Thursday, March 31, 2011

Althea's Appetite

“Do you think this shirt will fit me?” Althea asked shoving her chest out holding a cotton t-shirt against her. “My breasts are deceptively large.”

Addie shrugged a tight smiled plastered across her face. “Yeah… I don’t know.”

The smile fell from Althea’s face her eyes narrowed at Addie, “do we have a problem.”

“Ummmm” Addie’s eyes darted around searching for an escape. “Yeah, I don’t really know what you are talking about.” The gentle sound of the phone ringing back at the counter saved Addie from another one of Althea’s inappropriate outbursts. “Oh I have to take this.” Addie said racing back to the front of the store snatching up the receiver before Althea could say another word.

Althea stomped out of the boutique annoyed. What did she have to do? Why did people always respond for her like that? She was just being friendly! Maybe they were just jealous of her and her deceptively large breasts.

Althea wiped the back of her hand across her glistening, oily face and smoothed her lank hair as she looked around for another store to torment. All Althea really wanted was a friend– someone who wouldn’t be put off by her brazen attitude and superior knowledge on all subjects. Althea had been to all of the stores in the past week and had made quite the spectacle of herself as she so enjoyed doing.

“What to do, what to do.” She mumbled as she briskly marched down the street liking to pretend she had purpose even when she didn’t. It made her feel important.

The rumble of Althea’s stomach reminded her it was time for lunch, but she had been banned from every restaurant in the area due to her instance that every neighboring table only order the food she recommended after all she was an expert. She was being helpful, she was a professional.

Before Althea made it back to her car she noticed a sign down an alley blinking in a slow rhythmic way which demanded her attention.

“Well they haven’t unjustly kicked me out.” She said aloud hoping one of those other restaurant’s heard her. She would just take her business elsewhere.

Althea burst through the door rattling the blinds. She immediately sighed loudly and waited with her hands on her hips. After ten seconds of waiting she yelled “Hello! I'm waiting here.”

A tiny man with large ears and a hunched over back came out of the back wiping his hands on his apron. “May I help you?”

“Duh, this is a restaurant I'm here to eat. Gosh, the service here is horrible.”

The man raised an eyebrow at her “you may sit wherever you like, but I'm not sure we have anything you would want here.”

“Well can I at least see a menu? I swear have you never run a restaurant before in your life. Once I worked in food service for 3 hours so I am sort of an expert if you need any advice.”

“No, I think I can manage. We have nothing prepared yet for today.”

“What is that I smell.”

The man coughed “It is a soup I really don’t think you would want it…”

“I’ll take it.” She cut him off. Althea hated being told what to do. She was a professional she knew what was best in every situation no one else’s opinion mattered in the least.

The old man’s frail, thin shoulders pulled up, “Whatever you say.” He disappeared back into the kitchen and moments later came out with a steaming bowl in his hands. Sitting the cloudy yellowish broth in front of her he stood back and waited.

Althea pointedly picked up her spoon and rubbed an unseen spot from it before dipping the utensil in the pungent liquid. The old man grimaced as she swallowed the spoonful of broth.

Althea looked up at him triumphantly “Needs salt.”

He quickly sat salt on the table and escaped into the back room where a room full of other twisted old men sat waiting for him to return. “Fellas, she is eating the boner soup.” Every mouth in the room fell open as they looked back at him. “Couldn’t talk her out of it.”

“What will it do to her?” One of them asked.

The old man wrinkled his nose and bared his false teeth, “can’t really say for certain.”

The group of men thundered out of the room and fought to see around the corner at what was happening to the girl.

“Oh my, it’s bad.” One of the men said “Look at her.”

“No, that was the way she looked when she came in.”

“Well go out and talk to her.” They encouraged him pushing him through the door.

The tiny old man walked back up to her talk “May I get you anything else?”

“Just my check, I am very busy and important.”

“Seriously, it's on the house. Are you feeling alright?”

“I'm always perfect, do you have a problem with me.”

“Not at all.”

“Well I never… I am a paying customer.” Althea stormed out of the restaurant while the old man watched her flabbergasted.

“What happened?” Someone called out from the back.

“It didn’t work.” Another one said.

“But it has been tested,” another person insisted.

“I guess it doesn’t work if you are already a dickhead.”


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Feet on the Ground, Head in the Clouds

Someone once said, I think it was Mark Twain though I have also heard something similar attributed to Jane Austen, “Write what you know”.

I understand the reasoning for this advice. The things you know are easier to describe, easier to bring to life with words. Making a character live in a real city you are not familiar with or describing the taste you have never experienced would be difficult to pull off with any depth. However I have trouble buying into this notion completely. Sorry, Ms. Austen and Mr. Twain, but I disagree to an extent.

With DARK CORNERS I took a lot from real life. Obviously not everything, but there is a fair portion of the story I can back up with real life experiences. For this type of story I think the advice works because with this type of tale, psychological mystery with paranormal element, one foot has to stay firmly grounded in reality.

However, as I dive deeper into the world of PNR with the GUARDIAN TRILOGY I find there is less and less I can draw on from my own life and the more my imagination takes over launching me on these journeys into the unknown. I believe when writing PNR what you know is the appetizer, but imagination becomes the entree. There is something very free about being able to bring to life everything that lives in your head and create from nothing until it comes to life.

Do you write what you know or let your imagination run wild?

Photo by Kim

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Right to Write

Today, I feel like a writer.

Yep, I said it. I feel like an actual writer. I know we all talk about how we are real writers even if we aren’t with a publishing house or anything like that and I am completely behind that. But today, today I feel it.

Most days, if I am being honest, I don’t think about whether or not I am a writer. It has yet to become a question that haunts me. I just plug away at what I am doing because I love it, no titles necessary. If someone tells me I am not a writer because I haven’t published my book yet or because I plan on being indie so be it. That is their opinion and it doesn’t change anything about what I am doing or why I am doing it. I have stories to tell and will tell them one way or another.

The difference in today is a little thing I like to call validation. When something happens that makes you feel validated as an author it is an incredible feeling. While I was sleeping last night I received two emails. The first one was from a critique partner of mine who just finished reading one of my books. This isn’t someone I know or have ever even met just an unbiased pair of eyes looking at a chunk of my soul on paper. And she liked it! Her exact words were “Wow! Incredible! I was interested and intrigued the whole time! Excellent, excellent story!”

My second source of validation was from my editor. I got back my first ten pages from her, the professional, and she said “You completely pulled me into your story, and as some hard stuff has come up in my family, it was really nice to lose myself in Ella's world even if it was for just a little while.” It takes an awful lot to make me smile at 7am , but these fabulous ladies managed.

It all feels very real today.

What makes you feel validated in your life?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Family Remains

This is a short story I have been working on that is outside of the mystery/PNR I normally write. I hope you enjoy it.

Violet stood up tall, stretching her aching back in the middle of her daddy’s cotton field. Acres of green leaves, brown bolls, and fluffy white tufts lay before her. Strands of white cotton floated peacefully in the still, heavy summer air. Violet tilted her head to the left then the right loosening her neck. Angry blisters and bright red cuts scrawled across her small, delicate hands from the picking cotton. The sun was beating down without mercy on the dry, scorched earth causing sweat to trickle down Violet’s back. As she continued to stretch her older sister Haute looked from under the brim of her hat at her disapprovingly. Haute was a sturdy young lady which came from years of helping her father in the fields. She had a stern face and serious dark brown eyes however she was pretty in a majestic, almost queen like manner. Haute scared Violet, she scared most people.

“Violet, get back to work before Daddy sees you.” Haute said leaving no room for argument.

Violet did as she was told because she knew disobeying her sister would get both of them in a heap trouble. Their family operated as a well oiled machine. Each child looked after the one immediately below them in age. So when one was in trouble, they all were trouble. Violet glanced over at her younger sister Rachel who was also helping in the field. Rachel’s mind was prone to wandering to who knows where. Luckily, she was standing by their momma who was the only one who could keep her focused on a sultry day like this. Violet could hear momma softly singing a hymn with Rachel as they picked. She could see daddy and the men working on ahead paying no attention to the girls behind them. Just a normal day on the Moody farm.

The entire family helped with the farming in whatever way they could be of use. Haute told Violet when she complained that “many families are worse off than us, some don’t even have food.”

The Moody family always had plenty of food and nice shoes for church and school. Some nights when it was too stuffy to sleep Violet would overhear her parents talking about something that she surmised must have been bad. They said words like “depression” and “crop prices plummeting” which Violet didn’t understand, but naturally feared the worst. She asked Haute about it because she was older and knew almost everything. Haute said not to worry daddy would take care of everything, but Violet could see she was worried too. Everyone was worried.

The sun as relentless and unforgiving as ever made the air wavy with heat. There was a thickness to the air that made it hard to breath, but the work still had to be done so Violet pressed on until her mother, Annie Moody, gave a nod to her daughters that it was time to go inside to prepare supper. A surge of energy flooded Violet at the notion of going back to the house. Each of Annie’s daughters fell in line behind her as they walked through the rows back to the neatly kept two story, white farm house. The yard was several degrees cooler than the field thanks to a couple of ancient, gnarled oak trees that provided shade for their home.

Violet watched little Rachel take hold of momma's hand as they walked towards the house she saw her momma try not to cringe as Rachel’s tiny fingers brushed against her open sores. Instead of pulling away as Violet would have done her momma hummed a song that she seemed to make up as she went. Violet skipped behind her mother, full of energy and sunshine, happy to be out of the fields. A patch of wild flowers off in the distance caught her eye. She made a mental note of where she saw them so she could pick them for her momma the next chance she got. Violet always delivered the flowers with a kiss on her cheek just because she loved seeing momma smile. Violet glanced back at Haute stoically following behind fanning herself with her large brimmed hat. Haute never picked wild flowers or played games with her sisters.

Once inside the girls were sent to quickly wash up. By the time Violet and Rachel made it back into the kitchen there momma working on supper and Haute was on the porch plucking a chicken. Momma nodded towards the porch and Violet nudged Rachel. They took off racing towards the door, but Violet made it faster because she was older and taller than Rachel. Violet sauntered out the door hands on her hips crowing loudly about winning their impromptu race. Rachel's face scrunched up as if she might start crying.

"Violet." Haute snapped "Quit fooling about. Work on the beans." Violet minded me older sister pulling Rachel behind her.

“Haute, will Lee Buck be joining us this evening?” Momma called out through the window.

Violet knew momma didn't like Lee Buck. She knew this because momma always used his full name like he was in trouble. She also knew it because she had heard her momma say something to daddy about it one evening after all the children were supposed to be in bed.

“I do not like that young man.” Momma had said“I cannot imagine what Haute sees in him.”

“He could be a good provider for her.” Daddy said in his slow resonating voice. "The Buck farm is the largest in the county."

“There is something not right about him,” Momma insisted “something cruel in his nature. Can’t we do something to stop this, Dallas? She's only fifteen.”

Daddy was slow to answer as was his way “That's the same age you were when we got married. If we stand in her way it will only make her want to go more.”

Violet looked back at her sister finishing with the chicken and wondered if Haute knew how their momma felt.

"I believe he will momma.” Haute replied back.

“Once you finish with the chicken why don’t you get cleaned up. I'll finish up supper.” Momma told Haute.

Violet nudged Rachel and made kissy faces causing Rachel double over in a fit of giggles. Haute cleared her throat with such authority Violet's head immediately snapped over to her. Haute got that from their Daddy. All Haute did was shake her head and admonishment washed over Violet who began immediately snapping beans again.

"Are you gonna marry Lee Buck, Haute?" Violet asked after a few moments of silence.

"Stop talking nonsense." Haute said "He has not proposed to me nor is he likely to."

"Good. I don't like that Lee Buck." Violet told her sister "He has a mean face, a big nose, and little Martha Miller said she saw him kick a dog."

"You hold your tongue, Violet." Haute said standing up with a bare chicken in her hands and walked into the house.

Violet watched her sister go earnestly hoping she didn't marry Lee Buck.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rolling Writers

I just joined a writer blog hop, so welcome newbies and tried and true alike. This seems like fun, if I can ever figure it out as the technically challenged. Here are the rules to join:

1) (Required) You must follow my blog and Some Sharp Words

2) (Required) You must follow the guest poster featured in the blog hop post.

3) You must add you name to the link bar.

4) You must copy these rules, the hop link and the featured question with your answer on your own blog. This blog serves as a place for new followers to say hi.

5) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!

6) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.

7) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Ok so I think, may be wrong but I think, this week I am supposed to answer the question and next week it will be someone else.
What inspired you to start writing?

There isn't one incident that made me say oh I should be a writer. I began writing short stories in junior high and always enjoyed writing. But I stopped writing them in high school and college. After college I had so many story ideas floating around in my head I decided I should put them to paper and viola, here I am.
This is the blog hop for the writing community. Every Friday writers who blog come together and hop! Leave your name and URL of the FF post and we'll come visit you too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Well so I was tagged in this Memetastic Award business. I am not sure what it is but that bear in the picture seems to be having a good time( either that or he is a Twilight vampire look at him sparkle), so who am I to judge? Any the rules are as follows:
1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic in a post

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Your readers are to guess which one is the truth by posting a comment on your blog.

3. You must pass this awesomely, prestigious award on to 5 deserving bloggers.

Best of luck grasshoppers.

1. My favorite serial killer is Ted Bundy

2. I am a nevernude

3. My favorite singer is John Mayer

4. I do not have an action plan to survive the zombie apocalypse

5. I do not make up other songs to the tune of Dark Wing Duck.

So now your job is to guess which one is the correct answer in the comment section the winner will receive...absolutely nothing. Muhahaha. Actually no I will write you a short story of your subject matter choosing similar to that of Witch Balls. That's my best offer.

Now for the truly mean part as if shooting stars, balloons, and vampiric bears weren't enough. The new winners of this award are....

1 S.E. Gordon
2 Michelle Ferguson
3 S.J. Wright
4 M. G. Ainsworth
5 Khloë Kamalis

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Witch Balls

Once upon a time there lived a free spirited woman named Yve. She liked to twirl through the rain storms, make whistles out of the greenest blades of grass, and touch everything that caught her eye. Yve often sang at the top of her lungs as she walked down the street and had the best conversations with the brick wall inside the newspaper foyer. People didn’t quite know how to handle Yve as she was a bit strange, but she hardly noticed the odd looks or raised eyebrows. Yve was happy in her own small life of no significance to anyone, but herself.

One day Yve was walking through a part of town that was completely unfamiliar to her. She had stopped for a scoop of her favorite coconut ice cream, but as soon as she stepped out of the ice cream parlor the delicious ice cream began to melt pouring over the side of the cone and down her arms faster than she could stop it. She became so preoccupied with the sticky mess she didn’t pay attention to where she was going and managed to find a street that was entirely new to her.

The street was narrow and dark though the sun burned brightly overhead. Yve finished off the last of her ice cream cone as she came to the front of a little shop nearly hidden in the dense brick walls. If it were not for the sign stating the shop carried witch balls she would have missed it all together. Yve hoped they would have a restroom where she could wash her hands and she was terribly curious about what a witch ball was.

The dull klong of the door chime and the blast of frigid air as she walked into the shop made goose bumps cover her flesh. It was a wonderfully, strange place. Mismatched shelves covered the walls. Each shelf held mysterious glass jars filled with strange looking spices or twigs or leaves. One shelf in particular caught Yve’s attention. It was the only shelf with doors closing its contents from the view of the public. Yve meandered her way towards the shelf need to see what was on it. When she reached the checkout counter she called out in her sing –song voice.


There was no reply so Yve walked around the counter laying her hands upon the peeling green paint of the old cabinet. She looked left then right. No one was her this was her opportunity. She opened the cabinet to find the top shelf contained jars of bird feet, reptiles, and eyes. Her nose crinkled at the sight.

The next shelf had the most wonderful glass balls. They swirled and sparkled enticingly. Yve licked her lips and took another look around the store. She wanted to feel the ball to see if it was as light and airy as it looked. She wanted to feel the smooth surface beneath her hands and feel the coolness of the glass. If she was extra careful with it what could it hurt?

Yve studied each of them finally decided on the pale robin egg blue ball with swirls of purple. Her hand closed around it and Yve felt a tug in the center of her stomach.

The store keeper came out of the back room. “Hello.” Said the old woman “Is someone here?” She asked again seeing no one. “How did that cabinet get opened again?” The old woman looked in her cabinet and counted her witch balls to make sure they were all still there. “Oh I see we have a new guest.” She said poking the blue ball rattling Yve inside. “Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to touch things that don’t belong to you?”

Moral of the story don’t touch someone else’s balls without permission.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Writer With a Day Job

As much as writing consumes my time and has taken over my life I still have a day job. It is necessary to support myself and my addiction, luckily I enjoy my day job so it isn’t a big deal. However after working eight to five coming home and sitting in front of the computer for another 5-8 hours is tiring. It wears you down quickly and before you know it the words run together and all the ideas seem like bad ones. There are certain things that help me make that switch from normal professional Liz to creative writer Liz.

Liz’s Top Five Ways to Clear Her Mind and Get Back in the Story:

1. Exercise- Immediately when I get home from work I go outside for a run/walk. Once I am going with my book playlist blaring in my ears my mind finds its own way back into the story and starts working on scenes, no forcing necessary.

2. Explaining a scene that is troubling me or what my book is about to someone else who will question me about it. In order to answer questions about my work or explain the underlying emotional threads of a particular scene I have to be in my characters minds. Once there it is easy to keep going.

3. Reading what I have written. If I flip back to the beginning of a chapter or a previous chapter and reread it often it will pull me back in and make it easier to continue.

4. Chatting with my writing group. While this one often back fires and three hours later I am still chatting with them a lot of times hearing about their stories or what they are working sparks enthusiasm in me for my own story. Making me really want to create and be awesome so they won’t kick me out of the group.

5. Taking a break. Sometimes an hour, two or a whole night off is necessary. You can’t be afraid to take it and let your brain regroup.

How do you get back into your stories?

Photo by Kim

Monday, March 21, 2011

Books, books, and more books

I sent the first ten pages of Dark Corners to my possible new editor for our trial run today. Eeeek! I am getting so close now I can smell it and it smells like fear. Ahaha no, that's just me. Next hurdle once the book is safely tucked into someone else's hands and the cover is complete is the book trailer.

I have a rather specific idea in mind for my book trailer and up until today I wasn't sure how feasible (with limited resources) my vision was. However, after speaking with my friend, fellow writer, and trailer guru MD Christie I have a renewed sense of excitement about the project. I can't wait until I have something to show you. Everyone should check out her blog or follow her on twitter @md_christie. Another daunting goal this week will be to work on my blurb (ugh) and book summary.

Top Five Book To Be Read Once I Find Time:
1. The new Dresden Files. I know it doesn't come out until April, but I like to plan ahead.
2. In Memory of Greed- Al Boudreau
3. The Vampire's Warden- S.J. Wright
4. This Side of the Grave- Jeaniene Frost (I will finish this book someday)
5. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar- Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.

What's on your reading list?

Photo of Zombie Matt Nathanson by Kim

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Playlist Pallet

I wasn't planning on posting on the blog today. I have been playing catch up this weekend because I managed to save over some edits that I had made to Dark Corners with a less edited draft so now I have lost a big chunk of my work over the last couple days. Not happy. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't take it out on my blog I just have a ton more to do now so I have been making a valient effort to catch back up. Anyway, I am doing what I do best procrastinating. Today's topic: Music.

I find whether or not I can listen to music while I work totally depends on the project. Some of them I can no problem others I need silence. Some are soft and sad, others strong and challenging, just like I want my characters to be. So without even thinking about it I am making my edits sometimes bouncing around dancing, other times my heart swells, but the important thing is if I am feeling something. My current work playlist is as follows:

~Rolling in the Deep- Adele
~Sick Muse- Metric
~I and Love and You- Avett Brothers
~Crossfire- Brandon Flowers
~I Never Told You- Colbie Caillat
~I'm Not Calling You A Liar- Florence and the Machine
~Samson- Regina Spektor
~Be There- Howie Day
~Help, I'm Alive- Metric
~Little Lion Man- Mumford and Sons
~Starlight- Muse
~Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promises- Avett Brothers
~Conversation 16- The Nationals
~Eet- Regina Spektor
~Gravity- Sara Bareilles
~Come Home- One Republic
~Just Like Heaven- Charolotte Martin
~Operator- Jim Croce
~Between the Line- Sara Bareilles
~Jar of Hearts- Christina Perri (thanks for this MD, I love the song!)

Basically, I have chosen these songs for the emotional state they ease my mind into while playing softly in the background. Do you listen to music while you work and who is in your playlist?

“Music is what feelings sound like.”
For other blog music posts check out these awesome blogs!
Writings of a Dreamer: The Power of a Playlist
Some Sharp Words: Natural Selection Playlist
MD Writes:The Playlist: More Than Just Music To Your Ears
VK Tremain: Songs That Inspired Gift of Blood
Spell Checked by C.G. Powell: Playlist for "Spell Checked"
Nicole Chase: Playlist Muses

Photo by Kim

Friday, March 18, 2011

Prologues: Love Them or Hate Them?

I have been steadily working on edits for Dark Corners this week. After the slight annoyance of losing all the work I did on Tuesday and having to redo it I am finally starting to make some headway. Yay! I intend to send it to the editor no later than Monday. It is scary, but exciting.

One question that has been bothering me is do I keep the prologue or get rid of the it? I know there is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of prologues. When I originally wrote the story there wasn’t a prologue, then I added it later because it was suggested it might be a better hook for the beginning of the story. Now I like it, but I am hesitant because it is a prologue. So I am interested in everyone’s opinion. Prologues: Love them or Hate them?

Photo by Kim

Dark Corners Prologue

A sticky, sweet smell veiled the house, making it hard to breathe. I should have known immediately. After all, how many times had I described it in my books? Yet it didn't even occur to me as possible. Never could I have imagined my fiction so brutally brought to life. And so close to home.
The odor stuck in my throat. I gagged. Fear caressed my skin with its clammy hands. In the pit of my stomach I knew something was wrong, dead wrong. The intense certainty propelled my feet forward despite my legs unwillingness to move. They felt sluggish and uncooperative as I entered the only place left to look, the kitchen. The odor grew stronger, burning the inside of my nose. Swallowing several times to force the lump in my throat down, my mouth went dry. I on not throwing up, instead of what I might find. My hand defensively reached out in front of me though it was shaking and fragile. Time slowed down. Every one of my senses assaulted by blood and death, I froze in place. The cold, blank, dead eyes of my husband met mine. Rocking back and forth, the room spinning, I couldn't process the whole of what I was seeing. All I could do was stare back into Danny eyes—eyes frozen open in horror and pain. The floor smacked against my body as my knees gave way. Everything went black.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blame Hemingway

We had to read Hemingway in my high school English class–as I am sure most everyone did. I didn’t enjoy my American literature class. I have always loved reading, but my typical feeling while reading American lit was there was a lot of build up and unsatisfying endings. My favorite American writer we had to read in high school was Poe. With him I didn’t care if his character’s died I was marveling at the genius in which he wove his incredibly thought out tales of murder (I’m still a fan). Now, I specified American because I adored everything I read in my British lit class, I’m not going to talk about British lit today, but I just wanted that out there. It is and always will be my favorite.

I now have that the horrible habit of reading the ending of a story first. Whether or not I picked this up from an entire year of heartbreaking American literature or somewhere else I cannot be certain, but I like to blame Hemingway. Maybe it is unfair. As I am growing older I am, perhaps, seeing the error of my ways. Poor Hemingway probably doesn’t deserve my blame and in all honestly I feel like I should revisit his work as an adult.

Will I stop reading the last chapter first, no. Absolutely not. I am what is called an emotionally vested reader. I can watch a thousand sad movies and never shed a tear. The first chapter of Harry Potter makes me cry. Lord of the Rings made me cry no fewer than four time and one of those times was from happiness?!!? The emotions of the characters I read take over my own, when the book is done if there is a sad ending I am devastated for weeks. It isn’t worth it for me to read a book without bracing myself for the ending.

So I will continue to read the last chapter first, but I have decided to give Hemingway another shot. Since I have started my own writing I find his quotes the most honest, inspiring, and funny. I sort of feel like we could have hung out, had a drink or twelve, been buddies. Of course in this dream evening of intoxication, bars, and writing talk I want Hunter S. Thompson and Oscar Wilde there too.

So readers if you could hang out with any writers dead or alive who would you want to hang with?

I leave you with a quote from my soon to be new buddy “Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up” Hemingway

Photo by Kim

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Marketing Monster

Marketing an event is hard. The fact that you could host an event and no one shows up is a scary prospect. All that time and effort and money down the drain. Having that big fat “F” for failure written across your face. Intense stuff.

Marketing myself… well that is impossible. Yet I am trying to forge these waters and find a way to reach out to strangers. I don’t know the “never talk to strangers” bit really resonated with me as a kid and it is hard to branch out. Sometimes it is really easy, the writers group. Other times it makes me feel shy, which I am not at all.

So far this week I have finally participated in Kindleboards (thank you everyone for your help. Yes, I am a rock star now with two groupies). I have joined yet another book club for writers and readers call Between These Lines, it looks like it will be fun and a great way to meet people. I have struck up numerous conversations with strangers on Twitter. And the scariest one of all I have joined my local Writers Guild. Yikes! These are real people I will have to look at their faces and interact with in person. People I will likely run into while I am out shopping with bad hair and no makeup because I just needed to run to the store to pick something up quickly.

Yet this is all part of the process. If I am ever going to successfully market my book I have to WANT people to read it. The idea of strangers judging my hard work has to roll right off of me. I am thickening my skin little by little each day. I will not give into the fear. That is why I have decided to publish under my real name. Originally I was going to use a pseudonym so I could keep the writing part of my life separate from my real life. But, honestly, it is my real life too. I will publish under my name and someday I might even share my blog with my real Facebook friends. Baby steps.

Photo by Kim

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.- Robert Frost

Happy Sunday people! I am getting ready to dive into the final edit of Dark Corners before I send it off to my (possibly) new editor. This is a particularly dark tale of murder, isolation, and doubt. As a person I am actually a fairly happy, cheerful, and, dare I say it, optimistic sort. As a reader, watcher, and writer I gravitate towards the dark side. Which leads me to my question for you guys today, what is the appeal of writing dark characters for you?

For me the appeal is the freedom that comes with a particularly dark character. They don't care what others think and they are not tied down to the normal constraints of society. They are simply allowed to exist exactly as they choose. And that is a lot of fun to write.

Photo by Kim. Check her out here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekends at Liz's

One would think weekends would be the perfect time to write. I have all day with no work and nothing but time on my hands. That would be an incorrect assumption. My brain seems to work best Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday I just don't seem to want to even look at my computer. So far this weekend I have babysat for my nephews, gone shopping, gone running, babysat for a different niece and nephew, and now I finally have time when I could be writing or better yet editing and all I really want to do it read a book and go to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow will be more productive.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Road So Far...

Yesterday I promised I would start talking about my book I am working to publish rather than the projects that keep distracting me. The first book I plan on publishing is the first, well technically second book, I have ever written. The first book I threw away and deleted in a fit of raging self-doubt. The second book I have been much more level headed about though like everyone I have these nagging doubts that I am a hack. What are you going to do?

Dark Corners is the name of my book and it falls into the psychological thriller/mystery category with a paranormal element. It is not like the PNR I have been working on recently. This is a stand alone book about a woman, Ella Reynolds, whose life has fallen apart making her question everything including her own sanity. It is a dark tale filled with twists and the seemingly unexplainable.

Right now I am in the process of securing an editor who I feel will be perfect for me. Now let me just say I am fairly level headed (raging self-doubt aside) and I do not believe in signs. But my goal for the week was to find an editor and I was literally looking at several Web sites when I noticed an editor was following me on Twitter. Not only that but she tweeted to me about my profile which is "Aspiring writer, current ruler of cubicle one and parts of France" and she got it. Anyway I emailed her and I think it is going to be good! Yay!

My sister, who is a graphic designer, is working on my cover and thank goodness for that. I would have driven anyone else crazy by now with all of my oh one more idea, oh look at this cover I really like the font emails I have been sending her. And now I have a plan for a book trailer and a musician I know who said he would work on a song for it. Not to mention my new writing group which is full of the most wonderful, funny, supportive people.

Basically, I am a lucky girl and very thankful to have so many wonderful supportive people in my life.

Photo by Kim

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Taste of... Easy Bake Coven

Ok keep in mind this is a really rough draft (as in 90k in 4 weeks rough), but since I have been talking about it so much I figure it is only fair if I share a little with you guys. After today I will start talking about the book I am going to publish hopefully around May if all goes well.

(Picture by Kim check her out here)

Chapter One

“Gram… I’m a witch!”

“Uh… one more time, only with less enthusiasm. When you do that fake excited thing you do, you get this crazed look in your eye, it’s sort of creepy. Also open-mindedness and old generations… not really a match made in heaven.”

I nodded squaring my shoulders and rolling my neck “Gram, you might want to sit down, but you know that thing we don’t talk about and how I never really fit in… well apparently I’m a witch.” I tried again considerably more sedated.

“They don’t make you a witch, Selene, it’s just your personality.” Katrina laughed hysterically along with Kristin, Devin, and Jessica. I was less amused.

I swung a throw pillow from a nearby chair at them as they feebly tried to block with their forearms. “Damn it, I’m serious. I want to tell my grandma. She’s my only family… I have to tell her.”

“Selene, you’re so pretty.” She laughed because that was code for you are dumb “We are 26, I’m just sayin’, if you haven’t told her by now…” Kristin trailed off raising her hands in a helpless shrug “Don’t you think she would be better off not knowing? I mean she’s old. She could keel over from the shock.”

They didn’t understand. I was raised by my grandmother and she was all the family I had. That’s it, no one else just her and me. You may think that would make us close, but you would be wrong. We never really bonded, but she was my blood and that had to mean something. Hiding this these last five years was giving me an ulcer. I really wanted… no that’s not right, I needed to bite the bullet, ride the bull, just spit it out already. Even if the thought of it made me want to climb inside of an oven–the Hansel and Gretel irony did not escape me.

They had all told their families in one way or another and with relative ease. Hell, it was two thousand and whatever it wasn’t a big deal. Wiccan had totally been trumped by Jedi. We had become a generation of pop-culture fanatics with a desperate need to individualize ourselves. My grandmother, on the other hand, was an entirely different breed… an old school, strict Catholic. Let’s just say, it was fairly certain she wouldn’t be throwing me a parade. I would be lucky to ever make it back into her house.

“Thou shall not suffer a witch to live,” popped miserably into my head.

“You guys suck.” I grumbled annoyed that they couldn’t be serious for five consecutive seconds.

“Dude, I told my family while we were still in college. I sat them down and said I joined a coven. My dad asked how much is that going to cost me, when I told him nothing they proceeded to tell me all about my cousin who was knocked up. Maybe you just think she will react badly. She might just take it in stride, you know, maybe she has more perspective then you are giving her credit for.” Jessica offered at least trying to be helpful. “Not to change the subject or anything, but where in the hell is Leslie?”

Perspective, that was rich. Oh, I know exactly what type of perspective my Gram had. This magic thing wasn’t exactly new. There were rules in the house– do not talk about, acknowledge, or use anything that that had to do with the “m” word. As far as anyone was concerned I was just a normal kid like everyone else. Except I wasn’t and am pretty sure no one was fooled. I wasn’t a total outcast or anything I just didn’t have many close friends. Luckily I was pretty or high school would have been hell. The guys were always nice to me, but the girls were another story all together. Bitches.

Always quiet and polite a bit more like a part of the wall than anything else I never stood up to bullies. I turned the other cheek and yet, somehow, I was largely despised for it. For years, I bit my tongue and held in tears not saying the words that wanted to spill out. Then came college and gone was the submissive shell I had built around myself in an effort to blend. With each mile of distance between us the worry and inhibitions melted into a distant memory safely shoved to the back of my mind.

The way I saw it was Gram was nice enough to take me in and raise me when my parents died the very least I could do is not cause her any trouble by appearing ungrateful. My freshman year of college I did everything, tried everything, and went to every party loving every minute of it. Gone was the quiet exterior and in its place was a girl who spoke her mind and didn’t mince her words. Gram would be horrified enough about that little nugget of information, let alone the witch thing. But if I was ever going to be free of the constraints she put on me I had to do this, regardless of the outcome. I had to stop fearing my grandmother.

“I need a drink,” I said collapsing into the chair, Jessica tossed me a beer.

“Leslie is at a powwow,” Devin told Jessica before looking back at me. “We’re witches. I don’t see what the big deal is. It isn’t like we are sacrificing animals in the bathroom, sticking pins in voodoo dolls, or blowing things up.” I rolled my eyes “Fine, how about this, your grandma is three hours away, let it be.” Devin suggested.

It wasn’t that Devin didn’t have a point, she did. In fact she was right. Those common misconceptions about witches that seemed to plague society were not in the least what we were. We were simply six women not too far out of college who happened to have some rather special interests. We were as different as the four elements we called on–Earth, Air, Fire, and Water–and that is what made our small coven strong. We didn’t advertise and we certainly didn’t recruit. No need for our extracurricular activities to get back to our day jobs, if you know what I mean.

The idea of being a witch attracted me because I wasn’t bogged down with rules about my behavior. I had enough of that in my life. The two main rules of the craft were to do whatever you want so long as it didn’t hurt anyone else and whatever you send out into the universe will come back to you threefold. I could deal with that, in fact, I hoped it was true. I spent so much of my life practicing the first rule without even the hope of being rewarded threefold. We had monthly coven meetings, but they were more like fun nights with the girls, less like casting spells and trying to take over the world. I saw being a witch as living a more natural life, paying homage to a time lost with technology and innovation.

“Besides people have been calling us all witches, or other rhyming words, for years, we might as well get the perks.” Katrina added an amused glint still in her eyes.

I twisted the cap off my beer and threw it at Kat hitting her squarely in the forehead. I love these girls more than anything. In college we found each other, a shared interest in the occult, and a bond that seemed unbreakable. Add in a few startling natural abilities… voila an easy bake coven. I didn’t want to think about grandma anymore tonight. “Whatever, let’s hit a bar.”

“That’s my girl.” Kristin said with enthusiasm as they all hopped up ready to go. I stood draining my beer and depositing the bottle in the recycling container on my way to my front door. Gram didn’t need to know, it was easier on both of us that way.

“Where are we going?” Jessica asked.

“Sky!” Devin said immediately. She was a bona fide karaoke junkie and Sky was her favorite hangout or as she explained “they know us there.”

Katrina groaned, Jessica laughed and I called dibs on Bon Jovi bumping fists with Kristin.

The five of us saddled up to the bar flagging down the bartender. “Ladies, nice to see you again. What can I get you?”

“Cosmo,” called out Kat.

“Miller light,” added Jess.

“Budweiser,” Kristin said over her shoulder.

“Ummm do you have something fruity? Like something that is sweet, but with no melon.” Devin asked indecisive as ever.

“A sweet tart?” he asked.

“Sure, that would be fine.”

Finally it was my turn “A vodka tonic and a round of jager bombs.” I replied to his raised eyebrow. He winked at me with a knowing smile. The bartender was sort of cute, how had I never noticed him before. I watched him as he made the drinks while the girls complained about my order.

“Oh my God, I hate jager.” Jess complained.

“I thought you have yoga in the morning?” Devin chimed

Kat smirked with me as the bartender lined up our shots, “Here's to being single...drinking doubles...and seeing triple!” she proclaimed.

We clinked our glasses, downed the shot and staked claim at a table. It was going to be a good night.


The 7:00am yoga class I taught came much too soon. It felt like I collapsed into bed only to have my alarm immediately start screeching at me. I crawled out of bed, downed some Advil, and made a green smoothie before heading for my studio, the Luna Lair.

The yoga studio started as a side business while I was in college. I advertised on campus and before I knew it had full rosters for every class and a waiting list. After graduation I continued on with the studio hiring three more instructors and expanded operations. My little business venture had paid off and thank God for that, I had no desire to get an eight to five sort of job.

Unlocking the door, I flipped on the lights in the store front where I sold yoga clothes and accessories, candles, teas, smoothies, and charms. The charms and the candles were my own creation. The new age people absolutely loved reading my signs about blue candles helping success and confidence, the red candles sexual passion and determination, the green candles wealth and luck and it was all true, just not quite as easy as burning a candle. However, no one really wanted to know that.

Everyone always wanted the easy road, the one with no sign of work. You can burn every green candle in the world, but if you aren’t willing to put the work in no money will come to you. Magic isn’t an easy fix, if anything it is dangerous in that it gives people an excuse to be lazy. It wasn’t common knowledge that I made the luck charms or love candles they bought, but they all swore by them and the little directional spell cards I handed out with each purchase. I may not be completely out as a witch, but I was profiting from it.

Once the candles were lit, the meditation playlist humming softly through the air, and I was sitting on the mat in full lotus my head stopped pulsing. I found my center like an old friend and began mediating. Clearing my mind completely of thought I was disappointed when I heard the faint sound of the door opening. I should have had at least 15 minutes of mediation before anyone arrived. My eyes opened to greet the first arrival, but in front of me stood a man I had never seen before. He was around six feet tall, a rangy build, carefully disheveled brown hair, and a couple days worth of stubble.

“Are you here for yoga?” I asked as I stood up though he was obviously not dressed for exercise in fashionably worn jeans, a collared shirt not tucked in underneath a sweater with the sleeves rolled up haphazardly to mid forearm.


“Yes, and you are?”

“Cheney” he reached towards me, but I took a step back. His hazel eyes searching mine for something rather intently. His odd overly familiar behavior made my skin crawl and my stomach tighten. I looked away as soon as was polite because I didn’t want to offend a potential customer just yet. I could wait to see how weird things got.

“Do you have a last name?” Something I can tell the cops if you attack me.

“What? Oh, um Hunt.”

“What may I help you with, Mr. Hunt?” I said a little more coolly then I had intended. My head started to throb again and I could feel energy collecting within me ready to lash out at the slightest provocation. Mr. Hunt had better tell me why he was here and soon.

The door opened and two of my regular students walked in smiling. I greeted them with a smile and some of the tension slipped away. I looked back to Mr. Hunt, who had a frown creasing his face, still staring at me.

“Do you need something, Mr. Hunt?” I prompted him.

“Now appears to not be a good time for you to speak. I'll be in touch.” He said before abruptly turning around and walking out of the studio with the long graceful strides of a dancer.

I stared at the door long after he had left hoping I never had to see Mr. Hunt again. Something wasn’t right about him.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Friend Indeed

I talk a lot about my friends in blog posts, I know this and you all will just have to bear with me on it because I have no intentions of stopping now. When EBC came to me I was trying to come up with a few distinct characters that could be members of the main character’s coven. I wanted each of to have their own vernacular, phrasing, and quirks all the while having an extremely close, unflagging friendship. Basically I didn’t want cookie cutter side characters. So I looked at my own friends and three real life muses were born.

I went all out with it. Taking real inside jokes, actual things they have said during some of many random conversations, and our incredible foundation of friendship over these many, many years that is indeed magical. Because several of my characters are heavily based on real life people the dialogue came easier, the emotional responses were automatic, and the attachment was immediate. I was all in all very pleased with this experiment… because despite what some of them (you know who you are) may believe this is the first time they have shown up in any of my work. :-)

Now for the down side. It brings me back to yesterday’s post. When you use real life muses how do you hurt them or even worse kill one of them? Eeek!

On a different note–thank you all for the wonderful, kind, and supportive comments yesterday I love them. I managed to finish EBC which is a major relief for my poor brain to finally be able to think about something else. I was beginning to become an obsessed hermit these past few weeks. I am currently considering since I have droned on and on about EBC editing part of the first chapter and posting it on my blog to give everyone a taste of what it will be like.

*the pictures in this blog post were provided by my very favorite friend and photographer Kim. Check out some of her work here

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hurting The Ones I Love

As I draw near to the end of my current first draft (wip) Easy Bake Coven my stomach is beginning to clench in fear. This time it is not the idea of others seeing it, while that has and still does haunt me it is different this time. Today will mark the beginning of the last chapter of the story two things are on my mind.

First, I am going to miss these characters terribly. Without a doubt this is the fastest I have ever written a novel. It looks like it will clock in at around 90k in 4ish weeks. That’s nutty. What started as just sitting down to get this idea that had been poking around in my mind for a day or two on paper (because I should be in the middle of editing book two of the Guardian Trilogy: Choices) took a life of its own and told me a story about characters I rather love. So to step away from them while they are still so alive in my head is like moving away from my friends, or at least going on a long vacation.

Second, this is going to be part of a trilogy. I have a vague idea what is going to happen to some of the characters and the closer I get to the ending the closer I get to causing them a new round of pain. Part of me doesn’t want to hurt them, I want them to be happy and have lives filled with love, rainbows, sunshine, fields for frolicking, ice cream, puppies, and Starbucks. Yet, I know what the writer part of my brain will do. It will spend the next two books tearing things apart and putting them back together, however the cracks will still show. My lovely characters will change, innocence will be lost and faith shattered. Nothing will be as it is right now. I cannot protect my characters from their story the best I can do is hope they make it through scarred… not broken.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I didn't make my goal of finishing Easy Bake Coven last week. I just became too busy and writing had to take the back seat to life stuff. I managed to add on 7,000 more words putting me up to 79,000 words in three weeks. Totally respectable. I have had the least amount of doubts about its quality of this story than any of its predecessors. EBC will be my fouth completed novel rough draft so I am hoping it is experience that is easing my nerves and not denial. haha

I know how it will end and how the next will start it is just a matter of getting it out on paper. I imagine the story will wrap itself up in the next 10,000 words or so. I will miss these characters when it is over. Oh well I have all day to hammer out this ending and start editing Secrets.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coterie of Scribes

I have always thought of writing as a solitary sport. Taking my pen and paper, laptop, napkin and eyeliner, whatever I had on hand and jotting something down. Creating a story of nothing with hopefully a bit of magic behind it. Recently, I have gotten serious about doing something with my stock pile of stories besides for just letting a select few friends read them or half-heartedly entering into the occasional contest hoping for validation.

I have decided to pursue publication. I started researching how was I supposed to go about it. Should I look for an agent, a publisher, or strike out on my own and hope for the best? I sent about five query letters to agents and received a form letter back that they aren't taking on any new writers at the moment. That was ok, I certainly was not heartbroken over it. I had read somewhere that many popular writers now have to send in the neighborhood of 50 to 100 queries to only get a couple bites. However, that wasn't really the direction I wanted to head. It wasn't until right after Christmas I started taking the self-publishing option as a valid one. So begins my trip into the terrifying world of self-publication.

Yes, I said terrifying because it is to me. I am still wrapping my mind around the idea of strangers reading my stories or even worse the people I know reading it without being preselected and chosen by me. However, I currently have two complete novels, one complete first draft, one nearly complete first draft, and several other outlines and good starts. So it is time I man up a bit and just do it. In this frame of mind I have very recently discovered that the writing world doesn't have to gone at alone. I have found the greatest community of writers who are supportive, answer the weird polling questions your friends and family are sick of, and who are all going through the same thing as I am. It is a wonderful feeling of community. One that makes me want to branch out in real life and try the workshops, conferences, and groups that I wasn't as keen on before.

So far my experience with other writers are that we are like a family. We stick together, tell each other the God's honest truth, and hope for the other's success. I am sure there will be many disappointments, heart breaking reviews, successes, and elation in my future, but now it is no longer a roller coaster I feel like I am riding alone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Need a Heroine

As a member of the female race and an avid reader and writer there are certain qualities I connect with in characters. Obviously like many others I love the strong male leads of questionable morality, the ever faithful and loyal best friend, but the most important character in the story for me is the heroine. (Unless of course the story centers around then guy then just reverse all of that, the idea still holds for me)

I have had this discussion often with my friends about what draws us into a story and keeps us going. Through these discussions I have learned that I am a character based reader. If I do not love or at least like the characters I do not care about the story. For me, it doesn’t matter how good the story is, if there is no one in it that I feel a connection with I probably won’t finish the book.

A prime example is Twilight. I know everyone and their sister loved it, but I never made it on the bandwagon. The issue I had was Bella. I never had a clear picture of who she was or what she really wanted. There was no emotional connection with her so the story fizzled and was out like a glittery vampire at a drag show.

So on that note here is my top five qualities I look for in the female lead in a book.

1. Personality- The lead character needs to have some substance for me. Something I can connect back to her, something that will give me and idea of what is in character for her or what is not. Anything really so long as it is uniquely hers.

2. Flaws- I love flaws. We are all flawed, and let’s face it perfection is boring. Let the character make mistakes, let her overreact, let her not communicate, let her misjudge people because that is human. We all do these things everyday so it makes the character more real when they do them too. But not too much…

3. Insecurities- I have never met a woman who wasn’t insecure about something. It may not be obvious and it doesn’t have to be flashy or in your face, but everyone is insecure about something.

4. Sense of humor- I just really like to laugh, so characters that are snarky, witty, or wise cracking always appeal to me most. Again this can be over done, but the perfectly timed joke to break up the tension is always appreciated by me.

5. Strength- I am not too into reading about damsel’s in distress. I like my female characters to be able to stand up for themselves when they have to maybe even occasionally do the rescuing. Now I am not talking Wonder Woman strong, but also not someone who is being captured and rescued around every corner (though occasionally is perfectly acceptable).

What qualities do your favorite lead characters possess?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Love and Insatiable Appetites

Love and Insatiable Appetites.
Starring Zombie Matt Nathanson and Jane Austen.

This is a true and faithful retelling of the tragic –as most love stories are– tale of Jane Austen and Zombie Matt Nathanson and their affection for one another which transcended all.

Zombie Matt Nathanson was a fun sort of zombie. He, like any other zombie, liked to drink with his fellow undead pals,

eat at the Cheesecake factory,

toss out the occasional “Your mom” joke,

and travel the world. Zombie Matt Nathanson always said “Uhhhh ugh uggggggggghhhhhhh,” by which most experts probably would agree he meant death was no reason not to see the world.

It was during one of these zombie-cations that he met the girl who would prove to be the love of his death. He watched her from afar, hoping one day to make her acquaintance.

Their first meeting did not go as planned; she stabbed him with her writing quill which she was never without. When she realized her blunder that he wanted to meet her not eat her brains she introduced herself as Jane Austen. Their conversation went something like this.

ZMN: Uhhhhhh mmmm ugghhh

Jane Austen: Back off you vile, flea infested, mouth breather.

ZMN: uuuhhhhsgggjhka

Jane Austen: Oh dear. *stab, stab*

ZMN: Ugh Ugh Uhhhh

Jane Austen: Hmm, perhaps I judged you too soon. You seem to be rather a genteel sort of undead creature. My name is Jane.

ZMN: Uuuhhhhhh gahhhh

The connection was immediate. Their mutual like turned into affection, and they attended a country dance with one another.

Before too long they became more than just friends. They were suspected by all of those of their mutual acquaintance as having an understanding for they were seen holding hands. Oh the scandal!

Zombie Matt Nathanson told Jane they could never marry for he was undead and she was living. Jane was heartbroken and tried to run away with little Stewie, but ZMN stopped her.

Jane thought he stopped her for love… but she was wrong, dead wrong. He was hungry.

Which leads to the moral of this tale always eat three proper meals a day for you may end up cannibalizing the one you love.

The end… in more way than one.

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