Thursday, June 30, 2011

Head-Hopping To Do Or Not To Do!

I'll just say it straight out: I have a huge problem with head hopping. I don't like to read it and I don't like to write it.

I find it confusing and off-putting.
My novel was written in the first person and I have won over converts who really don't like first person because I go deeply into other characters despite the one person narrating it. Many times that character ('I') is actually just the narrator so it can be done.

By the way, I like the sound of a narrative that is pulling me into a particular story. I just do. I find I enjoy those sorts of books and stories the most.

The sequel is also in first person, however there is a journal involved which enables me to have an entirely different character discussing, as it happens, his immortal existence.

And just because I like to experiment (and so far, fingers crossed, it's working) I have my main character not only read the journal, but I have her (intermittently) discuss what she's reading with the journal writer as well as interacting with minor characters.

Strange? Well perhaps but it seems to be working so far!

For short fiction, I write in third person and I do not ever head hop. That's just me. If a writer can make it work, that's fantastic, I'm all for experimenting and being daring! I just don't feel it right for me.

Now, a funny thing happened while I was writing The House on Blackstone Moor, I decided to have a portion of the book in the voice of another character, but guess what? My publisher didn't care for it. She did leave it entirely up to me and I took her advice and changed it. I feel that she was entirely right and I was oh so very wrong to have done it the other way in the first place.

Head hopping, no head hopping it's up to the writer's own point of view to decide!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where Is My Head (Hopping) At?

Where Is My Head (Hopping) At?

This week’s topic is interesting, to say the least and, like the adverb, generates a lot of negativity.

I’m talking about Head Hopping.

Sounds like the plot to The Hidden.

Or a weird version of Whack-a-Mole.

Or to something perverted – namely the sight of teenage girls sucking the innards out of crawfish craniums.

By definition, head hopping is where you constantly switch the points of view in a scene by literally hopping from head to head. Some authors can get away with it. Agatha Christie managed to put one over on us with The ABC Murders, but she was, after all, Agatha Christie.

I am not.

Also, many writers, editors and bloggers are not big fans of multiple POV’s per chapter. If so, I’m screwed because my books often have multiple POV’s because my characters stay busy. My plots are more like television shows. A chapter might start out with the boss at a factory discussing layoffs, then move to the shop foreman chatting with his buddies about the situation and finally end at the foreman’s house where his wife and her friends talk about what they’ll do if their husbands are laid off.

I can’t make each POV its own chapter. I’d have 60 chapters. Ditto for scene changes or scene breaks to change POV’s. If the wife is chatting with six others, all of whom are married to important characters, I can’t see creating seven scenes of them all talking about the same thing but from a different viewpoint. Anybody who knows me knows I have enough trouble keeping my books under 100,000 words.

But, these are just my opinions. I googled some things and came across some differing viewpoints, including Canadian author Crawford Kilian described head hopping this way for the blog Writer Unboxed:

Whoever is the point of view for a particular scene determines the persona. An archbishop sees and describes events from his particular point of view, while a pickpocket does so quite differently. 
So the narrator, in a scene from the archbishop’s point of view, has a persona quite different from that of the pickpocket: a different vocabulary, a different set of values, a different set of priorities. 
As a general rule, point of view should not change during a scene. (RR: italics mine) So if an archbishop is the point of view in a scene involving him and a pickpocket, we shouldn’t suddenly switch to the pickpocket’s point of view until we’ve resolved the scene and moved on to another scene.

Michelle Styles, in an article for eHarlequin, took a different point of view (no pun intended):

Right, why then do people go about staying in a specific point of view? 
Why is there all this fuss? 
The reason is reader identification with the character, in other words -- connecting with the reader. 
If the reader is going to be inside a character's head, the reader wants to know which head she is in. It is disconcerting for the reader to be pulled out of the story because she thought she was in the heroine's head and it turns out that the writer has dipped into the housekeeper's head for a moment. 
Or another way to look at it is that the reader is always seeing a scene through a filter, whether it is the filter of a character or even the filter of the ominscient (sic) narrator. Without that filter, the reader has no idea how to interpret the scene. If filters are changed awkwardly, or the reader thinks she is seeing through a specific filter and finds out differently, the reader may get pulled out of the scene. 
Thus it is the awkwardness of the shifts without sufficent (sic) tension/page turning quality that causes headhopping. If there is sufficient page turning quality, the vast majority of readers will forgive an awkward point of view shift. It is really ALL IN THE EXECUTION rather than in some hard and fast rule that says each chapter must be only shown from one character's point of view.

Alas, those who jump all over head hopping outnumber those who see nothing wrong with it, if it is done well. Sort of like the people who want to get rid of adverbs.

Within a very short time, you all will have read (or, hopefully, will read) some of my work – Crawl, They Call the Wind Muryah, Hunters, Slow Boat to China, Land of the Blind and The Light At the End of Time. I am sure you will come across head hopping. Some of you might be annoyed; others might catch on and like it. I have a feeling that most of you will not care either way, as long as the book is well-done.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Multiple POVs, All Male, What's a Gal To Do?

This week we're talking about head hopping. Interestingly enough, this means two things in writing.

One, which is the most common for writers -- you are deliberately switching point of views (POV) to give the reader new insight into a character.

Two - you accidentally do it mid-scene when you reveal something or state an opinion that is outside of your POV, and is therefor a no-no.

I've done very little of the second because most all of my work has been in first person, which makes the accidents rather infrequent. I have been known to make a mistake with an assumptive phrase that was omniscient and the head I'm in could not know it, but for the most part my peers pick these slips up before it ever gets to the reading public.

I never set out to head-hop and write multiple POVs when I started writing urban fantasy. One of the things I love about the genre is the kick-ass female or male first-person POV. Primarily these stories are told from the same narrator's view the entire tale.

I thought mixing up the POVs would be fun and a great way for the readers to get to know the other characters in my series, and trust me, I did the big "no-no" and have a ton of characters! So many that there is a glossary of terms and characters in the book. But, I have to admit, I used to refer to those all the time when I was reading complex fantasy worlds, so adding one to my own work was always part of the plan.

The hardest part for me was doing male point of views -- and being consistent. I have five male and two female POVs in The Hunt, which is releasing this week. The female ones were a breeze, for obvious reasons... the male ones... well, I quizzed my husband a lot, my medical massage therapist who helps with my rheumatoid arthritis and various muscular issues, my friends (dads on my kids sports teams or in my neighborhood), read the status updates on all the twenty-something guys I'm connected to on Facebook through my nephews, and I eaves-dropped quite a bit.

Did I pull it off? The reader will ultimately be the one to decide, but I can tell you it was hard. The hardest thing I've ever done in writing, actually. Most people might think the hardest thing in my writing is present tense, but you get into the groove and once you master the flow you just get better over time.

What did I learn with all my fact finding?

  • Some guys swear a lot, some don't. A few reserve such vocabulary for times of stress. 
  • Not all men think with the dicks, but quite a few make comments and observations that appear as if they do. 
  • The young ones still care what their friends think (even though they like to think they don't), the older ones could give a rat's ass and seem more comfortable in their own skin. 
  • Some men have a tendency to "size up" other men when they meet them (can I take him in a fight), but the majority probably don't.
  • They love to laugh at each other (not with them, there is a difference) and will bust a rib laughing if one of their friends hurts themselves.
  • They speak in short sentences, for the most part
  • They are not overly flowery in descriptors or in compliments.

Men are a lot like women - each one an individual, but with a lot of the same underlying traits. How they speak and act is directly related to their recent environment exposure -- like a college student will act different than a military man of the same age. Yes, one person can be both at the same time, but you're missing my point.

Just like with all of us, our character's pasts reflect how they act in the here and now. In order to write multiple POVs in one story at the same time you must know how that person will react in the situation. I had one beta reader out of a dozen who told me only one of my male POVs sounded unique, and that the rest all sounded alike. But eleven said they loved reading the different POVs and getting to know the characters-- so I went with the majority.

Perfecting the initial chapters with the individual voices took me weeks. I keep going back over them again and again to make them each distinct. In the end, I know I won't please everyone with my work. Perhaps, this reader felt my style of writing lent to each person sounding similar, I'm not sure.

All I can say for sure is I really enjoyed the multiple POVs. Sure, it was hard as hell to plot out the book hopping from one head to the next, but in the end it flowed well -- like a baton being passed in a relay race -- the story moved from one person to the next, never replaying action over the same scene again.

Will I do it again? You betcha.

How about you - do you like to read multiple POVs in books or do you like to write them? Tell me how you master writing the opposite gender!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Okay, this weeks topic has us talking about muligans - do overs. Was there every anything that we did (or didn't do) that we regretted?

Of course! Many things! But, I won't embarass myself here and stick to just the writing side. *wink*

I have to think really hard on this because I don't really remember anything I have done or didn't do when it came to writing that I regretted later. Even if the project I started bombed or ended or closed or whatever the case was, I didn't regret starting it in the first place. Sure, I was sad it didn't work out, but I didn't actually feel regret over the situation.

I guess I do regret dragging The Faery's Tale series around for so long, not admitting what the real problem with the series was. But then again, I really don't. I learned SO much during that time and applied to my other works - that have turned out great!

No, The Faery's Tale series still is not anywhere near ready for publication. I feel terrible I made my crit partners read the first book as it is OMG terrible. Sideplots run amuck all over the place and just took over the series entirely! But like I said, I don't regret the years I spent struggling with it. I learned a lot and honed my craft and was able to craft many other books written with better quality for sure.

So, do I want to call "Muligan!" on anything in my writing career? No. Maybe because I have so many regrets in the other areas of my life because of my past with alcohol and drug addiction, I just don't have the energy to feel regret in my writing life. I learn from my mistakes and move on. How can I regret a situation that helped me be a better writer? I can't and so I don't.

Monday, June 20, 2011

When You Fall Off The Horse...

I love horses.
Hello readers,

This week's topic is "Do-Overs"; regrets, wasted time or money, anything we wish we could do over again. We've all wished we could have a "do-over" at some point in our lives, but since we can't I don't dwell on it. I'm one of those people who believes things happen for a reason. We may not know what the reason is. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. A smart person learns their lesson and moves on. Sometimes this means getting back on the horse and doing it right. Sometimes it means finding a new horse. And other times it means accepting the fact that horse-back ridding isn't for you.

Writing has been one huge continuous learning experience for me. Though I've dragged books around with me since I could crawl and grew up in a library and think Barns&Nobel is the coolest store in the mall, I never gave writing a thought until a few years ago.

I don't have any sort of writing degree. My venture started because I was broke and writing was a free activity. I learned the basics on a little site called (okay, so it's really a HUGE site). I did everything backwards. Every newbie writing mistake in the book, that was my first MS in a nutshell... But I took workshops and joined crit groups and I learned and I moved on. Eventually I graduated to a site called where I took even more workshops.

I started my first blog in 2009 I think. That was a feat all in it's own. I had never blogged before. At the time, I was also afraid to look Twitter in the eye, but now we're best buds. Oh, and I write for five blogs now, one of which is a group blog that I am in charge of, and it's now safe to say I've mastered Blogger.

Editing my manuscript was a B#!$@ and I ended up doing it like twenty times over. Of course now I know about outlines and plotting and making notes in the margin and in a notebook and the difference between Content, Line, and Copy Editing and how you shouldn't do them all at once if you want to keep your hair on your head.

Learning to write a query letter took me about a year and made me cry LOL. I still hate them, but they're a necessary evil. The synopsis was shockingly easy. Don't ask me how I pulled that one off! But I wrote my first synopsis in a synopsis workshop and the instructor ... Ahem... Frankie... loved it.

Now, what am I getting at? Oh yes...Do I wish I could do any of that stuff over, knowing what I know now? Heck yes! Would have saved me a year of frustration and some tears. But I can't do it over, so why waste energy wishing that I could? I can only look foreword into the next step - which for me is balancing writing a sequel while mastering the painful art of self-promotion. Mmm, talk about a learning experience. At least my computer skills are improving. I can almost type with my eyes closed, which is good because the screen is taking a toll on my eyesight.

What about you? What do you do when you fall off the horse, get back on? Walk away? Find a Cheetah? Now if this was a blog about men and relationships, this would a completely different post. *Nods*

Have a good week,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reassing New Year's Resoluations

You know what? I think we need to re-think 'New Year's Resolutions.' Why wait to change things yearly? Why not daily?

I'm not being 'cute', seriously--if there are things in your life that need changing why not just evaluate them and see what you can do about them now? Maybe there are two more things you'd like to add onto your resolution list.

I don't make a lot of resolutions. I make a few at most. Last year I just wanted to finish my book and stop smoking and I accomplished both of those things.

This year I'd like to lose some weight and get my sequel done. I also would love to 'encourage' my husband to stop smoking. Yes, the campaign has begun and he knows it! I go nicely, nicely first!

I think the single most important thing I have found about making any sort of resolution or promise to myself is to have realistic expectations. That said, I think we should all reach for whatever goal we have in mind. I think people can push themselves to achieve things they might not feel were within their reach. 

But as for a set of resolutions, sometimes the very idea of change can be paralyzing. Very often if that is the case we don't achieve what we intended.

Resolve and determination should work hand in hand. 'Should' being the key word.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Clearing the Resolution on My Resolutions

This week, we are giving updates for the resolutions we set for 2011.

So, let the games begin:

A)    To be physically published, not just in e-book form on Smashwords. As of now, Hunters is being prepped for an August release date through Red Hot Publishing (provided I don’t drive the editors to drink).

B)    To find regular employment (no-brainer there) Still a no-go in that department, but I have had some interviews. So, I’ll hang in there and get as much writing done as I can before life intrudes again.

C) Be more sociable and not live vicariously through others. Since I have now added Free Fantastical Fiction and Digital Digest to my plate, this resolution is shot to hell.

An "Odd Life" with Jennifer Garner
D) Get into more movies in meatier roles. Well, I did, sort of. I played a homeless man and, later, a food server behind Keke Palmer in Joyful Noise with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. I was a news reporter (for a change) in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. I played a detective and got to see Minnie Driver in a killer mini red dress and red stilettos in Hail Mary and, finally, I played seven different background roles in The Odd Life of Timothy Green with Jennifer Garner and director Peter Hedges for Disney.

E) Actually read the blogs of all my fellow writers and not skip over the ones written by people who think two initials substitute for first names. Everyone thinks I’m reading their stuff, so I must be.

F) Be even more sociable than before. Just realized that this is the same as C, so I'll change it to a diet resolution. I have dropped from 254 down to 224. In all fairness, 20 of those pounds came when I got the initial edits back on Hunters from C.J.'s editors.

G) Stop letting myself get so riled up by the comments on Yahoo! News. I’m pretty sure the next president will not unite the country because I do not want to be near any of these pinheaded, extremist, racist, one-dimensional, inbred, moronic pricks (pardon my English). Bad luck with this one. I still get pissed off.

H) Change the pictures in my profiles for, FaceBook, MySpace and Wicked Writers. For some reason, certain people think I look like I’m about to either kick someone’s ass or complete a contract hit. Okay, I actually did put up a new picture. Why I look happier when I was at a funeral is beyond me.

You can check back in December to see my further progress, but I’m thinking I’ll still be the same cynical, sarcastic jackwagon. But, I’ll be just as funny.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Half of 2011 is OVER... What Have You Accomplished?

I was interested when I read the topic for this week. My first thought was "Crap, we're half-way through the year already?" Which was followed quickly by "What did I say were my goals?" I went back and read my resolution post and felt pleasantly surprised.

Number one on my personal list was to get healthy. Now, I'm by no means done with treatment and possibly have six months or more ahead of me, but I'm feeling the best I have in years. I sleep better, I have energy, I'm able to concentrate on work and I'm exercising. My body no longer hurts from just existing and when I do something active I don't ache for weeks afterward. I take all the pills the doctors suggest, try my best on the eight liquids, and have resolved to do better with the powders.

I do want to get better and even though I hate all this shit, I'm doing it.

I really don't like to exercise. I know it's good for me, but it's boring as hell and I often feel like my time could be better spent. It will probably remain something I have to force myself to do for a while, but I accept it. Those people who love it always make me feel like I'm inferior for complaining about it. Endorphin rush? Umm... yeah, okay... I'm no dummy. Sex feels better and I'd rather do my sweating with my partner when I'm naked.

TMI? Okay, moving on ;-)

Work goals -- I was pretty conservative in my musings. I wanted to finish book two in my series (check!) and start & finish book three for a November release date (uh... no check mark).

I haven't started book three yet because I did a whole bunch of other stuff instead. I published two erotica novellas, tried various marketing routes involving pricing experimentation, new covers, new blurbs, expanded distribution... and lots of other boring business stuff I won't put you to sleep with. My small publishing company has expanded to take on more writers. We have fifteen in the line up and three are not involved with the Everything Erotic team.

Why is this a significant detail? Because I'm turning all my profits back into the company to help more writers. I pay for their editing and covers out of my earnings. Their royalties don't get cut until their incurred expenses are paid. In essence, my small company truly fills the stop gap between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

Banner for the publishing blog, which hasn't launched yet.

There is no outlay from the author, and there is a signed contract allowing them to keep the rights to their work. RHP only has the rights to sell it as an ebook and print book for as long as the author decides. There is no advance, but there is also no one taking a percentage of your profit. You read that right. The author keeps it all. The company is set up with a zero profit standard, meaning everything is either an expense or paid to the authors.

I liken it to how my broker set up her real estate agency -- it's based on a flat fee set up. The seller can pick what 'services' they need from a variety of offers. The cost is not based on a percentage of the sales price, but a flat fee for services rendered. I wanted my company run the same way.

"Why?" you may ask.

Because it's the right thing to do. I didn't write the book so why should I profit on it? The editor worked for a few weeks on something a writer could have taken years to produce, why does that require a percentage and not a flat fee? The writer is working their ass off to format their book, sell it with blog tours, interviews, speaking engagements, social networking, and uploads their files through all our distribution channels, so why should I get money for their work? A retailer should get paid a set amount, and I doubt anyone would agree to them taking the lion's share just for having the privilege of carrying your book.

Publishing is no longer a game of getting a great big advance check from the publisher and the author then does nothing. Hell, it hasn't been that way for years. Most authors seeking representation have no idea they are expected to turn most of that advance into marketing and advertising to make their book sell. "What, you mean they don't pay for the marketing?"

Well, they do if you're a big name, but they don't if you're 99% of the rest of the published authors on the market today. I've learned most writers dream of their manuscript being picked up by a publisher, but have no concept of what comes after. The smart ones who've done their research have found out -- you must sell your own work and treat this like a business.

Be the master of your own destiny. Learn as much as you can, do everything you've researched, and don't cut corners. Skimping on editing, book covers, advertising and all the rest will only put you with the rest of the people in the industry trying to make it on their own -- way down at the bottom.

My best advice? Save your money and do it right the first time. Set a budget and stick to it. Make every damn dollar count. Get a group of writers together like I did and start your own house. It's not that hard, it just takes time, energy, and knowledge.

Okay, what started as a resolution post has quickly turned into a soap box, so I'll shut up now. Anyone who wants to know about what I've done with Red Hot Publishing, feel free to ask. Anyone want to share their resolutions and if they have done any of them, please do!


I'm running a unique pre-launch promo contest. I plan to give away ten signed and numbered copies of The Hunt (numbers 3-12, 'cause I'm giving my brother the first two). They will be mailed to winners once available, which is slotted right now for early July.

Here is how you enter:  You comment on any blog I do for the next three weeks. I will notify readers when I post on my Facebook business page, and I will Tweet about it. Each comment counts as one entry (only one entry per post, but you can comment more if you'd like). The comments must be made within the first 48 hours of the post going live, and I will post a "closing" comment when the entries for that day are closed.

All entries will be tossed into a drawing, and the participants with more entries have a higher chance of winning. BONUS!! Every entrant who comments on at least six blog posts and does not win a signed print copy will receive a free ecopy when the book goes up for sale.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My First Manuscript by Cherie Le Clare

My poor neglected baby has languished in a dark closet since the day the one and only publisher I posted it to, with trembling knees and high hopes, returned it after many months of agonizing waiting, with a  thanks but no thanks form letter. There was only one spark of hope for me to cling to – they said I was a competent writer. Okay then, why wouldn’t they publish it? Because, they said, it lacked emotional punch.

Having no clue, in those novice days, of what ‘emotional punch’ meant,
I shoved ‘Hidden Agenda’ aside and concentrated on earning money in the normal way. My creative spark stayed squashed for almost a decade before I embarked on a new manuscript. By this time, I’d attended some more writing courses and workshops, and joined the local Romance Writers’ group. Voila! Here I met other writers with the same goals, and received a lot more insider gossip and secrets into the mysteries of the publishing industry.

Now that I’ve had two small novels and five short stories published I like to encourage others on this Cinderella journey, by being both a volunteer judge for romance contests and a mentor for individuals in my group. It’s a pleasure to see others succeed, and members will also empathize and support each other when our babies are rejected.

I rediscovered my ‘ugly duckling orphan’ recently, and feel that, with a bit more polish and sparkle, okay, a lot more, ‘Hidden Agenda’ will excite an editor.

Maybe I’ll rename it ‘From Rags to Riches’.

Cherie Le Clare lives in New Zealand, and has published two historical romances with The Wild Rose Press,  three erotic short stories with Xcite Books, and two contemporary short romances in magazines. She belongs to the New Zealand Romance Writers Inc. Learn more about Cherie at her website

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tempest Exerpt: One of My Favorite Scenes

This is one of my favorite all of my books so far. I think the reason for that is because of the fact that it was never supposed to happen.

When I first wrote the series, Ri hooked up with Rune. Granted, it took four books for both ridiculously stubborn people to figure it out, but they were together. And then when we failed in the final scene and I successfully killed EVERYONE - well, except Ri and Kes - all of the character dynapics shifted.

This was the first time I really glimpsed what Mires was seeing. She kept spouting off about Team Kes and I kept telling her she was insane. However, after this scene, I saw Kes as something a little more than a 1,1013 year old stuffed shirt.

Yes. He's ANCIENT! But it works with vampires. o_O

Additionall, I was able to really delve into the setting description, which I love-love-LOVE to do. So, with no more to say, other than *waves* hi!...*bows and sweeps hand* Enjoy.

* * * *
The world shifted. Lights danced across my eyes and we were walking across the air as though it were a solid thing. The roof fell away and merged into darkness.
My hand was suddenly empty and the boy before me merged with the void. I heard the beating of huge wings, felt the rush of air, the pounding of hooves.
The world of black swung and turned to pale light once more. Above me, rising with the might of will, were two moons; one large, one small. My breath caught in my throat and tears rose in my eyes. I had never seen anything like it in my life.
Wings beat close to me and I spun as a huge, black winged horse landed beside me, the silvery white horn flashing with electric blue vengeance.
I yelped and ducked out of the way of one red-tipped wing.
He tucked his wings into his body and turned to me, dipping his head, and pawing the ground with one hoof. Hello, Riley, Kes’ voice said within in my mind.
Whoa. I blinked wildly and took several steps back. “Kes?”
The horse snuffed and nodded, his long black mane swaying wildly. Jump on. There’s much to show you.
“You’re a horse.”
The view’s better up there.
“You’re a pegacorn.”
I’m well aware of that, Ri. I’ve been a pegacorn my entire life.
My head jutted forward. “That’s so—“ I started giggling. “That’s so girlie.”
He gave a very horsey sigh. It wasn’t girlie until My Little Ponies. Let me assure you that I am the most powerful magical creature in this entire land.
I snorted with laughter. “I’m sure you are, you manly flying unicorn you.”
He charged, his head lowered, his horn pointing dangerously at me.
I yelped and jumped out of the way.
But not before his horn could touch me.
My entire body stiffened, my back arching, the electric current taking hold of each muscle and holding me in its control.
He raised his head and whuffed. Am I still girlie to you now?
I fell to the ground and collapsed, the current gone. “Ow. Okay. If I promise to never call you girlie again, will you promise to never do that again?”
If we are training, as we shall be soon, then the answer is no. I will do whatever I have to in order to keep you safe.
“Even if that means electrocuting me?” I asked incredulously, splayed on the grass.
I will not kill you. His head rose and he whuffed the wind. Hurry. We must leave.
“Are we in danger?” I picked myself off the ground.
Always. He looked at me with those pale blue eyes. But if we leave now, we’ll catch the trees raising the sun.
“The what?”
He shifted, bringing his body toward me. Get on.
“I don’t know how to ride.”
I won’t let you fall.
“Bare back? Where’s the saddle?”
He turned his big horse head to stare at me with one large eye. I am not wearing a saddle for you. I’ll make sure you don’t fall off. Just get on.
“You’re serious.”
He gave a sigh and pushed me back until my feet found what he was pushing me toward. A boulder. Practice. You just need practice.
“I’m glad you think so,” I said atop the knee high boulder. I grabbed a handful of mane and gauged the distance between his back and my feet.
His head rose, his ears twisting. We don’t have all day, Riley. Please get on.
I finally decided to just launch myself at him. I managed to make it onto his back but failed to take into account his—
Wings, Ri. Wings. Ow. Gah.
Both of us cursing, we managed to untangle his wings from my feet.
I don’t remember you ever being this clumsy.
“Well, I am so sorry.”
Just hold on.
I didn’t know what I was supposed to hold on to. I had a tight grip on his mane, fat lot of good that was going to do me. My legs clenched around his wide barrel of a chest as he took a running gallop and leapt into the sky, rising, rising, whooshing toward the fading stars, gliding toward the largest of the two moons.
The wind whipped around us, blowing my hair around my face. I’d have to condition twice and put in a leave-in conditioner tomorrow. Mountains reached all around us for as far as I could see. The moons were sinking behind them. The black of the sky morphed into dawn. The stars blinked one by one, running scattered before us.
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. It was just so beautiful, so wonderful and magnificent. I let go of Kes’ mane and held my arms out, forgetting that I should be afraid. How could I with such wonder around me?
Kes chuckled in my mind.  You better hold on. He dipped and then leveled out.
But that was enough to bring my hands back to his mane.
Get ready. I could hear the grin in his voice. You’re never going to forget this.
He brought his wings in and then we were rushing toward the earth. The green became trees, and then the trees became branches with individual leaves.
I didn’t have breath enough to scream.
With a crack, his wings lashed out. A jolt rocked through each vertebra as we soared above the tree line. His wings sounded like whips as we brushed the tree tops and high rising branches.
Green disappeared in a sudden, startling line, and a rainbow hue of fuzziness ran in its place. They were miniature trees, stark white bark, fuzzy bright leaves. We swept behind the straining sunlight. They stirred as though awaking from slumber, sashaying from side to side.
And sang.
The trees were singing.
Highs and rumbly lows, each voice distinctive as it crept through the air to reach my ears.
I closed my eyes unable to process anymore.
Kes gave a horse chuckle beneath me and dipped toward the earth once more, gently this time. We swept over the sea of rainbow trees and found a meadow, his wings clipping a few on his descent. The fuzz wasn’t leaves at all. They were more like moss. Rainbow Spanish moss.
His hooves found the ground and that was a bit rough. Riding the wind was so smooth. Galloping was not. His wings tucked back and then he was morphing, changing.
I slid off his back and watched in wonder as the winged horse became a young man.
He turned to me and grinned. “What’d you think?”
“That was—“ I let out a disbelieving breath. “—unbelievable.”
He tipped his head and clucked his tongue, his smile still wide. “It was supposed to make you believe.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know—“ My grin slid from my face as I turned and took in the world around me. The twin pale suns were still climbing the sky, peaking through the opaque fuzz of the singing trees. Orange bits of fluff rose and gusted with an unseen breeze. The grass glinted and sparkled at my feet. My sneakers were wet with the dew.
I wished this could be real. I did. But it was impossible.
The expression on his face was one of disappointment. He sighed, the corners of his mouth tucking in. “I brought you to this place. It’s—“ His pale blue eyes shifted across the wide expanse of the meadow.
I bit the inside of my cheek and waited.
“I used to be one of many. There were thousands of us. And then one day, a Keeper slipped across the Veil and began a war, a war we could not end on this side of the Veil.”
“Because it had been started over there.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Our two dimensions reflect one another. This world is yours and your world is mine. We’re simply two sides of the same mirror.”
I shook my head, but bit my tongue.
“This land, this space, used to be my home. I had a wife, a colt. They were slaughtered.”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “Wait. How old are you?”
He shook himself with a bare hint of a smile. “That’s what happened when one of our Keepers went rogue. After that, our Keepers started dying. And now? We have no Keeper. Your mother was our last hope.”
I licked my lips. “This doesn’t make sense.” The words came half strangled from my mouth. “You have the wrong people.”
His eyes watched the horizon. “Why did your mother leave?” he asked softly. “Why did she abandon us?”
I didn’t have an answer. She’d abandoned a lot more than just him. I smashed my lips together. “I don’t understand. What do Keepers do?”
He was quiet for a long moment. The trees’ voices were beginning to fade and the sounds of large feet permeated the air.
I watched in wonder as the trees began to move, traveling across the horizon, their large roots extending out like octopus legs.
“They’re our Guardians, Ri. Magick is this dimension’s life source. It can be tainted, twisted, molded to suit the purpose of anyone, the thoughts and emotions of an entire nation.”
I shook my head.
“A Keeper remains the single point of power within a nation, keeping the life thread steady and constant.”
Mom? Really? Seriously?
He took my wrist in one hand, the forefinger of his other morphing, sharpening to a point.
I stared at him in alarm.
His eyes were calm as he captured mine. “You need proof.”
Pain lanced across my arm.
He brought his head closer to mine, his expression intense. “Here’s your proof. This isn’t just my world, Ri. It’s yours. You belong here.” His hand reached up and cupped my cheek, forcing me to look only into his eyes. “Come back to us. Bring her back to us. We need you.”

Romance Under Orders

This week is a fun topic! I get to share a scene from my MS - my fav scene! It was really hard to choose which one too as I love them all really for their own reasons. But, I decided to go with a funny and cute scene from the middle of Cleanse Fire: The Kinir Elite Chronicles. You can read Chapter 1 on my website here if you like.


Derac scanned the room again and found Tyn and Rakan next to the buffet, deep in conversation with the members of the faery elite team. Where is Kie? He knew she hated wearing a gown, but she still was required to make an appearance. An invitation from the General was not to be ignored.

He ground his teeth and clenched his fist but relaxed when he spotted her at the edge of his vision. She stood in the corner, alone. His jaw dropped. The tight fitting bodice showed off her ample breasts, then flowed down to her toes accenting the shapeliness of her hips. The sleeves hung off her shoulders and her bronzed skin glowed. A bundle of auburn curls sat on her head; the rest hung loose down her back.


She wrung her hands and her gaze darted around the room. Derac's chest filled with sympathy but he could not take his eyes off her. A voice in his head told him to look away, but he just couldn't.

"Captain, what are you staring at?" Tyn clapped him on the shoulder.


"Ahh yes, she looks great, doesn't she? Aeli did a great job."


Tyn chuckled. "Someone should get her out of that corner, though."

"Is that a hint I should be that someone?" Derac couldn’t take his eyes off her.

Tyn chuckled. "I was merely making a comment."

"Right. I'll go order her to join the party."

Tyn chuckled again as Derac strolled towards the angelic elf in the corner.

"Kie, you should get out of that corner," he said.

"I'd rather not, Captain."

"It is not good for a member of the Elite to be standing alone. You must mingle with the others."

Her brown eyes filled with panic as she glanced around the room.

Derac decided to try a different approach. He held out his arm to her. "Stay by my side. It'll be all right," he whispered.

Her gaze stilled on him and her lips parted. The sudden urge to kiss her filled him and he held his lips between his teeth.

"I ... you ..."

"It is perfectly fine for me as your Captain to escort you around a ball, as you do not have a male to do so." Just admit you want her on your arm, Derac. He bit the inside of his cheek to prevent himself from saying something he’d regret.

"All...all right."

She hooked her arm around his and allowed him to lead her from the corner. A smile crossed his face. As they made their way around the room, he noticed other males stopped to stare at her. He lifted his chin, proud she clung to his side.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Favorite Scene from Dark Heirloom

This week we're posting our favorite scene from our novels, which means today you all get a free peek at Dark Heirloom, which doesn't release until March of 2012. I don't want to sound egotistical here, but it was hard for me to pick just ONE scene. I really love the whole book. My beta readers wanted me to go with a make-out scene, but I didn't think that would be a good choice since the characters will be very new to you guys so the romance won't mean much yet. Instead, I decided to go with a scene that I had a lot of fun writing and that shows a bit of the world my vampires live in as well as what my vampires are like - because they are quite different from the average vampire, as you'll see.

In this scene, Ema (the heroine) and Jesu (the hero) are working together to rule out what kinds of powers Ema has inherited (since they don't know who her sire is, they don't know what kind of vampire she is). Ema's a brand new vampire, still getting used to the new sensations. Here, they are testing her ability to walk up walls... Keep in mind the manuscript has not been edited yet. I hope you enjoy it. :)

I gulped and faced the wall. It stood no more than ten feet tall. Not a big deal, except that I wasn’t Spider Man. “But how?”
            Jesu shrugged. “I am not sure. I am not Strigoian.” He stroked his chin. “Just try it. Either you can or you cannot, right?”
            “Yeah, sure, why not.” I stepped closer. The light of day obscured most of the stones’ detail even with the sunglasses on. I found two reachable spots extending out less than an inch. I took a deep breath and grasped the barely protruding stones as best I could. With one foot, I searched around for some place to wedge my toes into so I could push myself up. My nails nearly broke as I tried to dig my fingers into the cement filling. I might have been strong enough to punch a hole in stone, but I wasn’t cut out for rock-climbing.
            Jesu burst into laughter. I let go and rolled back on my left foot, which never left the ground. Crossing my arms over my chest, I faced him and huffed loudly. He was bent over, the tips of his ebony locks grazing the floor as he slapped his thigh and gasped for air.
            “Don’t laugh at me, I’m trying aren’t I?”
            He sucked in air only to bellow out more laughter as he clutched his waist. I rolled my eyes and sat on the bed with my lips pressed into a tight pout.
            “I am sorry.” He grasped the edge of the bed to balance himself while trying to regain his composure.
            “Really, my apologies. You just act so human. You should have seen yourself.”
            “Well that’s what I was for the first twenty-three years of my life, thank you!”
            “I’m sorry. Please, continue.”
            “But I already tried. I can’t climb sheer surfaces … or rocky surfaces, for that matter.”
            He bit his lip, trying to fight back another chuckle. “You were doing it like a human. You were trying too hard. Do it more like an insect.”
            “Oh, like an insect? Is that the idea? Oh yeah, sure, no problem. Let me just go change into my grasshopper legs.” I rolled my eyes.
            He sighed. “Have you no imagination? Do not try to climb the wall, do not think about it logically. Just go do it.”
            “Go.” He pointed. “Get up there.”
            “Ugh.” I stood and faced the wall.
            “Just let the powers come naturally.”
            God, I have no idea what he means. Climb the wall, but don’t try to climb the wall. I grumbled to myself. Frustrated, I slapped both palms flat against the black stone. Something sticky oozed beneath my hands.
            “Ew!” I jumped back. A dozen fine strings of a clear gel-like substance stretched like melted cheese connecting my hands to the wall. Walking backwards, the gel stretched over a foot before the strings finally snapped. “What is this?”
            Jesu examined my hands. “It looks like glue.”
            “Where did it come from?”
            He turned my hands this way and that way. “I think it came from the pours on your palm.”
            “Is this normal?” Who am I kidding, nothing within this castle is normal.
            “I don’t know. Wait.” He sat on the edge of the bed and pulled the huge list of vampyre clans onto his lap. His eyes scanned the page for several moments. “Yes, it is normal. It says here the Strigoi secrete a thick clear liquid on the palms of their hands and feet which allows them to scale any vertical surface with ease.”
            “You’ve got be kidding me. You mean you could have warned me about this, but didn’t?” I stood with my arms outstretched, being careful not to get any goop on anything.
            Jesu snickered. “Sorry, I did not read that far ahead.”
            “So this stuff will keep me anchored to any vertical surface, eh?” I kicked off my shoes and then peeled off my socks with my toes. “Here goes nothing.” Holding my breath, I leaped two feet into the air with the palms of my hands and toes facing forward. My body smacked hard against rock, causing little black pebbles to crumble to the floor. Thank goodness I was numb or I might have gone into another coma doing that.
            Panting, I realized my entire body laid flat against the surface of the wall. I wanted to push back a little so I could see, but I was terror stricken and worried I would fall if I moved. The left side of my face smashed up against stone. Jesu was silent somewhere behind me.
            “Am I ‘oing ith?” I tried to ask.
            “Well, you are not climbing, but you are sticking to the wall. At least both your feet are off the floor.”
            I looked up, scraping my cheek. The ceiling loomed three feet above my head. I was determined to spider my way up the damn wall even if it was only an inch or two.
            Grunting, I lifted my right hand. The squishy goop tried to resist. It felt like I had Velcro gloves on and was stuck to a sheet of felt. I pulled my hand above my head and slapped it down, feeling the ooze suction me to the wall as a new layer of glue seeped from my pours and gripped the stones for me. Not having to physically grab anything with my fingers felt odd.
            I repeated the motion with my left foot, lifting it up and feeling the goop squish out a new layer when I replanted my toes. My knee scraped against the wall as I tried to angle my leg to get my whole foot as flat as possible for better traction.
            After a minute of getting used to the odd Velcro sensation, I found a good reach-step-reach-step rhythm. The crown of my head bumped against the ceiling in no time.
            “This is amazing!”
            “I am glad you are enjoying it. Come down so you can try shape-shifting.”
            “Hold on, I just got an idea.” Arching my neck back so I faced the ceiling, I reached my left hand up and over, laying it flat on the ceiling.
            “Ema,” Jesu hesitated. “I do not think you should over do it.”
            “I got to try this,” I whispered while placing my right hand parallel to the left one. My back arched at an uncomfortable angle. I had to think a moment about how to move my legs. If I lifted them too high, my knees hit the ceiling and I got stuck. I resorted to inching my way up little by little.
            A single beads of sweat dripped from my head, but it didn’t roll down. Instead, it rolled sideways and dripped off my ear. I was on my hands and knees, hanging up-side down from the ceiling. And I’ve never been so scared in my life. The goo began to thin and I didn’t know how to make myself secrete more.
            “I think I’m freaking out.” My breath rasped as panic bubbled in my stomach. “I don’t know how to get down!”
            “Just crawl backward.”
            “I can’t! The glue is thinning and I’m scared.”
            “Then let go.”
            “What? No way.”
            “I will catch you, do not worry.”
            I squeezed my eyes shut. “I can’t.”
            My instincts kicked in and aggression replaced fear. Stop blubbering, stupid, and pay attention. Back up! There you go. Here comes the wall, one foot and then the other. But gravity decided to give me a reality check and I slid while trying to reach the wall with my right hand.
            I screamed and flailed my arms around like propellers. Unfortunately, that’s not how vampires fly. Jesu caught me in his arms, cradling me so that I was parallel to the floor, my feet still suctioned to the wall by the goop.
            His bright green eyes sparkled as he looked into mine. “See,” his lips stretched into a sideways smile. “I told you I would catch you.”


You can also watch the unofficial video trailer below:

Friday, June 3, 2011

The First Manuscript or Farewell My Lovely DAYDREAM!

My VERY FIRST manuscript was in the crime genre!
Yup, I had been planning on being the next (feminine version) of James M. Cain or Raymond Chandler. I was so into this sort of writing although I was mainly into the film versions of the great noir classics.

Okay, this was the gist if it sounds familiar DON'T TELL ME, OKAY?!

Two sisters grow up the hard way during the Depression. One's called Edie and she marries Danny a minor hoodlum with a damaged leg (shot up). Now, husband and wife don't share the marital bed any more because Edie really (still) loves her detective boy friend, Johnny Banks. Johnny's got a fiery temper and goes a little haywire sometimes. He nearly kills a child murderer for instance. The Chief is patterned more than a little after the Chief in Detective Story (still with me)?
Johnny's got a girl (Edie's sister, Beth) who's wild about him only he doesn't appreciate her until after she gets over killed by the villain in the piece, a spoiled mama's boy from Long Island (Desmond Charles) who has had a history of long stays in private nut bins.

Des hates Edie but kills her sister instead which is ironic because Beth was nice to him.
Now that's not the only killing there is! Edie's husband Danny kills a nightclub owner he thinks is having an affair with his wife (Tony, patterned after Steve Cochran) RIGHT LADIES--(always like him)!

I want you to know while working on my masterpiece I'm getting tech help from police!

I also go plowing through every noir crime novel I can find. Read all of Ed McBain (love them )!

But then I run out of steam. I end it (in a fashion, the MS I mean, not my life)! And if you're dying to know how I ended it, Edie has left her husband, gone to Johnny but Des' mommy tries to shoot Johnny only she misses and kills Edie. Poor kid dies in the street and the last line is supposed to knock the reader out with Edie saying just before she croaks it: "death is my destiny..." which is the title, get it?!!!

Okay, I put it away, I take it out. I'm not happy with it. Something's wrong. YEAH HECK SOMETHING'S WRONG I DON'T WRITE CRIME, especially stuff that's been done a zillion times!

oh and by the way, this song by Artie Shaw was my choice for sound track for a film version of my story! 

I mean what was I thinking when I know I mainly read horror? Why did I think I could write a decent crime novel? At least I'm rational most of the time.
So why did I do it in the first place I hear you ask? Who knows? I think I was finding myself and I was experimenting. I realize that now, but not then. Then, I went blank. I just stopped, but then I did the best thing I could have done. I joined the Masters of Horror Writers (writing group), headed up by author Lee Pletzers. It was on Ning then. From there in the space of 10 months I was submitting and getting published.

I kept on writing even though I had no idea when I would dare start another novel. I didn't rush into anything and I'm glad. It took about two years and the wait was worth it. My writing improved, I learned about the markets and grasped reality as much as possible.

We grow while we wait, if we don't stress or pressure ourselves into paralysis. That first MS is our springboard--it might be a mess but it's a first step and first steps are important because every journey begins with one!