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Archive for September, 2014

Writing Wednesday: Post Birthday Party

We had the boy’s birthday party on Sunday. 4 years old. I can hardly believe it.

he used to be a lot smaller than that dog.

he used to be a lot smaller than that dog.

10 months old(oldest pic I have on here of him with the dog)

10 months old(oldest pic I have on here of him with the dog)

We almost had a disaster with the cake. I baked it Saturday morning, and when I went to take it out of the pan, it kind of fell a part. A chunk in the middle of the one side didn’t come out with the rest of the cake. Added to that, the boy tried to take another chunk out of it while it was cooling off. I thought I’d have to bake another one, then husband had the idea to make it a construction site cake. We got different sprinkles and some little toy construction equipment. And he set about decorating it(I may be able to make up stories, but I’m not very visually creative). It did turn out nice(and even tasted good).

IMG_0206 IMG_0209

He had a good party and got some new clothes and toys(and got to put some Legos together with Daddy).

Anyway, you’re probably either here to read another snippet from my WiP or to see how I’m doing with my goals for the week. First up: 9 paragraphs from the next chapter of Flames of Retribution. It’s a few days after the last snippet. Caitie was on duty, spotted a fire, called it in. Mark & other firefighters responded. This is right after, and Mark has pretty much told her she shouldn’t have even been there.

“Why, Mark?” She asked again. “Why don’t you think I should be doing my job?”
He turned to her, and she was surprised to see the misery ravaging his eyes. “Because,” his voice ground out, “you could be hurt. You could be killed. I don’t want to have to see you buried too.”
Too? That made her wonder who else he’d seen buried. “Mark, I’m not hurt or dead. You could be just as easily. So, why-”
“That’s different,” he snapped before she could finish her question.
“Why?” She asked. But, the anger had drained out of her at the anguish she saw in his eyes. “How is it any different?”
“Because I don’t give a goddamn about what happens to me.”
She drew in a sharp breath and reached out for him. “Mark, how can you even say something like that? What about the people you’d leave behind?”
“Who?” He demanded. “My mother has never cared about anyone except herself. My father practically disowned me when I came back from the Marines. My little brother agrees with everything he says. And my sister,” his voice broke then. “My sister has a family of her own to worry about.” He sucked in air, and she was sure he hadn’t meant to say all that. “You, though, you have a whole big family who cares about you. A family who would be devastated to lose you. I don’t have anyone.”
“What about me, you fuckhead?” Nolan said, stepping up behind them. “How about all of them?” He gestured back toward the trucks. “Josh’s family. Kayla. Every goddamn one of us. So stop being such an asshole.”

Nolan’s actually very pissed with him right now, and he’s not the type to get worked up about much.

As for my ROW80 update, things are going well. Not as high a word count as I’d planned, but it’s going well.

  • Flames of Retribution – 4 hours a day for hopefully around 20k(which will bring me to around 75k) – I’ve gotten the 4 hours in the last 2 days. Not there quite yet for today though. I’ve written 6733 so far this week. At least 10 more scenes to go.
  • Healing the Heart – 1 hour a day & hopefully half way through it I’ve gotten my time in the last two days and am part way through Chapter 10.
  • GH&SF – finish character work – this is done & I’ve started figuring out the plot summary
  • Read: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown(Holly Black), Ashes and Bone(Stacy Green), Dare to Desire(Carly Phillips), & Hanna, Hanna, One-and-Two(Myndi Shafer) Finished Coldest Girl in Coldtown on Monday. About 40% through Ashes and Bone right now. Wanted to just sit down and read straight through once I picked it up. So, I have to make sure to get everything done before I open it up again.
  • Read: Writing about Magic(Rayne Hall) – Through Chapter 9 – I’m through chapter 6 right now.
  • Knit: Bee-utiful Dishcloth – about halfway through this. At least I’m making progress now.

Monday Mentions: Boosting Story Conflict, Plotting & “Clean” Stories

Over on Writers Helping Writers, Julie Musil wrote about one way to Boost Story Conflict. Finding those flaws for the heroes can be difficult some times, and I’ll admit I don’t always look at the flip side of the positive traits being a flaw.

Then, Ava Jae writes about using the synopsis as a plotting tool. I’ve done this. Lately I’ve just been doing a shorter summary. But, I used to use the snowflake method and took one sentence and expanded that into a paragraph then into a page. Sometimes even longer, although the page was usually good enough. I’m thinking of going back to this.

Leigh Ann Kopans wrote about defining “Clean YA” and the problems with this. Now, I don’t write YA. I pretty much stick with Adult. Although my Kurztown series is kind of on the edge of NA. And what I write would certainly not be considered “clean”. Out of her list of what “clean” YA contains, there’s really only 1 item that hasn’t shown up in at least one of my stories. This is what really struck me though:

Almost universally, “clean” is something good, something desirable, something we strive for. “Dirty” is something bad, something shameful, something we’re supposed to work hard to stay away from. It is contemptible, hateful, vile, a cause for disassociation with someone.

This is something that does show up in Flames of Retribution, in a couple of different ways. Not that the characters think they are “dirty”. But, more that they’ve heard it before and are afraid that the people they care about will think it too. And this is as adults. Think about how confusing and damaging it would be as teens to “know” your desires are “dirty”.

And Kristen Lamb wrote about How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters. She talks about the character’s wound. Everyone has one(or more). They don’t always have to be big gaping gory wounds. Sometimes it’s the smaller ones that pack the bigger punch. But, there has to be something that drives the character to find that thing they need. I’ve given my characters both. In my current WiP, Mark has quite the tragic past. But, Caitie, doesn’t. She grew up in a nice family with little tragedy. She always knew she was loved, whereas Mark didn’t. But, she has her own wounds too, even if they aren’t as deep as his.

Have you read any good/thought-provoking posts lately?



Sunday Summary: Always Changing

I seem to have a problem with making up my mind. About what to work on, how to split up my time, what works best for me. For the last couple weeks, I’ve been splitting 6 hours between 5 different projects. And it’s working. But…there’s always that but. I know I could get even more done if I’d narrow my focus. So, for right now I’m dropping the two side projects. I’ll pick them up as my main projects later. Also, I have a list of 8 projects to draft(already plotted out) and 5 WiPs that need to be revised(as well as 2 that are out with readers). So, I wanted to come up with a schedule that will allow me to work through both. I could just focus on revising. But, then I wouldn’t be writing, and I get twitchy about that. So(for now at least) I’ve settled on an every other month plan. During the odd months, my main focus will be on drafting. I’ll split my time with 4 hours drafting, an hour revising, & an hour plotting. During the even months, it will be 4 hours revising, 1 hour drafting, & 1 hour plotting. I even have my calendar worked out so I know what I’m working on and my personal deadlines. I may end up changing that plan again, but for right now this is what I think will work.

We’re having the boy’s birthday party today(which is why I wrote this up on Saturday). Didn’t we just do this a few weeks ago? Oh yeah, that was for the other one. Having their birthdays close together can be a pain sometimes. But, then I don’t need to have a bunch of people in my house again for another 11 months.

  • Flames of Retribution – 10k words – not quite. Did get 9871. Wednesday was my lowest day with exactly 1000 words. I can usually do around 1k in an hour. So if I start working on this for 4 hrs/day, I’m hoping for around 4k days.
  • Healing the Heart – Finish round 1 revisions – this is done. Even started another read through for smaller scale changes.
  • Green Hills & Smoky Fields – finish brainstorming – this is done & only one more character back story to write.
  • Law of Choice – 5 pages – yes. onto page 41. I’ll be setting this one aside until I finish Flames of Retribution(hopefully only a couple more weeks)
  • Flames of Justice – 5 pages – not quite 5. maybe 4.5. I probably won’t get back to this until October(when I finish Law of Choice).
  • Read: Fortune’s Risk(Jamie Grey), Athena’s Ashes(Jamie Grey), Four(Veronica Roth), & Get Me(Jillian Dodd) I finished Get Me on Friday by lunchtime. I had other things I planned to get done and only planned to read while I ate breakfast. Then, I said I was only going to read a little more then I’d get back to work. *cue maniacal laughter* I should know better. I didn’t put it done until I reached the end. I felt like that end dragged on a little longer than necessary, but overall, it was a satisfying ending to the series. Then, after lunch, I started reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown(Holly Black)
  • Knit: Bee-utiful Dishcloth – haven’t worked on this any more this week. Haven’t even felt like picking it up.

So, goals for next week:

  • Flames of Retribution – 4 hours a day for hopefully around 20k(which will bring me to around 75k)
  • Healing the Heart – 1 hour a day & hopefully half way through it
  • GH&SF – finish character work
  • Read: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown(Holly Black), Ashes and Bone(Stacy Green), Dare to Desire(Carly Phillips), & Hanna, Hanna, One-and-Two(Myndi Shafer)
  • Read: Writing about Magic(Rayne Hall) – Through Chapter 9
  • Knit: Bee-utiful Dishcloth

Monday Mentions: New Releases

I’ve been adding books to this last as they’ve released for the last month. So, these all came out sometime in August. All covers(besides Dying Commitment-Amazon and Soulless – still had picture from cover reveal) are from Goodreads. Links lead to the books’ Amazon pages.

Blurring the Lines by Roni Loren – I have loved everything I’ve read by Roni so far. I haven’t picked this one up yet, but I have little doubt I’ll love it as well.


A year has passed since Gretchen lost her fiancé, but she still can’t sleep. Or paint. And her new home in New Orleans is either haunted or she’s finally going crazy.

Her bet is on the latter.

So when her best friend, Burke, offers to sweep her away to a private luxury island for a break, she can’t say no. Maybe if she can be someone else for a few days, the ghosts of the past will quiet. At least for a little while.

Burke knows what she’s going through. She lost her fiancé, but he lost family. He gets her in a way no else can. But lately she’s noticing things she shouldn’t about her former fiancé’s younger brother—his sexy smirk, that spicy Cajun accent, and the way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not paying attention. A week alone with him? Dangerous. If she blurs the lines between them, she could ruin the only friendship that means anything to her. She could ruin it all.

But the island of Eden has its own agenda. The island knows what you need. That’s what the invitation says. She just never imagines it will grant her the one wish that could destroy them both.

Contemporary Romance with a Paranormal Twist

*Part of the Invitation to Eden multi-author series but can be read as a standalone.

Dying Commitment by S.M. Butler – I just read the first book in this series last month. This is book 3.


Five years ago, former NSA agent Cadence Long almost died from her mentor’s bullet. She learned one valuable lesson that day: Trust no one. That’s why her casual friendship with Dylan works so well. They both agree that a romantic relationship is off the table but when he starts flashing that dazzling smile and those twin dimples at her, the sizzling attraction between them becomes impossible for her to resist.

Navy SEAL Dylan Urban is ready for more than a romp in the sheets with Cadence, but convincing her proves a more difficult mission than he’s prepared for. After she runs off on an unsanctioned, one-woman kamikaze mission, the only way he can see to protect Cadence is to get her open up herself to trust him, but it might mean losing his heart in the process.

While on the trail of one of the most notorious traitors in recent history, both Dylan and Cadence must decide if what they have or could have is worth giving up the chase, or if for once, they might have to trust another to break down the walls they so carefully crafted.

Soulless by L.S. Engler – I shared this one in a cover reveal post a few weeks ago. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list to get.

book cover with blood crow font - Sepia 2










Where the undead roam, destruction is sure to follow.

The Legendary Slayer of the Soulless has vowed to protect the Untouched from the ravenous monsters that plague her world. When a dark plot to murder her is revealed, she must embark on a quest to find the one person who may have the ability to help her. Banded with a small group of survivors, they seek out the Queen in her flying airship, before it’s too late.

From the mind of L.S. Engler, this first book in a trilogy follows an ambitious warrior through a terrifying landscape of twist and turns, where the dead won’t stay that way and treachery waits around every corner.

Get Me by Jillian Dodd – This is the final book in Jillian’s Keatyn Chronicles series. I’ve read the rest of the books, and this one is waiting on my Kindle.


Will Keatyn get her life back?
And if she does, which life will she choose?

This is the 6th and final book in the series.

Athena’s Ashes by Jamie Grey – I am actually reading this one right now. Halfway through and loving it.



It’s Renna’s biggest job yet – convincing MYTH leadership that she’s put away her lock picks and is ready to save the galaxy, despite the dangerous implant in her brain. But with the Athena on the run, she’s working solo and facing her most ruthless enemy, the traitor Pallas, who’ll go to any lengths to destroy the MYTH organization. Including framing Renna for a devastating assault on MYTH HQ that leaves their defenses crippled and hundreds dead.

Now that MYTH believes she’s a dangerous double-agent, Renna escapes their firing squad before they put more holes in her than a pair of fishnet stockings. But the ticking time-bomb in her head is the one thing Pallas needs to complete his master plan and he’s not about to let her get away. Even worse, he’s discovered the only thing that will bring Renna to her knees – threatening Captain Nick Finn.

Out of time and options, Renna’s got one shot to take down the traitor before he annihilates everything she loves, even though winning this battle may cost her everything.

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