo, then I'll move onto the next.

For those that don't know, Nightmare Fuel was started by Bliss Morgan.  It is a daily photo prompt for the month of October (Hallo-month) and is horror based.  If you do not like horror or dark stories, you probably shouldn't read these.  You've been warned.

Link to day one photo prompt - you can also read other people's stories there.


They had done something to my eyes.  The only thing I had left was the ability to shut my lids, to will it all away.  Wish away all the madness of this place.  But they did something. My lids were gone, vanished. All that I had left were scratchy eyes that used to stare upon beauty, upon a world so glorious and vast that I couldn't comprehend the end.

But stuck in this small, forsaken place, I still knew not what eternity meant, but if it was anything like this - I knew every minute would be worse than the last.

I toppled over onto a cross, no - a grave. A grave so aged and ruined that it almost toppled over under my weight. I couldn't weigh that much anymore; the lifeless, limp body I used to call my own. I couldn't possibly be more than a dead leaf, caught up in a hailstorm waiting to be pelted back down to earth.

I tried to blink again, more subconsciously than anything else. My eyes ached, all I wanted was one moment of blackness, one moment to forget this place.

My skin rippled along my wrists. I stared closely at it. Wasn't much more I could do than stare. My veins turned black and wiggled under my skin like snakes, snapping at the surface. I screamed as one of them burst forth through my skin. Blood pooled down my arms, the sight made me gag as my other arm wrenched itself open. My veins were crawling out of my skin, killing me for the hundredth time over. They pulled at themselves like long bits of yarn, tearing bits of muscle and pulling loads of blood out with them. Every synapse in my body shot off, lighting small fires throughout my core. This was the hundredth, no thousandth time they have killed me slowly. But this was the first time I couldn't shut my eyes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

NaNo is Coming!

It's October 1, and as such, I am required to do the obligatory NaNoWriMo post.  Anyone else out there participating?  If so, do you know what you will be working on?  Are you starting something completely new?

I'm still debating between three things. I think I'm in the mentality right now to write Olive's story, but I still really want to finish Anthony. He's been sitting in a box since I was seventeen because I didn't have the drive to rehash it. Though, these two stories would be rewrites. Complete rewrites, mind you. In the last year my writing has improved so much that I really need to clean out all the old writing on these two titles (both written well over two years ago, and then some).

Then there's 2042. Which is supposed to be a Douglas Adams like sci-fi comedy. Thing is, "Terrance Wade" was finished recently (currently rewriting for end of October self-publishing). Which is great, but it has that same comedic feel.  Something tells me I'll want a change of pace.

It's really between these two stories: Olive is intense, raw, emotional, and sometimes hopeless. But her search and struggle to get back what she believes is rightfully hers is powerful and endearing. Anthony's is also intense... raw... emotional and sometimes hopeless (seeing a pattern?) but his story is about finding love for the first time and losing it. But having the strength to find himself in all the mess - to become a better person.

Both of them are very similar, and intensely different. Olive tries to be proper, nice, treat others with respect. Anthony doesn't care who he steps on, or who gets hurt in the process.

Which makes writing each of them taxing. I'm leaning towards Anthony. To finish it, to finally get his story out of my head so it can be done, done, done.

December will bring rewrites to Rioss, as I really - really - need to finish that.

How's your NaNo prep going? Do you have a weigh-in on which character I should choose?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Harry Potter: Books that made me love reading challenge

When I was younger...

Are you kidding me? When I was younger, Harry Potter was essentially a god. Okay, fine, he wasn't really, but I grew up with him. I'm the generation that was just young enough to grow up with him and fall in love with every single character. I thought it was fantastic. The idea that someone could knock down your door and say, "Hey, I'm coming to whisk you away to a world of magic and mayhem - and on one of the greatest adventure you will ever see."

Because I read the book so many years ago, and have seen the movie much more recently, I remembered the movie better than the book. And although the book is still fantastic, I noticed some things. First, there are a lot more summaries than I remember, of conversations, of small side plots that don't need a huge explanation. I remember the dragon hatching scene being much more epic than it was (because I imagine the movie, not how it's described in the book). But J.K.Rowling was writing for Children - and she does some things flawlessly. Spoilers! Be warned! For example, setting Hagrid up to love dragons in the first chapter, when it doesn't even matter -- then. Setting up Professor Quirrell at every single location throughout. It was, and still is, brilliant. Though I remember my heart beating out of my chest when I was younger.

It's fast-paced, it's fun, and I still enjoyed it even though I am much older now than I was then. Oh - and Dumbledore provides necessary insight throughout, he actually says some very poignant things, that I don't think I really understood when I was younger.

Friday, September 7, 2012

YA Sex and Other Things

Author and friend, Brooke Johnson, has this lovely blog and asked me to do a guest post.  I talk about the subtle side of YA sex, and also have an excerpt from one of my works in progress, A Good Criminal Heart.  I know that I wrote it, but I still say that it provides some insight to how to write YA sex, especially if you are going for a subtle feel and don't want to be so overt.

I submitted my story to the contest on a blog - and I'm sad to say that I didn't make it in... again.

I've decided to change my way of thinking of rejection.  Instead of a "no," I think of it as a "No from us."  Which, in a way, is healthy, but I worry that it's impeding the growth of my piece.

The intro probably isn't as strong as it could be.  I liked my old intro better, but a lot of people told me that it felt too promotional.

Which gives me the idea to incorporate the old intro into my query letter.  Right?

I really need to work on my query letter and get it out there again.  While this piece has received a few "No"s, it doesn't guarantee a no from everyone.  Making runner-up is a "mostly yes," and I did receive a partial request once.

In conclusion:  My piece is worth it.  I need to start submitting to other places and stop getting so hung up on the "No."  I need to stop expecting different results from the same people and circumstances (isn't that what they call insanity anyway?)

And as far as I can tell, I haven't gone insane (yet).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monthly Book Recommendations

Goodness, guys and gals!  Where did the summer go?  Who knows, who cares, but it's time to get back in the swing of things and bring you more Monthly Book Recommendations!  Click on the photos to go to and read more about the books.

The Between by LJ Cohen
Fae, Faerie, and magic - honestly, it's not my usual cup of tea, but LJ Cohen did a great job with characters here.  Lydia doesn't like her stalker, in fact, she wishes he would just go away.  But he isn't the strangest thing to happen in her life.  Her fate has always been tied to the world of Fae, and she has to make hard choices in order to save her family.

You can purchase The Between from amazon.  You can read my full review on examiner here.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
This is such a great coming-of-age story with zombies.  I loved how even though the zombies are a big part of the piece, it was more about the humans and how they dealt with being in this world.  Benny is growing up in a town where the people are more scary than the undead, and it's done almost flawlessly.

You can purchase Rot & Ruin from amazon.  You can read my full review on examiner here.

Run by Patti Larsen
I've read this whole series - The Hunted - and it's quite good.  It's dark for YA, but done really well, and super action packed.  If you prefer slower-paced novels, this series is not for you.  They are always trying to get away from something, and things never quite seem to pane out for the best with Reid.  Highly recommended for a fun, fast, and action-packed read.

You can purchase Run from amazon.  You can read my full review on examiner here.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The re-telling of Cinderella... with steam punk and dystopian elements?  Okay, I bit hard.  I loved this book, absolutely adored it even though I was very well aware of how it was going to end.  It was a quick read, fun, and who doesn't love fairy tales?  Well, if you don't love fairy tales, this probably isn't the book for you - but I promise you, it's good.  Well written too!

You can purchase Cinder from amazon.  You can read my full review on examiner here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I am working on a marvelously long short story.  So far, I haven't really finished a short story that I'm proud of, and technically, this one isn't finished either... but I'm proud of it - and that stands for something.

Over the next month, I hope to finish the short story, get beta readers, line edits, and critiques back from people.  By the end of the month, I hope to have the editing completely, with a perfectly polished (or to the best of my capability) piece in my hands.

Sometime in October, I want to publish it.

It's going to sit a little over 10k, or so I imagine with the number of words I have and how much of the plot I have yet to write.  And I'm going to publish it for a small fee of .99.  I figure I'll go by the standard of .99 for every 10k.  It seems reasonable.

Now, I'm still seeking the traditional publishing route for the rest of my novels, and I still have to get them polished and send them out there into the world.  This isn't a novel, and I feel like it will be a steal for .99, but we'll see how that goes.

Over the next two months, I hope to keep my blog updated with specifics about self-publishing.  I understand the concepts, but I have yet to put them into practice.

And the lovely cover is above - and probably isn't changing (unless someone has some super awesome amazing idea that I haven't thought of yet).

Stay tuned for more information on "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" by RADesilets (I know, it's a total mouthful).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My TBR Pile is Growing

I started receiving request for reviews (woohoo!)  I love reading, beta reading, and being part of critique groups.  I think it only makes my own writing stronger, but I also love helping other people.  And when I like a book, I love to spread the word about it.

But I think I really outdid myself.  I swear, I have to make a syllabus for my life or something - with due dates and the whole messy lot.

I'm behind on posts (I still have to post my review of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and Hunt by Patti Larsen - but at least I just got The Between review up!).  Which were all fun books, and recommended...  And to top it all off - September approaches!  Meaning that I have to read the next book in the "Books that made me love reading" challenge.

And I'm completely behind on my TBR Pile Challenge.  Okay, not behind really.  I set out to read 10 books on my TBR list.  I've definitely done that, but I haven't actually submitted any posts about them (I'm super lame, I know!)

You can see the picture for the list of books.  They were all sitting on the shelves.  Which, let me tell you something:  My library is awesome.  If they don't have a book, they can get it for me - they can order it on loan from another library in the Los Angeles county area, and poof!  Like magic, I get an e-mail saying it's in.  How's that for awesome?

Here's the thing I hate:  They never really have books that I want on their shelves.

Not today!  The library got a total YA revamping - and these four books that have been on my to-be-read list for entirely too long magically appeared on the shelves!  I couldn't believe it!

So, I'll be reading/reviewing for the next few weeks... and hopefully I'll find some time to finish my third draft of RUHE so that my beta readers can finish beta reading.

Also, I should mention how much I adore Patrick Ness's interview on YA books getting age ratings (he's against, for various reasons).  And I agree with him, but he's very articulate about it.  You should check it out!  I already loved his writing, but now I also like his style.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to the two winners from the Blog Hop!

Winner of the paperback copy of Falling Under by Gwen Hayes is:

Dana C.!

And winner of the ebook copy of The Between by LJ Cohen is:

Lona S.!

I sent you both e-mails.  If I do not receive a response in 48 hours, I will choose a different winner.

Congratulations again!  And thanks everyone who entered the contest!

I have more YA books to give away this year, so please stay tuned :)  And there will be news and excerpts from my person writing, occasional flash fiction, and some book recommendations.

For those of you that didn't win, I do highly recommend checking out The Between by LJ Cohen.  You can check out the first five chapters on Goodreads before you choose to buy (definitely worth it though!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

YA Giveaway Hop

Another giveaway hop hosted by the fabulous blog, I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.

This one will be open from August 8 - 14!

I am hosting two winners.  The first prize winner will receive a paperback copy of Falling Under by Gwen Hayes.  It's a YA Paranormal Romance.  While their romance is a bit intense, they only steal innocent (okay, maybe not the most innocent) kisses.  It is the first in the series by Hayes, so if you enjoy this book, there's more where that came from!

The second winner will receive an e-book copy of The Between by L.J.Cohen.  It is my pleasure to host a giveaway for her, because she's a truly incredible woman.  Her story, The Between, starts off in a miraculous way.  Cohen throws us right into the action.  There's Lydia, the main character who refuses to believe that she is anything but human.  And her two, sort of, stalkers - Clive and Aileen.  They represent Bright and Shadow, respectively.  The interesting thing in the beginning of this novel?  Both sides - Bright and Shadow - seem to have valid arguments.  And I'll be honest, I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm excited to continue reading it (just started it on Monday).  It's fast-paced, well-written, and it definitely deserves a spot on your to-be-read shelf.  I'll confirm this again on my Monthly Recommendations when I finish reading the book! But whoever wins this is definitely in for a treat!  Read more about The Between on Goodreads!

Enter on the Rafflecopter below - U.S. entries only!  While I'm sure LJ Cohen wouldn't mind international - I cannot ship internationally (without spending a significant amount of money -- silly post).  The Rafflecopter opens at midnight EST, 8/8!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Harriet the Spy - Books that made me love reading challenge

When I was younger...
I think I read the book after I had seen the movie.  I think seeing the movie first really altered my perception of the characters. While I loved the movie as a kid, and I loved book, I actually disliked the book this time around.

My perception of Harriet has changed a lot. I used to think she was curious and fun loving, this time around was very different.

Harriet's voice sounds a lot older than she is, which I give her credit for. But is her snarky attitude that is pretty poor.  She claims to want to learn everything, but she is unwilling to put herself in someone else's shoes.  She thinks she has all the answers and tends to put other people down.  Because of this, she has some major realizations and has to grow up fast when everyone turns against her.  Though, Harriet's story is still kind of fun and interesting.

Why I loved this book...
This book made me want to journal.  While I didn't really want to be a spy, I wanted to people watch and observe.  I wanted to be the fly on the wall when I was in public places, overhearing private conversations when I could.  But not breaking and entering, or anything to that extreme.

This book had a huge impact on my life.  I find it interesting that Harriet's voice no longer resonates with me.  Some of the things she says are a little too young.  And yes, it is a kid's book so maybe that's why I find her a little stuck up now.

For anyone that wants to read this, I do highly recommend it for younger readers. And I still love the movie, which I watched after the book.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kingdom of Obsession

I haven't posted excerpts in awhile - heck, I haven't posted much of anything.

Camp NaNoWriMo kept me busy last month, and this month?  Well, I really have no excuse other than:  DOTA 2.  And more DOTA 2.  We also got an adorable new kitten named GERTY (and two points goes to the first person who can tell me where we got that name from).  That makes five cats.

It was never our intention to adopt him, but him and Munster (our 2 year old) get along so well, we eventually had to cave.  Oh, that and he's flipping adorable.

But it is time that I post an excerpt.  Nina Pelletier does weekly writing prompts (sometimes more than once a week).  I always try to use them to create new, better excerpts for my novels.  This is one for Kingdom of Obsession.  It's a first line prompt that begins with the first line from Fifty Shades of Grey.  Which, I still haven't read yet - has anyone else?  I'd love to know some fellow writers/readers opinions on it!


I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Nine years. I blinked slowly. My hair was the same, a little more wily and unkempt than usually, but that was attributed to nine years in bed. My eyes were the same, the same aging crow’s feet that just started to pucker when I forced a smile onto my lips. My lips were less pale than before, probably because I hadn’t used as much makeup. I twisted them to the side, almost expecting the reflection to move in the opposite direction.

I had tumbled through a rabbit hole.

This didn’t happen in real life.

My knuckles turned white with the pressure I applied to the corners of the sink. Except it did. I’m living proof. I closed my eyes. I’d wake up in a second. I’d wake up and my mother would be dead again, my husband would be wrapped clumsily in the comforter besides me, and my son will be in the other room. I’ll wake up in California, sun shining through the lush trees of our house.

I opened my eyes. My reflection gazed back at me, green eyes locked on mine. The corner of my right eye twitched.

My mouth opened, and I started laughing. The guttural sound pounded through my throat, escaping my mouth in hysterical heaves. Someone’s knuckles brushed against the door. The laughter bounced off the walls, reverberating my core, filling me with utter hatred for the rest of the world.

My spine tingled, my whole brain swelled in my head and I almost lost control of my body. My limbs slowly went numb against the realization. Gone. Gone was the life I knew, and all I had left was the bitter prickling that trembled in the back of my neck, separating myself from my body. I wasn’t here, but my reflection told me I was. This was me, here, now.

It was a lie.

My reflection stopped laughed and instead screamed. The noise was so sudden and so fierce that I winced at the sound of my own voice. I found control of my right arm, just long enough to thrust it into the mirror, distorting my face into tiny pieces and reflections.

At least I now resembled how I felt.

These broken pieces, they had to fit back together somehow. They had to still be alive. Nine years couldn’t have been a dream. People don’t dream for nine years. The pounding on the door got louder, nurses and doctors, the lot of them were working to open the lock. I didn’t let them have the pleasure of seeing me like this. I unlocked the door and pushed it outward. Everyone gazed at me, eyes locked on mine as my fingers dripped blood onto the floor.

My dead mother  My mother gasped.

My ex-best friend My best friend swallowed.

The nurse stood ready with another needle.

“I’m getting them back.” I marched across the room and sat at the edge of the bed. The nurse and doctor exchanged a look, very prepared for my insanity, but not for this. I was calm, cool, collected, at least that’s what I told myself. “I don’t care what any of you say, it wasn’t just a dream. Dreams don’t last that long.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Holy Giveaway

For those of you that don't follow YA Highway, you probably should for no other reason that sometimes they have awesome (incredible) giveaways.  But YA Highway also has awesome book recommendations.

Giveaway here!

Seriously, check it out - there's so many incredible books to be had!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Poppy by Avi - Books that made me love reading challenge

For some reason, when I was younger, I adored the idea of mice doing battle so much so that I bought almost the entirety of Brian Jacques series without even reading a single one of them. I'm a book hoarder, sue me.

But I think that love all stemmed from Poppy.

When I was younger... I loved how a timid little field mouse could do such a grandiose task.  It made me feel empowered, and I think it made me respect animals a lot more.  She fought for her life and won, she kept on going even when it looked bleak, even when she thought she was going to die.  Poppy was a fighter, and I hugely respected her courage.

Now...  since I have grown to love and respect owls, it is a bit of a bitter sweet ending.  While the owl is completely manipulative, and is a good villain, he is also just trying to survive.  The easiest way for him to do that?  To insight fear into the field mice.  This was an interesting one to read over again.

It's funny, when I was younger, I used to record myself reading and play it back.  The purpose?  To understand how I sounded to other people.  I actually really hated my voice - and for the most part, still do.  I also had a lot of issues with reading out loud.  I would trip over my words in class, and I read Poppy to try to get better at that.

I don't think it was very successful, but hey, it was still fun.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

On writing 9,000 words in a day

I know people have done this before, because people have written short length novels over the course of the 3-day novel challenge.

But let me be (probably not) the first to say that it's a lot of work.

Surprisingly, I got done a little over 3,000 words in an hour, so I can see where other people could accomplish a novel in a weekend.  But me?  I'm burned out.

When I get inside my character's head - really inside their head - and I'm writing from a hugely emotional standpoint (this whole novella has been one emotional trigger after another), I get my own gut wrenched.  I just spend the last thousand words sobbing as I brought my character to his emotional conclusions.  His resolve and the decisions that he has made for himself brought me to my own tears, as I know how I would feel if I were in the same situation.

And that's the thing:  It's every emotion at once.

Now that the 9,094 words are out of the way, I feel exhausted.  Not mentally, no, my brain can continue to pump out words for days.  But I'm emotionally hollowed out, my character burrowed a hole into my brain and I no longer have the emotional capacity for even myself.

Does anyone else get this emotionally invested in their characters?  I find that when I do cry, the words flow more genuinely onto the page, with true emotions and feelings.  The negative, well, I already said that.  It takes a lot of work.

I don't ever want to hear anyone say that writing is not a real job.

Oh - and now I have a fancy new Camp NaNoWriMo badge to show off in the corner.  Yay accomplishing goals!

Personal Update

I come to all of you readers from the past.  I wrote this blog post on Friday, but I didn't want to interrupt the blog tour mania. 

This month has brought quite an accomplishment - mostly me going insane.  Just a little insane.  Regardless, I will spend all Saturday finishing my Camp NaNo novel.  As of Friday, I had 10k to go.  And possibly, come Sunday, I might be done with a novella.

The Unanswerable started out as a blog short story, but someone asked me "Where's the rest of it?"  There was no rest of it, but I thought about this.  I thought about the characters, mulled over their circumstances.  And soon?  I had about ten excerpts from this story posted on my blog.

And I set out to eventually finish it.

I'm glad that July is going to be easier.  I'm planning on dedicating the month to editing Ruhe and Rioss and doing a ton of beta reading for other people.  I'm excited to finally be done with another project - but this Camp NaNo really took it out of me.  Due to my (in)sanity, I am also attempting Camp in August and NaNo in November.


Because the characters (voices) in my head won't leave me alone!  That's why!

Oh, that and if I finish my novella and another novel by October, I will have written four novels and one novella in a year.

And after never having written one?  And picking up projects only to put them down again for years?  I say it's the greatest accomplishment of my writing life. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Moa Review and Blog Tour with Prizes!

Moa is a quick read focused on Hillary. Hillary begins the novel as a frantic and fearful person - sitting on a plane and reminiscing about her life and how she came to be at this very moment. She visits her sister, Molly, and her niece, Heidi in Hawaii. Life on paradise isn't quite as it seems, as Hillary begins to realize that her past is more intertwined with the Hawaiian Islands than previously imagined.

Although the main character in this book is Hillary, it is told from Moa's perspective. Moa is a gate-keeper of, what is essentially, the spirit world. The perspective is interesting, because the book changes focus a few times. The only confusing part is when Moa is talking in first person, sometimes she refers to herself in third. But, if you take that with a grain of salt, it's an interesting and very different technique with story telling.

Because of the Blog Tour, you can get Moa for only .99 on Amazon! For that price, it is definitely worth the read because you could finish it in one short plane ride - though maybe reading about someone who fears flying on a flight isn't such a good idea.

Be sure to check out all of the amazing things happening as a result of this Blog Tour! There's still tons of giveaways going on. Check it out on Novel Publicity!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Moa Blog Tour and Huge Giveaways

I know I've been a little hard to reach these past few weeks.  I've been buried with Camp NaNo and lots of reading on the side.  But I'm proud to bring you this excerpt from Moa by Tricia Steward Shiu.  It's a paranormal YA novel that I'm about 40% of the way through and am quite enjoying.  I'll post a full "review/reflection" once I finish the book - so far it's been a snappy, quick read!  As part of the tour, there are huge prizes, including $600 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, 5 autographed copies of Moa, and 5 autographed copies of its sequel, Statue of Ku.

Basically, you should enter!  The links to the rafflecopter and giveaway information is below.

Moa excerpt:

Eighteen-year-old, Hillary Hause’s left thumb searches frantically to turn on the “I’m Okay to Fly” hypnotherapy recording. Her nerves on edge, fuchsia fingernails press into the blue pleather armrests of her airplane seat.

“No spells can help you now,” she whispers to herself under her breath—then checks to see if anyone notices. Nope, they don’t.

The plane lifts through the early morning, gray fog of California, “June Gloom” giving way to the azure sky, and Hillary covers her curly brown head and retreats beneath the questionably clean plane blanket cranking the volume to drown out the drone of the engines.

“Outer shell close to breaking.” This time she doesn’t care if anyone hears.

I hover just beyond her “outer shell”—a movement in the periphery, a faintly familiar scent, a fond memory just beyond recognition, a non-human observer. Before the week is up, Hillary will save my life, as I will hers. But, for now, more about Hillary.

The drink cart rolls past the blanket, which has, by now become a moist steamy cave.

“Hey, freak. I hope your plane crashes.” The memory reverberates through her brain despite her attempts to distract herself with the hypnotherapy recording. She increases the volume, but the ugly conversation, which occurred just before school ended, still haunts her mind.

“I guess the only people they check on those flights are the suspicious ones,” Krystal Sykes, a bully from her home room, leans in as Hillary hastens to grab books for her next class. Krystal, also a senior, has hounded Hillary since the first day of freshman year and this is the final day during the final hour at this tiny high school of 376 students —where everyone knows everyone else’s business.

“Look, Krystal.” Hillary turns her eyes toward the sneering blonde. “It’s the last day of school, we’ll never see each other again. Can you give it a rest?” These are the most words the two young women have exchanged in the entire four years of high school.

A look of shock replaces Krystal’s smug snick, “Oh, so now you talk.” She leans in, so close that her spray tan becomes a patchy Impressionist painting. Her pores are blotched with cakey, two shades too dark powder, her unblended cream eyeshadow creases across the center of her lid and her tropical breeze flavored breath threatens to strangle the words right out of Hillary.

“I know all about your witchcraft practices and have made a few spells of my own. Trust me. You’ll never make it to your sister’s house in Hawaii.” Krystal’s backpack jingles and Hillary watches her spin around and skip down the hall.

Hillary is not a witch. She has, however, carefully crafted a “shell” to protect herself from bullies like Krystal—who, as far as Hillary can tell—is not a witch either. She has watched Krystal throughout elementary, middle and high school and has not been able to discern whether or not she practices witchcraft. No matter what Krystal’s background, her intent is to harm. And there is nothing worse than a spell with an aim to hurt. Hillary has had no choice but to remain in a constant state of defensiveness.

The twenty-minute recording ends and Hillary falls into a troubled sleep—feeling every bump and hearing every creak of the plane.

With about an hour left in the flight, Hillary awakens with a “turtle headache.” Hillary’s older sister Molly taught her this term which means a headache caused by sleeping too long underneath the covers of one’s bed.

Sadly, Molly lost her husband, Steve, last year in an unfortunate surfing accident. The throbbing pain in Hillary’s left temple could be the result of remaining submerged beneath an airplane blanket and wedged between the window and armrest, or it could be from worry about how Molly and her niece, Heidi are dealing with their devastating loss.

Disoriented, Hillary pokes her head out just in time to glimpse puffy clouds and sparkling sea below. A flood of excitement and sheer wonder flows through Hillary in the form of a tingle from her head to her toes. And then, a lovely thought: “…And for an Everlasting Roof, The Gambrels of the Sky…” She will enjoy this plane ride, thanks in part to Emily Dickinson.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Moa and Statue of Ku eBook editions have both been dropped to just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $600 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copies of Moa and Statue of Ku for just 99 cents 
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity 
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About Moa: Eighteen-year-old, Hillary, anticipates adventure as she embarks for trip to Honolulu, but gets more than she bargained for when Moa, an ancient Hawaiian spirit, pays her an unexpected visit. Get it on Amazon.

About Statue of Ku: The second book in the Moa Book Series, “The Statue of Ku” follows Hillary and Moa as they jet to Egypt on the Prince’s private plane to reclaim Moa’s family heirloom, the inimitable statue of Ku. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Tricia Stewart Shiu combines her addiction to the written word with her avid interest in the healing arts and all things metaphysical in her novels Moa and Statue of Ku and looks forward to finding new ways to unite her two loves. Visit Tricia on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo

As if I didn't have enough on my plate, I have enlisted myself into Camp NaNoWriMo.

The Unanswerable, which a lot of you have probably seen excerpts of over time, is finally being written.  It has a 50-60k goal as a self-published novella about the "end of the world."  It will be stand alone, but I might write about other people in the same world, but different area, different circumstances.

It is now 12,892 words done (7k of that was already written prior to Camp).  It feels great to finally get some progress made in this story.

What's on my plate, besides Camp:
  • Working with three other writers in a critique group - doing one-two chapter critiques a week for each person, as well as editing one-two chapters of Ruhe weekly.
  • Received my edits back from Taryn.  They are spectacular, but I have a lot of work to do.  I'm still sitting on the new idea/replotting what has to be changed.  I'm not even attempting these changes until post-Camp.  So, July is Rioss rewrite month.  I plan on getting it out to my six or seven beta readers as I make changes.
  • August brings about the second Camp.  I'll be completely rewriting Anthony's story A Good Criminal Heart.  My seventeen year old writing was just not as good as my twenty five year old writing.
Basically, a lot of rewriting.  As much as I want to start new projects, and I am allowing myself to work on The Unanswerable, I really need to sit my butt down and finish my other projects to query level.

But The Unanswerable and "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" will both be self-published.  Which means, I have legitimate reasons for wanting to work on them.  They are great stand alone pieces and attest to my capability as a writer.  Not only that, but I think they are downright fun.  And it's a good "test" to see if I can get an audience through self-publishing.  If not, I'm saving my other three books for the real thing.  I don't care how long it takes me, I am going to become successful at my craft.

Just you guys wait and see ;)  I'm a very determined keyboard monkey.

Or maybe a Golden Tamarin. 

I love those.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Shiloh - Books that made me love reading challenge

For some reason, I really thought that Shiloh was a sad story. I don't know why my childhood mind made up this idea, but for whatever reason that's how I remember it.  Strange what time and memory really does, huh.  It could be that I'm getting Shiloh and Shiloh Season confused - or maybe I just remember the graphic, bloody part better than the rest.

When I was younger...
I guess what I really enjoyed about Shiloh was the actual dog.  I was animal obsessed to the 1000th degree and really thought that someday I would be a vet.  (Then I realized that I can't physically cut into anything without become queasy).

I start to peel back the layers and realize there's much more substance to the story than I previously thought. The main character, while he lied to his parents, learns an important life lesson about keeping true to his word and being a generally good person.  He faces an enormous amount of hostility and adversity from Judd, but with his perseverance and strength of character, he reaches his goal.  It is one of those stories where you end up believing that anything is possible if you work hard enough.  Which, isn't that what all kids should be taught?

Of course, being older and a little more cynical (or realistic), I realize that this isn't always the case.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, you will still be pushed in a different direction.  But I do believe that the different direction might sometimes be a better fit than where you once where.  And I think that's what I take away from this novel - work hard and eventually get rewarded, though sometimes the reward can surprise you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Graphic Design: Although fun, not a cure for writer's block

I'm at it again.  I can never stick with one project for too long, and doing too many projects at once usually makes me feel overwhelmed.  But recently, I've decided to deviate from writing (for just a little hiatus) and tap into some of the other creativity I have. 

For those that don't know:  I love graphic design.  Not all the time, of course, but I enjoy photo manipulation, working with Photoshop, and generally doing random things.

This weekend, I created the cover for "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade," which is still open for suggestions.  I also worked on this super nerdy crossover, where FVII meets Van Gogh.

Basically?  I spent my whole weekend not writing.  I haven't been in the mood to write - I've been in a slump of sorts since post-honeymoon.  So I'm curious, other writers:  What do you do to get out of a slump?

While being creative is good for me, no matter what I end up doing, it isn't helping me finish my stories.  RUHE is sitting without being edited for a third time (and after editing one chapter, believe me, it needs it).  "My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" isn't even finished yet.  And I have tons of reading to do for fellow critiquers.

Conclusion:  The slump needs to end.  ASAP.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Almost 200 Followers

One follower away from almost 200 has me thinking.  I should probably make a post with my favorite quotes from all of my current works in progress.  Short and sweet, but fun fun fun.

"My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" - Short Story, Humor
My dad always told me, "Terrance, if you see your mom trying to get in through that door, you lock it - you understand?"  So when my mom comes in through the window, I'm thankful it's not that door.

Rioss - YA GBLT Urban Fantasy
He opened his mouth to answer me, but before he could get any words out black and red bile spewed from his mouth.

RUHE - YA Contemporary
Delia threw her arms out in an elaborate gesture.  "My messenger name is Delialovesyou.  I know, super cute, right?  Totally.”

Soul Therapy - YA Paranormal Romance
She never really could get used to the underlying sense of desire he exuded. It oozed out, and he always seemed too eager, which is why Jess hadn’t done anything with him. She hadn’t decided if he was worth it.

2042 - Science Fiction
    "Okay, no, really... who put you up to this?  Albert?"  I hollered down the hallway.  Albert poked his head out of the office.  I got up out of my chair and pointed to the machine thing, it was still reaching for me.  "Did you get this guy?  What is it, a new kind of robot-ogram?" Albert walked towards me and stopped as he saw the clunking machine.  The machine's eye refocused on Albert.
    "Albert Stevenson?"
    "Kayla, I think you should..."  Albert stammered out a few words before the robot interrupted him.
    "Albert Stevenson, you should really return those DVDs."  Its voice boomed.  Albert's face whitened.

Good Criminal Heart - YA GBLT
Blood trickled down the back of my head and my knuckles were dropping blood.  My blood, and Nick’s blood, in one beautiful mess that spread throughout the hallway floor.

Kingdom of Obsession - Contemporary
“But nothing, Cat.  You and David split for the same reason in my ‘dream.’”  I rolled by eyes, “And mom only found her cancer because of the accident that never happened… but did happen.  In my...” Other life, second life, dream, memory, “Whatever, it was as if that accident never happened.”

That's all the teasers I have for today.  Rioss is officially in the hands of an editor!  And yes, it is one that I am paying for, but she's crazy amazing, and I'm excited for her feedback.  I have a good feeling about this one, folks!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Flash Fiction

I've been in a bit of a rut as far as writing has gone.

"My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" is sitting at home - too far away for me to work on it on my lunch break.  And Rioss is finished, hopefully getting edited soon.  Rioss II is a project that I don't want to undertake until Rioss is being queried.  I should probably finish my other projects too.

"My Summer Vacation by Terrance Wade" is about Terrance Wade - a precarious little kid that gets kidnapped by his mother over the summer vacation.  He tells an epic tale of adventure, even though he should be scared because he's been kidnapped.  But that's not Terry's style - he likes "seeing the world."  This might end up being my first self-published short story - as I'm aiming for 5-10k, and it sits at 2.5k right now.  A small goal, but I think I need smaller goals right now while Rioss is in the balance.

But, I'm still writing.  Here's my silly little flash fiction piece:

Sometimes the scratching is more than I can bear.  It seeps into my head, swirling around my brain and crawls deep within the recesses of my nervous system. I want to scream.  I want to claw and tear out my own skin, but they tell me that’s crazy.  There’s nothing there, it’s all in my head.

But what you can’t hear, I can.  It sounds like distant clicking of tongues mixed with a small undertone of bee hums.  And they dance around in human flesh, pretending to be normal.  Pretending to be like us.  After a few too many drinks, after they let their guard down, after they overindulge on the fantasies and pleasures earth promised them, you can see it.  Just a flicker, just a moment, but the whites in their eyes flash to black.  And their pupils shrink to the size of a pin.  The color of their eyes turns bright yellow.  

And they say I’m crazy, but the woman who made that decision is one of them.  I’m sure of it.  There’s no such thing as aliens, and they certainly don’t wear human skin.  They are wrong.  So so so wrong.  And as the humming gets closer and threatens to burst my cells from the inside out, I see him.  He’s the one that I’ve been waiting for.  He’s their leader.

He’s beautiful.

He must die.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


For this month, on the Books that Made Me Love Reading Challenge, I read Matilda by Roald Dahl.

What I thought then:
Matilda was a nerd, just like me.  She was a nerd and was capable of so many good things in the world - that it must mean that being a little bookish is okay.  I wanted to be more like the precarious child, I wanted to read more and emulate who she was.  And I think that really helped me read more often, because she was so enthralled with books.  I said to myself, "I want to do that - I want to read every book on the children's section."  And I remember that I did start picking up library books at random, but I never did get through all of them.

What I think now: 
Matilda is a little bit evil.  She's like a child version of Dexter.  Matilda plays tricks and pranks on people that deserve it - on people that are downright bad people.  Dexter has the same kind of philosophy right?  But the main difference is:  He is 100% a sociopath.  Matilda -- well, she just wants to get people back and live a good life (where other good people also get to live good lives).  But it is vigilantism, right?  I still love Matilda, and I still love her story.  I think it's a great book and speaks a lot about "Good things should go to good people."

Also, the illustrations are still hilarious, I don't care how old you are - that newt is precious!

Next month, I'll be reading Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zones

As promised, here’s another excerpt.  It is a continuation of Q is for Quarantine.  These are all part of the new novella The Unanswerable.

Tim McGarth, the news anchor, shuffled through his papers.  “This just in, drop zones have been announced.  I repeat, drop zones have been announced.”  Everyone in the cellar cast brief glances around.  A map came on the screen.

The dead center of Manhattan was blood red.  It got lighter as it drifted out from the center.  The camera switched back to Tim.  He gulped audibly.  He was still in the city, just like us.  Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead.  “Seems as if the only way to contain the virus is to eradicate it.  Everything, folks.”  He loosened his tie.  “I must say, it has been fun, New York.  You gave me the anchor position, and I tell you, if I didn’t have to step on a few toes to get here, it wouldn’t have been the same.”

He ruffled his hand through his hair, messing up the perfect part.  “I think everyone in the studio agrees with me.  It is now time to go and be with your loved ones.  By this time tomorrow, our fabulous city might not have any survivors.  It has been an honor-" he choked on his words, "and a privilege to work with all of you."  The camera zoomed in on his eyes, “I’ll be home soon, honey.”

Tim got up and walked offstage.  A few people that worked in the studio wandered aimlessly around set before a “technical difficulties” message popped up on the screen.

There was an audible groan inside the cellar.  “They can’t do this,” a man stood up.  “They can’t.  We aren’t sick, none of us are sick!”  He slammed his fist against the wall.

Diane held onto our son with both hands.  He tried to wiggle away, but she wouldn’t let him.  “We have to have some faith, Diane.”  I leaned my forehead against her wet cheek.  “I love you.”

I couldn’t keep my own tears from coming to the surface in my eyes.  I had seen too many people try to escape – too many people gunned down by the hazmat suits.  You would think that eminent doom would make someone risk it all, but I couldn’t.  I was too scared that I would lose them – or that they would lose me. 

She pulled me into her arms along with our son.  “I love you too, Matthew.  I always will.”  Her words escaped her mouth with heavy, thick breaths.  This was the beginning of the end.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Youth

I’ve always been vastly curious about how old people perceive themselves. My theory is: We all reach a certain age and don’t really “grow” more mentally. Maybe our thought processes change slightly, but there’s a point in time where we all stop aging.

My theory for myself? I think I was nineteen. At that point I had already experienced a lot in my life and no major changes happened. Sure, I’ve grown older and changed slowly over time, but I’m pretty sure that was the year where things really stopped surprising me. In fact, maybe I could push it to 21, but that’s as far as I could go.

I haven’t felt an internal shift really since then. No big “Ah ha!” moments or crazy realizations. It makes me wonder if that’s why everyone around me still seems like they are “my age” even if we are ten years apart? Has youth and age stopped mattering because I’ve reached the point of “no return” where your innocence is truly gone and you are solely responsible for yourself?

Yes, I think I have. And I have another question: Is youth really wasted on the young?

I don’t think so. When I was younger (and didn’t have to worry about pre-cancerous cells, spinal arthritis, or panic attacks), I did gymnastics, I danced my little heart out, and I ran circles around everyone. I pushed my body constantly to prove that I was better than the boys at my school. I was excited, innocent, and perfectly content.

I think I held up my youth pretty well. I think I still hang onto it most days. When someone asks about the scar on my shoulder, I can cheerily reply, “Oh, I totally beat pre-cancer.” I plaster a massive grin on my face. Was it scary? Sure! But no scarier than when I had meningitis in second grade. The difference? I was seven and had no idea what was happening. Now? I can say “I won. I’ve won multiple times.”

I don’t think you can really win life or youth or love. But I think a part of me did each of the times that I’ve come out okay. Who cares if I have spinal arthritis?! I’ll still do cartwheels around you (on my good days). On my bad days? Give me my awesome looking cane that scares the crap out of my cats. I’ll grin at anyone that looks at me funny.

Oh yeah, I have this one fatal flaw: I laugh hysterically when I’m in pain. Honest to goodness, most people don’t believe me when I say I’m in pain because I start laughing.

It’s pretty awesome.

In conclusion: I’m 21… or 19… whichever I feel like at the time. How youthful are you? What battles have you gone through that have tried to make you not youthful?