Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Well, Christmas is over, and the new year fast approaches. I've scanned a few 2011 Top Ten lists and feel so woefully inadequate in my reading. Divergent was on almost every list and I totally agree. Then there were the contemporaries. Yeah... Not my thing. I want more, the paranormal/supernatural/something other in my reads. I could probably do a list of Top Ten Stinkers easier than I could do my own Top Ten, but I won't stick my head on any chopping blocks.
But I will give you my Top Five favorite reads this year:
Across the Universe
Die for Me
The Iron Fey series (read them all this year)
Come on, 2012!! There are SO many books I'm anticipating in the coming months. What about you? Favorite reads? Anticipating a great one?
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Well, I think y'all might now by now, when I get quiet on here, Facebook and Twitter it's because I'm in over my head in a story. Well, I am so totally in over my head, and loving it! The dark atmosphere, the beauty of twisted characters and the heart-wrenching romance... My agent and I are playing this one really close to the vest, so the only hints I'll give are the picture above, and it may or may not have something to do with Gothic Fiction, and I call it NewToy online. I'm sharing the playlist, thinking maybe you can get a feel for the story through music. Some songs are for sound, some are from her, some are for him, all get played over and over.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Y'all know I'm a HUGE Leah Clifford fan. She rocks, and her books do, too! I've been trailing behind her snuffling up any A TOUCH MORBID crumb she drops. Well...she dropped the motherload on her blog, with a contest to win a copy, too!
Go HERE for A Touch Morbid description and to enter the contest!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Are you a member of #YAlitchat? A member of the First Five Pages critique group there? If so, you can go read the first five pages and get the scoop on the longline. If not...WHY NOT?! YALitChat is full of amazing content for YA writers, including peer critique groups for your query, your synopsis, first five pages, and more! If you're a YA writer, check it out: YALitChat
Friday, September 02, 2011
Fringe meets True Blood, but with Weres taking a leading role.
Anything-but-typical teen Avery Frost experiences body-torquing pain with every full moon. Her geneticist father insists it's all in her mind, and keeps her locked away at home when the moon is full. Avery knows he's hiding something, from her and from himself.
It's been four years since the Nightbreeds outted themselves, creating an uneasy 'separate but equal' society. Avery fears her agony is an indication she's the next one who'll shift and be hauled off and locked away at the all-werewolf Fulsom Alternative Academy. But every cycle only brings more intense, mind-shattering, life-draining suffering.
When werewolf Prime Thorn Mitchell catches Avery's scent, he knows she's Wolf, alright, but there's something off, something not quite right. His job is to reveal her for what she is, force her to enter Fulsom and accept her breed. The revelation creates utter chaos and misery. Avery's father is kidnapped for the work he's been doing, work that will reveal the lies he's told her her entire life about who she is. What she is. She is the pinnacle of a scientific experiment that will bring the Nightbreed packs to war. An assassin stalks the halls of Fulsom Academy, assigned with making certain Avery, and the threat she represents, is eliminated.
As a broken Wolf unable to shift, with secrets lurking in her genetic makeup that could either save her life or kill her, Avery turns to the boy who destroyed what was passing for her 'normal' life. Together, they try to find her kidnapped father and assemble the missing pieces of the mystery of her birth to allow her to shift into what she is to become, or die.
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Monday, August 01, 2011
Anyway, I'm back today with a little diddy for y'all, an entry for my friend's Heather Howland's A Picture's Worth a Thousands Words contest, complete with the picture that inspired the piece.
He’s down there somewhere, I think. Just left me behind…
And I hate him for it.
There’s no coming back from Hallow’s Lake. Sure they dredged the lake and retrieved Dashel’s bloated, discolored body. I know he’s still down there. His sighs wash ashore with every wave, his laughter dances in wet mocking tones around the pillars beneath my feet. It’s easy to imagine the gull’s cry is Dash’s too. But Dash never cried until that night.
I slouch to the dock, the water soaking my dress when I slide forward and dip my feet in.
I wish I could feel the chill like I used to, or feel the bubbles tickling my toes. I can’t. There’s nothing beyond the aching heart in my chest, I’ve been numb since Dashel left. I hate him for that, too.
The sun drifts on it’s lazy path from the sandy beach to the east toward the twilight trees on the west shore. Just past noon, I droop to the dock and slide my legs along the edge. My fingers dangle in the water, distorted beneath the surface. Please Dash, just a brush of your fingers…
Sunlight rolls in soft rumples of the surface. An oval of light beyond my reach takes on features until Dashel’s face is achingly close and so very far beyond my reach. I watch the ghost reflection move closer, until the wavy blond strands of his hair enclose my fingers. A sob catches in my throat, and I wish the tear I feel burning my eye would fall and give me some relief.
Dash, I think.
His lips curl into the smile I loved.
Despite my ache, my want to be in his arms, this is all the closer we can be.
Everything changed the moment he plunged beneath the surface.
One more smile, a light in the darkness he left behind for me, and Dashel’s apparition dissolves back into the placid blue waters of Hallow’s Lake. A gull cries for me. No sound squeezes past the lump in my throat. I’ve been mute and empty for too long now. I know the moment I lost everything, but I can’t remember when it was. A week? Months? My hollow forever stretches ever on.
The sun flirts with the edge of the shadowed trees in the west. Beads of burning light wave like a dancing necklace in an evening breeze that doesn’t touch me. Nothing has touched me except the pain in my chest for so long now.
What I wouldn’t give to feel the sun, the water.
What I wouldn’t give to return to the moment life veered forever off course.
I rise as every night since, my feet splashing silently in the water slicking the dock. I used to fantasize about falling in, drowning like Dashel, but we’re stuck in this loop of me needing him, him being just beyond reach. The shoreline rises in white sand hills, tufts of biting beach grass and twilight shadows that have become more familiar than life. A familiarity I never achieve.
A jittery sensation skates my nerves, an echo of the fear I felt that night.
Even the entirety of that feeling is denied me.
Ahead lie, not the source of the fear, but the reminder.
Deep black brown stains the dock boards just a few feet from the shore I cannot touch. The first time I saw the stain it was wet crimson, shiny with my blood and peppered with the chunks of the car’s windshield.
Now it’s a flat, dark reminder of all we had before. And what I cannot go beyond.
I’m compelled to repeat this cycle until Dashel or I can move past the fight that brought us to this lakeside purgatory. My feet drag forward, the bruising evident beneath the hem of my dress. The skitter along my nerves increases, a itch just out of reach that deepens with every inch closer to the stain on the wooden slats.
My toe brushes the edge, and twilight sucks in a breath. Then, a broken china doll, I collapse to the point where my life bled out. Karma yanks me back to the ghost of Dashel’s car where it smashed into the guard rail.
The lakeshore twists savagely around me as my death rewinds to the moment where I screamed, “Dashel, NO!”
He couldn't hear me over his own sobs.
You see, I broke his heart when I told him I wanted a break.
Now, we are both broken by the deaths my arrogance caused.
The car crashed into the guard rail. The momentum launched Dashel through the windshield and into the water, and flung my body to the pristine dock.
Where would we be if I hadn’t wanted something new?
Dashel would be alive, his soul not trapped in the lake where he drown. I would be alive, maybe happy and content in the light of his smile, instead of cursed to haunt this dock, always aching for what I wanted to give away.
Now I can’t even tell him I love him, though my dead and aching heart tells me that truth with every moment.
I love you, Dashel.
I loved you then...
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Those who know me know I do not get up on a soapbox very often. Today, I'm on the box, with a megaphone, so be warned.
Twitter was awash with #YASaves this morning, and seeing as I follow the YA writer's community almost exclusively, I saw a lot of outrage and fighting back. When I drifted to FB I found a soft-spoken, tad sorrowful status update by Alison from Egmont USA and decided maybe I should check out this article.
It starts out with a mother going to a B & N and being horrified at the amount of vamps and weres and lurid covers. Poor mommy. (sarcasm totally mine) My mother would be lost in the sea at night, too. If you don't know what you're seeking, it's all going to be dark and threatening. Don't go out and bad mouth what you don't know or understand.
I reached this line:: Entertainment does not merely gratify taste, after all, but creates it :: and stopped reading.
Really, Mr. Article Writer??
Entertainment does not merely gratify taste, after all, but creates it?? Pardon me but, fuck that noise. My daughter is 15, inhales YA lit about vamps and weres and other dark things and she is not becoming what she reads, and does not just seek out more of the same. Our loved-like-my-own-daughter family friend is 19 and reads the same as my real daughter. Hell, we all share the same books. They are both virgins, don't date the bad boys who do bad things, don't do drugs, etc. How is this a symptom of what they read creating what they want to read, or creating who they are becoming?
Yes, there is bad language in YA. Yes, there are shadows to peek into in the YA section of the local bookstore. Yes, there are bad things depicted in graphic realism. Yes, there are books of loss and despair. They are not our teens, our teens are not becoming them.
Yes, there is bad language in the YA community-I have teens, I hear it everyday. Yes, there are shadows to peek into in the YA section, where a bright light of inner strength shines. Yes, there are bad things depicted in graphic realism where growth and survival of spirit win out. Yes, there are books of loss and despair where new beginnings and love shine through.
The world isn't pretty. Teen life is occasionally ugly as hell. Don't try to deny it by denying the worth of the darkness too visible to those who do not want to admit it exists.
Wanna know more? Search the #YAsaves hashtag.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
1. I have two long parallel white scars angling across my forearm from a bad mopping incident. Lying to myself and saying I liked the quiet, alone time, I used to clean houses before I decide to seriously pursue publication. The houses were pretty, mostly upscale cottages on Lake Michigan. One of the last times I cleaned I fought a mop and the mop won. The sponge head broke off and the metal it was screwed to ripped across my forearm. Then, I had to clean up the blood with cleaning rags. Yippee.
2. The gold band on my left index finger is my Dad's wedding band. After he passed away it was the one thing I said I wanted. I got my creativity, my work ethic, and capacity to love beyond faults from him.
3. I have a stuffed animal addiction. Wanna make me happy? Bring me a stuffy.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Chelsey Street should ring with my hurrying footfalls. The fog swallows all sound, sucking away my harsh breaths as if I’m not even here. As if I’m already dead. And, with Joshua walking calmly away from me, I may end up that way. Frozen, a Phoenix no more.
Joshua knows what he’s leaving. Me. Our tangled, tortured summer months. Our past lives, too. And he’s leaving me to the one soul he’d always tried to protect me from.
“Josh!” I scream, but he never looks back. “Don’t leave me,” is a useless whisper.
My heart aches with every step he takes, and clenches when the fog erases his presence as if he’d never touched me. In the space of one breath, the night shifts from heartache to breath-catching panic. Chills icier than the October fog pour down my skin and I know I am not alone. Aric is close. That familiar pressure dances on nerves I didn’t know I had until I met him, until he awakened something ugly and sharp-toothed in me.
Shreds of thoughts cut through my mind, pretty poison. The same siren call that rings in my soul, flows in my veins and always, always misses my heart. Joshua is there, my talisman against the darkness.
Aric’s beautiful forever is a bitter hollow promise. Forever without Joshua is eternal torment, and yet he left me, unwilling to engage in a fight we’ve fought before. A fight that left us both dead...
I'm thinking this may become a scene for a book I'm plotting with my daughter. ^_^
Saturday, March 12, 2011
So, I decided I'd do the same, and show y'all the spot that always makes my writer's heart sing. Below are a few of my favorite pictures of Polly Falls, a private cottage in teeny weeny Shamrock, WI. The falls aren't very high, and we spend a lot of time sitting on them in the hot weather. There's such an essential energy in the water and singing through the stones...it's SO worth the 8 hour drive. Just thinking about it makes me itchy to go back!
So, I hope you enjoy the pictures, maybe feel a little inspired yourself.
Oh, by the way, that's my own little YA inspiration at the bottom, not a water nymph ~_^
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Gratitude is one of the major positive forces in the universe and the more you show, the more good you will have in your life to be grateful for. Did you know that? The universal symbol for gratitude is a spiral, and once you realize it, you will see it everywhere... Go HERE to see what I mean.
So, without further preachyness I give you a few of the things I find to be thankful for today:
I'm grateful for the rotten cat who constantly pesters me to hold him, because when I do I'm forced to take a little break.
I'm grateful for no news on the submissions front, because (at least right now) there are no rejections to bring me down.
I'm grateful for the partially empty cupboards and fridge, because even though my day-before-groceries choices are limited, I still have choices.
I'm grateful that even though I still haven't had "the call", I get to do what I love every day and explain it away as my job.
I'm grateful for my friends, far and near, because they bring joy to my life in ways I never expected.
I could do on and on. Can you? Visit the Oasis and see what others are Thankful for.
Jump in the Spiral, and share your path!
Friday, February 18, 2011
Which way to go?
Maybe it's symptomatic of being a WIPaholic. Eventually, there will be a moment where you wonder, "Do I stay with this one? The market is overloaded with this genre now. Do I write this other one that's unique and fun and a challenge? Do I try this other idea?" For me it goes like this: Dystopian? Revamp old paranormal? New guy's POV paranormal? Time travel? Shiny new idea that's not formed yet? Oy! Too many ideas!
I used to worry that I'd run out of story ideas. That's clearly not the case. So, I worry that those ideas are all just in the wrong genre at the wrong time for the market. Which leads to the worry, will I ever be published that way I'd like? It's the worst place to be and makes the liquor cabinet look really pretty.
I'm not sure where it leaves me, really. What I know is I crave to plunge head first and lose myself like I did with RESONANCE, and FORESIGHT before that. Anyone else battle with the ponders? I can't be the only one.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
AND, Leah is having a contest to win a signed copy!! (squee) There's lots of swag, too but I want THE BOOK! Click HERE to check out her contest--which is what I did, and why I'm about to tell y'all something crazy I did. And if you know me, I am SO not a crazy-stuff-doing person.
I'm a born and bred Michigan girl and anything above 80 degrees is pushing evil in my cool lake water opinion. So, what did I do? I spent a summer in my late teens in Little Rock, with my oldest sister.
One sweltering afternoon, I sat wilting in the Arkansas heat alone in my sister's house. She'd gone house hunting out of state with my military brother-in-law and left me at there house with a to-do list a mile long. Painting. Cleaning. More painting. Oh look! More cleaning... Well, I was damn tired of paint brushes and cleaning products, so I decided to head to the craft store a few miles away. Mind you, I am a tad bit directionally challenged, and due to being a big chicken, I also didn't have a driver's license.
Non-wilting craft projects are equal to emergencies, right?
Well, that's what I told myself, since my sister had left the keys to her car "for emergencies."
Craziest thing I've done? Driving a car, without a license, out of state, with no one around to bail my butt out of jail if I got caught and no insurance in case I caused an accient.
Was it worth it? Hell yes. I didn't get caught--though I did fess up when my sister returned. And, I felt liberated! I picked up a craft to keep me busy. (Yes, I'm a nerd :oP) Plus...I felt LIBERATED!!
There. Confession's over. Do you think I'm a heathen now? *snort* Now, go on and enter that contest!!
Friday, February 11, 2011
My Oasis for YA sisters and I are throwing a Valentine's weekend swoonfest! So, for your That's YAmore reading pleasure, I give you a bit of a longer first kiss scene, because like my friend Heather says, it's all about the build up...
My pulse quickens when she steps from the bathroom. The light halos her curves as she stands barefoot in this grungy motel room looking like a goddess in nothing but scrapes, bruises and my spare T-shirt. Suddenly, I want to crush her to me and cover her up. She’s too damn pretty to be in this place, with a guy as tainted as me.
“Come here, Zain.” She curls a finger and I stand, kind of numb, wanting to follow her and thinking I don’t deserve it. With a sigh, Zoe steps to my side and takes my hand. “You’re bleeding again. Let me clean you up.”
“Don’t worry about it.” I shift a glance from my shoulder gash to her temple. “You are too.”
“No big deal. It’s just a scrape—” She shoves me onto the bathroom counter and stands between my knees. “Your cut’s worse, and I don’t want you bleeding on my only shirt when you kiss me.”
“Your only shirt?” I can’t stop myself from tugging on the hemline and brushing her skin. I pull her closer, just a few inches of air between us. My heart rate ratchets up a notch. Kiss her? That’s the stuff of dreams, not dirty no-tell motels. Still, the temptation…her curves, her lips… “Who says I’m going to kiss you?”
Smiling and peeking at me through her eyelashes, Zoe crouches to fish through the cabinet beneath my butt for the first aid kit. Tingles follow her fingers over my knee when she puts the case on the counter. Her hip, and the cotton of my shirt, brush the inside of my thigh when she turns back to me. God, sitting here and not pulling her to me is going to stop my heart—again.
“This is going to sting,” she says, and pats an alcohol soaked pad over the cut on my shoulder. I suck in a sharp breath, but that’s all.
“So…” I look into her eyes and fight the magnetic pull between us. “You wouldn’t feed me in the hospital when I was broken and bandaged, but you’ll play in my blood?”
“Zain?” Her eyelids dip, giving her a dreamy expression, but her voice is alive with fire.
She presses the gauze pad to my cut, and I can’t help but wince.
I snap my lips closed. We’re inches apart and I want her too bad to touch her. Zoe’s free hand rides up my thigh to the hem of my boxers, then skims the fabric and slides up my stomach and chest to my cheek. She’s so close all I see are her eyes, and her breath warms on my lips. The distance, this closeness, is too much and not enough. I lift one hand from its tight grip on the countertop, and rest it on the curve of her waist, pulling gently with my last two fingers touching her bare skin.
Her eyelids close in a slow fall. The tension in her hand increases as she pulls my face to her.
The first gentle brush of her lips is a feather-light electric shock. The T-shirt rides up her back when I cinch her to me and deepen the kiss. She inhales through her nose and abandons my cheek to bury her fingers in my hair. Sliding my hand up her back, and my butt off the counter, I stand and we’re a tangle of arms, legs and hands that don’t know where to rest in a dingy bathroom. The moment couldn’t be more glorious. I’m kissing Zoe Morgan!
The gauze falls to the floor when Zoe throws her other arm around me. The soft press of her chest against mine is enough to make me want to hold my breath, and Zoe to me forever.
Then, all too soon it’s over. We break apart at the same moment, both of us breathing hard. I twist a finger in the hem of my T-shirt where it brushes her hips, and she licks her bottom lip, red and little puffy from kissing me.And here's links to my CP's That's YAmore posts:
Or, you can click HERE to take you to the home post and the big link link.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Most everyone here knows I'm writing YA romance and that my agent has submissions out. What y'all might not know is I also occasionally write erotica under a pseudonym for Samhain Publishing. Well, that penname has a release this May, a dark, gritty urban fantasy, and I just finished the first round of edits for the novel. Three character POVs, all werecreatures and all in past tense, very adult language.
VERY different from the YA I've been working on.
And today I wrote a scene out of sequence for The Oasis for YA's That's YAmore! blogfest starting this Friday. This scene was a major departure from adult romance, and the regular YA...this was a kissing scene from a teen guy's POV! Teen guy, check. Kissing, check. Present tense, checkity check check.
From a murderous werewolf, an uncertain werecat, a kickass hybrid in past tense to a romantic teen guy in present tense. All in one day! Drop brain in blender and hit frappe. >_<
Looks like a movie night. My mind needs to unwind and reboot to single teen POV.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Little did they know, I'm aiming for a bit different audience. I'm thinking more along the lines of Beautiful Creatures, The Replacement, even I Am Number Four--basically guy's POV, but still some romance.
Of course, I plan on working those suggestions in. Sounds like a damn good time to me!! Then while those ideas were stewing around, I watched a Twitter Pitch Fest held by a few agents. It got me thinking, so I boiled the concept down to a single, 140 character pitch, and I was off and running.
So, I sat down and roughed out the first chapter of a guy's POV with a concept I've also been dying to play with. I cleaned it, honed it, teased out a thread to follow, then tested it on a couple YA guys. 17 and 18 respectively, and they both said they want to read more. (I know what you're thinking, "two isn't a good representation," but they are big readers and would've told me if it didn't read right for them as a guy character.) So... Woot! Their thumbs-up was a great encouragement to keep on with the story. My new CPs are busy, and I'm not sure they'll want to look at a partial, so I'm flying blind for a while.
And having hug fun getting in touch with my masculine side. *snort*
Monday, January 17, 2011
Man I can ramble, can't I? I really should be writing. Dystopian? Boys' POV para? hmmm Time for the WIP Roulette!
*spins imaginary dial* Alrighty, peeps, time to be productive.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
From RESONANCE (out on subs):
I sat in the shadows of the auditorium wishing I could throttle Shaina Weston.
From A SLIGHT CASE OF DEATH (Work In Progress):
Death is not how I planned to end my night.
From DRENCHED (in revisions):
If Purgatory is between Heaven and Hell, my seat in Advanced Chem was Purgatory Central.
And from TRANFERENCE (Work In Progress):
(set up to favorite line)
Alarm sirens wail above the ration line in the town square. The breathy shriek pierces my ears and a shudder slides down my spine. The peal pitches higher, and my fight-or-flight instincts dump adrenaline in my veins. I should stay in my place. I should act like the rest of these Commoner puppets.
Doing what I should will be the death of me. (favorite line)
Now I really should do something productive. Yesterday was a total wash in the productivity department after some news from my agent. It still boggles my mind, but I think I've calmed down enough I may be able to write!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Aaron's sarcasm is honed to as sharp a point as government-issued knife. His lean, likes to think he's mean, but Aaron has a small problem. Seventeen year-old Isilen Temple, criminal by birth and Aaron's next target, is the one person he cannot see with his mind and she refuses to be silenced without a fight.
The chemistry between the characters is rife with all kinds of tension, and has been damn fun to write. so once the housework is done, I'm opening a file and going to get lost!
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Pour the coffee and back away slowly. This could get ugly.
I'm not sure how other writers do this part. Mine has varied story to story. The dystopian idea came out like Athena fully-formed. The original idea for RESONANCE was a little tinkering. This one looks like its going to be a tinkerer too.
And that's all the time I have, Hubby is home with vension to package up.
Monday, January 03, 2011
The holidays are over. While the gatherings with family and friends are always nice, I'm kinda glad to see it finished. No more running around. No more sewing--unless I want to. No more cooking for parties and such.
I've critted two books for my Savvy CP's: LEAVE ME BROKEN by Heather Howland and WHERE POPPIES BLOOM by Katy Upperman. Both are amazing in their own way: LMB is a gut-wrenching emotional rollercoaster ride that leaves you aching. WPB is sweet and spooky, and the prose is so engaging I might just read it again. Then, there's Jus Accardo's GATEKEEPER and Oasis girls' stories to read, too. Plus, there's books to write and books to revise. Busy, busy, busy.