Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Where to Draw the Were-Animal Line

Weredolphin by Drago-flame, Deviant Art

Paranormal Romance and Fantasy Fiction readers love their were-animals. Were-wolfs, were-panthers, were-bears and even, per Laurell K Hamilton, were-rats. My question is, where do you draw the line?

For me, I can't really become involved with a character who is a were-sea-creature. I'm not sure exactly why. Outside of fiction, I love scuba diving and making contact with sea turtles and dolphins. However, the minute a character in a novel I'm reading says something like "By the way, I'm a were-anemone"... I'm done.

Where's your were-line? Do you dig were-bunnies but hate were-bears? Would you totally shag a were-wolf but give a were-snake your for-losers-only fake phone number?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Steampunk... Yay or Nay?

I'll admit I'm a fan of Steampunk. I know. I know. It condemns me to the bowels of Hell with all the other terminally geeky losers who enjoy neo-victorian fantasy, gears-to-nowhere and imaginary steam powered vehicles.

Now, let us discuss Good Steampunk VS Bad Steampunk.

A functional super-awesome steampunk-modded computer by the Steampunk Workshop = GOOD

Overly complicated and utterly-useless only-for-show Steampunk Monacle? BAD

Orgasm-worthy Steampunked laptop by Datamancer... GOOD

Steampunk Cake = Good

Steampunk R2-D2 = Awesome

Pasting a random collection of watch parts and non-working gears/copper/brass piping to any and everything? Bad

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Keeper Shelf for Writing How-to's

Some of the writer-self-help books are fluff, some are wonderfully helpful. Below are a few I keep on my shelf and refer to regularly.

The Romance Writers' Phrase Book by Jean Salter Kent and Candace Shelton

This book was printed in 1984 but remains a valuable resource for those times of writer's-block or when I just can't figure out how I want to say something.

There are over 3,000 descriptive phrases in The Romance Writer's Phrase Book divided into easily searched categories for subjects like "physical characteristics", "movement", "emotions" and even "sex". An unparalleled


How Not to Write a Novel, 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman

This book is amazing. I can't say enough about how helpful it is as well as entertaining. When I was writing my first novel I found that I unknowingly made some crucial errors after reading How Not to Write a Novel.

"Any scene in which a character is shown waking up in bed or getting into bed is deeply suspect, unless there is someone new in bed with her."

Thank you, How Not to Write a Novel, for being humorous and informative!

Thanks, But This Isn't For Us by Jessica Page Morrell describes "deal breakers" for agents and editors across all genres of fiction.

I found the section on deal-breaker openings to be especially helpful. Even if it is well written, editors and agents apparently dislike a character who is in front of a mirror in the opening scene... or anywhere else in the story. I'm so happy I read this particular passage while writing my first book! And now, I know better.

Thanks, But This Isn't For Us gives examples of what-not-to-do and also offers alternate options so you're not left feeling like they've told you "You suck. Now, good luck."

What books do you keep within reach while working?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Better on Paper

Have you ever heard the expression "better on paper" in reference to an author?  I have recently come to understand (and empathize) with my fellow socially inept writers who've been dubbed with the black-mark of "better on paper".

I would like to present you with the reasons I... am better on paper.
  1. I tend to repetitively stumble over simple words when speaking. *Currently trying to say "repetitively" aloud. Not going so well.*
  2. My mouth does this thing. It's unsettling for me and worse for the person(s) with whom I'm speaking. It gathers saliva. I don't know why it does this. I've tried reasoning with it, telling it to swallow normally but I guess my mouth has stage fright and forgets how to function. So this saliva builds up and I end up talking over it, around it, until it becomes noticeable and I have to make a conscious effort to swallow previously mentioned spit. Of course by this time the oddity has already been noted by the other person.
  3. My spoken words are never as eloquent as my written words. In thirty seconds I can write something that sounds educated and witty. However, given thirty minutes to prepare for an actual meeting and I end up with something like, "So... yeah. What's goin' on? Nothin'? Yeah... me too. Hot outside."

 I was once the Vice President of my Sorority in college. Did I ever mention that? No? Well, it happened. I must have been at least marginally charismatic to reach such high esteem. That entire half-decade of my life puzzles me now. Maybe the gallons of liquor and pounds of drugs are to blame for that small foray into my brief time as better-in-person.

Alas, I have been back to the better-on-paper persona for quite some time now and am looking at many many more years of the same. Do you know anyone who shares this affliction? Maybe there should be a support group.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Of Elves and Condoms...

Words Written Today: 2,000 (*cheers loudly*)

Currently Reading: Nowhere Near Respectable by Mary Jo Putney

Below is a glimpse of two of the main characters of Surprisingly Supernatural, Ellis and Emile. Emile is trying to be "helpful" but Ellis wants nothing to do with it.

     Ellis took an uncharacteristically deep pull on his beer then studied the bottle for a moment. “It looks and sounds a bit too feminine but you are correct. It tastes rather pleasant.”
     They sat in silence until Emile finally heaved a great sigh and asked, “So you want this human female?”
Startled, Ellis straightened in his chair with a look of terror shining in his eyes. “Of course not! Why would you say such a thing?”
     Emile rolled his eyes. “Because you are as clumsy as a newborn foal out for his first run when you’re around her, for one.”
     “I most certainly am not!”
     “Yes you are.”
     “I am not.”
     Exasperated, Emile blew out a slow breath. “Ellis, we have not argued like this since reaching maturity some hundreds of years past. You are not yourself. It seems to me you’ve been trying to keep this female to yourself. Not bringing her forth to the elders as you well know you should. For Freya’s sake! You branded her with your magic practically the moment you first set eyes on her! I grant you she is a curious case for a human but perhaps you are merely in need of some companionship. I haven’t seen you with a woman in years.”
     Emile tilted his head, his eyes becoming unfocused as though he were looking into the past. “In fact, I can’t remember you dating a woman or even having a night with one in decades. That is not good, my friend. We need to clear this up right away. You’ll feel much better.”
     He headed toward Ellis’s scrying mirror where it hung on the wall just inside the front door. The scrying mirror is a sort of metaphysical telephone. Fortunately there are no minutes to worry over and no bill for it’s usage for it runs on one’s own magic.  Being that the mirror utilizes both audio and visual, it’s best kept in a neutral place within one’s home. When a “call” is placed, the mirror belonging to the person being called upon will activate and show the caller everything in front of the mirror at the time. You can see why having it in the bathroom or bedroom might be ill advised.
     Of course Emile will never forget the time his mother had called upon him while he was “entertaining” a lover in the foyer. They had barely made it through the door before disrobing and traipsing all the way back to the bedroom had been out of the question. In his passion he had forgotten to cover the mirror and his mother had gotten an eye-full. Then Emile had gotten an earful of outraged maternal shouting that had prematurely ended his night.
     “What are you doing?” Ellis asked, following Emile closely with his eyes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The "S" Word

The "S" Word is the one word that will make me cringe every time I see it in a novel. I'm talking, of course, about "squatting".

Especially in a Romance.

"He squatted next to her, stroking her tenderly." No. Just... (shudders) no.

"She squatted, prepared to drop a backdoor-growler downwind of the campsite." Okay... maybe.

Giving birth and taking a dump are the only acceptable situations in which a character should "squat".

There is no excuse great enough to justify having your heroine "squat to slip her lover's pants down past his hips". I don't even want to read about her "squatting down to tie her shoes". Let us just say that she "knelt" and leave it at that.

"Squat" is my pet-peeve as a reader. Are there any words that bring bile to your mouth?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#RomanceKills, Romance Novel Addiction

Lauren Dane, Inside Out
The Romance Novel Author and Reader world has been buzzing with the news of a book about Romance Novel Addiction entitled Finding the Hero in Your Husband by Dr. Juli Slattery. An article on the controversy can be found here.

At first glance, the title of the book sounds pretty good. Finding the Hero in Your Husband. I'm thinking, "Okay, that sounds like something every wife should try to do." But ultimately the book blames marriage problems on "Romance Novel Addiction" and advises everyone to stop reading them immediately.

My first thought was that this whole idea of romance novel addiction is total BS. But honestly, people can become addicted to ANYTHING. It's not that particular thing's fault for existing.

I once knew a girl who was completely addicted to cleaning her ears with Q-Tips. Took them with her everywhere she went. I found her in the parking lot outside of my house once with a Q-Tip in her ear and a handful of them spread across the hood of her car.

Should we ban Q-Tips for everyone? Advise that no one use them lest they become addicted? Obviously, no.

Here's my advice. If your children go hungry and your home is so filthy it could be found a health risk all because you have your nose stuck in an ultra-erotic romance novel for 20 hrs a day, go find some help.

The same applies if you have five months of laundry piled in a mountain next to the washer and dishes overflowing your sink into the bathtub because you're posting on Facebook and Twitter fifty times a day. I don't give a shit what you ate for breakfast. Stop posting updates and go clean something. Get some help.

If you read romance novels, even if you read three a week, and you still find time to sleep, eat, and make your children smile, you are doing just fine.

As long as you are still a clean, productive, non-violent member of society, go ahead on with that Q-Tip fetish, that annoying Facebook habit, hell, let's go crazy and say pick-up a couple lotto tickets and bite your fingernails too.

In closing, Romance Novels DON'T kill. Ignorance does.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

At Least My Characters Are All Employed

Words Written Today: 1,525

Currently Reading: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Amelia Gets a Job, an Excerpt from my first novel, A Life Beyond Yesterday (Women's Fiction)

The alarm on my cell phone rattled off at 9am. I stumbled across the hall to find Alex still snoring. Taking the opportunity to shower the sleep off, I washed my hair twice for good measure and tied it up tight in a ponytail before getting dressed for my interview at Duke’s Café.
I stirred Alex and herded him into the shower while I retrieved some pop-tarts from a box in the kitchen. I know it’s not the best breakfast for a growing child but I would find the grocery store today on the way home from the interview and stock the kitchen. Until then, pop-tarts would have to do.
After taking only two wrong turns I spotted the sign for Duke’s Café and pulled into the parking lot. My back tire tripped over the curb’s edge and threw my Blazer into a fitful bounce. “Shit,” I said under my breath. I scanned the parking lot to see if anyone noticed as I felt heat creep into my cheeks.
Finally parked, I tilted the rear-view mirror to see that I’d missed one crucially stray eyebrow hair while getting ready. I tried in vain to pinch it between my fingernails and rip it out by the roots but it wouldn’t budge and I’ve never been the type to carry make-up, let alone tweezers, in my purse.
Disgruntled, nervous, and now with a slightly red eyebrow, we headed for the door. Inside, I told Alex to have a seat at one of the booths where I could see him and stay put until I was done speaking with the manager.
The manager of Duke’s (and later I found out, also the owner), Clint Sterling, was an older man. An overworked fifty-five I guessed, with broad shoulders and a concave butt, Clint would have fit seamlessly into an old western film. I introduced myself and handed him my application just as a small fire began blazing in the kitchen that sent him rushing away, my application in his hand.
            “I’ll make a decision within a week,” Clint said as he came strolling back through the swinging wooden doors from the kitchen, making a useless attempt to hoist his belt towards his waist. His burgeoning belly was too big of an obstacle to overcome.  Not much of an interview, I thought. But I thanked him anyway and went over to gather Alex who was snacking on a turkey sandwich at the counter.

-A Life Beyond Yesterday, written under pen-name Clara LaVeaux

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's the Deal with Black Jeans?

     First, I have to say that I love Romance Novels and this is in no way meant to criticize the market as a whole.

     That being said, I've noticed a disturbing trend in the roughly 400 books I've read in the last two years. Insomnia. It's good for something, right? I'm wondering if the fashion trends bother anyone else.

     What's the deal with all these characters wearing black jeans? Have you known anyone outside of 1991 to wear a pair of black jeans? Seems like every bad-ass in every Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy has some unnatural fondness for this cringe-worthy and dated fashion trend.

     If you tell me the character is wearing black leather pants, black cargo pants, even black slacks, I think "Okay, this guy's dark and mysterious. He can save me any day."

     You tell me he's wearing black jeans and, God forbid, black tennis shoes, and I'm thinking "Ewww... what's this guy gonna do? Beat the evil doers over the head with the steering wheel club he just pulled outa the POS car he's also clung to for twenty years too long? No thanks."

     Now for the TMI portion of the show.

     What is up with every heroine in every romance novel having some 1970's afro below-the-belt? I don't know any woman under the age of sixty who walks around with an un-landscaped bush.

     Honestly... "her triangle of golden curls" and "her glistening curls". Just, gross. Or what about when the guy is "threading his fingers through her curls". Ummmm.... how long are these things?!

     I'm just wondering what I'm missing here. Am I the only one bothered by books that were published recently and still have their heroes running around in black jeans and their ladies sitting on a pile of pubes?

Surprisingly Supernatural, A Peak at Elaina and Zane

     “Wait just a minute,” she said, coming to a jarring halt in the doorway to her bedroom, arms stretched to catch the door frame on either side. “Tell me where you’re taking me or I’m not going anywhere with you. I don’t care how cute you are in those jeans.”
     “You think I’m cute in these jeans?”
     “Of course. Now shut up and tell me where we’re going.”
     “But I can’t—“
     “Yes, yes. You can’t shut up and tell me something. So just spill it already!”
     Zane straightened his shoulders and squared his chin like he was already preparing his defense. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury…
     “We’re going to karaoke night. At Peaches.” He tried his best to give her a stern and-there’s-nothing-you-can-do-about-it look but all he managed was pleading-puppy-dog-eyes.
     “You… sing… what?”
     He chuckled. “Very eloquently put. Now please, if you will,” he gestured towards the shower.
     “But I don’t sing!” Don’t wasn’t even the correct word. Can’t was way more accurate. Elaina had actually been tossed out of eighth grade choir for her inability to make a noise in any key other than tone-deaf-flat. She blustered and fumed all the way to the master bath and was still adamantly shaking her head when Zane closed the door right on her sunburned nose.
     “Hurry up, E. We don’t have all night,” he said, his deep voice rumbling through the old wood door.
     “Sing. Karaoke. Who does he think he is? Well he better be ready to work some of that fancy elf magic on me if he thinks I’m gettin’ up there. Everyone else in the place too or there’ll be a riot for sure.” Elaina continued her mumbled rant as she undressed, tossing her sweaty clothes on the linoleum floor. “Wouldn’t mind seeing him sing though. That’d be sexy as hell.” She drew her bottom lip between her teeth as she climbed into the shower and bit down until she felt the sting. Zane up there on the stage, his baritone voice singing some rock ballad. She could pretend he was singing to her… “Yeah, this just might work out okay.”

Surprisingly Supernatural, SJ Drum, Excerpt

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some Like It Invisible

Words Written: 1,275

Current Project: Researching the metaphysical meanings of gemstones so I can create a talisman for my main character in Surprisingly Supernatural.

Currently Reading: Demon Hunting in Dixie by Lexi George

Have you ever wanted to be invisible? Of course you have. If you say you haven't, you're either lying or there is something wrong with you. My reasons for wanting to be invisible are purely mundane. Although I suppose it would be nice to walk into a bank vault and help myself to a gym-bag full of twenties.

What I would find most useful about being invisible would be the small daily things I could avoid. No more awkward will-you-won't-you eye contact with the stranger pacing toward me on the street. No more useless head-nods to that person in the grocery store that keeps coming down the same isle I'm in only in the opposite direction until we've covered the whole store in forced pleasantries.

Maybe I'm simply anti-social. I'm not going to lie, I think the license-to-be-a-recluse that comes with being a writer is part of the draw for me. I've often thought, "when I'm a famous writer, I'll be secretive and strange and have my entire arms covered in tattoos and no one will think it unacceptable."

So, my question is, other than the obvious peeping-tom/stalker fantasies and stealing (Not that you would do such a thing. No way. Of course not.)... what would be your favorite part of invisibility?

And now for a random picture of some frogs. Because frogs are fun.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Electrical Underload

Words Written Today: 678

Interference: A lightening storm knocked our power out for twelve hours in the middle of the day on Friday. Kinda hard to use the computer with no power! Plenty of time to think and sweat though.
 With the power being out and the kids actually taking naps, I had the chance to read Shadow Walker by Allyson James. This book along with Hit List from L.K. Hamilton definitely worked as a palate cleanser for me.

What is a literary "palate cleanser"? It's all that is supremely well-written, with perfect words, a clear plot-point and decent editing. I often turn to some of my favorite authors after I've read a book that I dislike. Sometimes the grammar is off, maybe the plot is shallow or the writing just plain all-around sucks.

I cannot write, I refuse to allow myself to write, one single word in whatever story I'm working on directly after having read a disappointing book. Maybe I'm afraid bad writing is contagious and it'll leak from the book I read onto my own written pages. I will be adding both Hit List and Shadow Walker to my "palate cleanser" list.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stupid Writer Tricks and Hit List

Submissions: 7 Magazines for Accidents Happen short story
                       Query for Surprisingly Supernatural to Query Shark for review

Words Written: Probably about 50

Currently Working On: Trying to reason out some plot points in Surprisingly Supernatural

Yesterday I finished reading Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton. The 20th installment of the Anita Blake series, I thought it would be stale or, at the very least, totally consumed by ravenous erotica like the past few books in the series. But.... it was GREAT! I believe there was only one consummated love scene in the whole book which is a change of pace for Anita and allowed the plot to develop more fully. If you haven't read Hit List, put it in your TBR (to be read) pile.

Stupid Writer Tricks
The protagonist in my story, Surprisingly Supernatural, is given a Jasper Amulet that helps to focus her magic and offers her a bit of supernatural protection. In an attempt to get closer to my character and hopefully cultivate a little inspiration, I went to a metaphysics store (yes they are real and yes, I have one close enough to walk to) and bought a Jasper stone. I keep it in my pocket and find myself rubbing it like a worry stone throughout the day. Below you can read the scene from the book in which she is given the amulet.

     Elaina took a deep breath and pushed open the door of a store that her mother had ranted about being her favorite in the small town of Yellow Springs. “House of Ravenwood”, tarot, crystals, stones, metaphysical tools, gifts. Oh God, mom, what were you thinking?  The sound of the bell on the door jingled her nerves but she proceeded forward, determined to start trying to give this town a chance.

     Tables piled high with colorful rocks and gemstones crowded the center spaces of the small two-room shop. Tiny fairy figurines clung to the walls and ceiling.

     “Welcome,” said the woman behind the counter. “I’m the owner, Raven, how can I help you?”

     The woman was tall, much taller than Elaina’s 5’8”. Long unruly burgundy hair hung to her waist and as Elaina met her eyes she had a moment to think that they didn’t match the body. Deep blue weathered orbs, an old tried-and-tested soul stared out at her from within this thirty year old shell.

     “I… I’m sorry.” Elaina wiped a hand over her clammy brow and tried to blink away the strange sensation. “I’m not sure what I’m looking for. My mother, Claire Mathews, told me this was one of her favorite places. I guess I just wanted to see for myself.”

     The owner’s smile slowly crept up until her bizarre eyes shown with it. “Ah. I knew Claire well. I’ve been waiting for you. She had something on order for you before the accident. Let me just grab it from the back.”
Elaina’s breath caught at the thought of a gift from her mother that never had the chance to be given. Why hadn’t Raven mailed the package? She’d been waiting for her? It’d been two months! Two months Elaina could have had this last gift from her mother.

     Saddling back up to the glass counter, Raven gently laid a necklace before Elaina.  It was nothing more than a long leather chain with a pretty black, red and white rock attached at the end.  She hoped her mother hadn’t paid too much for it.

     “This is a Jasper Amulet.  Wear it over your heart. Always. It will stabilize your personal energy and help maintain your aura during astral travel.  It will also help you with relaxation, contentment and enhance your courage for the conflicts ahead.”

     “Astral travel? Well… I don’t think I’ll be doing much of that.” Elaina laughed, shaking her head while Raven stood stock-still, offering the Amulet on a black velvet pouch.
Eventually pulling the necklace over her head, Elaina felt the amulet heat in her hand as it touched her skin. Curious.

     “Well, thank y—“ Elaina leaned over the counter, squinting her eyes at the woman’s shoulder. No way. “Is that glitter? It looks just like the stuff I keep finding in my house. Where did it come from?”
She was sure it hadn’t been on Raven before she went into the back of the store to fetch the necklace.  She started to reach for the sparkly dust when Raven snatched Elaina’s hand from the air between them and turned her wrist so the poison ivy was facing up. Elaina still wore the Band-Aid but the woman seemed to be looking past it. Suddenly, with a hiss, she released Elaina and backed up.

     “Take care of yourself, Elaina. Keep the amulet touching your skin at all times.”

     With that, Raven disappeared into the back, leaving Elaina totally befuddled. I live in a crazy town. Cra-Zy Town.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Storyboard... or Story bored?

Words Written Today: 386

Currently Working On: Made sure to get a few words on the page for my manuscript but mostly worked on a storyboard for Surprisingly Supernatural. The world I'm creating has a life of its own and it's trying to outgrow my brain!

Rejected! Yup, that's the theme for this morning. Four out of the six magazines I submitted my short story to have declined my submission. It sounds bad but really, it was expected. If it was easy to get published, everyone would be doing it. In the words of Eric Cartman, "That's life. If you want to find a friend you have to wade through all the dicks first."

Excerpt from my short story, Accidents Happen

My father was in prison. At least that’s what I thought at the time.

The August sun baked the black asphalt parking lot into a hazy wave of heat and noxious chemicals that rolled up from the ground to combine with the stagnant air, making my throat burn. The forecast called for rain in the evening but the sky was unfortunately devoid of clouds.
“How much longer?” I asked in my seven-year-old’s voice. My persistently sunburned arms stinging in the absence of shade.
“Not much longer. Then we’ll eat lunch at that picnic table right there,” my mother said, pointing to the heavy wrought-iron table just on the other side of the fence.
            I couldn’t imagine why there would ever be a fence like that with my father on the other side. Like the fences holding back vicious predators in the zoo. Tall and ugly and barbed on an angle at the top. A uniformed guard stood watch at the one narrow gated opening. The gate may have been a comfort to me, a sign that my father would be able to leave. But it wasn’t. My mother told me the fence was to keep bad people out, not to keep my father in. But the fence was towering and sharp and the guard had a gun and a snarl that matched the fence’s jagged lines.  
My mother expected me to go willingly and quietly inside the fence. To agreeably cross over from gentile public to caged animal for the sake of a stale, sweaty bologna sandwich and fifteen minutes with my father. That was the last thing on earth I wanted to do. It was before I learned there were much worse places in the world to be trapped than the industrial courtyard of the factory where my blue-color father labored away his life assembling engines

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kittens and Critiques

Words Written Today:  600

Last night I attended my first critique group. I rarely give myself credit where credit is due but I don't feel bad stating that this was an act of bravery. It takes a certain frame of mind and dosage of Zoloft to get me out of the house and interacting with society on the best of days and to voluntarily sit face to face with a group of strangers and read to them my latest work... well, that's asking a lot of me.

That being said, the experience was wonderful. I did neither vomit nor cry spontaneously and the stress was miniscule. I put on my invisible badge that said "I am a writer" and I did what writers do. I read my work, I received critical input and did the same for the others in the group. Overall the feedback was positive for the excerpt I read and nothing can charge a writer's batteries like positive feedback.

Something strange did happen, as strange things will around me. When asked to introduce myself I said, "My name is Sara. I wrote and illustrated my first book in the first grade. It was about a cat." Now this might not seem odd but you have to understand I had completely forgotten about that child's attempt at literature until the moment I decided to voice it as a credential.

On the drive home I thought about the book I'd written about a cat and tried to remember the plot. From what I remember, there was a cat. The cat had kittens in the attic. Someone was sad. The kittens were cute. And then the book was finished. I don't know why that makes me smile and frown at the same time but I wish I could go back to my six-year-old self and ask her what made her write and illustrate such a book and why anyone with an attic full of kittens would be sad.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Gone... well, not quite yet.

Words Written Today: 1,600

Currently Working On: Surprisingly Supernatural, Chapter 10

Interference: 2 crying babies, Brownies (the magical fae housekeepers not the sweet treats) who were a no-show for the millionth day in a row!

Surprisingly Supernatural Excerpt of the Week

Elaina narrowed her eyes, taking him in from head to toe and back again.
“What happened to your pajamas?” She asked, waving at his jeans and t-shirt. “Not that I’m complaining.”
“Yeah, you know. The white flowing mess you were wearing out here yesterday.”
“Those are not pajamas,” he said with every bit of indignation he felt. “Those are the customary robes of the Elves.”
Elaina snickered. “Elves? Oh please tell me you’re part of one of those lame live action role playing groups that meet in the park to parry with cardboard swords.”
Ellis simply stared back at her like she’d lost her mind.
“A costume? Is that what you’re saying? Because there are no such things as Elves.”
At his returned frown, Elaina wiped her hands over her face. Oh just my luck. The one gorgeous guy in this town is insane.
“Ellis, she does not believe in our kind.”
Elaina searched for the voice and found a man who looked too much like Ellis to be unrelated sitting on a tree branch high above her head.
“Jesus! Ellis, are you multiplying? I know I haven’t gotten you wet. Have you eaten after midnight?”
Emile’s laughter consumed her for a moment with its rich lyrical quality.
Ellis shuffled his feet in a nervous gesture that seemed totally at odds with his broad squared shoulders and high-held chin. Deciding he had no idea what Elaina was referring to, he’d rather keep quiet than quip the wrong response.
“My dear, Ellis isn’t quite familiar with cult classics. However I do agree he can sometimes be grumpy as a Gremlin. Like right now for example,” Emile replied from his perch.
“I think I might just like you,” Elaina said to the man in the tree.

Today's Favorite Creature 
Steampunk Bullet Bugs by

Monday, June 6, 2011

This Week's Submissions

Short Story Submissions: Accidents Happen, submitted to 5 magazines

Query Letters: A Life Beyond Yesterday, 5 Agent Submissions

Contest Submissions: Beginning Chapter of Surprisingly Supernatural, 4 Contest Submissions

Responses: 1 request for full manuscript in response to a Query sent in November of 2010

Manuscript Reqested!

Last year I finished my first novel, A Life Beyond Yesterday.


Young mother and recent widow, Amelia Gauge, moves cross-country with her son in search of a new life in my novel A Life Beyond Yesterday. She soon realizes that life outside of Rural Ohio is filled with deceit, danger and, too rarely, kindness. Between falling in love and fighting for her life, she's forced to find a new, stronger version of herself before her world comes crumbling down. 

I have submitted tens of Query Letters to publishers and Agents alike and have received, as expected, a ton of form-letter refusals. But I have also received some constructive feedback and requests for partials that helped me revise and polish both my manuscript and Query Letter. 

I just received my second request from an Editor to read the full Manuscript of A Life Beyond Yesterday!! Candace Clayton, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Eternal Press & Damnation Books, Thank You for your interest in my work!

Declaring War

Currently Working On: Surprisingly Supernatural, Chapter 9

Words Written Today: 1,000

Interference: 1 grumpy toddler, 1 adorable baby, 1 disgruntled husband

Currently Reading: Thea Harrison's Dragon Bound

I cannot wait for the day I receive a check that fiscally defines me as a writer. It's difficult for me to say "I am a writer" when I have yet to draw income from the pursuit. At least it is hard for me to ask others to accept this, namely my husband. I could argue that as long as I'm dedicating even a miniscule amount of brain power each day to creative fiction that I am, in fact, a writer. Whether I can state that as a profession or not is up for debate.

So, I am declaring war on everything that has morphed together to create my apprehensions and distractions.

This morning I banished my husband... to the Men's Warehouse where he will be fitted for a tux for his best friend's wedding. But hey, at least he will be gone for a few hours. He also has instructions to stop at the driving range on the way home and work out all his frustrations by pummeling a bucket of balls, much like I'll be pummeling his if he doesn't return with less of an attitude!

I'm begging my toddler to keep his pants on, literally, and to stop his ferocious attempts at riding the dog. Flapjack is a Border Collie so yes, he does look about the right size for carrying a 2ft tall person, but I assure you, son, Flapjack does not want his pretty long hair gripped for steering by tiny fists nor does he want to be subjected to the doggy chiropractor after another session of "lets-use-doggy's-spine-as-a-trampoline".

Today, the men in my life are my biggest obstacles to finishing Chapter 9 of Surprisingly Supernatural. In addition I, of course, have dishes to do, laundry to wash and fold, a bathroom that needs cleaning, stairs that need swept, a litter box that needs changed, a world to be saved and dinner to make.

Helpful Nuggets: My daughter obliged by taking a nap. I have not been attacked by any spiders today. I spotted that dead, rotten snake in the garden before I could step on it. And, it is not raining, yet.