Tag Archives: Hereafter

My NaNoWriMo novel for 2008. Comedy/horror/mystery crossover.


Lately I’ve been well…..wangsting over my lack of publication.  Stupid, I know, right?  The Inner Slave Driver seems to feel that I’m not working fast enough.  18k so far on Alpha Female + 70 or so notecards done for Pirouette in one month?  That’s slow?  As Alisia would say, mercy me.

Okay, so I’m just a wee bit impatient.  I’m very competitive, and when I hear about writers being successful, I always feel a little sick inside.  The whole, well, why the hell aren’t you there yet? Huh? routine.  And I’d like to make it clear that I am happy for those lucky writers–I’m sure they worked hard for it — and feel no ill will against them.  However, it always shines the spotlight on what I haven’t done.  And that just blows.

And I’ve been working hard, not lollygagging around here.  I just feel so…..inadequate.  Like I should BE there by now.  But one thing I keep reading everywhere it that every writer’s journey is different.  Some get lucky.  Some actually have more time to devote to it, and thus progress faster than me.  Others struggle.  I think I’m in the middle.  I know I’ve improved alot over the last 6 or 7 years, and I struggle with tendonitis on occasion, which makes high wordcounts impossible.  My progress is more slow and steady.  I might be slower, but my wrists don’t die and maybe I won’t need to pull out the Dragon again. 

Furthermore, I have other things as well — full time job, chronic illness, a husband.  A family.  Relaxation (what’s that?) or reading time.  I’ve learned that even I need breaks occasionally.  Even I need to back off, which has been tough with Pirouette because my every instinct is screaming at me to get back to it, fix it, polish it, get it out the door, and I know that it needs time to gel more.  I’ve got a ton of ideas, and they’re all documented.  Notecards are in progress.  I’m constantly thinking about it.  But it needs time.  And that’s time I wish I could be querying it, but as I’ve said before, it’s not flippin’ ready yet.  And that’s the biggest bug in my butt here.  I can’t send out an inferior, crap manuscript.  Can’t do that.  So I gotta cool my heels and wait till I can make it better.  Sometimes I just wish I could work faster.  But it is what it is.

I’m still hoping to make my one HUGE goal of submitting something this year.  Will probably be Alpha Female, which is going okay, except that the story got away from me and may no longer fit with the antho I was looking to submit it to.  Oh well.  It’s one of my rules: I go where the story takes me, even if I outlined it a certain way or had a different idea in the beginning.  I can submit it elsewhere if need be, so this isn’t wasted time.  And I’m getting good practice on writing on a deadline. 

This whole go where the story takes me thing is how Hereafter went from comedy to friggin dark fantasy and how Survivor turned into a rich, complex story about several key characters versus the few I wanted to focus on.  It’s how Pirouette went from practically fanfic (and no, I’m not proud of it at all, but it did start the whole thing in motion…gulp..5 years ago) to its own world and own characters and its own plot and worldbuilding and such.  But if I hadn’t followed the story for the 11 months it took to write that critical first draft, Pirouette would not exist as it is today.  I’m positive about that one.  So, Alpha Female changed a bit.  I like the changes.  I think they are strengthening the story.  I’ll make a ruling after I’m done with the first draft whether or not I’m going to try to revise it to the antho specs, or just revise/polish it and send it elsewhere.

So I haven’t been sitting on my butt moaning my fate.  I’ve been productive.  I just need perspective, you know?  I need to believe, now more than ever, that I can succeed at this.  It’s been my dream since I was a little girl.  It’s what I am.  And I want so desparately to get my stuff out there, and maybe make a living doing it.  Just got to wait my turn.

Writing theme songs

All of my projects have at least one theme song attached to them, be it the whole book or an aspect of it.  I thought it might be interesting to list what they are and why.

Pirouette – all drafts (3rd draft in progress now):
 “Space Dye Vest” by Dream Theater.  I used this as Alisia and Lucien’s main “fighting” song.  It’s sad and torturous, and it brings up all kinds of heart-wrenching images in my head.  It just seemed perfect.

“Walk in the Shadows” by Queensryche – Raelan and Alisia’s theme.  In the last third of the book, [something spoilery happens] and for a time, Alisia and Raelan (who’s the villain) are….aligned.  This song, which talks about walking on the dark side of life, giving ino the darkness, fits the feeling of those scenes perfectly.

“The Killing Words” by Queensryche – Alisia and Lucien’s theme.  Just screams tragic, love, betrayal, heartbreaking stuff.  Sniff.

Flamebound (currently in revision):
“Take Hold of the Flame” by Queensryche.  The entire story is based on the song — or rather, my interpretation of it.  So many things tie to the world and story.

Survivor (recently finished first draft):
Operation: Mindcrime by Queensryche.  Yes, the entire album.  The book pretty much wrote itself to this awesome, magnificent album.  Since alot of the themes ran parallel to my story, it was almost eerie how the entire thing seemed like a metaphor for Survivor.  Some of it, like the brainwashing and mind control, were literal.

“Eyes of a Stranger” by Queensryche (on Operation:Mindcrime) – Amber’s theme.  Amber is the main character, and as she goes through some painful, traumatic stuff, she’s kind of transformed….and thus truly has the “eyes of a stranger.”

Requiem in Blue (2007 project)
“The Hands” by Queensryche – Meredith’s theme.  Meredith, the main character, is saved by someone.  “The Hands” makes me think of that, and salvation in general.

“Suite Sister Mary” by Queensryche – Some of the story was inspired by this song.  Especially one part about two people joining together to “make it through the night.”

Broken (currently in progress):
“Broken” by Lifehouse.  Also the why of the title, at least for now.  The song talks about being broken, and Amara, the main character, and the antagonist are both broken in a sense.

“Unbreakable” by Fireflight.  New band that I just discovered.  Totally Amara’s theme.  I realize that the songs seem contradictory, but it works, I swear!

Eowyn (perc’ing project for future):
“Ordinary World” by Duran Duran.  Theme of the book.  Because we’re dealing with quantum mechanics and alternate universes, and a “home” universe, it seems appropriate.

MindBound (future project):
“Lightning Field” by the Sneaker Pimps.  I saw a video of it and HAD to have the song, even though I’m not into that type of music.  Went on a wild goose chase and finally just today got ahold of it.  It’s THAT close to what this story is to me.  It (the story) has to do with an empath and pain and brainwashing, and the song is so perfect.  First words are “Strike me down…”  Can we say perfect?  Literal or figurative, it works. 

Soulfire (The Nano That Never Was):
“Lady Strange by Def Leppard.  Liana’s theme.  She’s the main character, and she isn’t exactly human and has non-human goals and wishes and such.  She’s a bit offbeat in her own way.

“Baba O’Riley” by The Who.  Book’s theme.  Completely encapsulates the dystopic future-Earth setting and the insidious reach of the New Regime.

Hereafter (Nano ’08):
“Women” by Def Leppard.  For no other reason than it gave me some compelling images inside my head, and somehow spawned plotty things.  This one I don’t really understand, but don’t question it, either.

At the moment, that’s all I can think of.  Will add more if I remember anything.

2008 in Review

Happy New Year to everyone.  I thought I’d reflect back on this year and talk about what I accomplished. 

The biggie of the year was finishing the Pirouette Rewrite on June 14th, which made it just under a year since I started it.  I managed to do that amid severe tendonitis, back-to-back surgeries (parents, not me, but still), learning and training and using voice recognition, and health issues.  For me, finishing it in 11 months was a bit of a miracle.  Starting tomorrow, I will be revising and polishing it.

I wrote just under 50k new words on Survivor.  I’d wanted to finish the first draft, but that didn’t happen.  Even so, Survivor is getting very close to the end.  My second priority in the new year is to finish it, give it the attention it deserves.  It’s been languishing waaay too long.

I wrote (and rewrote) Flamebound, the novella.  It, too, needs a revision and polish.  I hope to get that out the door in the new year, too.

I started my first contemporary romance, Like Summer, based on a short story I wrote many moons ago.  It’s on hold at the moment, because I’m not sure if contemporary romance is my thing.  We’ll see. 

I participated in NaNoWriMo, even though I didn’t plan on it, and ended with 54k.  And attempted to write a comedy, but being me, that just ain’t happening, but the book is quite unique and dark.  Just like me.  😉  It’s kind of my experimental draft for an e-course I’ve been in since July.  It’s called “How to Think Sideways” given by the talented and wonderful Holly Lisle.  What a course!!!!!  It’s funny, I’d worked up a few ideas for the course and had one set to go…..and then the one for Hereafter hit me upside the head after a stressful day at work.  It turned out waaay different than I could have imagined, and that’s okay, because damn it, I like surprises.

I beat my previous writing record for one week.  The record was 12,000, and I wrote it while on vacation using my Alphasmart Dana.  This year, I had to stay home due to severe burstitis, and I ended up with 17k.  I also pretty much began and finished Flamebound’s first draft that week.

I survived severe tendonitis and severe burstitis, both of which threatened to screw with my writing.  Not so.  I managed to produce despite all of that, and I’m damn proud of that.

Lastly, I’m finishing out the year with approximately 290k.  Could have made 300k, but this month has been rough for me in terms of time and motivation (yes, even I am sometimes unproductive.  Go fig).  But 290k is spectacular!!!!  Especially considering everything that happened this year.

Oh, and I moved into an apartment with my fiance.  That was another thing that halted the writing (and caused the burstitis, grrrr). 

I critted a few great novels, and I’m working on a few more. 

I discovered the shininess that is the band Nightwish, and I LOVE them.  And I’m still in love with Queensryche, fyi.

So alot has happened.  Alot has gotten done.  I’ve survived some big challenges, and I thank God for my intense drive to succeed and my motivation.  That’s one thing that I have that lot of people don’t: I’m driven to the point of obcession.  I have to do well, if not be the best.  I have to make my dreams reality.  Because if I don’t, what is life really worth?  Sure, I have family and friends and a wonderful fiance, but I would always wonder what if?  And yearn for what I didn’t have, what I didn’t try to attain.  I can’t imagine going through life never reaching for my dreams, never accomplishing anything of value.  It just isn’t in my makeup.

True immortality: writing.  I hope to God that I will get published and have my writing read by generations of people for many years to come.  If I keep working hard, it will be a reality.

See ya on the other side.

Status update

Just wanted to talk about my progress.  It’s been going pretty well.  I finished the first edit of the Pirouette Rewrite and have made notes.  Cut a few scenes and have a few more that might be on the chopping block.  I’ll have to see.

I’m using Holly Lisle’s One Pass Revision process, a first for me, and I’m a bit nervous.  This is my very first actual revision.  And this story is dear to my heart.  I want to do it justice.

One thing I noticed was that I’d forgotten some of the nuances and scenes.  Which is good, because it means that I had enough time to get enough distance.  They say that you should leave it long enough so it feels new.  And it did.  I’m also blown away by some of it — I automatically assume my first drafts stink (I’m very hard on myself), and this just proves that I don’t suck.  There are always issues, yea, I’m not perfect, but it’s better than I thought.  And that feels good.

Flamebound is back in action and I’m going to finish it either tonight or tomorrow.

Hereafter is on hold at the moment.  I might write it concurrently with the Revision, if the Revision doesn’t devour me whole.

I also made some notes on Blood Dance, Pirouette’s sequel.  It’s going to be good

So that’s where I’m at right now.  Things are going wonderfully, and I feel good about next year.

Final stats for NaNo and a snippet

Sniff, sniff, NaNo will be over in an hour and a half.  It was wonderful, thrilling, and sometimes frustrating.  I’m ecstatic to have made 50k, but even more ecstatic that I got more.  4k and some change, to be exact.

I truly didn’t think it was in the cards for me this year — so much was wrong: my wrist, my job stress, my migraines…..and somehow it ended up okay.  I did type for the bulk of the month.  My wrist is fine.  Headaches are fine.  And I made it and then some.  I feel really good about this win.  Previous years, it was wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but this year is special because it seemed so unlikely.  But once I hit a groove, and buckled down and got the words, things fell into place.  The story is far from being done, but that’s okay. 

So here are my final stats:

Words: 54,017
Sanity level: 65%
Diet cokes consumed: 52
Things gone wrong in Hades: 11
Word wars: 88.3
Word wars with myself: 6

And…a snippet before I go: part of Johanna and Luke’s wedding in Hades.

Luke cleared his throat.  He was standing so close to me, not looking at me with desire – as I figured he might – but looking at me with love in his eyes, passion.  Smoldering.  I couldn’t remember if I ‘d ever been in love in my life, so I had no idea what it felt like, but this….this was something exciting.  My stomach fluttered, my heart raced, and I felt a little bit drunk.
   If this is how being drunk felt, of course.
   “Johanna, I wanted to do this right.”  His eyes flicked briefly to the Queen’s, and then came back to me.  “Would you do me the honor of being my soulmate?  Will you complete me?”
   “Ritual words,” the Queen whispered.  “He’s speaking the ritual words.”  She sounded in awe.
   Well, color me awed, too.  Color me red, because that’s what color I must have turned.  I didn’t want the attention.  But apparently, it was ritual.  And that had weight.  In both the Queen’s and my eyes.
   I glanced at the Queen.  “What am I supposed to say?  Per ritual?”
   The Queen gave me a smile of approval.  “Very good, child.  You say, ‘I accept the honor of being your soulmate.  I will complete you.’”
   As the words left my lips, I felt a flare of power, like a cool wind on my flesh. 
   “Let this ritual commence,” the Queen said, raising her hands out to her sides, her fingers pointing up.  More power flared.  It seemed to shimmer between Luke and I, not quite connecting us, but close.  The Queen’s eyes flared deep amber, and for a moment, she didn’t look like a person – she was a wolf with a pure white coat.  The vision faded, and she was herself again.  “Johanna and Luke, you have come to me to be joined: in body, mind, and in spirit.  This is a binding ritual.  You will be joined for eternity.”
   Luke took my hand and squeezed it.  I squeezed it back. 
   “I have asked you and you have accepted.”  She came to us, her hands still outspread.  “Do you, Luke, accept this binding?”
   Luke smiled.  “I would be honored to.”
And oh yeah…I might be doing NaNoFiMo (National Novel Finishing Month)  for December, but at a slower pace. 

And a snippet…

Thought I’d post a snippet of what I wrote yesterday.  This is Hereafter, the Nano novel.  Contains slight spoilers.


Luke awoke to a dimly lit cave, candlelight pulsating on the walls, making odd shapes. Odder thoughts came into his head. He thought of Johanna, who lay sprawled beside him, ghostly pale, her fire-red hair spread out around her like a cloak.

He moved closer to her, putting his hand on her chest. Her heart beat strong against his palm. He couldn’t bear not to touch her, so he ran his hand over her throat – just above her carotid. Someday, he promised himself, he would drink her blood – savor it – be sustained by it – when they were mated, he decided. A definite when. He would not stand for anything less.

Johanna let out a moan, her eyes fluttering open. “Luke?” His name was more an exhalation of breath, but he didn’t care. Hearing her whisper his name gave him goosebumps.

He took her hand in his. “I’m here.”

“Are we there yet?” she asked, sitting up and looking around her. The candlelight bathed her face and hair in eerie golden light.

For some odd reason, that made him chuckle. “Yeah, we’re here. Just relax. We have some time.”

She nodded, shifting as if in pain. “Okay. So what….exactly….is next?” Her words slurred a bit, which was worrisome. She blinked at him. “I feel a little weird. Like, part of me is there while another part is here.”

That did not sound good. He’d never heard of that happening, but Johanna might not be dead, so he figured that had to be it. “Will you be okay?” Dumb, dumb, dumb. His worry was making him act like an idiot.

Johanna shrugged. Her eyes went distant. “I think so….if I focus enough on here, there seems to fade.”

“That’s good,” Luke said. He wasn’t sure he wanted to present his theory to her yet. He grabbed her hand again. “Just hold on to me. I’m real, and I’m here, okay?”

She nodded again, but did not speak.

A flare of light to the side revealed someone standing at a doorway. Well, a doorway without a door. Who seeks to enter the sacred Shrine to What Has Been and What Will Follow? He spoke his language, which was a relief.

Luke made a sweeping bow to the shadow-figure, whose face couldn’t be seen. As was the way of the Hall of Memory. No one’s face could ever be seen.

I present my – friend – Johanna O’Malley. I am Luke [last name]. I seek to enter the sacred Shrine of What Has Been.”

The man nodded. “Your offering?”

Johanna poked him in the ribs. “What are you saying?”

Luke glanced at Johanna. “I’m trying to get us in. I’ll explain later.” To the shadow-man, he said, “Mine own blood.”

The man nodded, pleased with the offer. Luke held out his hand, the same one that he’d slashed earlier. The shadow-man withdrew a dagger and ran it over his wrist. He put a golden chalice underneath to catch the blood.

Luke saw Johanna watching with fascination and horror. “It’s okay. It’s the best thing to give. The Goddesses here treasure blood like gold.”

And the lady?” The shadow-man asked, gesturing toward Johanna.

“Um,” Johanna said, biting her lip. “Blood.”

Luke told the shadow-man, and they repeated the procedure for Johanna.

When the chalice was filled, the man said, “Come.”


Hope you like it. 

In the bag!

Yesterday, I hit the finish line on Nano with 50,078 words.  I am so happy to have done this — both the experience and making my 50k.  I was really worried in the beginning that I wouldn’t, because the voice rec was taking longer than typing.  Oddly enough, I was able to type more than voice rec.

Story-wise, it’s not over yet.  Johanna and Luke, the two main characters, have made a journey to the Void, where they will learn where Luke’s ancestral parents are.  They need answers to one very important question.  Only problem is, upon leaving, they won’t remember any of it.  Yes, I am evil.

My plan of attack is to continue working on Hereafter at a slower pace through December.  I estimate about 40k remains.  I still have to get to the meat of the conspiracy issue.  That’s one of things I really liked about this story — the conspiracy and what it means.  Also what Johanna really is — she’s not entirely human.  😉

Also, Flamebound needs an ending, so that’s happening soon, too.  And of course, the Pirouette edit needs to be completed.  So, I have enough to keep me busy through December.  Been toying with the idea of doing NanoFiMo in December — National Novel Finishing Month.  I did it last in 2005, and managed to not complete Pirouette’s first draft, true to form.

Another thing is that Hereafter has changed considerably from its outline.  The core of it remains the same — the love story and the conspiracy — but my way of getting there was different.  I hit upon the right plot points, but I twisted it all around.  And added a new character and a serious obstacle for the lovebirds. 

I tend to change things as I go — an outline is merely a guide, not an absolute, for me.  Usually on the fly things come to me and others reveal themselves.  And sometimes I will choose to take the scenic route instead of the highway.  But the end result is usually the same.

For me, that’s part of the fun: discovering the true story as it is revealed to me.  Without this, it just wuldn’t be as fun.  That’s why if you were to ask me if I’m a plotter or pantser, I’d tell you that I’m a hybrid of both.  I need my roadmap, but I also need to leave enough wiggle room to take the scenic route.

It’s a very odd process, but it works for me.  🙂

Nano progress and new goals

Just wanted to post about my progress on Nano.  I’m up to 27k and am officially ahead.  These weekends seem to be working out well to keep up the pace.  According to my Nano report card (a spreadsheet made to keep track of your progress), I should finish 3 days early.

Another thing that’s been helping is word wars.  They are basically friendly “wars” between writers where each writer tries to get as many words as possible in a set amount of time.  I’ve done 31 to date (yes, I’ve been counting!) and they’ve really helped me keep rolling, even when I didn’t feel like it.

The story is going very well.  I added in something I hadn’t planned for comedic value and conflict.  I’m up to Chapter 6, and this is where the mystery/conspiracy starts.  Fun.  *rubs hands together and laughs evilly*

The voice rec however is going okay, but the mis-recognitions are getting worse.  I think it’s due to not having the headset on in the exact perfect spot, and I’ve been experimenting with it.  I may need to train it some more.  We shall see.

I have been typing a bit, when my wrist doesn’t hurt, but have been following my rule: that if I so much as feel a twinge of pain, it’s back to voice rec.

I’ve also been thinking about next year and have made a few changes to my goals.  The priorities now are to finish the first edit pass of Pirouette the Rewrite and start the revision.  Also, finish Flamebound and at some point, start its edit/revision.  And lastly, I want to finish Survivor and start the rewrite.

Pirouette needs to get out the door ASAP.  It’s been languishing too long — I’m more than ready to work on it.  But Nano was a last minute decision, so I had to set it aside.  I will be going back to it in December, whether it’s fulltime or parttime while I finish up Hereafter.  I’m almost positive that Hereafter won’t be finished in 50k.

Second, Survivor has also been languishing.  I stopped working on it to write Flamebound, and the plan was to get back to it and finish it this year.  Not happening.  So I want to devote as much time as possible next year to making some major progress on it.  It’s been 4 years.  And I still believe fervently that it’s brilliant and quite possibly be a bestseller (yes, I’m confident).  So it means some serious work.  So that’s the plan as of right now.

So, I think I]ll be making my 50k, and that makes me happy because while I wasn’t dead set on winning, I was hoping to.  And with the voice rec, it’s been a huge challenge.  To win with voice rec would make my year, I think.  😀

NaNo by voice.

To update, I just broke 19k on my NaNovel, Hereafter.  The bulk of t has been written using voice recognition, as my wrist is not a happy wrist right now.  And all my data files are on my dead computer, so it’s been slow going, but I am making steady progress.

I just wrote a scene that I hadn’t planned on writing.  I tend to be organic when it come to details.  I mentally rearrange and refigure things from the outline.  I have a really good memory, so I can go weeks without looking at it.  Sometimes I think it’s a gift, because it allows me to fill in the blanks, come up with stuff on the fly.

I’ve been pretty tired, as voice reccing 2k a day is pretty trying.  But it’s teaching me that it is possible to write more with VR.  Sometimes I get headaches from the headset, so lately I’ve been taking breaks.  Seems to be working.

I’m trying for 15k or so per week, which would leave me a whole week to finish it up (or catch up, as it were).  I was behind for awhile, and then caught up and got a bit aead last weekend.  Thank the Lord for weekends!

A small snippet:

He put his hand up as if he was going to reach for me, but then he dropped it. “I’m okay with the challenge. What I’m not okay with is the outcome.”

“You’re truly afraid for me, aren’t you?” I mused, glancing at Patricia, who just entered the field. She was carrying a longsword. “Um. Why does she have a sword in her hand? I thought we were fighting.”

“You are.”

I couldn’t take my eyes off of the sword glinting in the twilight. “So…. we fight using swords?”

Wow, you are brilliant tonight. Simply brilliant.

Luke nodded. “That’s correct.” He reached behind him and produced a similar looking sword. “This sword is mine. I like you to use it.” He held out to me reverently.

I grasped it by the hilt, taking care not to cut myself. It seemed to glow …. a curious aquamarine color. Like his eyes. “It’s beautiful.”

Luke leaned in towards me, placing one hand behind my neck, pulling me closer. “As are you,” he whispered. Then his lips met mine–

“What are you doing?” Two things happened: I jumped, letting the sword drop to the ground, and Luke spun around, nearly knocking Patricia over. “Is that what I think it is?”

Luke assumed an expression of pure innocence. Tough to imagine as he was an incubus. But still. “Nothing’s happening here. Johanna and I were just talking.”

“That’s right,” I said. “No need to worry.”

Patricia nodded slowly, as if she had to puzzle out each word. Maybe she was truly a bimbo. I didn’t know and I really didn’t care. “Okay. See you later.” She had this dazed look on her face, as if she were hypnotized– oh shit. He didn’t hypnotize her, did he?