Thursday, June 30, 2011

Progress on my WIP and Other Updates

Yesterday I sent off the synopsis of my second book to Copperhill Media. I actually had 3 different ones. I told them they could pick and choose from all three if they liked.

At the beginning of the week I had 225 pages of Beyond the Black Veil written, and it was at 83,669 words strong. I'm currently at 237 pages, and 88,435 words. I'm guessing it will eventually be at 98,000 when I'm all finished with it. Which is a good length.

This week I was closing in on the climax of the book, and I knew writing this was going to be difficult because of how many characters were going to come together in this scene. So, I worked up individual note cards on each character--as I posted. The other day I wrote a blow by blow outline so as to keep myself focused on who does what & when. I'm currently in the midst of working on this climax, thus I'm a little busy, but I take breaks to think of dialogue. There has to be things revealed gradually here to explain things. There's about to be an action sequence that will also be difficult to hammer out and that will take me the next few days to do that. I'm very excited about it, because one of the characters from the first book will have become something else, or something more, than they had been in the previous two books. I can't even reveal what this is, or who it is, because I'd be giving away the ending of the second book.

Last night I watched an episode of Buffy where Angel kills the teacher, Miss Calendar. We've all come to like Miss. Calendar, and there was a love blossoming between Giles and her during this season. Because Angel has become so nasty and horrible and wants to drive terror into everyone around Buffy, he places Miss. Calendar's body in Gile's bed, setting the scene up to look as though she had been waiting for him.

You see what the death of a likable character does to the other characters. This is key to any good show or book. You set things up, and then you make things go bad, pit your hero against the baddest villain and you want to see her/him win--and against all odds too.

So, after watching this for the second time I asked myself do I want to take one of these likable characters in my third book and kill them off?

This is a thought provoking moment for me. I know who, but I'm questioning it as to whether it will fit in, or even have a purpose toward what I'm trying to do in this book.

Well, it's only a first draft. I don't have to decide now, and nothing is set in stone, after all.  But, when you've watched shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as a writer, you should watch them and take in the nuance of plotting that they use to pull you in, hold your attention, get you to like each character. These characters all seem real when they care about one another, you are right there with them, cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh. You want them to be okay when you leave them. I remember whenever I came to the end of each and everyone of the Harry Potter books, I wanted to join Harry and his friends. I wanted to be on that train to Hogwarts, be at the castle, etc. This is how powerful a writer J.K. Rowling is. It is what we all hope to aspire toward. Understand your characters have to be likable before anyone who picks up your book to keep flipping those pages into the wee hours of the night.

That's my thought of the week.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Musings ~ Castles on the Brain

Hey, I thought I saw Harry Potter flying over the left tower . . . Oy! The last movie is coming out soon!!!!

This is Glamis Castle of Scotland. Gorgeous at night, isn't it? It's pretty old as castles go.

I've gotten into the beginning of my climax on my WIP, and further along by a few pages. So far, I've gotten Sabrina through the ball at the castle, have had her drugged, and then woke up in a bedroom with a vampire licking her foot, and then biting her at the ankle. I may post something from this later this week. Just a peek, mind you.

I've now got her creeping down a hallway that creaks as she goes--enough to wake up a vampire or two! She is still determined to find her cousin Lindee.

Oh, boy do I have some surprises in store for her!

I've got the week off. However, I'm going to be busy doing other things besides writing, blogging and taking care of the house. My passion has become my beautiful new kitchen. I'll have to get film or something to take pictures and post them. We just bought some rugs for in front of the stove and sink, plus a new waste basket. Sounds silly. New waste basket, I know, but hey, we've had the same blue one for 20+ years. Sick of that old one, needed a new one and got a nice black one, with a swinging top. Nice. Don't have to lift the top in order to put the garbage in, and the lid stays put, doesn't drop on the floor. Can't believe we never thought to buy a new one, but hey, we didn't have a spanking new kitchen before.

So, I've put this picture of this castle up on my desktop to gaze at. Since I get terribly distracted by such things, I just thought I'd put the picture into this post, and you all can snag it if you want.

Oh! I think Sabrina hears someone coming down the hall. She has to hide. . .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Victorian Pieces to Ponder

I've been researching the clothing and accessories of the Victorian era. Lots of things to think about when I'm adding little details into my work on the third book. The watch here is called a pendant watch. Women wore these like jewelry.

They wore chokers, like this one. I happen to have some chokers that came from my mother, and I'm thinking they came from her mother. I have a black pearl one and a white pearl choker.

After browsing the on-line store where I found these, I had to address some things that I needed to address with my book. So, while a lovely thunderstorm came in, I sat at my desk and worked.

A big climax scene coming up, once I get to that point. I had to write down all the characters who will be in it. There are a number of them. This is going to be quite a climax. Thus I had to figure out not only who would be there, but how they would effect the ending. But, before I could even do that, I had to know what their goal was. What were they after. Or what did they go to this one place in the castle for.

In order to get things all organized, I took out my trusty note cards and wrote a name of a character on each one--all the characters who would have something to do with this climax scene. It looked roughly like this:

GOAL: He is interested in Sabrina for her blood--for himself. Even though he has been given directions to get her to the dungeon and not to touch her. He has a foot fetish and can't help himself. It will be his undoing.
ROLL: after his attempt, and fails, and is injured, the tries to salvage his dignity in the end by having a sword fight with Jett. He is killed by Drakulya--impaled by his sword.

I then took a sheet of plain white paper and wrote Sabrina's name in the center, and then surrounding her with all the names of the people who are there in this climax. I drew lines with arrows pointing to who ever they are after. A lot of arrows are pointed at Sabrina, but that's to be expected. A lot of arrows are pointed toward the bad guys too.

It was the best thing I could think of so as to visually bring the event together. I'm a visual person. I like to work with charts, and what have you to visualize the events of my book.

Since this climax has more than a dozen people involved, plus a magical object--which has it's own card--I needed to begin fleshing things out so that I could start working on an outline of what happens when. It seems to work for me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vampires With Foot Fetish?

I woke up with this idea. You know how it is, you have this idea and you just can't let it go? That was me this morning.

I have Alucard, who I'm basically making as only one of the nasty people Sabrina has to deal with on Beyond Black Veil. His job, basically, is as a blood broker at a place called Arabella's. It's like a tavern back in the late 1800's--say, Dodge City. Well, that's where Arabella is from, and the time she had come to B.B.V.

But back to Alucard. The vampire has approached Sabrina once while she was at Arabella's, and tried to take her in the back to sample her blood. Enter hero, Jett. So his whole idea of tasting Sabrina's blood is squashed for time being.

Fast forward to a later chapter. The ball. This is where Sabrina is pretty sure she is going to find her cousin. That was the whole purpose of her being on this other world. She isn't trapped there, but other people are. She'd met another person who doesn't belong there and knows if she, her cousin and this guy are all there, there has to be more. Her sense of duty calls.

Ah, but there's a whole lot of bad people willing to screw things up for her.

Alucard only being one of the bad guys.

I don't know where the idea came from but I thought, Huh, make Alucard have a foot fetish, and he's licking her feet when she wakes up from the drug he put in her drink. I figured the guy has to have his fetish. It gives him character. Plus, well, it's funny.

I've been working through the story that I have thus far. I had to take out a number of things, including a satyr--which no longer belonged in this--and a number of other things that drew away from the steam punk atmosphere. I think what I took out won't be missed at all.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


This is the fourth chapter, and I'm just going through changing some things this week.

The woman was lying on her back. She wore a white chemise, a black bodice gave her an hour glass shape, allowed quite a view of cleavage. I determined the dress style might be somewhere in the late 18oo's, someone might have worn on our world. The material of her dress was blue and shiny—I guessed satin—and it had a lot of frilly lace at the hem, which came up to about mid-calf, and on the sleeves. I wanted to guess she worked in a bar of some sort. Her auburn hair was in long and curled. Her jewelery suggested that she was a bit more than just a saloon slut. fancy feathered hat was askew, but still on her head. I knew almost right away she was quite dead. Possibly it was the flitting images coming to me, as well.

But then I don't trip over dead people a lot. Clumsily I tried to gain my feet without touching the dead woman.

Jett?” a man said somewhere out of sight. “Decent of you to show up so quickly.”

Skrlock! I got your message. Where is she?” Recognition hit me. I knew that voice, and I wanted to get the hell out of there. Quick. But I'd really took a tumble, and I couldn't get up fast enough, grimacing as I bared the pain in my knees, and my hands. I was certain I cut my palm on a stone or something, and the bumpy surface of the cobblestone street was a bit slick because of the rain. But my vision, as usual, pulled me down. I felt like I was climbing around in quicksand trying to gain my equilibrium.

It's just up this way. Come,” the man's voice urged.

I heard their steps tapping along on the cobblestone. Before I could decide which way to move, two men in capes swept into the narrow street. Their dark shadows loomed before me and darkening the space around me. If I moved to leave, I feared I might be mistaken for the murderer. I might be anyway, I reminded myself miserably. But why was he here? And more to the point, where was here?

Do you know how long she's been dead?” the one asked the other.

Possibly a few hours. Someone called on me, but it was too late. There was nothing to do, and so I sent for you.”

Their footsteps halted as I struggled from my kneeling position near the body, assessing my bumps and bruises. I was not wearing gloves, and I'd thought I was bleeding, but I couldn't feel any wetness, but my palm was really bruised. I shook the numbness out, and hoped the pain would simply vanish.

Hello. Who are you?” the man who had a slightly different accent from the other asked as he halted at the end of the alleyway, holding up the lantern.

It's you!” The shorter, stockier one said. This was Jett, the young man who I had appeared in front of earlier by mysterious ways. But this, I didn't expect. I mean, how many times would our paths cross?

Yep, it's me. Name's Sabrina.” I didn't offer my hand, and stepped back some, wondering if by the same magic I could return home, like I had the last time. Nothing happened. What a time to not be able to vanish.

So, again we meet,” he said. “This is my friend, Skrlock.” The two men strode up to me and stopped just short of five feet from me and the body.

Do you know this Dame?” Skrlock turned to eye Jett.

We only just met. I'll tell you about it later.” He then eyed me critically. “I liked the dress better.”

I'll bet,” I quipped. “This is my evening attire.” I held out my arms as if to show it off.

Whose Dame is she?” Skrlock's interest in me sounded peaked.

I never had the chance to find out. She disappeared on me.” The prince regarded me a tad suspiciously.

Skrlock chuckled, and leaned upon his cane. “How interesting.”

I found myself at a disadvantage. I had no idea what they were talking about.

Agreed,” Jett said to his older friend. I could see from the lantern light he held how much older his friend was. I guessed possibly in his forties. “You wouldn't mind sharing how you were able to vanish, would you?”

A witch?” Skrlock's voice was drenched in disbelief.

I'm not a witch.” I wanted that to be understood right away. “I don't know why, or even how I've gotten here. Before, or now.” Although a few ideas were coming to mind. Portals could send anyone to another place as well as another world. However, I had been told that only a supernatural could enter them and use them so as to get to and from a place without going off course. But, then, I reminded myself, I'd become a supernatural practically over night. I had come to the conclusion that Lindee may have fallen into this portal that simply opened up where she stood in that park at that exact moment. My only other concern was why hadn't Tremayne followed me? Possibly he wasn't close enough when it had opened.

The woman on the ground was not Lindee. I could tell for sure in the lamplight Jett held. Besides, Lindee would never have dressed like this. This woman's hair was a brownish- bronze color. Not jet black.

It had been a while since I'd ever seen a ghost. I'd learned that the Astral Shell—ghost—didn't usually last all that long. Possibly this woman had been dead for several hours. Long enough to wait until dark to dump her body. I wasn't surprised to see the figure of the young lady form in front of me. She looked pretty much like the woman at my feet, only a bit thinner, and a bit sad.

Who are you? I asked.

I am Eveline.

Who did this to you?

Arabella, and Alucard.


In the space it took to blink, the vision of how Eveline was killed filled my head, and made me light headed. I didn't like to see needles and blood.

Sabrina? Sabrina?” Jett had his hands on my upper arms, shaking me saying my name like I'd been zoned out. I'd just had a vision and didn't even know it.

Le' go. I'm okay,” I slurred, wavering slightly, enough to have to lean against him. Jett was a solid guy. Towering over me, he held me up gallantly as I gathered myself. His aura, I must say, was very strong—as strong as any vampire I knew. And just because I was in his space, and now touching him, I had a quick vision of a lavish palace, servants, and someone older, and quite dark and scary. Possibly his father. His fierce face burned onto my mind's eye. I was quite certain I would be meeting him eventually. I knew Jett wasn't a vampire—but there was something more about him that I couldn't quite riddle out, and he was very rich. No. He was actually royalty.

But, you were into a swoon.” Jett's worried look told me that he'd probably been trying to get through to me for a few moments. It was surprising that he didn't tell me I was talking nonsense. After all I'd just carried on a conversation with a ghost.

Perhaps we should loosen something?” Jett suggested.

Seems unlikely she'd go into a swoon because of her apparel,” Skrlock said, taking in my attire. “But, if you feel the urge—”

I'm fine. Just give me a moment.” I held one hand out to stall him from touching me further, and my other hand to my forehead, blinking away the wooziness. I looked around. Eveline's Astral Shell had vanished. I hoped that she'd gone on, as all souls should, to the next stage of death.

Jett stood back. Then his attention went to the dead woman and Skrlock who had knelt beside her.

No bite marks. You'd think there would be, if she's a Blood Dame.”

Check the inside of her arms,” I suggested, knowing what they would find.

Jett's startled gaze darted to me, and then he dipped down with the lantern. They examined her arms.

There, you see that?” Skrlock said, fingers pressing on the inside of the woman's elbow. “A needle mark.”

Yes. On both arms it seems,” Jett said. “What do you make of it?”

Donor. But, she's been drained, that means it was on purpose. This isn't good.”

The two men straightened to their full height. “No. Whoever did this either didn't do it right or—”

They've killed a human, my boy!” Skrlock said, jabbing his cane on the stone to make his point.

Yes, I know!” I got an emotional up-surge from him. He seemed a little frightened, I thought.

Obviously they dumped her body here, hoping no one would find her until dawn.”

Do you blame them?” Jett said finally. “If it was an oversight, perhaps there'd be leniency, but I doubt there could be now.” He pointed down at her. “Not with the way this looks, as if they wanted her to be found this way.”

It is a bit flamboyant, isn't it?”

Do either of you know who Arabella or Alucard is?” I interrupted, hoping this was enough to point them wherever they needed to go.

Arabella?” Jett said and looked down. “This isn't Arabella. How would you know to ask about her?”

I just spoke to her ghost,” I said, flippant.

A clairvoyant?” Skrlock said sounding absolutely intrigued.

Well, who is Arabella?” I wondered.

She owns Arabella's Saloon,” Skrlock said, leaning once again on his cane. “Maybe she was one of the Blood Dames there?”

You ever see her before?” Jett asked.

As if I would,” he scoffed. A moment of silence between them grew and Skrlock seemed to amend, “Well, I've imbibed there once or twice, but I don't remember her.”

Who is Alucard?” I pressed. The name seemed oddly dark to me. I didn't know why, but I felt I should fear him for some reason, and wanted to know why.

The blood broker of Arabella's.”

Blood broker?” I said.

He provides blood to the patrons.”

Why doesn't that surprise me?” I said trying not to sigh, but I did. “What's a blood dame?”

Blood Dame?” Jett said, looking over to his companion. Skrlock thrust his hand out and gave a slight bow.

Blood Dames or Dons are humans who willingly give their blood to a vampire.”

But that's not what happened here,” I said.

No. This was a blood donor who's been drained,” Jett said. “That's not supposed to happen.”

Not even by accident?”

No, my dear,” Skrlock said. “Killing a human is quite serious.”

Really?” I said.


Well, it is where I come from too, but why is it so serious here?”

Because, there are so few of them.”

What do you think? Arabella's? Ask a few questions?” Jett proposed to his friend.

Yes,” Skrlock said. “I haven't been there in probably a moon's time.”

© Lorelei Bell 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Notes To Myself

I don't know about you, but if I have a thought, I need to either write it down, or I grab my handy Sony microcassette recorder. I bought this several years ago. My husband teasingly says I'm talking to myself. Well, I am. As a writer, you need to talk to yourself. A lot. Even if it's on paper. You need to question "why does this character do this?" Or "Why does this character say this or that?" "What is their motivation?"

So, you see it all boils down to talking to yourself, because eventually you'll have the answer to those questions and you'll be talking to yourself.

I find a nice long walk in our park--by myself--the perfect place to get something hammered out. That's why the recorder is so handy. You walk and talk into it. People think you're on the cell phone, thus, you're not looked upon as nuts. Little do they know.

I'm working out a scene at a ball and trying to come up with dialogue. You'll fogive me if I don't go on about it. That would bore you--#1; And you wouldn't know what I'm talking about #2. But if you're a writer, you do understand what I'm saying.

Happy note taking!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Wisdom of Waiting for The Answer to a Problem

The problem was--well I have this character in the third book. He is actually one of the main characters who dies at the end of the second book (nope, not gonna tell who), and somehow comes back into existence. I had to find a good explanation of what happened to him, how he would be able to come back.

I knew what he was going to do in the third book, and how I was going to play this out at the end. But the problem was to explaining what he becomes, more or less--that was my problem.

I woke early today, just before I needed to get up at 4 am, and I went searching for something, an article for some other thing I wanted to do, totally not related to my problem.

You ever do that? You loose an object, can't find it, you look all over, tear the place up looking for it, but can't find it, and weeks or months later, you're looking for some other thing else and BINGO! There that other thing is!

Well this was sort of like that. I wasn't looking for this particular thing, but I picked up pages I'd printed out - because it was so interesting - from some site I belong to, and it had a couple of magical/vampire terms and explanations of these terms, and I read one and went AH! That's IT!!!!

I found this explanation for an astral vampire. Astral vampires move through the astral plane and/or subtle reality and feeds off the energy of others. They can be nonphysical entities, or may be living, physical beings who have the ability to move and interact on a nonphysical levels of existence. According to Dion Fortune, "an astral vampire is created when a particularly powerful magical worker resists the second death and perpetuates this unnatural existence by preying upon the energies of others."


Sometimes being anal about saving stupid things, like articles from papers, and the various things I find interesting that I might have printed out, sometimes saves my butt. In this case it merely saved me from fretting over how to explain what this character eventually becomes, and also why he can't really be around a lot. Dead, or even un-dead.

So, now I've patched this into place. Things are finally coming together. Plus, I have the last week of this month off, and I'll use it to my advantage. I hope in several ways. More on that later!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The OMG Moment In Writing

I have a confession to make. I was a bit worried about how thin my plot was for Beyond the Black Veil, because I didn't really have a link to my other two books figured out as yet. There was something intrinsically missing. Something that had to hit, not only me on the head, but really throw my readers when I revealed it toward the end, at the climax. I actually have not gotten to page 200--but I'm close, about 2 pages away! And I'm about at the climax point of the book, and yet I needed the crucial moment that brings everything together, that makes the reader go "Oh. My. God!" hopefully.

Figuring these things out is something that merely comes with time. I know, from the years and years--well, okay, decades!--of writing (which includes all my practicing years, the "author in progress years"), to know that the A-Hah! Moment will usually arrive on a silver tray directly into my brain and I'll be so exited I might jump up and down--but can't because I'm either driving the silly bus around, or people are watching me.

What I usually do is find a place to sit down and grab a pen out of my purse and a pad and scribble these ideas down before I loose them.

Many times it comes to me at night. So, a number of years back I got myself one of those mini-recorders. These are especially great for those madness at midnight moments when you wake up with the idea that you simply can't write down (eyes are bleary, and maybe you might wake someone up). Grabbing the mini-recorder I'll rush into the kitchen or bath. Yes, maybe I tinkle while I make the verbal notes, but hey, I like to multi-task!

The important thing is to get those thoughts down quickly. Revise later, because you will revise. Especially after the Midnight Madness moment. That's why I posted the picture above. It reminds me of waking up and having my characters reveal something to me that I had not known up until this point.

That's what I love about writing. You have a lot of fun creating those moments, and honing them down into something people will read and enjoy.

And, nope. Not gonna tell you what came to me. It would really spoil the plot and ending.