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Archive for August, 2015

Monday Mentions: Strong Girls, Mixed Feelings, and Pronouns

Just a few posts to share again.  This will probably be the way I do it from now on. 3 seems like the perfect number to me.

A post from Ashley Herring Blake on No One Loves the Girl Who is Strong. Some really good thoughts here.

From Julie Glover on how Some People Will Hate Your Book. This is a good thing to keep in mind.  I know there are some books I loved that even friends didn’t care for.  And I’ve seen some that others have raved about that I just couldn’t get into. We all have different tastes and perspectives on things.  So just because someone may not care for our books doesn’t mean the book is bad. Someone else may absolutely love it.

And from Writeworld, a post on using gender neutral pronouns in your writing. This is actually an older post,  but a resource if you write any characters outside the binary of male/female.

What do you think? Have you read any good posts lately?

Sunday Summary: WeWriWa – “Flying in the House”

Welcome to another installment of Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. I’m still sharing from Into the Sun. Today, I have nine sentences from near the beginning of the next scene(skipped the first two sentences of the scene). Another new character shows up in this one.

   ”Birdie,” he said, “what have I said about flying in the house?”
The light giggle had another part of me stiffening. God, what was wrong with me? She didn’t sound like she could be older than fifteen, and I’d just turned eighteen. That was all kinds of wrong.
“I’d heard you were home. I missed you, Dad.”
Dad. And, if I was right about Icarus, that made what I felt even more kinds of wrong.

Oh, young…lust. And Trace may be jumping to a couple conclusions that just might not be quite correct. 🙂

The week’s been going pretty well for me. Getting stuff done. Friday night we went up to Erie and each got new phones. I got the Samsung Note 5. I do like being able to actually write right on the phone, but it’s taking a little getting used to. Spent yesterday morning installing and logging into my apps. Also, they were having a promotion for buying Samsung phones. So we each got a “free” tablet. Still had to pay an activation fee & a monthly fee for adding the line, but that’s it. So, I have that to play around with now, too.

Yesterday was also my cousin’s wedding. She’s 8 years younger than me, but it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact she’s old enough to get married. Which is silly, but still. It was a pretty nice wedding. Rather laidback. Very country.
image cups at the reception.


The girl at the reception.

  • Flames of Justice – 1st round of revisions. Possibly: start read through. If still have time: 2nd round of revisions – finished this. Also got revisions note cards for Scars and All finished. And ready to start revisions on Monday.
  • Into the Sun – Read through & revision plan – haven’t started yet, but there’s still today.
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – finish – finished reading this.
  • Also read: Banshee’s Revenge(Victoria Richards), Descent(J.R. Pearse Nelson), and Tough Love(Skye Warren). And started Turning Pointe(Katherine Locke)

Still one more day left in the month, but I’m going to do my wrap-up today anyway.


  • Demons Rising – finish revisons & polish(this may be a bit of a reach. Depends on how long it takes to get through 1st round of revisions) – I got all this done & Flames of Justice & started Scars and All.
  • Revise anything I get back from CP/Beta – didn’t get anything back.


  • Guarding the Heart get through Chapter 20 – decided to set this aside. I’ll get back to it sometime, though.
  • Into the Sun – finish 1st draft & revise* – finished the first draft, but just starting the read through.


  • Listen/Read: 16 books – listened to 5/read 24
  • Read 1 craft/research book – read Goal, Motivation, Conflict(Debra Dixon)


  • Knit: Hive dishclothIMG_0774
  • Crochet: Spring Training CapIMG_0800 IMG_0801

A lot more blue than red for August. That always makes for a good month. So, my goals for September:


  • Scars and All – have it polished up by the end of the month
  • Stained Blood – depending on time: start revisions
  • Into the Sun – revisions


  • Listen/read: 16 books(even though I’ve already met my 3rd quarter goal of 49 books)
  • Read 1 craft book


  • Knit: Cuddly Chevron Blanket
  • Crochet: Twist’N Shout Slouchy Hat

And for this week:

  • Scars and All: Finish revisions, Possibly: read through, if still time: 2nd revisions
  • Into the Sun: revisions
  • Read: Take Off Your Pants(Libbie Hawker) – outlining book before anyone asks. 😉
  • Read: Turning Pointe, Against the Law(Kat Martin), The Demon in the Wood(Leigh Bardugo), & Winning Streak(Katie Kenyhercz)
  • Knit: Cuddly Chevron Blanket




Fiction Friday: Stained Series

I’m planning to start putting out my first western series late this year. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be releasing one each month. Of course we all know how plans usually go. There’s only 3 books in the series, so it’s shorter and more self-contained than my others. Like my other series, these are connected by the characters and there isn’t an over-arching line between them. Different main characters, different problems.

Stained Snow:

Sometimes blood isn’t thick enough.

When everything is taken from him, William Jensen knows just who to blame. It’s finding him that’s the problem.  When he’s wounded and taken in by a rancher and his daughter, he starts to see that there might be more to his life now than vengeance. But, when he’s faced with losing even that, can he face down the man who is willing to take everything until he has nothing left? Even if it means killing his own brother.

Stained by Ashes:

Adam Kindrick thinks his biggest trouble will be finding a way for his other family, his mother’s people, to finally accept him. Then, he meets Leah Kline, whose father despises him because of his heritage, and finds a burned down cabin within days. Now, he has to decide what’s more important: getting the girl or finding who is burning out homesteaders. Because, it becomes clear he won’t be able to have both.

Stained Blood:

Barrett Kline has been hiding out since his family’s disgrace, except for giving away his sister at her wedding. Until he sees a woman in apparent distress. But, there’s more to Deryn Glas than he first assumes. When he realizes there is trouble on her trail, he vows to protect her, even when that means marrying her. But, falling in love had never been in the plan.

Writing Wednesday: And They’re Off


k-4 & 2nd grade

Kids went back to school yesterday! The boy only goes in the morning, so I have about 3.5 hours from the time they leave until he gets home. And about another 4 hours before the girl gets home.

wearing last year's book bag until after his birthday(sept 3)

wearing last year’s book bag until after his birthday(sept 3)

Yesterday we spent some of that time between playing Legos. But, I was able to get some editing done before he got home. IMG_0809Today I plan to start walking again, unless it’s raining. Then, I just might get on the treadmill(which I find extremely boring after walking outside, but at least it will be something).

And they're off!

And they’re off!

I’m finishing up edits on Flames of Justice(yeah, that was quick, but it’s only a ~20k novella). But, I could still share a bit from it, although I’ll be working on something else(Scars & All. woohoo!) next week. Or I could share a bit from the exercise I did for the GMC craft book I’m reading. Yeah, I think I might do that. We were supposed to quickly write up a character’s(new one on a character not in current project) GMC then write a quick scene(not spending more than an hour on it). These characters actually showed up in Chasing the Ghost(Gilbert, CO #4), and I’ve been getting the itch to tell the story of how they ended up where they are. It will probably only be a novella, and I have another one I want to write in this series, too(which will be an expansion of this story I wrote in May. I think these will be my NaNo project this year.

So anyway I have the first 8 paragraphs of this scene for the untitled project. Part of the exercise was to use the phrase, “What’s mine is mine. What’s your is up for grabs.” somewhere in the piece. I started with that(though it will probably come out later). This is the first time typing any of this up, so obviously it’s very rough.

“What’s mine is mine. What’s yours is up for grabs.” Bryan Coleman muttered his boss’s words again as he headed for the diner. He was glad the words hadn’t been exactly directed at him. But, they might as well have been.

His boss hadn’t had to tell him this was his last chance. He’d lost the last three contracts he’d tried to negotiate. If he didn’t get this one, he’d be out on his ass.

The last thing he wanted was to prove his dad right in everything.

Bryan took a deep breath before pushing through the door. Now or never. The potential client was probably already waiting for him.

He let his eyes adjust to the dimmer interior after being out in the bright Colorado sun then glanced around. He was supposed to meet the guy at the back corner table, isolated from the rest of the crowd.

And, of course, the table was already occupied. Bryan wanted to swear, but he needed to retain his professional demeanor. It was bad enough the client had arrived before him.

He wiped one hand on his slacks, then shifted his briefcase to it so he could dry the other hand. As he approached the table, the man sitting there glanced up. Bryan was a little surprised by his appearance. First of all, he was young. He didn’t look like he should even be out of college, let alone the head of some mining corporation.

Maybe he’d inherited the position.

This scene may or may not make the official first draft. I haven’t really even started plotting it. I do know a bit about the main characters as they were side characters in Chasing the Ghost.

  • Flames of Justice – 1st round of revisions. Possibly: start read through. If still have time: 2nd round of revisions – got all of these done & about half way through the list of words to polish out of it. I added over 1600 words during the two revision rounds. And have cut 400 words so far during the polishing.
  • Into the Sun – Read through & revision plan – weekend project
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – finish – More than 85% through now.
  • I also finished reading The Forgotten Ages(Lindsay Buroker) last night. This included two novellas and a short story set in her Emperor’s Edge world, but like 20 years earlier than that series. I loved them. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve read anything of hers I haven’t liked.

I’m actually hoping to finish polishing Flames of Justice today. Then, I can start working on notecards for Scars and All. Excited to be getting back to Doren and Cassie sooner than I’d planned on.

Monday Mentions: Ending Series, Said, & Perspective

Sharing a few quick posts this week.

From Cecilia Tan – Top Ten Ways to NOT End a Series. I have a few ongoing series, one of which has spawned a spin-ff, and I’m planning another as well. These are some good tips(I’ve been working on the timeline one).

From Ava Jae: Don’t be afraid of said. I admit, sometimes I worry I use said too much. But, I try not to use any that are too “fancy”. And I may use muttered and murmured more than I should. As Ava says, it’s not something to worry too much about in the first draft. But, there’s really nothing wrong with a simple ‘said’.

And a post from Shan Jeniah, on questioning our perspective on things. It’s something we all should do at times. Especially as writers. Not all our characters are going to look at things the same way we do. And it’s always something to keep in mind.

Sunday Summary: WeWriWa – “Another Stray”

It’s the weekend again, so time for another installment of Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for everyone who likes to write. Still sharing from Into the Sun, which I just finished on Friday. I have 8 sentences today, with a new character, Barbie(who is Bull’s wife).

   I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. But, her eyes came to me then, and I felt that panic well up again. “Take in another stray, Icarus?”
“You try to pet this one, Barbie, and he’ll bolt right out of here.”
Her eyes softened as if she understood exactly what he meant. But, still, that term rankled. “I’m not a stray,” I muttered. “I’m not worthless.”

We had the boy’s K-4 orientation Wednesday night. He has the same teacher the girl did(well, one. They do it differently now. For her, it had been one big class, this one is separated into two). 1 or 2 kids he knows from preschool are in his class, as well as a friend’s daughter(her older brother is in the girl’s class this year as well).

Minion hat he made at K-4 orientation

Minion hat he made at K-4 orientation

Then, the kids had their yearly check-ups on Thursday. The boy is tall & skinny(about 60% for height and 40% for weight) & the girl is short & skinny(about 23% for height & 30 for weight). This is right about where they’ve always run. He’s only about 4 inches shorter than her now.

We went down to the Crawford County Fair yesterday afternoon/evening. I used to spend most days of fair week out there with my sisters/cousins. Now, we’re lucky to get down one day. But, we checked out some of the horses, sheep, pigs, goats, and cows. Ate some fair food, saw some tractors and had ice cream(even the small cone is pretty big). And for anyone who has picked up First Choice, Second Chance, this is where some of the scenes are set.

He has friends’ birthday party(their twins) to go to today, so the girl and I will probably hang at the bookstore for a while. Our favorite place to be.

  • Demons Rising: Polish – finished this on Thursday. Ended up cutting 3881 words. It’s still a little over 90k.
  • Guarding the Heart: Finish Chapter 18 – heh. Nope. After Wednesday, I decided to just set this aside for now. I was only adding a little a day, and my attention felt too scattered. It actually got moved to my calendar for next year, so that might be when I pick it back up.
  • Into the Sun: Finish 1st draft – YES! FINALLY! I started this at the very end of March. Mostly worked on it over the weekends. Originally had planned on it being a short story, ~3k. Hahaha. Realized I had more story than that but doubted I had enoughf or novella length. Another HAHAHA. It’s a couple hundred short of 30k. Not bad for starting with a vague idea. Added 3580 words this week. Next weekend I’ll start revising it.
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – get through 75% – did this too. I’ll finish this week.
  • Read: Make It Count(Megan Erickson), & Second Chance at the Sugar Shack(Candis Terry) – Finished both of these. Also read The Guy Next Door(anthology) and was kind of ‘meh’ about it. I started a couple other ones, but ended up setting them aside. Then, read Flirting with Disaster(Victoria Dahl). Really enjoyed this one. Also read Wicked Path(Eliza Tilton) and Sweet Memories(Steena Holmes). And I started Forgotten Ages(Lindsay Buroker).
  • Flames of Justice – wasn’t going to start working on this until September, but I finished Demons Rising early. I got the note cards for revisions finished, so I’ll be starting revisions next week.

I’m doing my writing goals a little different. Going to work in the morning, before kids are up, then again until the boy gets home from school(starting Tuesday). Then, I’ll get everything else done and go back to writing goals until the girl gets home. So, goals for next week:

  • Flames of Justice – 1st round of revisions. Possibly: start read through. If still have time: 2nd round of revisions
  • Into the Sun – Read through & revision plan
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – finish

I’ve finished all the books on my list for the month, so I’m not including it in my list even though I’ll still be reading.

Photo Friday: Birthday & End of Summer Fun

Seems like we’ve been busy pretty much every weekend this month. Motorcycle rides, birthday parties, picnics, and trip to the water park. This is the last weekend before school starts for the kids, and the boy has a friend’s birthday party to go to. Then, the weekend after that, we have a wedding then labor day & the boy’s birthday. After that, things should settle down.

Ready for our first motorcycle ride of the month.

Ready for our first motorcycle ride of the month.

gift from one of her school friends

gift from one of her school friends

birthday cupcakes

birthday cupcakes

playing with the new doll we got her

playing with the new doll we got her


new helmet

new helmet

She definitely takes after me

She definitely takes after me

IMG_0787 IMG_0788 IMG_0789 IMG_0790 IMG_0791


Minion hat he made at K-4 orientation

Minion hat he made at K-4 orientation

Flames A-Z: Oliver Stiel

If you read any snippets I’ve shared from Flames of Retribution, you probably met at least some of the Magaldi family. I established in Flames of Renewal that Adrian had a lot of cousins, the Magaldis among them. Well, the Magaldis also have a lot of cousins. Dougal, Caitie Magaldi’s father, is the youngest of five siblings. His two oldest siblings are twin sisters, Carina and Letizia. Letizia married Roderick Stiel, a corporate lawyer from Pittsburgh, Pa. They had three children; Emilia and Oliver, who were also twins, and another daughter, Adreana.

They haven’t actually shown up yet, but both Emilia and Oliver will get involved with the Hunter family in the Flames spin-off. And since I don’t have any actual words written in a story for Oliver, a little snippet from his back story(written in 1st person, as I always do for back stories):

I don’t want to say I had a normal childhood, although there wasn’t necessarily anything abnormal about it either. I don’t know that normal could describe life with a corporate lawyer father and social worker mother. Dad tried to groom me practically from toddlerhood to join him at his firm. I took a little too much after Mom. I wanted to be a help to others and didn’t see how manipulating deals would do that.
Emilia didn’t really take after either of them. Maybe a bit like Mom. She did have a thing for causes. But, she was more of a free spirit. Dad tried his best to dampen it, despite Mom’s protests. Our younger sister, Adreana, took more after Dad in both looks and temperament. She was the one to follow him into the firm, which he never stops throwing in my face.
At least when he chooses to speak to me. You see, I knew from an early age I wasn’t like him. He’s always considered himself a ladies man. As far as we know, he’s never once actually cheated on Mom, but he’s always had a wandering eye. It seemed like he was always tossing girls my way. Daughters of clients and associates, granddaughters of his partners, even a few relatives of family friends. I was never interested.
Maybe if he’d thrown some of the sons in my path, we could have talked.

So, that’s Oliver. I’m excited to get to his story…eventually.

Writing Wednesday: Another Released

First Choice, Second Chance released yesterday! You can get it on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, or iBooks. Also, if you check the side bar, you’ll see the link to subscribe to my newsletter. I couldn’t figure out how to get just the box to put in your email, but I kind of worked around that. So, anyway, you can subscribe and get maybe 1-2 emails from me a month.

And that’s all my self-promotion. 🙂 Now, on to WiPPeT Wednesday! Working on polishing up Demons Rising still, so I’ll share from that since it’s what I have open currently. I have 27 sentences(8+19) from Chapter 8.

“Hey there, pretty lady.”
“Back off.” She pulled her badge out as he started to reach toward her. “Do not touch me. I’m looking for Todd Rudler. I thought this was his apartment.”
The man held his hands up, but the smirk didn’t leave his face. “Nah, he lives across the hall. 3A, this is 3D. You wanna come in and cuff me, Officer?” He gave her a wink as if that would drive her into his arms.
“Trust me, if I did, you wouldn’t like it.”
Then, she turned her back on him. His chuckle rolled across the hallway and she smiled despite herself. Then, the door across the hall opened and Todd stepped into the doorway. The smile instantly fled. Because there was nothing here that didn’t attract her. She couldn’t afford to think like that. “Sorry, Todd,” the man’s lazy voice came from across the hall. “Didn’t mean to try to steal your lady. You’ve got a feisty one this time.”
“Go away, Anthony,” he said with a roll of his eyes. She could hear the laugh in his voice.
She turned her head, and he held his hands up again. “I’m going. I’m going,” Anthony said, backing back into his apartment. “Didn’t realize I’d be infringing on your territory.”

This is probably the last snippet from this one(at least until after my CP gets her hands on it). Next week, I’ll either be back to Guarding the Heart or possibly share some from Flames of Justice, the next project in my editing line-up. This is a novella, so I’m thinking I can get through the revisions fairly quickly.

We have the boy’s K-4 orientation tonight. We’ll get to meet his teacher, see his classroom, ride the bus, and see who else is going to be in his class. They go back next Tuesday. We took them to the water park Sunday and ended up running into my best friend from high school. She was there with her husband and their oldest daughter(the younger one is only about 3 months old, so my friend’s mom was watching her). I haven’t seen her in quite a while, so that was nice.

  • Demons Rising: Polish – A little more than halfway through my list. Shouldn’t have any trouble finishing it this week. Though, I haven’t even touched ‘was’ yet(the one that usually takes the longest). I’ve cut 2350 words so far.
  • Guarding the Heart: Finish Chapter 18 – not quite there yet. I’ve added 1809 words to this.
  • Into the Sun: Finish 1st draft – really close. Like maybe 1 or 2 more scenes to go. I’ve added 1777 words so far this week.
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – get through 75% – I’m 60% through right now. On track for this.
  • Read: Make It Count(Megan Erickson), & Second Chance at the Sugar Shack(Candis Terry) – finished both & loved both. Now I’m reading The Guy Next Door(anthology w/ Lori Foster, Susan Donovan, & Victoria Dahl).


Teaser Tuesday: It’s Live

It’s release day, so this will be the last excerpt from First Choice, Second Chance. From Chapter 7, Lila is having dinner with her old friend, Ashley(who happened to marry Mason’s friend, Brian).

Ashley reached across the table and put her hand over Lila’s. “I saw what the papers said. I’d imagine almost everyone in town has. You know there are few around here who will believe it.”
“I’m not sure what I’d rather have them believe. That I really was a bad girl in a good girl’s skin, or I was so deceived by someone like Kyle. Both are humiliating. Now, my career’s over.”
“Don’t say that, Lila. I’m sure you can go back to it. Other stars have had bad press, and it’s forgotten the next time someone else’s name is splashed across the tabloids.”
Lila shook her head. “You don’t understand. It’s not just the tabloids. He spread lies to producers, to the venues. No one wants me. He’s essentially ruined any chances of me performing again any time soon. I don’t know if I could even handle going back on the stage. It was never easy for me before. I don’t think I have the confidence to do it now.”
“I’ve never known you to not have confidence, and I’ve known you a long time.”
“Getting on stage, especially the bigger ones, scared me to death. It was easier that summer I was home. When I knew Mason was out there. When I had his support.” She dropped her head into her hands. “God. Why was I so stupid?”
When Ashley didn’t respond after a minute, she looked back up and realized her friend’s attention had focused past her. “What? What is it?” A stone weighed heavy in her stomach.
“He’s here. With his parents.”
She wanted to turn and look too much. She kept her eyes trained ahead of her and saw the sadness in Ashley’s eyes. “What is it? Is something wrong with him?”
“You never heard about Scott, either? About his accident?”
“What happened? Is he okay?”
“Well, since the doctors didn’t expect him to live, I’d say it’s a pretty good thing he’s walking, even with the use of a cane.”
“What happened?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know. She had always cared for Scott. Had loved how he supported Mason even when he didn’t agree with his choices. So many times she had wished her father was more like him.
“An accident with his tractor. I’m not exactly sure what happened. Mason found him out in the field, stuck under that big beast. He was in the hospital for nearly two months. Like I said, the doctors said he was lucky to still be alive, let alone walking. Mason’s handled most of the work on the farm since.”
“How can he do that on his own? I can’t imagine one man handling it alone.”
“They hired a couple of high school kids. I know they’ve sold off close to half of the cows. Scott has started talking about finding a buyer for it. He told Brian he’s tired of feeling like a burden. Thinks if he sells, it will make things better for everyone.”
“Poor Mason.” She hadn’t meant to let the words slip out. “Poor Scott, too. I know how much Mason has always loved that place. What will he do if they sell it?”
Ashley shook her head. “I don’t know. Brian’s talked to Scott about it. They’ve been tossing ideas around, but Scott hasn’t been ready to sell. I think it’s getting to be too much now, and he’s ready. From what Brian says, Mason’s the only resistant one now.”
“It’s his home,” Lila murmured. “It’s his whole life.”
“For being gone seven years, you still know him pretty well.”

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