Saturday, December 1, 2012

First two chapters of Emergence! Enjoy!

ONE

Antony Danic let the slide of his Glock .357 slam home. The sound echoed against the sterile surfaces of the industrial kitchen where he waited. Rows of stainless-steel appliances and stark white counters filled the room that was half the size of his whole apartment. Elite would love this kitchen. A machine-like calm settled over his body as his thoughts turned from his wife to the hit.
“HQ, this is Viper,” he said as he double-checked the blade strapped to his calf and adjusted his blue-lensed Lanzen sunglasses.
“Viper acknowledged,” a female Corporate operator said over his silver and red earpiece.
“Viper in recon position.”
“Roger that, Viper. Radio silence commenced.”
The earpiece went silent. There would be no more contact until he initiated it.
Mr. Bennett held to a strict schedule when he was in town. He would arrive at exactly eleven to do a final walk-through of his restaurant before locking up for the night. Somehow, after chasing the man for three weeks, through the United States and the Middle East, Antony was now less than twenty minutes from home.
“Thank you,” a voice echoed through the kitchen, coming from the direction of the dining room. “I’ll talk to you later.”
A phone snapped shut and Antony heard heels clicking on the tile floor. He slid his finger from the side of his Glock to the trigger well. A wide man entered the kitchen, checking the small refrigerator by the door and wiping his finger on the counter.
Meticulous and well-fed, Antony thought as he stepped from the shadows, training his pistol on the man. Pretty oblivious, too. They now stood a mere ten feet from each other.
Antony cleared his throat—he refused to shoot a man in the back—and pulled the trigger. He grimaced at the splatter of blood on his pant leg and made a mental note to stand farther back next time. I should know better—the larger targets always bleed more. Especially that third signature shot to the femoral artery. At least it wasn’t obvious on his black cargo pants, although Antony could feel the blood growing cold and sticky on his skin. The door of the restaurant hissed closed behind him, and the smells and sounds of the city drew his attention from his last hour of work. He stood on the corner of Bonython and Gale for a moment, then headed for the nearest train station.
A siren echoed and a lone car rolled past him, the tires crunching on the blacktop. There were still a few of them around. Older cars were a luxury, too expensive for the common man, or a major expense for the “old-timers” who didn’t like or trust newer technology.
“Time,” he said into his earpiece.
“It is 11:56 PM, April 26, 2087,” answered a woman from headquarters.
“When does the next train leave the Phillip Avenue Station?”
“At 12:06, sir.”
Phillip Avenue was still a city block away. Ahead of Antony, a community shuttle hovered at the curb of a stone apartment building. A young woman stumbled down the steps toward the shuttle. Behind her, a man followed.
“Inform Catelyn that the package is delivered and Viper is going home,” Antony said. Then he ran, his titanium sniper-rifle case bouncing against his back in a calming cadence. Above him, a few shuttles flew along the appointed routes. The city was unusually quiet tonight.
“Yes, sir,” said the voice in his ear.
“Viper out.” He nudged the earpiece with his shoulder. The station was just ahead of him.
He swiped his access card at the turnstile and rushed up the stairs. He reached the platform just as a large shuttle rose in the distance. Trans-World Flight, he thought, a cruise ship in orbit. He intended to take Elite on one someday.
“Welcome to Canberra ACT, the national capital of Australia,” the automated voice said.
Antony turned the corner and walked into the station. A maze of tracks crossed through the large room, and metal stairs and ramps led to each of the bays. Bright florescent lights bleached the color from everything in the station. The digital sign projected on the wall indicated that Antony’s train would stop at a bay to his left in 3.32 minutes.
“God loves those that come to him and confess their sins,” a man said. He stood next to the access card dispenser, with a metal can on the ground at his feet. He held a book in his hand, and his frayed clothes reminded Antony of the homeless he’d seen around the city. “What about you, young man—have you given him your sins?” he asked, grabbing at the sleeve of Antony’s jacket.
Antony felt strong fingers pinching at his muscles. Sighing, he closed his eyes for a prolonged second; all he wanted to do was get home to his wife and bed. He pulled his arm up, the fabric sliding out of the preacher’s grip, and sneered at the him. “Hardly,” Antony said, then continued to the left.
“The path you choose leads to darkness—your heart yearns to be free from sin.” The man maneuvered himself in front of Antony.
Antony stopped to avoid running into the man. “Religion is placation for the weak-minded,” he growled. “It’s slavery in itself.”
The man met Antony’s gaze, and he noticed that in spite of the man’s speed and strength, he was older. The lines around his dark, almond-shaped eyes were evident at this distance. When the man reached for his arm again, Antony grasped the front of his coat.
“Get your hands off me, old man.” Antony pushed the preacher away from him. The man stumbled back a few feet before he stopped his own fall. “There is no God. It’s all in your head.”
Antony stepped back as the train pulled into the station. If there was a God, my mother would still be alive. Clenching his teeth, he shoved the thought into the back of his head where it belonged.
“Everything all right here?” asked a police officer dressed in traditional khakis. He stepped between the two men and reached out his hands, placing one on Antony’s chest and one on the preacher’s.
“Tell that freak to leave me alone.” Antony pushed the officer’s hand away and stormed past him to the open train doors.
“Simply a difference of opinion,” he heard the preacher say from behind him.
Two people stepped off the train before Antony got on. He found a place to sit against the wall in the rear of the train car. He leaned back in his seat, the bloody fabric on his leg feeling coarse against his skin.
An old woman turned on her bench to stare at him with watery eyes. He groaned and looked back at her, raising his eyebrows.
“What?” he snapped. She turned away and looked down. He punched the volume up on his earpiece. “Music,” he said, and closed his eyes.


TWO

Antony watched the station disappear out the train window, the lights fading behind him, the stars appearing as the train picked up speed. Above him, the track stretched ahead until it vanished in the distance.
His foot bounced as adrenalin rushed through his veins. With his assignment finished, he’d be getting a large bonus. There was no such thing as a promotion with his job. As far as he knew, he was the only company soldier in the corporation. His reality revolved around his handler, Catelyn, who gave him his assignments. He reported either to her or headquarters, and the monthly paychecks and bonuses were electronically deposited in his account from some foreign bank. Years ago, the in-house accountant had the devil of a time deciding what accounts payable his salary went under. Antony laughed long and hard when his first check listed him as an employee of human resources.
He did his job, and he did it well. This hit was done just in time for his vacation. He couldn’t wait to take Elite to Tahiti. When they came home, she would draw a thick black line through the words “Stand on the beach of Riangora,” written on the textured watercolor paper tacked to the corkboard in their walk-in closet. Every time she crossed an adventure off the list, she added a new one.
He imagined her face as he gave her the tickets. Her excitement wouldn’t be containable. Visiting the beaches of Tahiti was one of the first on her list of things to do. The islands, closed to tourists starting with the island Riangora in early 2000, only allowed a few people a year to visit now, the ecology too fragile to return to the days of constant tourism. Antony had placed his and Elite’s names on the waiting list over five years ago, and they’d notified him in January of the visitor passes.
His smile widened as he thought of his wife standing in the surf. She would thrill at the feeling of sugar-white sand between her toes and would want to go skinny-dipping at midnight just because. No doubt she would drag him, swim trunks still on, into the water.
The train entered the station just before reaching Antony’s building. He stood and moved to the back door. A quick trip up the stairs, into the building, up the lift, and he would be in her arms.
It was dark when he entered the apartment. Elite must be asleep for once, he thought. Never in his life had he met someone with so much energy. It was her love of life that had attracted him to her in the first place. They had met when they were volunteer coaches for the Special Olympics. Antony had started years before when his best friend, Gage, invited him to help. Gage’s younger sister was born with a birth defect, and his family volunteered regularly. When Antony overheard Elite say she spent the weekend skydiving, he knew he had to introduce himself. He learned she was an adventure/adrenaline junkie like him, and it gave them something to talk about, and do, as they became friends and fell in love.
Antony unlocked the door to his office and pulled the large corkboard out from the wall. After punching in the code, he opened the metal door located in the wall, then placed both his pistol and his rifle in the gun safe and locked it. He pushed the corkboard back into position, then locked the office and quietly entered the master suite.
He dropped his shirt and pants in the metal basket in the closet, then stepped into the shower and let the water rinse the dirt of the last few days from his skin. He hated the filth of his work—not the blood, but the vile lives of some of the people he met. The blood was just part of his job. What bothered him were the people who thought they could do whatever they wanted without paying for it, like the men who attacked and killed Antony’s mother when he was young—too young to do anything to save her. They had never been punished. They deserved to die.
Bright light spilled across the dark wood of the closet and bathroom. Antony could see through the glass of the shower stall that everything was immaculate, as usual. Soon, dressed in flannel pajama pants, he opened the door from the bathroom to their bedroom. It was good to be home.
Tacked to the corkboard in the closet, next to the list, was an application for volcanic geology summer camp. Typical Elite, finding adventures to occupy her time, he thought as he imagined her with a rock hammer in hand. His brow furrowed when he saw the camp was actually four weeks long. It would be a good time to immerse himself in a supplemental intensive training regimen to keep in shape. He would spend the day working out, meditating, and training at the dojang where he practiced tang soo do twice a week. His master instructor, Sa Bo Nim Rick, would be happy to see him focus on his training. It would be the perfect time to reset his mind and body.
Elite’s head lay on her pillow in the shaft of light from the bathroom. Her dark brown hair had streaks of blue in it today and curled softly around her face. The short style she loved made her look younger than her thirty years. Her tan shoulder peeked from under the blankets. There was an open book on the floor by her side of the bed; she must have fallen asleep while reading. Antony turned off the light, stepping from the rougher rock floor of the bathroom onto the smooth wood floor of their bedroom.
He walked to his side of the bed, touching the knobby wooden post, then pulled the denim comforter down and slipped in next to her. She shifted as he laid his arm across her stomach. He hadn’t seen her in over three weeks. Pulling her close, he breathed in the familiar smell of her shampoo and closed his eyes, the exhaustion of a finished assignment making his eyelids heavy. Soon, he felt his body surrender to sleep.



“It’s almost time to go. Are you ready?” Elite asked as she came out of the bathroom, fastening a long, dangling earring in her ear. She wore a bright azure sweater that matched the blue in her hair, and a long, dark gray suede skirt. The richly embroidered hem of the skirt covered the tops of her black leather boots. Antony had spent the last hour watching her get ready through half-closed eyes.
“Antony?” she said. He stretched his arms over his head, yawning. He had forgotten how comfortable his own bed felt.
“What?”
“You’re not even out of bed, and the ceremony starts in just over an hour. It takes forty minutes to get there by train.”
“Ceremony?”
“Yes.” She walked back into the closet and grabbed a shawl from a hook. They sometimes laughed at how his almost all brown, black, and blue clothing contrasted with her multi-colored wardrobe. “Sara and Michael’s bonding is this afternoon.”
“Ugh, Elite, that’s church stuff.”
She stopped at the doorway of the closet and blinked, her lip quivering.
He cursed inwardly. He didn’t like that face.
“You promised.” Her voice was small and timid.
Antony groaned and rolled over. He wondered sometimes at the hardened soldier he was that became mush the instant his wife started blinking, trying not to cry. Her power over him was confusing, as if she had woven herself around his black heart and infused his lack of love with her abundance of it.
She left the room, and he heard her searching for the keys. She never put them in the same place, no matter what he told her.
He had gone to church with her before, but he hated the way being there made him feel, as if he were being burned alive right there on the bench for his lifestyle and occupation. He didn’t believe in a higher being, but after an hour of Elite’s church, he was apt to believe there was a hell and he was going there.
“Fine,” Antony said loudly and sat up. I want her to be happy, even if it’s not where I want to be.
“What?” She entered the room, her bag over her shoulder.
“Fine, I promised you and Michael. I’ll go. Just give me a minute.”
She smiled and reached for his black suit, still draped in the dry cleaner’s plastic.
“Not that,” he said. “I’ll wear my khakis and a button-down shirt. I’m not going more dressed up than you are.” He saw her hang up his suit and pull out a pair of pants, a shirt, and sweater as he turned on the shower. Great, he would be hot and stuffy and feel like he was burning from the inside out all at the same time.
This is going to be a pain in the . . . But it was the least he could do in their current circumstances. In fact, the first item on Elite’s list was to be bound in her religion. Just being married wasn’t enough. Her religion believed they could not only marry flesh to flesh, but soul could be bound to soul.
“We’re going to be late,” she said as he rinsed off.
“We’ll take a taxi.”
“It’s almost noon.”
“But it’s Saturday. We’ll be fine.” He stepped out and grabbed the thick Egyptian-cotton towel hanging on a hook by the shower. His feet felt cool on the rock floor as he gave himself a rigorous once-over.
“Did you get them a gift?” he called out.
“I ordered it weeks ago. It should have been delivered on Thursday,” Elite said from the kitchen, her mouth full of something.
Antony pulled the sweater on and filled his pocket with his wallet, knife, and keys. Then he checked his pistol. It was loaded. He grabbed his phone in case things got boring.
“Let’s go.” He found his shoes in the basket by the door and dropped them on the floor to slip them on.
Elite came out of the kitchen, several crackers in her hand. “I called the taxi. It should be here by now,” she said.
He looked at the crackers and smiled.
“What?” she asked. “I was hungry.”
He shook his head, opened the door, and escorted her out by the elbow.
Antony didn’t pay attention to the address she gave the driver as they stepped into the taxi, but he soon realized they were in the opposite part of town from her church.
“I thought this was a bonding,” he said as he turned his gaze toward Elite. She sat with a book in her lap, silently reading.
“It is.”
“Then why are we going this direction?” he asked.
She looked up at him. “They’re having the bonding at her parents’ house.”
“But I thought bondings were performed at the church.”
“It’s not where they’re performed, but by whom,” she said and shut her book. “Sara got someone high up to do it, but I think she’s being a little vain. Her own father is an elder, and he could have bonded them with permission.”
“Elder?”
“Elders run the local churches. There are people higher in the chain of command who oversee the elders.” She grimaced, suddenly looking pale.
“Honey, are you okay?” Antony asked.
She shook her head. “I’ll be fine, just a little car sick. You know how I get.” He nodded. They usually took the train because it was easier on her stomach. Planes and trains were okay, but cars were a completely different story, which was why he hesitated to buy a car or a shuttle. Why own either if Elite couldn’t ride in them?
“I’m sorry, I forgot I told you I’d go,” he said. “It’s my fault we were too late to take the train. We’ll take one on the way home, okay?”
She nodded. She was extremely claustrophobic when she was sick like this. Antony longed to calm her, but she wouldn’t let him near.
He opened his window a little and watched as she sat back and closed her eyes. How he wished for a little boy or girl with chocolate eyes just like hers. He frowned. He hadn’t thought about a baby for a long time. He and Elite were going to be surrounded by members of her congregation, and he knew many of them would ask when he and Elite planned to have children. She would be in a bad mood after the celebration because it wasn’t them being bonded, or having a baby.
She had mentioned adoption again just before his assignment to Pakistan. The fight had been mean, she’d gone to bed silent, and he’d left early the next morning. Was it so wrong to want a child of his blood? They could take home a baby anytime from the orphanage Elite owned, but it wasn’t the same.
Abandoned as an infant on the steps of a church in Dunedin, New Zealand, Antony wanted a child of his own, a blood relative in a world where he had none. Yet, he wanted more than anything in the world to erase the sorrow in Elite’s eyes.
He vividly remembered the day she was diagnosed with infertility. She locked herself in their bedroom and wept for hours, insisting she had ruined his chances to be a father. To get to her, he had to unhinge the door and climb over the dresser she had somehow moved to bar the way. He made it across the floor, which was cluttered with anything she could throw, and held her in his arms, promising her it didn’t matter, that he still loved her, that she was the most important thing in the world to him.
The sound of the taxi’s air jets on gravel drew him out of his thoughts. They were pulling up to a grand house set on top of a small incline. He stepped out and paid the driver two international credit notes before Elite could open her bag. Then Antony walked around to her door, opened it, and held out his hand.
“Allow me,” he whispered. She reached out a thin hand and he pulled her up. The book had disappeared into the bag, no longer needed—if she concentrated on something else besides riding passenger, she didn’t get as sick. “I love you, Elite Danic.”
She blushed. “I love you too,” she said as the taxi flew off.
Antony stopped her as she took a step forward. “Elite,” he said. She paused and looked into his eyes. “Let’s turn in the papers and take a baby home. I hate seeing you alone. I want you to be happy. It doesn’t matter to me anymore whether our child is of our blood or adopted.” He hoped she couldn’t see through his fa├žade. His chest hurt at the thought of lying to her. It was the reason he had confessed to her what he was even before he proposed.
“I’m an assassin,” he remembered saying.
“You kill people?” she asked, backing away from him. Her eyes were wide, the skin around her mouth tight. Antony regretted the decision to be honest as soon as he saw her face. “Do you just go up and shoot anyone you feel like killing?”
“No,” he hurried to explain. “Only those who pose a threat to our country and the citizens’ safety.”
“So you’re in the military?”
“Actually, I’m retired. I work for a military contractor as a corporate soldier.”
She paused, her arms folded across her stomach, her lower lip between her teeth. “It’s like that National Security thing. You go after terrorists,” she said after several seconds.
“Yes. If they pose a threat to the people I work for, they send me to take care of it.”
“Is that all you do?” she asked.
“I’m also a courier. I transport documents or objects too valuable to ship through normal channels. I act as a bodyguard if needed, too.”
Elite was quiet a moment longer. “You protect the innocent like I do,” she said at length. “I work at the orphanage my mom owns. Some of the children who live there have been removed from abusive parents. We go to court all the time, and sadly, sometimes the parents lie and they get their kids back in spite of the evidence against them.”
“Sometimes, even with the most terrible evidence or solid eyewitness, the accused still gets off,” Antony said. “The justice system is an imperfect machine with human people running it and working for it. When that happens in my realm, I’m called to take care of it.”
He looked at Elite, trying to read her face. It was obvious she was thinking about it. As her eyebrows lowered and her face relaxed into something calm compared to the alarmed look when he first told her, she reached out for his hand.
“I think I prefer the word ‘soldier’ instead of ‘assassin,’” she said.

He refused to live a lie with her. No one else mattered.
“You’re ready to apply for adoption?” she asked now. Her eyes searched his face, intensely flitting from feature to feature. He still felt wrong about it, but secretly hoped the idea would grow on him.
“I think so. I want to see you sitting in the nursery, rocking a baby to sleep in the antique chair I bought,” he said. That part wasn’t a lie. Her eyes reflected less sorrow and more joy, and he smiled.
“It’s time, isn’t it?” she asked.
He pulled her close to him. “It’s time someone called us Mom and Dad.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hey SLC peeps

Salt Lake City friends and family. This Friday, (Nov. 30), I will be signing books at the Sandy Library from 4-6.

Come see me and get a signed book. (They make great Christmas presents) Eat treats and have a good time. This is the last chance to get a signed copy of EMERGENCE before Christmas or the end of the year unless you're going to be in Mesquite NV on December 14-15. (Then it's your second to last chance.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

SEVEN DAYS!!!!

That's simply hard to believe. I will have my book in my hands and be able to offer it to you my readers in SEVEN DAYS!

I'm so excited!

So to celebrate I'm going to post every day until the 8th and I'm going to shamelessly promote me and my book.

So first things first. I was tagged in a blog chain hop about my book and I decided to post my answers so you can get to know me and my book better.

Have fun!

The next big thing blog chain.

J. J. Bennet has chained me to this “next big blog chain”

By joining this blog chain I get to answer a few questions about my upcoming book (or WIP) and generate some excitement about the debut. So here we go with the answers.

My new book is titled: Emergence

Where did you get the idea for the book?
I was playing with the idea of “What would it take in his life to change a man from a bad boy to a good guy.” We did a lot of what ifs and turned my old draft completely upside down.

What’s the genre of the book? Futuristic suspense

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the book?
Antony: Jason Moma
Elite: No idea, someone thin but rugged and pretty. Loves to be adventurous.
Catelyn: Tall, thin, long black hair, aristocratic.
Man in black: Wears black suits and glasses. Long black hair.
Gage: White blonde, golden eyes. Wears Hawaiian shirts.
Mathilde: Pale, blond, delicate looking.

My elevator pitch: He was the corporations prized hit man until he refused an assignment. Now he’s going to find it’s a lot easier to kill a man than to keep him alive.

Will your book be represented by an agent/publisher or self pubbed?
Emergence is being published by Walnut Springs Press.

How long did it take you to write your first draft?
About four months. The revisions and editing too just more than a year.

What other books compare to yours in your genre?
The Jason Bourne series.

Who or what inspired your book?
The main character Antony Danic.

What else about the book might pique a readers interest?
There’s lots of conflict, lots of surprises, a hologram a tattoo and some betrayal.

Now to fling the link to someone else.
If you want to try it, go ahead and grab the questions.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Manuscript Proofreads

I'm 110 pages away from being done with my final proofread of my manuscript Emergence. We should go to press next week. I'm dead, my eyes hurt and my brain is much. See you guys on the upside.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley




I met Mercedes through a mutual friend. We were Facebook friends for a few months before we actually got to meet in person. I'm so glad we met She's awesome and we connected immediately we have so much in common. Mercedes is an amazing female horror writer and her collection of "tragic" short stories called Beautiful Sorrows is out now.

Here is her blog and the purchase link for her book. As well as an awesome interview.

ENJOY!

A Broken Laptop

Shock Totem Bookstore

Amazon link


How does a small town girl end up in Vegas?
This small town girl first sampled Seattle, Helsinki, and then ended up in Vegas. My family and I are definitely adventurers. I’m being absolutely honest when I say that there are definitely things that I miss about growing up in Castle Dale. I miss things like talking over the fence with the neighbors and growing up with the same group of kids. My son has been to almost a dozen schools in six years here, and that’s hard for him. There’s no continuity. But I love how many friends pop into Vegas for vacation or for conferences, so I get to see them. And it’s great having a store open in the middle of the night! When I visit home, I get panicked because I forget that everything closes at 9:00 pm. There’s that 8:45 rush to run down there and make sure we’re good for the evening.

Why do you write what you write?
I write what I read. I write what I think about. My mind has a tendency to spiral toward the dark beautiful, and it’s easy to jump in the rabbit hole after it. I also try to exorcise some of my fears and anxieties of the moment. My husband constantly tells me, “Your mind is not your friend,” and he’s absolutely right. I try to put some of this crazy energy to work for me, instead of just against me.

There aren’t a lot of women who write horror, does this make it harder or easier to be noticed?
When I first started writing horror, I felt that being a woman was used against me. I felt like I was being singled out. Now that I’ve settled into my space, I see that wasn’t necessarily the case, but I was projecting my own insecurities onto other people. Being a woman is helpful because it’s a little bit of an anomaly. Being a woman of faith who writes horror, well! That’s even more strange. It’s helpful if you know how to shoulder the attention, and it took me a while to become comfortable with it. But horror writers are the most amazing crew. I was surprised at how wonderful and generous and kind they all are! They put all of their darkness on the page, so they’re basically left as happy, well-balanced beings. There are exceptions, of course, but they seem to be few and far between.

I’ve seen your painted piano, is your writing space as eclectic?
Ha! I love that piano! I named her Sonja, and after I painted her, she became Red Sonja. She’s a happy thing. My writing space is pretty much the whole house, but I do have a desk that’s set up for writing. I have a statue of Romeo and Juliet that I got in Verona when I was a teenager. A Maleficent figurine, a stuffed skeleton that a friend gave me. There’s an original, signed “The Last Unicorn” poster hanging over the desk, and a wonderfully whimsical and sinister painting of Red Riding Hood riding on the wolf’s back. He has a red muzzle. A picture of my writing group, a picture that my daughter drew, and a pair of red rain boots tucked underneath. For, you know, all of the rain in Vegas. I write in them. So, um, yes, I suppose it’s fairly eclectic. Slightly strange, very charming, and quite me.

If you had to evacuate your home what would you take first? (Besides your family members and mementos)
My journals. Too many precious memories to lose. And my laptop. Once a writer, always a writer. Thankfully I have my work backed up in about a zillion places, but I never want to be without a computer.

What is with the high heels?
I have a slight obsession. I’ve always loved shoes, but it’s since I married my super wonderful, super secure husband that I’ve really started collecting the stilettos. I’m taller than him when I wear them. Heck, I’m taller than pretty much everybody when I wear them! In most of my heels, I’m 6’1”. I love that my husband isn’t at all intimidated or insecure about that. They’re pretty, they’re something special that can be incorporated into every day, and I love the sound that they make when they tic-tic-tic on the floor. It’s a very powerful, very feminine sound.

Tell us about your current writing.
Right now I’m reveling in the release of my first story collection titled Beautiful Sorrows. I’m also working on a novel that I’m planning to turn in to my agent this December. Its working title is Stormlight, and it’s a women’s fiction about a girl who returns to her Southern home after years of being away, and her young daughter goes missing. It’s full of delicious small-town paranoia and emotion. I absolutely adore this project.

A piece of advice?
I’d suggest that we all take 30 minutes this evening that we’d usually waste. Time spent watching mindless television, or playing on the Internet, perhaps. Use this mindless time and write with it. I guarantee something magical will happen. Let’s reclaim our lives and creativity, shall we?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Your Writing Space



Do you have the writing space of your dreams? Is it a corner of another room, a comfy couch, or an office to yourself?

I know one writer who loves to write by hand in a notebook in her papasan chair which she calls her "writing chair". Another writer has a couch and uses the back of said couch for their storage. Another writer has a long narrow office with shelves along one wall a couch on the other and a desk at the end of the long room. I even know a writer that had a whole huge room in the basement with walls covered in pictures of her characters.

Regardless of what it is, It needs to be someting you are happy with. When I attended Storymakers Author Kevin James talked about ergonomics, and that if you are writing you need to be comfortble and in a position that is good for your body. Is your back strained after a few hours? Your eyes hurting? Your hands and wrists in pain? Chances are you need to re-asses your writing space and do something to make it better. If you do, your body and WIP will thank you.

What is your writing space like? Are you happy with it?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Emergence Book Blitz

Nine days!

Yep, if nothing tragic happens, my book Emergence will be out in NINE DAYS!

I'm so excited!!! I can't even think straight. MY book. MY Emergence. MY story about Antony Danic the atheist assassin.

I'll be posting here alot more often and will be listing links to thoe awesome friendsd who are spotlighting me and my book, as well as sharing some interviews with other writer friends.

So until tomorrow, have an awesome evening.

P.S. To cellebrate, I am linking to my playlist. These are the songs I wrote and edited emergence to.

Noble Standing's Playlist

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Repetitive Elements in your Story


When you have an element in your story that is going to show up again and again there are some rules to make it plausible. Sometimes times this element is tied to the theme of the book other times it is symbolic or has meaning to the author or reader.

For instance: in the Harry Potter Series, Halloween is prominent at the beginning of every book. It is a time marker for the story. The actual Hogwarts Castle is also a repetitive element.

So back to the rules,

First, if there is a repetitive element in the story, it needs to be mentioned often enough to jog the readers memory and not too much that the reader thinks it's become obnoxious or puts the book down. This is often times a very fine line. My suggestion is to let a few beta readers read it for the elements only and ask other readers if they noticed it or not. If they noticed it afterwards with a pleasant surprised look you did well. If they didn't notice it, you need more, if they groan in annoyance, you need to remove a few.

Second, the element needs to be the exact same object person event, or it needs to be varied. I know confusing as mud. Okay for clarification, if you have a bad guy for example that keeps showing up, he needs to be the same guy. He needs to appear similar every time and act the same every time. Too many different bad guys and your reader is going to be confused.

In one of my manuscripts there's a guy who shows up and is wearing expensive sunglasses every time you see him. He also wears black most of the time and drives a black Mercedes. See what I mean?

In another story a repeating element is gateways. This time the element is varied and each gateway is different and not everyone of them has the same plot element. If the gate was repeated the exact same all over then it would be boring.

For example one is a man made stone archway, another is a path through a bamboo forest where the leaves touch overhead giving a tunnel appearance.

Third if this element is essential to the climax of the story, it needs to be established in the beginning of the story so it doesn't appear duct taped.

My gates are portals that help people travel all over the planet. Similar to wormholes. However only some of them work and my characters have no idea that they exist. So if my characters happen to step into a portal at the end of the book that takes them to a place they need to be, then they need at least one other experience near the beginning of the story to justify using the gate at the end.

Last, make sure the element is revealed or explained in the book, most of the time at the end. This doesn't mean it has to have a huge back story and paragraphs of exposition. It just means that the reader should have an "ah-ha" moment which makes for a satisfying read on their parts

Monday, September 10, 2012

again . . . .

I've promised myself many times in the last year to get caught up on my blog and stay that way. Yet, life seems to be so busy it flees my mind like summer is fading on us now.

I am one one month away from seeing my dream come true. The work I've been slaving over called Emergence will be out in October. In the time crunch before it's release I've been gathering reviewers, writing press releases planning launch parties and all sorts of other stuff.

To be honest If I'd known what I was in for at the begining of this madness I might not have been so enthusiastic to do it all. The list for my launch party is two pages long I have several articles I've read on self promotion. the corner of my office is full of door prizes table decorations and childens crafts for the launch. I'm so excited and yet terrified at the same time. What if no one buys it? Even worse? What if no one who buys it likes it?

Still there's this drive this force to have the story heard. To show readers my world. To bask in the lime light if only for a few hours at a launch or signing. To hold in my hands a book that I wrote, something amazing an special.

My name is Michelle and I am an author.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beginings

I'm taking all sorts of risks right now.

Today is the first day of the school year. My kids dressed in new clothes and haircuts are now at school and ready to be molded and learn all sorts of new stuff.

Today is also a new begining for me. I only have one child at home and should be exctatic at the prospect of having so much time to write and work on my books.

Wrong.

This baby is not one of those entertain themselves all day long kids like my others. This one needs constant supervision. Remember me saying I'm taking a risk? Yeah, he's unloading the hall closet as I write this. It's going to be an interesting year.

Speaking of beginings. I have a few friends who stress over thier first pages worrying whether they are good or not. They worry about the level of action the plot promises that should be delivered in it. They worry about pacing, and introdoucing the characters without info dumping. While some of my other friends breeze through the first pages only to worry about something else. My main worry is just that I've gotten some element of grammar wrong and I don't see it. I rarely worry about first pages. I have too many other things to stress over.


I've written many first chapters and entered many first chapter contests. From my many years I have come to a few conclusions.

You must introdouce your main character. No "first chapter about anybody but the MC".

If the MC has a signifigant other, they must be thought about or mentioned. If this is a multiple POV book the other characters should be given at least a mention.

You need to give the reader a sense of the setting and whether its normal or if it is unusual for them.

Tell the reader what is the MC's normal life so when we take them out of normal the reader notices the change.

You should give the reader a hint about what the main conflict of the book is. By all means, don't tell them the climax or the resolution, but give them an idea of what is coming. It makes for a more satisfying story in my opinion.

The first chapter must be consistent in style and voice to the rest of the book. The pacing should indicate the pacing of the rest of the book. No switching narrative, person, voice or style.

Arrive late into the scene and leave early.

So what do you worry about? What do you believe is required in first chapters? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One coping tool for writers block


I was so suck, even after taking a week to relax and refresh myself. My MS had sat at 14,444 words for over seven days. I told a friend how stuck I was and although talking about it is a great un blocking tool, it's not the one I want to talk about.

My crit partner asked me to imagine what the city was like, what were thier rules and what would their reaction be to two stranges meandering into thier world. I'm writing first person exclusive and while none of this stuff pertained to my character directly it was something he'd deal with in the reaction department. It was the perfect solution to a block that had me stalled for a long time.

Try it, maybe it'll work for you.

~The path to wisdom is not always straight

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Everything I learned about writing I learned at Storymakers.

Well okay almost everything. There've been a few books and a smattering of other conferences. But for the most part it is true.

I've gone to the last 6 conferences and come away with so much information my brain has done some sort of gelatin thing for at least a week after as it processed all the awesomeness into information I could use. I've learned writing, editing, synopsis, querying, plotting, and networking to name a few. I've come home and revised rewritten or just plain started writing and basked in the glow of what is the Storymakers conference.

But that isn't the best part.

I am a LDStorymakers success story. Yeah I know they don't have anything fancy or a list of those of us who are, but I am all the same.

Two years ago I sat at dinner Friday night with Some friends and Amy Orton who is the PR/designer of Walnut Springs. during the conversation I asked her if they'd be interested in a story I had been shoping. She said it sounded like something they'd want to see so I sent it off within days of the conference. I also pitched a middle grade non fiction to them at the publishing meet and greet and was told to send that one in too.

Skip to today I am eagerly awaiting the release of my technical suspense next month and the middle grade in the spring.

I wouldn't be where I am without Storymakers.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Announcing . . . Enchanted Etiquette




Oh my gosh It's been a month since I've written on this blog. Shame on me!

So much has happened since then. My baby broke his arm and I wrote a 64,000 word book in 30 days. But neither of those kept me from here, just plain ignoring it did. I'm sorry. I'll do better I promise.

I have people who keep track of me only through this blog and I have news to share with everyone.

My Middle Grade non-fiction book Enchanted Etiquette has been picked up by Walnut Springs/Leatherwood Press and will be out in spring 2013. I'm so EXCITED!!!!!! This book is a pet project of mine. It is something near and dear to my heart, something I never expected to actually write. Me write non-fiction? Ha!

BUT, too many children (IMO) are not learning manners and I think parents are feeling that thier children won't listen to boring lessons, or it's antiquated. Children these days need manners more than ever, and they need them now. We all do from time to time. So 2 years ago I thought what if I wrote a book teaching manners to young girls in a fun way? That fun way turned out to be Grace Faries teaching the lessons and crafts and recipes to add to the fun of the lessons. I planned it and pitched it and got a few yes's and then wrote it polished it and sent it in.

I'm so excited though, I had to tell everyone! While EE is for girls I am working on a version for boys because it's important that boys learn manners and grace too.

I'm also working on my YA steampunk/scifi and its turning out really well so far. :)

Enough about me how are you guys doing? I miss you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Expanding on the Master Chapter List.




A few weeks ago we talked about master chapter lists. Usually, I make the list after I write the rough draft. This time as I draft a rough things are different. I have a one year old who thinks his life goal is to drive me nuts. Using my old "just rely on the structure page" is not working. I have so little time to draft and my attention is scattered all over.

So I altered my plans a little. This time, instead of writing them down after I write the chapter, I took the entire storyline and wrote them down on index cards. Scene by scene. Then I took the cards and taped them to the door to my office. It didn't matter how I put the up as long as I had room at the top of the door to start putting them up in the right order.



I grouped scenes together like everything that went with PP1, mid point, and PP2. and started to tape them in order starting at chapter one. I walked away from it for about 15 minutes so I could look at it with fresh eyes. When I was sure the order was right I numbered them before I took them off the door.



Now I have a master chapter/scene list and so when I have a little snippet of time I know exactly where I am going and what scene I need to write.



It's worked so well the last few days, I think I might do this every time. It tells me where I need to go but it provides me with the pantsing freedom that I seem to require to draft.



It's a win win.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Parallel Novels and Anchor Characters and Worlds

There's a type of series that are called Parallel Novels. Where the main character isn't consistent in all of the books. Where the setting and world details are the same, or the the worlds are all in the same galaxy. And the MC of one book is a secondary character in the other.

I am totally in love with the idea of these novels. I love series, and getting to know the world and characters better. I love parallel novels even more because I get to see more of the world and meet more of the characters. Not just the world according to one MC.

Sherrilyn Kenyon does parallel novels well. Her League and Dark Hunter books are excellent examples of novels with the same characters and world but with different people as Main Characters. Melissa Marr is also really good at parallel novels in her Wicked Lovely series.

In writing my book, I have developed an amazing world. At least I think so. I had two series planned one is four books with the MC of the first book and a second three books with the first MC's son. About a year ago I had an awesome idea for a scifi/steampunk YA adventure. I began to work on it in my head and jot down notes. Then I realized this was an extreme prequel to my series and was on the same world.

I refused to accept it for a long while. I almost felt it was cheating. But after a few months I realized that indeed it was the same world just hundreds of years in the past. Then I also realized that with this book I had an opportunity to create an amazing world and have a lot of fun with it.

Since then I have added another trilogy to this same world, and two stand alones. (at least in ideas and plotting out books) As the idea of the story became parallel instead of series, I became more excited. I also have a few novel ideas in an Urban Fantasy world. I'm excited to get working on them too.

So what makes it a parallel novel(s)?

Anchor characters and anchor worlds.

Anchor characters are a character that is seen in all of the novels. Or you might see a handful of characters throughout the books but there is always at least one.

In my Emergence world there are three main characters, one in each series/trilogy. But my anchor character(s) isn't one of them. He is a secondary character in all of the books though. He's a genius inventor and entrepreneur from Australia. He is the character that links all of the books together. I also created a character that although he is almost non existent in four of the books, (but is mentioned in a round about way) is a larger character in the others. He IS is the fix to a universal plot hole in all of the books.

Another type of parallel anchor is world or setting. If you have a world that is unique and interesting you might want to revisit it again and again with different characters.

While two of my series books and one stand alone in the "parallel universe" are based on Earth. The other trilogy/series, and the one extreme prequel is on another world.


In this way, everything is connected by either world or character and you get to enjoy many different places and characters as well as keep up on some old favorites.

Give them a try, I hope you decide you like them.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lessons Learned



At the moment, I am editing as well as drafting. While I am awaiting the release of my first tech suspense, I am writing a new YA scifi/steampunk, and editing the #2 book to the one being released this summer.

This sweep is probably the tenth or eleventh time I have gone over the book in preperation for it's submission to my publisher. I am down to the point where I am making tiny little adjustments. Adding or subtracting words, punctuation, rearranging sentences for clarity and deleting fluff. The major stuff is all done. Chapters added, plot holes fixed, character developement polished.

So yesterday I sat down and re-numbered my chapters. I will not be adding anything major to the MS and felt safe making sure they were all in order and no numbers were off.

This is where the little lesson comes in.

After I write the rough draft I take a seperate document and make a "master chapter outline". It's usually about four pages long and includes the chapter number, the "unofficial" title* of the chapter, the plot reasons for the chapter, and a short synopsis. *unofficial title: a word or short phrase that gives me a clue as to what the chapter is about. IE the begining chapter of soon to be released book is titled "blood". Have I intrigued you yet? LOL

THIS document is my lifeline for the duration of the story. I print a copy of it and paste it into my project notebook. I also take this notebook everywhere I go. If I have an idea or an epiphany it goes into this book.

Back to the chapter outline though.

As I re-numbered the chapters I found two problems. I'd written down two chapter entries for a chapter I eventually didn't split, so I had an extra number. I'd also forgotten to add in four chapters as I wrote them into the MS. So instead of 46 chapters I actually have 49. Talk about messing with my allready addled brain.

While this "master chapter outline" saves me TONS of time. (Being able to "see" the book in four pages.) Forgetting to add those chapters and not correcting the non-split, messed with my productivity and took almost an hour out of time I could have have been doing something else.

I am sure there were reasons, whether good or bad, that I didn't update my list. But I have learned my lesson. I will definitely not avoid updating on purpose again. I'd rather take a few minutes on occasion than hours fixing it later.

This method works for me. It might not work for you. But hey its worth trying anything once right?


Monday, June 4, 2012

A little sweepstakes for my birthday

June is my Birthday month. I'm officially 43 years young. In honor of my birthday and my new office I will be giving away two awesome books. they are the LDStorymakers Guides to Writing and Getting Published. I actually found that I have two copies of each book and thought that I should gift them to someone who needs them.

So if you comment on any of my posts this month I will count you in the "bowl" of names. And one lucky person will get both books. (They are kind of a set and really do go together.)

Other good news is my book Emergence might be out this month or the next. Stay tuned for all of the hullabaloo surounding the release.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The little story that could

So I had this idea a long time ago to write a book using faries as the MC's. I'd dreamed about it for a long time, ever since my daughter was little. (She's now 18.) For a long time I felt I wasn't capable of writing anything that was worth publishing, but that's another story. Back to the faries. I remember as a child being enthralled by the gnome book my grandmother had. I thought it was so cool to detail out a life lived by somone else. I remember reading that book every time I visited. So as I grew up and tried writing then put it away for years that story idea and the things that prompted it never went away.

Fast forward to now. Still dwelling on the fairy idea but with a new drive and message. (teaching manners to children in a fun way)I pitched it at last years Publishers Mix and Mingle. I got three yes's and two said that they weree looking for something similar. I sat down after many long months of research and testing and wrote Enchanted Etiquette. It was during that process that I realized that there needed to be a book for boys too and started searching for the perfect "medium" for a boys book. With the help of some friends I not only got the boys idea hammered out I found a name for the girls book and had it edited.

So now Enchanted Etiquette is in the hands of my editor and is being discussed. There's a chance that this little idea started when I was just a young mother with tiny babies will become more than one book.

I can't express how blessed I feel in regards to my career as a newly soon to be published author has been. It pays to be determined and stick to your guns. We'll talk about that later.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May Thirteenth

Happy Mothers day to all the wonderful women that have been an influence in my life.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Plot Point part of Sructure

by C. Michelle Jefferies



If you remember, last week we talked about the four parts of the story, and the four stages of character.

Today we're going to talk about plot points. Plot points are the defining moments in the story. They aare supposed to happen at the quarter marks in the story, IE PP1 at 1/4th the way into the story. However if they don't happen at exactly the proposed time or aren't just one scene, that's okay. I myself tend to have really short resolution stages and long mid points.



The first point in the story is called the hook.



It:

•Happens early in the story, preferably the first few chapters.



•Gives the reader some clue as to the conflict later in the story.



•Provides some action or conflict in the introduction part of the story.







The next point is called Plot Point 1. It happens at 1/4 the way through the story. It begins the reaction stageof the story, and the wanderer character stage.



It is:



•Most important part of your story.



•The MC’s call to action, or event that starts everything moving.



•The true introduction of the conflict.



•After this point the MC or Hero’s life can never be the same.



•Can be external or internal.



•Doesn’t have to be dark and earth shattering.





An essential element of Structure are Pinch Points.



They:

•Are a reminder of the conflict and bad guy throughout the story.



•Should happen at least once half way between PP1 and MP and once between MP and PP2.



•Can be sprinkled throughout the story.



Deepens the conflict, and raises the stakes.



The next Point is Mid Point, it is crutial to a good story. It marks the middle of the book and heralds in the active stage for the characters. This is where your character goes from wanderer to warior.



It:



•Can be a huge unexpected twist in the story leaving the characters and reader shocked, or something so subtle the MC doesn’t even know that things have changed. (but reader does)



•New information that changes the experience and understanding of the MC, the reader or both.



•Changes the MC from reactive stage to active stage



•Prevents the “sagging middle”



The last plot point is Plot Point 2, it happens at about 3/4 through the book and is where things wrap up and we move from active stage to resolution stage and where the character goes from warrior to martyr.



It is:



•The climax of the story. “The final car chase scene.”



•New information or something happens that takes the MC toward the conclusion of the story.



•The story shifts into resolution mode.



•No new info, or characters after this point



Which brings us to the resolution, in the Resolution we must:


•Hero must emerge and MC engages as the primary catalyst.

•Hero must conquer their inner demons and show personal growth.

•Ending of book should resonate with the readers.

•In a stand alone all major loose ends must be tied up.

•In a series only the book specific ends must be resolved, should leave some ends un finished leading into the next book.


I have drawn this out in a diagram. I hope this translates well.






Introduction ______Reactive _________ Active _______ Resolution



Orphan _________Wanderer_________Warrior _______ Martyr



Begining___________^________*________^_______*_______^_______________End



Plot Point 1 _________Mid Point _______ Plot Point 2 (Represented by ^)



Pinch Point 1________Pinch Point 2 (represented by *)





I hope you are enjoying this little jaunt into the world of Story Structure. I know it has revolutionized the way I write.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Four Parts of a Book

Okay, last week I gave you an introduction to story structure. Today we are going to talk about the parts of the story. I am going to mention a few points like plot point one, mid point, plot point two. We'll go into those next week. All you need to know at this point in time is that those points divide the story into fourths.

Writing a book is alot like baking muffins. You have flour, sugar, eggs, oil, and leavening. leave out one of these things or put them in in the wrong ammounts or at the wrong time and your muffins are ruined. If you follow the recipe you are hopefully making some delicious muffins or stories.

So the following list are the parts of the story and where they occur. Each part is aproximately 1/4 of the book. They can be longer or storter, but it's generally a good guideline.



•Introduction - Beginning to Plot Point 1


Characters ordinary life, setting established
(Within the first chapters you need to give the reader a clue as to the conflict and character arc of the rest of the story. I call this moment the introduction of theme. Others call it the hook. If the reader doesnt feel a connection to the story or characters in the first pages they will most likely put the book down. )


•Reactive Stage - Plot Point 1 to Mid Point


“What the heck happened?”
(plot point one is the inciting incident, the moment that makes your character begin to move. The reactive stage is what the MC is doing in reaction to that point of movement. All of your scenes must reflect the reaction, and "not having a clear plan of action yet" part of the story. )


•Active Stage - Mid Point to Plot Point 2


“Not on my watch!” (or "oh no you didn't just point that gun at me." )
(Mid point is the moment where the MC changes from being the victim of the story to being the hero. The next stage is the active stage where the protagonist, or antagonist is pusing the plot forward to the climax of the story. Your plotting and scenes must reflect that ideal.)


•Resolution - Plot Point 2 to End of Book


Coming home, tie up all ends
(In a stand alone, all major character arc's, plot problems, and conflict must be wrapped up in a manner satisfactory to the reader. A few loose ends may be left undone to make the reader think, but they must be small and insignigant in regards to the main plot and arc's. In a series, all of the plot, character arc's and conflict that is pertinent to that books arc must be tied up. However, you can leave over series plot, character arc, and conflict open. If a character is leaving the series, their arc must be resolved. If a new character is being introdouced, their arc must be presented. If the antagonistic force in the book is unique to that book, it must be resolved. If the antagonistic arc is series wide it can be left un finished but should be addressed and the stakes and risks should be increased. )


In addition to the plot parts of the story there is a notion that your MC can go through character arc traits that describe some of the what and why of the characters progress through out the story. Below is a list of the character parts as they relate to the plot parts. This list is from the author and book: Carol S. Pearson The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
•Orphan
Lacks direction, lives in ordinary world
•Wanderer
Reacting to PP1, moving but no plan
•Warrior
Reacting to MP, has clear plan, building to PP2
•Martyr
PP2 and beyond, willing to sacrifice, becomes hero
One thing to note, the main plot conflict should be resolved right around plot point 2 or the moment when the MC and the plot move from reaction stage, to resolution stage. Don't put the conflict and the character change in the middle of the resolution stage. The reader will most likely be dissatisfied with the end of the book and you dont want that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An intro to Story Structure

A few weeks ago I was talking about Story Structure and secondary characters. Seeing that is it something I use every day in my writing, I often times assume that everyone has heard about it. I know I am wrong because I talk to writers and I see their faces as I start talking plot points.

I've decided that rather than me talking about some obscure thing, and no one understanding me, I'd give you the basics.

Larry Brooks created Story Structure based off what screen play writers call the three part act. Although with novel writing, there are four parts, and three major points, and two sub points. Each part has a specific time reason and amount in the story to make it successful.

While there are those out there that say he's full of hot air, I have proof that what he teaches works. I had been writing by the seat of my pants for years; writing, editing, and submitting with no success. No partial or full requests from agents or publishers. I found Story Structure, wrote my book and revised it using what I'd learned, and wrote, edited, and sold my MS in three years.

If you are happy with your current style of writing, wonderful! If you are tired of writers block, lacking character arc's, and sagging middles as well as a ton of other writer maladies, Story Structure may be just what you are looking for.

If you are curious and/or impatient you can find Brook's book Story Arcitecture in a number of places.

Join me next week as we talk about the parts of a story.

Monday, April 16, 2012

As if Life wasn't busy enough . . .

My son announced he's getting married in June. It's going to be a year of great things. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

When It Rains It Pours

Today has been a good day. I won the grand prize on a friends blog, and

I SIGNED MY CONTRACT WITH WALNUT SPRINGS FOR EMERGENCE!!!!!!!

I can't describe how this feels. It's such an amazing thing. For those who are still trying, keep working. It can happen for you too.

Have an amazing week everyone.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I've made it!!!!!

It's been a long seven years.

A long time wondering if I was crazy to have a dream.

Many long moments of thinking I should give up.

That it wasn't worth the pain of rejection, and opening myself up to criticism.

Hours of writing till my eyes blured and my wrists hurt.

So many times others thought it was just a hobby or a fleeting fancy.

Repeated rewrites, countless revisions, hours of editing.

But I wanted it, I wanted it real bad.

I dreamt of holding my book in my hands.

My book containing the words that poured out of me.

Often resembling a bleeding headwound.

When times got tough I turned up the radio real loud.

Let the lyrics of Shinedown or Blue October soothe my soul.

Then I sat and pounded out more words.

Millions of them.

Until at some point in time it began to resemble a story.

Something magical and sweet.

Something people would stay up at night reading.

Something ready for the world to see.

A story ripped from my body and soul called Emergence.

About a bad boy that has a chance to change.

And it was good.

Just give it a chance I begged.

Not for us they said.

Over and over for years.

Still I held it out for others to see.

Until one said yes.

The story without a home for so many years now had someone who believed in it.


Just two weeks ago I made an agreement with Walnut Springs to publish Emergence. The book will be out this fall.














Stay tuned for more information and news as I recieve it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Multi tallented primates


So some of you may have remembered that last year I was invited to speak the next year at the local library's author month.

Well suprisingly the year has rolled around and I was asked to speak on the 7th with some of my other writer friends speaking the next three Wednesdays.

Its been a blast and i survived my first author presentation. Which is a good thing because I am the substitute teacher for my freind who will be almost 9 months pregnant on april 14 when she's supposed to teach a class on Structure in Ephiram Ut.

But that isn't the theme of this post. Last Wed. My friend Sara and I were talking about writing and strucutre. She is a screenwriter and writes her books out in screenplay form then fleshes them out. I am a Structure gal and who writes "panster" style as long as I follow my Structure.

Again I am getting sidetracked.

In the converstaion she mentioned that when she gets writers block she asks herself what the worst thing she could do to her characters, or what is the one thing the main character wouldn't want. Then writes it.

Or she imagines something completely off the track of what she are currently writing, and writes it in the MS. I am quoting her directly here:

"Imagine ninja monkees droping from the roof."

That image in my head startled me and I laughed hard for a few minutes. Now don't think that my next book is going to have all sorts of goofieness in it so you can tell when I was stuck in the writing process. Once the scene is finished, the writers block is gone and you can most likely resume on your previous course, you delete the silly/horrible/tragic scenes. That is, unless you hit gold in your moments of trying to destroy your main character and have to keep the scene because it's all sorts of awesome.

I guess the lesson is to change your course to something completely diferent when your stuck or going nowhere.

What are your strategies for getting out of the dreaded writers block?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We Lived In Heaven by Sarah Hinze


I was excited to get this book. I love tales of after death experiences and hadn't considered that there were that many stories about the human pre-birth experience. From the Foreward to the last story I enjoyed every moment of this book. The author herself has had an amazing experience with the spirits of her yet to be born children.

I recomend this book to anyone who is the least bit interested in these type of stories. It is well compiled and edited. It definitely made me think hard about the experiences I have had in my life that could have been "supernatural".

This book is a remarkable collection of accounts of families who have had the opportunity to meet the souls of their sons and daughters before they were born. Read about the vivid memories of life in heaven by young children, and dramatic stories of prayers answered by guardian angels who watch over us. Discover:
* A letter from a mother to her son, whom she gave up for adoption, telling him of the dream that guided her through that painful decision.
* A kidnapped child who survived her ordeal by the guiding hand of the baby sister who would be born years later.
* A little boy's memory of being brought to earth by his grandfather--a man he never knew.
* A woman's vision of a child in a garden, and the powerful certainty that he was her son, waiting his turn to come into this world.

Sarah Hinze's own personal pre-birth experiences complete this inspiring collection, which radiates a universal sense of peace, joy, and hope that touches us all.


Buy the book here

Sarah's website

Sometimes I recieve a free book in exchange for an honest review. This never influences my opinion or review of the text.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wow . . .

. . . A new post, admit it you're surprised aren't you?

So am I.

I apologize, my family life has had some critical emergencies that demanded my time, and the anti muse (my one year old) is as busy and trouble making as ever. (He's trying to destroy the clothes drying rack as I type.)

Alot of things happening here in the household. Some awesome, some heartbreaking. But we're alive and well.

Ome critical thing i have learned lately in my writin is that distance is a good thing. In the midst of the crisis I put everything writing wise away and focused on my kid who needed help. Well today I came back and re-read some of it. Not only was it easier to add and cut some needed things but it felt "fresh" to me and i was able to not only see that I liked what I had been working on, but i could see where it needed help.

So if your feeling bored and tired of your WIP, maybe you should shelve it for a few weeks. IT worked for me.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Christine Fonseca



Today I am pleased to bring you a guest post by a wonderful friend and author Christine Fonseca. She has a new novella and novel coming out this month and she was gracious to offer a guest post in exchange for some exposure on my blog. So without further distraction, here is her article.

Top 5 Things to Think About with Book Promotion.

I am no stranger to book launches. I’ve successfully launched two educational titles that continue to exceed publisher expectations a year or more later. I’ve also working in marketing previously. But launching fiction to a YA market is different. Sure, I can connect with writers who also read YA – but connecting with my teen readers? That is definitely a new challenge.

Building on things I already knew, things I’ve observed, and things my fabulous YA readers tell me—here are my top five things every writer should think about when planning their book promotion and self-marketing efforts.

1. Know Your Market.
Before you design a promotional campaign of any form, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your primary and secondary markets. With nonfiction, most authors figured this out when they wrote the “marketing” section of their proposals. Fiction authors should go through this process too. Ask yourself who the book is for—teens, children, adults? Who is the secondary market for the book? With DIES IRAE, I knew the primary reader would be both adults and teens, with the trend being adults as the novella is exclusively offered in digital format. With the upcoming novel, LACRIMOSA, the demographic may shift as it will available in both print and digit formats, and teens still trend towards print.

2. Know Your Comfort Zone.
As with all forms of social networking and marketing, it is important to know your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Are you comfortable speaking in person to a large group, or is Skyping or chatting more your thing? Do you like to cold call potential hosts for tours, or does the thought of that give you hives? Knowing your comfort zone is important. Don’t spent a lot of time doing things you hate—you will only make yourself crazy. Instead, spend your time promoting in ways that you are comfortable with. In today’s market, you are really only limited in terms of promotion by your own comfort level. So, get to know what works best for you and your book.

3. Blog Tours and other Author Events.
Connecting directly with readers is my personal favorite—whether it is a virtual connection, or a school visit/author event. The important thing to remember with either option—planning.

With blog tours, ask people in your particular niche to host a leg. If you are targeting teens, for example, try to have a blog that is frequented by teens host a leg of the tour. Make sure you are balancing book bloggers with writers, thereby tapping into a larger potential audience.

With Author events, you want to look at the entire scoop of options. I LOVE school events, for example, so I will be doing a few school visits before the big LA Book Festival, using the visits as a way to also encourage attendance at the LA event.

A couple of other things to keep in mind with any type of author event – virtual or live:
• Start early. Proper planning of events is really a key.
• Know the expectations of the host. Ask questions about how they envision your visit, or what they see as their role in the blog tour.
• Stay organized. Use spreadsheets and other organization tools to keep track of the places you pitched too, the hosts of your tour, and any giveaways. Follow up and double check everything. By you being organized, you will make it MUCH easier for your hosts—something they will really appreciate.
• Send reminders to participants. We are all busy and it is easy to forget things. Take on that burden and don’t be alarmed when things get forgotten. Just be prepared. That said, don’t spam your hosts. We all tend to get TONS of email. Make certain you have all of your ideas/thoughts/reminders/etc well planned and clearly stated. One detailed email is better than several chaotic ones. Take the time to think things through.
• Remember to follow-up with a thank you. There is no substitution for good manners! Personal thank you notes go a long way to letting your hosts know how much you appreciated working with them

4. Creatively Using Social Networking sites.
Promoting your message is about creating buzz. In this day and age, it is easier than ever to create buzz on a large scale. But, how do you separate yourself from all the noise out there? That’s easy. Be creative. Do something unique and different—and then make sure EVERYONE knows about it. With the Requiem series, there is great potential for Fan Art sites, quizzes on facebook, scavenger hunts, products for teens, etc. You know I will be working on these specific things with each book released. Furthermore, promoting where teens hangout on line, including facebook, is a great way to get your book out there.

5. You Are Only As Good As Your Last Book.
The very best promotional tool for your book is another fabulous book. So be sure to keep writing, creating, producing. This is who you cultivate a career that extends beyond your first book.










FAQ Sheet about the Requiem Series
About Christine Fonseca
School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

Short Blurb for DIES IRAE
Some sacrifices should never be made—even for love.
Mikayel lives by one rule—obey the orders of the angelic Council at all costs. But when he and his friends, Azza and Demi, are sent to Earth as teenagers, following the rules is more difficult than they expected.
Being human isn’t the only problem facing the three angels. Unbeknownst to the Council, demonic activity is on the rise, threatening to break a tenuous peace that has existed for a millennia.
Caught in a struggle for power with unseen demonic forces, and fighting against his rising emotional, Mikayel must now decide how many rules he is willing to break to save his friends, a decision that could reignite an ancient war and will threaten the only thing that matters to the angels, the survival of humanity.
Author Endorcement(s):


“Dies Irae is the perfect introduction to Christine Fonseca’s Requiem series. The beauty of the words will tempt you, the tragedy of the story will break you, and the love, woven throughout like music through the trees, will haunt you for days afterward. Dies Irae promises a tale unlike any you’ve read before.”
~Ali Cross, Author of BECOME


Availability:
Publisher: COMPASS PRESS
ISBN:
Format: Digital format only - from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers. Links not available at present.


Short Blurb for LACRIMOSA
As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. Nesy is the best of the warrior angels called Sentinals. She never makes mistakes, never hesitates, never gets emotionally involved. Until she meets Aydan.
He is evil incarnate; a fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate. But she can’t, because he’s also the love of her former life as a human girl—a life that ended too soon, tying her to emotions she was never supposed to feel.
Now Nesy must choose between doing her duty—damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell—or saving him, and condemning herself.


Availability:
Publisher: COMPASS PRESS
ISBN: 0984786368 (ISBN 13: 9780984786367)
Hardback and Digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine retailers. Links not currently available.

Additional Titles in the series include LIBERA ME (Nov 2012) and REQUIEM (March 2013). The book trailer can be seen by linking to YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwTQoOFKEZg
For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – http://christinefonseca.com or her blog http://christinefonseca.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good morning!

Wow. When I get sick I get knocked out by a train carying huge bins of coal or something like that. While my ears still feel like I'm underwater at least I'm not coughing up a lung anymore and that's a good thing because I need them.

So many things have happened I don't know where to start. I am still submitting EMERGENCE, I submitted and had a Christmas story accepted for an anthology, I am working on my first chapter entries for a conference first chapter contest. I've gotten all sorts of great comments on my first chapters. That makes me feel really good obviously.

I've been asked to prepare a emergency substitute class for a conference incase my friend gos into labor before then. I researched wrote edited and am preparing to send out a middle grade manners book to three publishers who asked for it back in MAy of last year. Considering its just been over 6 months since I talked about it to them I'm feeling pretty accomplished.

So how are things in your necks of the woods?