Friday, October 29, 2010

Where's My Eye-patch, Dammit?

Almost time to dig up my blonde wig and comb it out, but I never found a samurai sword... Maybe no one will notice. I may need to get a new eye-patch, since I have no idea where I put it, and I can't be Elle Driver without an eye-patch, but I can get a nice comfortable one at the drug store. Go figure. Anyway, you can never have too many eye-patches. I've been trying to get my friends to dress up as Beatrix Kiddo and Gogo Yubari, but apparently those costumes involve a little more work than mine.

Anyone else going with a group theme? Wizard of Oz is classic, but once in college I went to a party where I ran into the cast of Seinfeld. I mean, if you saw these people separately you wouldn't say "Hey, that guy is a ringer for George Costanza." But together, It was eerie how they really made it work.

Funny how it's the little details that make a story work, too. Like when I try to reread The Hunger Games since Mockingjay, that damn cat Buttercup gets me so choked up I can't even read the first chapter. The way Scott Westerfeld and James Dashner use made-up slang to pull us that much farther into their world. I'll always remember that witches are bald and have purple eyes and wear square toed shoes so their boxy feet will fit from Roald Dahl. It may have saved my life once...

Details like that are part of the reason I'm unplugging for November. *ducks decorative gourds*

No, it's not to do NaNo, but I want to wrap up my wip, and I feel like I need to devote more of myself to it than I have been. I need to write 40-50K words, and I want them to be good ones, so I feel like this is the perfect time to unplug with so many others around here fading into their NaNo projects. So, Auf Wiedersehen, so long for now, and don't eat too many peanut-butter cups, my lovelies. Save some for me! ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Best Reason to Keep Blogging

Everyone probably has their own answer to fit this superlative, and it's no secret that there are a ton of reasons to keep blogging. The social part is wonderful—when it's not a time suck or a stalling tactic of course. I've met a few people who have changed my life, literally, by helping me polish my manuscript for Evangeline.

I also like being held accountable: like, Holy Frijoles, there are actually folk out there who might notice I haven't been blogging! And those same people keep me motivated to write new stuff.

But more than anything, it's helped me find my voice. Blogging might not actually count as "writing" (it definitely shouldn't be added to your daily word-count, cheaters! ;D ), but I think there comes a point after you get out those first few thousand or so rusty words where you realize that it's YOU shining through the lines of text. It's YOUR voice your friends and minions, er, I mean followers, are attracted to, as if you were James Earl Jones reading Lolita (You CAN'T tell me you wouldn't buy THAT audio book, can you?).

I know now when I'm writing something that sounds authentically like me—something someone else would want to read—and when I'm writing something that would make an instruction manual writer yawn. I like that I can do a quick read-through before I click "publish post", and spot repeated words I've repeated. ;) When I take the time, that is. And a simple study of recent posts can also help identify crutch words to look for in my manuscripts.

Best of all, I've decided that I like being me, the original, unique person I've always been, but have been too shy, or afraid no one out there will get me. Now I'm free to be me, to share my special brand of weird with my adoring minions. Come and get it while it's hot!

What's your favorite reason to keep blogging?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: What Happens Next?

Remember Cass, the heroine from my new WiP? No, not the one with the eye-patch, that's Chance. ;)

This is the as yet untitled contemporary-steampunk (is that even possible? I'd love to hear any opinions about that) I've been working on for a few months. Cass's mom's a witch, but she's not. She doesn't know anything about her dad. All she even has of his is a key she never takes off.

Poor Cass was in a heap of trouble when we saw her last (this sounds like it should be read by the guy who did the voice-overs on Dukes of Hazzard, lol), evading the strange men who are chasing her by running into her crowded garage. Enjoy!

I took a moment to breathe, then crept toward the back door that led to Ma’s garden and the woods beyond. Woods where I’d played hide and seek, and capture the flag with Jody and the other boys all my life. I could hide there much longer than in the barn, and maybe they’d waste enough time looking for me in here that I’d be able to get a good head start. There had to be at least two of them, maybe more.

Muffled yelling came from behind the closed garage door and I ran to the back as fast as I could, leaping over broken tools and the rusty old riding mower I used for parts to keep the good mower working. My foot came down hard on an uneven surface—who knows what—and my ankle turned. I stumbled to the ground. It didn’t hurt yet because of all the adrenaline running through my body, but it would. I couldn’t put any weight on it. I’d never even make it through Ma’s garden, much less into the woods. I had to hide.

A light, a loud humming, and a smell like burnt matches distracted me from all that. My stomach twisted into knots. Were they going to burn down the garage? With me in it?

A huge white circle formed in the middle of the garage door, like a giant searchlight, or a second sun. Before my brain could even make sense of the light, the noise, and the smell, a shadow darkened the bright circle. A leg stepped into the garage, right through the door like it wasn’t even there, followed by a body and head. The guy from my kitchen. A brief jolt of satisfaction rippled through me when I saw the cut on his temple, before the circle faded from the door and we were both left in darkness. I gripped the solid metal barrel of my flashlight and tucked myself into the shadows of the hulking mower.

He must have tripped over something because he swore. It wasn’t English, though, and I didn’t think it was Spanish. He fumbled for something that lit up. It hadn’t been a flashlight. I ducked even lower behind the mower. I’d never wished to be able to use one of Ma’s spells more in my life. But what else could I do against a guy who could pass straight through an aluminum garage door?

The light moved toward me and I wished I’d listened to Ma when she told me to keep Thor, our German Shepherd, here with me. Then again… these guys had obviously done their homework, and if Thor were here, they would’ve had a plan for him, too. At least he was safe, but I was getting in deeper by the second. The guy drew closer, whispering something in a foreign language.

My ankle felt puffy and tight under my sock. There was no way he wouldn’t see me open the back door. If I’d been able to run, I might have gone for it anyway, and relied on my instincts to hide out in the woods until they gave up. I was a sitting duck with this ankle. Even if I could knock this guy out with my flashlight, another would come for me next, maybe more. Who were these people?

Over the years I’d seen Ma and the sisters do some pretty serious spell-work. I was open to the idea that anything, from Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster to werewolves and vampires, might be real. Male witches, on the other hand, were the stuff of myth and Harry Potter novels. I’d never heard of anything like these guys. This couldn’t be good.

He was just on the other side of the mower now and headed toward the back door. There was no way he wouldn’t see me. I gripped the flashlight like a baseball bat. As soon as his knee passed the mower, I swung at it and connected with a loud thunk.

The guy let out a yell and crumpled to the ground. The illuminated object he’d dropped shattered, but the crystal-like fragments stayed lit. He yelled foreign words, and then his eyes met mine, all dark and wet. I’d really hurt him. I pushed that out of my head, stood up—trying not to limp on my ankle—and raised the flashlight in front of me.

“Wait!” he called to me. “We don’t mean to hurt you.”

“Why should I believe you?” I wanted to inch toward the back door, but he didn’t need to see I was injured. And a part of me was curious about why he was here. A smaller, quieter part thought he looked kind of hot in the low light, blood and all.

“You’re right, we’ve given you no reason to trust us.” His eyes were slick with pain, which made him seem more sincere, but I knew how hard I’d whacked him, twice, and his knee had to be swelling right now something fierce. “This is not the way I would have done things.”

“Done what things?”

“We need the key you wear around your neck.”

“What? Why?”

 “Your father is in trouble.”

Dun-dun-DUN!! Hope that wasn't too cliffhanger-y this time. ;) 

So, do you think a story like this could count as steampunk, or does that genre absolutely have to be set in the Victorian Era? Can you have a contemporary paranormal with steampunk elements? I promise there will be a lot of steampunk elements, as well as a healthy dose of witchcraft. What do you think? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Sometimes life just gets in the way of writing. This weekend was one of those times.

I had planned on cranking out about three thousand words this Saturday. Know how many I actually wrote? ZERO. Nada. Zilch.

It's not that I was all that busy, but I never had the chance to sit down and write. There were too many distractions, and not enough time to concentrate on my WiP. Too much was going on in my personal sphere and there was just no good time to sit down with Cass and all my new characters.

Here's the thing, though. Yesterday during lunch I did some plotting, and completely changed my idea of how the scene I hadn't written over the weekend ought to go. I decided the way I had it planned was too boring, and now I'm writing something new. I only wrote about three-hundred words yesterday, but I'm feeling more motivated to write towards this new idea.

It makes me wonder: if I'd been able to sit down and write this Saturday, would I have thought of this change sooner? Would the muse have been kick-started into action? Or would I have just written the scene the original way, thinking everything was fine? Would I have written it and not felt like it was boring? Confused yet? ;)

My last post was all about how making yourself sit down and write is better than waiting for inspiration to strike. This week, I'm so not feeling the Butt-In-Chair philosophy, and the guilt is starting to set in, but at least I'm making some progress.

Not sure what the point of this rambling little post is. Maybe that sometimes the muse knows best, and you should listen to her or you might miss the mark like poor Fido up there.

But I do know this: sitting around waiting for her to inspire isn't going to get you through any hoops. Or tires. ;)

Has your muse been A.W.O.L lately? Do you make yourself write when you're not inspired? If so, how? I'd love to hear it.

Turns out there's a guest post over at Michelle McLean's blog today on a similar subject, only written in a much more lucid style than my post. What can I say, I was sleepy this morning. ;) Check it out!