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Archive for August, 2015

Monday Mentions: Heartless

I was supposed to help with the cover reveal for L.S. Engler‘s new book at the beginning of this month, but a ball got dropped somewhere. But, it came out on August 15(actually Amazon is saying 8/7, but still), so I figured I’d share this with you all.

Where do you turn when there’s no one left to trust?

The Slayer of the Soulless has found betrayal around every corner, and she has discovered that there are evils in the world far worse than the ravenous undead. Slicing down walking cadavers is one thing, but overthrowing the vile machinations of human beings is a brand of horror she never saw coming. She has her companions to help her, as well as some new friends and new technologies, but will it be enough? What if the true danger is not the Soulless of the outside world, but what has been inside her all along?

In this second book of the exciting Slayer Saga trilogy, L.S. Engler expands the world she introduced in “Soulless,” taking her readers even deeper into this world of zombie and political intrigue, a world that was once like our own, but has been claimed by nature and other dark forces. What lies ahead for the Slayer of the Soulless and her friends? Something that will surprise you and shake up the very things she holds dear.

– from Amazon

I’ve already bought it and have it on my list to read. Can’t wait to continue this series.

 

Sunday Summary: WeWriWa – “Would Have Been”

Another weekend(actually it’s Thursday as I type this. Shhhh), another installment of Weekend Writing Warriors. Still sharing from my short story-turned-novella, Into the Sun. Last week, we left off with some questions. This week, some might be answered.(I’ll answer one: they offered for Trace to go home with them. That’s what they’d been discussing). This follows telling Icarus he was named after his grandfather, but called Trace.

γ€€γ€€γ€€One side of his mouth tipped up at that. “Didn’t go for Trey, huh?”
“Stepdad said it sounded too prissy.”
I saw Icarus’ jaw clench at that. “I’m a junior as well. There used to be a girl who I thought wanted to be with me, and we talked about kids. Our son would have been a Trey.”
“Wh-what happened to her?”
“Just up and left one day. Said I flew too close to the sun.”

Trace has heard very similar words to that before. And Icarus did leave out a bit of that story, but might get to that later.

Like I said above, I started writing this up on Thursday. This week has been crazy productive. I finished my read through on Wednesday and had all the notes typed up in Scrivener on Thursday. A full day ahead of schedule. I even got through about half of Friday’s to-do list while the kids were shopping with their great-grandma(who lives next door). I had about 3.5 hours to myself.

  • Demons Rising: Read Through on my Kindle – finished the read through on Wednesday. Had over 300 notes. Of course, most of these were about splitting paragraphs. Some were at least a full page on my kindle, and I don’t like that. Also have 2 more scenes I want to add in(ended up only adding 1 in. Didn’t think the other was needed after all). To a MS that’s already my longest yet. I also finished revisions Friday. Added about 287 words total(had been closer to 400 then cut some more).
  • Guarding the Heart: Work through Chapter 17(this will be early morning project) – I did get through this. It was only 1(rather steamy, you may have figured if you read Wednesday’s post) scene, but I still finished it. πŸ˜‰ I wrote 1240 words
  • Into the Sun: finish 1st draft – not yet. As of Thursday, I’d written 1310 words. And I added another 244 Saturday morning.
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – 50% did this on Wednesday.
  • Read: Debt Collector: Season 1(Susan Kaye Quinn), Murder by the Seaside(Julie Anne Lindsey), & Everly After(Rebecca Paula) – finished all 3 of these and enjoyed them. Also read Stone of Destiny(Laura Howard). I enjoyed the first book but didn’t feel all connected to the character’s in this one. Still plan to finish off the trilogy, though. I also read Dare to Submit(Carly Phillips), which I really enjoyed, The Mackenzies: Dane, Thomas, Riley, Cooper & A Mackenzie Christmas(Lilliana Hart). I usually really like her stuff, but I really couldn’t buy the “I’ve known you/been with you 1 night & we’re in love”. Then, I read Something Like Normal(Trish Doller). Absolutely loved this one. I usually go to bed around 9, but I kept going “I’m just going to read a little more.” Then, it was after 11, and I was finished with it. I started and finished A Magic Dark & Bright(Jenny Adams Perinovic) by just after lunchtime Saturday. So, so good. But that ending…gah. *bites nails until book 2 comes out* I also got about 75% through Make It Count(Megan Erickson) yesterday.
  • Crochet: Spring Training Cap – finished this on Thursday, too. The baseball stitches aren’t quite centered. IMG_0801IMG_0800

Obviously I need to readjust how much I figure I can get done in a week. I had figured one revising step a week. But, I got 2 done this week. I’ll have to do some thinking on this.

For next week:

  • Demons Rising: Polish
  • Guarding the Heart: Finish Chapter 18(once I start polishing DR)
  • Into the Sun: Finish 1st draft
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – get through 75%
  • Read: Make It Count(Megan Erickson), & Second Chance at the Sugar Shack(Candis Terry)

Fitness Friday: Off Track

I haven’t completely fallen off track on my fitness stuff. I’ve still been doing the 30 day ab challenge. I’m on day 23 now. I should be through the challenge by the time the kids go back to school. Though I’ve found I can’t hold the plank position as I go. I can hold it for about up to a minute.

Snacking not going quite as well. Daughter’s birthday party was last weekend. We have leftover cake, ice cream, & potato chips(I might be snacking on salt & vinegar chips right now).

Trying to keep up with my water consumption, but haven’t been doing too well with that either. I try to keep 3 different water bottles filled and at hand. The first is easy, the latter is where I often fail.

I haven’t weighed myself since my last post.

7/17: 174

8/14: 177

Yuck. Now, it’s the time of the month where I tend to bloat up. So, I’m trying to keep that in mind. Still, seeing that number wasn’t fun. Definitely since that’s the highest I’ve weighed in at since the end of May. Hopefully over the next weeks I can get things back on track.

Flames A-Z: Nolan Hunter

I did a post on Nolan back in April for the A-Z challenge. At the time, I was in the middle of writing his story. He’s another of those characters who was supposed to just have a walk-on part in the first book. That first book was supposed to be a standalone. HaHa. I seem incapable of writing those. He only has a small appearance in the second book, but he’s in a good bit of book 3. And we learn something new about him at the same time Mark does. In fact, I learned it only shortly before that and may have resisted just a bit.

Nolan is the third son of Carrick and Ariana Hunter(that kind of makes him sound like royalty, huh?) and grew up in Crystal Glen, Pa. His father works in construction and his mother was an art teacher. Nolan and his brothers grew up around hammers and power tools. Only his oldest brother, Tate, followed in the family business. Although, his other older brother, Kelan, at one time planned to be an architect. He also has two younger siblings, Jessica and Jace, who are about 10 years younger than Nolan. Jessica also followed in their father’s footsteps.

When Nolan graduated high school, he went to college, majoring in psychology. During his second year at college, he left and joined the Marine Corps.* While there, he met Mark Young, who became one of his best friends. He served four years, a lot of that time spent in the Middle East. He was wounded just before his enlistment term was up, and he was also growing disillusioned, so he didn’t re-enlist.*

After that, he ended up joining the Crystal Lake Fire Department. He spent a few of his teen years as an Explorer for the town’s volunteer department. And his father, two of his brothers, and his sister are all volunteers as well. He’d been there for a couple years when Mark returned home badly wounded. After he’d recovered, Nolan convinced him to move up north(same state, but they come from different parts of it) and join the department as well.

Since him and Mark were friends, Nolan had gone home with Mark a few times when they were on leave. And he met Mark’s sister, Maura. Unfortunately, the first time he met her, she was already engaged to someone else. So, he became her friend. And he waited. He stood by her even when her husband treated her poorly. And when she finally left him, he was still there to support her and waiting for her to be ready to move on.

Writing Nolan’s story did push me a bit out of my comfort zone(and no, still not revealing Nolan’s secret. haha. I’m evil like that). But, I do really like it. I’m hoping others will, too.

*these lead to stories I wrote for this year’s Story a Day challenge.

Writing Wednesday: Bouncing Ahead

So, this week has been going pretty well. I did have a snag on Monday.

Not sure how exactly it happened. But, I thought I was ahead, until I realized the number of notes was low(10 when it had been over 50 when I’d stopped earlier). Ended up having to go back and go through the first 25% again. Was frustrating, but I got caught back up. And got even farther ahead yesterday(actually got through today’s goal yesterday afternoon).

I’ll get to more on that later. First, though, it’s WiPPet Wednesday! And I have…something to share. Looks like I’m back to Guarding the Heart this week. Since that’s what I have open at the moment. Today I have 24 words(8+12-1+5). These are the last words I’ve written on it, so it’s quite a bit after the last snippet I posted(which was from Chapter 6, I’m on Chapter 17 now).

β€œThis is a really, really bad idea,” he said.
β€œI excel at those,” she said as she flicked the button on his jeans open.

Is it going to be as bad of an idea as he assumes? How many bad ideas has she had? Will it really hurt to let go for one night?(She doesn’t think so, but he knows one night can change a lot).

As I said above, I’m making pretty good progress for the week. It’s only 6 a.m. and I’m already halfway through today’s to-do list. Hoping to get even farther ahead by the end of the day. At this rate, Friday may end up being a reading day.

  • Demons Rising: Read Through on my Kindle about 75%. Should be able to finish this today.
  • Guarding the Heart: Work through Chapter 17(this will be early morning project) – I’ve added 829 words so far this week. I only had 1 scene planned, but they may end up changing.
  • Into the Sun: finish 1st draft – I’ve added 891 words since Sunday. It’s not over 25k. I should have it wrapped up in a couple more scenes, though.
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – 50% – I’m about 35% through which keeps me on track.
  • Read: Debt Collector: Season 1(Susan Kaye Quinn), Murder by the Seaside(Julie Anne Lindsey), & Everly After(Rebecca Paula) – I liked Debt Collector and really enjoyed Murder by the Seaside. About halfway through Everly After. And I’ve been listening to Under Different Stars(Amy Barton). 2 hours left, and it’s hitting all my sappy romantic buttons.
  • Β Crochet: Spring Training Cap– I’ve got the body of this done. Have to do the brim and embroidery.

Teaser Tuesday: One More Week

FirstChoiceSecondChanceSmallerWebUseOnly 1 more week until First Choice, Second Chance is out. Not much longer, and I’ll need a new story to tease you all with. For today, I have a scene from Chapter 6 between Mason and his friend, Brian.

He couldn’t be here. He didn’t care about the wasted money. He would certainly lose his sanity if he stayed. He didn’t know why he ever thought he could do it. He’d go home and wait to even venture into town until she left. He’d turned back toward the gate when someone called his name. He turned his head as Brian walked toward him. He couldn’t help the smile. The two of them hadn’t been great friends in school, but since that summer after graduation they’d grown close.
He turned fully around. “Hey, Brian. Where’s the family?”
“Alyssa wanted to see the ponies. Ashley’s walking through the barns with her. How are you doing, man? Haven’t seen you around much lately.”
It was true. The farm kept him busy, especially since his father’s accident. They employed a couple of kids from the high school, but the farm couldn’t support more workers. He did most of the work himself, one reason they’d sold off about half of their cows, and to help pay his father’s medical bills. “Summer. It’s busy for us.” It’s all he would say. He wouldn’t burden anyone else.
“How’s your dad?” Brian asked, walking forward. Mason fell into step with him.
“He has his days. Summer’s not so bad. His pain gets worse when it’s cold. Not that he’ll admit it.”
That brought a grin out of his friend. “Your old man always was stubborn.”
“Yeah, he was. He is.” That’s the reason the doctors gave for why he even survived the accident. Or he had a guardian angel looking after him.
They walked in silence for a moment then Brian asked, “Have you seen her?”
Mason’s stomach twisted around itself. He didn’t need him to clarify who he asked about. “Ran into her at the bar the other night. She came to see me the next day.”
“You okay?”
“Fine.” Not even close. “I made it clear there was nothing between us anymore. She’s my brother’s wife, for God’s sake.” His hands shook as he said the words, so he shoved them in his pockets. He hoped Brian hadn’t noticed.
There was precious little the other man didn’t notice. One reason he was the youngest member of the town’s small law firm. Why he had been snatched up as soon as he passed the bar, over a year ago. Already he was making a name for himself. “They’re divorced, man. You can go after her if you want.”
Mason shook his head. “I don’t want. She chose him over me seven years ago. I can’t forget that.” It made his heart ache to remember it. “She’ll be leaving again. What’s the point?”
“What if she were to stay?”
“It wouldn’t matter. I can’t be her second choice. I can’t, Brian.”
“All right, man. What are you doing here tonight? I imagine you aren’t going to the concert.”
Mason shook his head. “I don’t think it would be smart to torture myself, but I couldn’t stay away. Maybe I’m not so smart.”
Brian squeezed his shoulder. “You’ll be all right. I see Ashley and Alyssa up there. I better catch up to them. I’ll see you around, okay?”
“Yeah, Brian, go be with your family,” he said as they announced Lila on the stage. She was the opening act tonight. His mouth went dry as her voice rose over the applause. “I’m going to get something to eat then head back home. I never should have come here.”

You still have time to pre-order: Kindle|Kobo|Nook|iBooks or add it to your Goodreads shelf.

Monday Mentions: Developing Character, Names & Buried Secrets

First, my Sponsor Post is up today on A Round of Words in 80 Days today, so you can go check that out if you want.

My posts to share today seem to focus on characters. First, one from Ava Jae on how she develops characters. I’m pretty much exactly the opposite. The characters are one of the first things I figure out. Often the plot comes from learning about them. Now, sometimes what I know about them changes, or I learn something new, as I write. But, I need to have a pretty good idea before I even start.

And I found this post by Ellen Alden on naming traditions really interesting. It would definitely be something to keep in mind if writing historical fiction.

And from Kristen Lamb, on Lies, Denials, and Buried Secrets. Everyone lies. Everyone has secrets. They may not be the “destroy someone’s life/end of the world” type, but they’re there and can effect the characters/plot. No one puts everything out there. No one is perfect.

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

Sunday Summary: WeWriWa – “Just a Boy”

Time for another installment of Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for everyone who likes to write. I am, once again, writing this up on Friday. But, as I’ve finished everything for the week, this counts as my weekend, right? Anyway, I have 10 sentences following shortly after last week’s snippet. The three men are talking away from Trace, but he can still hear them.

γ€€γ€€γ€€”Think he’s trouble, Cap’n. Or it could follow him.”
“He’s just a boy.” Icarus’ voice, still soft, but with steel behind it. “And there’s something ’bout him.”
That had my stomach twisting in knots. Did he see it too?
“Looks like he could use a few good nights sleep,” a rumbling voice said. “And extra meals.”
“God, he reminds me of someone.”

So, who does Trace remind Icarus of? Is he going to bring trouble? Just what are they planning? Come back next week, and you might find out. πŸ˜‰

IMG_0785

We had my daughter’s 8th birthday party yesterday. 8, really? How did that happen?(Yes, I know how it actually happened, but still…) It went well, and she got some new toys, clothes, and books(and notebooks and pencils, of course).

gift from one of her school friends

gift from one of her school friends

Today, Daddy is taking her out for breakfast and possibly bringing pizza home for dinner tomorrow night for her actual birthday. And then, 3 1/2 weeks until the boy’s birthday.

playing with the new doll we got her

playing with the new doll we got her

Since I’m starting to write this on Friday, it’s probably obvious how this week has gone. πŸ˜€ I really thought it would take longer to do revisions on Demons Rising. I didn’t rewrite as much as I thought I’d have to. I still may end up rewriting those scenes, for now I reworked a few things. And I threw one scene out entirely(well moved to a ‘cut scenes’ folder in my scrivener folder in case I want to put it back in).

  • Demons Rising: Round 1 Revisions – DONE!! Added over 7800 words to this. Now, sitting at just under 95k. That’s long for one of mine, usually they’re between 80-85k or even under that.
  • Into the Sun: Try to finish Edited: forgot about this – have added 1525 words this weekend. Getting close to the finish & having ideas for more stories with these characters.
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict(Debra Dixon) – 25% – got this done
  • Read: Scratch(Rhonda Helms), Pivot Point(Kasie West), & Love the Way You Lie(Skye Warren) – I had these done by Wednesday’s check-in. Have also read Curious(R.G. Alexander) – really enjoyed- and finished No Limits(Lori Foster) yesterday. Liked it. Although there are tie-ins to a series I haven’t read yet(have it on my list now, though). Also finished listening to Hidden(Kendra Elliot) and really liked it. Apparently I should have listened to these before the Callahan & McLane series, since they happened before and we see some of the same characters. But…*shrug*
  • Knit: Hive Dishcloth – Finished this on Friday.IMG_0774

For next week:

  • Demons Rising: Read Through on my Kindle
  • Guarding the Heart: Work through Chapter 17(this will be early morning project)
  • Into the Sun: finish 1st draft
  • Read: GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict – 50%
  • Read: Debt Collector: Season 1(Susan Kaye Quinn), Murder by the Seaside(Julie Anne Lindsey), & Everly After(Rebecca Paula)
  • Crochet: Spring Training Cap

Fire Friday

Back in April when I was doing the A-Z challenge(with my fire theme), I considered starting a semi-regular feature with a similar theme. Haven’t done anything with it yet. I think mostly it will be links to fire-related articles. That might not always be the case, though. It won’t be a weekly feature, more likely monthly.

Firefighter falls through roof. – I find it amazing he was able to walk away from this. Also why walking into the fire isn’t the only danger.

Serial Arsonist Arrested – He set 30 vegetation fires since April. Wow. Certainly not helping wildfire season.

9 sources of stress – an interesting look into some of the issues firefighters might face on a daily basis that can increase their stress.

And one for fun – 20 Signs You’re a Firefighter. My husband could probably relate to a few of these.

Flames A-Z: Mark & Maura

When I started writing Mark Young’s back story, I knew he had an older sister. But, that was pretty much it. In fact, at first, he didn’t have many nice things to say about her. Then, I started to dig a bit deeper.

Mark had always seen his sister as cold, withdrawn, and a bit of a bitch. A lot like their mother. But, as I started to dig deeper into his memories, he realized that she’d always been the one to take care of him. The one who made snacks for him when he was younger, that helped bandage any scrapes when he fell down. She was the only one who was there to meet him when he got back from basic training after he joined the Marines. He also realizes her seemingly cold attitude was her defense against their dysfunctional family. Anger tended to be his.

Maura loved her younger brother. She tried to take care of both of her brothers, but the youngest was treated like the golden child, so it was Mark she worried about more. Him and their father constantly butted heads. She tried to step between them, but that often made things worse. So, she started withdrawing, still trying to defuse situations without actually stepping in the middle.

Maura married Evan Reddick, thinking he actually loved her. She thought they’d have a better marriage than her parents did, something more than a business arrangement. Instead it was the same, maybe even worse. He cheated on her, lied to her, and ended up isolating her from friends and family. When it started affecting their children, she knew she needed to leave him.

Mark had been in the Marines during most of Maura’s engagement and the early years of her marriage. So, he didn’t see how bad it was. Didn’t realize she wasn’t really happy with what had been arranged. But, after he’s wounded, she’s the only one in the family who shows up when he needs the support.

After Mark moves north, at his best friend’s urging, to join the fire department in Crystal Glen, Maura’s the only one in his family he still talks to. His father essentially disowned him, and his mother always went along with her husband. But, even with her, he doesn’t keep good contact with. It’s actually from his best friend, Nolan, he learns how bad things have gotten in her marriage. Between the two of them, they convince her to move up to Crystal Glen with the kids.

So, Mark and Maura haven’t always had the best relationship. But, when it really matters, they’re there for each other.

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