Tag Archives: the life of a writer

What it’s like to be a writer. The truth. No bullshit.

Nano days 5-7: 3,020 words

I’ve been very, very busy and the days are just flying.  Finally, I have a few minutes to do an update.

Yesterday, I had a HUGE revelation about one of the main characters.  It is SO huge that it’s going to impact everything I’ve planned.  But this will make it better, and a bit heartbreaking (sorry, can’t help that — some parts of Fey Touched were heartbreaking, too).  I also have a solid idea for book 4, if you can believe that.  Lots happening.  Lots of thinky-thoughts going on.  I just love my subconscious.  It is so wonderfully evil.

Stats!

Stats (all 3 days combined):

Wordcount today: 3,020
Total for Nano so far: 7,476
Words left: 22,524
Treat: Good music!
Nick is: a puppet dancing on Piper’s strings :shudders:
Asha is: freaked out like whoa
 Emily is: scared and angry
Mood music: Dawn of Destiny and Eyes of Eden

Excerpt:

Soren took deep breaths.

I prodded my wrist, trying to see if I’d been injured.  See?  No. Feel.

“I’m so sorry.  That one was strong enough to break through my magic. It’s strong enough to make you its vessel.  I got rid of it.  It won’t be hurting you again.”

My stomach was flip-flopping.  “It called me its soon-to-be Queen.” An icy finger ran down my spine.  “What did it mean?  I’m no Queen.”

Weight on the left side of me signaled that Soren sat down on my bed. “There’s a hierarchy there among the grave touched.  They have a Queen.  And a King.  Their version of nobility and commoners.  It is determined by strength.  The Queen usually takes a vessel when she’s strong enough, and chooses a mate who is as strong as her.  And they rule the Nether together.”

“But I wouldn’t be the Queen.  I’m not grave touched,” I protested.  Having even a slight connection to those things was freaking me out, sending me in a tailspin.  Vertigo made me lay back against my pillow, putting my hands over my bandages.  When would these blasted things come off?

“That’s exactly it.  The one who is Queen is planning on taking you as her vessel.  And through her, you will be Queen.”  He brushed a wayward strand of hair from my face, his fingers cold and soothing.  “I will die before I allow that to happen.”

“Thank you.  I don’t want that to happen, either.  It sounds..horrific.”

“Being taken as a vessel is an unbearable kind of torture. One that you cannot begin to imagine.”

Nano days 3 & 4

Yesterday, I wrote a grand total of 184 words.  I was very distractable and the words just weren’t flowing.  Today, however, I wrote 1,306 words, and things are moving again.  One of the MCs, Emily, surprised me today.  She is about to do something I hadn’t planned on, but it’ll work nicely.

Stats (both days combined):

Wordcount today: 1,490
Total for Nano so far: 4,456
Words left: 25,544
Treat: Homemade Apple Crisp – yummy!
Nick is: still in the twilight zone
Asha is: terrified
Emily is: scared and depressed
Mood music: Pandora (various)
Excerpt:

I drifted off, the dream returning once I was sleeping.  It seemed I couldn’t get away from the darkness…

The zombies surrounded me, licking their lips with blackened tongues. Panting like dogs.  Their skeletal hands, skinless except for a few places, reached for me…

One got my wrist.  Its touch was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. Slimy, cold as ice.  It permeated deep in my bones.

I shivered, giving in to the sensation even as I wondered what was happening to me.

The pain at my wrist jolted me back to reality.  Its teeth – what was left of them – sunk into my skin and I didn’t feel anything any more….

Nano Day 2: 1,650 words

I did better than I thought, and the scene just flew.  Kinda of petered out at the end, but that’s okay.  I’ll figure it out.  Draft total is just shy of 28k.

Stats:

Wordcount today: 1,650
Total for Nano so far: 2,966
Words left: 27,034
Treat: Halloween KitKats
Nick is: still in the twilight zone
Asha is: terrified
Emily is: still very, very scared
Mood music: Xandria
Favorite lines:

“Are they working you to death?” she asked, her lips quirking in an almost-smile.  The smile faded around the edges.  “That was a joke. You know, death?  We can’t die.”

I knew that, but I wasn’t in the mood for jokes.  “I’ve been seeing things and I might become a vessel to some dead entity that wants to have a body.”  It all came out as one, very rushed sentence, and when I was done, I let out a huff of air.

I hadn’t meant to bring it up that way.  I wanted to ease into it, massage it a bit, but shit – it just came out.

Fallon’s mouth formed an oh of surprise – or maybe horror.  Not sure.  “Um, care to repeat that slower this time?  These drugs make me slow and stupid.”

 

I love having Fallon back.  Now, to get her back to hunting…

Nano day 1: 1,316 words

A good start, all in all.  I wrote 316 over quota, which is great.  I always like to have a buffer in case I have some bad days.  I am not going for 50k.  I will instead be going for 30k on Grave Touched, which should bring me to around 60k at the end of the month.

Here are some stats:

Wordcount today: 1,316
Words left: 28,684
Treat: Hersey’s Drops
Nick is: in the twilight zone
Asha is: freaked the hell out, and it’s about to get worse
Emily is: very, very scared
Favorite line:

And maybe I’d stop having the dreams.

A place of utter shadow, skeletons walking, feeding on blood.  A city in ruin; desolate.  Darkness curling around me, weaving between my toes and fingers.  My skin gray and dull.  My eyes just empty sockets.

My heart gone, buried in a deep grave, untouched and dead.

Obviously, I was scared to get my sight back.  But it felt too real, too…right.  How screwed up was that?

I was the Queen of Darkness.  I was the one who brought the dark, the desolation.  I belonged in a grave deep below the world.

I was not sane.

How’d you do for day 1?  Feel free to share in comments.

Happy birthday Fey Touched!

One year ago today, I started the first draft of Fey Touched.  Back then, it was a totally different story, and it took a few tries to get it right.  But once I hit that sweet spot, it flowed like nothing else.  It was pure joy.  Easy.  And I loved every single minute of it. (That is, until revisions.  Ugh).  I still love Fey Touched, and not just because it’s my first published novel.  It’s the world, the characters, the things they go through.  All of that came out of my mind.  Everything.  Not only did I finish the first draft, but I revised and edited it within an inch of its life and made it so much better.  And now, one year later, it’s published and I am now working on the first draft of book 2, Grave Touched.

So what ever became of that first draft?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  It’s about 20 pages. I didn’t like the direction it was headed, so I ended up starting over.  But just think — without that beginning, without the tentative dipping-my-toes-in of the first draft, I never would have arrived with what is now the final, published version of the book.  It all started with that 20-page draft.

So, for nostalgia, I’m going to post the first page.  Those of you who have read Fey Touched may not recognize it.  It’s that different.  Those of you who haven’t, I assure you — it’s even better.   ~grin~

Okay, here it is.  Draft 1, started on 10.31.11 :

 

Asha

 Shadows danced on the cave walls as my Master, a Fey of high nobility, beckoned me forward.  Candles bathed the room in a golden glow, which reminded me of the landscape of dreams.   Overhead, although we couldn’t see or touch it, the moon blazed like a beacon in the darkness.  But I could feel it like a low-level electrical current deep in my bones.

I was one of the Enslaved, so I wore a simple black robe that opened in the back.  Easy access to get the priceless commodity that I carried within myself naturally.

My Master, Kieran, was decked out in his formal robes of crimson and gold: gold for the sunlight that kept he and his kind alive; crimson for the blood that inevitably spilled during the feeding.  Crimson was also his Clan color, which I always found to be ironic.

Candlelight lit his face, cast it in monstrous shadows.  He smiled at me, and his expression warmed. Rumor had it that he thought I was special, which made me happy and anxious at the same time.

His eyes – golden like the sun – met mine and I sucked in a breath.  Being the object of his attention felt like being slammed into a brick wall.  It hurt, yes, but it also scrambled my senses and made me feel a bit lightheaded.

He beckoned to me again, and I realized that while I’d stood here naval-gazing, the solemn march of time had continued without me.

I smiled and took his hand.

He pulled me close so that we were almost touching.  The heat of his body felt pleasant and familiar, inevitable.  “Asha,” he murmured in my ear, his breath ticking me.  “So introspective today.”

“Yes, Master, I am,” I said softly.  No slave ever raised her voice to her Master.  I wasn’t even sure I could raise my voice now.

“Share your thoughts with me.”  It was a command, iron in his voice.

I wasn’t sure I wanted him to know how I felt in that moment.  “I wish you could enjoy the moonlight.  It’s so beautiful.”  A bit of a lie, but it felt right.

Master Kieran frowned.  “I wish I knew what that was like.  But there’s no way for me to know, so I refuse to mourn it.  It is what it is.”

“Yes, Master,” I said, hanging my head.  “Sunlight is just as beautiful, if not more.”

“How I love the sunlight,” Master Kieran said softly.  “We’re meant to walk surrounded by its embrace.  It is the way of things.”

I always wondered what it would be like to exist for the day, for the sun’s rays to shine down on me and feel me with energy and light.  To never walk the night, to never be caressed by moonlight. We humans could, obviously.  Some say the Fey were envious of that and the scientists who’d created them were looking for a way to take it all away, make us like them.

I wasn’t sure I believed that.

“Sit,” Master Kieran said, gently lowering me on to a soft, satin-covered pillow. “Have you come to give of yourself?”

It was all ritual, but it soothed me like nothing else.  We were bred and raised to serve, to give of ourselves selflessly over and over again.  It was a gift.  It was the one thing only we could give to our Fey Masters.

I nodded.  “I wish to give of myself this day, Master.”

“Very well,” Kieran murmured, pushing my long, raven-black hair out of the way.  I took a breath, anticipating.

My hands trembled and my stomach clenched.  What I needed would be given to me after the feeding.  I had to get through it.  Had to give.

Some Masters did this on purpose to keep their Enslaved obedient.  I didn’t believe that of Kieran.  He was a sensual, very tactile person who reveled in touch, in taste.  He wouldn’t hurry it along even if he were starving.  A feeding is meant to be savored and enjoyed.

The world swam around me; sounds jumped back and forth through my mind, echoing. And then there was silence.

Candlelight painted the walls with shapes and light.  Kieran had electricity here but refused to use it, lost in the old ways.  It gave the room a dreamy feel.

Sometimes I pretended that it was just a dream.  That I was far away from here, not Enslaved, but free.  Blasphemous, I know.  But sometimes I wondered what lay on the other side of the cave.  And what lay beyond that.

Kieran’s fingers traced shapes on my back, now exposed to him.  His touch was gentle, soothing.  I let out a hiss of breath and willed myself to relax.

His lips replaced his fingers, so light, so tender.  I hugged myself, shivering.  I had never known love.  I had never known mating.  These things were denied to me.

But this – this was nice.  I had nothing to compare it to.  It felt right.

His tongue swept over the base of my spine.  It sent shivers through me, from my head to my toes.  For a moment, I couldn’t breathe.

Kieran kissed my neck, nibbling it a bit.  The scrape of his teeth sent warmth straight to my core, and my back arched, a moan escaping my throat.

“Are you ready, dearest one?” Kieran whispered in my ear.

 

And now, an excerpt of the published version:

JOE

 

The woman lay in the cemetery on a bed of snow.  Snowflakes clung to her blonde hair and sparkled like diamonds.  Slivers of moonlight touched her serene face.  Her skin was the blue-tinged skin of the Fey.

After turning up the heat in my coat, I reached out to touch her and immediately recoiled.  She was so cold that I’d gotten a taste of frostbite, the cold stinging my fingers.  Was she dead? 

Pixie, a German Shepherd who was my companion and familiar, nosed around the woman, whining.  She was right to lead me here, her thoughts urgent in my head.

She poked the woman with her nose.  The woman did not move, did not even twitch. Pixie whined, poking the woman again.  There was no rise and fall of her chest.  There was nothing.

“What do you think, girl?” I asked.

Pixie gazed at me with eyes that reflected sympathy and intelligence.  The thought – Pixie’s – unfurled in my mind.

Not dead.  Must save.

My heart thudded. I was Fey Touched, a Hunter of her kind.  Technically, she was my enemy.  I had the right to kill her on sight.  Why didn’t I? 

I didn’t like the Fey as a rule.  There were Hunters who believed that all Fey were evil and must die.  I was open to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong.  Maybe some of them weren’t evil. That even without mana – a soul – they could be good.

Maybe this Fey woman in front of me, lit by moonlight caressing her face, was one of the good ones.

I sat back on my haunches, my eyes flicking to the headstones as if they could give me an answer. I couldn’t just leave her out here.  She needed help. 

I gently shook her and her eyelids fluttered, but she did not wake.  I pressed two fingertips to her carotid.  Slow heartbeat, but there.

“Shit,” I muttered.  I took off my coat and wrapped it around her, letting out a hiss as more cold wind hit me in the face. 

Pixie danced around the woman, whining and yipping at me.

“Chill, girl. I got this.”  I took a breath and unfurled my wings, wrapping them around myself like a coat.

I lifted her and chuckled at how light she was.  She wore a poofy green dress that was so out of place for the weather here.  Which made me wonder if she’d come from a long distance away.

My need to protect and my calling as a Hunter of Fey warred inside me.  It didn’t matter who she was.  She was an innocent and she needed help.

I held her close to me as I took to the air.  Wouldn’t want her to fall.  “Hang on just a little longer,” I whispered.  “We’re almost home.” 

As I touched down in front of my apartment, Pixie caught up with me, barking and sending frantic thoughts.  Warmth – safety – home – warmth –

“We are home, girl.  Come on,” I said as I entered the dimly-lit hallway that led to my apartment.  I fumbled with the keys and opened the door wide, stepping into the small but cozy living room.  I set the Fey down on the couch, then retracted my wings.

Pixie jumped up onto the couch and lay beside the Fey woman.

“Are you hungry, girl?” I asked, watching the dog.  I could swear she was smiling at me.

I glanced at the woman again.  She didn’t move. I could hardly hear her breathe, and that worried me.

I quickly got Pixie’s dinner together, some kibble and wet food, and headed back into the living room.  She let out a low whine as I set the bowl down in front of her and rubbed behind her ears. 

As she dove into her meal, I crouched in front of the woman and checked her pulse again.  Still slow, still there.

I had no way of reviving her.  Should I wait?  Should I take her to the hospital? No, that would raise too many questions.  If I could help her here, that would be the best thing.

“What do you think, Pixie?  Should I try rousing her again?  Or are you too busy stuffing your face?”

She glanced up at me, crunching her food, and I could swear she’d arched her brow.  She was practically human, this dog.

I shook my head, chuckling.  After a crazy day, this was just what I needed.

After about ten minutes, I decided to try to wake the woman up again.

She was Fey.  She was immortal – at least theoretically.  Still…

This time her eyelids fluttered and I was suddenly looking into the most beautiful shimmering eyes I’d ever seen.

 

Quite different, huh?  It’s pretty amazing how a book can evolve in one year.  I am so proud of it, and the work I put into it to make it what it is.

For those interested in reading the first three chapters or purchasing it, check it out at http://www.turtleduckpress.com under Turtleduck Press Works.

And if you read it and enjoy it, spread the word! Leave a short review on Amazon or Goodreads!  I would so appreciate that, as every person I touch with my words is a gift.

And Happy Halloween!

What’s been going on?

Just a quickie update on things.  I know it’s been forever.  I’ve got a couple of Foodie Friday posts in the works.  I’ve also been writing like a fiend on Grave Touched.  I’m about 20k in.  I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo on an unofficial basis like last year. Going for 30k.

Been promoting Fey Touched.  It can be very time-consuming, but my sales have been steady so it’s been worth it.  I also have another story I’m going to be working on here and there – Oubliette (formely Broken) – my supernatural thriller/ghost thing from 2010.  It’s been calling to me a lot lately, and I want to answer!

I’ve also been reading A LOT.  Like a crazy person.  One of these days I’ll get a post (or two) up about all the books I’ve read lately.

I also just got over being sick and I’ve been trying to get freelance editing/proofing jobs.  So if you know anyone in need of those things, send him or her my way!  My rates are very reasonable.  /shameless plug

Other than that, life’s been….life.  I’m in constant awe at how fast this year has gone by.  It boggles my mind.

 

Giveaway Winner!

Only two people played, and neither guessed the date or the race.  So I picked one at random.  The winner is…[drum roll please]…..CHRISSY50!  Chris, I know your email so unless you’ve changed it, I’ll send the book to the one I have.

As for the date I started Fey Touched, you both made a guess of November 15.  Very close.  The correct date is OCTOBER 31st.  One day before NaNoWriMo.

As for the race…JKP guessed demon.  It’s actually vampires.  This was back in 2003 when I was obsessed with them.

So, there it is.  If you haven’t checked out Fey Touched yet, what are you waiting for?  http://www.turtleduckpress.com .

Thanks JKP and Chrissy50 for playing!

 

Fey Touched is now available!

Fey Touched is now available for Kindle.  Print edition is forthcoming.  Here’s the blurb:

Two sisters.

Asha is the Queen of the Fey, genetically engineered immortal humans who feed on human souls to survive.  But she’s running from her people.  When she is found by her enemy, one of the Hunters of the Fey, she expects to die.  Yet he’s oddly intrigued by her, and Asha finds herself falling in love with him, hoping she can find safety and the home she’s been seeking.  Then she’s kidnapped, and everything changes.

Fallon is a Hunter. She’s looking for her long-lost sister, using an addictive drug to search through the stream of time.  Her addiction leaves her dangerously exposed to her enemies but, consumed by her search, she doesn’t care…until her fellow Hunters start dying from a mysterious illness.  She is torn between duty and desire, and must find an answer before they all die.

What Fallon doesn’t know is that Asha might just be the key to saving them all, if only she can find her.

And time is running out.

PLEASE NOTE that this book contains explicit language, explicit sex, and graphic violence and is not suitable for those under 18.

I feel really good about this book.  I worked hard on it and I absolutely love some of the twists I came up with.  Why yes, I am quite brilliant.  But seriously, it feels right, you know?  Like I was meant to do this and everything I’ve done ever has been leading up to this day.

Wanna hear a freaking secret?

One day I was lamenting my lack of submittable novels (this is for an agent, which has been the goal since 2008), and I was in the shower, feeling pretty depressed about it.  Pirouette just wasn’t there yet, and I had more work ahead of me, and it felt so daunting.

But I had a moment of foresight.  This is WAY before I even thought of self-publishing, so there’s NO way I’d ever know that I’d do this in the future.  In fact, I was dead set against the idea at the time.  So this thought hit me — no, more like slammed into me, I was stunned:

I will be published by the time I’m 37.

This was 3 years ago, folks.  Remember, self-pubbing was not in the equation.

Well, guess what?  I’m fucking 36 now.  Almost 36 and a half, if you wanna get technical and split hairs.

I was RIGHT.  And with all my little psychic moments (the women in my family are really psychic, no joke), it happened, all right.  Just not in the way I’d planned.

But I don’t regret this at all.  It’s actually the best thing for me right now.  I’ve got the freedom to set my own deadlines, make everything just the way I want it, have a hand in my own cover art….and technically, self-publishing royalties are higher than with traditional publishing.  Except you don’t get the advance.  But that’s a fair trade-off for what I get in return.  I’m very happy with this, and plan to self-publish a lot more.  Possibly even Pirouette, if I can whip it into some type of shape I can live with.

Oh, book of my heart, you wound me.

I’ve kept my first proof on my desk since I received it, a constant reminder that, hey, I did this.  I made that book — every word in it is mine, and I was brave enough and proud enough to put it out there.  Like it or not, it’s in the wild.  I hope people will enjoy it.  And to date, it’s one of the funnest stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing.

Tomorrow, it’s Grave Touched.

I’ll leave you with a little quote I heard years ago, spoke by a deaf contestant at the Miss America pageant: (and she signed it, too):

Never give up your dreams,
Find them and make them yours,
And all through your life,
Never let them go.

Sometimes it’s not the dream itself — although that’s very important too — but the strength of a dream.  The sheer determination that you will make it reality.  Despite difficulties, people naysaying, despite ridicule, despite disrespect, despite the bone-crushing fatigue, despite feeling like you’re slowly moving uphill forever with no end in sight….despite harsh critiques and jealousy, despite people who just don’t get it, despite people who think you can just give it up like a bad habit, despite repeated failure.  Despite losing the confidence, despite losing your way.  Despite losing your muse.  Despite poor health.

Despite the world seemingly out to keep you from your fragile dream.  But you hold this dream in your heart, and you nourish it, keep it breathing.  And you love it, and care for it, and when it’s time…you fly on the wings of that perfect dream.

And then you know it was all worth it in the end.

(Except there’s no end, because hello, more books!)

(More wings to fly with.)

And that, my friends, is victory.

Fey Touched Cover Reveal

My plan was to wait a bit longer to draw out the suspense.  But I just can’t keep it to myself.  I want to share it with the world, so here goes.  Huge thanks to SM Reine.  She is the amazing, talented person who put this beautiful cover together.   I love it madly.

And here is the blurb:

Fallon is one of the Fey Touched, a Hunter of the immortal Fey–their enemy. After having mysterious dreams about a woman who seems eerily familiar, Fallon tracks the history of her bloodline, using an addictive drug to search the stream of time. In the process, she discovers she’s adopted and the woman from her dreams may be her sister.

Her whole world turned upside down, Fallon races to unravel the puzzle of her life before the withdrawals — or her enemies — kill her.


She must also find a cure for the mysterious illness that has struck her fellow Hunters down before any more of them die. Torn between duty and desire, Fallon struggles to find an answer, never suspecting that her long-lost kin may be the key to saving the Hunters… and time is running out.

Fey Touched releases August 1st through Turtleduck Press.  It is the first in a series.

Almost there.

I’ve been hard at work on Fey Touched, revising and editing and getting things ready for its release on August 1st.  So much to do!  And there’s more coming!  But it’ll all be worth it to bring Fey Touched out of my little world into the real world.  I can’t wait for people to read it!  I’m very, very excited.

(Also, if anyone reading this is interested in getting a pre-publication copy for review, let me know!  I’m looking for people to give honest reviews.  The pre-publication copy will be available sometime in July).

I’ve also been working on Grave Touched, the sequel to Fey Touched.  I actually started it earlier this week but have since realized that I started in the wrong place.  Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal (yet), but for me, I need to start strong or I get distracted.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to excite me.  And I’ve been bombarded by my precious muse with all these ideas for Darklight, and well…I need to work on Grave Touched.  But Darklight keeps pulling me back.  It’s been a struggle.  But I will persevere.  Even if I have to write a few hundred words a week on Darklight just to keep my muse happy.

What’s really funny is that this time last year, and into October, I worked feverishly on the original version of Darklight.  And then I just…stopped.  I think I lost interest with it.  And then the idea for Fey Touched hit me hard and fast, and I was a goner.  But this new premise has me excited, so hopefully it will work better.  (Also, it’s now dark fantasy vs. horror.  Yeah, I don’t even know…)  All I can say is this: I blame Adam Lambert’s video for “Better Than I Know Myself.”  Glamberts, I’m sure you know what exactly inspired me.

I’m also on vacation next week from the day job, so I plan on doing some serious writing then.  It’s been a yearly tradition for the past few years to see how much I can write during that week.  So far, my record is 17,000 on Flamebound in 2008 with severe burstitis of the shoulder.  Yes, I am insane.

I’m technically participating in Camp NanoWriMo for June and August.  It’s been fun so far, even though I’ve only written 1,150 words.  *shify look*

I’m also working on a big life change, which I discussed a bit on the Turtleduck Press blog.  It’s a big step, and I’m not sure I’ll succeed, but I’m giving this a shot.

What else?  My third wedding anniversary is on the 27th, and it seems like forever since hubby and I said our I dos.  We’re stronger than ever, happy, and so much in love.  *sighs happily*  I wish everything else in life was this easy.

I’ll have a new feature on the blog soon called Spooky Sunday.  Since I’m a huge fan of all things creepy and scary, I thought it would be fun to talk about them.  Get ready to hear about ghosts, conspiracy theories, scary movies, myths, ESP…and anything else my twisted mind can come up with.  We’ll start with two Sundays a month and see how it goes.  It should be fun and maybe even a bit…scary.  *cackles and rubs hands together in glee*

So that’s what’s been happening in my crazy life.  Keep your eyeballs peeled for a giveaway or two of Fey Touched closer to release.