29 October, 2011

My NaNoWriMo Process

Before I embark on my novel writing escapade, I thought I might write a little about how I am organizing my thoughts.

Usually, I just start writing and plow through whatever comes my way.  I add back story and other sundries as I go.  Makes revisions hard, but it seems to work best for me.

I used to feel an inordinate amount of guilt about this approach.  I read all about how people use graphs and note cards and flow charts and nifty binders and things to structure their novels.  I tried that.  It really doesn't work for me.

And I was reading in the current issue of Writer's Digest, an article by James Lee Burke, who not only once had a string of 111 rejections (holy crap! and I thought 4 was bad) but he also doesn't outline or story board or anything.

Now, I know that there is no law declaring that an author must outline.  But the idea of being super organized to ensure success is touted and blathered about so much, it kind of gets to a mind-control level of influence.

Burke had a comment that I really like.  To paraphrase:  'If I know how it's going to end, so does the reader.'

Exactly!  If I know exactly what happens in every scene, then I feel I have no room to improvise.  I feel it becomes boring and predictable.  I like to be surprised, along with my readers.  Why does the spaceship captain not like to talk about his past?  Well, maybe he committed treason and has been disowned by his family.  Why do Kevin and Strenton hate each other?  Er...I'm still working on that one.  Get back to me.

Anyway, the point is, I can't can't can't work with a super formal structure.

Having said that, with my story for NaNo, I am doing a little preplanning.  My regular process is to start with an event, like: aliens attack and bomb the capital of the planet or most everyone gets turned in a zombie.

I have the EVENT that is going to start the novel, but this time, I also now how I want it to end.  The problem with this is my characters have to make certain decisions that lead them to this end.  Which means I have to plot a little bit.  Which means I have to have some idea of who my characters are beforehand so it will seem realistic that they make certain decisions and progress to the intended end.

This is dangerous ground.  One, because my fingers itch to start writing it NOW!!!  And also, I am falling into the pit of structure from which there is no escape.  I am making do by scribbling ideas in a notebook or adding them to my Scrivner file.  In no particular order and with no real commitment.

Flexibility is the key for me, even if the outline function is singing a siren song.

Must resist!  Only three days left!

27 October, 2011

Untitled Chapter...Something

So, I'm having trouble bridging this story.  I know where I want it to go, what magical objects they need to find and such.  I have a super cool supernatural creature fight scene laid out in my head.  (Yeah, that's right.  When I'm grocery shopping, I'm really imagining what it would be like to fight mutant creatures of the night in the cereal isle.  Multi-tasking, people.)

24 October, 2011

In Which Husband Falls In Love With A Zombie Slayer

So, I had plans to post this weekend, but craziness ensued.

Saturday I had a dress rehearsal/Concert combination that took up most of the day.  Then yesterday, after sleeping in a little as I didn't get home until almost midnight, I got up late and went to church.

And then bought a zombie slaying machine.

21 October, 2011

Shout Out to My Man, Disco Remix

Well, actually, no.  There is no disco music involved.  I mean, you could add some.  I'm not stopping you.  But there is none inherent in this post.  Sorry.

20 October, 2011

Agent Update

No, no, no, I have not been picked up by an agent who sold my book for a million dollar advance.  Bummer, yeah?

But, I thought I would share my own self-criticism with the world and keep a running tally of the number of agents who I've submitted to and the number that have sent back a 'No, thanks' message.  Some really famous authors had dozens of rejections before they made it big.  So cross your fingers.

I googled for a widget to do it for me, but no luck.  If anyone html-savvy would like to make one, I'm all ears.

Agents Submitted To: 8
No: 5
Yes: 0

19 October, 2011

What Do Rabbits and Novels Have In Common?

Any guesses?  Well, I'll tell you.

Yesterday, I bemoaned the fact that, even thought I had 'decided' on my NaNoWriMo plot, going so far as to actually 'plot' and get somethings organized, I was having second thoughts.

One second thought, actually, for a different - I mean completely different - plot for my novel.

Apparently, novels are like rabbits.  First there are two.  Aren't they cute and fluffy?  The lady at the pet store said they were both girls...however...

Now I have another idea.  That makes three.  With only a two weeks to go, I really wanted to be settled in my ideas.  I have lots of other stuff to do in November.  Stuff not remotely related to writing novels.  Concerts, ballet, Thanksgiving, book club, rehearsals.

Now, I know that if I don't finish the 50,000 words, nothing happens.  There is nothing serious riding on this.  I can write any day of the year, whenever I want.

However, I've got a competitive streak a mile wide.  I'll bet you five dollars it's twice as big as yours.  I want to finish this challenge.  I'll stay up all night on November 29th if I have to, going straight from Nutcracker rehearsal to typing until my eyeballs bleed.

(Husband and I never play each other on video games.  It gets ugly, real quick.  We each played sports as children and teens and are both musicians.  It's better for our marriage if we never compete at anything.  Trust me.  You should see the gloating when we play Castle Crashers and we're even on the same team.)

(I'm the orange guy, who is way cooler than the red guy, no matter what Husband says.  So he can shoot lightening.  Who cares?)

Anyway,  My three ideas are now as follows:

1.  Stick with Ghost.
2.  Use a short story I wrote for a Writer's Digest Competition as inspiration and write...duh, duh, duuuuh! What happens next!  I can't let you read the short bit itself, since its in the rules for the competition that it can't be 'published' anywhere else.
3.  This one is a little harder to explain.  One of my new favorites is Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians  (PS, the movie? LAME!) and the Heroes of Olympus series. (The next one doesn't come out until next year!  I'm going to die from impatience!)  I love love love young adult right now, which is a little pathetic, but true.  Though I hate hate hate Twilight.  Sorry, peeps.

I was watching something on TV, don't know what, but they were talking about old American currency, which used to be way cooler.  Check this out:

This is a silver certificate issued in 1896.  The, er, scantily clad lady in the center is Electricity, the most powerful force in the universe, at the time.

What if, following Mr. Riordan's example, these 'forces' actually exist, kind of like muses?  The classical portrayals of the elements of the universe?  Steam, fire, electricity, knowledge.  Here's a depiction of History, who was one of the Greek/Roman muses:

She's teaching America, by the way, showing the path to...greatness or something.

My idea is:  what if some scientists managed to 'capture' these natural forces?  Somehow trapped Electricity and drained her power.  It has all the makings of a adventure book as she and the Male Lead (duh, there's a Male Lead) search for her power so she can rescue her sisters.

I don't particularly want it to be young adult, but we'll see how it turns out.  If I even go with that idea.  Maybe I'll prove my over-acheiverness once again and do two novels.

18 October, 2011

I just knew it...

So, yeah.  You know how I've been all forward thinking and stuff and started plotting for NaNoWriMo?

Check this out:

All those little colored bars at the left are scenes I've plotted out.  Characters, in red, I've decided upon.  Location, notes, 'storyboards', etc, all aimed at organizing my Ghost story.  I spent most of last week thinking about it and planning to out.

And now...I think I've changed my mind.


It happened at my writer's group on Saturday.  The lovely ladies were obliging and accomodating and read two short stories I am submitting to a contest.  They had great feed back and I lurv them.

Then one of them said: "I want to know what happenes next."

Oh, the curse of the 'next' question!  I have been here before, oh yes I have.  It's a dangerous place.

But it got me thinking.  What does happen next?  What if they...what if he...maybe someone survived and...suddenly, all my confidence in my plot, my decision, my steadfastness - phsssst!  Gone.  Maybe now I want to do something else entirely.

Well, I have two weeks and two days to change my mind.  I suppose I could change my mind after I start, but I really hope it doesn't come to that.

So, now I need to start plotting for my new idea and see if it's viable.  I write a lot of first scenes that go nowhere.  Unfortunately, the rules state no writing until midnight of November first.  I guess I'll take that first day and write like crazy on both and see which one holds my interest.


17 October, 2011

Untitled, Becca's Story

We walked for hours.  I was too shocked and miserable to do more than stare at the heels of Kevin’s shoes as he tramped through the grasses.  We left the freeway behind, angling straight across the plains.

They stopped being plains after a while, more rolling hills.  Then there were a few scrubby trees.  The sun had dipped below the horizon in front of us when I stumbled to a halt.

“I can’t,” I gasped, doubling over.  We were nearly climbing, the hills had gotten so steep.  The trees were thick and made it hard to see in the gathering darkness.  “Can’t we sleep here?”

Kevin shrugged.  “Good as any place.”  He poked around until he found a level bit and waved for me to sit.  I did, wiping sweat from my face before I could get chilled.

I watched as Kevin set up camp.  He tugged my backpack from my shoulders and stuck his arm inside, rummaging around.  He pulled the tent out and shook it free of its bag.  With a sharp word, it sprang up, swaying a little from the speed of its travel.

I carefully kept my face blank.  Every time he did magic was as amazing and frightening as the first.  Would I ever get used to it?  To him?  If I just looked at him, I would have never guessed he had the sort of power he’d displayed today. 
He looked just like any other college guy, jeans and t-shirt.  Dirty after a day hiking in dry weather, but just a normal guy.

I flinched as a fire sprang out of the ground.


As usual he ignored my negative and pressed a bowl of something stew-like into my hand.  I nibbled at it.  The more I ate, the hungrier I was.


I gulped, scalding the roof of my mouth.  “Yeah?”

He was squatting across the fire from me, resting on his heels.  His face was sharply defined in the light, his eyes glowing.  I shivered and stared into my stew.

“You and I need to have a talk.”

“What about?”

He didn’t answer right away.  I stuffed a spoonful of stew into my mouth to delay him asking questions.  He frowned suddenly.

“How is it that you can’t be hurt, but you have to eat?”

I nearly choked, swallowing hastily.  “What?”

He peered at me.  “If your body can’t be hurt, why is it you have to eat, nourish yourself?  Shouldn’t you be able to exist as you are?  And why do you have to breathe?”

“Trust me, I have to breathe,” I said.  “Once I almost drowned in my cousin’s pool.”

He rubbed his face.  “Did you really, though?”

“What do you mean?”

“Did you really drown, or did it just feel like you were drowning?”

I shivered, the memory of struggling under the water, the hot, burning itch of the chlorinated water biting deep into my chest.

He went on slowly.  “If you just let it happen, would you have to breathe?  If you were resuscitated, would you just wake up again?”

I licked a bit of gravy from my finger.  “I don’t think it works like that.”

He said nothing, which I took to mean I should keep explaining.  I took a deep breathe, wondering why I had never wondered about this before.

“I can be hurt,” I said.  I held out my bloodstained hands as proof.  “I just heal.”

“But the PFNF machine…”  Kevin scowled.  “That should have crushed you.  You would have died before you could have healed.  Traumatic blood loss, brain damage.  Would you heal after you were dead?”

I shuddered.  That sounded like the most horrible existence I could imagine.  Going through the pain of death, but always forced to come back.

“Here.”  Kevin was suddenly at my side.

“Ow!” I snatched my hand back, staring at the thin red line he’d scratched across it with a knife. 

“That hurt!”

“You can be injured,” he mused softly.  “And you heal quickly, nearly at once for minor injuries.”  Sure enough, I wiped the blood away and the skin was intact underneath.

I stared at my palm.  “That’s faster than before, I think.”

He nodded.  “But the PFNF…”

He stood and before I could do more than flinch his sword flared in his hand as he slashed for my face.
There was a sharp ring, like glass on metal.  Kevin staggered back, crying out in pain.  I jumped up and ran to where he had fallen.  He lurched up, coming to his knees.  He was cradling his hand.  Even in the firelight I could see an angry mark across it, not bleeding.  Like a burn.

He hissed as I knelt next to him and examined it.

“Can you move your fingers?”

“I’ll be fine,” he growled.  He looked across the clearing.  I followed his gaze.  His sword had embedded itself in a tree.  The bark was already smoking, the wound around the blade smoldering a deep red.

He muttered under his breath and the sword winked out of existence, leaving behind a black scar and smoke curls.

“So,” he said, getting to his feet and crossing back to the fire.  “Something about the force of the attack.  The stronger the blow, the more protection you have.”  He sank to the ground, cross-legged.  “You have to eat, you have to breathe.  Will you age?”

I had never considered that.  Would I?  I had grown into an adult.  But what about past that?  I sat down next to him, shivering.

“What does it mean?” I asked, barely more than a whisper.  “What’s going to happen to me?”

“I don’t know,” he said heavily.  I felt him take a deep breath, his shoulder moving against mine.  “But Becca?”


“You’re not a meta-healer.”

“But, I am!  Dr. Mule said-”

“He was wrong.”  Kevin made a disgusted noise as I protested.  “No, not wrong.  Just not informed.  Not enough evidence.  Did he ever try to kill you?”

I was appalled.  “Of course not!”

“And that time you nearly drowned?  Did you actually lose consciousness?”

“No, mom pulled me out.”

He dug in a pack and pulled out a first aid kit.  He cracked an icepack and bound it to his hand with an ace wrap.  “You’re not a meta-healer, Becca.”

“Then what am I?”

He didn’t look over.  “Cursed.”

“But I was supposed to die-”

“I know.”  He tied off his dressing and sat staring at it.  “And you didn’t.  So something is stopping you.  Something is keeping you here when you should be dead.  Something is forcing you to stay alive.”

I licked my dry lips.  “How?”

“That’s what we need to find out.” He said.  “And at what cost.”


Kevin grimaced.  “Necromancy is-”

“Necromancy?” I shrieked.

He grunted.  “It’s one of the forbidden practices.  People caught meddling with it are put to death.”  He sent me a quick look.  “Those books Strenton gave you…”

I felt sick.  “But, he wouldn’t do something like that!  W-would he?”

Kevin shrugged.  “Most highly gifted Practicors study it, if nothing else.  To at least know how to fight it, to counter it.  And it draws a certain type of man, power over death.”

“But I’m not dead!”  A horrible, terrifying thought struck me.  “Am I?”

“No,” he said swiftly.  “You’re not now nor have you ever been dead.”

“How can you tell?”

Even in the darkness his expression sent chills down my spine.  “I can.”
“You’ve seen a…a zombie?”

He shook his head.  “They’re not like zombies you see on TV.  They…”  He cast wary looks at the woods around us.  “You can just see it, feel it.  Sometimes they can hide for years, blending in.  But to exist, they have to draw life from outside them, unable to make it themselves.  People near them feel weak.  If you spend too much time with one, you fall ill, a wasting disease.  There is nothing you can do to fight it or block it.  They can never get enough.  You have to destroy them to end it.”

“What…” I had to clear my throat.  “What does that have to do with me?”

He shifted and caught my eyes.  I couldn't look away, mesmerized he called it.  “Something is keeping you alive, Rebecca.  The cost must be paid, either by you or something else.  Meta-healers feed themselves, their bodies able to produce the extra energy needed.  You are not a meta-healer.  Every time you are hurt, every time you have to heal, you must draw power from somewhere else, something else.”

My nightmares.  “Everything dead,” I whispered.  “Kevin, everything is going to die.”

“There’s no way to know-”

“Everything.  Everyone.  Except me.”

Except me.  Left alone.  Alive.  Unable to die.


I squeezed my eyes shut, tears burning down my face, growing cold as they reached my chin and dripped onto my hands.
Kevin’s arm was strong around my shoulder.  I turned into his chest and sobbed.

He drew me to my feet.  I stumbled after him into the tent.  He pressed my sleeping bag into my arms.  I kicked off my shoes, still crying helplessly.  I was helpless. I was useless, I was pointless.  I should have died a year ago and it was all my fault, everything was dead because of me.

“Try to get some rest,” Kevin said softly.  Outside the fire winked out.  “It’s been a long day.”

I lay shivering until he stretched out next to me.  I didn’t care that he would take it the wrong way.  I pressed against him and cried myself to sleep.

15 October, 2011

More and more

So, I sent out two more queries just a few moments ago.  It was way easier the second time.

I also feel much, much better about the letter and first chapter I included.

Does this happen to you, too?  I work and stress and hem and haw over something, then fianlly decide to send it away.  About four and a half seconds after it's beyond recall, either in the mailbox or whisking away on the magical impulses of the Internet, I think of seventy-two things I could have done better, fixed, adjusted, etc.  Grrr....

So, I totally revamp and rewrite whatever it was.  Maybe I should pretend to send stuff away.  Set up my own post office box somewhere and mail myself stuff.  That wouldn't be weird at all...

13 October, 2011

Untitled - Unfinished, Becca's Story

I am really having trouble with this story all of a sudden.  I thought I knew how I wanted it to go, but things seem to be petering out...lame.  I'll need to do some brain-storming and see if I can get something turning again.  Any ideas?  Enjoy!  E.T.

Here are the links for the posts of this story so far: (Ignore the titles on the actually pages.  Apparently, I can't count.)
Chapter One
Chapters Two and Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve

I didn’t like the hurt silence Kevin had adopted.  He stared out the windshield as we wound back to the main road, his mouth set and firm.

I braced up my courage and swallowed a little pride.  “Sorry I slapped you.”

He grunted, but didn’t say anything.  I wiggled my arms into a sweater and huddled as close to the door as I could.

The empty photo was sitting on the dash, the edges curled up and yellowed.

Why had Jeff left?  Why had he gone to the CMR?  What were they testing him for?  And why had he hated it?

“Are you hungry?” Kevin asked finally.

I shook my head.  “No, thanks.”

The car lurched as we rolled onto pavement once more.

“You shouldn’t try to Seek anymore today,” Kevin said as we sped down the asphalt.  “You’re too tired.  You’ll burn out.”

“And that’s not fun?” I guessed, trying to joke.

“No,” he said shortly.

The numb terror that was filling me cracked a little, licking with resentment.  “I said I was sorry.” I sniped at him.

His glance was disgusted and sneering.

“Don’t look at me like that!” I snarled, glaring at him.

“Like what?” he asked, his tone dangerous and daring me to continue this fight.

“Like…like you’re jealous!”  It was a stab in the dark, but once I said it I knew it was right.

That startled him.  “Jealous?  Of you?” He snorted scornfully.  “Why would I be jealous of you?”

I would have scratched his eyes out if he hadn’t been driving.  “Stop the car!” I ordered.  “Let me out!”

“Fine!”  Tires screeched as he slid to a halt.  I jerked out of my seatbelt and threw the door open.  He was out as well, slamming his door so hard the car swayed.

“Get away from me!” I shouted, blind with fury.  “No one wants you!”

“Then why’d you want me to come?” he shot back.  “You’re useless without me.”

“I am not!”

He sneered, his features distorted, twisting.  “He doesn’t care about you!  Who would?”

“I hate you!”

“I hate you, t-” he broke off suddenly, his eyes wide.

“I don’t care!” I snarled, jerking off the sweater.  His sweater, I realized, my stomach churning with mortification.  “I never want to see you-”

“Becca,” Kevin said calmly.  “Becca, take a deep breath.”

“No!”  My throat hurt, I was screaming so loud.

“Becca, listen to me.  Take a deep breath.”  He opened his door once more, reaching in for something.  He emerged holding the photo.

I lunged forward, straining across the hood of the car as he tore it in half.  He frowned at the halves as I shouted at him.

“Not that then,” he said, still calm.  He grimaced and drew out the stone he had tucked into his pocket.

I gasped.  I wanted that stone.  I wanted it more than anything in the world.

“Give that to me!” I hissed.  “Give it!”

“No,” he countered.

“I need it!  It’s mine!”

I ran around the car as he set it on the ground.  He grabbed me around the waist.  I fought and kicked, struggling to reach the sphere.

“Becca!”  He tried to grab my arms, but I writhed free.  I lunged for the stone.  He spoke sharply.

My body stopped.  I hit the ground, scraping my hands and elbows as I rolled over.  I couldn’t move.
I could see the stone lying a yard away.  I couldn’t make my hand reach for it.  I needed it.

Kevin stepped closer, eying the stone cautiously.  “Sorry, Becca.  Just for a moment more.”  I tried to breathe, but my lungs wouldn’t work, my heart was thundering in my chest.

His sword flashed through the air again.  The stone exploded, shards flying in all directions.  The ones aimed at me stopped dead an inch from my eyes, then fell to the ground.  They hit with a tinkling clatter and I could move again.

I sucked in air, shivering and weak.  Kevin came over and helped me sit up.

“A trap,” he explained softly.  “The trunk was sealed.  Only someone who could use magic could open it.  They knew they would find the Well.  You shouldn’t have been affected.  Maybe the Speaking…”

I had caught enough breath to talk again.  “What did it do?”

He smiled weakly.  “Becca, what do think all that was about?  It was trying to split us up.  Get us alone.”

I shivered.  “Why?”

He shrugged, but I saw how his eyes were moving over the landscape carefully.  “They knew whoever found it would take it.  Maybe they thought to trap Strenton.”

He helped me back into the car and buckled me in.  He handed me a granola bar and glared at me until I nibbled it.

He started the car, but before he drove again, he took a deep breath.

“Sorry,” he said softly.  “I didn’t…I didn’t mean it.  Any of it.”

I flushed.  “Me, neither.”

“You’re doing a good job for,” he winced.  “For a non-magical person.”

I grunted, my eyes on my hands in my lap.  The granola bar lay forgotten.  His hand closed over mine and squeezed them gently.

“And you’re right.” He added softly.  “Sometimes I am jealous of you.  Of people like you.”

I flinched.  “Kev-”

“And I do care about you.” I chanced a peak.  He was blushing hotly.  “You make it hard not to.  How are your hands?”

I had never been so grateful for a non sequitur.  I held them out.  The blood on them was already dry in the heat.  “Fine.”

“Do I need to bandage them?”

I shook my head, as he dumped a little water on them and rubbed carefully.  The skin under the blood was pink, already healed over.  I shivered.

“No.  I can’t be hurt, remember?”

He dried my fingers.  “Sorry.”

I couldn’t think of anything to say.  I figured I had embarrassed myself enough today.  I huddled down in my seat, closing my eyes.  I had a headache, my stomach was turning and I was cold.  Cold all the way through.  Like I was dead.  I shuddered.

“Becca, you really should eat someth-”

The car skidded across the asphalt, jerking off the ground.  It flipped, sending us both to the roof and slamming us back to the seats as it rolled clean over twice.

Hissing with pain, I struggled to right myself, my head spinning.  Kevin was swearing, growling.

“What the-”

What I didn’t found out.  His door was ripped from its hinges and he was dragged from the car, kicking and yelling.  I had time to scream once, before a hand reached in and yanked me out into the blinding sunlight.

I was thrown to the asphalt, tumbling head over heels from the force.  I caught myself, choking back scared sobs.

Kevin wasn’t shouting anymore.  He broke free of his attacker and made a sharp chopping motion with his hands.  The man flew back, hitting the ground and rolling through the dirt.

Kevin ran for me, grabbing my arm and pulling my upright.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Fine!” I gasped.  “Watch out!”

Both men were watching us now, coming closer, wary circling.  Kevin dropped me and set his feet.  He glanced around us, his eyes narrowed.

“What is the meaning of this?” He demanded harshly, his voice ringing.

The two men eyed us.  “You are not Strenton.”  One said slowly.

Kevin didn’t answer, only shifted as they eased apart, moving to either side.  Kevin’s sword flared in his hand once again.

The other man laughed.  “I wouldn’t, boy.  You’re no match for us.”

“Try me,” Kevin snarled.  I tried to stay behind him as he took slow steps back, keeping the men in his field of view as they advanced.

I glanced helplessly to the car, trying to find an escape.  The sedan was totaled, bent and hissing, dripping fluids into the brown grass.

“What do you want?” Kevin asked again.  “The Well is destroyed.”  He angled his blade to threaten the one of the left as the man came too close.

The man laughed darkly.  “Where did you get such a fine weapon?” he asked, eying the glimmering blade as it shone and sparked.  “You’re not strong enough to control it, boy.”

“Watch me,” Kevin retorted.

The man grinned and jumped forward, a line of light flashing in his own hand.

I scrambled away, staggering as the ground shook beneath my feet.  The men had backed away from Kevin, frowning now.  Kevin slid to the side, keeping between me and them.

“Who is that girl?” one asked.

“None of your concern,” Kevin snapped.  “Get lost.”

“Give me that blade and we will leave you alone.”

Kevin didn’t answer.  His sword cast odd shadows that danced around him.  I shivered as they looked over me.

“Don’t be stupid, boy,” one said softly.  “Don’t make me pry it from your dead body.  A trade, for the girl’s life.”

Kevin laughed, a harsh, mocking laugh.

“Your choice,” the other said.

I could only watch in horror as they both jumped froward.  The air was sharp, dry, snapping as they fought.  My eyes watered as light flashed between them, whatever magic they were using equal.  Not equal, Kevin was holding them off, pushing them back.

I could see their surprise and alarm.  In moments, he had worked them around, forcing them together.  They dove apart as Kevin spoke harshly.  The ground exploded where they had been a moment, before, showering everything in black dust as the asphalt blew in every direction.

Kevin had one trapped against the car, the man sweating, desperate now.  The other was running down the freeway.

Kevin brought his sword down in a high, overhand stroke.  The man’s weapon shattered, sparkling fragments flashing in the sun, hitting the ground with ringing chimes.

The man panted raggedly, staring up at Kevin from his knees, the point of Kevin’s blade in his throat.

“Who sent you?” Kevin hissed.  I shuddered, sinking down to my knees.  “Who!”

The man gasped, choking.  “No one.  Just scavengers.”


“Please, no one.  Acting alone, I swear it.”

Kevin grabbed the man’s shirt and threw him to the ground, sending him rolling down the meridian.  The man staggered to his feet and took off after his partner.

Kevin came to me.  “Are you hurt?”

“No,” I gasped.  He was still furious, his eyes blazing, blood running down his face from a cut over his eye.  I gaped at him as he sheathed his sword.  Really sheathed it, in a scabbard at his side, secured to his body with a thick belt.

He wiped the blood from his face with a grimace, rubbing his hand on his trouser leg.  His boots made sharp noises against the cement as he walked, like they were rimmed with steel.

“Scavengers,” he snarled.  “Cutthroats and thieves.  Should have killed them.”

I shivered at the coldness of his tone.  I didn’t doubt for an instant he would have, if I hadn’t been here.

“Come on,” he said, beckoning to me.  He went to the trunk of the car, the lid flying up.  He pulled out packs out of the back and tucked water bottles into them.  I took my gingerly, trying not to touch him.  I could feel the heat radiating off him even three feet away.

He glanced to the sky.  “We have to walk.  Get away from here.  That fight won’t go unnoticed.”

I didn’t mention the crater in the middle of the freeway large enough to swallow an Hummer.

“Kevin?” I ventured weakly.

“Yeah?” He was digging in his pack, scowling.  He was still bleeding.

“Why…” I swallowed.  “Why do you look like that?”

He jerked his head up to stare at me.  I looked down at his clothing and he followed my eyes.

He sighed suddenly.  “Sorry.”  I blinked, sure my vision was playing tricks on me.  Abruptly he was wearing his usual clothing, jeans and a t-shirt, dirty, but normal.  No more breastplate or glimmering armor on his arms.

I still ogled him.  He shifted uneasily.

“You’re bleeding.”  It was the only thing I could think to say.

Kevin grimaced, dabbing at his face again.  I took a deep breath and gathered up the dregs of my courage.

“Here.”  I pulled a shirt out of my pack and wetted with some water from my bottle.  The fabric came away red and grimy, but he looked less frightening without gore dripping down his cheek.

He flinched.  “Ouch.”

“Sorry.”  I checked my work.  “Uh, and thanks.”

He shrugged.  “They were just criminals, thugs.”

“Why…”  I licked my lips.  “Why did he say that you weren’t strong enough.  For that…that sword?”

Kevin made a face, turning away.  “Just talk.  Trying to bluff me.”

I didn’t believe him for a second.  I was absolutely sure Kevin was magically strong enough for anything.  There was freaking hole in the highway not ten feet away.

He started walking and I followed, not caring where we went as long as it was away from the wrecked car and that haunted school.

11 October, 2011

Plotting for Werewolves

So, my other idea is to do a novel based on werewolves.  Why am I so paranormal right now?  I thought I was in a historical fiction kick, but apparently not.  Next year, I guess.  For some reason I really want to do a plot around Napoleon.  But that will take some research.

But I digress.  For werewolves, these were my ideas:

  1. There are several kinds of werewolves in science and mythology. One: psychosis, believing one is a wolf.  Two:  A genetic mutation that makes you all hairy.  Three:  a 'disease' that you can get from being bitten by a werewolf.  Four:  a kitsune type, or a spirit of some sort embodied by a wolf or a fox.  Usually a female.  You can be born as one from kitsune parents.
  2. My idea would combine some of these.  A person would be able to 'be infected' and become a werewolf.  It is a extremely rare affliction that is hushed up because there are kitsune type werewolves running around.  They have their own society, they interact with humans, but disdain them.
  3. The Main Character Female's father is infected somehow.  He is taken and put in a mental hospital.  Not every person infected comes out the same.  Some are the werewolves of popular myth, ie. aggressive, mindless, bloodthirsty.  Some function very well as humans.
  4. You can be cured of being a werewolf.  The treatment doesn't work for everyone.  MC Male is a 'cured' werewolf.  Why though?  What motive did he have for being cured?  Anyway, his 'pack' the alphas think he betrayed them, turned his back on them.  Did they bite him on purpose?  How and why was MCF's father infected?  Hmmm...That stupid motive thing again...
  5. MCF is trying to find out what happened to her father.  Breaks into mental hospital, that sort of thing.  MCM finds out about some plot going on and teams up with her to stop...whatever it is.  I haven't got that far yet.
  6. Oh, and the time would be 1850-1890's or so.  London?  Maybe New England...I love this time in literature and music.  Everything was all about paranormal stuff and sleepwalking and ghosts.  Very fun.

08 October, 2011

The Puppy and the Pea

Let me preface this post by saying my dog is not a prissy dog.

My dog is a 'mutt', more specifically a pure-bred collie and some boxer mutt than hoped the fence and...um...ahem, yes well.

Husband and I got her at a local pet store.  She was simply the cutest puppy in the entire world.  We were going to get a dog anyway and there she was!  Perfect and rolly polly and perfect.  (I love my dog, couldn't you tell.)

Well, puppy is now three years old.  She often still mistaken for a puppy, because her main form of greeting people is to flop over on her back, wiggle around and lick them all over their faces.

Her main purpose in life is to chase tennis balls.  Tennis balls were invented solely for her enjoyment.  She will spend hours and hours chasing them.  It doesn't matter what obstacles are in her path, rocks, holes, ditches, other dogs, small children.  She is going to get that tennis ball.  She stands two feet at the shoulder and once jumped a six foot fence trying to follow a ball that got out of the yard.  Seriously, she becomes a hairy jugernaut.

I have considered buying a motorized tennis ball chucker otherwise I'm going to throw out my rotor cuff one of these days.  Her energy in off the charts.  At our yearly vet check-up, then vet is always asks "does she run a lot?  She hasn't got an ounce of fat on her."

Ha.  There isn't a moment of the day she is not sprinting around at top speed.

Unless of course she's sleeping.  Then she weighs, not a trim, sleek forty pounds, but six hundred.  Gravity amplifies in her vicinity, her mass increases so much.  The moon is pulled out of orbit but her quiet slumbers.

But not last night.

The puppy is not allowed to sleep with us on the bed.  She sleeps in her own bed, a very nice plushy one with her own blanket.  For heaven's sake, the in-laws have a fleece covered air mattress that she uses when we stay with them!  She is not in the least deprived.

Here's another unless:  Unless either husband or I are not at home for some reason, business travel or house sitting or whatever, then she can sleep up on the bed.

So obviously, last night she got to sleep up on the bed with me.  However, to my increasing annoyance, she did not immediately turn into a white and brown black hole of zzzzzz's.

The first hour went something like this:

Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
I say: Lie Down!
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
A few minutes quiet.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
I say:  Lie Down! Or get off the bed!
Puppy hears:  Get off the bed!  She gets off the bed.
She goes to her plush, comfy, blanket draped, warm bed.  She lies down and sighs mightily.
She sighs her woe once more.
She sighs her woe once more.
She sighs her woe once more.
She sighs her woe once more.
She sighs her woe once more.
Me:  Alright!  Come here.
She hops up and flops down by my head.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.
Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.

By now I'm like, if you don't lie down and go to sleep, you're sleeping out in the living room! (Where she has a second soft plushy bed, just so she can sleep while we're watching TV.  Like I said, spoiled.)

Puppy gets up and turns in a circle and lies down.

Of course I don't have the heart to make her go sleep alone in the cold, dark living room.  So instead I give her belly scritches, she puts her cold nose in my ear and we go to sleep.

How pathetic am I?

07 October, 2011

Plotting for Ghost

I don't know why I am doing this.  I know I write better in a linear, stream-of-consciousness sort of way.  If I plot too much ahead of time, I plot myself into a box and I can't can't can't write anything.  I need to have a general idea of what's going to happen.  But mostly I'm like: ooh, wouldn't it be cool if...

So, at the risk of totally derailing myself, I am going to list the ideas I've had for the plot of my Ghost Story.  Then I'll tackle the Werewolf one and we'll see which I like better.

For whatever reason, I'm really seeing Ghost more like a movie.  At least at the beginning.

Scene 1:  Have Ghost looking down from a pass or gap.  He sees the posse chasing him.  Use this to describe the place and the time. Sets up where he's going to make his stand.

Scene 2:  Posse's POV, wondering if Ghost is dead.  Someone breaks cover and gets winged.  Show dissent in group and the belligerence of the posse leader about Ghost's guilt.

Scene 3:  Posse just hanged Ghost.  Posse leader orders doctor to check if he's dead.  More mutters about his family/cousins retaliating when they hear the news, coming to town to cause trouble, etc.  Want to cut him down, but Posse leader orders them to leave Ghost.

Scene 4:  Modern time:  Have Main Character and others telling ghost story about Ghost's murder and how he haunts the pass/gap.  Something like 'on stormy nights you can hear his horse galloping from the posse that wrongfully killed him' or something.  Tell how the families took sides and the town split.  Finally some Law from elsewhere had to step in and stop the violence.

Scene 5:  Needs to set up the Female MC.  What's her job, her reason for being in town?  Does she work there?  Is she on vacation?  Does she believe in ghosts or not?

Scene 6:  Big storm and tada!  Ghost appears.  Heads to FMC's house.  She doesn't want to help him, understandably creeped out.

That's about as far as I've gotten.  I don't want to try too hard.  Somethings need to be spur of the moment.  This at least sets everything up and starts the plot rolling.  We'll see what else comes to me.

05 October, 2011


Alright, you may recall my post here about my two song-inspired ideas for National Novel Writing Month.  While both are supremely awesome, I am drawn more toward the Ghost Rider idea.

Here are my thoughts so far:  (the rules state you can plot and character develop all you want before 11/1, but no writing).

  1. The Ghost is a cowboy who had been hanged for murder.  Whether he actually committed the crime...I haven't decided and I want it to be ambiguous anyway.
  2. During a particularly nasty thunderstorm somewheres in CO/UT/NV/WY/SD/Central Plains, he gets chucked out of limbo into modern times.  (I just groaned.  Am I seriously going to write a paranormal/time travel book?  Seriously?  *sigh*)
  3. He is found by some woman, who happens to be a descendant of the person he supposedly killed (?)  Or maybe the woman he loved back then or something.  Some sort of connection to make him want to hang around her while she's like...er, who are you strange dude?
  4. The murder and his subsequent execution flared up an old blood feud.  The families basically killed each other off until some moved away.  A few 'old timers' still remember their grandfathers talking about.
  5. Ghost has to find what really happened to set himself free.  Time limit?  I dunno...something to make it imperative.  Maybe he has from the anniversary of the murder to the anniversary of his own death to solve it.  Yay for arbitrary rules of the cosmos!
  6. There needs to be a big hush up scandal about it.  Maybe the real murderer killed the victim because they caught them stealing silver or something from a mine.  The 'richest person in town' is their descendant and enjoys their ill gotten gains or something.  If this is so, maybe it needs to take place in a bigger city?  Not a CITY but a larger town.
  7. But why would this descendant not want the truth to come to light?  Did the real murderer also get sent back?  Is this dude trying to take control of the city or something?  Hmmmm...motive, always a good thing to have.  Or maybe the descendant is embezzling or something as well and Ghost stumbles across it.
  8. Also a good question:  What happens when Ghost solves the mystery?  Does he die?  Or does he stay and live out his life, since his was taken?
Any suggestions?  I have a notebook I'm scribbling ideas in.  We'll see if I can make some sort of coherent sense of them come November!  :)

03 October, 2011

Like a Bandaid

Well, that was fast.

Sent three queries out on Saturday.  Waiting for me this morning in my inbox was one 'no.'

And actually, it wasn't so bad.  More like...oh...bummer.

And it got me thinking about my first five pages/chapter.  Problem is, the first you read can't be:

Oh, Snap!!!  There are zombies attacking!

It's this thing called exposition.  You need it to set up the zombies/whatever so it makes sense.  in movies, it is usually covered by an announcer person while you watch slow motion video.  Think beginning of Lord of the Rings or something.

Another problem: the main character the books starts with is a limp noodle.  But only for the first few chapters!  See, she learns to be tough and self-sufficient.  It's part of the story, her growth and her taking control of her future.

But, when said agent says:  "Doesn't fit our list at this time"  do they mean, hey cool idea, but we're not in the market for a zombie story right now, keep up the good work?  Or do they mean:  YAWN!

Hmmmm....I think I have the first chapters memorized, I've been over them sooooo much.  But I guess I'll work them over again!  Practice makes perfect, yes?

01 October, 2011

I did it!

I did it!
I sent my query and sample chapter stuff to three - three - agents!


Okay, now that that's done with...

I have about a month or so to wait if they want to get back to me.  Silence, tends to mean...er, exactly that.  Nothing.

But! To distract myself I have some very important decisions to make. For National Novel Writing Month, I have two plot ideas.  I have no idea how this worked out, but both of them are inspired by songs.

The first is this.  The other is this.

As you can see, I am in a macabre sort of writing...not exactly a rut, but certainly a groove of some kind.  Ghosts, murder, madness, werewolves, zombies, zombies, zombies.  I have some ideas for both plots, which I will debate more in a later post.  Right now, I'm kind of brain dead with the whole writing thing and think I'm going to watch NetFlix and knit until bedtime.

Which song do you like best?  Any ideas strike you?  I'm always open for suggestions!  :)