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Archive for June, 2015

Flames A-Z: Emilia Stiel

Even those who have followed my snippets from the Flames series, won’t recognize this one. She hasn’t showed up in any of those stories. She will be in the second book in the Hunter Family series(which you may remember me saying is a spin-off of the Flames series). I’ve written out her back story for that one, so I know a little more about her now. Plus I wrote this piece back in May, which may end up being the beginning of her and Tate’s story.

Emilia was born to Roderick and Letizia Stiel in Pittsburgh, Pa on December 30, 1978. Letizia is Dougal Magaldi’s older sister. Dougal is Caitie‘s father. I may have mentioned the Magaldi/Riley bunch is rather large & sometimes complicated. Which is why I started a family tree for them, and it keeps growing on me.

Emilia also has a twin brother, Oliver(may write more about him later), and a younger sister, Adreana. Her father’s a corporate lawyer, and her mother’s a social worker. Emilia, though, is an artist, a sculptor. She never quite understood where she got her slightly wild spirit from(though it likely wouldn’t be a surprise to the wider Magaldi family). She moved North to Erie in her early thirties, and her brother went with her. They never really spent too much time apart. Then, a few years later, she moved to the nearby smaller town of Crystal Glen where her cousin Caitie was now living. Oliver stayed in Erie, but they were still close.

Emilia started teaching an art class at the local community center, and had an idea for a new program she wanted to get started. She’s still trying to get plans for this together when a remodeling project at the center has her running into Tate Hunter. Can’t really say much more about that, as their story isn’t written yet.

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Monday Mentions

I have quite a few posts to share today and will be leaving for several days of camping soon, so this will be a quick one.

Ava Jae had a guest post from Francesca Zappia on 5 things she learned while publishing a book on mental illness.

And a post on Writers in the Storm by Janice Hardy on How Judgmental are your characters. And why you want them to be.

And another one from Writers in the Storm, this one by Kait Nolan, on why the novella rocks. I love reading books of all sizes, but sometimes the shorter reads are just what I need.

Amber West has started a blog series on Sensory Processing Disorder, and her experience with it with her son. Some of the things in this post really remind me of my daughter.

A post from Ava Jae on How to Polish your WiP Before Sending.

And a post by Marie Bostwick at Publisher’s Weekly on The Case for a Happy Ending. I agree with this so much. Which is why you can almost guarantee anything I write, will at least have a hopeful ending(with the exception of some short stories/flash pieces).

That’s all I have for this week. Have you read any good blog posts this week?

Sunday Summary: WeWriWa – “Not My Father”

Coming back for another week of Weekend Writing Warriors. Last week I promised the next line(+more), so here is the next 10 sentences:

“He humiliated me,” I said. “He hit me.”
“He took care of you.” It felt like she spit the words at my feet.
“He did his best to destroy me and you too. That man is not my father.”
“How do you know yours is any better?”
And there it was, the truth she never wanted to talk about. The truth I learned at fifteen that caused my stepfather’s treatment to only get harsher.
“He couldn’t be much worse.”

Next week, I should have one more snippet from this scene then probably moving on to the next.

Yesterday the husband and I rode in a memorial ride for a fallen firefighter. Despite the fact it was raining. There wasn’t a large turnout. Last year there was about 200 bikes. This year: about 15. Still, after a long week with the kids, it was nice to be on the motorcycle. Never would have thought I’d find that relaxing.

And for anyone coming to check my weekly summary(even though RoW80 is on break for the next week):

  • Burning Bright: finish 1st draft(will mean writing at least 4 scenes a day. And the round ends Thursday, so won’t get there by then) – this didn’t happen. I still have 10 scenes left to write. I did write 11,772 words on it. Hopefully I’ll finish this week, though we’ll be camping most of that time.
  • Kelan’s Story: finish back stories(and try to come up with title) – I did finish the back stories. Did 1800 words of plotting. Still need to come up with a title
  • Into the Sun: get to 16k words – Probably not going to happen either. I only added 178 on Saturday. Hoping to get more than that today.

Not making out goals for next week. Will try to work when I can. Probably before kids wake up in the morning. Some outlining work in my notebook. Lots of reading, I’m sure. And some relaxing, of course(though, that’s where the reading comes in). Of course, it’s supposed to rain, so we’ll probably be in the cabin/Dad’s RV most of the time.

Flames A-Z: Donovan Riley

Donovan has showed up in just about every one of the Flames stories, at least briefly, I think. He’s never been a major character, though.

Donovan married Chrissa Rian, and they had 6 children: Rian, Adrian, Callum, Darcie, Connor, & Doreen. He came from a fairly large family himself, with 4 brothers and sisters. His youngest died in a fire when she was four years old. And her loss nearly destroyed Donovan. He basically checked out for the next year. He still went to work, but as soon as he was off duty, he drank and crashed at one of his sibling’s houses. he couldn’t face his own family, feeling like he’d failed them in letting Doreen die. Until his father basically held an intervention. None of them would enable him anymore. he had to face what had happened.

He was able to repair relationships, but it took work. And he was sure he’d lost his son, Callum, to a life of drugs and alcohol. And he felt he was to blame for that as well. He actually has a conversation about this with Callum near the end of Flames of Recompense:

She nodded and ran off, then he approached his father. “Dad.”
Donovan Riley looked up at him. Then, he was up on his feet, throwing his arms around Callum. “God, you had me worried, Cal.”
Callum was stunned for a moment then he slipped his arms around his dad. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean-”
But, Donovan was stepping back. “I want to speak with you, Callum. Can we walk?”
“Sure. Okay,” he said then followed his Dad out into the hallway.
“What you said to me this morning,” his dad said when they’d turned down the next hallway, “it’s not true. Not any of it.”
Callum saw his dad swallow “I’m sorry, Dad. But, I do know I’ve disappointed you.”
“I’ve disappointed myself,” his dad countered. “I know…well, I know I didn’t handle things well. Not anything. We tried to get you help when you were a teenager, but maybe it wasn’t enough.”
“I don’t think anything would have been. I was hellbent on destroying myself.”
“I know the feeling,” his dad said quietly.
“What do you mean?”
His dad let out a long sigh. “When…when your sister died, I left. You stayed at my parents’, but I was never there.”
“You and Mom separated. We know that.”
But, his father shook his head. “You only know the simple explanation. We never legally separated. I couldn’t live with you guys, I couldn’t live with myself. I went back to work after the funeral. But, I barely even functioned there. And as soon as my shift was over, I’d find myself at the bar. Drinking until Dougal or Brannon, or Devlin came and dragged me out. Then, I’d crash on their couch.” He looked back over at Callum. “Every single night. When I was off duty, I was either sleeping or drinking. And I missed out on a year of your lives. I missed so much. I wasn’t around when you started drinking. Maybe I could have nipped it in the bud if I had been.”
“Dad.”
Donovan shook his head, though. “My own dad finally sat me down and told me I was destroying myself, my family, my future. Him and my brothers weren’t going to enable me any longer. If I was going to keep drinking, I’d have to find somewhere else to sleep. Then, he told me your mom was crying herself to sleep every night. I’d stopped thinking about her grief, about yours. I only thought about myself. That stopped after that talk, though. I got sober, and I went back to beg your mom for forgiveness.”
“She granted it.”
His dad’s lips twitched then. “After much groveling and proving myself worthy. When you were arrested, Cal…” He trailed off and ran his hands through his thinning hair. “God, I’m sorry. I know you think I hated you or some such nonsense. But, I looked at you, and I saw myself. I saw all the ways I’d screwed things up. If I’d been there after Dory,-”
“Dad, stop,” Callum said, putting his hand on his father’s arm. “The things I did to myself were because of me, not you. Even if you’d been there, I don’t know that it would have stopped anything. For a long time, I did blame you. I blamed Mom, Adrian, everyone except me. But, I’m the only one who should have been blamed. And if I lose this thing with Megan, I’ll be the one at fault, too.”

Writing Wednesday: The End

Oh, how I wish I were writing those words in my WiP. But, no. I’m not even on track for where I wanted to be. To catch up today, I’d have to finish 7 scenes. And, yeah, I don’t see that happening. Especially since the words haven’t been flowing well this week. Not sure what my issue is, but hoping it resolves soon.

Before I get to my recap of this round of RoW80, it’s WiPPet Wednesday!! I have 6 paragraphs(6+2+4) from Chapter 7. Jace & Kammi are out to dinner together.

“We can figure something out,” he told her. “If you want to. I won’t pressure you or anything. If you don’t want to, I won’t keep asking.”
She smiled over at him. “It’s fine, Jace. If I don’t like it, we can stop.” That heat flared in his eyes gain, and she was sure his mind was on something besides painting. Now, hers was too. She had to think of something else to talk about before she dropped her first date rule. “So, what’s it like having such a big family. And three older brothers. That had to have been interesting.”
He laughed. “Well, the oldest, Tate, was nearly fifteen when Jess and I were born. So, he’s…I don’t know. We weren’t really close. Him and Jess are actually pretty tight. Although she threatens to kick his ass on almost a daily basis.”
A peal of laughter burst out of her, and it blended with an answering chuckle from him. “I imagine she’d have to be tough,” she said, “with four older brothers.”
“Three,” he corrected. “I’m technically younger. By about two minutes.” He gave a slow shake of his head. “She never lets me forget those two minutes.”
Kammi could only look across the table at him, transfixed by the smile on his face. His love for his family was evident, even when he said he wasn’t that close to his brother. She couldn’t help wondering what he’d think of her jealousy over her own siblings.

Next week, I’m planning to share what happens right after this(and that will probably be the last from this one until I pick it back up for revisions).

Like I said above, I’ve had a serious lack of focus on the words this week. I’ve gotten some writing done, but not nearly as much as I’d like. That happens sometimes, but it usually doesn’t last more than a day for me. I still want to finish this by the end of the week, but that probably won’t happen. I think once I do finish it, I’ll take the rest of next week off before starting something else(I’m sure I’ve said that before, then not done it).

  • Burning Bright: finish 1st draft(will mean writing at least 4 scenes a day. And the round ends Thursday, so won’t get there by then) – I’ve finished 5/20 scenes. I’ve added over 6200 words to this. Which is a good number, I know, if I wasn’t so demanding of myself.
  • Kelan’s Story: finish back stories(and try to come up with title) – I’ve finished 2 of the stories. I have 2 more to write.
  • Into the Sun: get to 16k words – weekend project

Didn’t put reading on my list, but I’ve finished another 3 books so far this week. Darkness Dawns, which I had mixed feelings about, but added the next book to my wish list. Lip Service(Susan Mallery) – one of the ones I got from my MiL. Another mixed feelings one. And My First(Melanie Shawn). I had some problems with it, but it was sweet. Now, I’m starting Stealing Parker(Miranda Kenneally). Only 8% into it, so no opinion yet.

Since it’s the end of the round, I’ll evaluate how I did on my goals for it. I was going to wait and do that tomorrow, but I have a different post planned, so I’m doing it all today.

Plotting:

  • By the Gun – finish outline
  • Flames Spin-off – Outline
  • Stained #4 – Outline – this is potential anyway. Not sure if I’ll write Jacob’s story or not. He hasn’t been talking to me too much.
  • Kurztown novella – Outline
  • Kurztown #3 – get through Character Work at least

I have 2 and a half stories plotted for the Flames spin-off. Pretty sure Stained #4 is shelved for a while(if I ever do write it). And Kurztown #3 plotting is shelved until I catch up on others I have plotted out. Getting too far ahead on plotting.

Writing:

  • Stained Blood – 1st draft
  • Flames of Restoration – 1st draft
  • Freeing His Heart(Gilbert 4.5) – 1st draft
  • Guarding the Heart(BC Security 1) – finish 1st draft(or at least get close. already have first 10k+ written)

I never did get to Guarding the Heart, but I have written over 203,000 words this round. I wrote a little over 148,000 during the first round.

Editing:

  • Flames of Renewal – revise and send to CP
  • Law of Choice – revise and send to CP

I did get through revisions on Renewal, but holding off on sending it to CP until she’s done with other stuff I’ve sent her. Got through 1st round of revisions on Law of Choice, but still need to go through it again.

Reading:

  • Listen/read to 59 books(would be 63 but already finished 4) 69/59
  • Read 3 craft/research books

Again, had no problem hitting my reading goal. Except for the craft/research books. I only read 1.

Crafting:

  • Knit: 3 projects – 2/3
  • Crochet: 3 projects – 4/3

I still managed 6 projects, although 2 of those were actually the same thing.

I did get a good bit done for the round, and over all it was a success. Now to figure out goals for the next round, and maybe not keep changing them.

Flames A-Z: Caitie & Callum

I couldn’t decide who to write about for C. I have more than one character in the series who starts with C. There’s Carol Brooke(Kayla’s grandma), Caitlin Cooper(Adrian’s niece), Caitie Magaldi(Adrian’s cousin) and her older brother, Cormac, Callum & Connor(Adrian’s younger brothers), Christopher Takoda(James’ stepson). There’s a few others that are mostly distant cousins of Adrian(I have a very detailed family tree, my favorite form of procrastination).

Two of my favorites of these to write, though, have been Caitie Magaldi and Callum Riley.

Caitie was a bit unexpected, and so very different than me. She’s small, and often mistaken as a teenager. In fact, when Mark Young, firefighter and former Marine, first meets her that’s exactly what he thinks she is and so is very disturbed by his reaction to her. Until she sets him straight. She has an attitude about twice her size, though. Not a bad one, in fact she tends to be a bit bubbly and friendly. But, she doesn’t back down for much.

Caitie grew up with a father who ran a chain of pubs and a mother who’s a cop. Her two older brothers, Cormac and Brannon(named after an uncle but almost exclusively goes by Brann), joined the police department, and Caitie followed in their footsteps a few years later. She also has a younger brother, Giovanni, who was the only one to follow in their father into business. She moved to Crystal Glen, like her older cousin, Adrian, so she didn’t feel like she was always walking in her mother’s & brothers’ shadows. She ran into Mark Young a second time at Kayla and Adrian’s wedding and after one night together, thought she wouldn’t see him again(which she wasn’t too happy about). Of course, we can’t let that happen. 😉

From the first time Caitie & Mark run into each other after the wedding:

Caitie took a step forward. “Need some help here, Ham?”
“Just for these dumb smoke eaters to tell me what happened.”
She met Nolan’s gaze first and saw the smile spread across his face. “Fairy. What the hell are you doing here?”
Mark’s head jerked up at that. She saw him wince at the movement, but his gaze didn’t leave hers. There was pain in his eyes, but anger came in to cover it. “Caitie? What the hell?”
Then, his gaze moved down. Her skin tingled, as it roved over her chest to her badge, down to her waist, then back up, taking in her uniform. She held herself still, but she saw the muscle in his jaw twitch. “What the hell?” He said again.
She could feel Ham’s gaze on her too. “What’s going on, Magaldi? You know these guys?”
“Those two,” she said, indicating Mark and Nolan. She had to keep her eyes off Mark though. “They were at Adrian’s wedding. I don’t know the others.”
“They were there too,” Nolan said. “You must have missed them when you couldn’t take your eyes off Mark.”
“Shut the fuck up, Nolan,” Mark snarled.
He wasn’t looking at her anymore. Instead his gaze was focused across the room. That hurt, but she wasn’t going to let it show. Kayla had told her how he felt about women in their kind of jobs. Even if he’d been there when she woke up, it wouldn’t have worked.
“Let him get seen, and I’ll tell you anything you want to know,” Nolan was saying.
“I didn’t get hit in the fucking head. I’d remember that.”
“Obviously not,” Caitie said, putting one hand to the bruise on his face. He flinched, and she dropped her hand. She wanted to keep touching him though. And it was killing her that he wouldn’t even look her way. “You need to be seen, Mark. So, be a good boy…”
He growled and pushed up from the chair, shrugging off Nolan’s hand. When he towered over her, she should have been scared. But, she still remembered how gentle his hands were on her the other night. He didn’t frighten her.

Now, Callum, surprised me as well, but for different reasons. When he first showed up in Flames of Redemption, I didn’t expect too much from him. He was just Adrian’s younger brother, a recovering addict(although, at the time, I wasn’t even sure how *recovering* he was). There was a lot of conflict between him and Adrian since Adrian was the one who had arrested him about 2 years earlier. Some of that conflict remained in the next couple books, but by the time I started writing Callum’s story, Adrian was back on his brother’s side. And, a snippet of the two brothers together:

When he’d disappeared, Adrian sighed and crouched next to where Callum was sifting through the bolts laying on the ground. “What’s going on, Cal?”
He shook his head. “Nothing. I wish people would stop asking.”
“You’ve been acting weird since Easter. Even more since you moved here. Will you talk to me?”
Callum tossed one of the bolts to the ground. “Why? So you can lord it over me that I threw away the one possibly good thing in my life? That I let her walk away from me? What am I supposed to do? She’s the only one who looked at me and saw through all the shit I pulled. She’s the only one who saw me, Adrian. And she abandoned me when I was at my lowest. But, that’s my fault, too.”
“Cal, don’t-”
“No, Adrian, it’s true. I made her promises. That I would get clean. That I would stay clean. That I wouldn’t go back. I broke all of those and spent nearly two years behind bars. Why the hell wouldn’t she walk away from me? And now she’ll barely look at me.”
He saw Adrian freeze. “You’ve seen her again?”
He nodded and gripped his arm tight. “At the fire yesterday. She was there.”
He finally looked up, and Adrian’s eyes were dark, shuttered. “She’s with the department.”
“Yes. She always talked about joining. I didn’t know she’d gone through with it.”
“Who, Cal? I don’t know which shift that would be.”
“Megan,” he said, her name just a breath across his lips. “Megan Luzat.”
“Damn. I’m sorry, Cal.”
He shook his head and walked over to the next piece they needed to attach to the swingset. “It doesn’t matter. Hell, why should I expect her to forgive me? I can’t even forgive myself. I don’t deserve to.”
“You know that isn’t true, Callum. You made mistakes. Your coping methods hurt you and others. But, you paid for that. And you’ve been making up for it. You don’t need to keep punishing yourself. I know I had my doubts about if you were serious this time. I don’t anymore. So, stop beating yourself up.”
“Whatever, Adrian,” he said, but a smile slid across his face as his brother slid the bolt into place, attaching the piece to the rest of it.

Monday Mentions: Worldbuilding & Psychology Myths

Only have a couple posts to share today, and more of my own words to write, so going to get right to it.

First, a post on How to Worldbuild from Ava Jae. And doing it without info-dumping.

I’ll admit I haven’t thought too much about worldbuilding with my own writing. I mostly write in the “real world”. Of course, I do make up my own cities/towns for my books so there is some building that goes on there. I ground those towns near real places, though. 2 of my series take place in Northwestern PA, grounded near Erie. This is an area I’m familiar with, which actually can have problems of its own. Sometimes I think something’s perfectly clear because I know what to expect in the area, but my CP or beta readers might now see it. While I don’t need to worry about everything on the list she has, some of it is certainly a good thing to keep in mind even if you’re not writing a whole new world.

And from Kassandra Lamb 9 Common Psychology Myths on Jami Gold’s blog. #1 is one I’ve heard a good bit of people get wrong. I actually wrote a group paper about this in college(during my 3 year psych major). Some good things to keep in mind here.

And that’s all I have for today. Have you read any good blog posts recently? Writing related or otherwise.

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