Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm back & romance writer or not -- part 2

What I’m Reading: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (I really should explain that one, & and I will – later) and I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter.

What I’m working on: Rewriting Slayer from the beginning – it’s a whole new and better story.

Word count today: What words?

Sorry I’ve been out of commission lately. You’re probably getting tired of my “I’m so busy” excuse. Me, too.

However, this HAS been a busy week – lots of extras at work, and we moved – closer to work. Technically, once I get all set up here, I SHOULD gain an hour to write every day because I’ll lose an hour of commuting.

I’m hoping that by Monday, I’m organized enough to write. My office is a disaster right now, but the rest of the house is looking pretty good.

Regardless, I think I’m back. Finally. That means I can record the trials of writing and discovering my voice here. First up – some explanation and exploration of the romance writer or not blog I put up several days ago.

I spoke at length on the phone to a writer friend last night. We talked about what we write, what comes easy to write, what we want to write, and how it’s all changing.

My epiphany: I don’t like boxes.

Never have.

Don’t get me wrong. Rules and guidelines are great. If I have to write a research paper, I want to know how many resources I need and how long it has to be. As long as guidelines and rules suit my needs, bring ‘em on. However, writing fiction is different.

The guidelines of category romance and even single title romance feel stifling to me. I don’t want to be limited to telling a story in 55k words or 100k words. I just want to tell the story.

My new favorite book is How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. It’s YA. ( I really hate that label.) Meg broke a ton of rules, but it really, really works. It’s short (just over 200 pages). She handled dialogue uniquely. She tackled difficult subject matter. And it works.

So, I guess the first piece of evidence that I’m leaning away from true romance writing is that the box feels too confining. I want to tear the box’s walls to shreds and just let the story lead me.
Well, I’m getting droopy eyed. I need a shower. I’ll blog again tomorrow – I think.

See ya then.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Time out for moving

We're moving downtown since our commute sucks. We've been moving slowly all week and this weekend. I'll be back to blogging by no later than Monday.

See ya then!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Romance writer or not…..

What I’m Reading: Finishing up Madapple by Christina Meldrum

What I’m working on: Rewriting Slayer from the beginning – it’s a whole new and better story.

Word count today: 203

Romance writer or not…..

I’ve taken a writing break this week. It wasn’t like I sat down and said, hmm, I think I’ll take a week off. It just worked out that I had a crazy schedule and my hands didn’t get anywhere near a keyboard except at work.

This break, however, has given me time to mull over my current WIP – Slayer – and to explore some feelings and frustrations and avenues that have been tickling the back of my brain.

One of these nagging issues has been whether I’m really a romance writer or not. It isn’t the writer part in question, but the romance part.

Now, granted, of late, I’ve been writing romance. But I’m not sure romance is what my voice is best suited for. First, no matter what, I’m just not into writing the graphic love scene. Second, when I read for pleasure I tend to pick up non-romance books.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Suzanne Brockmann, Susan Elizabeth Philips, J.R. Ward, and Karen Marie Moning, but beyond that, I don’t love any one author. And when I go to a book store, I don’t check out the latest romance. I check out the latest young adult books and lit fiction.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

So, this week I’ll be blogging – yes, I’ll be blogging again – about whether I’m a romance writer or not. I’ll TRY to present the pros (that I am) and the cons (that I’m not) objectively because I really want to know.

Look for argument number one tomorrow.

Gotta go write my first person, nineteen year old heroine’s latest turmoils. (See, could go either way…..)


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Purple brained

My blog is seriously lacking this week. So, I've decided to post a simple meme. I'll get back to real blogging this weekend. I'm still recovering from back-to-back busy weekends and jam-packed weeks. And I can't answer the what I'm reading, what I'm writing, and word count questions today because just breathing is all you can hope for sometimes!!!!!

Your Mind is Purple

Of all the mind types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.

Friday, April 11, 2008

You're tagged...

What I’m Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

What I’m working on: Writing in first person from a YA perspective. I'm trying it on for size.

Word count today: TBA

Mimi posted this, so here’s mine……

You're feeling: Worn out and like summer vacation will never arrive.

To your left: A snack of edamame and the ever changing summer reading list for my favorite high school.

On your mind: A bit of worry about how I will manage tomorrow’s ACT testing, a funeral, prom, and the DH’s last minute garage sale (bad, bad idea).

Last meal included: A fajita and veggies.

You sometimes find it hard to: Keep my house clean. (Technically, I always find it hard to do that.)

The weather: Sunny, warm. (8o degrees)

Something you have a collection of: Books!

A smell that cheers you up: Fresh-brewed coffee. And the smell of new books. (Best when combined.)

A smell that can ruin your mood: The smell of a doggy accident (in the house).

How long since you last shaved: about 17 hours

The current state of your hair: A little frizzy, mostly mussed

The largest item on your desk/workspace (not computer): Writing log book.

Your skill with chopsticks: Good, except for small stray pieces of rice.

Which section you head for first in a bookstore: YA, followed by general fiction. (Yes, I know, the clues are everywhere. Sigh.)

Something you’re craving: A day off with no responsibility and no nagging chores.

Your general thoughts on the presidential race: Technically, one man or woman can’t fix the economy, but we need to vote on someone who gives HOPE – which has been in short supply of late.

How many times have you been hospitalized this year: 0

Favorite place to go for a quiet moment: A quiet bookstore with frequently changing displays.

You’ve always secretly thought you’d be a good: Epidemiologist. (Yes. I am a science geek.)

Something that freaks you out a little: Radical religious beliefs (like those of people who suicide bomb or blow up abortion clinics). And just for clarification, I'm not saying all religious beliefs. I whole-heartedly believe in God. What bothers me is fanaticism that leads people to kill and murder and mame in the name of religion. I'm pretty sure that's not what God had in mind.

Something you’ve eaten too much of lately: Ice Cream

You have never: Sky-dived.

You never want to: To be someone who looks for the safe route instead of the real one.

Tag. Your it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Last prompt for awhile.....

What I’m Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

What I’m working on: Tossing around an idea that was supposed to be a short romance story, but it’s morphing into a YA. The protagonist is clearly a teenager. (Damn it.)

Word count Friday: 297
Word count Saturday: 115
Word count Sunday: 181
Word count today: 398

Next time, I'll post a regular blog. The prompts have been really good for me. I needed a boost to my creativity. And I got it. I hope I'm ready to tackle some edits and hard-core study of Slayer now. And then.... maybe I'll write this story. It's rough (be warned), but I've been really leaning toward first person lately. And YA. God help me....

Prompt: I did tell one person. God help me. She ….

I did tell one person. God help me. She eventually freaked.

About a year after the bite, I started hearing things – really weird things that I shouldn’t have been able to hear.

There’s nothing like being sixteen and waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of your parents having sex – on the other side of the house.

I could hear it all – every whisper.

“Shh, we don’t want to wake the kids.” Moans, panting, everything.

And then other things got weird. My hands would change. At first I couldn’t control it, but later I could form claws at will. My fingers would shorten and the pads of them widen out. My fingernails would morph into … something not right.

I told Sophie. Of course she didn’t believe me.

We were huddled together in her bedroom and she was excitedly giving me a play by play of how far she went with her boyfriend last night. She was pretty sure they’d do it soon. I was pretty sure, too.

“So, how ‘bout you, Em? Have you kissed Brady yet?” she asked.

“No. He hasn’t even asked me out.”

I knew what she’d say next.

“You could just hook up. It’s great. You don’t have to date him. He looks like he’d be a great kisser.” She eyed me earnestly while she spoke.

I was right. Word for word. Almost.

“Look. Soph. I can’t even think that right now. I’ve got other things going on.”

Immediately she took my hand. “Tell me.”

I hesitated for a long time. She squeezed my hand with a concerned half smile on her face.

“It can’t be that bad. Tell me,” she pleaded.

“Ok. But you can’t tell anyone. Ever. None of it.”

She swore and I believed her, mostly because I had to tell someone.

I slowly pulled my hand away, closed my eyes and focused on changing it.

When I opened my eyes and looked up, Sophie was staring admirably at my clawed hand.

“That is so cool. You have to show me how. Do you know how great that would be for Halloween.” She nearly bounced with excitement.

Of course this would be her reaction. This was the girl who rigged it to look like she’d been beheaded and impaled for costume parties. Of course she’d think it was a trick.

“It’s not a trick. It’s real.”

She huffed back, sinking solidly into the pillows on her bed. “That’s wrong, Em. I share all my tricks with you. You have to tell me how you did it. It’s so cool.”

I immediately changed it back to a normal hand. I’d gotten quite good at it by now. And I didn’t hyperventilate anymore and nearly pass out. I still worried about it, though, about what freaking sort of cancer I must have.

But deep inside, I know. I know it’s because of the bite. I worried quite a bit that maybe I was a werewolf. But if so, then I have to believe in all that stuff – like vampires and faeries and witches … and werewolves. I wasn’t there yet.

Then I heard the giggling and hushed whispers from the far end of the hall – from her brother’s bedroom.

I blushed, but tried to cover it up by asking a question. “Does Vin have a girlfriend?”

“Who would go out with Vin?” Soph thinks her brother is a geek just because he’s president of the chess club. But a lot of girls think he’s still hot. He lifts weights, and chess or no chess, muscles are hot.

“Someone did.” And I tilted my head toward the door, straining to hear. Their murmurs are very soft, and then there is nothing but a quiet rhythmic panting.

Sophie looks at me with squinted eyes, like she’s just witnessed something she doesn’t quite understand.

Good. She shouldn’t understand. I don’t. And I’m the one it’s happening to.

“They’re having sex.” I just blurt it out as I realize what the panting is all about.

Sophie spits on me as she erupts into laughter.

“No way. Not Virginal Vin. No way.” She nearly chokes and laugh-coughs the last word.

But I just smile and nod. “It sounds like they’re having sex.” It sounds they way my parents sound, only Vin sounds a little more enthusiastic.

“No way,” she says again and grabs my hand, hauling me down the hall. She raps hard on Vin’s door. No hesitation. Now, even she can hear the shuffling, like he’s trying to hide something.

Her eyes widen and meet mine. “I bet he’s just smoking pot instead.”

Vin doesn’t smoke pot. I know everyone at school who does. Even when they think they’ve gotten rid of the smell, I still smell it. Another one of my anomalies.

Vin cracks the door just then.

“What!” He yells, red-faced and just a little sweaty.

Now I know I’m right. And I know who it is. I can smell her.

Sophie shoves hard at the door and catches Vin off-balance. He was probably trying to hide the fact that all he’s wearing are athletic shorts. But now we’re in and there’s no mistaking why he didn’t want us in the room. He has a tent in his thin shorts which he tries to hide, unsuccessfully, by crossing his arms in front of him.

At Sophie’s glance towards me, I nod slightly towards Vin’s closet door. I can hear Mary Beth – Mambo Bear, as we cruelly call her – panting behind the door.

In three quick steps, Sophie’s there. Vin tries to stop her, but I lunge into his path and he nearly topples me. Sophie yanks open the door, and there’s Mambo Bear in all her under-weared glory.

“No fucking way.” But Sophie’s not looking at Mambo Bear or Vin. She’s looking at me and then at my hand. And then she goes white.

She’s beginning to understand the truth – my truth. And it isn’t pretty.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Writing Prompt #5

What I’m Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

What I’m Working On: Writing from prompts in hopes a new story emerges.

Word count today: 366

Today’s prompt: I never told anyone….

I never told anyone about the attack. It seemed so insignificant at the time. And really, it was just a dog bite. How dangerous could it be?

Even if it had just been normal dangerous, I could have contracted rabies or a nasty infection. I knew so little back then.

And now I know too much.

I know my family still searches for me – a runaway. And that much is true. But I didn’t run away because I didn’t love them or was some troubled teen. I ran to save them.

I know it’s nearing the five year anniversary of my bite. And I’m starting to feel the pull in my blood and skin. I’m starting to hear their calls in every sleeping and waking thought.

I know I’ll eventually have to give in. Agnes tells me we all do. It’s inevitable. But it seems so much against my own will. I should want to be able to resist, but I can’t. That one bite took away part of my individuality and replaced it with primal instincts and pack imprints.

My pain and angry outbursts have become too much for Agnes and she’s left me here alone to go off and join the nearest pack. She says she’ll be there if I need her -- when I eventually can’t resist anymore and have to go to the pack. To the males in the pack.

One voice in the pack is louder than the others. He’s already fought and beaten many males in the pack to have the right to claim me. I hear his voice above everything else. He shows me his victories in my dreams.

I’ve taken to walking at night instead of sleeping. Sleeping makes it worse. The last time I slept, I woke up when I plunged into a stream. My own rest betrays me – would take me to a destiny I must fight.

Agnes said my free will not be taken. It will be joined. But, then, it will be neither mine nor free.

And so I’ll walk in the opposite direction until he comes after me. He’s told me he will – that he’s preparing. When he does come, then I’ll run.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Writing Prompt #4

What I’m Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

What I’m Working On: More simmering of Slayer until I have time to tackle its issues. (Let me tell you – the way work is going, it won’t be this week.) Also, writing from prompts in hopes a new story emerges.

Word count today: 154

I really love it when the septic system is not working properly. Of course, this could metaphorically describe my ever-so-fun day, but I mean it literally. Septic system down. I guess I'll be showering elsewhere tonight. Oh, what fun.

No time today for a new prompt, so I’m hitting prompt #2 again…..

The first time I cheated I wore my red high heels. They’re the only reason no one noticed my slight of hand. Well, the heels, and maybe the plunging neckline of my barely there black dress.

Regardless, I managed to … coerce … the dealer into giving me the cards I wanted.

The words I’d whispered repeatedly held little interest for the dealer, especially when my breasts threatened to spill out every time I leaned forward to pick up my drink. No one else at the table noticed. They were too busy rocking back in their chairs to catch one red shoe rubbing up one sleek leg.

Of course, saying no one noticed is technically incorrect. A hunter noticed. Now he’s absolutely sure I’m something that I’m not. And I’m absolutely sure he’s not human.

And the shit of it all is that to stop running, I’ll have to eventually let him catch me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Writing prompt #3

What I’m Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

What I’m Working On: More simmering of Slayer until I have time to tackle its issues. (Let me tell you – the way work is going, it won’t be this week.) Also, writing from prompts in hopes a new story emerges.

Word count today: 517

The Prompt: Imagine a girl standing alone on a road. Write.

(Okay, yeah, kind of pisses you off doesn’t it? Doesn’t matter. Write.)


She stood at the edge of the gravel road clutching the wilted daisies in her fist. Her chipped, hot pink fingernails dug into her clenched hand. Wavy, dark blonde hair tangled in the breeze.

She tilted her head suddenly as if just noticing the thunderheads rolling in fast. Moving for the first time in several long minutes, she turned right, then left and scanned the trees which lined the road as if she searched for something.

Vince smiled. She knew he hid there, but she didn’t know she knew. Her instincts were typical of most young ones, making her predictable. Strong sensations would be pounding her, but her ability to sort through them too undeveloped to help her understand.

He smelled the scent of rain on the wind. She wouldn’t be able to smell it for several more minutes. Or at least she wouldn’t be able to identify it. She’d rely on her weak human smell and sight until her processing abilities were trained.

Taking a deep breath, he crept forward slowly. That last thing he wanted was to startle her. He’d tracked her for days with no opportunities to make contact. A talented runner, she’d provided a challenge for him – something he didn’t get very often. She’d evaded him several days longer than most infants. At first he wondered if he’d lost his touch, but scrutiny of her changed his mind. She possessed immense talent – raw, but strong.

Her skirt flapped around her ankles as the chilled wind gusted. He marveled at the ground she’d covered dressed in sandals, a long, full skirt and tank top. Of course, she’d lost the sandals days ago and learned she was faster barefoot.

Her feral eyes looked his way again before she closed them and tilted her head skyward. She’d be able to smell the rain now.

Not just any rain. A powerful storm. They’d need shelter to weather it. He couldn’t linger, tracking her any longer for an increasingly addictive pleasure. He needed to bring her down in an area where at least he knew some safe places to wait out the storm. Much further and they’d be out of territory. He didn’t want to think what the rival pack would do with one like her.

She tensed and her sudden pause gave her away. Changing was like that for new ones. No way to disguise it was coming.

He timed it perfectly, bounding out from the trees at the moment of her transition.
He hit her squarely and her smaller wolf form collapsed under his much large alpha wolf as he rolled her into the trees on the other side of the road and gently pinned her with his body and teeth until her animal from gave way to her human one.

He changed, too – quickly and unexpectedly if he read her wide-eyed expression correctly.

He may have startled her, but she shocked him. She didn’t thrash and claw, like most young ones. Instead she accepted his dominant bite with blue eyes fixed submissively on his in a connection that racked his body with recognition and arousal.