Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

A big thank you to all of you who have stopped by my blog here over the last year! Many blessings to you all and hope to see you in 2014!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Poem About Writing

I don't often post my poems because as a rule they are subjective to the reader, and most people don't like reading them, unless they too are poets,or enjoy reading poetry. It's why I won't publish a book of poetry--it'll just be an exercise in a pathetic waste of time. But this poem is about writing and I actually came across it in an old notebook. I wrote it in 2005. (They call poems about poetry "Ars Poetica".)

Poems are
the relentless current
a seductive stimuli
footprints across the page
anyone can leave behind
where ink is the water
and the waves are our thin
swift dreams...
poems, like our personal struggles,
in a swift current that snag
on rocks, eventually
until the next logjam

I discovered poetry and had help in learning how to write them (not that I'm great at it), from the book The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser a Poet Laureate. The book was helpful where most were not. I recommend it to anyone who wants to write better poems. I've had several of my poems published soon after I read this book and worked on my poetry using his advice. I couldn't have done it without Ted. But I never could achieve my hope to have a poem published in ByLine. Oh well... it no longer matters to me. I've got a blog where I can post and anyone who wishes may read and enjoy.

Here is one more very short one it's called
A Page of Latte
Words stare back at me,
Unblinking, black on white.
They won't bow, won't budge
The syntax is obstinate!
There's no imagery, no form
It's like squeezing water
from cork board.
Ink leaks from my finger tips,
I put them to my lips...
Tastes a lot like latte.

On that note I want to let you know I am expanding my blogs to a new one called "A Page of Latte" Here I hope to not only share my poetry, but also invite anyone (yes, anyone), to share their poetry, or troubles with it, if they wish, and discuss (if desired), how to improve upon it. I will introduce certain types of poetry--like the "Tanka", which is similar but different from Haiku, and darn fun to work on.

I'm going to also post some notes from various places where I've learned a few things about writing poetry. I've been writing poetry (on and off) for decades and my first ones were really crappy, so don't think yours could be anywhere near as crappy as mine, if you are just starting out. I want to encourage anyone, beginners and more experienced poets to come and share your thoughts, and get in on the discussion. I'm also going to offer guest posts, too. So come and have a look-see, or at least give me a good send off, in the very least. It's going to be bare bones right now, but it will evolve into a nice little nook for poets. I hope!

So, come and join me if you wish here is the link: A Page of Latte

My hope for this blog is to continue on writing themes, and what I'm working on. I may post some basics here in coming weeks--this is for newer/beginning writers. So, I hope to see some new faces here in the next few weeks and I invite everyone to check out my new blog A Page of Latte.

Thank you for following me here, and commenting every once in a while. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and we will chat in the coming New Year!

It's looking a bit like this outside today...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Suffrage of your Characters

This morning my husband and I sat and watched an old Bonanza show. This one starred Ricardo Montalbon. He played an outcast Indian--a son of a chief. He is outcast because he married an Indian maiden from another tribe played by Madlyn Rhue. This woman spent 3 years with a white family and learned to read the Bible.
Madlyn Rhye as Hatoya

In the opening, Ben Cartwright is ambushed by an Indian, and stabbed. Just before the Indian can finish him off, Matsou (Montalban), stops him. He talks his blood-lusting white man hating brother to leave him. After which he takes Ben to his tee-pee and his wife cares for him. Matsou is convoluted over his being so soft about a white man, but he is, after all on Cartwright land.

His brother comes along and asks what happened to the white man. Matsou lies, tells him he hid the body and took his horse. His brother wants to check his tee-pee but Matsou won't allow it. His brother, Lagos, says they are about to have a war party against the people of the land. Not great news, but Matsou isn't half as worried about that as he is about the white man he saved. Eventually Ben becomes well enough, he is grateful and offers Matsou some land to farm. His wife is happy, and wants him to try to farm. Matsou is still in two minds about it, but he and she both pray about it--in their separate ways and he softens and accepts. They build a home, he cuts his hair (which in reality he would not do--a lot of things wrong with what the Indians believed in and did, but I'm not going to harp on this). His wife is pregnant and they are happy about this, but he hates that he has become a farmer eating bread and using forks and knifes and sits at a table--yadayada.

In the meantime, an Indian hater, Ike Daggert, is really up in arms about these two Indians adjacent to his land. He claims if he ever sees either of them he'll kill them. Well, Matsou's brother comes to tell him that the tribe is about to attack. If he isn't going to attend this like a good son of a chief, then he should get the hell out of the way. Matsou, of course, goes to warn the Cartwrights, and then, like a good neighbor--but a foolish one--goes to warn Daggert. At the same time he comes to the house, Daggert hears him, comes out to shoot him. But also, Matsou's brother has come, entered through an open window, kills Daggert's wife, and starts the place on fire. Seeing this, too late, Daggert shoots and kills Lagos.

Daggert's wife is buried, everyone is gathered at the funeral, including Matsou and his wife, Hatoya. Daggert is out-raged about this, and seeing Hatoya praying further incites him. He shoots Hatoya, after breaking away from a scuffle. Matsou is devastated, and goes a little crazy.

Next scene: Daggert barely makes it to the Cartwright home, falls and it is revealed he's been cut up in a way to make him suffer before he dies. This is Matsou's doing, of course. After the man dies, Ben tries to go to Matsou to talk to him. Matsou hits him, ties him up spread-eagle with rawhide. Another slow torture. As Ben is suffering Matsou is trying to enjoy it, but seems he can't do so--can't even look at Ben. And Ben refuses to cry out throughout this ordeal. Matsou knows he is a failure as an Indian as well as a white man.

Just when it seems Ben is at his last moments, he begins to pray--something his wife has done in the past. He tells Ben to stop, but he won't. At this breaking point, Matsou cuts Ben loose. (I wanted to see him offer him water, but he didn't--another problem with the show). They make peace. Matsou becomes chief of his people. A somewhat happy ending.

I wrote out the basic plot here--aside from some of the basic mistakes of the piece, the suffering of each character was there--it was a good lesson in writing the basic plot crises: Matsou losing his wife who he loved so dearly he didn't care that he was banished from his tribe, and then became a farmer to keep her happy--this was his ultimate devastation. It wasn't lost on me that Daggert lost his wife, but you didn't care about him because he was so hateful. The volatile act happened--Daggert shooting Matsou's wife saying, "An Eye for and eye!"--was the the crisis point in the story.

I knew while watching all the drama on this show that something bad was going to happen, and it made me edgy--especially with the Indian hater making it clear he would kill any Indian that came on his property. I couldn't have guessed that his beautiful wife, who was with child, would be shot in cold blood. The writer had found the worst thing that he could do to his character, Matsou, and did it. Showed him going through a bit of madness over his wife's senseless murder. Matsou suffered until he could suffer no more injustice and slight to his character. His wife's death drove him over the edge. Good job by the writer, I say!

My dilemma in my own writing:

While working on a WIP, I consider what would be the worse thing that could happen to my main character(s). This is your job as a writer. You need to have people care about these characters, and then you do something that jars them emotionally. I've mentioned that I am currently working on Dhampire Legacy, something already written a million years ago by me, dug out and I'm breathing new life into it. I was following the main plot--as written--where I have my detective's daughter abducted by vampires. Whether or not I would follow what happened next as written, I was in two minds about. I wanted Detective Vladislav to save his daughter from being bitten and then turned. In the original I'd had him come too late, and she does become a vampire, however he, being a dhampire has sway over her similar to the vampire who bit her. Looking over the chapters on this, I wasn't sure that's what I wanted at all. But now, after watching this episode of Bonanza I'm hitting my head saying, Wull, duh!

I see that the easy way out is not the way to go. The scene that is written will stand, but be rewritten as needed. I'm finding that there wasn't too much wrong with it plot-wise, it just became too long-winded, and needs help in certain areas, but the basic plot was good.

Although my beginning didn't start until the third chapter, this was one of the bigger problems. A few other minor things I changed too. Bringing in a character who sheds light on things so that my detective will begin to question his own dismissal of who/what he is (he is of Gypsy birth--which I will probably hit on in more detail in a future post). So, of course, I've been cutting here and re-positioning a chapter there. My other main characters Phil and Herb play off each other like a ping-pong match, and I love the interplay of their personalities in this. Where as Jan is so serious, as a contrast, and I hope to give him a boot in the pants at some point. And his world is falling down around his ears as we speak with the hint of vampires in the disappearances and murders that now are beginning to pile up. His wife is dead (prior to the book's opening), and Lucy, his daughter is all he's got. And I don't need to add he is overly protective of her--but that would only make sense. Being a teenager, even as innocent of the world as she is, she won't be able to obey her detective father, and will get herself into trouble, big-time. This is what I wanted to happen to bring Jan to his knees, drop-kicking him like a ball, then build him back up, making him accept his birthright.

Have any of you had trouble figuring out what to do to make your MC suffer? I watch a lot of older shows that were written really well for TV. This one had problems, but like I said, the main idea was not lost on me. It helped me come to a decision, opened my eyes a bit, and I'm going ahead with the WIP as written, for the most part. Well, I'd better get to it!

Hope you've had a great weekend. See you next week some time!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


A very quick post today.

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. My husband surprised me with a rose in a cluster of baby's breath. I say surprised me because since we work together, and our driving buses gives us so little time to do much of anything else, his having stopped inside the grocery store to order it took a little time. And then when he did, because it was so early, there wasn't anyone in the florist's shop who knew how to tie a bow--well, he decided that maybe since I didn't know about it, it wouldn't hurt to let it slide.

But life had a bigger plan.

He stopped at the store again--needing to use their bathroom, and one of the always-smiling women who work there said to him "Hey, your flower is ready!" And a woman from the department came up to him after he came out of the bathroom with the bouquet. She said he could pay for it at her department. She told him it was already paid for by one of the cashiers, and all he owed was the tax. We've gone to this store since it opened, and the people know us on sight. So that was a huge surprise!

We had lunch in one of our more favorite places, had a glass of wine and it was very nice.

We later looked at our wedding pictures, and the reception ones (Funny, there were people in it we couldn't remember!).

The other milestone? I got my first check from Amazon the day before. It wasn't huge, but it was enough to make me happy. Also, I didn't expect this until next month. This was a nice surprise.

I'm still working on the WIP. I have a few more weeks before we are off for winter break, and I'm so looking forward to the time off, but not the money hardship that it brings. But maybe this time, with the little extra money we've gotten here and there, it will help some.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Writing Alchemy - Resurrection of a Manuscript

Now I know what Victor Frankenstein felt like when he created his monster. Well... sort of.

My manuscript created in 1999-2002 "Vampire Legacy", was in a large box within an even larger bin, filled with my writings. I recall that it went well beyond manageable length.
Well over 800 pages.

Yeah. I had way too many threads, too many characters, and the plot went all over the place. And I had the gall to try and interest an agent with it. When she responded to me, asking me to cut it down (in half), I was excited and went to work on it, and in a month I sent it back. She said I still didn't do it right. In the end, she rejected it, saying "Didn't you learn anything from the books I recommended?" (In other words, REJECTED)

Oh, well. Back to the drawing board...

It was shelved. For a long time, obviously.

In the meantime, I guess I learned how to plot and a few other things with my writing. You see, you have to learn how to write before you can get this shit straight. Plotting is something you need to understand before you can proceed.

"No one can teach you how to write." 
Someone somewhere said that. I think a couple of teachers. Maybe Gandhi, too.

Somewhere along the line I have figured it out, apparently, or I wouldn't have gotten a publisher (as small as he was), and my many nice reviews for Vampire Ascending, and Vampire's Trill.

So, last weekend I took out all of this manuscript, which was in more drafts than I can count. I spread it all out over a couch, a couple of tables and a few boxes, the floor, and sorted through it all trying to discover the workable parts and the not-so workable parts. Those I put off to the side. They are like mini stories, basically. I never throw out anything, if I can help it.

When I was finished, my lower back ached for days, but I had found the latest draft (because of the type-font/printing). But I kept the draft(s) before that on hand for anything I might have missed.

So, I began the typing up of the mss. in my computer. I began Chapter One using the scenes in Chapter Three. Because the original beginning was too boring. Really. It was terrible. Nothing happened, too much back-story, too much information dump--all of the no-no's I'd learned since then not to do. (God, I hope so!)

I was going along, replacing one scene for another, and then I got to my character Izora Crunch. She's a librarian. I kept vacillating as to whether or not I needed her. In my original she comes in handy, but fills two rolls, and when I came to this one spot where my second main character (Phil Green), goes to her about something, I said, "Hold on. She doesn't need to be the person in this scene." But she needed to come in to help my detectives earlier than I had her (which was way-way at the end), and I needed them to learn something very important, yet so mind-blowing that neither detective really wants to believe it--because it spells V-A-M-P-I-R-E. But Jan Vladislav, who is part Gypsy and Romanian, knows about such things, and there are things about his birth even he doesn't know about (yet).

So, when I say this is like being the creator, but taking something that already exists and making it into something new, and breathing life into it--I'm not pulling your leg. This is work. But a work of love. I absolutely love this story. If I didn't, I would have tossed it a long time ago. I merely need to cut out things that I don't need, and stitch in sections elsewhere (like that monster Frankenstein made--only this will be better, and prettier).

At this juncture, I can see what is wrong with this mss.--big and little things--and can fix. I am moving things around. I'm taking out certain character's POV because it gives away too much. I want the reader to discover the vampires along with my hero, Detective Vladislav--who, by the way has amber eyes, which he disguises with brown or blue contact lenses (I haven't decided which color, but since he's dark, maybe I should have him use brown--but his daughter's eyes are like her mothers, which are blue. And I love the contrast. But I digress). He also has a cool tattoo. And I've seen this tattoo on someone who is Romanian, and I am going to get a picture of his arm if it's the last thing I do! It's a crucifix, and there's a story behind it, and it relates to Dracula--I do not lie!

And as I went through this, and put Izora into this chapter with the detectives, I wondered where her description was. Oh... there it is, with Phil, my other vampire slayer.

This book's title was "Vampire Legacy", but since I've got a series with the word 'vampire' in the titles, I knew I needed to change this. This is where I asked myself: "What is the book was about?" Well, it's about a couple of vampire hunters--one by nature (he was born one), one by necessity.

Romanian belief is the background for the whole book. A dhampire  is someone who is born from a vampire-human mating. They have certain physical atributes that makes him stronger, more agile and more able to detect and fight a vampire. So, with this in mind, the new title is now Dhampire Legacy. It might be confusing to some people who have never seen this word, but believe me, once they get into the story, it will be explained.

So, I'm up to chapter seven or eight. I've found Mrs. Crunch's description and I'll be plopping that into the areas I need to, and re-writing this section of Phil Green's to include a priest, instead because he returns a large gold crucifix and tells his story of why he has it in the first place, and it belonged to a deacon whose neck was twisted horribly 20 years ago--and Phil actually saw the murder, but was too young and frightened to tell anyone about it.

Hmmm, since I'm not Catholic, anyone out there able to help me with a scene? Specifically with the confession scene? Let me know in the comments.

Who among you are doing this, or have gone back into an old manuscript and began to work on it?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quality vs. Quantity Which Are You?

How many words a day do you crank out? A thousand? Two? More?

Is this important to you? If so, why?

I just wanted to throw those questions out to you. Get you thinking a little bit.

But here's another one. Is the reason you do crank out thousands of words a day, or say 10,000 in a week, is because you're working to put out a short story, a novel or what have you, in order to keep the number of published works up so as to compete with other titles out there so that you are "discoverable" at Amazon?

Hmm. Really?

There are a number of writers--like Ray Bradbury--who wrote a story a week and could not only put out the quantity, bu also the quality without a problem. Other famous authors do too, but at the moment I can't recall some of them. Their names are household because most writers can't hold a candle to them. But you can emulate them as much as humanly possible. Good luck with that. In my younger writing years, I wanted to be like Stephan King. Not so much now. I've found that I like what I write much better. It's because I've found my "voice".

When I began writing it was either pen/pencil and paper, or the typewriter. In either case if you made mistakes you had no spell check. A bummer for me since I'm a lousy speller (better now, but I've been writing for 40+ years, and when you can see spellcheck you usually begin remembering how to spell some word you eff up all the time). I've told the story of my having to clean out my father's house after his death and I found all my writing from when I lived at home--which included journals--and thousands upon thousands of pages of my writing. Three grocery bags full. Most of it was awful, unfinished and rife with bad grammar and spelling. From my calculations--since I left my father's house to live with my husband in 1988, this would be approximately 16 years of work compiled. Was it any good? No. The ideas, might have been alright, but I was a novice. Yeah. I spent about 25 years being the novice writer. It took me a while to understand plot, and to have a natural in-born system that gave me ideas (in our circles they call it a "muse"), where as I write, or go along (I'm basically a panster), I allow problems of what comes next and why come to me naturally. I don't force-write. I've found that it frustrates my natural abilities, and this is why I shun NaNoWiMo. I'm not capable of churning out words without going back over things. I'm what I call (and maybe it's a word), a layering writer. I layer in details. I may not have the description of a room, a person, at the moment I write the scene. But I might have it tomorrow or the next day or the next--or I'll come back when I'm ready to work on the second draft (remember that term, I'll come back to this). This is how I write, it's like I've dug myself into a nice little writing hole and that's what I'm comfortable with.

Plotting is what it is. If you choose to write something that is easy to plot and you find these are easy to churn out, wonderful. Go for it.

I'm not a fan of easy plots. Not to read and not to write. For some reason I need to make it hard to do. It's the reason I don't like romances. Who winds up together at the end and do the nasty about half a dozen times? I can tell you probably in the first few pages. Boring me to death is not good. I've tried to read what is called "paranormal romance". It's romance between (usually) a human female or male and a supernatural (vampire or werewolf, or dear God, no a zombie). Off the top of my head authors of this would be Lindsay Sands, Michele Hauf, Cynthia Garner, Jeaniene Frost. I've read these authors, and out of all of these Lindsay Sands bores me the most. So, I've learned to steer clear of any of these.

Why does it bore me? I don't know. I've never made a point of watching soaps, I'm not a huge fan of any romance anything. Romance happens in my books, but it's more on a reality loop. Most people (men and women differ as to why) don't believe in romance, but if they did it would happen like in a book, or a movie. That's not reality. Real life and emotions have to be hit for a reader to react, or be reached on an emotional level. Your character can't always win every battle, even when it comes to romance. Something bad usually happens, and that's what I write, when it suits the story line.

Because of this I need sub-plots and a complicated story. Nothing that I can figure out how it will end. That's why with my Sabrina Strong series, if there is romance, its usually sexually oriented. The guy or gal who should win love, doesn't. Why should they? It happens so infrequently in reality, and I try to make the things that happen feel more like reality, because I write about fantasy. I need you to believe this could happen. The people in the story have to seem real, even if they might be a werewolf, a vampire, or a smart-ass leprechaun, or maybe a witch. I need you to feel that they might exist at least on the page. To do this I have to not just write one draft, it's many.

Oh, there's that word again. DRAFT. Does anyone really write drafts any more? You know. You write the work and go back through it again. Make adjustments, find mistakes and then put it aside, work on something else and come back to it for a third time... That's what a draft is, and it's not something you can do in a month or even two months. This is my work and I need to do the work (unfortunately I don't have a magic wand). Besides, I sometimes have ideas come to me two books down the line (in other words, I'm writing on the 8th book, and something occurs to me that maybe I should have put in the 6th one and I go back and put it in). If the work is already out there, it's sort of too late for me to change some detail. You send something to an editor, they don't touch anything but mistakes you've made in spelling and grammar. At least that's what they're supposed to do. If you've put a book out there that has some minor or large mistake in it, well... For example, I got a freebee from an author who I won't name, and read along and at this one scene the characters were watching the moon go down through a window and then they watched the sun come up--in the same window. Uh, HELLOO! The sun or moon rises in the east and goes down in the west. Needless to say, I could not read another word because of this. And the story seemed to drag on, anyway, so I didn't loose sleep over it. That's an easy example, and how the author or anyone else who read it didn't catch it, I don't know. But really, that's a big error that should not have happened. Possibly a rush to publish was part of the problem.

I know I've been guilty of this too. I'm trying to clean up my act. I'm not going to put out a work unless I'm sure I've gotten as many boo-boos as I can find corrected, and the only way to do this is going over and over it, and getting a couple of betas to read it through too helps.

I also do research for most of my novels. I might need to dig into historical facts or such things as styles of dress, as I did for Vampire Nocturne. I may research a number of things about each book before I can even write about it. Like my fourth novel. Even though I did write Vampire Caprice in a matter of three months, because it simply came out of me, it wasn't finished in three months. Not really. I had to research cars, missile solos, GPS devices, Nephilum, and other things. These things take time. I've had certain people contribute their knowledge toward something I was absolutely unfamiliar with, like the scene where someone looses a wrench under a car and it lands somewhere unreachable in the undercarriage. Someone who knew components of a car gave me a wonderful description, I wrote it, sent it to him and he told me I did a super job on it. I couldn't have done that scene without such a person. It's what makes the story feel like reality. If I tried to dummy it up and a mechanic read the scene they'd probably want to throw the book across the room. I'd never have that reader touch another one of my books again. I don't want anyone throwing a book (well, they're now eBooks), across the room for any reason because I neglected my job as a good writer.

This subject keeps coming up the fact that some writers are trying to churn out more and more work, and publish it quickly so as to beat the odds that someone will find your work out there. Here is one such link.

If you write and publish frequently, and do a great job of it, that's great. You're one of a kind. But there are those who put out work that is far below excellence that muddies up the waters, so to speak. My thought is that hopefully they no longer sell because their work is so inferior or they continue to get bad reviews, and they just decide that maybe they can't really write and quit, freeing up some space for those of us who can.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween & Plans for November

Well, hard to believe that October is gone. I'm sad about it, as Fall and Halloween are my favorite times out of the whole year. Now we look forward to the grim, colder months of November and December--I don't even want to think about January, as it is too far away (and too cold).

Since in November people are generally doing NaNoBooBoo, I'm not going to do many posts here or at Muse during the month of November. No sense in doing so if hardly anyone is out there looking in. So, I thought, since everyone and their Aunt Sally is usually neck deep in trying to get their word count for NaNoHooHaa every dang day, I could use the time to work on a couple of my projects. I thought this would be a great time to concentrate on Six Shades of Hell, my #8 book in the Sabrina Strong series, since I have not had much time for it at all this summer when I began it. I think there might be three chapters or four written and I see there's 53 pages done in the document. I've made notes, and some are in my head, not even written down. So, I'm going to spend all of November working on the book and not worry about posting every week. I'll be around, of course, but not as much.

In the meantime, I plan on getting my non-fiction book, "Cat Whisperer", out next month. Trying to work on the cover. So far, this is what I've got...

picture of the 5 original kittens
from "Cat Whisperer"
I thought that the picture would be good in the middle of the cover, surround it (above and below) with maybe black banner, and that's where I'd want the title and my name. But I don't have a clue how to go about this. I can't find places that I thought I'd saved to go and use for making a cover. If any one can help me figure this out, leave comment. Over on Writer's Mayhem, we had someone who had shared a free site for making covers, but I've lost the links. It's hard to look through hundreds of my links thinking I could ever find it--got carpal tunnel just trying to find them the other day! When this person shared the link I couldn't download the cover-making thing-y because my browser was out-dated. I'm hoping with Chrome I can do this. But I need the links.

Anyway, these are the things that I'm working on, or will be working on.

Happy Halloween, and I'll see you around... with the usual updates and announcements for the cat book.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meet Kaleb and Sebastian from "Six Shades of Hell"

The other day over on Muse I made reference to a picture that I saw on another blog and it gave me an idea for two new characters for the eighth book. Of course these are cartoon characters. Forgive me if I don't know who they are, but the artwork is familiar.

At any rate, the picture of these two and what they say inside the bubble gave me the idea: Yes! These two would be perfect to add a little comic relief when I need it. Some different dynamics, and texture to the read. I always want to add someone new to the book. Of course later on, the book has Sabrina off on one of her adventures, and she goes back to Beyond Black Veil (Vampire Nocturne), and she visits a few old friends, makes new ones, and goes on to get into new situations which involve lots of interesting, dangerous, perilous situations.

As I mentioned on that post, I had put in two other characters at first. It was falling flat. Well, instead of trying to write these two in--Kaleb and Sebastian--I did a "find and replace" window. Replacing Sebastian for James and Kaleb for Dolores. I had to make sure where I had Dolores I've changed the "she" to "he", but for the most part the rewrite of this has been minimal, and enjoyable.

Here is a little excerpt from what I've got so far...
~from Six Shades of Hell by Lorelei Bell
As it turned out I didn't have to go all the way into the kitchen. Fifteen minutes later, when I opened the bathroom door, which opened out into the dining room, there they both where. Two young men, who were in their twenties, standing near the dining room table wearing a black jackets over a dark vests and white shirt, white gloves and a conservative ties. In looks they were similar build, and their long-ish hair was styled in a disarray of locks. One was blond, the other had black hair, bleached blond only on the top, and slightly mussier, and the dark lengths in the front were much longer, hanging way down over his eyes, but in trained tendrils. He wore black-rimmed glasses.
They beamed at me. “Good morning, mistress,” they said in stereo.
I looked at the dining table, surprised to see a sterling silver coffee urn—which I know I didn't own—and the other aromas, which came from under a domed platter, and I could definitely detect eggs and possibly bacon. Okay. So, maybe they could stay. They were cute, in their own way.
I twisted my mouth and looked back up at them. “Did Tremayne send for you to come all the way out here?”
They nodded, grinning. “He texted us,” the blond said.
Oh, introductions! This is Kaleb, with a 'K',” said the one wearing glasses.
And he's Sebastian,” Kaleb said, holding out his hands toward the other man.
You two are brothers?”
Yes,” they both said.
You used to work at the Tremayne Towers,” I said, squinting. “I'm getting Letitia from you.”
Oh, she's good,” Kaleb said, sounding impressed.
Tremayne was right about her.” Sebastian agreed. His brother nodded.
We were Letitia's servants. Until her death, that is,” Kaleb said, and looked down and away.
There, brother, it's okay,” Sebastian consoled his brother, patting him on the shoulder. To me he said, “Kaleb was the one who found her in her bedroom.”
I nodded with his somber explanation, and at the same time I got the image straight from Kaleb. He had walked in that next day, and found Letitia on the floor, dead. She had been impaled in the heart by a wooden bolt from murderer, Toby Hunt. The two contacted Tremayne right away—who lived in a penthouse right across from her—and he was the one who examined her. She had been Tremayne's life-time mate for many centuries.
I'm sorry,” I said. Too many memories surfaced from this read. It was how I came to be in Tremayne's employ from then on, as his “seer”, and solved the murder, telling him nearly too late who it was. It felt like years ago and it was only a few months ago. So much had happened since then it made my head spin.
Oh, you needn't apologize,” Sebastian said, shaking his head to move the separate long dark strands around. He reminded me a little of a Shetland pony. A thin one. He had narrow shoulders, like his brother (who was slightly taller), both were under six feet tall. Possibly five eight and five seven.
No. I mean, I'm sorry for your loss. I can see you were very fond of her. I imagine she was someone everyone loved,” I said.
Hard to believe it of a vampire, but yes. She was an easy mistress. Not too terribly demanding,” Sebastian said.
Plus she gave us wonderful bonuses, and eight weeks vacation, whenever we wanted it, and other things.”
Don't forget the wheels, Kaleb,” Sebastian reminded.
Kaleb's eyes widened. “Really super wheels. It's a good thing we could borrow the SUV, today, though, in order to get out here,” Kaleb said.
Sebastian nodded and turned to me. “Anyway, we hope we can serve you in your time of need, mistress.”
I smiled. “I've never had a broken anything.” Glancing down at my leg, I still stood with the crutches under each arm. “And this is really nice what you've set up here,” I said, nodding toward the prepared table.
I hope you don't mind, but we took the bedroom with the twin beds,” Sebastian said. “It reminds us of our boyhood.”
No. That's fine. If you need anything at all, or need something, just ask. Sorry that my house isn't quite the luxury of a penthouse.”
Oh, it's charming,” Kaleb said, eyes glinting from under his blond locks as he took in the room.“I especially like the envelope door and French doors. Don't you, brother?”

That room I'll be busy rearranging the furniture in,” Sebastian said.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Mind at Rest Is a Good Thing

Hustling a (book) sale is boggling. I'm not a hustler and I have to say trying to get people interested in my eBooks is time consuming. I'd rather be writing. Wouldn't you?
However, even the writing sometimes becomes a bit of a brain drainer too.
This summer, if any of you were paying attention to what was happening to my books, or what happened with me and my publisher (we parted ways, but in a good way), all my projects were suddenly put on hold, and I had to do edits on all of them, and get the books formatted for publication as eBooks on Amazon. This took a great deal of time. All summer long. It was well worth it, but I have to say it drained me. I still took time out to go for walks, and other things—I did not spend my entire day working on the books, but it still left me brain-dead.
By September, I had all 3 books done and out, and I was thrilled with the results—my hard work was paying off, and I can now see the sales and keep track of them (unlike with my publisher who had the books in other venues, besides Amazon), and know what I'm making with my royalties. I can now understand what other authors were talking about “control” over what they wrote. It's not just picking your own cover, and doing the edits yourself. It was everything.
So, once I was finished with these first three books, I wanted to turn my attentions toward the 4th book in the Sabrina Strong series, and, mind you, I had begun work on the 8th book. But, I'm burned out. I gone on to fill my time doing other things I enjoy, like walking (which has helped me both lose weight and clear the mind), or decorating for the season.
Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, it was fun. But while going through boxes of decorations (trying to find which box I put my Halloween stuff in), I came across my box of yarn. I always run across it and close it back up and put it back into the closet (I've no time for this). Well, this time I took it out. I hadn't crocheted in years. I couldn't even remember when last I had yarn in my hands. But this time, I got it out and looked at what I was working on last time. I was unable to find the pattern to whatever afghan I was making—a beautiful cabin and heart-in-squares—but that was alright. I needed something different to focus on, and after trying to do a motif—which was hard and I wasn't familiar with—I went to work on something simple; working in a straight line, instead of doing rounds. Something that I didn't have to think about too much, and... it worked. My mind relaxed. I didn't want to read, because that's really not as relaxing. It's enjoyable, but not really giving my brain a rest.
I was always able to do something creative. I'm multi-talented. I've an art degree, as a matter of fact. So, doing this would be creative, letting another part of my brain to work, and the other part rest.
This is what I've begun doing to relax in the afternoons and evenings. I have to watch how many hours I do this, as it tends to use a certain muscle in the fingers, hands, arms and shoulders, that I don't normally use. I used to sell my projects. I made pretty good money at it, too. I once sold other crafts—things I painted or sewed—but the money usually went back into the materials, so, as a result, I didn't make that much money. But it was a hobby and I really enjoyed it.
So, right now I'm trying to give myself a break in this way. Since I've got four books written, one is being edited right now, between me and my betas, I don't feel the rush of getting number 8 done this year. I can let it simmer a while. Think about the things I want to happen, make notes, write scenes when they come, but not pressure myself into working on this one, since I've got others lined up to work on and get out there.
Everyone has their own way of relaxing. Possibly you have discovered your own way to relax. Photography, is one, I know that would be rewarding and relaxing and yet using another part of your brain. The walk is always nice, but right now in my neck of the woods, the weather is going to get cold, and it won't be an enjoyable walk after this month is gone. And by mid-December, probably impossible.
Do you have some creative ways in which to relax your mind from writing? It's a good idea to find something away from the writing so that you don't get burned out. Share them in comments, if you wish.VAMPIRE ASCENDING/SABRINA STRONG SERIES

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Publisher Quit on Me

Yes, I no longer have a publisher.

But this is how my year has gone thus far...

First of all, my third book in my vampire series (Vampire Nocturne), did not come out until some time in February of 2013—I had planned on if not by December of 2012, at least in January of 2013. (I was getting all sorts of dates from afore mentioned publisher... December or January)

Also, back when I thought I was getting edits for this book, I got what was considered a “final” product to approve of. (Eh, huh?) And in order to make sure my own edits were taken seriously, I had to redo the whole thing on a separate document, with all the needed changes, showing exactly what page and paragraph, and send to my publisher. I gather that these changes were done later on, because my book came out before I even finished these edits. (Harumph!)

Then, when it was out, sales were not coming through for this book. Why? Because I had scheduled host-posts during the months when I thought my book would be out (a few months prior). I could not plan anything with this publisher! So, I couldn't back track, if anyone was looking for this book back 2 or 3 months ago, and didn't find it, they must have moved on, or given up on it.

I did do a giveaway, which went really well. But you know, after a book comes out, and the excitement dies down, you find it gets harder and harder to find someone interested in your book. And this is third in a series. People who have not even found your first book won't be buying this one. The whole idea is that they discover your series and begin reading it. Or so it theoretically goes.

Well, yes I'm happy my publisher finally quit the biz. That news reached me some time in June. It was both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because I was going to go Indie with the fourth book, and didn't know how I would approach him in order to do the other first books Indie too—in other words splitting up with him—and not having to raise the ire of a pure-bread German. Plus I wanted to keep my covers. The day he told me he was giving up the publishing business, I was relieved I wouldn't have to get into a sticky situation. I carefully and tactfully said nice things to him, and I was sincere—I was very happy to have had a publisher, at first. It boosted my morale (even if he was small fry), and other people seemed to respond to the fact I had a publisher in a very positive way. So, I asked if I could have my book covers. Yes. He said I could. I breathed a big sigh of relief.

A curse because I had lots of work to do, and I wanted to get the book I was working on at this time (Spell of the Black Unicorn), out this summer. I now had to work on reverting these three first books so as to get them up on Amazon.

But my work on going Indie had only just begun. He did send me his documents for each book (plus the covers), which he said he had used to put up on the various publishing sites, like Amazon and Smashwords. I looked at these documents and thought, “really?” I knew they would need to be reformatted. And even though he had said, “I'm here if you need me” I know how long that would take: forever!

Since I knew there were mistakes and countless things I needed to change, I went to work on them. For some reason I began with the second book. I simply found a whole bunch of things that needed changing and started there.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Can We (write) Talk?

As some of you may know, I've been working on getting my frist 3 novels of the Sabrina Strong series out as an Indie. To do this, I figured I should go through them, line-by-line, and then do a search key for certain words or phrases that I tend to use a lot.

A read-through will take me days, cause some redness of the eyes--meaning I'd better quit while I'm ahead. You know what I mean. The word search is an all day thing, if I have a good start in the morning and a few breaks (such as eating and doing dishes and a few small breaks for menial chores, and telling my husband the truck looks great after two or three hours he spent washing and waxing it) (and then he grilled chicken tenderloins for lunch--yum!).

Back to my chore. Finding that I've used way too many words like "just", or "even" or "very" is only the tip of the iceberg. I have others that I use, like "I felt".

The whole while I was going through this search and find (find and destroy mission), reminded me of a long-ago time when I was a newby writer and I had joined a writing group all the way in Dubuque Iowa, and sat in on 3 different levels of writers. We all read a chapter, taking our turns, and the others would make some sort of comment. The man and the helm, (well, such a common name we'll use it here), John (III) had a loathing for the word   WAS. He also thought Stephen King was a lousy writer. Since John wrote horror, I could see where he would say this. He was jealous of King's success, and his lack there of--there I said it.

This was a good 30 years ago, and John III is probably at his reward by now.

So, there I was trying my darndest to pick up hints and suggestions from all these people. There were poets (published), and one English teacher, and one woman (we'll call her Lady K), had just gotten her book accepted by John III's agent, and then went on to be published by Zebra. And John III had some published books as well, through his agent.

The be verbs were naughty, and the word "was" was trash. Now not to take anything from any of these great people who worked at their craft just as hard as any of us, I want you to know I was in awe of Lady K's writing abilities. I wanted to emulate her--not in a romance field, mind you, but at least write as well as she. I was a long, long way off from that point in my writing. You tend to envy the writers you love to read when you are doing your best to write like they do. I know that's how writers learn to write by emulating their favorite authors--and so it should be, and then you find your "voice", and your writing takes on it's own style.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The dirty word WAS. When I attempted to not use that word, it became obvious I was not any where near good enough. I was told, at one meeting, that I had "tried too hard". That was rather defeating, really. I went back and re-wrote (I probably got only a few chapters done that winter). I think I came back and it was still lousy.

After quitting some time in the summer, I was so cofused and felt like I'd never be able to do this, I quit writing for a while. I read a lot. I read King--I had no problem with his writing. And I read "Ghost Story" by Peter Straub. I believe I had this book and re-read it. I should have come into John III's house with it and plopped it down open to page 11.  There are 13 WAS's on that page alone! Go on, go check it out. I'll wait...

It wouldn't have bothered me at all had I never been told by John III that this word is crap, and we should avoid it like the plague.

Okay. Let us just take a line. Very simple line like, oh....
I was sick.
As a sentence it tells you up front what's going on. I'm sick. But the word WAS is in there. CRAP! Delete.... Start all over. So, this person is sick. How do I inform the reader of this w/o having to used that effing word?

Okay... How about

I felt sick.

Now, yeah, we have her feeling sick. But OMG! The word feel/felt is on my list of BAAAAAD words and I can't have her feeling anything, can I? So, okay, my brain has to exicute gymnastics in order to find some word that won't upset those who will frown upon that word as well, and call me a "hack".

Okay, you ready?

My stomach ached from eating too much and I wanted to vomit on the linoleum.

So, now instead of using four or five simple words I've used 15. Not a "was" in sight. Is it better? Sure. Now you know how she's feeling, and really, you don't want to see what happens next. Or do you?

The following is my own paraphrasing of some lines from the obove mentioned book. (I've changed the POV person). My question is, are you bothered by anything in it? I mean really? Is it lousy writing? Or, is it just lazy writing?

The woman was a stranger to me, I wasn't supposed to know her, and she was just someone I thought I knew, and I was aware of her perfume... a car flew by and a man was yelling something, and she turned to look. I was aware of the house nearby because of the iron railings and the lettering on the windows...

Can you write better? Sure you can. But my question, back in 1984 was, if this guy had gotten published writing like this, why do I have to?

If you recall my mentioning of Lady K above, her writing excicuted incredible style and grace you wouldn't think she had much problem finding some other way of writing a sentence and she deserved to be published. Of course romance style and horror styles are different. One must be more flourish-y, and the other more to the point in your face sort of writing.

I think I want to say you have to find a middle ground. You don't want your pages to be dotted by words like "was", "just", "very", and so forth. I found that I was using the word "So," to begin dialogue. I had no idea I was doing that. "So, what does that mean?" "So, who is it, anyway?" "So, why'd you call?" that sort of thing. Those are easy to get rid of, just rip them out and re-do the sentence. "Who is it, anyway?" You don't want your character to sound redundant. But I wasn't going to go crazy and get rid of all the "so's" in the page when it wasn't in dialogue. I did try to mix it up some, but if someone's going to read my book and start trashing it because I used 3 so's in a page they can kiss my vampire's a$$.

I've gone through the mill and have been spit out for decades. I'm not going to spill tears because someone has a problem with a word I used too often. I do my best and I move on.

I once had a publisher (tiny-tiny), and now it's all up to me. So, I'm working on this, and can see where I've improved on my writing skills (if you don't see this in your own writing in something you wrote a year ago, you need to evolve). Sure, there are those who can write fluff and it all sounds so wonderful, but at some point you have to get into the story and what's going on. Don't hyperventilate over a couple of words.

I see that I might possibly have Vampire's Trill re-published this coming week, if all goes well. Working on Vampire Ascending now. But gotta take a break in between.

Thanks for stopping by.
Do you have one word that you use way too much and find yourself pulling out your hair trying to get rid of it? Go ahead and share. We won't laugh... well, maybe a little. But we're laughing with you not at you.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Romantic Interlude ~ Difference between the Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy

This whole week I've been hedging writing this one love scene in my WIP. Why? Well, because in my seventh book "Vampire Interlude", Sabrina and Bill Gannon finally "do it".

Oops! I guess that was a bit of a spoiler. Well, something to look forward to, I guess, for those of you out there who are fans... all ten of you.

Oh, I see one of you has their hand up. Question?

Yes, if Bill and Sabrina are going to do it, will it be at least five pages long with lots of detail?

Eh, no. I'm not sure how long it will be, when I get done with it. I'm still adding things to it. But for those of you who primarily read paranormal romance you are not going to be reading things like and then he plunged himself inside her and filled her with his seed. Or He thrust into her... a long, languid stroke that made her moan. (Well that one I might reconsider...). Nor will I put in descriptive words of the male genetalia like lance  or my personal favorite from certain erotica tool. *Chuckles* He isn't going to "trace her inner curves and explore her wetness". Oh, there will be teasing of nipples and gazing upon the rock-hard abs and so forth. Gotta have all that going on. Admiration of the bod about to plunder is always a good sell.

I was looking through certain paperback books I have--one's I've won, or by mistake in the early years when I didn't know the difference between "paranormal romance" and "urban fantasy"--and realized in the paranormal romance many times the p.o.v. is done in third person, and from either the man's or the woman's perspective. It usually takes about 3/4 of the book to get to that bedroom scene, by the way. There's a lot of sexual tention--which is alright--all through out the book, and eventually there'll be this big pay-off. But you know, if you paid darn good money to get to the juicy scenes you expect something that's hot and you sure don't want to be sitting on a bus next to some smelly guy while you're trying to read it. Right?? You want to curl up and read this somewhere in your own home with a vibrator handy. *again chuckles*


Well, this doesn't mean that urban fantasy has to be dull in comparrison. Not from my view point, anyway. I've been reading the Sookie Stackhouse books (urban fantasy) by Charlaine Harris from #1 to end, and can report that the first 4 had plenty of sexual encounters in them. In #5 it would seem that Sookie goes without for a while, and finds a warm-blooded boyfriend who turns into a tiger when the full moon is out. Grrrrowl. I found it amusing that every time they were about to go at it, something interrupted them. And the fact that Sookie is not willing to just jump into bed with a guy just because she's hot for him, mainly because she's been hurt in the last book by someone she trusted, who she thought loved her, was a good enough reason/deturant. Plus, I think she was on the rag.

What I noted is that in most cases with paranormal romances, the woman is resiting the sexual encounter with the vampire (or whatever the supe is), for whatever the reason. In urban fantasy it's (almost always) done in first person (in mine and in the case of the Sookie books), it's also done in first person from the POV of the woman. Our women are as hot for the guy as they are for them. Our women are not shy about sex, but they are reluctant to jump in the sack with just anyone. For my character, Sabrina, she's rather lusty and needs sex on a regular bases. She doesn't stick with one man throughout the series. But she does try to stay with one guy per book. But in the first book it's like she's looking over a tray of the most delicous chocolates trying to figure out which one might be the best, tastiest treat. Hmmm. Tough choice.

While the paranormal romance writer will detail each and every stroke of delight, us urban fant writers are not going to go to that sort of trouble. We're all adults here, and we don't need a flashlight to know what's going on in the dark. Unless it has something to do with the story, we are not going to go into great depths (lol), give page after page of the rutting. No. (Go take your vibrator somewhere else, hon!) That isn't to say that our sex scenes can't be hot. They can. It simply depends upon what we think we want to go on in any portion of the book. In my third book, Vampire Nocturne, Sabrina turns into her were-creature (partially) and seduces Jett, the prince. He's of the Victorian erra, and so her fresh and un-shy approach to sex is welcome... and surprised when she suggest they do it "doggy style".

Lorelei Bell
Lorelei has created the Sabrina Strong series,
is working on more of these adventures, so stay tuned
to news and updates here and at her main blog, Lorele's Muse

The purpose of the sexual encounter in urban fantasy is NOT the main goal of the whole book. Usually there is a lot of stuff happening around, and to our main character. Usually there's a mystery to solve. There's always danger afoot, even if she doesn't quite see it that way. Maybe there's two mysteries--one is solved along the way and it's a minor thing. The other one is usually a murder and the murderer is still at large and is going after the MC. It might be up to the hero/boy friend to try and protect her, but even if he does keep her from being killed, she must solve the mystery, usually facing off with the murderer.

Well, I didn't want to bring you all this way without a little sample of what I was working on. Granted, it's only one paragraph, but I think you'll get the gist of what I meant when I said the woman isn't shy about sex, and wants it at least as much, if not more than they guy in bed with her.

I grabbed the sides of his shirt and pulled, yanking the tails out of his pants, but this proved to be a little difficult, and he used one hand to help me. After a few struggling moments, I had his shirt undone, and he shrugged out of it, having to undo one last button. I wasn't sure, but I think I might have ripped that one off, as I wasn't as patient as he. Now I could view his musculature at my leisure, and he looked much better up close. I slid my hands over his bare chest, marveling at the hard contours. My legs were still spread and he pressed himself against me and I gave a moan. I wasn't about to act coy about sex with Bill. I'd wanted him earlier today and I wanted him worse right now. I tugged at my own shirt and he helped me with it off. The bra went next, as I arched to allow him to get to the hooks in the back. What the hell? Next time I wasn't going to wear a bra, it wasted too much time to take off.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'm from Venus, Where are you from?

Hi, all my friends, fans and readers. How has your Memorial Day Weekend been going?
Mine's been eh... Rained for the most part. We couldn't grill the steaks out. Oh well. Today's a gloomy day, but at least I'm home.

The Work In Progress (#7 novel/aka Vampire Interlude) is taking shape. I've gotten well past page 100. Sabrina has lost her memory in the beginning of this work, and I've been trying to not be too repetitive. As with any series you have to introduce new characters in each one, or it becomes stale. And you have to kill a few people off, so you do need to bring in new characters to give it a little spice. I love inventing the new person, and as much I also like to come up with a name for them. This guy's name is Bryce Witherspoon. Conjures all sorts of things about him, doesn't it? Here's a description of him:

James brought the guy in. At six-two Bryce was a handsome dude with about three inches of brown hair that had no direction at all. I wanted to take a comb to it and make sense of it all. Glacially blue eyes met mine as he greeted me. “Ms. Strong,” he said, smiling. His face had not seen a razor in a few days. I thought that maybe he might have been a Gladiator in a distant past life—I don't know where that came from. One long scar on his left cheek plowed through the dark bristle giving him that borderline dangerous look. I knew the scar had not been won in any ally fight.

As I worked on Bryce, the character sort of emerged. In other words, his character simply developed over night. In order to show any character's personality, dialogue is usually one of the best avenues for that:

He seemed to know where we were heading and drove through the city. Bryce was a quiet, introspective guy. I didn't want to take a read from him, but bits and pieces were coming to me. But if I didn't ask him where he was from and such, I might begin saying stuff and freak him out. Plus the quiet between us grew so uncomfortable, I was about to scream.
So, Bryce. You married?”
Nope.” No elaboration? Hmm.
Boyfriend?” I smiled to myself, waiting to see how he would react to that question.
He chuckled.
Yes?” I prodded, chuckling to myself. I knew he wasn't gay. I knew he wasn't in any relationship. Just getting him to open up was like trying to open a can with a rock. Sheesh!
No.” He glared at me. Homophobe. “My turn,” he said, giving me an edgy look, one I would later call The Bryce Look, a.k.a. The Eye Fuck. Damned if it didn't hit me in my female area making a tingling sensation down under.
Okay. Go,” I said.
You're getting a divorce. So, whose the unlucky guy?”
His name is Vasyl. Vampire.”
Why are you divorcing him?”
I sat and pondered this for the first time since the idea came up. Yeah. Why was I? Because Stefan made me think it was a good idea?
It's complicated,” I said.
Try me. I've been with these vampires for three years. Nothing you could possibly say could shock me.”
No? “Well he left me,” I said. I only knew what Stefan (and others) had told me. I couldn't remember any of it. I hadn't given Vasyl a chance to speak up about it. Did I have him on speed-dial? No. I hadn't seen his name on my scroll earlier. Why wouldn't I have a number for Vasyl? Strange.
Why'd he leave you?”
Vampire. The whole blood thing. Apparently I have irresistible blood.”
Hmmm,” he said, and his eyes raked up and down me which gave me another little tingle again. Crap, I really had to rein in my womanly desires. I could just guess what he thought about me was irresistible.
Okay, no more relationship questions,” I said. Definitely. I felt such questions might lead to dangerous territory. Gak, it already had. Best to just not go there. “Where were you born?”
Mars. You?”
Venus, of course,” I said not missing a beat.
Where on Venus?” He was a real smart ass, I had to admit.
In the country, about sixty miles west from here. You?”
City. This one.” No wonder he knew the city well and drove with such aplomb. He bent his head forward and looked out the windshield. “Sky looks like it wants to snow.”
Yes. It will,” I said, my voice calm and collected. “It will snow at precisely twelve fifteen.”
He gave me a startled look. “Seriously?”
I smiled, I'd gotten him with that. “We'll wait and see.”

When I'm working on a scene sometimes the dialogue comes right away. Other times, I'm trying to get the scene down and worry about dialogue (to a certain extent, if it's extra), later. So, this morning at around 4a.m., I had this in my head and I got up and got out my notebook and wrote it down.

Is there a drug store nearby?” I asked, finally able to straighten and lean more on the doorway, and not on him.
I think so. Why?”
I fumbled with my purse, found what I was looking for and said, “I need to fill a prescription. Do you mind?”
Not at all.” I dipped back into the car, and he got in and drove us back out. The Walgreens was only a few blocks away. Bryce seemed to know the city well.
It didn't take very long. Fortunately we could use the drive up for what I needed.
I handed him the pill pack that had my prescription information on it. He put it into the little sliding drawer for the pharmasist.
Birth control?” he said. “I didn't know you could get pregnant from a vampire.”
Who said anything aobut my having sex with a vampire—or anyone?” I countered. “A woman can take the pill for other reasons, like regulating her period. Mine isn't regular, and it's very heavy.”
I'm sorry,” he said. “It was none of my business.”
Damn straight.
He was looking out the windshield, not at me. I'd embarrassed him, maybe even grossed him out a little. Good. Odd how I'd been able to come up with that excuse so quickly. Then images popped into my head: Lindee and me doing something with my pill pack and then me with a handsome guy with long coiling hair (obviously a vampire), and then throwing it into a waste can. Then I'm in his arms.
Whoa. A memory? Was that man Vasyl? If it was, he was extremely handsome. Why was I throwing away the pill pack?
Lindee might know something about that, since she and I were doing something and I got that it seemed devious. Why would I throw the pill pack away?
They need your card,” he said, killing my thoughts then.
Huh?” I looked at him.
They need payment? You've got money or a card to pay?”
Oh, sure.” I handed him my Visa.
It had begun to snow. Small flakes. I smiled, but wanted to go home and wondered how I would manage since Bryce was there to keep an eye on me, and keep me in the penthouse. Oh, yes. I knew Stefan had given him orders that no matter what I was to remain in the building, except for small excursions—like to the hospital and drug store.
Well, that's all I have for today. Hope your Memorial Day goes well, whatever the weather.
The third installment of
the Sabrina Strong series:
Steampunk with werewolves,
Drakulya, and more hunks!
Chronicles of Zofia Trickenbod, sorceress Book One
Published on May 21, 2013
Dark Castle Publication
Kindle ebook format
Sorceress Zofia Trickenbod is from another planet and stuck on modern-day Earth, hiding out from the evil ex-wizard, Vesselvod Blood, striving to keep the Stone of Irdisi (which is the most magical implement of their world, out of Blood's grasp. Things have been quiet for the past three years, until one morning she finds her husband, Dorian—who she thought to be dead—on her doorstep. Oh, and he's un-dead. Then sightings of the black unicorn has her and her family unsettled, because the black unicorn goes wherever Blood is. So, seeing the creature eating her petunias and veggies in the garden is a bad sign. While she and her Aunt Tillie scramble to find a spell to turn Dorian back into a wizard, he becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a friend's lover and is put into jail. Meanwhile, Blood is hypnotizing her neighbors to do his bidding in order to get the Stone—and maybe kill Zofia in the process. The black unicorn figures into Zofia's only salvation when Blood abducts her children, and she has to deal with a nasty demon, get past a dragon, deal with a lamia, save her children, and tell her boyfriend (who is a cop) that her husband is back.