Sunday, October 1, 2017

One Last Kiss

It is with great delight and pleasure that I announce the publication of the next dark fairy tale!

One Last Kiss is a darker retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and it was a joy to write. I was very happy to get it done in time for an October release as it is a more supernatural take on the classic fairy tale while reaching back to the original story of "Sun, Moon, and Talia" from the 1600s than the more sanitized version that the Grimm Brothers published two centuries later.

So, enjoy the tale, and keep a watch out for more dark fairy tales coming out soon!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dark Fairy Tales

To be honest, Crimson or Gold was going to be a one off story, a darker Cinderella to stretch myself a bit as a writer.

But then two other fairy tales entered my head with a "What If", and I found myself intrigued by the idea of a dark Sleeping Beauty and dark Snow White. So I gathered up my paper and preferred pens, and I started plotting and writing. My husband got to listen as I hashed out ideas in between blowing my nose and coughing when I was sick, and he was willing to toss a few ideas back to make me think about what I was plotting.

And tonight, I finished the first draft of the Dark Sleeping Beauty story. It is completely written out by hand and sitting next to me on the desk, waiting for me to start typing it up which will begin tomorrow since I'd like to give myself a night off *laughs*. This story has been quite the task master, insisting I work on it whenever I can and even keeping me up late a few times as words poured out of my pen. Of course on the plus side of things, this is going to be getting out within the next month.

The hardest part of this story was actually *ending* it since it wanted to keep going down the lane of Happily Ever After to explain what happened next. But I think it's ending in a good spot, and if I add any more to it, the story quality will go downhill.

Besides, those additional scenes don't really add to the story nor does it wrap up any 'loose ends'. Just more characters wanting to talk when they're not needed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Writing Tables

Back in the late 90s and early 2000, there was something popular among fan fiction writers called "Prompt Tables". It was basically a table of 100 random words, and the goal was to write 100 drabbles using those words as a prompt for each one. It could be the theme of the story or a random word tossed in for whatever reason. So, way back when, I went out and found three of these prompt tables and put them together. After removing the duplicate words, I have a very large table with 253 random prompt words, which I have used a few times in fan fiction writings just to see if I could structure a story around this wild and Frankensteined table.

The answer is yes, by the way.

Since I was having trouble getting the sequel to Second Anniversary to work for me, I decided to print out one of these tables, tape it into a notebook, and then armed with a pen and a highlighter, I've started writing little stories that will fall between the main three novels and possibly before the first one. I've only gotten one hand written right now, but I'll probably be typing them up and selling them in an anthology form.

Of course, during the process of writing that first story, the characters have evolved a bit more on me, explaining a bit more about why they were acting a certain way in the first story. Eventually, I'll probably go back to the Second Anniversary and quite possibly rewrite parts of it to polish it even more as well as show the characters as something more than the slightly two dimensional beings they currently are.

In a way, The Second Anniversary was me pushing my limits on my writing as I had never written about an abusive relationship or drug abuse before. I only hoped I could do it justice with the research I was able to do on such topics. I hope further stories will let me push myself as a writer a bit more.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Slight irritations

I haven't been working on the sequel to The Second Anniversary because for whatever reason, it just won't flow. I was having trouble even putting a pen to paper to write even a word, and I couldn't figure out why. Was it one of my other stories wanting to be worked on? Well that wasn't right because I had a distinct lack of enthusiasm for any of those stories, even the ones that I reread in anticipation of working on them.

Then last night as I was starting to fall asleep, I realized what was wrong with the story.

I was rushing everything including the serious relationship in the story.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized this was my solution. What I have written right now is that Lucien and Abel go to a soiree held by the king and queen, are introduced to someone, and that night, a mere few hours after they met this individual, decide to pursue a relationship with them. And this starts less than a year after the ending of The Second Anniversary.

Needless to say, I'm not going to get rid of the other scenes that I wrote, but there will be some rewriting of them to make them fit into the new story. This will also let me show how relationships have changed and introduce a whole new culture to my readers without it feeling like I've thrown them off the cruise ship with a cannon ball around their ankles.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Quick Update

Nothing really new to add, to be honest. Haven't been writing as much as I should be, but then I've been distracted working on craft projects that I really need to get done for other people. I cross stitch and crochet to stay sane and relax when the world is getting rough. Plus with it being summer, I don't have as much free time as I do during the school year, but it's worth it to give up some writing time to play with my little princess.

She's growing up way too fast....

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Webpage and a Camping Convention

A friend of mine has been helping me put together a webpage because I'm sorta clueless about how to go about doing such a thing these days. It's still got some spots that need to be filled out and information dropped in it, but for now, here it is.

I'll be adding some things to it, and my friend will be double checking to make sure it's good to be seen on a phone or other platforms.

This past weekend, I went to something called Geek Out 4.0 that was a geek convention at a rather nice camp ground with my husband who had bought booth space to promote and sell his books. It was rather nice if a touch warm. After we pitched our tent, we set up the table and just relaxed as he or I would try to entice someone to either buy a book or take our cards to check us out on Amazon later. I got plenty of writing done on the sequel to "The Second Anniversary" when I wasn't just relaxing and zoning. The mosquitoes weren't out at all around us, and both Friday and Saturday we were able to lay on the grass and watch the stars come out. It was glorious and very relaxing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Bit organized?

Last night while laying in bed, I realized I have quite a few stories that I have either built a world for (one of my favorite things to do) or have started scribbling for them. Got m wondering just how many I might have.

This morning, I pulled up an excel spreadsheet in Google Docs, and I started listing them, giving each series a row of its own. Here it is. As you can see, it's a rather extensive list with reminders for me which ones are which. A few of the stories may only be available when I do an anthology or a trilogy together at first before I toss 'em up as separate stories. But it's still a lot of stories. This will be added to as I think of new stories and such.

I confess that all of my plot ideas are self indulgent with a few exceptions. As I finish writing a book, it will be highlighted, and when it is published, there will be a line through it. That way I can actually see some progression beyond the piles of notebooks in my office and bedroom.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Toiling Away

I'm still here and I'm still going strong.

I've started working on the second novel of my Seconds Trilogy, of which The Second Wife was the first one. The second book will start about nine months after the ending of the first one and continue with the lives of the Duke of Frostmoor and his family. It's a bit more slow going because this novel is going to be bigger than the first one due to the relationships developing in it as well as the various events to show how things have changed since the first book. New characters are introduced, old characters return, and everyone starts gaining more depth and complexity that wasn't shown in the first novel.

Also, I'm working on editing and expanding on a more action-ish romance novel that a friend and I wrote together for fun. Valerie Bruce, my co-author of the Death and the Priest series, and I started Killer Sushi when we needed to have a bit of fun together that was light hearted and different than Father Leia St. Croix, Kanada Osamu, and Saionji Kusonoki. It resulted in a ghost hunter and a merman assassin with the last name of DuPre. An innocent question on if said merman was of the vampiric DuPre Clan from Father Leia's world, and Killer Sushi was started. There are other novels planned, and perhaps some short stories, but it's a fun thing when we don't want to write murder mysteries or any other type of mysteries at the moment.

Besides, who wouldn't want to read about an assassin merman who's about as straight as a broke back snake and a ghost hunter who can actually interact and see spirits and ghosts?

This novel is a bit more on the back burner because I want to get the second Duke of Frostmoor novel out, but who knows, if everything goes right, I could be getting it out before the end of the year.

Perhaps even have both of them out before the end of the year....

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Second Anniversary

It is official. My latest book, The Second Anniversary, is now available out at Amazon. Also, for a limited time, "Crimson or Gold" is free for anyone who wants to pick it up starting tomorrow.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Writer's Retreat

This past weekend, my husband and I went to a Writer's Retreat at a place called Ravenwood Castle, which is a delightful bed & breakfast out in the middle of some beautiful land. The Retreat itself was organized by a delightful woman, and all of us with children left them with either a spouse or a relative (Grandparents are *wonderful*! Gene had so many adventures with hers!)

There was a First Page workshop where we submitted the first page of a story and the other's said what was good and what needed work. I received some very nice feedback on one of my stories, and there was a *lot* of writing going on this weekend. *laughs* Everyone had a laptop and was pounding away at something. I also had a notepad I had picked up from the Dollar Tree because I needed something to start scribbling story ideas on.

The bad news about the retreat was that Saturday afternoon/evening, my laptop wasn't getting a charge from being plugged in, which meant that there's a small break somewhere in the cord, so I was racing the battery for a while until I started pulling the cord straight until I got the little icon that said the laptop was plugged in.

But at 11:45pm on Saturday night at a little over 40k words, I am proud to announce that my novel, "The Second Anniversary", was fully transcribed to my thumb drive. Last night, I transferred it to Google Drive and sent the link to my editor who did a first read through last night. So I have the first round of edits to do today, and then see if I can get a couple of beta readers lined up for a second look through.

Today, the plan is to get the first edits done, and tonight, I'm going to be putting together a home made light box for my various cover photos. Then, if I can find beta readers who can get it read in a timely manner, I may be announcing a release in a week or two.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Still working on it.

The good news is that I'm one chapter down and over 5k words into the story. The bad news is that I've been sick in various levels this past week (or my daughter's been feeling a bit under the weather which means she's extra cuddly) so I haven't had a chance to get as much transcribing done as I wanted.

But I'm making it up for it today.

Of course, having a three ring binder between me and the computer while I'm typing is rather annoying, so I decided to take the story out of the binder and used twistie ties (yes those things that hold garbage bags closed) to hold the pages together. It works rather well and turns the loose leaf pages into a sort of spiral ring binder, letting me fold everything in half for an easier way to type around it.

*laughs* Necessity is the innovation of creativity right?

Of course, I also have a photo box to set up for any and all covers I'm planning on taking in the future, but that will be about an hour's worth of work (at the most) and then I have to find a good place to stash it out of the reach of the princess and the cats. That will be more amusing than anything else, I think. Of course, any pictures will have to be taken either at night when I have full control over the lighting or during the day when the princess is at school. I think at night would work better.

I do have the next cover planned for my current novel, but I have a few props I need to buy and/or borrow from various people to make up the cover I have in mind. I just hope it turns out as wonderful in reality as it is in my head.

Friday, March 10, 2017

First Round, Done!

That's right, the first draft of my novel is done!

Final supply count for it is:

1 ream of loose leaf notebook paper
8 gel ink cartridges for my pen
1 Write Out correction tape spool
and 3 discarded but previously written scenes.

I've discovered that the stories seem to come together more easily if I write them out by hand and then transcribe them to the computer, which is the next draft. That also lets me remove repetitive information while fleshing out more details. Such as the fact that this was originally going to be a sort of strange Victorian setting before it decided it wanted to be a fantasy setting with little bits of magic here and there. So yeah, gotta go back and change things around in the first chapters to reflect that new setting.

The ironic thing is, this is a sort of romance story in that it deals with the feelings and relationships between three spouse, but there isn't any physical relations between them which is why part of me is reluctant to classify this as a romance. Mainly because so many romance stories involve and revolve around the physical relationships between the characters. Yet I can't think of anywhere it fits better.

Well, we'll see what happens when I actually put it up on Amazon, which if everything goes right could be May at the latest and April at the earliest.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Where Did That Month Go?

Between PTO stuff for my daughter's preschool, the crazy weather that either coaxed us outside or ran us back indoors, and the general run of the mill day to day things, February up and vanished on me!

But good news is that I haven't stopped writing and I may even be a bit into the home stretch of this book. Or at least the last 1/4 of it. I'm coming up on Climatic Moment #2 which, now that I think about it, could be the actual climax of  the story. I mean, the other information that is found out could be told through a conversation between two people, and if that's the case, I don't really need to be writing out a huge chapter when a few paragraphs will do, right?

In other good news, I have a new computer. Of course, this means some of my writing time gets eaten up by World of Warcraft. *laughs* I'm having fun with the latest expansion and enjoying the chance to actually play in the new expansion instead of having a slide show because my video card can't keep up with it.

I'll try to be better at posting, but with the nicer months starting to creep up on us, I might be even worse at posting *laughs*

Don't worry, though, you'll be the first to know about new books that I put out.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Solving the Plot Hole Problem

One of the minor problems that every author usually comes across is the Plot Hole. Everyone has seen them even if the weren't quite aware of what they are. It's the 9 year old Pod Racing boy who JUST HAPPENS to be able to fly the space ship and take out the shield generator. It's the traps meant to keep an adult wizard out yet three first year students were able to bypass them. It's the One Thing that statistics, science, and probability saying shouldn't happen, but for the sake of the plot it happens.

While working on my latest story, I ran into not one but four of these little delights. To be rather vague, a crime happens and someone important is injured enough to require medical care. My plot holes became the following:

1. Why weren't the police notified?
2. Why wasn't a doctor summoned?
3. Why weren't the family notified?
4. Why didn't anyone show up for X amount of days?

I took those questions, wrote them down on a piece of paper, and then stared at them for a while this morning, pen in hand ready to answer those questions. Oh, I could keep writing the story as it was going, but those four questions would keep poking me. I could even wave them off as not necessary due to plot, but that just felt lazy and wouldn't give the story I want to give my readers.

Besides, answering those stories would make it challenging and force me to actually think about what's going on in this world instead of just shrugging and answering those questions with "Because reasons".

It took about a quarter of an hour of weighing pros and cons before I came up with answers that were acceptable to continuing the plot instead of disrupting it. Are the answers perfect? No, there's still a bit of a plot hole in them but not nearly as large as they had been. It's quite likely that in the editing phase I'll be able to close them even more, but for now, that small bit of a gap is going to have to do.

I will probably use this technique for all of my plot holes in the future as it seemed to work out rather well this time. Having the problems right in front of me like this allows me to realize just where the issue is and now it needs to be fixed, perhaps it will take creating a whole new plot point or something in the story to seal up that plot hole, or perhaps I won't be able to successfully seal up a plot hole. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Best Laid Plans

So, this past weekend, I was writing, determined to get my Beauty and the Beast short story done and published before the month was out, and on Sunday, I thought it was completely done at 25 pages and around 15k words. Then I sent it to my beta reader.

"Are you trying to do a novel in a short story?" was the kindest thing she said (which I actually appreciate instead of someone squealing and stating it's the best thing ever!!) She went on to explain that I pretty much had done next to nothing in the story and there was quite a bit that needed to be done in it. Also, the ending didn't make any sense.

I admit I was a bit aghast at that, but I realized she was right. I had been trying to write a novel in a short story, and there were so many holes, the story was practically the crib notes version of what it could be. There was so much more that needed to be done in this story to get a good tale out of this. So, I'll be taking that "crib notes" and expanding on everything that is there, and turning it into a novel.

Of course, this means that my plan for publishing a fairy tale short this month, then next month, and finally the anthology in March has been completely derailed. See, Beauty and the Beast is one of those that is included in the anthology, and also, if this story needs something of a novel rewrite, then I'm gonna have to rethink the other story I have planned plus the anthology only special story.

What does that mean for my writing? Well one of my goals for 2017 is tho have a novel written, edited, have a cover on it, and published on Amazon by no later than November. I will be shelving Beauty and the Beast for the immediate future to focus on one of the novels that I actually have a great deal of it written out by hand. When I get stuck on that story, finish that story, or need something to do when I don't feel like writing pages upon pages, I'll pull Beauty and the Beast out and poke at it to see where it wants to go and how it wants to get there.

I'm not throwing the story or the idea away, but it definitely needs a lot more meat on those bones before it can be ready for anyone aside from my beta readers to read. Mainly because I hate promising my readers a steak and lobster dinner only to hand them a McDonald's Happy Meal.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Project?

For a long time, I have enjoyed playing a tabletop RPG called Shadowrun created by Catalyst Game Lab. It a cyberpunk meets Dungeons & Dragons, meaning if you want you can play an elf that has so much cybernetics they're practically a robot or a human that can fling fireballs and call up spirits to do their bidding. It's fun, exciting, and I have had a character die twice (Had to permanently spend an edge point both times to keep that from happening but totally worth it!) I confess that I've only played the game when my husband was running it, but I've always had fun strapping on my Colt Manhunters, cybering up my elf, and taking to the mean shadows of the Sixth World on Mr. Johnson's NuYen.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that there were novels based in this world of science and sorcery, some stand alone and some in trilogies. My husband has quite a few of them to go along with his two shelves of Shadowrun gaming books. Here, I could return to the cold streets of Seattle whenever I wanted or follow someone into any other dangerous pit of scum and villainy.

Back when I started playing, it seemed like a lot of the campaign books seemed to focus on the West Coast, the West, or the South but not too many in the North. And me being the imaginative person in love with the setting had two little words whispered in my ear.

What If.

Dangerous words, yes, but the basis of so many delightful story beginnings.

What if I wrote a novel in this corporate controlled landscape, creating my own team of Runners, and perhaps fleshing out a little used area to enjoy on my own terms?

So, this past week, I started seeing about making this a reality. I sat down with paper and pen and started fleshing out what had been a small story. Another author, R. L. King, was polite enough to give me the basics of what Catalyst Game Labs wanted in one of their novels when I asked, and I was even offered the professional e-mail address to the gentleman in charge of novels for the company. Yesterday, while doing my best to ignore the increasing cloud cover, I sat down at my computer with all of my notes, and I wrote this gentleman an inquiry to see if he would be interested in my novel idea. When putting my story together, I raided my husband's source books on Shadowrun because I found out that a couple of them had information on the area I was looking at. One book only had half a page while the other had an entire chapter dedicated to Boston in the Shadowrun world. I hoped that the plot I outlined in my inquiry would be just as attractive to him as it was when I started writing it.

Now, I sit and wait for a response back. I hope that Catalyst Game Labs will find my story intriguing and will take a chance on a relative nobody to let me write my little novel, indulging in my self delight in doing two firsts for me: Writing a novel based on a game, and writing a novel from a first person point of view. Both will let me stretch my wings a bit more as a writer, and I'll be able to share this incredibly fascinating world with people who might decide to take a chance because they enjoyed the other stories I wrote. I'll keep everyone updated as I get any information, but until then...

See ya in the Shadows, Chummer....

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you had a fun and safe transition from 2016 into 2017, and this is a year fresh with possibilities. One of the first things I started doing this morning was playing around with designing a business card after having a long talk with a random person about the stories both of us were writing. It started because she needed a pen at a restaurant, I gave her one of the cheap and disposable pens I carry for just such an incident, and we started talking. When I mentioned my stories, she instantly scrambled for a piece of paper to write them down.

After I left, I had to wonder what would have happened if I hadn't had a bit of paper or a pen to give her. Would she have remembered the stories later? Or would she have completely forgotten about them? That was when I decided I needed business cards pointing people towards my stories where I could just give it to them without having to search for paper or a pen to write info down on.

So, I went out to one of those business card sites that a friend recommended, and I've been playing with designs and ideas. I think I have one, but I need to get a second opinion from my husband because sometimes the only taste I have is in my mouth *laughs*. I also confess that I'm thinking of starting up a mailing list to announce when new stories are coming out, but as I only have two stories solo published, it seems rather silly to have such a thing just yet. I'll probably wait until I have a few more out there before I start that since all of the announcements of a new book end up on my Facebook page.

So, once more, I hope everyone has a happy new year and a wonderful 2017! Seize the year and make it your own, full of achievements and excitement of the good kind!