Posted in writing, writing thoughts

Reading as a Writer: Looking for the Good

Whatever you do for a living, if you’ve ever watched a show that portrays someone in your profession and they get it all wrong, or half wrong, or even just a tiny bit wrong, don’t you find yourself rolling your eyes or commenting to the person next to you on how it really works?

This is why my hubby and I couldn’t watch that TV show Numb3rs together. Or that lousy movie with Jenna Fischer as a dental hygienist.

beautiful burnSometimes, reading is like this for me. It’s not always easy to turn off the writer part of my brain and just read to enjoy. All my writing pet peeves poke at me while I read, and make the experience less fun. Then I have to remind myself that some other writer is reading my books having the same thoughts!

So, instead of critiquing as I read, I try to learn from it instead. I just finished reading “Beautiful Burn” by Jamie McGuire and loved all the work she put into researching how the Hotshot firefighting teams in Colorado live and work. Having lived near or in Colorado for most of my life, I appreciated the level of detail she put into her writing, and it pushed me to dig a little deeper into some of the research I’ve been working on for “Wicked Revenge.”

jm barrieI’ve also been reading JM Barrie’s “Peter Pan” (the original book) which, let me tell you, is far removed from the Disney version, or any other version I’ve ever seen. It’s bizarre and really not something a kid would understand or probably be interested by. I have a pretty good vocabulary and love British fiction, but I’m still looking up words and trying to figure out what Barrie is trying to get at half the time.

BUT, I love the honesty of his characters. Peter has this moment of intense jealousy as Wendy decides to go home to her mother and the Lost Boys say they’ll go with her because they want a mother too, and Peter mentions a saying in The Neverland that every time you breathe, a grownup dies, so he starts breathing really hard and fast. It’s dark, but completely honest for a young boy who’s losing his only family and is too proud to admit he wants them to stay. I want to be able to write that sort of frank honesty in my characters, even if I’ll leave the archaic words and style to Barrie.

So, whether you’re watching a TV show that’s totally misrepresenting what you do every day at work, or reading about cars driving 55 miles per hour down a windy, two-lane mountain pass in a blizzard (which, trust me, would NEVER happen), there’s almost definitely something else that’s going to be wonderfully inspiring. Don’t forget to look for it.

Posted in someone wicked this way comes

And so it begins…#NaNoWriMo, to be specific

nanowrimoI’ll preface this by saying, there’s a very good chance I won’t complete my 50k words for NaNo this year. I can’t seem to focus on writing Wicked Revenge and we’re taking a real live vacation that doesn’t not involve work this month as well.

Having said that, I’m going to to my best. Here’s what I’ve got to far 🙂

Sneak Peek of WICKED REVENGE, book 4 (the final book) in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes series!

***SPOILER ALERT***

There are some spoilers in this short first chapter, so if you haven’t read the first three books, you may want to skip this post!

Also, I haven’t edited this much, so please excuse any typos 😉

Wicked Revenge

Someone Wicked This Way Comes

Book 4

iStock_000016323229Large1: True Purpose

(Oscar)

“This place sucks,” I mutter under my breath. The dust is irritating, aggravating. Grime, everywhere. Dirt. Trash scattered around like my thoughts often are. It’s not like the hospital. I don’t want to be at the hospital, refuse to go back to that place, but it was clean, orderly, pristine. It smelled of chemicals, though. I don’t hate the smell of chemicals, but I don’t like it either. I can’t decide if it’s better than the mildewed, dusty smell of this place. Maybe it’s worse.

It’s not a good place for a baby, either way.

Thoughts snap like twigs, warning me not to think about him. Not yet. It’s too…frightening. Yes, too scary to think about him…my son. He’s safe for now. Because I’m not with him. Because he doesn’t know me. What I am. What I’ve done. He is still pure. I want him to remain that way as long as possible. Not be infected by the hunger, the power it promises so falsely, the addiction it breeds. No, he must stay safe from all of this.

“Oscar,” Zander says.

He doesn’t touch me. Because he knows I’m still angry with him. He was supposed to protect our sister and he failed. That will take time to forgive. Maybe too much time. It’s difficult to gauge time sometimes. Like right now. How long has it been since I killed David? It happened soon after he tried and possibly succeeded in breaking Van. Almost immediately after foolish, stupid Zander tried to kill him in my place. He thought he knew the secrets I had discovered years ago. A baby bird with no feathers trying to fly. He was an idiot to think he held enough pain. No one holds as much pain as I do. Not after killing my own parents, after being locked up with the insane, after being forced to abandon the only woman I knew how to love…and with her, our son.

Days. It had only been days since I twisted the consumed pain I held and turned it into a weapon. So much pain and suffering swallowed over the years, all unleashed on the man who tried to use my little sister, snap her mind and heart, crush her into subservience so he could use her…use her power. David has been dead two days and the rest of the Godlings are floundering without a leader.

No. They have a leader. Stupid lemmings. Power doesn’t equal leadership skills. They are too blind to see, or maybe care. I should not be leading anyone. My mind is too broken to lead. But they chose me. Because I killed David. I saved them. Or so they think. David was not the real enemy. A small one, yes. But not who they should truly fear. That is reserved for the soul-sucking power-whore known as Isolde Zara.

“Oscar,” Zander says again. “What do you think? Will this work for now?”

Scraping my thoughts back under control, I scowl. “It stinks in here. It’s a filthy place.”

Zander sighs. “Yeah, I know. We’ll clean it up. Will it work, though?”

Why is he asking me? What do I know about real estate? It will work as well as any other run down, abandoned building. I suppose it helps that it was once a school. The Godling infants running around pretending to be adults and have knowledge on things need a school. What else are they supposed to do with the real children bumbling around now? They can’t stay at the compound.

All those loyal to David ran as soon as I burned away his life and ended his reign. Those not completely twisted into sadistic, amoral, power-hungry lunatics, are trying to pick up the pieces. Get the students to safety before David’s cronies return and kill them all. Or take the children. I’m not sure what they plan. The compound is unsafe, regardless of what idiot plan the sheep of now-dead David intend to execute.

“It is not sufficient,” I say, possibly in answer to Zander’s question, “but it will work.”

Zander closes his eyes and breathes out slowly, as if I’m the one to blame for all of this. Am I? It’s hard to tell sometimes. My lips press together as I force my thoughts into order and ponder the question. No. This isn’t my fault. I may have helped escalate the madness, but I did not begin it. The true beginning is too far back to comprehend. The more recent beginning, that is less complex. David and Isolde are responsible. They are more mad than I will ever be. Were, in David’s case. His mind is now ash and no danger to anyone.

Isolde, however…

She is more clever than most. More evil, as well. Intelligent and vile is a bad combination. One of the worst. She will never stop until she has what she wants. Eradication. Every Godling life snuffed out like a spent candle. Most of these imbeciles running around, I couldn’t care less about. Even Zander, with him I am on the fence, but leaning toward the idea that he will one day be the man he is capable of becoming. The rest could rot and I wouldn’t be troubled much.

Van is different. Emily is different, though she’s not Godling. Joshua…he is most different of all. He is Godling and perfectly pure. People like Isolde have not yet had the opportunity to corrupt my son, and she will die before she has the chance.

The other Godlings, they all think I am the One. The person meant to save them and restore the balance. They are wrong. Killing David doesn’t make me a savior. It makes me a weapon. The pain must be twisted and bent to become a tool of destruction. That was not its original purpose. A handy thing, but not natural. Not meant. I am not the leader they need. But I am who they want…for now. Until someone else discovers the true purpose of the power and ends the killing for good.

After I destroy Isolde, that is. It would not do for the truth to be discovered too soon.

If you want to make sure I finish this project, join me on the NaNoWriMo site and be my writing buddy so you can prod me along. My user name is Yomamamma (I couldn’t spell when I set this up apparently, because I meant to put Yogamamma, but oh well, lol!)

Posted in writing

Deadlines, Summer, and Catching Up

I like having a routine, a schedule. I don’t get things done without one.

Summer usually decreases my productivity significantly. Not just writing, but cleaning, weeding, organizing, etc. The kids are home, projects around the house and yard on going on, trips are taken, a million random things need done and distract you from your original tasks, and on and on.

79420-calendardeadlineI need deadlines.

Some people don’t work well under pressure. For me, it’s the only way I get anything done sometimes. Those deadlines might be more vague like, the kids get home by 3 o’clock. I need to finish this chapter by then and get the dishes in the dishwasher. Or they might be more concrete, like when my publisher wants edits back by a certain date.

The first half of this year we were selling and buying a house and moving. That pretty much takes up all your time. I didn’t get much writing done and release dates I had a vague imagining of drifted past unnoticed. Then summer hit. We’ve been out of town more then we’ve been in town it feels like. I had extra classes I was teaching and the kids had activities and my husband was super busy at work.

The writing I did was sandwiched in between other things and done late at night when my husband was out of town and I was too chicken to go to bed by myself. I worked on half-finished projects from last year that had been abandoned or never started, but I was scattered and distracted easily.

Blogfest Banner 28 DaysOne of the projects I wanted to get back to was The Ghost Host, but I was having a hard time focusing on it. When my good friend Apryl Baker put out the call for her annual YA/NA Blogfest this August/September (GOING ON NOW!!) my first thought was to feature something already finished. Less stress on me, right? Sure, but also a heck of a lot less projects getting wrapped up.

Even though I still had about 25% of The Ghost Host to write, not to mention revisions and editing, I signed up the Ghost Host as my featured story and told myself that whatever day Apryl gave me, that would be the pre-order release date. With as hectic as things have been lately, I knew I was taking a risk, but guess what? IT WORKED.

Echo The Ghost Host NEWAfter getting the date of Sept 2nd from Apryl, I got to work and finished the last quarter of the book in about two weeks. It’s off to beta readers now and it looks like I’ll make my pre-order date of Sept 2nd and release date of October 6th, 2015. Thanks to my awesomely talented photographer sister Kassondra Sturtevant (Mystereah Photogrpahy), I also have a new cover model and was able to finish the cover art. You can get a sneak peek of THE GHOST HOST on the YA/NA Blogfest Sept 2nd.

I’ve always known that I work better under deadlines, but I guess I’ve just been lazy about actually setting them and making myself stick to them. I have a lot to catch up on, so that’s going to change. In the hopes of being more productive, I’m going to push myself a little harder. Readers have been asking me when on earth I’m planning to release Wicked Revenge and even though I’m not going to make an October release because I already have two other books releasing that month (The Ghost Host and The Only Shark In The Sea), I am now determined to have Wicked Revenge out before Christmas.

The third Escaping Fate (Oracle Lost) has also been requested and I’m setting a firm time to have it ready by March 2016.

Somewhere in there the fourth Date Shark book (Shark In Troubled Waters) will also come out, but that one’s up to my publisher.

Torino Dreams Coming SoonSince Torino Dreams is a standalone and I only need to make a few small revisions to that one, I’m going to start prepping for an early February 2016 release.

Memory’s Edge needs a sequel and I want to release them close together, so my plan is to set a deadline of having the first draft of the sequel to beta readers by the beginning of March and to release these two in April and May 2016.

Clearly, I have a lot of work to do, but setting deadlines is going to force me to stop wasting time on Facebook and get some writing done. Wish me luck!

Posted in publishing

I don’t do resolutions

Happy New YearI’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kind of person.

I think about things I should probably do better at or start or finish, but I don’t set specific resolutions that I work toward throughout the year. Probably because I know I have the attention span of a gnat and the memory of a three month old puppy.

I write the same way I make resolutions. By the seat of my pants. It works for me. I like having a schedule, but not specific deadlines. I’m good at meeting deadlines. They stress me out, though. I’d rather have a goal than a deadline, which may sound like the same thing.

A goal implies having a plan to meet a certain objective. For me, a deadline is something unmovable that may or may not fit into the general mayhem of every day life. Sometimes, I do set deadlines for myself when something really needs to be done by a certain date, like with finishing Invincible, but most of the time I would rather set goals for when I’d like to have certain things done. If life gets in the way, I can always readjust.

So, what are my goals for 2015? 

As far as writing goes, I do have a few things in mind.

New Books to Write

Wicked Revenge is on the writing slate this year, and will hopefully be finished and ready for publishing sometime this year. It will be the final book in the Someone Wicked series, so that series will be getting wrapped up. Yay!

I’m hoping to have time to start writing Oracle Lost, the third book in the Escaping Fate Series, but if I do finish it, it’ll probably be toward the end of the year, unless I get stuck on something else and jump into this one.

The third, and possibly final book in the Date Shark Series, still doesn’t have a name, but hopefully will by the time I finish it this year. This installment will focus on Vance. He’s been there to help his friends through difficult situations, but now he’ll be the one in need of help. I’ve had requests to write about Sabine, but if I do, it’ll probably be more in the novella category.

Books to Publish

The books above may or may not fall into this category as well. We’ll just have to see. On the schedule for sure, though, will be a couple of new romances and possibly a venture into the New Adult genre.

Torino Dreams will be popping up on ebook shelves this year, though I haven’t nailed down the date yet. This action packed romance may or may not be part of a series. I haven’t decided quite yet.

Memory’s Edge will be a two part series. I don’t have a for sure release date set yet for this one either. I may wait to release it until I have part two written so I don’t leave readers hanging for too long.

My nearly finished project, The Ghost Host, may or may not be on this depending on what I decide to do with it. I’m playing around with the idea of shopping it out to agents. I’m still undecided, though, so I’ll keep you all updated.

Projects that will take a while to finish

The one long distance project I’m working on is still under wraps since I’m still working out the concept and details, but it will be dystopian fiction, either YA or NA. It will deal with what really make us human and what takes us across the line of humanity into monsters. I’m really excited about this one, but it’s going to take me a while to get it just right.

Other than these projects who knows. I’m notorious for starting random new projects at the drop of a hat!

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