Monday, October 31, 2011

She Knows Death

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

The piece I'm posting takes place after a traumatic experience my MC had with somebody who's supposed to be one of the good guys. Here she is having a conversation with her aunt.


“Unpleasant doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what it was like. I can’t even describe it and I don’t think I want to.” I shuddered but shook it off. “He knows everything?”

“Yeah, and so do I. Why didn’t you ever tell me? Maybe I could have helped you.”

“And what would you have done. Made it go away? Patted me on the head when I was seven and told me to stop telling stories like my parents did the one time I told them that somebody was about to die? I was a child and being rejected by my own parents was enough. I wouldn’t risk you doing the same.”

“You’re still a child,” she said sadly.

“I haven’t been a child in years.”

We sat in silence, uncomfortable, until she spoke again. “Honestly Kaila, I don’t know what to say to you. There’s no way I can fix this but-” She went quiet and narrowed her eyes. “What’s wrong? You’re pale.”

“Well, if you know everything then you should know that Night has been giving me trouble lately and she’s very unhappy about what I did yesterday.”

As soon as I finished that sentence I followed it by a groan as the walls of my stomach tried to hug each other. I made it to the sink in time not to get any coffee on the floor. Max walked over while I was preoccupied with emptying the contents of my stomach, and rubbed my back.

“I’m so hungry,” I whispered. My head was resting on the cold surface of the sink’s rim.


I straightened up and looked at her. “I’m hungry. All the time. But she doesn’t give me enough time to actually keep anything down, much less digest it. I eat all the time but somehow her timing is always good enough not to let me starve to death. I’m at my end, Max. If this doesn’t end soon…”

S.P.Y. Mission: Princess Protection

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

In this scene, undercover Agent McKay, who has been assigned to protect the Princess of Tartan, is finally at her wits end with the treatment she's been receiving from the bratty royal teen. During a fencing lesson, Agent McKay's fury unleashes and so does the princess's:

I start attacking. Full out fencing. Princess Emma catches my change in play and nimbly moves away from my advances, and then counter-attacks. I can feel her fury as she lunges. I parry. She lunges again and our foils cross. She hits my foil again, and I meet her strike. She continues to hit my weapon and our game dissolves into sword play.

“Halt!” Jean Paul shouts. “Halt!” but we ignore him, both of us completely lost in our fight. I strike my foil this way and that, each time Princess Emma meeting my weapon. Now she is on the attack and she presses me backward across the courtyard until I am nearly up against a garden wall. Smoothly, I surprise her by ducking and rolling, and then quickly jump back to my feet. Princess Emma’s foil hits the wall – ha, ha! – but she rapidly recovers and turns to meet my next strike.

We hit several more times, the sound of foils clashing echoes across the courtyard. Vaguely I’m aware of Jean Paul shouting in the background for us to stop, but we fight on, both of us skillfully attacking and counter-attacking. Princess Emma swipes me again, this time on my arm. That prissy, little witch! I lower my fighting arm and meet her next strike.

Then, Princess Emma changes tactics and charges straight at me with her foil. She hits my chest with such force, the foil bends and she loses her grip on the weapon. The foil springs off of my jacket and flies back over her head.

We stop, stunned, watching the foil tumble to the ground. Princess Emma looks back at me and I’m afraid she’ll come at me with her bare hands. Instead, what she does next throws me completely off guard.

Princess Emma begins to laugh.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beyond the Black Veil

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here. 

This is a steampunk Urban Fantasy. My character, Sabrina, finds she is able to travel to another world and she has come and gone from this world in order to find her cousin. In this scene she has just popped in at a spot that is just a bit dangerous. Fortunately for her the man she has dealt with is there to save her. I've streamed lined this to fit 300 words.

When I felt the pull at my solar plexus, this time I was ready for it. It was like riding a carnival ride you'd done a hundred times, but still never got used to it. It happened quickly, almost instantly. One second I was in my bedroom, the next I was standing outside, on a brick street in a village on a gray day. It was like I'd gone back in time.

Someone shouted, “Watch out!”

At the same moment, I heard a deafening sound whooshing and chugging very close by, and the ground rumbled beneath my feet. I felt an intense sensation in my body.

I looked around, clueless. Then a loud whistle blew and it twirled me about to find a big black locomotive, with smoke billowing out its huge stack, bearing down on me, becoming bigger by the second. Holy crap!

As the engine surged toward me, blowing the whistle, with the squeal and scream of the brakes applied to the steel wheels, and white steam issuing out of the top and sides of the behemoth, for some reason my feet couldn't move. For one blinding second I saw myself kissing the front end of a hot iron horse.

Suddenly I was grabbed and hauled off the tracks in the arms of a guy who smelled like lavender spice, and wore silk. I have no idea where he came from, as I hadn't seen anyone; all I saw was the huge black engine approaching.

“What the hell are you trying to do? Kill yourself?” Jett's voice arrowed down at me angrily.

“Jett?” I said as I looked up. Thick brows nearly met in the middle. His dark eyes looked like hot obsidian about to spout fire. I didn't feel threatened. I didn't exactly feel safe, either.

Rivers Underneath

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.  

Set up: After Emma and Gabriel almost kiss, he becomes really distant. Feeling rejected, she agrees to go out with Patrick, even though he gives her the creeps. Gabriel finds Emma at her job to explain why he's been acting so strange and to warn her about Patrick.


Emma pushed the creaking cart of book out of the elevator and braced herself to hold it steady as it went over a bump under the threadbare carpet. Alone in the oppressive silence of the third floor, she paused to slip on her headphone.

The weak light from the overhead fixtures did little to dispel the shadows haunting the library after dusk. Most of the staff avoided the back stacks after nightfall, but Emma doggedly pushed the cart toward the last rows. She squinted, trying to read the spine of a thin volume.


She startled and knocked several books askew. “Gabe! I didn’t hear you.” She pulled off her headphones.

“Are you alright?” he asked, reaching out to steady her. His fingers wrapped around the same spot that stung from Patrick’s cold touch. Warmth spread through her body, melting the ice in her veins. She shuddered as the cold left her.

“Yeah, fine.” She stared at him.

“I’m sorry about,” he hesitated. “About everything.”

She turned away. “You don’t need to be sorry.” She moved a couple books on the cart.


The catch in his voice made her look up. His eyes caught hers and she leaned toward him. They stood alone in the darkened corner of the library, hidden among towering shelves of ancient texts on Latin and Greek.

He touched her face, a tender, cautious gesture. “You look scared,” he said.

“I am.”

“I’m so sorry.” He leaned his head against hers.

She placed her hand against his chest. The heat from his body radiated through every inch of hers. The rest of the world faded until there was nothing but the two of them, wrapped up together in an insulated, isolated moment, and she felt a dizzying need for more.

She dropped her hand and pulled away.

Friday, October 28, 2011


For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here. 

**He has come to her room to see why she's upset. Lots of confessions coming with this scene. They both belong to a secret society called Chargers where he's a Lead, and she's a recruit.**

“Ever since I noticed you, I’ve been plagued with the desire to be with you, touch you. Then when you were invited to Chargers, I suddenly got to. You finally knew who I was after looking through me for so long.”

His confession knocks the wind out of me, and I lean forward to draw a breath. He’d been noticing me all this time, and I hadn’t even given him a second of my life. “That’s…rough to take in, Treston. I was blind.”

“No, I try hard to be a nobody at school.”

“Everyone at school is a fool, because your act isn’t that great.”

He pouts. “You just know me now.”

“You’re right. But I don’t know how I missed you.”

He squeezes my fingers. “When I marked you, I was so shaky I thought I’d mess up.”

“I don’t think that’s even possible?” My lips curl.

He stares at my bedspread. “You mess me up all the time, Simone. I thought for sure you’d notice my feelings. Whenever we did anything, I chose you. Your invitations. Bringing you to headquarters. Watching you for judging.”

“No, I thought you despised me.”

He’s silent. Like he’s digesting the conversation. “How could you think that? You always caught me staring at you. The night I tried to help you after Andre kicked you out of his truck, I thought for sure you knew of my obsession for you.”

Obsession? Oh my God.

I take a deep breath. “No. Every time I saw you looking at me you seemed angry. I thought you hated me, so I tried to hate you back.”

His face clenches. “Never have I felt a negative thing for you. What you saw was my feelings for myself. I felt so pathetic, the way you affected me so completely.”

All She Needs is Love

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

In this scene, eighteen year old Emma brings eight year old Gigi to the diner where she works. Their relationship is new and Gigi is just beginning to weasel her way under Emma's hard exterior:

“As long as you don’t get in the way, you can hang out here. It’s probably a lot more fun than the church.” Was that a really bad thing to say?

Gigi laughs and water comes out her nose, all over her fries. Gross.

She barely gets out her sentence through her giggles.
“I’m done with everything anyway. You’re funny.”

That’s definitely a first. Ms. Shep comes to grab our plates and Gigi turns to me with wide eyes.
“Knock knock.”

Is this kid for real?

“Knock knock,” she says a little more forcefully, waiting for me to respond.

Mrs. Porter responds from her other side. “Who’s there?”


“Water who?” Mrs. Porter continues with a giggle.

“Water up your nose doesn’t feel good.”

Is that supposed to be funny? Mrs. Porter and most of the other guests are laughing, but it didn’t even make sense.

Gigi giggles, her wavy blond hair bouncing up and down as she holds her hand over her mouth.

“You’re turn!” She’s looking at me. My turn to do what?

“Tell a knock, knock joke,” she pleads.

“I don’t think so Gigi. I’m not good at them.”

“So what?” she says with all sincerity.

“Yeah, so what,” Ms. Shep chimes in from the end of the counter.

I give her the stink eye. Then my gaze falls on Gigi.

“Okay, okay.” She’s got a knack for making me do things I don’t want to do.

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there!” she yells.


“Doris who?” Gosh, the girl’s got pipes. I feel like I could plug my ears and still hear her just fine.

“Door is locked. That’s why I’m knocking.”

Gigi falls to the floor in a fit of laughter and there are even a few moments I wonder if she’s able to breathe. I can’t help but smile when I see her squirming around down there.

“That’s. So. Funny,” she cackles.

Chasing the Taillights

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

Here's one of my favorite passages. In this scene, Lucy has hysterics when her brother takes her back to their house for the first time since their parents died:

I step toward her, hands out in a peacemaking gesture. “Lucy, please…” I get no further. She throws whatever’s in her hand in my direction and I dodge out of the way. The glass jar shatters against the wall and jasmine scented face-cream oozes toward the floor. My mouth drops open. It’s worse than I thought. If that had hit me, it could have killed me, or at best, knocked me out. Dropping to my knees, I crawl in her direction, but she sees me coming.

“Why can’t you leave me alone?” she wails, hurling more objects at me, forcing me to duck and protect my head with my arms. A plastic bottle of shampoo bounces off my left elbow and several cakes of soap rain down on my spine. I don’t think I sparked this. No, this comes from somewhere deeper. It’s like she’s lashing out at everything she can’t cope with. I’m just the one who happens to be here to see it.

With only one hand, she can’t hold many missiles, so I take advantage of the moment she needs to reload and dive at her, grabbing her around the legs. She’s caught off balance and stumbles backward into me. I wrap an arm around her again, making sure this time to keep her pinned against me.

“Calm down, Lucy,” I tell her, dragging her across the tiled floor toward the door. I know what I need to do. “You have to stop this. Now.”

She fights, but I’m much stronger and she can barely move within my grip. I’m being rough with her, but can’t think of any other way to deal with the situation. I open the shower door and shove her in, turning the water on full-bore. Her eyes widen when the icy torrent floods over her, the shock making her sit upright.


For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

Charmingly wicked half-demon Meda hides form Hell’s army in a school for demon-hunters—who mistakenly believe she’s a saint. The demons attacked the school to get Meda and three students helped her to escape.

Meda has done some bad things in her short life, and believes she’s irredeemable. She’s never had a friend before. Jo is a clever Templar girl who’s bitter and mean because she was previously badly injured, and, as a cripple, can never become a “real” demon-hunter. The two damaged girls can’t help but start respecting each other, then become friends, as the story goes on. In this scene, they’ve stopped for some fast food and get toys from a little coin-operated machine. Previously Meda had met someone that she mentally referred to as “the man behind the curtain” (there’s Wizard of Oz references throughout) and she (half-joking) wished for a heart:

I pop open my plastic egg, and inside is a tin heart. Mr. Wizard heard my prayer! But what’s this?

“It’s broken.” Damn you, Mr. Wizard.

Jo peers over my shoulder and plucks it from my hands. “No it’s not. Haven’t you ever seen these before?” She struggles with the thin cheap chain, then frees the mass of slick shiny snakes into two necklaces. Suspended from each is half of a heart, cracked right down the middle. “See, 'best friend'.”

She hands them to me, and indeed, each heart has one of the words. Great, so I have two broken necklaces.

She laughs at my expression and explains. “You take one half and your BFF gets the other.” She points to where they hang them between us, one from each of my hands. “You want 'best' or 'friend'?”

“You’re my best friend?” I’m horrified.

She raises an eyebrow. “Oh I’m sorry—you have someone else in mind?”

No. “Wait, I’m your best friend?” An interesting accusation.

She snorts. “I think you might be my only friend. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but…” she drops her voice to a whisper, as if she is imparting some great secret. I like secrets. “People sometimes find me hard to get along with.”

Well, that’s no secret.

“Naw. I don’t see it.” My eyes are wide and innocent.

She laughs. It’s hard to hate someone who so freely embraces their horridness.

“So which do you want?” I ask as I dangle them between us, tin tokens of friendship between a demon and its hunter.

"Obviously, this one,” she snatches up the one that says best, leaving the other one to me. “I think it best defines me as a person,” she says loftily.

I rub my fingers over the small scratched letters before slipping it around my neck. Friend. I wanted this one anyway.

A Single Feather

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

I must admit I LOVE writing about the 'bad guy'. In this scene he (Pili) has swindled his way into becoming chief. He had to call off his arranged marriage to MC Kila because of the island's caste system. She's not exactly torn up about it:

For a moment she let herself wonder what it would be like to live here, as Pili’s wife, lying on that bed. Kila shivered and looked up to Pili who stared at her. She looked him straight in the eyes, her own narrowed at him, and asked him boldly, “What have you done?”

Pili smiled at her brashness and came to her. “Now there is my Kila.” He reached for her face but she took a step back.

“I am not your Kila,” she said. “Not anymore.”

“No you are not, unfortunately.” Pili pulled his hand back and sighed. He fingered the feathers on the edge of the cloak about his shoulders. “It’s these idiot rules. Royalty cannot marry commoner. It can be very frustrating at times, can’t it?” Pili looked at her as though he held a secret he was trying hard not to reveal. “No matter. I am chief now. And there are ways to get what I want. Rules can be bent, stretched.”

Pili came behind Kila and swept her hair up off her neck. Kila’s hands were balled up, her body so tight it shook under its own pressure. She knew she pushed at Pili’s boundaries when she looked at and spoke to him so rudely. But he was chief now, somehow, and she didn’t know how far she could push. He could have her killed instantly if he wanted.

She felt Pili kiss her, softly, on the back of her neck. His hot breath on her bare skin stung. He ran his tongue along her shoulder, his hands now clutching tightly at her waist. Kila squeezed her eyes shut, using every ounce of energy she had to keep her feet on the ground instead of kicking up behind her into his groin.

Paternity Warfare

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

Chapter 15 of my Russian novel, "Paternity Warfare," the shortest chapter, has always been my favorite.

Female MC Lyuba has just gone to work in a brothel, only to make money, not because she enjoys the work. She has left her year and a half year old daughter Tatyana in the care of her best friend and on-again, off-again boyfriend Ivan, the male MC. While Ivan is forced into the role of Mr. Mom to the child he's been raising as his own since the night she was born, his former best friend Boris, Tatyana's birth father, comes to their boarding house on his second illegal visit back to Russia after immigrating. He catches them as Ivan is helping Tatyana with her croup. Ivan isn't going to surrender his child to anybody, and lets this guy know it! (Most of his lines are in bold italics in the original, to show just how livid he is.)

“Hello, murderer. Do you mind if I take back my little girl?”

Iván turns white in fury. “You! Who gave you permission to enter this house! You dared to come back here illegally a second time! This is my child! You abandoned her before she was born! Get the hell out!” He sets Tatyana down on the floor as soon as she starts breathing normally again and storms toward Borís, hitting him with the back of his hand.

“Were you this furious as you killed Basil?”

“Get out! How dare you claim she is your daughter! I am the man who raised her all her going on eighteen months on earth!”

“What’s going on?” Ginny asks, running into the hallway.

“This bastard Borís has come back to wreck more havoc in our lives!” Iván gives his former best friend a push backwards down the stairs. “Get the hell out of this house before I kill you, you dryan, you súkin syn, you worthless piece of govnó!”

Tatyana starts crying at the loud noise.

“You see what you did?” Iván scoops her up and rocks her back and forth. “It’ll all be over soon, my precious little tsarévna. Just as soon as that man gets out of this house. He wants to take you away from me, but there is no way in the world I would ever give my angelic little girl away to anybody!”

“I was the one who got Lyuba pregnant,” Borís growls from the bottom of the stairs. “She’s mine.”

Iván hands Tatyana to Ginny and jumps down the stairs, scaring his former best friend to death. “Her last name is Koneva, and her patronymic is Ivánovna! Her last name is not Malenkova, and her patronymic is not Borísovna! Get the hell out! I will never let you take my child away from me! I have adopted her in my heart! You abandoned her and almost caused her mother to miscarry her at least five times during the pregnancy! I was the one who had to take care of her after you’d beaten her up to make sure the baby was still moving! You, I wouldn’t even trust you to be her godfather after we’ve baptized her when we’ve gone to America!”

Warped Mirrors

For Oktoberfest contest rules, go here.

Warped Mirrors is a paranormal comedy set in a Scottish country mansion where a young boy encounters who he believes to be his older self while falling in lust with the man's girlfriend. Hard to pick any particular scene, but here is one perhaps that might give a feel for this story:

And if they were somehow part of such an old fashioned Christmas scene, anyone admiring that particular greeting card sitting on top of their snooty fireplace mantel would get the shock of their lives when they saw just what was in his pantaloons.

In the library, Mr. Bennett, Julian and Gloria sipped brandy and smoked the cigars that Julian had brought back from Cuba, somehow their stench acceptable to the soft furnishings in the lounge whereas anything as cheap as cigarette smoke was not. The younger Julian thought it funny indeed to see a woman with a massive cigar in her mouth; sensuous even, as he watched her sitting cross-legged on the huge desk sucking away at it, throwing her head back every now and again, blowing smoke high into the air, allowing her throaty laughter to escape without choking as they all looked at the book Mr. Bennett had been so enthralled with earlier; something in it highly amusing her, taking her by surprise occasionally. And in-between times, she created the odd absent-minded smoke ring; sending personal messages for him to meet her in her wigwam later so that she might put into practise some of the diagrams on the Kama Sutra Temple walls in the book that they were flicking through.

"Tell Sister Aloysius to teach that to her students,” she roared, pointing at something or other.

Julian thought he'd caught a flash of her dark lacy knickers as she kicked her legs back in the air. Yes, how very unlike Mrs. Bennett she was, but then, he’d always believed they’d mixed him up at the hospital too. It happened, after all, but except for some obvious genes in terms of features, he’d turned out nothing like his two brothers and sisters either. Yes, they were all quite happy to be urchins, all but begging in the street they lived in, while he precariously preened and paraded his peacock colours amid unfriendly territory - just as he was about to do in Prussia, which, if Steven continued his unethical and over-exuberant drunken dictatorship, could end in very real warfare - just like that which had happened between his mother and aunt earlier.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



October is my favorite month of the year, and the only way I could think to make it better was to hold a contest. And this one’s a doozy. It will be judged by the wonderful Angie Workman, Cedar Forts Acquisitions Editor. Get to know her here, including the types of books (pretty much everything) Cedar Fort is looking for.

Angie is asking for your first chapter (up to seven pages). She will review all chapters and select a winner. The winner will receive a full manuscript submission, and I will be giving additional prizes for second and third place winners.

In addition to your first chapter, I am asking for your most favorite scene from your manuscript, up to 300 words. One day your manuscript will be published and we will all be able to look back and remember when we were lucky enough to read the awesomeness of your novel. 


  1. Must be a follower of this blog.
  2. Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or on a rooftop (must supply picture for us to laugh at).
  3. Email your first chapter either as a PDF or Word document to If you do not receive a response back that means I didn’t get it. Send it again.
  4. Respond in the comment section of this post with your first name, a few sentences to set up the scene (if you need it) then copy your most favorite 300 words.
  5. Come back and respond to two other entries after I’ve posted them to, you know, give advice or make your fellow writers feel good.
  6. The contest ends Tuesday, November 1st.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Acquistions Editor Interview

The time has come. That "something big" I mentioned before. I will be holding an Oktoberfest Writing Contest, and instead of consuming large amounts of beer we will be chugging copious amounts of words. Not the best comparison, but you get the idea. It will be a whole chapter worth of words plus some.

I’ll give more details about Oktoberfest on Tuesday when the contest officially begins. Until then, let's get to know our judge, the wonderfully talented Angie Workman who is the Acquisitions Editor at Cedar Fort Publishing.

Tell us a little about Cedar Fort Publishing.

Cedar Fort, Inc. is located in Springville, UT and has been in business for 25 years. We have a strong presence regionally, as well as nationally. We have over 200 bookstores and distributors that buy books from us, including: Deseret Book, Seagull Book, Barnes & Noble, Costco, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and WalMart.

How many and what kind of books does Cedar Fort publish each year?

We publish 120 books a year, so we are a fairly large publishing house. We publish both nonfiction and fiction titles.

How does Cedar Fort help market an authors book?

We have a full marketing staff that assists our authors in scheduling book signings, events, and blog tours. In addition, every book is given a complimentary (for the first year) web page and will have review copies sent to appropriate media outlets and influential bloggers. We buy ad space with KSL radio and TV, as well as magazine and newspaper ads for books and authors who merit the additional marketing expense. We also subscribe to a website dedicated to making digital advanced copies available to reviewers called NetGalley. Bloggers, librarians, media professionals, and educators can read a digital copy of the book before it is released and help get traction going online for pre-sales, blog tours, and media outlets.

Along with what we provide, we strongly encourage our authors to use all the resources and networking strategies they have as well. As any publisher will tell you, the success of a book lies with the authors. The more time and effort they are willing to put into marketing and selling their book, the more successful they will be.

Who are some well-known authors who have been published by Cedar Fort?

David Ridges, who writes the Scriptures Made Easier series, is our bestselling author. Another one of our highly successful authors is Wendy Paul, author of the 101 Gourmet series (Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cake Bites). Additional recognizable titles are: Jimmy Fincher Saga by James Dashner, Shattered Silence by Melissa Moore (as seen on Oprah), The Shell Game by Steve Alten, Food Porn Daily by Amanda Simpson, Agent Bishop by Mike McPheters, Real Mom Kitchen by Laura Powell, The Hashbrown Winters series by Frank Cole, Dynasty of the Holy Grail by Vern Swanson, and the Beyond the Veil series by Lee Nelson.

You are Cedar Fort’s Acquisitions Editor. Can you tell us what that entails?

As an acquisitions editor, I am responsible for performing the initial review of the manuscript. If I feel the work would be a good fit for our company, I present it to our editorial board. Once I receive the approval from the CEO to publish the work, I then begin the production process with the author. This includes: processing the contract; receiving the required documents from the author; communicating with the author our final decision regarding the release date, title, and packaging of the book; and ensuring that the author's questions are answered appropriately.

How did you come to be an editor?

The publishing business is quite competitive, so I felt very blessed when I received acceptance for an internship at Cedar Fort. After about six weeks as an intern, I was offered a permanent position in the Acquisitions Department. I have been working here for about a year and a half.

What types of books are you looking for?

We typically publish 7 nonfiction titles and 3 fiction titles each month, so our highest priority is always nonfiction. In publishing nonfiction, we look for a solid author platform. This includes a detailed marketing plan, a strong social media presence, credentials and teaching experience in the author's selected topic, and the ability to obtain authoritative endorsements. Since we don't publish many fiction titles we look for a really well written manuscript, a highly intriguing plot, and the author's commitment to market his or her book.

Are there any trends you see growing, expanding, or contracting? Do you see trends change quickly?

Trends do come and go. Since the fairly short time I've been with Cedar Fort, we've gone from not publishing any YA fiction to publishing quite a bit of YA fiction. I've also seen the trend change from publishing only stand-alone novels to publishing series.

How much time do you spend actually reading as part of your job?

Some days I don't have time to read at all and some days that's all I do. It all depends on the number of emails, phone calls, or meetings I have that day.

When you do have a free day, how do you spend it?

Even though most of my job consists of reading, I still love to read when I'm not at work. I like to read the bestsellers, so I can compare them to what we publish. We want to remain competitive in the publishing business, so we take the market very seriously. I feel it's an important part of my job to be familiar with the current titles. I just wish I had more time.

What is the worst part of your job?

I'm not a big fan of public speaking, so presenting each week at our board meetings is probably the worst part of my job.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is to see a book I really love become successful. I also love that I have a part in assisting an author fulfill their dreams. I am truly ecstatic about the release of Fractured Light! I can't wait to buy it for all my family and friends!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fractured Light Blog Tour

Hello friends!

Need another book to read?

My publisher is filling up slots for the Fractured Light blog tour. If you're interested in reading and blogging about it, sign up here. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big news and Third Challenge

My last post hinted at something big. And it's coming. All good things do right before Halloween. But I will give you a hint. You will need, not your first 250 words, or even 500 words, but your whole first chapter (up to seven pages). And everyone will have a shot. The sorting hat has left the building folks. So get ready.

Moving on.

I'm participating in the Third Campaigner Challenge. Rules? Person at beach, bored, something stinks, use made up words synbatec, wastopaneer, and tacise, 300 words or less. And here I go:

On an Island Far Far Away...

Luke jumped when the electric sky cracked. Rain sliced through the air like ice picks, stinging his skin. Where were his stupid friends? He’d been trapped on this island for three hours with nothing to look at but water.
            He thought about trying to fix the ship, but the tide had come in, and he could no longer access the ships engine.
            What’s with this rain? he thought and squinted into the dark sky. Any more of this and he’d like look like a wastopaneer by morning. Better seek shelter.
            Luke climbed on top of a nearby boulder and looked around. Figures. The whole island was one massive rock. He wiped at his face. The storm was growing stronger.
            Luke jumped down--and almost on top of a giant sea cow. His foot slipped on a torn piece of flesh still clinging to the bloated cow by a long tacise. He shook his head, willing himself not to consider it.
            Lightening split the sky again, raising the hair on his arms. The sea cow was his only hope. It’s not like he hasn’t done this before, he reminded himself.
            Luke unsheathed his knife and stabbed it into the cow’s gut. A rancid blast of gas and liquid sprayed his face. He coughed and proceeded to saw through molded blubber; blackened intestines oozed out like a squeezed pimple.
This was all her fault, Luke thought. She was supposed to be gifted like him, but he’d been calling her this whole time and she had yet to respond. Probably making out with his best friend in the engine room again.
            Luke removed the rest of the cow’s rotten synbatec and climbed inside.  Leia would never hear the end of this.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bad Bookisms?

I've read a lot lately about bookisms. What are bookisms, you might ask? They are the tag at the end of dialoge. For example, "I hate you," she hissed. Hissed is the bookism.

In the writing world, it's a big no-no to use bookisms. Common ones are: cried out, shriek, bawled, laughed, sniffed, shouted, whispered, explained, screamed, demanded, whimpered, etc. You get the idea.

But how bad are bookisms really? Obviously if they are overdone, they can be very distracting to the reader. Your dialogue should be strong enough that your reader doesn't need to be told what your main character is doing when when she speaks.

That being said, you can pick up just about any book and find bookisms. It's the writers that really notice and are annoyed by bookisms. Ask your average reader and most likely they could care less if a character "hissed" something. It's the writers that say, "How can a person hiss something? Snakes hiss, not people." Or I've heard writers say, when seeing the line, "You're funny!" she laughed, how can a person laugh and speak?

Readers are smart. They don't take everything literally. They're not thrown out of the story because of hissing and laughing. BUT as writers and professionals, we really should try to avoid them.

What bookisms bother you?

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Hooded Man

As an obsessive writer, I can't help but make a story out of everything I see. I mean it. Even when I wash the dishes, the knife in my hand turns out to be the murder weapon used on the previous tenant's wife. I found it hidden behind a paint can in the garage. This morning it was the man in a black hooded sweatshirt.

It was early. I had just dropped the kids off at school and was driving home. Sunlight danced on the tops of the newly changing leaves, and I couldn't help but admire for the millionth time how beautiful Maine was in the fall.

I leaned over to grab the sippy cup my two-year-old son had just thrown into the dashboard, but stopped. A freakishly tall man walked in the middle of the street, the black hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. I slowed my car and drove it to the right to keep from hitting him. His face lifted as I passed, and my gaze met his. 

I knew this man. I felt it in every part of me. Even my bones began to ache of something long ago forgotten.

"Mama!" my son yelled.

Time sped up. I steered the car into the driveway and shut off the engine. Opening the car door, I had every intention of getting my son, but I just had to catch one last glimpse. Maybe I had imagined it all.

The man was almost at the end of my street, but stopped as if he'd sensed my gaze on his back. His whole body turned in one fluid motion and he said one word: "Commoneo".

A pain stabbed at my head; an ice pick drilling into my brain, cold and foreign. I fell backwards, but just before I hit the black pavement, I remembered.

A war was coming and I wasn't even ready.

That's all. Please let me NOT be the only person in the world who does this. Am I? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Moving Mayhem

Thought I'd do a quick post and give those of you who have been following my moving saga an update. So twenty days came and went and our belongings still hadn't arrived. I called the moving company and they said there wasn't room for our stuff on the "big semi" that's heading out east. It was full of other families stuff.  On top of that, the company "went out of business" and can't make any more deliveries.

First question: "Where is our stuff?"

His answer surprised me: "In Idaho."

Me: "It's still in Idaho?"

Him: "Yes. In a town called Chubbuck." (He said the word like it was Chewbacca.)

Me: "But that's fifteen minutes from where we lived."

Him: "Uh-huh."

Me: "So we paid you $4000 to move our stuff 15 miles away?"

Him: "We went out of business."

Me: "How do I get my money back?"

Him: "We went out of business."

Me: "That's what I hear.  What's your last name?"


I guess it could be worse. We could've lost everything. Luckily we found the storage unit and all of our stuff was there. Since we can't afford to have it shipped out again, I had family send us the bare essentials to get us by at least for awhile. I was really sick of drying my hair in front of a swamp cooler and wearing the same clothes over and over like some groundhog day nightmare.

I'm trying to go after this moving company but the attorney's in Maine won't touch it. I put a call in to the California Attorney Generals office. They're "filing a complaint."


Totally random question: Any of you guys New Englanders?