Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to the Grind

Yeah, the fun vacationing part of my holidays are over. Now it's back to the new job and trying to get back on track with my writing. I've been less than stellar with that for the past few weeks. I want to get back to writing everyday and I have GOT to get back into editing some of my work that's piling up. That's what's on tap for later today.

Yesterday I was having problems coming up with the right background for a chick in a paranormal romance novella-sized work I'd like to tackle. It's been simmering in my head for a month or two now and I've gotten to the point that it's really starting to gel. I decided to try to actually write out her background from her grandfather's viewpoint. If it turns out decently, I'll post it in its entirety (prob as a short story) here on the website or if I can come up with a worthy ending, I might even enter it in a contest. The initial intent is simply to lay the groundwork for her relationship with her Poppy and make sure I can portray it and his effect on her life correctly when I go to write the work concerning her later years. There might not be a stupendous ending to it. We'll see.

Anyways, here's the start of what I wrote yesterday. Tell me what you think. Would you want to read more?

No one had bothered tracking Rory Slade down when his son Madison died in the skiing accident. They hadn’t thought he’d care – that was how active he’d been in his son’s life. It wasn’t something he was proud of, being a deadbeat dad, but he didn’t know if he really could have done anything differently either. Amplifiers usually didn’t do well amongst families. If he’d stayed, he’d probably have done more harm than his absence had.

So when Madison and his wife, Clara, died while on vacation and his granddaughter, Gale, was left parentless, it was weeks before he heard. When he found out, he finished out his current contract, refused all the waiting ones, told his contacts to remove him from their call lists, and had all his belongings shipped home.

He missed the funeral by a good month and a half. It took him another two days to track down the aunt and uncle who’d taken Gale in. Sadly, it had taken no time at all to convince them that she should live with him. They just didn’t know what to do with a child like her. He knew it would only get worse as she got older. The poor little sprite was an amplifier just like her Poppy. He couldn’t leave her to the world’s tender mercies. He might be completely unsuited to raising her, but he was all she had. And before long, she was going to need him.

A more frail, sad-eyed four-year old he’d never seen. Not that he’d been around many young kids, but he knew this wasn’t normal. The last time he’d seen her, some four months previously, she’d been a typically happy, if quiet, child. Now she was more of a breeze than a gale. She hardly spoke, she was sickly, and she wore the trauma of her parents’ death almost visibly. Had she seen them die? Felt them pass from this life? Did she have that post-traumatic stress syndrome or whatever the shrinks called it? He’d have to find out. God only knew what that would do to a budding amplifier.

The aunt and uncle - Mort and Maggie or something like that – packed up a couple of woefully small bags for the chit. Surely that was wrong. Didn’t little girls have lots of frilly things and gew-gaws and stuff? Where was all the shi- er, stuff, from Madison’s home? The M’s sent her off with stilted hugs and more vigorous waves. She didn’t even look back.

“Are you keeping me now?” Her voice was barely a breath of sound in the loud beat-up car. At least it hadn’t taken her long to decide to talk to him.

“Yep. It’s gonna be you and me, kiddo.” Then he added under his breath. “God help us both.”

He had no idea what to do with kids in general, let alone a little girl. He’d look up parenting crap on the internet. McDonald's. Kids liked that place, right? They went there for lunch on the six hour drive to his place out in the weeds of Kentucky. She seemed to like it okay. She ate the nugget things anyways, and clutched the little pink toy whatsit when they got back in the car. Other than that first question, she didn’t speak, and that was fine with him. But if they were going to live together, they had to talk sometimes. He figured it was up to him to get things started.

“You wanna talk about your parents?” he asked after a gruff attempt at clearing his throat.


Right. Big surprise. “How about the aunt and uncle you stayed with for a bit? Were they nice?”

“They were okay. One of their kids bit me.”

“Bit you?” Kids did that to each other? How dare one of those little twits do that to this poor child? He was of half a mind to go back and beat that kid’s ass. Butt. Bottom. Or, hell, whatever you called it that wasn’t a cuss word. Heck. Dam- darnit! This not cursing thing was going to be… heck.

Huh. That urge to go defend the kid had hit him out of nowhere. It was the first protective urge he’d felt in… ages. And his amplifier’s abilities had had nothing to do with it. They were still lying complacent in his mind like a fat cat on a sunny window-seat. “Did you tell his parents?”

“Her parents. No.”

“Why not? She shouldn’t be picking on you.”

“She’s only a year old. Her teeth are coming in.”

“Oh. Was she the little one in the yellow jumper-thing with drool all over her chin?”

“Yeah. Babies drool and bite things a lot when they’re teething, Aunt Margie says.”

Margie! That was it. Not Maggie.

She was quiet for a moment, then added, “I don’t like drool.”

“Me neither.” Did this count as bonding?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Free e-books

Just thought I'd post real quick, to link you all to the Barnes & Noble website where they're offering some e-books for free. Yes, you can read these if you have a nook (mmm, nook), but you can also download their free e-reader app to your PC/Mac or even iPhone device (among others). Anyways, there's a decent selection of classics (can anyone say Dracula, Wuthering Heights, or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes?) as well as some category romances (think Harlequin), a Star Wars novel, some teen fiction, and a bunch of others. It might be worth a look for some of you.

Btw, if you download these to your e-library (linked to your bn.com account) and then get a nook later, you'll already have them in your account. Just so you know...

Here's the link:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So, I Got a Free Cookie!

It was a giant cookie - like 6 inches across, and a soft, sugary mass of chocolate goodness. Did I mention that it was free? My nook gave it to me. I heart my nook.

My in-laws got the Barnes & Noble nook for me for my birthday last month, and I love it. Everything that everyone else loves about it... I do too. And today it gave me a cookie. A free cookie. Barnes & Noble has the in-store content working for nookaphiles. I was in our local B&N and checked out my nook to see what special stuff I could do in-store, and there was my coupon for a free cookie! How cool is that!?!? All I had to do was show the screen to D at the cafe, and I walked away with a cookie and a (slightly) maniacal giggle. I have since told at least half a dozen friends and my dental receptionist about this, and now I'm telling YOU. You think I'm joking about the dental receptionist, but I'm not.

Anyways, my husband has been mocking my giddiness ever since. I don't think it's fair for him to mock me and then eat the majority of the cookie, do you? No. It's not right.

What is right is a free cookie. Only 258 more dollars worth of coupons and my nook will have paid for itself! Or it would have if I'd actually paid for it in the first place...

Friday, December 18, 2009


I've hardly blogged at all lately, I know. The sad thing is that I've hardly written anything either. I'm averaging a whopping 1000 words per week for the last two weeks. Yikes! This full-time job gig has put even more of a cramp in my writing progress than I had hoped. After the holidays though, I plan to devote some time each morning to my writing. For now I'm just trying to get by.

Oddly enough, I'm getting no sympathy about this from my full-time-job/writing-on-the-side friends. Go figure.

And now, brought to you yet again by our dinner table...

E3.8 climbed into her chair for dinner the other day and immediately said, "Ow! My peanuts hurt!"

My husband and I exchanged confused looks. She didn't sound hurt and she didn't have peanuts of any sort, either food or toy related. "Eh?" I said, seeking clarification.

E3.8 laughed and shouted again, "Ow! My peanuts hurt!"

By this time, I knew what she meant. And I could tell by the way that my husband was incredibly interested in the sheet of scrap paper our kids had plastered with stickers, that he had clued into the situation also. I sighed. It was up to me. "Who did you hear saying that?"

"Darius! Darius says it all the time!"

So apparently, Darius at the daycare manages to injure his manly parts on a frequent basis while climbing into chairs. But how do I address this? Avoidance seemed like the best option to me, I mean, she's only 3. Then J6.5 decided to wade into the battle.

Being a first grader, J6.5 is much more worldly than her sheltered and delicate younger sister (cough, cough). J6.5 rolled her eyes, heaved out a put-upon sigh at this evidence of her sister's ignorance, and says with all the superiority an older sister can muster (and I am very familiar with this), "E3.8." Another sigh. "Girls don't have peanuts. Boys do. Darius has peanuts because he's a boy. You're a girl, so you don't have them. And they're right here," she says, pointing helpfully.

Gah! Why me!?!?!? My husband is now hiding behind the Christmas tree. Thanks, dear. We all know that kids can be mean to each other. I couldn't let J6.5 continue with her erroneous naming of the male physiology, because what if she gets mocked for not knowing what the right term is... On the other hand, J6.5 is allergic to peanuts, and is extremely afraid of coming into contact with any. This could be a good way to get an early handle on keeping the boys and their nefarious parts away from my little girl. If only we could be assured that she wouldn't figure out our misdirection before she hits those tricksy teen years. Yeah, probably not much chance of that.

Needless to say, I corrected Julia's mistake, even spelling it for her, at which point my husband decided it was time for dinner and came to the table. End story.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Round-up

With all the preparation for the upcoming holidays, it dawned on me that my fictional worlds needed some holidays too. Obviously they'd have some. Even the most primitive cultures would probably celebrate the changing of the seasons or astrological events or such. Then you've got independence revels, fetes to pay homage to a sovereign, maybe something to honor a particularly critical export or resource that sustains life on a remote planet, heck, even simple market days.

My cultures need some, er, culture. Yeah. :)

Are you guys way ahead of me? Have you already incorporated this kind of stuff in your novels? Have you come up with a holiday that you're particularly proud of?

Good luck in your own personal holiday prep, and best wishes to your fictional characters. I hope they have some fun holidays to stress over enjoy also! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

SciFi Snippet

Hiya folks! I didn't really have anything else to say, so I'm just posting a snippet from my SciFi story, The Sunlands. The following piece falls in place at chapter 9.

Lora entered the Anyaver with something akin to relief. She tugged the head covering closer around her face and hoped that the temporary brown tint to her eyes held until she made it to a room. The gold rims of her irises burned through the dye at an alarming rate. Her clothing was of good quality, but nothing that proclaimed her true rank. After all, why would the heir to the throne of Andiri need to frequent a hotel a short glide trip from her own quarters in the Courts?

To escape. Just for a while.

She approached the front desk, knowing that she would have to talk to a live person rather than simply key her request into a machine. Today’s attendant was a young lady with light brown skin, just hinting at the laska color common to the higher ranked Andiri. Lora’s own skin was pure laska, the light orange-pink of the morning sky on Andiri. One of the new Personal Appearance Modifiers (PAMs) had managed to dull the color to that of an aristocrat for this trip.

Lora inserted a credit chip linked to her alternate identity into a slot on the counter. “One room, two nights,” she stated to the employee.

The young woman’s eyes widened slightly at whatever her screen told her. Then her professional mask returned and a friendly, if curious, smile slid into place. She handed Lora a room key chip and pointed off to the side. “The private lift over there will take you directly to your room.”

Lora raised her eyebrows. That wasn’t common at all but she wasn’t in the mood to argue. “Where do you need my print?” The transaction was keyed to her account via her credit chip, but it needed her fingerprint to authorize it.

“No need. This room is always available to you. You don’t even need to check in or out. Just take the lift on up.”

Before Lora’s tired mind could argue that none of this made any sense, Jorand stepped off the private lift and moved towards them. His strides ate up the distance between them. Somehow he seemed to note everything at once. He directed a passing hotel employee to something that needed attention at the front of the lobby. As he passed by a large potted tree, he plucked off some dead leaves, dropping them in the base. And yet he remained focused on Lora.

When she’d needed to get away from the Courts but still be accessible, this was the first place she thought of. Even if Jorand found out she’d taken refuge here, he would keep her secret. Now she was getting the idea that he was several steps ahead of her.

“I’ll show the lady up, Tennya. Thank you.” He motioned Lora to precede him to the lift, taking her small bag as she passed him. Lora was used to these small courtesies from him. Once the lift doors had swished closed, she turned to him, still peering out from the depths of her head cover. “I have a permanent room here?”

“A suite actually.”

“An entire suite that will hardly ever be used?”

“With a garden.”

“Surely that’s a waste of money and space, Jorand. You’re a keen businessman. Why would you do that?”

He shrugged. “What wouldn’t I do for my Coravi and the guardian of my family?”

She scoffed. “It was an accident that I aided your family a few times. Coincidence.”

“No. It is who you are. You are the Coravi in deed as well as in name. We recognize this and are grateful for it.”

“You don’t owe me anything, Jorand. You or your family. Regardless of my actions, you are the ones who capitalized on it to make your lots better. You might not be at this same place today if I hadn’t played a small part in your history. But I have no doubt that you would have done equally well on your own.”

“Your words are that of a true Coravi, bolstering her subject’s morale.”

She narrowed her eyes at his obtuseness and stalked from the lift when it opened. These people insisted on believing that she was something more than she was. Didn’t they realize what a farce having her as Coravi was?

She didn’t notice his small smile as she strode away.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Head Cold + Writing = Not Much Progress

Yeah, so I didn't quite make my November goal, as you can see from the sidebar. I got bogged down towards the end by holiday prep and illness. But it was a super experience anyways. I'm honestly amazed that I did as well as I did.

End result? I've almost finished my SF novel! I wrote about a quarter of it in one month, and that's super-speedy for me! If I'd met my writing goals, I probably would have finished it. I'm on "The Throwdown" as I like to call it, right now - the big event to end the story. I've also already written some of the wrap-up to happen after The Throwdown, so really, all I have to do is finish what I'm writing and do a little more wrap-up as appropriate. And then I can put "End." on it!!! Yippee!!

Of course, then I'll need to edit it. Just like I need to edit my UF novel before shopping it around some more. After I finish this SF novel I think I'll be devoting most of my time to editing as opposed to writing new stuff. Otherwise, I'll have all this stuff written and sitting on a shelf because it still won't be in shape to send to an agent.

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving if you're in the States.