Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not Much Happening

Unless you count sick kids. But let's not. I've been doing fair to middlin' on the writing front this week. Quint's book is a little further along, and the SciFi book is still leaving him in its dust. Jayna helped me get some decent word count into Quint's book yesterday (thank you, Jayna!) and that felt good.

I don't really have much else to say, so I'll cut this entry short and just get back to writing. What kind of snippet would you all rather that I post next? Something from Jayna's book Historian's Calling that I just started sending around to agents, something from Quint's book, or another bit from the SciFi Sunlands book?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Need More Discipline...

Blah. Last week started out slow, remember? At the start of the day on Wednesday I was at 300 words total for the week. I ended strong, writing 1100-1300 words per day for the next 3 days. Unfortunately, that was almost all on the SciFi novel, not Quint's novel!!! Bad Amelie! I forced myself to get at least a few hundred words written for him each day, but that was about as much enthusiasm for it as I could muster. I just have no idea where I'm going with that one. :(

So yesterday I made myself sit down and concentrate on what each of the main characters needed to accomplish over the course of the book - where they were going emotionally, developmentally and physically. That helped some, and at least now I have some scenes that will come later in the book figured out. Now I just need to fill in the spaces on getting there and come up with a big ending because I'm not happy with my original thoughts on that. It needs to be changed. If I get stuck again (i.e. when Quint starts getting cranky and won't work with me again), I at least have the later scenes of the book that I can write and at least feel that I'm moving the work as a whole forward.

I think I figured out Quint's general problem and why he's being so stubborn about this book. He's been around for almost 2000 years now and let's face it, he's turned into a crotchety old man (just not physically). If he had a cane, I'm sure he'd be sitting on his porch shaking it at every kid that walks by, telling them to "keep off my yard, you young whipper-snappers!" He doesn't like change. He keeps up with technology, but he resents it every step of the way. And frankly, he doesn't feel like things need to change. He'd not exactly happy with things as they are, but he's been beaten down by fate so many times that he's afraid to rock the boat on this one for fear that things will go worse. So he doesn't want to confront the stuff he needs to, because he's worried about the fallout. He's doing a serious ostrich impersonation right now. Apparently what he needs is a kick in the pants (I know this because he told you guys to give me one and this feels oh-so-similar), so I think I'll work on that today - figuring out what needs to happen to make him see that change is necessary.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sci Fi Weaponry

Remember when I said I was going to ping you guys about ideas for weapon technology for my sci fi novel... in a couple of days? Yeah, that was like 3 weeks ago, so here I am, right on schedule with that!

Previously, I ran my fire-power ideas by a few friends, and came out on the other side with a line of knives (plas-blades), an area of effect paralyzation gizmo, 3 basic hand-held pistol types and 3 rifle types. I've got stunning, mid-range power, single-shot large creature take-down capabilities, area of effect and sniping options all taken care of.

Here's what I could use from you guys:
  • Besides the weapon types listed above, can you think of anything else I might need?
  • I'm avoiding laser type weapons and currently debating whether to have the ubiquitous "blaster" weapons, "pulse" weapons (whatever those are) or a mix of the two. What do you guys think? Are there other options I'm unaware of? I really don't want to come up with my own. I'm having a hard enough time coming up with the society, religion, clothing, food, medicine, and the list goes on...
  • Do you have any ideas on restraints (either to contain creatures in an area or to restrain appendages)?
If you have any thoughts on this stuff, leave your ideas in the comments section, along with a variation of your name that you'd put to a weapon if it makes it into the book. For example, a friend of mine unintentionally inspired one of my weapons, the Markee-03 (often referred to as the M-aught-three), so he'll be immortalized in my scifi novel if it ever gets published and if the editors let me keep the name in there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quick Must Love Hellhounds Contest Post

I've been almost too busy to write lately, so this is a very quick post to let you all know that I'm still around. Then I'm going to get to writing before another day goes by with almost no progress. I'm only at 300 words for the week. Gah!!!! Never gonna get published at this rate!

I came up with a new short story idea last night that I'll try putting together in my free time (hah!) either to enter in a contest or put up on the website. I also had a flash of inspiration for an urban fantasy idea. I'm afraid to think too much more on it for fear that it'll entice me more than my WIP (Work In Progress) - and that wouldn't be hard. Quint and his whole crew are giving me problems lately. I'll see if I can work the new idea into the background for one of the protagonists for the series I'm already working on, and if not, I guess I'll file it away for its own stand-alone novel or series.

As for the contest, Nalini Singh is giving away a free ARC of the upcoming September release of Must Love Hellhounds. You have until August 5th to enter. Get the deets for the contest here at Nalini's website.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Book Series Review - Lisa Shearin

Okay, so I think I orginally picked up the first of these books after reading about them on Agent Kristin Nelson's blog (same way I found Linnea Sinclair and Ally Carter). Sooooo glad that I did. LOVED THEM! I'd liken them to Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels books, except in a more traditional fantasy setting rather than an urban fantasy apocalyptic one. They're just as fast-paced, with a likeable kick-butt female protagonist. No mushy, lovey-dovey stuff, so your testosterone is safe should you pick these up, guys. I think that besides the fast-paced action and subtle humor throughout, my favorite thing is the incredible job she did in creating her secondary characters. They're awesome, from her larcenous cousin to her innocent younger adoptive brother, to the battle-loving barbarian who is her perpetual bodyguard. They're g-r-r-r-eat (yes, I was doing a Tony the Tiger voice in my head when I wrote that)!

The part in the 2nd book, Armed & Magical when she puts the glamor of her cousin and then the embassy guard over herself and gets a few key "man" experiences is freaking hilarious!

I tore through these three books in about a week and a half, but I slowed down while going through the third one, because I knew I didn't have another one to read right afterwards. I was trying to stretch it out, make it last. Book four isn't due out until 2010. :( Much sadness.

Anyways, I added Ms. Shearin to the Blogs for Writers list on the sidebar, because I found writing goodness there at her site. Go check out Lisa Shearin's site and her books. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SciFi Snippet

1750 words written on my scifi novel yesterday PLUS I hammered out details on my futuristic weaponry - woohoo!! I'm almost ready to present it to you guys to ask your opinion on it. I was itching all weekend to get to work on this scifi novel after I had some breakthroughs with the plot, but was just wicked-tired the whole time. In honor of yesterday's writing binge though, here's another snippet from it.

By the time this scene starts, Loranya has found out what exactly she's pregnant with (but you don't know!!! nanner, nanner, nanner!), and she's also discovered that her brother, the Coravos (ruler) of Andiri, has been poisoned. She's gone to a hotel, the Anyaver, to get rigged out in her Coravi regalia so she can return to the Courts in a position of power. She's now visibly back to looking like one of the Andiri ruling family - brown, gold and peach colored hair, gold rims around her eyes, peach colored skin, and gold tips to her fingernails. If you read my short story, A Little Piece of Home, another character in this scene should be familiar to you... Here it is:

She certainly looked the part, as confirmed by the reflection viewer. Too bad she didn’t feel as regal as she looked. Her whole life here as future Coravi had been one misstep after another. Nothing she’d done had been right. Every time she tried to act the way she thought the heir should, she’d been berated for being an embarrassment. Finally, she’d left. Now she was back, but would her choices be any better this go round? She was essentially the same person.

The door tone pealed, breaking into her thoughts. A check through the view panel revealed a lean, taciturn man with solid brown hair and the dark skin tone of a commoner. He was dressed in loose pants and a tunic in unrelieved brown. A closer look revealed a subtle, yet intricate level of detail and embellishment, but of the same brown, so it wasn’t immediately noticeable. In addition, he stood as if completely commanding the space around him.

A man of contradictions. Somehow she doubted that he was a mere hotel employee or her driver. Curious.

She released the door lock. As soon as the panel slid back, he entered the room, his eyes locked on hers. Again, a deep solid brown that bespoke a common heritage. The look in them was anything but.

“Coravi Loranya Vershtul Quandirr.” Her full name from this man’s stern lips was a shock. “Your transportation is ready.”

She tilted her head to the side, eyes narrowed. Her arrival at the courts wouldn’t have the needed effect if it was already common knowledge.

He answered the unasked question. “I recognized you when you arrived.”

Brown and gold eyebrows raised. “When I arrived, I looked nothing like this. And I don’t know you.”

His head dipped in acknowledgement. “But you are known to me. And I always study new arrivals. This is my hotel.”

Well, that explained some things - like his forceful attitude. “You mentioned transportation.”

“Indeed. My personal glide and driver are at your disposal.”

“I requested a hired glide of the front desk.”

“Be that as it may, you have the use of my vehicle.”

Was he trying to garner some royal appreciation? “That’s very generous of you and quite unnecessary.”

“My Coravi will not be transported in a glide for hire. You have the use of my glide and driver for as long as you need them. The driver also has instructions to act as guard should you need it. He’s fully qualified for such.”

She decided to speak plainly. “Why are you insisting on this? I distrust such overtures.”

“As well you should. My motives are unhindered by greed or self-advancement however. I will explain.” He clasped his hands behind his back and widened his stance. “When you were younger, you did a kindness to my mother. She was servant to a Leo and was ill. While making a social visit, you witnessed a scene where she was reprimanded for laziness. She would have been beaten atop being ill had you not intervened. You removed her from the Leo’s control, ordered that he pay her back wages as well as greater compensation for requiring that she work while ill. Then you placed her with an agency that taught her better skills. You gifted our family with better lives and returned some measure of pride to my mother. You told her that she was worth more, that we were all worth more. It became a family motto of sorts.”

She remembered that incident well. As with every other time she’d tried to do something as Coravi to help someone, there had been complications. Her father had not appreciated her intervention, claiming that interfering in the way the nobility ran their households was not part of her purview. The Leo had been a friend of her father’s and she’d caused him embarrassment. It had been just one misguided incident of many, but she was glad to see some good had come of it.

“That in itself would have been enough,” he continued on. “But then, as a terra-analyst you were instrumental in placing a distant cousin of mine in charge of one of the new NatLife agri-businesses, despite accusations of corporate espionage leveled against him. So, you see, whether as heir to the throne or not, you have been a caretaker of my family, just as those in your role are supposed to be. There is nothing you could ask of me that I would not offer for your use. We would still be pulling produce from dispo-units for meals if it weren’t for you. If we were even still alive at all.”

Lora almost took a step back at his vehemence. His voice never wavered over the course of the retelling. He certainly didn’t look humble or appreciative. But she sensed his tension. And his sincerity. This was a proud man who’d pulled himself up from nothing. Now he was confronted with a living, breathing reminder of how low he’d once been, and that he’d needed another’s help to achieve his current status.

“If your cousin was Hermio, he was a rare, good find. He was falsely accused by his previous employer.”

The man nodded his head. “Most wouldn’t have cared enough to discover the deception.”

“It was in my best interests.”

He raised one dark brown eyebrow at her claim to selfishness. “Was it also in your best interests to have his previous manager investigated and arrested so that Hermio’s name was cleared?”

“What makes you think I had anything to do with that?”

“Tell me you didn’t, give me your word as Coravi, and I’ll believe you.”

They stared at each other in silence until he gave a small, satisfied smile. Lora thought she saw a dimple almost peek out. Wouldn’t that be incongruous on such a severe man? “So what is your name?”

“Jorand Achlavor.”

“Thank you for the use of your personal glide and driver, Jorand. I accept.”

Some of the tension left his shoulders. He nodded.

Then something that had been niggling at the back of her mind since he started his stories caught her attention. Loranya Vershtul. The Anyaver. “My name – you used my name for your hotel.”

Again he nodded his head, this time in more of a bow. “I suspected you’d figure it out quickly.”

“I’m honored.” She searched his face and felt completely unsuited for the trust that he placed in her. “And unworthy.”

“You do not see yourself clearly.” He moved back towards the door and opened it, dismissing her concerns. “If you should need anything during your efforts to right the situation at the Courts, do not hesitate to call on me.”

Her glittering eyes blinked twice. “How do you know that’s why I’m here?”

He shrugged and his mouth hinted at the faintest of smiles. “It is who you are.”

She had to prove to this man that she wasn’t the all-knowing Coravi he seemed to think. “I didn’t know about my brother’s situation until I got on-planet. That’s not why I’m here.”

He tilted his head to the side. “You won’t leave without fixing it, regardless. The All-Being simply arranged a different reason to bring you here when we needed you.”

Part of her was warmed by his faith. The rest was just terrified. But if he was willing to help… She made a split-second decision. “I need a piece of equipment delivered to the Courts. I don’t know who I can trust there any longer. It’s highly specialized, so I have no idea how quickly you’ll be able to find it. I need it there yesterday.”

Something warm kindled in his eyes for just a moment. Then he was all business again. She described the terra-analyst’s rig to him.

He nodded. “It shall be done as you command.” He picked up her bags and led her to the waiting glide. He spoke briefly with the driver and sent the transport on its way.

What an odd encounter, she thought as they zipped through the midday traffic to the center of the city. Somehow, he’d managed to completely distract her from her worries about her brother, the pending confrontation in the Courts, and even the baby nestled under her heart. She felt stronger than she had, more sure of herself.

She would get control of Andiri for her brother.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Left Behind and Loving It gets rolling!

Lynn Viehl (aka Paperback Writer and author of mundo SciFi (S.L. Viehl), Paranormal Romance, Christian Fiction (I think) and I'm sure other stuff) is starting her Left Behind and Loving It (LB&LI) virtual workshops today. Everyday this week she's having writing workshops online at her Paperback Writer Blog and giving away some incredible prizes to anyone who goes and participates in the comments section. She's also encouraged other writers and wanna-be writers to hold workshops of their own, so at the bottom of each day's post you'll find links to that day's workshops at other sites. Go. Learn. Become a better writer (or just learn something about the process of writing. Win prizes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stuff and Things

Well, she's now officially J6.0, as of yesterday. :) My first baby... Sigh.

Yesterday was productive for me in getting Historian's Calling polished up. I had to rename it because of other books out with the same title - not exactly surprising with a one-word title. :) If it actually gets to the point of being published, it might get renamed again. But Historian's Calling is the new working title. Gladiator's Legacy is what I'm currently going with for Quint's book. I've dropped in the rest of the scenes to support the idea that Colfax really is a threatening bad guy, and I've tried to fix other logic issues as I went. Thank goodness for critique partners. I know my mom would say that some of the changes they suggested were completely unnecessary (thanks, Mom!), but I think the ones I chose to concentrate on are making the book stronger, and that's what I'm all about.

It's getting there!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Fashion Police - Daycare Raid

Apparently sometime last week, J5.119999999 was involved in a fashion sting at the daycare. The daycare director, who is also probably J5.119999999's favorite all-time teacher, Ms. M, wore an outfit that didn't include matching shoes. Gasp!!! Now, just so you understand, Ms. M had an altercation with her lawn-mower a few weeks ago and she lost. She's got one foot in a cast, so she can only wear one shoe in the first place. She's already stumbling the line of not-matching everyday thanks to her cast. And last week she fell on the wrong side of what's allowable for my daughter's educational hero.

But it wasn't just Ms. M who got caught up in the fashion fracas. J5.119999999 got called to task as well and had to defend her own apparel. Here's how the altercation went as far as I can tell:

J5.119999999 to Ms. M: "Ms. M! That outfit... it just doesn't match."

Another child to J: "J5.119999999, wasn't that you wearing stripes and plaid together earlier this week?" (YES! Another child said this, and let me state for the record that I told J that it didn't really match but I was overruled that day.)

J looks down her nose at the other child (probably hard to do because J's on the short side), sniffs and says: "I made it work."

I kid you not! This whole story was a shocker to me. The other kid grilling J about her stripes/plaid choice, and then J's supreme confidence in her own style and that the outfit doesn't make her - she makes the outfit. Just loved it!