Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Writing Goes on, and on, and on...

Last night, after--or maybe it was during--my little quiet time of just reading someone else's book, my writing mind went into over drive.

Okay, see, the voices never stop. Once I create the characters, they're always there. I live with them 24/7. It's like having annoying invisible friends. And since I use my house as a sort of model for where my MC lives, its also like having ghosts in my house, too. Vampires, werewolves, one leprechaun, and Sabrina who discovers she's a sibyl, and has to fight the nasty vampires, and has married one... oh, it's a big old mess. But I love the mess she's in.

So, a line--it was just one line--"I'm going to take an ear off if you don't stop moving." I wrote it out and then another line came and more and more. My characters were all here doing their thing.

It was an OMG moment. I had the first line to the sixth novel "Vampire Requiem". I'd been making notes, writing out some scenes. Thinking about it for the past month. Yep. On December 1st I had begun writing out notes on a document and have been adding to them as I had them.

This past week or so, I've gotten through both books #4 and #5. I believe #5 was done some time this month as my WIP, and finally I've gone through it once again. This one took me a number of months. I remember getting the same sort of lines and dialogue last year and had to write them down saying "No. I'm busy and can't write this right now." But the lines kept on coming. Just like they are here. The plot is evasive, but it will come. It's almost like I have to follow Sabrina around and see what's going on, moment by moment, before I see where this is going.

I'm currently awaiting a third book to be released. Actually I'm waiting for the edits to reach me. My frustration over this has gotten to me. Fans are awaiting this next book. If I don't get it out soon, eventually people won't care. Or will they?

Anyway, the next ones will not take quite this long, I'll make sure of it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Working It

Last year I wrote my fourth novel in about 3 months time. It was relatively the easiest book to write, start to finish, that I've done in a while. But just because I got it down doesn't mean it's all good. I would say that I went through it possibly 4 times now. And now am working on the last few chapters doing some major tweaking, and trying to fill out some glossed over sections that need scene and dialogue and whatnot.

I'm in favor of the layered approach in my writing. Adding depth to the scenes is one of my favorite things to do. I add details that I didn't have time to work in at the time of writing it. So, when I'm faced with a scene that needs this sort of attention, I let it brew inside my head, asking how can I really pull this from a basic scene to something that holds more emotion, more details, and hopefully correct areas that aren't cohesive.

I woke up with one scene in my head and knew what was missing from it, and began working it in. I have a few of these, especially in the end.

My fourth book is called Vampire Caprice, and it will be slightly different from the previous in that I'm going to be going into other character's heads, like Tremayne, Vasyl, and  Bill Gannon. Reason being is that I felt we needed to get to know these guys a little better. Plus, I hope that it helps the story line in that it will have more depth, and emotion.

Creating my characters, like any writer knows, is a work of love. You have to know them like you know yourself, inside and out, know what makes them tick, even if you never put it down, or if you do, you'd better have a good understanding of it all.

I'm also placing sub-headings on each chapter, this way it will give the reader a little heads up as to what's going on, as they'll be reading along in Sabrina's head (and first person), and suddenly we get to a different character and now in 3rd person. It's different for me, and was a challenge to write, but I loved the challenge it presented for me.

In the weeks ahead I'll have to stop my work on the fourth book and work on edits for the third book (yay), which I'm expecting soon from my publisher. That book is on track for publication in January 2013.

So excited about my thrid book, and all the ones after. I've just finished the first draft of the 5th book, and have been making notes for the 6th. These characters simply live inside my head, and I follow them with a pen (or computer), and write it all down.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Announcement: 3rd Book~January Release

Funny how just posting that I know when my release for next book on facebook got gobs of people coming out of the woodwork to either LIKE, or make a comment, like "can't wait", that sort of thing  happens. There's people there that I didn't know even stopped in to see what I'm doing. People I have not even gone to visit in ages! But I guess it's probably on Page Feed, which is a great way to see what everyone's up to, so maybe that's how everyone knows about it. I think.

So, yep. My publisher told me the first edits are finished (thank goddess!), and second edits will take much less time (yes, because the first ones took MONTHS), and my book is first in line in the queue for publication. (YAY!!!!)

I'm relieved to know this because I sort of feel like they forgot about me or something. But also, I know that these things take time, and sometimes other things get in the way, or make things difficult, like--oh, I don't know--a storm that puts everyone under the ocean. Well, not really effecting my publisher so much, since they're in Mass., but I figure other stuff can happen to hold things up. Plus I'm not their only author.

And I do have a lot of respect for getting a book out there, ready to be printed as well as placed into places for ebook sales, because I see what the Indies have to do in order to get it done themselves. But the editing has got to be tedious and time consuming. God knows I've got grammar issues and other stuff that makes my writing in need of editing.

But tonight I'm happy to know that my book is actually going to have a launch. Now, if only my publisher will find the ellusive wonderful cover. He told me that he's found some but weren't quite good enough.

So, that's the news. I hope next time I post it will be with a cover photo and closer to when it will be out.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Whew! I guess I wrote a book, my dears!

The first draft of my 5th novel, Vampire Crescendo, is completed. I'll probably tweak the ending a little bit. put it away and go back to my fourth one Vampire Caprice to tidy up.

This thing got to 92,636 words, and 246 pages at last count. Not my longest work, but darn close. This one has a lot going on and many villains who need to have a butt-kicking! Lots of stuff happening for Sabrina in this one. She sort of has to come to terms with the fact she's now married (If you are reading the series, you'll know who to). And her emotions are up and down in this, especially where her heart is concerned, because Dante is still very much in her life, and Tremayne is too, and once again depends upon her more than ever.

There's a reason I don't do NaNoWrMo. I really do not need to. I began the fledgling scenes of this fifth book back last year when I was still writing the fourth one. That's just how I am. My creative juices flow continuously. At the moment, I'm happy with not starting the sixth one. I'm currently on course to have 5 books in a series out by 2014/2015. I'd like to work on getting the ebook version of Spell of the Black Unicorn out. I've had Shelly Arkon be my beta reader, and she had to go through some junk on the original that I should have cleaned up first, but didn't have time. But I thank her for reading and critiquing it for me. So, that's high on my list in 2013, so we'd better not have an end to the world because I am not finished.

As a treat, having finished within the time I gave myself (over the Thanksgiving weekend), I watched The Deathly Hallows Part 1, last night. Tonight I'll watch part 2. I realized since I had not seen this movie since I saw it in the theater, it was almost like watching it for the first time, except for the ending where Doby was killed. That was sad, but it was triumphant for the way he came and helped his "friends" out and announced to his former owners "Doby is a free elf!" Loved that!

So, I leave this post with a sense of accomplishment and a niggle of hope that my third book, Vampire Nocturne will be out in time for Christmas.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Up-Dates

I know I've not been here in the past months, but I see that a number of you have been--yes I have spies that tell me when you've been here and when you haven't. But I'm very greatful for your stopping in and checking things out. I owe you at least a post or two. I hope to have more news for you in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, this is what I've been up to.

I've been busy working on Sabrina Strong novel #5, awaiting my edits for #3--my hope is that it will get to me this month and you'll have a new book to read by December.

I've also been busy working on edits to my Spell of the Black Unicorn, (a paranormal mystery), to turn it into an eBook, eventually. My beta reader has been working on it for several months, and I'm now just about done working through the edits. Then I'll let it set for the rest of the year, I think. I'll then go back to my other WIP.

I'm not a believer in writing like a mad woman for the NaNo. That just isn't something I want to do. I really don't need the motivation. I'm already motivated to work.

Here is what other things I've been working on over the summer. Two titles are now at Amazon and one is now on Smashwords.
Vampire, My Own
Vampire, My Own is my only YA short story. You can see a description and buy it HERE:

Murder Mansion
Murder Mansion is a short horror piece. You can see the description and buy it HERE:

I've also been busy taking care of some feral cats/kittens. They've added delight to my life. My husband also takes care of them, and will report their antics to me when I'm busy in here. He's the one who feeds them and sets out water for all the critters that come to our yard. The other night he thought he saw one of the cats taking a drink. Nope. It was a 'possum.

Hard to believe we'll be carving up a turkey, when we've just finished carving a pumpkin. But I look forward to the meal. Who doesn't? I'm planning on making my own cranberries so as to avoid the high fructose in the canned versions. We'll see how that goes.

Hope you can stop by and say "hi", and let me know whether or not you're into the NaNo this month, and if not why. I love hearing from you, no matter.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'm Not A Romance Writer

When I wrote Vampire Ascending and tried to find a publisher--or someone--to take it, I came across a publisher who I thought was interested in "vampire" novels. I'll not name the publisher, because many people are probably published there. I have nothing against them, but that the fact the editor egged me on by telling me that "this might" work for them. When she asked if I belonged to any writer's groups, I told her no. She thought I should join the romance writers association. I refused to. I began to feel that this wasn't the right place for me if she thought my writing would need "work". I explicitly told her my novel was Urban Fantasy.

Long story short, even though she put me on hold, telling me she'd get back to me--and didn't--I put my first chapter up in a writer's forum on a group I used to belong to. There is where my present publisher found me, and invited me to send him my novel. At some point in between, I lost my Internet connection. I lost all email from that point, and had to start anew. I will call it a blessing because I'll never know if this other editor ever got back to me.

Back then I didn't know what the difference between urban fantasy, and paranormal romance was. I could not find anyone who would answer my question. It was like I was supposed to figure this out on my own. Well, I eventually did.

Meanwhile I poured over books by Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, and a few others. The spines are usually a clue as to what these novels are. Charlaine Harris' are published by Ace and it says under the publisher: FANTASY/MYSTERY. Mainly, I would guess, because Harris was a mystery writer before she took a chance with her now very popular vampire series, which is now an HBO series.

Others, like Kim Harrison and Karen Chance's books are under FANTASY. If you look around in a bookstore and go either to the heading of horror, or fantasy, you should find any of these author's books.
You can also tell by the title. Usually the title is telling. Eternal this or that is something a romance author would use as part of the title. Also, if AVON has published it, it is most definitely a romance. A hot guy and babe on the front cover, usually one or both are nearly nude and in some sort of embrace--that would tell me that we are looking at a straight romance, I don't care if the characters are vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, or ghosts.

The point I'm trying to make is authors like Harris and Harrison do not write romance, even though romance is featured in their works. It's basically a fantasy--Urban Fantasy. I enjoy them because I'm not expecting anything but a great story with a lot of fantasy, creatures introduced, and some mystery solved, and some witchcraft, or magic going on.

Although sex/romance will be featured in any of my novels, I'm not going to hammer it to death. Romance--whether there are elves, vampires, shapeshifters between the pages (and sheets), it is still a romance. What is a romance? Well, the basic plot is rather simple. Man and woman either meet for the first time, or have known each other for a while. They are attracted to one another, however something keeps them apart. It can be anything from a danger factor, or the fact that they basically hate one another. But, you, the reader, knows that at some point these two are going to hop into bed and go at it until the cows come home. Wow. Big surprise. But that's why people like these types of books for the hot sex on page 105-120.

An urban fantasy is gives us a basic a story, usually there is a problem or a mystery to solve. It is the adventure, with various interesting characters that pop up, and the ones you've come to know and love throughout the series, and you expect them to act in a certain way. If there's sex along the way, this is a bonus, even though you might hope for such a thing, it is not a necessity in an urban fantasy, although a lot of people may think it should be, mainly because some people are including hot sex scenes in such books, it is not a requirement. Believe me.

Also, I don't write romance because I don't want my main character to be bound by the stringent confines of what is considered a romance (i.e. see above). Maybe the guy she starts out with will not be the one she winds up with--surprise! Maybe the man she's been seeing, or is in love with may die--surprise!

You see what I mean? I don't have to confine my plot to one that is boxed in. I love to think outside the box.

And as far as writing sex scenes into my books, I've had to take a stand on how far I would go with it. I'll say right here that I'm not interested in a spitting match with romance writers to see how many pages I can write a bedroom scene or how pornographic it might become. I'm interested in bringing to my readers a sense of realism, a bit of horror, throw in a romantic thread, problems, mystery, danger, and even humor into my books. It's entertainment of a different kind, or style from romance (they can call it paranormal romance or anything-under-the-sun romance, it is still romance and must adhere to the plot formula). Urban fantasy has become the easiest genre for me to write. You can do anything you want, as long as you tell a great story. If you want to write in a lot of hot sex, you're perfectly free to do so.

So, when I find someone who has left a review on my books stating they wanted to see a bit more sex, that's okay, because they've given me a 4 or 5 star review. That means the amount of sex--which by the way, other people who have read the book think it's perfectly hot, and the various men I introduce are hot, and make for an interesting story--doesn't matter. It is the story which I've told that keeps people riveted to the pages.

Each genre has it's own restrictions, and plot formulas to adhere to. Mysteries are nearly devoid of the need for sex. Sexual tension, or even a budding romance between two characters is okay, but no bedroom scenes. The same goes for science fiction--unless that has changed. Urban fantasy seems to be, at least for me, the most freeing choice to write in.

What do you prefer to read or write? Urban fantasy? Paranormal romance? Other? Why do you like to write it? Let me know. I think it would be interesting to have people chime in on this.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why I like to Journal & Vacation!!!

I'm on vacation! Yay! Happy Dance!

My husband and I are heading to Glacier Park in Montana, next week. We will be staying in one of the lodges. He actually called and found us nights we wanted. Sweet!

I've always taken a journal with me. I usually bring a separate one to put down our travels. But lately, I've just been bringing the Daily Journal, as I may not fill the whole thing out.

Just so you know, I've kept a journal since 1973. I wish it went back much further, but I doubt I would have been able to stand looking through it. I began it as sort of therapy (not intentionally thinking this would be good for me to get things off my chest, but I basically found that it helped me deal.)

But I like to look back to see what I've been up to, given any year or even month. I like the spiral note pad that has the spiral at the top (like the one above). I fill it out on one side, and when I get to the end, I turn it over and fill out that side until I'm done. What's neat about this is that if I want to look back and see what I was up to, say a few months back, I flip it over and begin to read that page on the other side. I did this last night and found myself reading what I was up to in November of last year. That was cool. I'd been sent my edits of the second book, a short story had been accepted by Dark Moon (anthology), and a few other things going on that I'd forgotten about. I realized I'd been working very hard on a lot of writing projects, both while I was off of work and during the time I was working, as well.

So, I've just about filled up this journal. I usually end one at the end of a year and begin a new one, on the first of the year. But it isn't working out that way. At the moment, I don't care.

We are about to go on this vacation. It is the first long road trip we've had in 2 years. And the last one was bittersweet as Dennis' mother was in a hospital. She later died that year. So, this one has a better feel to it. We are going back up to Glacier. The last time we were there, we camped--the last time we tent camped, in fact. It was a little crazy tent camping in grizzly territory. They have you pick up everything if you leave you camp site for even a moment. You get a ticket if you don't.

But this year we are going to be staying in a lodge for the first time ever! Nice! Glacier Park Lodge will be 100 years old next year. We don't remember seeing this lodge, but I'm sure it is perfect! Looks great, doesn't it?

So, the reason I began this post about Journaling, is because that's what I love to do. I keep things we do, see and so forth in my diary esp. when we travel.

Do you keep a journal? What about it do you like best?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Age of Castles, and my up-dates

This is Alnwick Castle. If you think you've seen it somewhere before, you have. It was used in the Harry Potter movies.

I love the middle age periods. It's hard to pinpoint exactly which period I enjoy most, but I do like the Renaissance above all the others. I've been on line exploring sites on the history of the various periods. There's so much to read on it, it's mind boggling. I remember being introduced to it in college. In art history is where I came to be carried away by it all. Architecture being one of the main things about the era that is nearly daunting, but wonderful to behold. The buildings--churches, and castles both are such a show of man's achievements in finding ways in which to make something so huge stand for ages and yet look beautiful.

I found a site that lists a dictionary of sayings for the Middle Ages. Like "Gules of August" means the first day of August. I'll have to remember that.

And they sure did have a lot of fines imposed on the commoners. But this one was rather outrageous~

Jus Primae Noctis: It is the right by which a lord might sleep the first night with the bride of a newly married serf--and if they want to pay a fine, the right would be avoided. And I can imagine the fine would depend upon just how wantonly the fair maiden was.

I've had to dip into the historical focus because I've worked on one scene, that is just around 3 pages long for the fourth book. I had to know certain things before I wrote about it. This is a flashback scene of when Vasyl, (a main character/vampire master), remembers a particular turning point in his vampire life. He was as bad a vampire could be. Before he becomes good again, he had to return to France to remember what his original cause for having his sire turn him. What his quest was that brought him to becoming a vampire. It was to avoid being murdered by the Nephilim, and he was desperate because he was the watcher for the next sibyl--who would not show up for another millennium and then some. But no one knew this.

This took me weeks to get into the mode to write it. Even while I was off, I could not come up with a place to start it. Where do you start in a scene that takes place in, oh, say the year 1001? What are they doing? Who are they doing it to?

So, because I was stuck (even though I knew what I wanted to cover), I needed a first line. Whenever I'm so desperate for a first line, I have a little trick. I pick up a favorite book. Any book will do. I open the page and BOOM! I see a line that makes me think "Oh! That's good" and then I go and begin typing out a line that similar, or it uses some imagery and eventually I've honed it over the next day or so and it's as good as I think it can be.

Of course, I've been able to write that scene out. It took a painstaking 5 hours for those three pages. However it was hot in the house. 83 at the end of the evening, but it had been 82 in the afternoon. Two a.c.'s going, and I pushed myself to get the scene, dialogue and I felt it was a good first draft.

This morning, I went over it, knew there were some shady areas I needed to work on, and had to get on line to find some things so I knew what I was explaining came out sounding like I know what I'm talking about.

Earlier last week I worked on getting a short story finished that had languished long enough in my documents. It's a horror, and I realized it would be rather long, and when I was finished, it came out to a novella length. Hope to self-publish it at some point this year. I'm letting it sit for a while before I read through it again. It had been one of those rare stories that I wrote in one sitting--or, rather in one day. I wrote it maybe 9 years ago, by hand. It simply poured out of me after a dream I had.

I've been busy and have not had the time to stop by everyone's blogs, but today I made an effort to swing by a few of your sites which I've been neglectful of. Sorry. There are times when I bury myself into my writing nitche and it's hard for me to get out.

We have one more day (they promise), of record temperatures (100+) and then we cool off and hopefully will not see this again!

And lastly, today is my husband's birthday. He's my biggest supporter/fan. Behind me completely. When I come into my office at night we do a high-five and he says "Go make us rich" I chuckle and say, "If only I could!"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some Rambling Thoughts

Well, our drought has officially ended! Yay! After today's rain storm, and having had some rain in the past 3 days or nights come down, the grass is on it's way to green, and the corn in the field has released a sigh of relief!

I've got one more day of freedom from the dreaded J-O-B. But I'll bring in a pay check.

I've gotten a lot done. Got my first ever short story up on Amazon, and that's a big thing. I also finished a novelette, also something to be happy about. That one is what I like to call soft, or psychological horror. A sort of Rod Sterling/Hitchockian thing.

Lately I've been working on other things. Including the fifth book. Well, heck yah! I've added a new character. One thing with a series you need to bring in new blood--so to speak. You need to invent new characters, ones that are different, that bring something new to the story that you have not explored as yet. Oh, and keep those who are loved in it also.

I decided upon a character named Ty Cho. He's human, and he's a deadly black belt. That's what I've got on him so far. That, and he uses the I Ching to guide him, and I'm using his refrence to it in an interesting way in the book.

So, I had to come up with his background and why he's there with Sabrina, and so forth. I used to paint (write) myself into corners. It's a tough thing when you begin a new novel, and begin writing it, and you have a new character--what are you going to do with this one? And before you know it you may have pages of stuff going on that sort of takes you away from your main story.


So, I've learned to recognize when I'm doing this before I get too far afield. I just did this today. I sat back and began asking questions. Like how will Cho make any difference in this story, how will I use him, and why the heck is he there in the first place.


I backed up. Before I began getting into some wild story as to why he was looking for her, I stopped and evaluated my need for him to be with her. He's there as her body guard. He had to have background and a reason for being there in the story at this point, and see if he can come into use later. So, analyze, think. And I've plenty of time, since the 3rd book isn't even out yet, and I'm just sort of letting the 4th one sit a while before I go back to do another read through to see if it needs tweaking. I don't like to write a book quickly--unless it's coming like gang-busters, which last year the first draft of the fourth one did and I got it written in 3 months. That's unusual. And even so, that was a first draft, and I had to add to it, take stuff out... all that.

I'm also sitting here wondering why I can't live on a Caribbean island? Oh, wait. Pooh. Hurricains.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turning Rejection into A Good Thing

I've been enjoying my first week of a 2 weeks vacation. There were a number of things I wanted to accomplish during this two weeks. The first of which was to RELAX. And I am. I've also been into my flower garden this year. It would be the year we are into a drought. But no biggie. We didn't plant a vegetable garden.

I've worked on a number of projects this year so far. One was getting my third book off to my publisher. The other projects were two short stories which I sent off to an anthology. I didn't come up with the idea for one until mere weeks before the deadline. They wanted alternate history horror. Possibly the story wasn't horrific enough, or maybe they had enough vampires running around again. But it was rejected.

I was not upset by this rejection. Not at all. Actually, if the truth be told, I had hoped so, because I wanted to try my hand at getting something of mine self-published. It would have taken me a hell of a lot longer than a few days time to do this, if I hadn't had a lot of help with the formatting and then actually loading up the document too. But my short story, Holy Devil, went up for sale the end of last week, and it's now available world wide! I can't show you a picture of the cover (been having trouble uploading pictures on a post), but it's on my sidebar, and you can go click on it to see a 5-star review of it!

Holy Devil was a story that I had written almost 10 years ago and was also rejected back then. It's about Rasputin, who is renown for his mesmerizing gaze and the fact that he could heal the sick, and was credited for saving the Tsar's son from dying from hemophilia, when all others failed.

But my story concentrates on his mystical ways, and possibly some other surprises about him that only in my convoluted brain could conjure. He did have quite the night life and also was difficult to kill, and he had a way with women. Women flocked to his home for his "blessings".

I've also been working on the fourth book. It's been a sort of patchwork quilt, as I add certain scenes to it when they finally come. I've been working on Vasyl's background, or backstory. I just wrote it yesterday and it will be included in the fourth book. Plus, I may just offer it as a free book, later on as a tease for the fourth book.

I hope to get a few more things done, have some more relaxation, before I return to the grind.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hikin' In Afton

Let's face it, if you really want to hike your fanny off, you can do it in Afton. In the early days, when Dennis and I first arrived, there was only the main park, and the hill that butts up with the Risman farm. Now, the park extends all the way across McGurr Road, to the south. This is still being developed, of course. there are plans to extend the wetlands.

But, today I'm gonna tell you about my walk.

I enjoy these walks. They clear my mind, and get the old heart pumping, and also, I enjoy the flowers, birds and solitude it brings me.

Today the breeze is stiff out of the south. If you doubt me, check the big wind turbines to the southwest of here. Warming up very quickly, so I headed out after 8 a.m., to avoid all dog walkers, should there be any.

I start out behind the barn on the trails that wind around the oldest portion of the park, the "trial" wetlands, which is pretty much grown in with willow in one, and a lot of cattail in the others. I decide to continue on a straight south path, heading for South Afton, toward the new shelter. I notice there is no one parked there, and gladly head that way. I make note of the various flowers along the way. The milkweed is blossomed out, and lends a wonderful sweet aroma to the air as you pass. Butterfly weed is also in full bloom, and their bright orange blossoms appear most abundant just south of the trees, near the wetlands, but a bush, here or there comes into view along my trail.

South-bound I walk. The red wings are done with nesting, and so are not as aggressive as they've been in the spring. However, I manage to pick up one killdeer who escorts me the whole way, for some reason. When I reach the end, I decide to continue past the parking lot, turn east onto the path that takes the bridge over the waterway. The cascades are not as strong, but there's some water flow. If you're quiet you might be able to watch a few water fowl on the rock. The spotted sandpiper came winging in, and landed on the rocks below the bridge. This bird frequently tips it's tail up and down, and stays on the rocks to feed. He's a most interesting bird. I almost wanted to join him in the water, but I continued up to the hill.

As I continued on, and my noisy escort also walked ahead on his long legs, complaining the whole way, the low pinging of a wind chime from the Risman farm enchanted the air. I turn the corner, watching the birds as they flee ahead of me, and I guess my noisy escort gave up.

The tallest hill this end of the park has a new bench. So, if you desire, you can sit and take in the wetlands below and farmland that surrounds you. I've climbed up this hill from the other direction, many a time in the past. I found the spot relaxing, and it seems to energize my soul. Now that there's a bench, I no longer have to sit on the ground. It sits rather high, which is fine, I swing my legs and sip on my now-warm water from the bottle I brought.

King birds make a racket above me, I ignore them and try to see if I can spot the blue heron. Nope. He must be over on the main side of the wetlands at the moment. Geese, although abundant in the spring, have thinned out. No reason to stay, those with no goslings have gone on to new territory.

I begin down the hill and three king birds to an aerial ballet above me, the wind pushing at them. I have to hold my hat on, as it might fly off. A good windy day keeps the deer flies at bay, so this is a good thing.

Once upon a time, I'm told that this whole hill was planted with a thousand trees. Then, the drought of '88 came and that did them in. Also, I think there was a fire, but I can't remember the story at the moment. At one time coyote roamed, but apparently someone took exception to this predator and obviously had to exterminate them. But once in a great while you may see a fox, if your lucky. Woodchucks, skunks, and weasels call Afton home. WE have a couple of woodchucks up around the house. One got the under ripe watermelon we couldn't eat. She was grateful, I could tell. And the skunk in one of the catalpa trees keeps us well away with the constant "fragrance".

Continuing down the hill, I make a plan to head back the quickest way, and where the wind is still able to reach me. I spy a loan fisherman down along the stream of Little Rock Creek. I'm doubting he's having much luck, unless he's going for catfish.

I make my way across two bridges, picking up some one's water bottle who didn't feel like carrying it to a trash receptacle for some reason. I carry it all the way up along the south part of the woods to throw it in our own trash.

If you are a frequent visitor, I hope you enjoy the park. It has lots of vistas to enjoy, and plenty of places to get off by yourself. The south prairie seems to go on and on. I'm told they are building a small shelter to go beside the last bridge down there. They've planted trees, but these will be a long while in creating shade, so there will be a shelter to duck under for shade and rest for the weary wanderer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nuts & Bolts, and Notebook/Journals for WIP's

It's been a while, but I've been taking a little break from writing in this blog. I don't usually blog here unless I have something to talk about. Don't want you guys to get bored, don't you know?

Working on the next book, my WIP--Vampire Caprice--and I realized when I went back to my notes that I wrote the first draft last year about this time, and got it done in 3 months. I had a lot of researching to do, and had to remember what Colorado Springs area looked like, ordered a catelogue, and did some Google Earth searching on the area too.

My notes on this book helps me pull up where my head was, what I was trying to do at that time.

And creating all the characters, and having their individual stages (because in this book, I'm writing both first person, as well as third), and each one I allow the reader to see into his head, I had to come up with their "back story" and history. A couple of them have some distant history, too.

But hey, I was working along and thought I'd share a little excerpt from these notes. They sort of read like a running interior monologue, or journal, in some cases.

The following was written on 8/29/11

I need to be in Eddie's head for this. I haven't got him down as yet. It creeps me out, actually, to be inside his head. It has to be that he thinks the Albino is “The Devil” He's here, again. the Devil.
Eddie is working on a car. The Albino appears. Eddie says, “Oh. It's you.”
Yes. It's me. Surprise!” he sang, hands out. “Oh, you're working on a classic.” The Albino walks around the car, looking admiringly inside. “Fifty-nine. Right?”
Yep.” Eddie ducks back under the hood. He makes some adjustments. The wrench he holds falls, clangs to the cement floor of the garage. “Fuck!”
Let me get that for you.” Albino moves Uber fast and he has the wrench in his hand. He spins it so fast that Eddie can't follow it with his eyes. In fact it looks like the propeller on an airplane going full spin. Albino moves to the side of the car.
You know why I'm here?”
Eddie stares at him.
I've found you another sweet one.” He says low. “She's exactly what you want. What you crave.”
Eddie licks his lips.
Small, and sweet. Pigtails.”
Eddie wipes the back of his hand across his lips.
I can take you to her.”
I need wheels.”
What's wrong with this one?”
I can't get the sprocket to fit.” {not sure on this, but go with it for now.} I added this 8/29th and have been working on it.

This is what it looks like in my "notes" and from this, you see, you add to it. Fill out the scene. It now reads very different as you can see here:

Eddie Roland reached down into the engine compartment of the baby blue, two door hardtop '59 Cadillac Coup de Ville. He wanted to finish this today. The man who'd sold it to him had lost his job and had needed the money. He had paid him a thousand for it. Cash. Hell, brand new it had probably cost over three thousand. It had leather upholstery, chrome grill, bumper and trim. Eddie had some money put away for extravagances like this. He got by with the odd jobs he could find fixing cars. But mostly he loved to work on the old classics, when they came his way. This was a honey of a ride. He considered himself one lucky son of a bitch that he had the cash to help the guy out. As if. He could now turn around and sell this for twice maybe three times he'd bought it off of Ted Roland, the man he'd bought it from. In fact he was lucky Ted hadn't put it up on eBay. Someone looking for just such a classic might have given him more. But Eddie had the cash, up front.
It had had a leaky head gasket—that was the big expense. But Eddie knew he could fix it up in a week and eventually get everything he put into it and more back. He had been able to pull the engine in his fully equipped garage and in two nights replaced the gasket and had it put back together. He was just finishing it up, in fact. He couldn't wait to hear the 390 cubics inch V8 turn over. The '59 Cadillac had the biggest tail fins of any car, and he knew when he went cruising down the street in the neighborhoods, he'd be the envy of all classic car enthusiasts.
Hello, Eddie.” The voice was clear as the sound of a crescent wrench landing on cement. In fact it startled him so, that he did drop the socket wrench, and it went clattering down through the engine compartment, but not to the ground. It had stopped somewhere midway.
What the fuck?” Eddie spun around, ready to rip into whoever the hell had snuck up on him and scared the living shit out of him. He realized quickly that this person was behind him, in the back of his garage, not the front. All the doors were closed, and the front garage door was down with only about six inches for air. How they had snuck in here defied all reason.
It's been a long time, Eddie.”
In the over-head fluorescent lights, he saw a man in a trench coat standing there smiling at him. At first he thought he as a figment of his imagination. But he wasn't. He looked exactly the same as he had the first time he'd appeared to him at least twenty-five years ago. He was real, alright. The long white hair, very pale skin and blue sun-shades gave it away. He was The Albino. The guy had a name, but he couldn't remember it. He referred to him secretly as The Devil, because he made Eddie do things he knew he shouldn't do. It wasn't that he didn't want to do those things. The temptation was so overwhelming that he couldn't help himself. But The Albino not only gave him the notion to do those things, he encouraged, helped and abetted him. And Eddie was dead certain The Albino was why he was never caught. No one knew that Eddie had done the things he had done, except the Albino.
Oh. It's you.” Eddie turned back to the car feigning disinterest, then looked over his shoulder at the man.
Yes. It's me. Surprise!” he sang, hands out. “Oh, you're working on a classic!” The Albino strode up and then around the car gazing at it, running a gloved hand over the chrome and smooth-as-a-silk paint job. He bent and gazed admiringly inside. “'Fifty-nine. Right? Leather seats, chrome bumpers. You're doing pretty well for yourself, Eddie.”
Yeah.” Eddie ducked back under the hood and located his wrench. The damned thing got lodged between the pitman arm and the steering box. Shit, he couldn't do that again in a million years! And it was well out of reach, from every angle he tried. He lowered himself to his hands and knees on the cement floor and reached for it. His middle finger was an inch away, and he couldn't reach any further under the car because basically his arm didn't bend that way. “Fuck!” he swore out of frustration.
Let me get that for you.” The Albino disappeared from the spot he had been, and the next instant was standing right next to him with the wrench in his white-gloved hand. He spun it so fast over his fingers that Eddie couldn't follow it with his eyes. In fact it looked like the propeller on an airplane going full spin. 
© 2012 Lorelei Bell

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Don't Want to be a Book Whore!


A few years ago, when I had my first self-published book out, I met a self-published author, an older gentleman, who had gotten his book of short stories printed up and was one of the authors I met at a book signing. We got to jawing and I learned he was able to sell his book out of hand to people he just met. I'm not sure if it was as great as all it sounds, but he probably did alright. He called himself a "Book Whore". I thought it was a funny term and in a way sort of appropriate.

The thing is we do need to work hard to sell our books, get it to the right audience. I'm sure everyone can agree with that. But when I see people plopping their books on the Facebook groups I belong to every few hours (the same people/books), it sort of makes me want to un-join. At first I put my book out there, but I've quit doing things that way. First of all I don't want to be a pest, I know how it makes me feel -- hey! Freebies! Hey! only 25 more people join/like/etc. and some lucky person wins... come and "like" my book on Amazon...only .99 today!!!
And seconly, after those same people have seen your book once, or a couple dozen times, if they didn't buy it the first time, they may be unlikely to buy it after the hard sell again and again. In fact it may have turned them off--I don't care if it is award winning.

There are other things that I question too. I don't really know how it counts to have all your friends on facebook/groups to go and "like" a book they've never read before. I don't do this, and I won't ask anyone to "like" my book over on Amazon, unless they've read it and want to go to the trouble of doing this. I won't ask anyone to make a review there either. Usually people WANT to do this, not because I've asked them. I don't want to hold a cattle prod and make people do something that they didn't feel like doing in the first place. I don't even think anyone (readers) care if you have 3 likes or 300 likes. Or that it even matters, or that they see it. I've never noticed it before, until someone was talking about it. (Oh... there that little bugger is, never noticed it before.)

So, I've let my little rant out. I might be a little bit of a book whore, but not big-time selling on the street corner, sort of thing.

It all boils down to this, the hard sell can get a bit too much. And really it is like whoring, if you become a little too agressive about it.

The best way to get your book to audiences is by going on book tours, at blogs, or however you may have available to you. And really, if I had a wad of money, I'd be advertizing my own, but I don't have that sort of cash flow. Not yet, anyway.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Agenda This Spring/Summer

Even though I've sent in my third book to the publisher, and feel a great relief, I still have many projects waiting for me. My only deadline right now is for a short story I'm doing for an anthology. It's deadline isn't until June something, and so I'm almost done with this, which is great!

We've been having perfect days this spring. They feel more normal than not, to me. We aren't supposed to get to the 80's in May! So, when they show a row of 70's all week, that's great. I've been getting out, and moving. I've used my interest in nature and birdwatching to get out there. Plus, we live on prairie/wetlands, and it is great out here.  Nice to be able to walk out the door and have it all to yourself some mornings. I've lost 4 pounds this last week by both watching my calories, and getting out nearly every day and walking. I hope to loose 10 pounds by end of this month and maybe 20 all together, if I can keep at it.

My plans are to work on a few projects I have not been able to work on because I wanted to get the first three books in my Sabrina Strong Series out in the first three years. Which looks like I'm able to accomplish. I already have the fourth book in a third draft, so I can put it on hold for now and turn to some other things.

I realize I have been writing for more than 3 decades and it has not been until this 4th decade that I had been able to publish a novel (I'm flabbergasted I've got two out with a third pending!) My first self-published novel, Spell of the Black Unicorn is now in my hands and out of the publisher's hands. I am going to be working on it this summer, release it as an ebook and also give it a new title. Maybe "Spell of the Vampire" might work?

Along the way, I've made a lot of great friends in the virtual world. Many of you have stuck with me, become my fans and friends, and we have found a common bond: writing. Whenever I figure out something new I do try and reveal it, once I'm sure that it's something important. While a lot of us have been working on our novels, we have to understand that people who do not know you will not buy the book just because it's out there. What will help them decide? I mean besides the reviews you may get, or the guest posts you may also be able to stack up when your book is released. You have to realize that money is tight right now, to take a chance on a new author--even one that has two or three novels out there--there has to be something a reader can find written by you that is short and cheep--or free. There have been a few authors I've gotten to know, and those I see around me, who write a short story that might be a sort of prequel to the book itself. They offer it for free, and sometimes they place a couple of chapters from the novel they want you to buy at the end of it, so that further sells the book.

Also, you might want to get yourself into a few anthologies. It is a good way to get name recognition, should someone who read a short piece by you comes across your name again. On your main blog you need to have these posted somewhere. A "page" below your banner is a very good way of doing this. I get hits on my pages daily. It's a way for people to get to know you and what you've done. If you have writing credits you want to get them there on another page, and be sure to up-date all your pages regularly.

The above suggestions are ones I'm going to be working on this spring and summer. Now that I don't have a novel to try and write and get out there in a year, I have time to work on these other projects. Hopefully these things will help sales of the books. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile... I think I might step out and feel the sunshine on my face.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Driving Around Without a Map...

I've never use an outline. Period. I know in my head where I want the story to go. I usually have an idea, I know the ending, pretty much (but it can change slightly to suit), and I may have a beginning. I will flesh out the characters before I start. Or sometimes they simply come alive on the page. I've often wanted to just go down a country road without knowing where it went just to find out. I'm an adventurer in that respect.

I've been working on a short story, lately. I'm going to offer it to Dark Moon, eventually. It's their "women's" issue. I thought the title "Mother Knows Best" would nail down that this is a woman's story.

I don't normally write short stories. There's a reason. I want to go on and on with the story, get into every one's heads as to what they are doing and make the plot twist and turn and... well, that's impossible to do with a short story. The novel and short story may seem similar to some, but they are very different. You have to tell a story within so many pages--like five or eight or ten. We're given a 6,000 words max, so I've got more than enough pages to play with.

I knew the story long before I began this or decided to write this for the anthology. It was a section taken from my first vampire novel, and saved in a discard file. You never want to absolutely delete all your hard work. These may offer you new ideas for new stories.

It has taken me a few weeks to pound out more than the three pages I struggled with at the beginning. I've now got 8 pages. I'm not pushing myself, because I can't work under that sort of pressure. I don't tell myself I have to write X amount of words or pages in a day. I'd rebel. I'm in charge of what I do, where and when and I've got the keys to this car and when I say we go, we go.

As I began this short story, I knew it would involve a vampire (of course), and a teenager who meets him, and there would be a rival. The rival would be her friend. But, after I lingered over this idea, I liked the old jealousy rage story less and less.

While I fiddled in facebook, and took on a new blog (actually it's not "new", just that I am now captain of the ship, so to speak), I allowed my mind to wander. Give it a break, because I had just been working on edits for the third book, and I think I was tired and needed a little fun time. (keys to the car, remember?)

The story sat at the bottom of my desktop. Once in a while I'd have something to add, and that was about it.

Then...I don't know, but maybe I relaxed enough, let the wind blow through my hair. Had a little fun choosing new backgrounds for a couple of blogs (like this one???), and working with another writer friend who is teaming up with me on the aforementioned blog.

I was at another blog I follow earlier where they spoke of giving yourself permission to do this or that when it gets a little scary when you write and wonder about things. Giving yourself permission to relax, maybe take a walk, get away from the manuscript for a while, helps me. I think we writers put too much pressure on ourselves when it comes to getting something done. Deadlines and so forth. If they work for you. Fine. But if you feel as though you've driven yourself into a wall. Stop it. Give yourself permission to sit back and not write but have a little fun.

Go for a ride.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Once Upon a Time...

I was sitting in the backyard this past week, enjoying the sunshine, warmth, birdsong, etc. I usually have my journal with me.

It reminded me of some distant moment in the past--possibly 9 or 10 years ago. I was struggling with getting anything published. I couldn't even get a lousy poem published! I made up my mind to work on poetry first. It seemed the easiest for the moment. Keep in mind I had been writing over 25 years by this time, trying to get a book published/accepted by an agent.

So, I'm sitting there just the other day thinking about how I felt at that far distant time. I was very frustrated, moments of depression overwhelmed me. I figured this was an impossible dream.

That year I did get a poem published. You wouldn't think it would be so hard, but it was. I found a very nice place that gave budding writers a chance. It was nice to have my work accepted. Everything I sent Ruth Brookshire, editor of Weeds Corner was accepted. I published with her journal for 4 years. The pay was little, and then she had to ask people to subscribe. I understood. I simply moved on.

But the novels I tried to get published was not gonna happen. At that time I didn't understand the industry. I understand it better today--how it works--but it got me no closer to finding an agent. The last straw was when I was about to turn 50. You go through menopause, ladies, the injustices of life simply get to you and you decide to take things into your own hands. I was sick of waiting for rejections. Enough was enough.

I decided to self-publish my light fantasy, Spell of the Black Unicorn. I paid to have my book printed up. I formatted the whole thing and drew the picture for it. I was very excited! Finnally my book in print, and there I am in this picture signing them for people in a bookstore, no less!

That was in 2008. Things moved very quickly in the self-publishing industry after that.

Even though I wrote the sequel, I sure couldn't afford to get that done too. Even with $50 off they offered me. I had to move on. Again.

I next worked on my vampire novel. It was something I needed to do--I had always written one and tried to get it published--and so wrote it and tried to find someone who would take it. I thought I had until they offered to edit it for me for $$. The amount was much more than I would have paid to have it self-published. I declined and tried everywhere again. I tried agents again. Stupid me. Hadn't I learned? Agents really are fussy, and it really irked me I had to go through this again. I went an posted the first chapter in sites.

Then, someone saw my first chapter on a site I used to belong to.  He said he found nothing wrong with what I'd written, and to send it to him. He turned out to be my publisher, Wilfried Voss of Copperhill Media, a micro publisher, but a publisher all the same. He saw something in my writing or style and took me on. I've given him my second book, and that's been published. I'm about to send him my third, but I need to get my editing done!

So theres my story behind how I struggled for a very long time--30 years. I did NOT quit. I kept on hoping that someone would find my work interesting enough to take it.

Sure am glad I didn't quit. My husband wouldn't let me anyway. He told me to keep on writing because I LOVED to write, and forget about what anyone else thinks. And that's a good thing to remember. Of course now with being so easy to get your books into smashwords or amazon, I guess it's no big deal. But I didn't want to try and do this all by myself at that time. I'm not sure how I'll feel later. I want to take my rights back for Spell and get it up on some format myself as an ebook so that I have more control of the price and not have to take royalties.

So, here I am, I should be editing my third book in the series. I just wanted to stop in and write about my thoughts on how time goes by and you think back to how things were and look at where you've been. Sometimes things just work out when you least expect it. It's hard to wait things out, but sometimes, in the end, it is all well worth it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Notes, Editing, and More Notes

You are in the mid-stream of edits on your novel, and something hits you as you're reading through. Oh! I forgot to mention Steve's appearance in here so that it won't be a big surprise at the end.

So, you have to make a note of this.

Later on, while washing dishes, you think of something you might want to change in the WIP. Note time!

Do you do this? I've had to keep a notebook while working on edits to a WIP. It isn't quite the same thing as while I'm working on writing the novel. Edits are different. These are bits and pieces that occur to you as you're working along. It's not too late to change anything in a WIP. I've edited out whole chapters, and characters in novels. I did that with my first vampire novel, Vampire Ascending.


I will write the date at the top of a new page each day, and make notes as to what pages need a little added attention. I like to write down where I've ended too, and if there's anything special I need to go back and do on any given page. I'll also make note of having finished a whole chapter--something to celebrate later because editing is really menial and you can get bored fast. I'm in the edits process where I've high lighted words that are repeated too often, or phrases which are signature of my lazy writing. I've posted about this over on Lorelei's Muse, so I won't go into detail here.

The notes will help you keep in mind things that need to be worked in. I actually have a separate notebook on just little things that need to be added to the work. This helps me keep it all in one place. I might have a line that sounds better than one that's already in there, and I have to jot it down while I'm thinking of it or it all disappears with time. Also, this spot might be back in a section I've already covered, or somewhere ahead, and I keep this notebook handy for when I need to refer to it.

Like I've been taught, edits take as long as they take. To tell yourself you'll do them in a few weeks time is really not a good idea. You might submit it for publication, and later think about something you might have left out, over-looked, or something will cause you to have sleepless nights. And I hate sleepless nights! If you aren't going through your work multiple times, then you're being careless. Hopefully a final edit by your publisher, or your own editor, will catch the things you've missed, but don't leave it all up to them to catch. It might be sent back with a note about needing more editing by you. It's a good idea to get your WIP as polished as you can before pushing it out of the nest.

Happy Editing!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

*Sigh* Fed up with Facebook Groups

I belong to (have been added to, I should say), a number of facebook groups. (I have since quit 2, because it was more than I could handle.) I like finding out about other writers, their books and so forth, but really, I don't buy anything on-line, and if I buy a book it's going to be something with actual pages and so on.

Yes, I've tried to read books on my computer. I hate it. When I read I want to sit in a comfortable chair with an open book in my lap. If I'm at work, or somewhere I need to have distraction like at the dentist office, I can easily put a paperback book into my purse.

But the one thing I've noticed about these writer's groups on f.b. is you get a lot of people posting about their books, and the deals (some of them are just giving away copies)--which is fine, because it is their group, after all. If you post anything at all, it gets washed down the page by several other people putting up news about some of their stuff. I don't post that much in them. Once in a while I grab someones attention about a blog post. Unless I have some sort of news about my book (a sale, for instance), I've quit posting about my books in these facebook groups. It's useless.

Why? Because if I get any attention right now, it might be from another author, and I do enjoy finding new people to interact with on here, but realistically, I might have one sale per month from doing this. It peeters out after a while and everyone has checked into your book and have bought it, and if they did--that's the end of the run.

I think what I'm saying is this--if you join several of these facebook sites and think you'll grab a lot of readers, maybe you'll gain a few, but that's about it. If you are lucky to get someone who wants you to be a guest at their blog, that's great. I've gotten a number of people out there who have offered me a spot on their blogs (I didn't even have to ask). This is much more worth the bother of getting on these places than trying to "sell" anyone your book. You can make friends there, and some will help you promote your book, but if you think that this is the way to sell lots of books, think again. It isn't really going to help you sell many.

Also, the time in which it takes (for me at least), to "share" something on one or several of these places, it comes out to me having spent maybe 15-30 min. wasting my time. Some people who have created these facebook groups and have invited me (you) to them post hourly. And it becomes somewhat of a competition between your stuff and their stuff. I find it worthless for me to even bother some days and ignore the posts. Usually it is only about a sale on their books. Rarely is it something that is interesting to me, as a writer.

I've created my own groups, but other than my own fan page, I'm not trying to hard-sell you anything. And my fan page is stuff about my blog, or my books. I'm not going to hard-sell it to you. I think someone continuously doing this is like holding a megaphone to your ear. "Alright already! Yes, yes, your book is award-winning. I get it already!" *crossing eyes*

I'm going to investigate getting some real ads out in real newspapers (yes, there are still some out there in a localized area), and reach some REAL readers--not writers. If you want to have sales, you need to reach people who read books as their passion, and in your genre. If you continuously post in groups or even on your own blog, eventually you run out of people who have yet to read your books.

Don't get me wrong. The social media is good for what it does for us, but what I've found is that people who don't blog don't know about you/your books. They might go on-line to Amazon, but they may never know about your books unless you do it the old-fashioned way and advertise. 

I've quit two groups, and am thinking of quitting one more, because the competition is really against me getting noticed. So... I think I'll go and do that now.

Have a good Sunday, everyone!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Taking a Breather

Not from writing, but from some of the other stuff.

As you all know I was to have a book signing yesterday at B&N, which I had canceled. So glad I did.
I now will be talking to a local grocery store manager about having one in his store. I didn't approach him, but friends of mine did, which surprised me. I had intended to talk to him about it, but never found the time, or he wasn't around for me to breach the subject. But now I've got an appointment to go and meet with him this week! So exciting!

Last weekend I posted about choosing a title for my next book.  A number of you swung by and made your comments and suggestions and I thank you for that. I was surprised I had so many of you stop by here on the blog, and also at one the facebook groups I belong to, as well. I want to have an official vote on the titles suggested to me soon. We'll see how this goes. Hopefully more people will vote for their favorite one. I still intend on giving the one person who's title wins a free book (either ebook or book), if their suggestion wins.

I'm also amazed when I go to one of my facebook sites (usually it's the Lorelei Bell one), and someone new has come and liked it. I've had 5 just this week and I believe all were people who had read my book, because I don't know any of them. One lady said she "loved" my books and is looking forward to the third one. She inspired me to get back to work on the third book. (I had been working steadily in the fourth book but, hey, that one is at least a year away from being ready.) I was taking a break from the third book so as to approach it with fresh eyes and to find some repetitions, lines that weren't working and so forth. This may not be my final edit. It may take one or two more before I'm ready to send it to my publisher.

This morning, I slept in. Very nice to do that. My husband woke me up, kissed me on the head and said he didn't want to have coffee without me. (Awwww).

So, I'm signing off for now. Hope all is going well with you guys out there too!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's In A Name...

Or title? How many of you labor over a title for your books? Sometimes it's hard, isn't it?

Yeah, I'm debating on the title for the third book. It has changed from one thing to another. You know how you have to slap a title on your WIP, and you stick with it up until the moment you are just about ready to give it to the world (or your publisher).

I have the title "Beyond the Black Veil" on this third instalment. However, I've seen a title out there called "The Black Veil" and I don't want to have it so closely related to someone else's title, esp. if it's another vampire novel. It's almost impossible to find a different title now a days, but you always try.

The title came to me because of what happens in the book--Sabrina goes Beyond the Black Veil when she steps through a portal and is in a totally different world and the explanation is that they are beyond the black veil, which is also the networking of black holes into which a person travels in order to go from one world to the next. She is able to go between worlds, because she is the sibyl, but other humans aren't able to escape. Vampire's also are stuck there.

Okay. Sure that works. But I'm still not crazy about the title because there might be something better.
Here are some ideas to ponder:

I have creatures called Dreadfuls which are part of the main plot. I'm trying to think up a way of incorporating their name into a title. These Dreadfuls are not ghosts, but Sabrina slowly realizes they are similar to demons. They cause sickness in humans, and within weeks they die terribly. When her Dagger of Delphi kills one it has no physical body, but disintegrates. She suddenly is in demand to rid their world of these Dreadfuls because there are only so many humans, and their are dying.

Vlad Drakulya is also in this story, and even though he has a role in the book, it isn't really about him, either. But I sort of like the idea of using his name in the title, but then again so many titles out there with "Dracula" in it.

The Plot Idea:
Sabrina is trying to locate her missing cousin in this third instalment, and has by chance come across a portal which opens up briefly and snatches humans to this world where vampires rule. These humans become their Blood Dames/Doms, and also serve to reproduce other humans or also can pro-create with the vampires. They are also stuck in the late 1800's. I wanted to mix things up a bit, have Sabrina in another world during nearly the entire book, and this book was born a few years ago. She becomes romantically involved with Drakulya's son, Jett who is engaged to Princess Penelope. Jett happens to be a psychic vampire who feeds on... sex.

If anyone has ideas, leave a comment, and if I use your idea you will receive the third book free with your title as a thank you--when it comes out, of course. So, maybe that is enough incentive. Even if your suggestion is changed slightly and I use it, I will still give you a free book. How does that sound? Any of you need further information, let me know. I have been placing scenes up once in a while at Lorelei's Muse. I'll probably be doing teasers from it now and then this spring, so be looking for them.

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Temporary Files

There you are, minding your own business, and WHAM! You've got not just an idea, but you've got dialogue and a scene running through your brain--you have no idea who the characters are (or maybe they are the ones you always write about), but this scene isn't part of whatever it is you're working on right now. Or maybe it is and you're not sure where the heck it fits.

Ah! Make a new file. But... what do you call it? And when will you ever get around to deciding where it might go?


I've got a few of these. I also have a WORK BOOK, but it's different for different things.

A temporary file will allow you to write something down and you don't need to worry about where you're going to place it. It also gives you the ease of mind so that you can write and not worry about where you need it right then.

Panic not, you make up your file. When ever I have a new scene, either in my head, or I've been scribbling it down on paper, I can go and start typing away.

Then, when you're ready to slap a new scene up, go up to your menu bar, click INSERT, and the first thing on the drop-down menu is  "Manual Break" when you hit on this a window comes up and you get a couple of choices. Choose "Page Break" so that the next thing you write is separate. But, of course if you want to continue with where you left off, you just keep on typing.

And then put it up on your desktop for easy access.

Just one of my many suggestions, if you don't do this already.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Like Screaming Children Vying for Attention

I'm sitting at the kitchen table, perhaps having a glass of wine in the evening with my husband, and the quiet moment steals over me and there I am, thinking again of the scene.The words in my head come. Then the scene fleshes out. I'm staring, not seeing anything but the scene... voices in my head...

This ever happens to you, then you know what I'm talking about.

And there isn't just one scene, or only one book. There are other scenes and other books and other stories... choosing which ones to write, or allow my mind to ponder, it has become like screaming children vying for my aattentions. Each one is different. Each one has different needs. Each one is further along (older) than the other.

So, it has become somewhat like I am a parent, raising children when I work on my various stories and books. Choosing just one is difficult because you love them all equally.


I have a number of shorter pieces--not exactly short stories, as some are long enough to be novellas, or something--which are in my drawer. So, I've taken one out and am working on this one. It is a horror story. I'd like to place it and I know who I will try with it. Dark Moon Horror takes novellas and novelettes. I've already made contact and had one short story and now a poem accepted by them, I think the next step would be to try a novella or such and that could be published with them. They only take horror. They take nothing else. The editor, Lori Michele Branson for the publication, has swept up both with eager arms.

So, I've got a short horror going in my head (I have it written, but will rewrite it). I still want to go back to another short horror piece I had begun as well. Then there is the mystery I've begun.

And let us not forget I've got the Sabrina Strong Series #3 &#4 books that I'm working on simultaneously.

Yes, my children. All in good time... all in good time.

How many projects do you work on at the same time, or have in various degrees of drafts?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Holding a lightning rod in my fingers... well sorta

I've held the scene in my head for over a week now. Revised it, considered how it should be written--in first person? No. In third person? I don't want to be in any one's head, really, but maybe the more I work with it the more it will lean in that direction.
But you may wonder why not in first person--as in from Sabrina's POV?

Because she isn't there at the onset of the beginning of this scene. I'm doing a little something different, where I'm switching POV completely--going from first person to third, depending upon whose eyes I'm showing the scene through.

You see, I began writing the fourth novel and realized I couldn't write this one without going into other character's heads. It was the only way to tell it. So, possibly my fifth novel will borrow this sort of POV switch. At least in the beginning. I don't know what will happen once I'm past the first chapter. But I love the control I have when I write. As the writer you can do anything, within reason, and your readers should, hopefully, accept it if you do it well. I remember reading a book by Sunny, called "Lucina, Darkly" and found that she had switched POV completely from third person to first, from one chapter to the next. I'd never seen this done before. It took me a few confusing moments to understand what happened. It was almost like someone had pulled the rug from beneath me. But once I got used to the idea, I was fine with it.

It was brilliant, I thought. I also thought, maybe someday I should try that. So... that's what I've done. I plan on an author's note to readers in the beginning, however so that I'm not throwing something at them that they aren't used to.

At any rate, since I wasn't able to hold that scene in my head any longer, and it wanted out of me (you know the feeling, I'm sure), I went to my temporary file where I tinker, and put it down. Before I knew it--4 pages of the scene emerged. Then, today I've worked into page 5. I've now got it into it's own file for Crescendo. So, it's official. Yes. I've begun the fifth book with a 3rd about to be sent to publisher at some point late winter, early spring.

Is it hard to hold a scene in your head, but you wait until you've nurtured it some? Or do you begin writing something as soon as you've thought of it?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Drafty Drafts & Precarious Situations

Sorry, sometimes my brain can't come up with a suitable title, but maybe this one works.

So, you know how it is. Working along in a WIP, that you've been going through it seems like forEVER. I'm trying to catch some weak passages, or weak phrases that need to go. It's easy to write 'I looked', or 'I felt', when you might want to reconsider what it is you're trying to say.

I've been working through some areas that needed to be cleaned up. I had one place where I'd written: I felt Drachen's breath on my neck. I cleared out I felt and here is how it reads now:
Drachen's breath feathered against my neck. His large, dreamy eyes lingered on the pulse there.

In this third book, Sabrina finds herself in tight confines with Drachen, Jett's cousin--who is with a newly becoming vampire. I've been thrusting the two together, teasing readers with their situation.

In this passage you don't know that their coach just took a spill. They're on a snowy mountain road, and the coach could easily slide off the side of the cliff. I thought to compound the situation where she's having to deal with both, a life altering situation and a life or death situation would hold suspense for the readers. The question posed is which is more dangerous? The vampire, or the precarious place the carriage is in.
Here's a peek at the scene...

We hit a bump. Aljehambra made a half-scream, then went into a full scream as the coach lurched horribly, and then tipped as a grind of steel filled my ears, and men's voices outside shouting something. But it was too late. I saw a body sail past the window as the diligence leaned precariously, then Drachen's body crashed into mine. I heard his startled cry. Horses screamed as the whole thing toppled over on its side. My shoulder was crushed against the side of the coach, and Drachen's weight pressed against my other side smashing me more; it was as though a log had fallen on me. The feeling of being trapped and unable to stop things that were in motion threw me into a panic. Ali's screams punctuated the moment of terror. I wanted to tell her to quit screaming, but couldn't because my own situation called for a scream, but it wouldn't come. The air suddenly forced out of my lungs as we landed with such a hard crash I was certain that something was broken—an arm, a clavicle, perhaps—the pain overriding every other sense—as well as clear thought.  
CAVEAT: I'm still working on this scene. But I think it's coming along. I need to get rid of a few repeated words, like snow, but I'll get to it.
If you feel the need to comment, fine. If not, just enjoy.
Something cold hit me in the face and added insult to my various injuries. Confused initially, I thought the glass in the window had broken and cut me. Why was I feeling a cold splash, instead of warm liquid?
Then all motion stopped when I realized what it was that had hit me: cold snow pressed into my face while I was squashed against the side of the coach. I realized the window hadn't broken because it had been down. Now Drachen was on top of me, both of us in awkward positions and I was unable to move because of him pinning me. I realized the coach had stopped sliding.
Now that things had stopped moving, Drachen rolled off me, and his strong arms turned me so that I was now on my back looking up at him. I heard Aljehambra's soft whimpers, and Joha asking her the same thing Drachen asked me.
Are you alright?” We were both lying side by side on cold snow. I realized snow had poured into the window, and we were half covered in it. If it were not for the warm cloak around me, I'd have been much colder than I was.
I don't know.” I had to move my arms to see. Nothing seemed broken, but I was sore. “I think so.” I spat snow and hair out of my mouth and Drachen helped brush it out of my face. “Maybe my shoulders are bruised a little.”
Ali? Joha?”
We're still alive,” Joha said.
Aljehambra began crying fitfully.
Quiet, Ali!” Joha said to her and she quieted.
The carriage shifted, then budged a few inches. The sliding sound beneath us hammered into the forefront our precarious situation. Mine and Aljehambra's gasp filled the carriage.
Don't anyone move!”
I froze with Drachen holding me close. His body fully against mine, I found my face inches from his, his glimmering gaze wandered my features. His gaze stopped at my lips, a brow arched as though the idea of kissing me fully on the lips was overriding the whole idea that we were in a precarious situation, in a life and death situation. It were as if we were alone somewhere else entirely, and I felt his aura and vampire thrall entice me. I held my breath as the sliding carriage stopped, but who knew for how long.
I won't,” Drachen said in a low whisper in answer to Joha's edict. A smile tipped his lips ever so slightly as he gently stroked my hair, his fingers moved downward to tease the flesh along the column of my neck. I let out my held breath very slowly as I felt myself succumb to his vampire charms—he was getting to me in a big way. A ripple of alarm—more so than when the coach had tipped—shuddered through me. Crapola, what happened to my ring?
How's Sabrina?” Joha asked.
I'm fine,” I said stiffly. Drachen's breath feathered against my neck. His large, dreamy eyes lingered on the pulse there.
Don't even think about it,” I warned, pulling my right hand from the awkward position between us and pressed the hand against his chest.
What? Kiss you?”
Right.” I glanced away, realizing that he was pulling a thrall on me. I realized my gloves were on both hands (for warmth), and that's why I couldn't stop him. His aura was stronger than it had been last night. Possibly after having fed on blood he may have become stronger in a vampire way as he morphed from human to vampire. However, he would have to hold my eyes in order to keep me in his thrall, but he didn't seem to know this. Or, rather, I knew this before he could really pull on my desires.
A noise above us made me start. Drachen looked up. The door, which was facing up toward the sky, opened and someone peered down at us. It was one of the coachmen from Drakulya's coach. “Everyone alright?” he had a strange accent.
We all answered that we were alright.
I hit my head,” Ali complained.
Joha poo-pooed her fussing. “You've had worse scrapes, I think. Remember when you fell off the garden wall when you were ten? Everyone thought you were going to die.”
This is worse!” she cried stubbornly.
Come, then. Women first,” the man said. I let Ali go first since this had upset her so.