Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How I Write-- Starting New WIPs

Brainchild of Ansha Kotyk, How I Write is a weekly blog series all about writing and the different styles we all have. Click on the banner to go to the homepage and visit other participants or click below. This week is all about starting new WIPs and the tools to get started.

Okay, I'm going to confess something. Something deep and dark and... well just plain wrong: I HATE starting new WIPs. Hate it with a passion. I hate agonizing over the first scene and that perfect first hook to draw in the reader. I hate having to dive into the unknown. So you would think I should be a plotter. Honestly, I should be for as much as I hate starting a new WIP and not knowing where I'm going.

But no. I have to do everything difficult.

Plotting= instant brain block which = no writing of new WIP. But as much as I hate the unknown and starting anew, I LOVE new characters. Contradictions abound, no? My solution? Start in the middle. Start at the end. Start ANYWHERE but the beginning. OR try to. It's hard. It's vicious but it does work. Granted, I did try not to do this with my recent WIP- Muses and if anyone can say how much I agonized and bitched about it, it would be Kendal. I don't think I've ever complained so much as I did to her about it.

For me, I need my own hook, that one scene that grips me by the throat and threatens to tear my heart out if I don't get it down. Okay and now that I just painted a very ugly picture of my Muse... hah... I'll leave off with examples:

Fatal Vision: scene that got me hooked... scene that drew me to these chars was a scene I later cut out about a tall man with golden eyes and a lightning bolt tattoo down his neck kidnapping a molecular geneticist and her knocking his balls up to his teeth when he points a gun at her.

Fatal Temptation: ok this one was a sex scene where he barges into her room... and that's as far as I'll expand the explanation of it because the scene is still in the book. ;)

Fatal Encounters: A game of Truth or Dare.

Trust No One (my attempt at a YA in highschool): A young boy being chased because of his telepathic abilities to a new town.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How I Write-- Research

Brainchild of Ansha Kotyk, How I Write is a weekly blog series all about writing and the different styles we all have. Click on the banner to go to the homepage and visit other participants or click below. This week is all about research.

I've always done a lot of research. Mind you, it also depends on what a person writes. For me, I tend to do a lot of science-y stuff. I do like to try and explain why they can sort of do what they can, even if it's paranormalish. I have books for that... books that talk about the science behind comic book heroes, or the television show heroes... books about the way the brain works and technologies that are being developed that will become the future. I use these to develop my story and layer it.

Or try to.

I don't really do a whole lot of research before I write. I used to. When I was first starting, I spent hours filling out books on serial killers or forensic techniques... or viruses. I spent hours on the computer printing out science terms, things I didn't even use. Recently with the start of Muses, I did do a bit of research on Nostradamus and ancient Greek/Rome. For the most part, I don't research first.

While writing is usually when I will; as things crop up. The science shelves in Chapters is my friend.

There are things I don't research however. Things such as real people or places. Everything I write is fictional in that way. It's isolated in the mountains... or the town is something that doesn't really exist. I don't have the patience to look for these small details that readers will be able to pick out. Of course, it's said that you might risk not involving your reader into the story but honestly, I like knowing that it's a made up world. I don't need the streets of downtown Toronto in my story or the inclusion of... whoever. For me, it just doesn't work that way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

This is from another email I received that I thought was interesting. 13 using for cucumbers.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finished a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How I Write-- Plot/Character Arc/World Building

Brainchild of Ansha Kotyk, How I Write is a weekly blog series all about writing and the different styles we all have. Click on the banner to go to the homepage and visit other participants or click below. This week is all about Plot/Character Arc/World Building.

Characters have always come fairly easy to me and at least for me, that is what makes world building. You can have as bland of a setting as you want but its the characters that will liven it up and make that story memorable.

For the most part, I'm not a plotter. I do outline briefly but it's never more than a couple of jotted points. I love writing series and the world building that you can create. There's something about being able to stay in a world and unfold its mysteries slowly. I like following characters from book to book and seeing them grow as they interact with the rest of the characters.

I've always wanted to create a World Bible, a folder that contains all the little details-- from the colour of characters' hair and eyes to main plot points and what the town looks like. I've always wanted to make one and I've even downloaded free writing software to do so but, I just haven't been able to get into it. As I write the books in the Fatal series however, I do recognize that I'll need to eventually because there are just so many characters. It doesn't matter if they aren't mains, they still need to be remembered and accurate from book to book.

I don't really have a way about creating my worlds. I am not a fan of writing about towns and cities. You will never catch a real life town in one of my books. Why? Things change too quickly. Details change and there will always be something I do wrong. Yes, it helps readers to get into the story more if they know the town, but for me, I really would prefer to either make up a town or have the setting out in the middle of nowhere.

I guess I don't really know how I create my worlds. It's all a bunch of guess work that comes as I write.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letters to characters

Ever have the urge to write a letter to a fictional character? Obviously a lot of people do because there is a site dedicated to such letters! I can't recall who it was but someone twittered about the site yesterday. It's actually quite entertaining. While my brownies (recipe from this site!) were cooling down, I decided to read some of the letters. See below for an example of one such letter:

Mother Goose | Mother Goose's Fairy Tales | c. 1660

Dear Man in the Moon,

You never reply to any of my letters. I send you one every night when I go to sleep; my mind writes you a story and sends it up to you in the first-class dream post so you have something nice to read at bedtime. I imagined, until now, that you liked my letters, that you anticipated the stories my nights commanded. So this will be my last.

Do you remember when I dreamed that I joined you on the moon? You were a lot smaller than I had imagined, but compared to me you were still a giant. Your face was white-- white as bone, I had thought--and your body was encrusted with shining stones. They were not diamonds, though you could be forgiven for mistaking them for such things, because, until you looked closely at their surface, you would not notice the reflections of human imagination that generated your very being. Without those stones, those ideas, notions, you would disintegrate, drifting into the night to join the stars as an outcast.

You were nice to me when I joined you on the moon. You didn’t say anything--I’ve never heard your voice--but you smiled a smile that I will never forget. I understand now that I misinterpreted your expression of kindness for the same affection I felt for you.

I end my final letter by saying this. I once saw you leave the moon. I was awake; it was much too soon to sleep, so I know it was not another of my mind’s stories. I watched you, from my window, head south through thick woodland that tugged at you with selfish fingers. The stones began to break off, littering the forest floor as your strength faded. You disappeared into the forest, ravenous, desperately seeking a source of strength.

People said you came to a village--that you were given cold pease porridge, that you burnt your tongue, unaware that the porridge was not cold at all, that it was hot as your sister, the sun, and, so unused were you to the heat, it became the cause of your death. I know that is not true. You died in the forest. Your life was clutched by the branches and their cruel inhabitants. By the owls, the foxes, the woodsmen. All stole a stone. All played a part.

Farewell, Man in the Moon, and good-night.

With love,
Ailsa Sutcliffe

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

13 thought Provoking Statements

I got an email last week with a bunch of these and I've always loved statements that made you think and go hmm... I wanted to share some of my faves from the list.

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

4. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

5. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

6. Was learning cursive really necessary? (although I see 3/4 of ppl not writing cursive, I do.)

7. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

8. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

9. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

10. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

11. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

12. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

13. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How I Write-- Idea Creation

Brainchild of Ansha Kotyk, How I Write is a weekly blog series all about writing and the different styles we all have. Click on the banner to go to the homepage and visit other participants or click below. This week is all about idea creation and how we come up with them.

For me, ideas have always come fairly easily. Anything can really inspire me, from something I've seen on tv (the History channel in particular), a song, heck even the rustle of the trees as I walk by could conjure ideas of what could be in there. I've always had an overactive imagination so it was no real surprise when I was a kid and I drifted off into my own thoughts. I'd sit on the hour- hour and a half- bus ride and just look out the window and daydream of boys and adventures and first kisses.

Grown, I still will drift off into a daydream. It's easy on the bus where you don't need to pay attention or while walking home. Everything has the potential to be a story.

i.e. Fatal series-- two Playstation games. I was hooked when I was in highschool playing Medal of Honor and Final Fantasy. I was in love with Squall so my J.C. was modeled after his looks. Medal of Honor... secret missions, war... guns... enough said.

-a few scenes from 2nd book in the Fatal series were based on songs such as: "For Your Entertainment" by Adam Lambert and "I'd Come for You" by Nickelback. Songs are particularly powerful for me and once a song grabs me, it's a repeat song that I listen to all day, pretty much every day.

Muse series--I got this idea from a show on Nostradamus and 2012.

My pirate story-- Came last year when pirates took a captain hostage. I was watching a news clip on it and couldn't help but think that it made a good story when things were flipped around a bit.

My time travel-- a friend told me about someone she knows who does re-enactments and the idea was borne of a little B&B with secrets.

Ideas are all around. What matters is how a person turns them into something more. I call these ideas and the motivation behind them my muse crack. Everything I do, everything I write is based on this muse crack.

For the most part, when I get an idea, it's not the "plot". I don't think in terms of plottiness. First comes the characters and from there... each step as I write builds the plot. I suppose you could say I have a very primitive, bare outline, but honestly, I can't even call it that. It's a mess. Really.

But the point is to let the ideas come. Let everything in. Even if they are bad. You may not jot them down, they may not be the next best seller but you need those bad ones to get the good ones. And if not, then what's motivating you?

Next week: Character/World Building

Kendal Ashby/Corbitt- http://www.twokendals.blogspot.com/ Rated R
Kristine Asselin – http://krisasselin.blogspot.com/ Rated PG
Tatiana Caldwell – http://tatianacaldwell.com/blog Rated R
Jennifer Carson - http://jennifercarson.wordpress.com/ Rated PG
Isabelle Flynn – http://www.isabelleflynn.com/ Rated PG
Ansha Kotyk – http://www.anshakotyk.com/blog Rated PG
Laura Pauling – http://laurapauling.com/ Rated PG
Gail Roarke – http://gailroarke.blogspot.com Rated NC-17
P.M. Rousseau – http://pmrousseau.com/ Rated R

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Where I've been...

I've been a bad blogger. Real life caught up to me. I moved last week after having spent months searching for a new apartment. One that I really love! It's great. It actually FEELS like my own place. I'm sure you'd understand what I mean. I'm really loving it. Also, in a couple of weeks I'll be bringing home two baby bengal kittens. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wanted: missing muse-crack

Ever wander around in a daze, unsure where to begin because everything is just SO messed up? Oh yeah, that is my day. It's amazing how much can be packed on after a weekend. It is... frightening.

But this isn't just my daily life, it seems. It's also my writing... yes, I do somewhat know where I'm going with it, but that doesn't mean it isn't messed up. My first drafts?, they aren't something someone can follow through. And this is simply because of the jumble of scenes out of order. I write as I write, as things come to me for that first draft and it's in the second attempt when connector scenes get written and things get layered. So right now Muses, oh yeah it's a mess.

But, that makes it all fun, right? Sometimes. Sometimes it's just a pain. ;) The last few weeks, months... it's been the latter I'll admit. Oh muse-crack, how I miss you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Update on Nationals

It came to be much of a surprise last week when Nashville battled Mother Nature and lost. Because of historic flooding, the hotel where Nationals was supposed to be held in, just a few months away, was closed when the waters rose something like 10 feet inside, ruining so much. With quick efforts from the RWA, a new location was found in less than a week. The new location? Disney World, Orlando Florida. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go this year. As much as I had planned to go to Nashville, Orlando is a bit too far. Am I disappointed? Sure. There's no way to not be. I'd been looking forward to seeing friends and hanging out at the bar, and pitching.

But next year? You can be sure I'll be there!

Want to help Nashville? A bunch of writers and agents/editors are offering their services in an auction. Check it out!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Books into...games?

I've been seeing this a lot lately, novels being made into games and thought that it was kind of cool. I mean they've been done in the past, especially if it was something by Tom Clancy, but just recently, Nora Roberts and Marjorie Liu jumped into the gaming world. Maybe I should have said that it's recently that romance writers have stepped into the video game world because there's definitely been a lot of books in the past made into games (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc). I do have to wonder just how close to the book these games are. Fans of the book are often and easily disappointed into the translation of it just on screen. I'm thinking that it'll be one of those, leave-any-preconceived-ideas-of-book-at-the-door type of thing. What do you think? Like or do you stay away from these type of games?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


It's one of the things that I love about writing. Your life can be a total mess. You could have kids catching your house on fire and your work blowing up all around you and yet the moment you sit down to write, those worries can disappear for just a little while. Ok, maybe not for extreme cases like those examples but you get the point. I always wonder what I'd do if I didn't have some kind of a outlet. Paint sure... but it's writing where I can get out frustrations. Writing where I can get knee deep in situations I wouldn't usually.

If you didn't write, what would you do?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Writing emotions...

I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Today, I watched My Sister's Keeper. Although I didn't necessary like it (I knew going in it wasn't going to be a happily ever after), I did get something out of it. The movie is a heart wrenching tale of a young girl who wants to be medically emancipated from her parents. You see, her sister got leukemia at a very young age. Since neither her parents nor brother was a donor match, the parents did something-- they genetically ensured a baby would be born with the right genetic material that would ensure a match.

Anna Fitzgerald was used to donating for her sister, whether it was blood cells, marrow or whatever. But it isn't until her sister relapses that Anna makes the decision (at age 11) to sue her parents for medical emancipation. One thing about this movie, despite me definitely NOT liking the mother and the way she handled everything, was that it knew how to pull on a person's emotions.

It didn't just explode at the black moment, but was there in the beginning. Every scene, every new character arch that was revealed, the emotion was there, raw and in your face. And it was there until the end.

Would I watch it again? No. The mother really really was not a sympathetic character. I wanted to smack her, to demand that she pay more attention to her youngest daughter, to listen to what she and the others were saying instead of having everything be about her. Most of all, I wanted the sister to live. Realistic? No, but Denial might as well be my middle name.

What I did get out of the movie, was how to build up that emotion instead of suffocating the audience with it. For that, I do think if you're wanting to write a heart-wrenching story like that, My Sister's Keeper would be a good movie to watch. No matter what the outcome was.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pushing the envelope on satisfying endings-- Lovely Bones *Spoilers for those who haven't watched*

I don't always need a happily ever after.

I DO prefer them, but I don't NEED them. However, I do need a satisfying ending. It doesn't matter whether it is in a book or movie (disclaimer: the book might have been better, more satisfying, but this is from the movie's point of view), when the story is something so emotional as having to do with finding a murder suspect, I WANT/NEED justice to be fully served.

This comes after having watched Lovely Bones yesterday. For a movie that is driven by a desperate father (played by Mark Walhberg) trying to figure out his daughter's murder, I needed more. More than the bad guy being killed by karma. I wanted that final confrontation. There was none. The emotion role of the parents seemed to drift off the map the moment they're reunited.

Yes, it did show the cops showing up at baddie's house, but he was already gone. He was already dumping the body. And that's another point I didn't like. I wanted the body to be found. For the family to finally be at peace. Yes, they know she's dead and there's nothing that can be done about that, but there's more to it... I wanted closure. Instead the dead heroine got the one thing she always wanted -- a kiss from her crush-- while her body was disposed of.

There was a play up of one girl, a young teen who sees ghosts. She makes friends with the crush. I wanted there to be more with her. She was brought in, made out to be someone important and in the end, all she was there for was to help the young girl kiss the boy she wanted. Talk about introducing a character who isn't needed. Extra padding. That random tangent threw me. I wanted her (because she SAW the baddie pushing the safe where the body was) to run out and stop him. I wanted her to do SOMETHING for that body to be found.

But no.

And in the end, I was left feeling cheated and sickened. The concept was there for it to be a good heart wrenching, emotional story. I WANTED it to be. But the plot holes ate up the story faster than the hole ate up the safe.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Contest: Romance Yardsale

Bria Quinlan and MG Buehrlen are two YA writers attempting to get to Nationals this year. To help them, they've created the Romance Yardsale for the writer. There's more than tshirts but notebooks and mugs designed by these two talented writers. You should check it out! They're awesome!

At Romance Yardsale they are having a contest. Enter by doing one of the following items by April 23rd. Check it out!

To earn entries for the drawing:

1) Pick your favorite Romance Yardsale item.
2) Post a link to that item on your blog and tell us why you like it = 1 entry
3) OR Post a photo + link to that item on your blog and tell us why you like it = 2 entries
4) Tweet a link to your fave item saying, “This is the coolest t-shirt/mug/(whatever your item is) ever!” (make sure to mention @briaquinlan OR @mgbuehrlen) = 1 entry
5) Comment on the RY blog = 1 entry

Friday, April 16, 2010

Double Standards, this is Alexia calling...

I've been thinking a lot about tear jerkers. I'm not a fan of them. I don't like that they pull on your emotions. I'm not a puppet to have its strings pulled but sometimes, I will admit I don't mind it. The difference is very clear however usually. There's a line that for me you just don't cross.

Times when tear jerkers are okay:
- the birth of a baby when everything is all super charged with energy
- moments like in the Blindside when you just FEEL for the characters and want to cheer them on and see them succeed
- when a char fights so hard against something and then succeeds against all odds

When it isn't okay:
- the main char dies
- anything by Nicholas Sparks

Okay that's pretty much the line for me. I hate it when main chars die, whether it's in a movie or a book. I feel like it was wasted paper and I could have spent my time doing something else that would have been more gratifying.

However, and the reason I've thought about this lately, is because... I was doing my middle stance plotting (let's be honest, it isn't plotting but for me... it's something more than half-assing my writing), and well... I need to do something I vowed I wouldn't. I have to kill someone off. I hate it. Hate the thought of it. But... for it to be more realistic, I need to. This is a double standard I'm just going to have to write out.

I am... a hypocrite but, at the same time, it's all part of a writer's journey. Right? Maybe if I say that enough I'll actually believe it one day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Author trading cards?

I came across these today and LOVED them. I mean why shouldn't romance writing have trading cards? This is absolutely genius and the creator of them... I give her mad props. How fun are these? Check them out here for more detail:

Saturday, March 27, 2010


There's something I don't get: zombies. The fad of zombies is among us, starting with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I'll admit it here and now: I'm not a fan. Especially if it's a romance. Why? They are rotting corpses with cravings for flesh and brains for starters.

So not sexy.

Secondly? I'd be worried about parts falling off during... ahem... more intimate moments. For me zombies= not sexy.

What made me think about this? This scary article by cracked.com. It's all about the scientific reasons a zombie apocalypse could happen including parasites, neurotoxins, a virus, neurogenesis and nanobots. Yeah... try going to bed with all the lights off after reading that... If you have an over-active imagination as is, you start thinking of things crawling out of the closet or breaking through the window and climbing into your basement apartment in which you sleep on the couch.

But what's this?: an article on survival tactics in case those pesky zombies decide to take over, although most of what they say are tactics should really be common sense. Raid a gun store? Um yeah. Get out of town? Duh. Aim for the head? Well heck, remember the over-active imagination? Where else would I aim???

So zombies in romances? Yeah, so do not understand. If I ever write a zombie, it will be used as target practice or some such. Main char? I'll pass on this fad. kthnxbai.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

I was searching a website that I got regularly today and found an article that I thought was interesting. It's a book called The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe?, a new book by the astrophysicist, Paul Davies. What is different and intriguing is the fact that in this book is messages written by people to whatever life may be out there in the universe. I thought for my Thursday 13, I would jot down a few of them here:

1. “Please kill us now … have no mercy. We are evil and you must defend yourself.”

2. Similarly to #1- “Keep away from this planet,” agreed Pamela from Sicily. “Mankind is only intent on depleting, abusing and destroying [it]. They will do the same to yours should they find it. Mankind is the worst virus in the universe. You have been warned.”

3. “If you manage to work out how to travel to us, don’t bother, as we’ll probably probe you, try to blow you up or worse still, steal your technology and invade… Have a nice day.”

4. “Dearest Aliens, If you choose to conquer Earth, please do not kill or enslave those of us who can name all 12 men to have walked on the Moon. We are the ones worth keeping around.”

5. “If you’re planning to visit our planet, please know you will need to remove all metal from your person, take your shoes off and submit to a full body scan, carry all liquids/gels/aerosols in clear plastic bottles no bigger than 3.4oz, surrender all cigarette lighters and batteries, pack all jams and jellies (but pies can be carried on)… Oh, yes. Welcome to the Earth!”

6. “Sorry to drop this on you, but we’ve kinda wrecked our planet. Any chance we could come live with you? We’ve got beer.”

7. “Save yourself! Stay away! We have politicians!”

8. “For sale or trade. Several billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. All reasonable offers considered! Must pick up, cannot ship.”

9. again, similar to #8- “Beautiful, blue planet, teeming with life, located on the edge of the Milky Way. Fantastic views of the Andromeda Galaxy and beyond into infinity. Perhaps the best location in the Universe. One trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion ONO. Must be prepared to look after current resident flora and fauna.”

10. “My purpose of contacting you is to seek your help in transferring the sum of five million United States dollars ($5,000,000) to a trusted bank on your planet.”

11. “Did you think YOU were alone in the universe?”

12. My fave: “Do you have crop circles on your planet? Kindly stop tagging our planet with cryptic crop designs. Interplanetary graffiti is not the best introduction, so please express yourself with a bit more decorum and less like a disgruntled teenager wielding a spray can.”

13. “OK, ’fess up? What have you done with Elvis?”

For more or to read the article, please go: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7399703/So-what-would-YOU-say-to-ET.html

The art of communication- a musing

Something came up recently that has stuck in my mind. In this day and age, we live in a world of social media, where 140 characters or less you can tell all your friends how you are or what you're doing. Before it was msn/yahoo/aol/email and before that hand written letters, etc. The point is that we're living in a world where text messages and social media are a means to have communication at your fingertips. Literally and figuratively. It's everywhere and in one form or another, everyone is doing it.

But what are we teaching future generations? That the written word is pointless? There's already been articles about assignments being reduced to nonstandard abbreviations and symbols. Yes, there are good things that come with texting or social media-- take the earthquake in Haiti and later in Chile; with just a press of a code and you could donate straight to their funds. The moment that earthquake hit, everybody knew about it and could prepare. Yes, there are good points but how will the next generation be affected?

Recently it came up that a bunch of us were talking about Twitter and how we've become so use to writing in 140 characters or less and that anything longer than a paragraph... the reader's eyes begin to glaze over. This was an interesting and it stayed with me. Kids are already becoming more computer savvy at an earlier age. Just how will all this affect future generations?

Monday, March 8, 2010

The importance of the written word

Mondays, they sneak up on you before you know it. Before you're even ready for it. Or at least, that was how it felt today. Not that it was a busier day than usual, but it still felt like a Monday. The weekends are never long enough.

Not that I did anything really exciting either. Still working on that motivational thing, ya know? So I read and relaxed and did some writing. Not as much as I'd have liked but still, I got a bit done.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but I have a plan. A goal. I am to read a book a week. For how long? As long as I can go. Why? Because as a writer it's essentially not only to learn and grow but to just see what's out there. My appetite for reading is quite prolific. I tend to read in the mornings while waiting for the bus or the computer to load up. I've always loved reading. As a teen you'd find me up my favourite tree with a book (and is how I received my nickname "tree frog" by my dad), on the lawn with my pet chicken, up in my room or wherever. I got my first Chapters card when I was in highschool and I still have the same one.

Reading is important to me but I could never really tell you my favourite. I'll always have those that tie but will never be able to put the term of 'favourite' on one. I could never even imagine a world without books... a world without stories. Without writing... there would be no art... and no art... means no imagination... which means no innovations. Truly a scary thing how important writing has become.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Some days the writing controls you... other days you control the writing.

Think there's a difference? There is and I'm finding this out more and more these past few months. With work being on the foremost part of my mind these days, I'm finding that instead of the writing being the one that demands my time, I'm having to force myself to even get a few words down.

Not to say that I haven't been, but it makes me realize just how much that I am controlling my characters right now, forcing myself to get those words on page when I didn't have to before because it was my characters who wouldn't shut up and would demand my attention.

My writing mojo has taken a hit.

It's something that all writers deal with. Stress in life is all around us-- whether it's work or family or whatever. There's always going to be something there that will make it hard to get to those daily pages.

It's time to take back writing...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

13 Worst Predictions

Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility--a development which we should waste little time dreaming about.
- Lee de Forest, 1926, inventor of the cathode ray tube

It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.
- Albert Einstein's teacher to his father, 1895

We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.
- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.

6. Everything that can be invented has been invented.
-Charles H Duell, an official at the US patent office, 1899

7. I see no reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone.
-Charles Darwin in the foreword to his book, The Origin of Species, 1869

8. If anything remains more or less unchanged, it will be the role of women.
-David Riesman, conservative American social scientist, 1967

9. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.
-Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883

10. Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
-Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

11. The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.
-The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

12. It will be gone by June.
Variety, passing judgment on rock 'n roll in 1955

13. There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
-Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977

for more, visit

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm just an addict...

If someone had told me that Fatal Visions would have turned out as it had, I probably would not have believed it. Especially not if they'd included the different plot lines and characters. Why? Because my story has changed so much over the years. When I first began, the story was a smidgen of an idea based on the Final Fantasy game and Medal of Honor.

That was it.

That first draft, I would never even recognize today. I was thinking about it earlier today at Williams with a friend and I can't believe just how much I've done on it. It's not that simple idea anymore. It's so weird how writers can take a seed of an idea... and then go with it and come out with an entire story or even more... a series. Everytime I start something new, it's just a smidgen of an idea. Nothing more.

But then I write as it unfolds. I don't plot. I can't. So ideas come to me as I write... and those ideas branch out into more ideas. And from there, entire chaos can occur. It's fun in one of those-- I don't know where I'm going but it's an adventure-- kind of way.

And when you finish that story? It's a high. So maybe all writers are just story addicts, out for their next hit as they search for ideas. :p

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kill Your Darlings...

… these were the words spoken by Eve Silver at a TRW workshop I’d intended earlier this month. Meaning? Sometimes, even those most precious, hard-worked gorgeous sentences need to be killed. This doesn’t just extend to wordplay but to characters and particularly, to scenes. Sometimes, they just don’t fit in the story or do anything to move the plot along.

I’m learning this more and more as I write and it never gets easier. Some scenes will be so awesome and shiny but they’ll do nothing. It’s a pain and often… a fight between wills- the stubborn ego and the practical plotter. Now, I’m not a plotter in the sense that I know where I’m going from point A to B to C. Heck no. My writing is utter chaos. If anyone were to read the rough drafts, they’d be lost because I write random scenes as they come to me and then string them up later to make some kind of a sense- a jigsaw puzzle. So for me, I’ll have a lot of scenes I’ll love or LOVE, but won’t be able to place. So out they go.

Characters… I’m not good with this. I’m not much of a kill off a character I like person and this also reflects what I watch or will read. I refuse, REFUSE, to watch/read something where the main character dies. For me, it’s a waste of my time. I don’t need a character to be doomed from the start. I want to see him/her struggle and get to their feet, to come out better for all that they’d gone through. So death to a main char is a sure way for me to put the book down.

And I’ll confess, because of this, I do often read the last page of a book. Or at least skim it to make sure that everyone is alive and in happily ever after. There’s too much ugliness in reality. I read to get away from it all. But I digress.

I’ve been editing my manuscript for a bit now. It had just gone through a critique so this past week I’ve been cleaning it up. I’ve realized two things: 1. Some of those nice pretty sentences? Aren’t needed because they are either redundant or confusing to the reader. 2. I have more clutch words than I expected and not just that… but actions as well. For instance, clutch words: just, simply. Action clutches?- certain lip movements, glaring or narrowing of the eyes.

So kill your darlings, because as hard as it is, your story will be better for it. Yes, those are words I took back with me from Eve Silver’s awesome workshop and it’s something that I’ll keep with me. Maybe I’ll even print it out in front of me while I write.

Speaking of Eve, I just finished her book Seduced by a Stranger and I highly recommend it. At first, I was a bit wary of the hero. He’s different. Darker. Harder. Colder. Just different from any other hero I’ve ever really read before. I wasn’t sure what to expect because his story is so… intense for a lack of a better word, and thought that it could have easily ended up to be one of those stories that I just didn’t feel the heat between the hero and heroine. I was wrong. It didn’t take long for him to grow on me. He has a past, a dark one that I found quite ensnaring and couldn’t wait to read more about. So yes, if you’re wanting to read a historical and are wanting something different this is definitely an edge of the seat read.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Where would you rather be...

Last night I watched Inkheart that a friend loaned me. It's an interesting concept to me, people going in or coming out of books and it made my imagination go... what book would you love to suddenly find yourself in?

For me, I think that I would love to go into Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series. Why? Hot Ramses... archaeology... and in the famous words of Abdullah- Every year, another dead body! I mean come on, the banter of Mrs Emerson and the other characters is often quite hilarious and the mysteries... and pyramids...and...oh there are just so many reasons to love the series.

In the paranormal realm, it'd be to slilp into Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series. Who doesn't love hot men and abilities beyond the normal?

What about you? Is there any world you'd particularly want to jump into? Which character would you like to meet the most?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Wandering Imagination

Sometimes, writing makes me research things I never expected to ever be curious about. Other times, research just doesnt' seem to be enough. Sometimes, there's just no other way than to live it for yourself, to experience it first-hand. Granted, a lot of what I write I could never truly experience just because I tend to write paranormal/urban fantasy.

For instance, I will never in my lifetime meet an ancient Greek warrior who was locked away in an amulet. Nor will I ever find myself in a Bed and Breakfast that just so happens to be a source for literal time travel. Some things, a person just can't experience unless it's in their imagination.

But there are things I never expected to -have- to explain. Like take for instance my Greek warrior, Talon, who suddenly is going to find himself in the modern day in the middle of a gunfight. There is so much that he's not going to know and it'll have to be explained. So what do I do today? I Google guns and how to work them and just what would be the perfect gun for my heroine to sport. This is something I could experience, if I wanted to, I suppose. If I went on a firing range... just how to properly fire and the tools and trades.

I love history, always have, so writing the book with this ancient Greek is fascinating. Yes, it's modern day, but he is still going to have a personality that is so different than what a person use to this time would have. His world as he knew it is going to come through in not only his attitudes about things but his words and gestures and just how he interacts with the world. I can't wait because I know he's going to be so fun to write. I'm only partially into the manuscript but I'm already loving him and the heroine.

And it's just one of the reasons I love writing. It can take me on such curious/wicked paths I would never have expected.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010-- means new year, new goals... new game plan

It's year 2010!

Kind of scary when I think about it. I've gone so far since 2000 that I can barely imagine just where I'll be in ten more years. So I'm part of a goals accountability group created by Bria Quinlan and one of the things we needed to do was create our 2010 goals.

Easy right?

Not quite because not only do they have to be realistic, they have to be measurable. So saying that I'll get... let's say 8 books done, so not realistic. LOL. Oh it'd be awesome but so not going to happen either with work. Not just with work either, there's other things to consider like editing.

This year, I've decided to work on something new. Mostly because it's a time-sensitive idea. It will be a trilogy, shorter than most with deep ancient Greek roots in a modern day setting. This doesn't mean I plan on setting aside anything however. Not really. I'm just shuffling workloads a bit.

Where Fatal Visions is pretty much where I want it to be, there is still Fatal Temptations that need to be edited. I know I'm dreaming big, but we'll see what happens.

But I have new goals this year as well... goals that don't revolve around writing. Things such as learning French again and creating a list of archaeological digs/museums that I can maybe volunteer at next year. That's something I've always wanted to do so I'm putting it down now, to start planning. Goals are a fluid thing... they shift and change constantly so it'll be interesting to see just what I get done by the end of the year.

Either way, it's bound to be interesting!