Thursday, December 29, 2011

Done! Okay Done for the 50th Time

As any writer knows you write a book, rewrite the book, polish the book, find out it's not good enough and rewrite again. I just finished with major rewrites of a story I like to call Daemerkin. Okay, so the beginnings been polished for years, but I totally rewrote my ending, and for the first time ever I feel like this actually HAS an end. This after cutting off about eighty pages that took the story further. Book two will have a fantastic beginning though. Anyway, for your enjoyment, the first few pages of Daemerkin (also in celebration of actually finishing this before New Years).
CHAPTER 1 The silence of the forest sent chills up Tiani’s back. Even the bugs were quiet. A faint red glow bathed the mountain ridge, the sky changing from the black of night. A few more minutes and the sun would rise. She swallowed past the lump in her throat. It’s just a stupid dare, but if I run back now everyone will call me coward. Her clammy fingers clenched around the leather bound hilt of the knife and she slipped it from its sheath tied around her leg. It’s probably nothing. Just a wolf, or bear. Nothing more dangerous than that. A twig snapped behind her and Tiani spun, scanning the treeline. “Ehlrin? Is that you?” Silence. Her heart beat in her ears, her knuckles white. Just stay calm. Oh, please just let it be Ehlrin’s stupid brothers. Please let them be playing a trick on me. A deep rumbling growl made her freeze in place and Tiani slowly turned. Just among the trees a wolf crouched. Its shoulders brushed against branches ten feet up, the paws larger than her chest. Tiani’s eyes widened and she tried to remember her training, tried to recall some way to get out of this. Surely there was something that would keep her alive, some way for her to beat a demon. The wolf stepped from the trees, its red eyes fixed on her. Two others appeared on either side, saliva dripping from fangs longer than her hand. She’d be no more than a snack for them. Why did I agree to this? What possessed me to think I’d be able to handle a demon? Tiani widened her stance and adjusted her grip, her hand shaking as she tried to remember to breathe. If I’m going to die, it won’t be alone. A wolf leapt toward her from the side. Tiani jumped back and slashed out with the short knife. The blade whistled through the wolf’s fur. Strands fell over her hand. Her feet hit the ground, and she fought to gain her balance. A rock beneath her foot shifted. Tiani pitched headfirst to the ground. Pain twisted through her ankle. A wolf sailed over her head, its claws raking through the air where her head had been a second before. An eerie howl echoed through the valley. It resounded off the rocks and the wolves cringed. The first beams of light broke over the ridge, catching their gray coats. The echoing howl came again, so near the branches trembled. Her heart leapt into her throat as the wolves took one last look at their helpless prey and vanished into the forest. Tiani gripped her knife, her breathe ragged, fingers trembling. Strands of her auburn hair fell into her eyes. What is a demon afraid of? The answer that came only made the shaking worse. Another demon. She looked around, jerking the knife toward the rustling of leaves, the clatter of rocks, the breeze brushing over her cheek. The soft rustle of cloth made her twist around. A man stood in the shadows, his hair black, his eyes dark, endless, like the night sky, just a shade above black. Even in the chilly morning air he only wore a thin black shirt, the sleeves ripped off, and a pair of worn pants. He stepped forward, keeping in the shadows until he reached her. At the edge of the sunlight he paused, took a breath, and crouched by her foot. He reached toward her. She jerked back. Agony twisted through her ankle. A muffled cry broke through her teeth, tears flooded her eyes. The man’s fingers brushed against her ankle, his movements slow, reassuring, as if he sensed she was frightened. Still touching her leg, he pulled a bandage from the brown leather pouch at his waist and wrapped the ankle. Her rapid pulse slowed as the pain in her ankle eased. A hawk called, and the man looked up. No, not a man. A boy. He couldn’t be more than a year or two older than her. Fifteen, sixteen at most. And yet she’d never seen him before. Where had he come from? Was he lost, separated from a group of traders? He scanned the sky for a moment then backed into the shadows of the trees and knelt on the ground two feet from her. He met her gaze. “Who are you?” she asked. Out of his bag he withdrew a loaf of bread no bigger than his hand and split it in half, his eyes roaming the forest, and handed half to her. She trembled as she took it. Is he incapable of speaking, or is he a demon as well? Her throat tightened. Did demons take human form? “You should not have come so far up the mountain. The closer to the top you get the more likely you will be found.” The boy broke off a piece of bread and chewed it slowly, still scanning the tree line. “By the demons?” She couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. Each movement flowed into the next. A calm assurance surrounded him, like he ruled here. It was beautiful, strange, and unnerving. “Among other things.” His eyes flitted back to her then away again. The white headband tied around his forehead bore a strange dark symbol in the center. Three parallel lines with a fourth drawn through them. “Then what are you doing up here?” Please just let him be lost. “I live here.” “Then you aren’t lost?” “No.” The hawk called again and his eyes rose to the sky. “Your friends have all retreated to the village.” Slowly Tiani looked up. How could he know that? “All of them? Did Ehlrin make it?” If those things ate him… “I would assume so, though I know none of their names. Everyone in these woods tonight made it out except for you.” The sigh of relief escaped. At least Ehlrin was safe. Tiani relaxed. “They’ll be worried about me.” “That’s not going to change. There is no way you can make it down the mountain on your own, and they won’t dare come up for you now.” She eyed him for a long moment, glancing at the ankle he’d wrapped. If he’d wanted to hurt her he could have done it already. She inched toward him. “You could help me get home.” He glanced at the forest again, his fingers slipping into the bag at his waist, then looked further up the mountain. “I could.” She dared to breathe again. “The demons might come at any moment. If we go now we can avoid them.” Tiani tried to keep the realization of how close she’d come to death from her mind. The wolves red eyes, the teeth. She placed the knife back in its sheath. No matter who he was if the boy would help her she’d take it. An amused smile creased his lips. “What makes you think there is a demon at all?” “You saw them!” She swallowed and studied his dark eyes. “How did you chase them away?” “Chase what away?” “The demons! The giant wolf things that attacked me.” His smile widened, and he leaned back. “I saw no demon.” Tiani stared at him, her mouth open. She snapped her mouth shut and clenched her fists. “Everyone knows the demons exist.” “Really? Have you ever seen one?” “They just nearly ate me!” Tiani glanced over her shoulder, and her lip trembled as she scanned the trees for evidence of their return. “They looked like wolves to me.” She glared at him. “Every year someone is designated to go into the mountains with tribute to keep them at bay. It’s the only way we survive.” He raised an eyebrow. “And I suppose fruit and bread is enough to keep a demon away, is it?” Tiani’s lips tightened. “They feed on those lost in the forest as well.” He chuckled and shook his head. “And that happens often?” “Well, no. Nobody is allowed to go too far into the forest. It’s only when they break the rules that…” She swallowed. She’d almost been one of those exceptions. She should have followed her first inclination and told Jamo and Kanrin to forget it. “Then if this demon wants to kill you all so badly, supposing there is a demon, why hasn’t he attacked the village?” The corners of the boy’s lips twitched upward as he stared at her, the dark orbs of his eyes filled with amusement. “The Jai are too powerful for them. They protect our village.” Tiani frowned. The Jai were the highest level of her people, the Hindori, and even they didn’t go into the forest unless absolutely necessary. His eyes darted to the forest again, the smile gone. So he was nervous too. If he lived here he must know of the demons and how to avoid them. Unless he was one.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Last night I went to see Christopher Paolini. I really enjoyed his presentation, especially the part where he talked about how he got started writing. He said he graduated at fifteen mostly because he was homescooled and never took summer breaks. After about two weeks he got really really really bored. So he went outback and started digging a hole. He was rather proud of this hole as it was 8 feet deep and 8 feet wide. He then took an old abandoned satellite dish and turned it over so it formed a dome over the top. With the dome on top he placed hay bales all over it and stripped bark from the trees near his home placing them for shingles over the top of the hay. Of course now he couldn't get into his hole, so he dug a tunnel into the hole and built a door for the entrance then place sticks about to fashion it into a vicking mead hall. At this point he decided that he needed to find something to do with himself and he chose writing. What you choose to do when you have nothing to do at all is probably what you should make a career out of.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nano Wrimo

NANO WRIMO Yes I have been participating in NANO this month. It is now the 14th of November and so far 51,056 words. I believe the goal was 50,000 so hooray I'm there. But the story is not done. My main character just got to the point where he's going to go after the wizard who's been using him as a magical shield since he was 3. But he's not going after him for that. The wizard just killed his father and Nathan, my main character, wants revenge. Too bad the wizard is one of the highest three around. It's not going to make it easy to kill him, especially since Nathan doesn't really know how to use magic. Anyway that's the story in a nutshell. I'm just happy to get to this point. Hope everyone participating in Nano is doing a great job.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Yes, I know I have vanished since June. For six months I haven't posted a single thing here. (sigh) It's been a crazy six months. I've decided something though and I hope you'll all agree with me. There are big differences between an author and a writer. A writer puts words on a page. An author makes it so there is no page. A writer creates characters and tries to make them real. An author lets the characters in their mind tell them what's real. When things go wrong a writer gets frustrated and stops working. An author curses the characters for their tricky ways and finds a way to make it work. When life dumps on you and something has to give a writer lets go of their story for a while. For the author the only way to deal with the stress is to keep writing. A writer bleeds red. An author bleeds ink. A writer tells stories and dreams of success. An author creates their own success. And with my crazy schedule that is all I have time for today. Promise I'll get to this more often from now on. (At least once a month.) In the meantime keep up the good work.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's a rule?

Today I'm participating in Elana Johnson's blog hop. This woman is awesome by the way. if you haven't visited her blog you should.

There are so many rules in writing. Don't use passive voice, keep the point of view the same, your character has to be likeable, don't us ly words. While all of these are valid points sometimes rules are meant to be broken. When someone dares to break the rules one of two things happens. People either love it and it works out beautifully, or they get ground into the dirt for it. At one time or another I've broken every one of these rules and done it on purpose.
My favorite one is the likable character. I like to write characters who aren't likable, at least not to begin with. Their self absorbed and if I met them in real life I'd likely sock them in the face (much worse happens to them in the story, maybe that's why I like to write them). Dare to break the rules and strange things start to happen, new pathways open, and you go on a journey to new places you've never imagined before.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My name is...

As I go throughout my day I have a half dozen ideas for new stories flit through my mind. Most of them are discarded almost immediately, mostly because I already have a dozen unfinished stories that I need to get to, and starting a new one is just insane, but now and again i get one stuck that refuses to leave me alone. The character starts to take root in my mind, talking to me.
It generally goes something like this.
My name is Alix. (The scene begins to form here, this time being the side of a beautiful lake with a palace behind it.) I'm an elf, the last born of the king of elves, and unofficial leader of the seven realms. So how did I end up in a fire, the heat searing my lungs, and burning my flesh. And who is the guy watching as I die?
Thus a story is born, and yes I'm writing this. It's currently at about 100 pages. (Started 2 weeks ago). For me that's how a story begins. Just a thought flitting through my head, and a desire to find out if they'll live. (Read many of my books and you'll see that most of the time they start with a character in mortal peril, though how they are changes.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Most writers are busy people. I have met a few who learn how busy I am and ask me "How do you do it?" Maybe this will help a few of you if I explain. I work a fulltime job, have two kids (who I'm teaching to read), work another part time job, and find the time to write at least a hundred pages per month, while fixing all the broken things in my house and looking at Real Estate I plan to buy. It's a lot. I never have a spare moment. But this is how I manage it.

In the morning, before I even get dressed for the day (sometimes I do this the night before) I write out 5 things that MUST get done that day. (This does not include feeding the kids, or cleaning the house.) Sometimes it is critque someones work, others are paint the bathroom, or fix the roof.
With those five things in mind I start my day. As I get the kids going (too young to send to school) and make sure they don't wring each others necks I also work on one thing from my list. When it's done I go to the next (saving the things I must concentrate on for when my two year old takes a nap and I can put a movie in for my four year old, yes I use the TV babysitter, but only once a day). By naptime I've finished at least 3 things from my list, and the house is quiet for an hour or two. I eat lunch while writing finish my last two items for the day and get ready for work (which starts at 4).
After work (11 pm) I come home and crash into bed to get up and do it all again the next day. Now even as i read this it feels overwhelming, but it's really not. And this is why: Whenever I start to wonder WHY I'm doing all of this, and wondering WHAT I can POSSIBLY cut back on I realize there's only one thing - Writing. Except without writing there's no way I could get everything else done. It is my release, my way of coping with the stress in my life. My dreams, the things I want to be and do in REAL life involve me writing. I could never give it up.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X - Xactly

Hey, I'm a creative writer. I take liberties with words and stories. Alright, you got me. Can't think of a thing for X.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W - What's in a name?

What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Willian Shakespeare

Have you ever noticed when naming a child as they get older their name just fits them? You can't imagine them with any other name. Sometimes these names get stereotyped. With characters it's the same thing. Their name is just that - Theirs. It irritates me when people get their name wrong, even if it's only off by one letter. Sure some of my characters have unusual names (Zade, Gemri, Azrit, Ehlrin, Tiani, etc.)but taking the time to get their name right only takes a moment (especially since these are main characters) and it lets whoever you are critiqueing know that you did more than a cursory read through.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V- Victory, vengeance, virtue

Okay, so once again I'm reaching. I do have something actually to say about this though. I have never read a good book that didn't have some kind of victory in it. Vengeance and virtue are optional (though they do make for interesting plots at times) but without victory in some form I'm left going, "Wait. This can't end this way." and generally never pick up another book that author writes again. Everyone likes to see the protagonist win. You've followed them through the book for a reason. I especially liked Artemis Fowl (a middle grade series) because it had a very unique twist. The main character is the villain! I loved these books and highly recommend them, mainly because they aren't typical. The villain wins in the books, but the author makes sure you're rooting for the villain by the time he wins. It's quite ingenious.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Uniformity in voice

Have you ever read a book where the voice changes drastically throughout the story making you wonder whose POV you're in? I've read a few, some of them published unfortunately, that do just this. It isn't enough for a book to be good if the voice is different for the same character it isn't good. Conversely if you have different POV in your book, make sure the Voice is Different for each person. The best way I find to do this is to actually read your own work. You know your characters best of all, do them a service by making sure they're three dimensional and having their voice be true to them.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T- Time and Therapy

Time to write, time to read, time to do anything is hard to come by. Often I find myself writing in little snippets in between a million other things I do every day. From the laundry to taking care of the kids to my job my life is busy. I find though that if I don't make the time to write I go crazy. The stories get stuck in my head, wrapping through my mind over and over and driving me to distraction. It is at those times that I set everything aside I can (kids don't just let you set them aside) and write. It is in these moments I realize I write to live. It is my therapy, my way of communicating with a world that I have never been good at. In my characters, these worlds I create, I find myself in all of the pieces of their fragmented and tormented lives, and their successes become mine. Without my writing I regress back into my shell, fighting my autistic tendencies.
Time is important, and there is little of it, but somehow for me when I write that time expands and more is able to be accomplished than I could ever get done without it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

S - Seriously good book

I got hooked. I picked up Orson Scott Card’s new book The Lost Gate at the Library purely by chance. I started it around 9 pm and was sucked in. At 2:30 AM I finally set it aside for the night but only because it was so late, and the moment I could it was in my hands the next morning. Yes, that good. The characters are well rounded, the story keeps you interested and he writes in a way that makes you see what is happening. I’ve read a few of his books before which I liked, but this one I truly loved. Highly recommended to all who want to check it out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Rachel

Yes that's me. Funny that R should fall on this of all days as it's my Birthday. Just a shout out for me as the rest of my day will be spent corraling my children and trying to keep my husband sane before I go to work. Fun day, huh.
Birthdays are one thing in stories we sometimes forget. All of our characters no matter where they're from have a birthday, holidays, etc. Sometimes I forget to include such days in my stories though they are very important. As important as it is to us it should be important to them as well even if its just to note the day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I’m sure you’ve all seen those formulas for writing a query. Character + situation + complication + why should I care = query
or something like that. I’ve used all of them and rewritten my query a million times, and then I send them out and think “Why should an agent care? This query is exactly like a dozen others I’ve read from other people.” I critique queries often and maybe that’s my problem but I get bored reading most of them. Something has to catch my eye and make me go “Wow. I’ve got to read more.” I think that’s how agents must feel. They read a dozen or more (Probably more) of these things every day.
It wouldn’t be so bad I suppose if I hadn’t read my own query fifty million times and tweeked it to work better every single time. I lament that the words don’t flow for me in a query as they do when I’m writing, but I keep trying and eventually I’ll get it right. (Most likely when I stop trying to make it perfect and actually send something.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P - Proof read Practice

My name? What does a name matter when your standing on the edge of the Broklyn Bridge? I stared at the girl not sure why she was even talkin too me. I clung to the railing wishing for some sort of reason not to jump.

Okay, so there's not much here and it isn't too horrible. I have critiqued/proof read some work that is much worse. Even going so far as 'he protruded the knife from his pocket slicing it through the air.' Proof reading is a very important part of writing. If you can't take the time to read your own work and understand words for what they actually mean please don't ask me to read it. It is painful to do so, and I'd much rather spend my time on something worth reading. I know that's harsh, but it's the truth.

Monday, April 18, 2011

O - Octopus Pie

Okay, maybe I'm stretching, but when I think of an octopus I see eight legs going in different directions, some of them twisting about the others, with millions of little suction cups. I know, you're probably wondering what this has to do with writing. I never plan out my books. I've tried it and they always end up terrible and linear. Sometimes I have the opposite problem though. Without planning there are times they spread out in many different directions, twisting about each other in a convoluted mess. Thus, octopus pie. Of course to make these stories understandable some of those side plots must be cut, paring down the story to what is truly important. I tell you the trash can is my best friend at those times even if it is hard to throw out so much work.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N - Never give up

There are times when life is hard and all of us would like to give up. This picture used to hang on my mother's refrigerator and every time life was hard growing up (which happened a lot) I would see it and know that I just had to keep going. No matter what. As I got older I've learned to dream, and when things are hardest I just have to keep going, because it's when they're hardest that I'm just a step away from success.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M - Mischeif does not make me a villain

I don't know about you but I love the bad boy in a story, that flare for mischief that gets them in just the right amount of trouble to make the story interesting. I don't know how many of you have seen Tangled, but it is the reason I love Rider. Sometimes my characters turn into the perfect blend of bad boy and hero and make the book exciting. I actually did this with a book I coauthored once (not a book I would ever publish). The character saved the story. He was the villain, but not so much the villain and I loved the character. I've often thought of telling his story and getting rid of the rest of the story because before he showed up it was terrible.
Anyway, mischeif is always fun to write.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Ah, love scenes. Those wonderful moments that make boys gag and girls go "ahh". I suck at them. I've read some wonderful ones, ones that seem like they really could happen in REAL life, and others that are completely faked. Mine drag. Okay, really they just drag for me and generally I don't have many as I am terrible at them. My characters are much more likely to bump noses while they kiss, or trip over each others feet, and the scenes themselves are like young teenagers who've never been kissed, fumbling over themselves without any real direction. Needless to say these scenes I'm in and out of as quickly as possible. I suppose it boils down to one thing. I don't have fun writing them. It's a chore I must get through and it shows. The few books that have bearable love scenes are those that others have critiqued a million times and showed me where I went wrong.
So a round of applause to all those who take the time to critique others work. I know how painfully obvious things can be to you, but to the writer it isn't always.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K- Killing off characters

In many stories I've come across a character dies only to be brought back to life through the power of plot convenience. Some of these that come to mind are Harry Potter and Krilin from Dragonball (Only know about that one because of my husband). I have to admit I've been known to do this myself. The story starts flowing, taking turns I didn't expect and before long my favorite character is dead (for me this is rarely the main character). I'll sit there staring at the screen my mind screaming "No! You can't kill them! They're the best character there is in this entire story!" But for some reason I can't delete that scene either, can't change it. That is the story my characters have told me, and so I end up getting creative and seeing if there is some logical way (can't stand it when stories break their own rules) that I can bring them back. This doesn't always work and many times I've had to set a story aside to deal with the fact that my favorite character is dead.
I find when I read stories where the character is brought back through Plot Convenience I just about am ready to throw the book. Seriously, if you don't want the character dead and can't provide a rational explanation of how they can come back (something I'm likely to believe) then just don't kill them off. A bit hypocritical perhaps, but there it is.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J- I always get stuck on this letter.

In my writing I've come to realize I use the letter J to start names ALOT. Jared, Jin, and Jonas are just to name a few. Upon realizing this I tried to avoid J names to break the habit and promptly switched to names ending with adon. It took me a bit to realize that one too. Perhaps it's just a comfortable rut I got stuck into but it is very difficult to break. My newest characters have names randomly chosen. (I ask my husband for a letter or series of such and then play with it until I like one.) It's quite amusing.
Are there any ruts you get stuck in?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Idiots - Too stupid to live.

Have you ever come across characters who are too stupid to live? A few of these are to the point where the reader is screaming "Stop being an idiot. You're going to get yourself killed!"
It isn't so bad except when the character happens to be the hero or the villain. (I'll admit I've written a few of these, but no one will ever see those books.) Most of the time I find this idiocy occurs when the character is one dimensional. Since I realized this I try to know my characters, even the most insignificant person has there own story, their own background. Most of this never gets used in the story, but I know it, and knowing it makes those idiots gain more depth and become real people.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Fantasy has always been my favorite genre. It truly inspires my imagination to create new things and sore to amazing heights. I personally love Brandon Mull's books. Especially his newest Beyonders. It has great description and imagination for new people and creatures. Lots of fun to read, even if it does have a lot of hads.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Everything's Edible

"Everything in this room is edible. Even I'm edible. But that is called cannibalism and is frowned upon in most countries."
Charlie and the Chocolate factory

Awkward moments. Don't you love them. I swear every time I run into one (less frequent than it used to be but still happens often) I think of this and laugh. Sorry folks. That's all I've got for E. Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dragons, demons, and dirigibles!

Okay maybe not so much the dirigibles. I often find myself inspired by others work, and the most inane things can spark my imagination. The other day it was sitting in a restaurant and I was tired. Somehow my mind slipped to what nightmares are made from (it had been a long day) and walla a new story was born.
While my inspirations come from many sources, I try to read as much in my favored genre as possible. Mostly fantasy. Thus dragons and demons are an intense part of my imagination. Some of my favorite books include these, but I would have to say it was the book Dragon's Milk that really started me down this path of writing. I read that book at least a dozen times in my early teenage years, and was sadly disappointed once when I relaized my favorite part of the book wasn't actually in said book. It was so vivid that I must have dreamed it, but it was truly the best part of the whole story. It wasn't long after that I wrote my first novel. (One which will never see the light of day again, but it was a start).
My favorite authors always paint the scenes in their stories with such incredible precision that I can see every aspect of the world. I aspire to be like that, and am grateful I've had the chance to meet a few of the authors I admire so much. Their advice has been invaluable, and I look forward to the day that I can do the same for others, inspiring them to reach for their dreams as these people have made me reach for mine.

Monday, April 4, 2011


As a writer I am always challenging myself to improve. With each new revision, each time I help someone else fill the holes in their story, and each book I read, I grow. My ideas blossom into new stories. The best book I've ever written (to date) was done after challenging myself. I wrote six different books (yes books, as in over 75,000 words each) in a six month period of time. I didn't write these books with the intent of publication. I wrote them with the intent to Challenge myself and grow. In each new book I learned something. I wrote in first person, out of my normal genre, with only one POV, etc.
When the idea for my new book came I'd spent so much time learning that it flowed out the tips of my fingers like liquid. I finished it in 3 weeks and then crited it myself. After that, as many of us do, I sent it off to be critiqued by others, expecting my work to come back bleeding red. The only response I have ever gotten is "This book is Wonderful" with a few minor suggestions.

Many blogs issue challenges, which I frequently join in. Because the more challenges you get into the further you will grow, and the better writer you will be.
EMBRACE the CHALLENGES. Accept defeat. Pick yourself up and go again. I'm cheering for you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Back to Basics

So often as writers we try to vary our sentences, place some variation into our writing and generally make it sound stupendous. I do this myself. unfortunately sometimes we get too creative. And so I've decided to just review the basics. noun, verb, subject. Not all sentences need to be embellished, but for those of us who do so too much (me included) let's remember that the basics of english are the basis for the amazing worlds we create.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Agents and Art-i-Choke on

Officially participating in Alex Cavinaugh's A-Z challenge. Check it out here

On to the blog for A.

Agents. Yes all those wonderful amazing people out there who bury themselves in mountains of words in the hopes of finding that one amazing manuscript. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to slush through all those words, especially since I have thrown my hat in the ring.
Here's my problem. I love to create this art I call a story. It's fun. I even love critiqueing my stories and others. I spend my time making those pages shine to precision and hate it when they don't come back with red. And then comes the part I CHOKE on. The Query. I get it to a point I think it's good, and it's not so bad I suppose. I have gotten some personal rejections from my query, but no requests. And so I start again, I revamp, go to the sites, get it critiqued by some wonderful people on QT and AW, and try again. All I can hope is that this time I don't find I've fallen flat on my face, and somewhere that one agent will see my story and want to work with me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blogfest! Let's have fun!

Brenda Drake is hosting a blogfest. Definitely worth checking out.
Here's my first 250 words for my MS Broken Paths. It's YA fantasy, and I've tried to add some internal dialogue as suggested below.

Well I worked a bit more on it. What do you think? New one in bold, old just after.

The darkness wrapped around her, the chorus of crickets no more than a buzz of background sound as Tiani searched the tree line, gasping for breath. The thundering of her heart pounded in her ears. She'd never run for so long. The spiny branches of the trees reached through the darkness to catch her, to stop her from succeeding. She couldn't fail. Not this time. Not when she was so close. She would prove them all wrong. The darkness lightened as a soft glow spread over the mountain ridge and she cursed inwardly, sweeping the sweat soaked strands of her auburn hair from her face and tucking them behind her ear.

"Ehlrin." The word was little more than a whisper. Any louder and she might be heard by the Halyn following them. If they find us we’ll just have to fight, but can we win? Tiani shook her head, refusing to let the thoughts cloud her mind. “Did we lose them?”

The tree above her rustled and Ehlrin landed beside her, his blonde hair plastered to his forehead and his green eyes roving over the mountainside. “No.”

If they could just survive this contest a few more hours, retrieve the winner’s cup, and make it back before the Halyn stole it, they’d graduate and rise among the Hindori’s elite. The hope crashed away as she looked through the dark trees.

They’d looked all night and hadn’t found the cup. Much longer and that chance would be lost. The only other option was beating the Halyn in a fight, and with personalized training and three years more experience that wasn’t likely to happen.

The darkness wrapped around her, the chorus of crickets no more than a buzz of background sound as Tiani searched the tree line, gasping for breath. The thundering of her heart pounded in her ears. She'd never run for so long. The spiny branches of the trees reached through the darkness to catch her, to stop her from succeeding. She couldn't fail. Not this time. Not when she was so close. She would prove them all wrong. The darkness lightened as a soft glow spread over the mountain ridge and she cursed inwardly, sweeping the sweat soaked strands of her auburn hair from her face and tucking them behind her ear.

"Ehlrin." The word was little more than a whisper. Any louder and she might be heard by the Halyn following them. Please don’t let them find us again. “Did we lose them?”

The tree above her rustled and Ehlrin landed beside her, his blonde hair plastered to his forehead and his green eyes roving over the mountainside. “No.”

The Halyn wouldn’t let her and Ehlrin win easily. If they could just survive a few more hours, retrieve the winner’s cup, and make it back before the Halyn stole it, they’d graduate. If they ever found the cup. Their only other option was beating the Halyn at their own game, and that wasn’t likely to happen.

Tiani stared at Ehlrin’s face, seeing the anguish there. I could handle not making it past the academy, but… She dropped her gaze and searched for some words of comfort.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Show Your Love contest

There is a contest going to the end of February (ending soon) that is incredible. If your going to the LDStorymakers conference in May you'll want to enter. And if you're not you might want to think about it as they have fantastic prizes.

Evjoy the contest.



The LDStorymakers conference is coming up here in Utah.
This is a great conference. I went last year and it helped me out a lot with my writing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Have you ever had a terrible nightmare and woken to find that it was real? That's been my life since Saturday. I know not terribly long, but it's left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. My wonderful husband who I love dearly came home on Saturday and told me "I quit. I couldn't handle work anymore." For a moment I thought he was kidding, and then I awoke to the realization that he wasn't. So now I have to figure out how to pay bills without any income. I have a job but it's sales and commision only and I just barely started. I'm not even sure what I'm doing yet. I don't know if I can sale anything. I got the job so i could learn, but being pressured like this certainly isn't going to help.
Sunday my husband who is just about to get his bachelors tells me "Oh, by the way, my final project for my last class is due today and I haven't started." I swear I could have killed him if he threw one more thing at me. I dragged him to his computer and made him sit down and work. He stayed there until he finished at 11 pm.
Monday I thought things were going to be fine, and then I awoke to find out our dishwasher and sink had busted and both had to be replaced. So I have spent the last two days fighting the demonic sink as I took it out and installed a new one. Every possible thing that could go wrong did, but I finally managed to tame the demon and force it to do my will.
(applause and shouts of joy)
Next time I'm calling a plumber (if I can ever get out of the starving author mode at least.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Death to Ly

Often I critique others work. I go through making comments on what I like and what I don't. After doing this for a year and critiqueing 20+ full manuscripts as well as many partials I've come to know what I'm talking about and I've developed a few pet peeves.

Any word ending in LY. I wish death upon them. So often if the writer would take the time to get rid of them they would work so much better. Sometimes of course there is no way around these words but the less used the better.

ING - This is a passive thing. I want see, feel, hear, smell everything. I want to be so drawn into the book I forget its a book. The fewer words that end in ing the easier it is for me to slip between the pages and take flight in a new realm.

Authors who refuse to use that wonderful tool called SPELL CHECK. It's such an easy thing in most programs they even underline it in red when the word is wrong. It's a simple request to review your own work BEFORE sending it out to others.

And then of course there's my biggest pet peeve. The one that makes me stagger over everything. Compared to this all others can be forgiven and looked past. And that one I hear you ask. Well that one is...


Yes. That's right. The he said, she said, asked, etc. Once in a while is fine but every time I come across one of these I think why didn't they describe an action, or why is that there. The sentence before this it tells us who this is by what they're doing.

Now you all know my pet peeves. I know I'm not the only one as I've had other critiquers point them out in my own work, and (hide my head) this morning while looking through a novel I haven't picked up for months I found several of them myself.

So while we are all at fault for these things at one time or another they're still my pet peeves and the fewer I find in a manuscript the easier it is to read.

But then maybe that's just the writer in me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Amazing giveaway

Amie Borst is having an amazing giveaway with 150 word critique and a possibly query critique from Elana Johnson. She's amazing with queries. If interested simply visit Amie's blog.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nervous Wreck

So the Nervous Wreck is here. This dreaded monster attacked me this morning as I woke up and realized that the Amazon breakthrough contest begins tonight. Despite the weeks of preparation, the hours of writing that horrible gainly thing people call a pitch, and the dozens of critiques I've received, my brain has spun out of control. I know my story is good, but the dreaded monster is telling me it isn't quite good enough.

This time I've told myself I don't care (A perfectly good lie to get me moving). I've done the best I can. The worst that can happen is disqualification. It's not like giant armies of robots will come rip me apart for trying. Right? Because now that I've written it I can see it all happen. Again, the dreaded monster has got me. Is there no release?

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I was trying to write the end to a query. Everything that came was immediately erased again as it was terrible. After a while I just got frustrated, stuck my fingers to the keyboard and let a ramble pour out in the form of the end. Then my husband jumped on and we had a good time just laughing at all these things. So i thought I'd share them with all of you.

With a large following of people who love ninja and the ideas behind their abilities dorks everywhere will love this book!
People who like books about things that don’t suck will love this book.
Everyone will like this book! It has a ninja!! Everything is better with ninjas! EVERYTHING!!
Finally a book your mother won’t mind you reading. If you don’t read it you will be letting your mother down and we wouldn’t want that would we?
It fits between the HERE and NOW as a clever way of getting out of writing this. Also it will fit nicely on the third shelf from the bottom at the bookstore.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Great starting tips!

A friend of mine sent me some notes from a workshop they took. They're good suggestions and make sense, so I'm sharing them with all of you. Enjoy.

Jan 5th 2011, Salt Lake library
Notes from Clint Johnson’s Workshop: Beginnings

Main purpose of Workshop: First line of the manuscript and 1st paragraphs
First lines should evoke an emotional response from the reader
-surprise, fear, humor, ect
1st line’s purpose is to sell the reason to keep reading

Reminders: Don’t start at the beginning of the story! This ends up giving huge gaps until PP1 (plot point one, the inciting incident)
Don’t start with the main characters getting to know each other. They should already have strong mixed emotions about one another. This makes for better book beginnings.

Beginnings of Books must have:
1. Perspective to view the world (POV Character)
2. An Idea of the conflict
3. An idea of what is at stake
Preferably all within the first chapter. If so, the reader will follow you through the rest of your book! Character, Conflict, and a Question. Same is true for the first line of your book.

Must have the following within the first line and better established by the end of the first page:
It is a natural human instinct to want to see the conflict presented RESOLVED. This is the #1 reason why readers keep reading! Have this start within the very first line.
--create a visceral feeling for the character
“I did nothing wrong—technically”. Causes doubt?

First line must pose a question. Natural human instinct to want to know the answer—readers will read on to find it. Implied questions work better than direct.
Book Example: “The clocks were striking 13” Creates question with the setting description.
Always introduce abnormal after normal, not before. (It was April, bright and cold, clocks were striking 13). Look for contrast and similarities in your book to create questions.
Caution of quantity of unanswered questions causing frustration. Every question posed must be answered in the story!

POV character is the window into the world that the reader feels comfortable with and trusts.

Second Tier of important things
-humor or whit. If you use it in the first line, it is a commitment to continue through the book
-shock or horror
-style or voice

NO NOT USE List (Unless it works!)
1. don’t start with a dialog! Publishers/agents view this as artificially abrupt. Uncreative.
2. don’t start with a Dream or waking up
It is too common vs fresh. Uncertain and distorted
3. NO BACKSTORY in the beginning of the story at all! If you must have backstory in the book, have it later on, and must jump back to tell a story! Otherwise, it creates speedbumps.
4. Avoid lengthy description. In older books, setting was a character and they did it well. It would have its own voice. That doesn’t work anymore—setting is morphing/dying in today’s literature. But don’t leave it out completely either.
Have the character describe the setting! Use their voice, how they would describe it.
4. Don’t use a False Hook!!!!!! Means that the opening scene is something to get reader’s attention, and then the story actually starts afterwards. Ch 1 should have everything to do with the book as much as PP1 (inciting incident) does.
An author sets the rules for the book. Readers don’t get a choice. They have to trust you as you set your book rules starting with line 1. Don’t mislead.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NEW YEAR Resolutions

I generally don't go for the New Year resolutions as most people never accomplish them. Instead I create small goals throughout the year to get me to where i ultimately want to be, regardless of how long it takes. This year i decided my main goal is to find an agent. That's it. So, first baby steps. Revise my query, again, and send out to 5 agents this week. Next week five more. I've also decided to query two different books, as i have a dozen to choose from. The first will be the one I've been querying off and on for over a year now. The second a new book, one that I can't seem to stop writing more books about this character. He's just so cool. Half demon half human he protects a village of people who only know him as a demon and want him dead. The action never stops and the few beta readers I've had (not friends or family) want to read more. So once I get my query and synopsis done its off to the agents.