Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This porridge is just right

So, I finished the revision of Curse Me A Story to make it a YA book. It's now with betas who hopefully think, as I do, that's it's now complete at 72, 500. It felt more like a simple outline when I was trying to make it into a MG. Now, it seems much better. I like it a lot. After they're done with it, I'll send it back to the agent with fingers crossed.

I still haven't sent Versus the Bounty... and I'm just not sure what to do with that one. The husband is beta-ing it... sort of. He's been really busy and I snarled at him one night over a valid point he had... so I think he isn't as motivated. Plus, he just broke his ereader, so he might even be done. I might print it out on Lulu and ask my friend to beta it for me.

I've been rereading the Honor books with a plan to do a serious revision. I opened Honor One only to discover that I'd done a serious revision in January... and it didn't take much this time around. I'd totally forgotten that I'd done such an intense revision. (Having a poor memory keeps things interesting.) So, I just finished the revision and I think I'll throw it at some betas for some ideas on whether certain scenes need to be cut and how the pacing is. I'll probably move on to a revision of Honor Two while I'm waiting on betas for these other projects. I should be working on a WIP but I like being in Honor's head.

The last few weeks have been really rough on me. The kids are... complicated right now. We have a lot of financial stress. Then, there is the insomnia. Thus far, in September, I've slept more than four hours during a night about... five times... maybe. The weeks are building and building and pulling me down. September, October, April, and May all nail me due to the season change and the stress of school starting or ending. So, my normal insomnia patterns of one week of insomnia followed by a recovery week... go to two or three weeks of insomnia with a two or three day break. Napping causes worse insomnia... and, unfortunately, I have to be up at 7 a.m. every morning... even if I don't get to bed until 5 a.m. Today, I'm sick too... I've picked up a vile cold. My throat hurts so bad. I'm going to overdose on Nyquil tonight. (By overdose... I mean... take the maximum dosage.)

Well, this is a rather lame blog post, but my head feels a bit foggy from being sick and lack of sleep.

Have a good... what day is this... oh... Tuesday. Have a good Tuesday!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fight Night--Honor Three Excerpt

I've been reading through the Honor series when insomnia hits me, and I've been doing revisions on Honor Three... and I thought I'd share one of my favorite scenes. Unlike most portions of the Honor books, this bit is from the perspective of Callie who just discovered that she's become a vampire. (The vampires in the Honor series are like guardians of humans.) Honor isn't quite a vampire... she's a Shadow Hunter. Anyway, Callie freaks out when she discovers she really has changed into a vampire, so the Master gets Honor there to help her "cope."

I was pretty sure if I sat huddled in the corner of the shower stall that eventually I’d have to wake up. He’d tried to come in to talk to me a few times. It seemed to work to just cover my ears and scrunch my eyes closed.

This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be happening.

I felt someone else come sit in front of me. Whoever it was… I was pretty sure they’d go away if I didn’t ever talk to them.

That’s when I got flicked in the forehead.

That was just mean.

I could ignore it.

I got flicked again.

“Honor, I don’t really think....,” I heard Cole say just before a door slammed.

“Hey! Princess!” she shouted just as she flicked me again.

I jumped out of my ball and attacked her. I don’t know where the rage came from. I mean, her flicking my head was pretty annoying, but this sort of outdid that. I threw her into shower door, and it shattered.

She got up stiffly and said, “Wow! I never would have guessed you had that in you.”

“HONOR?” Reeve shouted.

“I’m fine! Just tripped,” she said and then slammed me against the shower wall. I felt it crack from the force. “Callie just tripped too.”

“Look! I was ready to be dead! I was planning on being dead today!” I shouted at her. All of the frustration I’d kept bottled up inside me for so many years exploded out of me. I never confronted any of it. I just kept pushing it deeper. “Do you know what it’s like to know you won’t see your twenty-fifth birthday?” I said, pushing up off the wall.

She rolled her eyes. “I’m four years old! I woke up in a field NAKED four years ago where I grew out of the ground. I’ve been chased by every version of hell on the market since then. Every morning I was a little surprised to be alive. Most Shadow Hunters probably don’t even make it to their fourth birthday.”

“My heart stopped beating today, and I’m still here! I don’t even know if I have a heart anymore! I feel like a freak!”

“YEAH? Let me go cry a little in your corner!” she shouted back.

It happened so fast it was nearly reflex. I kicked her in the stomach. She slammed against the wall near the door. Honor shook her head, dove, and grabbed my leg out from under me. I hit the ground with a crack.

Oh… it was on.

She stood over me with her hands on her hips.

“Now! You’re going to need to buck up, Buttercup, because you have everything I’ve ever wanted and seeing you cry about it just really, really, really chaps my hide.”

I swept her leg out from under her. “You listen to me, Rambo! My mother is dead. My father ran out on us when I was a kid. I was finally doing well. I was about to finish my Doctorate in Medieval Studies. Then, I went in for some routine testing….”

“Buh blah blah blah…. What on earth were you going to do with a freaking doctorate in something that happened eight hundred years ago?” she said, using her hands to make ‘yakkity yak’ signs.

I dove at her, and we rolled across the floor a few times.

There was more pounding on the door.

“GO AWAY!” we both shouted at once.

She ended up on top, and she hit my head into the floor. “Do you know what happened to me? I was kidnapped….” Bang! My head hit the floor. “He was planning on killing me!” Bang! “He promised to rip me to shreds with his teeth and drink a toast to me with my blood!” Bang! “You’re whining about not finishing a thesis? You spoiled….”

I kicked her off me, and she slammed back inside the shower and hit the wall where I had a little bit ago.

I got to my feet and said offhand, “You’re still alive! So, clearly, you didn’t get toasted or have your entrails kicked about!”

She dropped into a crouch with snarl. “I spent the night in a freaking beaver lodge. I’ve never stayed more than four months in a place anywhere other than L.A. where Shifts ate my roommate because she borrowed my coat. So, once again… Sell your sob story to someone who has had a family… or a life… or a home!”

“This was your life, though! I stopped to help a guy who looked like a horror flick, and he kissed me and now I’m this freak who eats wolves.” I picked up a bar of soap and threw it at her. She caught it easily.

Honor looked at the soap and looked at me with a clear expression of “Are you kidding me? We’re throwing soap?”

I shrugged. Sometimes you worked with what was available.

She tossed the soap up in the air once and shouted, “So! Have you taken a look at the other freaks who eat wolves? Wolf does a body good, chick!” She beamed me in the head with the soap. Wow. She had good aim. “I was about to make it to step 3 with one of them, and I got called back here to deal with your little mental breakdown!” Honor yanked the towel bar on the shower stall door free and hit it against her hand. “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a little privacy around here?” She slammed the towel bar against the wall. “Did you hear that, all of you out there? Of course you did! You always do! Because there is no freaking privacy! I live in a FISHBOWL surrounded by vampires!”

I grabbed the towel rod off the wall. I wasn’t sure how well I could use a towel rod as a staff, but I was just about to find out.

Suddenly, a scent assailed my senses, and my eyes watered from the strength. It wasn’t bad, but it smelled a little like cooking with honey.

“What’s that smell?” I asked. “It smells sweet, rusty, and hot.”

“Probably my back,” she said blandly, tossing the towel bar into the corner. “I cut it pretty bad when you slammed me through the shower door. I think your guy just had to call in reinforcements to restrain Reeve so he didn’t come see why I’m bleeding all over.”

All the fight went out of me in a whoosh. For some reason, it had never occurred to me that she might be hurt.

“My guy?” I asked, dropping the towel rod and getting the towel from it wet.

“Yeah. The Master is completely sweet on you. It’s gooey and disgusting.” She turned, pulling her off her shirt.

“HOLY COW! Why didn’t you tell me you were so hurt?” I asked. There were deep gouges all over her back.

“Are you kidding? That was a lot of fun! I feel a lot better. It was hilarious when the soap nearly knocked you off your feet.” She laughed loudly and actually snorted.

I giggled. “That was really hilarious. When you grabbed my leg that first time, it was awesome.” I blotted the blood on her back. “I’m sorry those monster things killed your room mate.”

“Pamela. Her name was Pamela. You remind me of her. She was a girly girl too. I think you’re more ambitious and intelligent, but she never slammed me through a shower door.”

“Maybe given time,” I suggested and then I realized I was crying.

She turned and started crying too. “I’m sorry that your life changed so much. I was shocked by all this, and I already had been seeing Shifts for years.”

I rubbed at my tears. “The guy that was going to drink your blood? Is he dead? We could go kill him together.”

She sniffed and said, “Really? I’ve never had anyone say that to me before….”

I sniffed and nodded. “That was really wrong.”

She shook her head and said, “It totally was. He is gone, though. I had the earth eat him. It was cool. I can teach you how to aim better,” she said, looking down at the soap.

“Really?” I looked down at the soap. “I've never thrown soap before. It was slippery.”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So, my old friend, we meet again

I got a revision request from an agent on Curse Me A Story. I'm excited and nervous about it. I'm, by nature, extremely pessimistic and cynical. (The world is a hostile place to those with OCD--so we're always waiting for that other shoe to drop.) So, I'm still trying to convince myself this is a step forward and not just more treading water.

Anyway, she wants me to bump it up to a strict YA audience (it was flirting with MG) and flesh out some of the characters. I did a reread last night and marked a bunch of points in my Kindle that I think I need to deal with. The previous revision on it... really kicked it up a notch. I like when I have my expectations exceeded from my memory of a manuscript. (With how bad my memory is... this happens more often than you'd think.)

Unfortunately, I'm exhausted. This insomnia jag isn't relenting like they normally do. If I've slept more than four hours on a night--that is the exception rather than the rule for the last three weeks.

I still want to tackle this revision... because, let's face it, I'm perpetually sleep-deprived, but I think it might take a bit longer than normal.

When I'm done, I'm hoping to con some of those that have read it before into a reread. *shiny eyes*

Okay, I have cleaning to do and some stew in the crockpot. Later, gators.

Oh... I read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White last night... in like three hours. If you haven't picked this book up... for shame. It was so thoroughly addicting that I didn't put it down the first time until it was too dark to see. I'd only intended to glance through it when it came from Amazon yesterday. Instead, I forgot to eat dinner and the kids got my C game for the most part.

Seriously... go get this book. It rocked. Also, follow Kiersten on Twitter because she is super, super, super nice.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Way Monday

This keeps coming up on Twitter, so I thought I'd explain the way I write and how it is that I write so much.

First of all, I don't intend for everything I write to get published... or even be considered for publishing. Due to my OCD, I have stories and ideas in my head constantly. They compete with the paranoia and worries and stress, but since I've started writing, it's the ideas and stories that keep me awake at night. OCD insomnia is pernicious. I can lie awake for hours, staring at the ceiling, despite being exhausted. In my mind, a dialogue or a quirky situation plays like a movie. I can't stop thinking about it. It won't leave my head. I write manically during the first 20K and last 20K of a manuscript. I don't sleep for fear that I'll forget... which is a sincere worry. I worry that if I forget, the story will never get out of my head but stay there in awful limbo consuming me little by little. Typically, the moment I finally feel finished with a manuscript... another manuscript is already there taking its place.

I've had writers envy me for how prolific I am. Truly, don't do that. My mind feels like a special level of hell because of this. I can't even tell you how tempting it is to increase my OCD meds to try and get the obsessive writing to stop. It doesn't appear in 500 word chunks... no... nor is it vague. I lie awake knowing that I'll have to get up and write 3000 words if I want any chance of sleeping that night. I get up knowing that it's hopeless.

On the other hand, I have this awful worry that if the OCD meds just blow my mind's outlet... what if the stories are still there... clawing at my brain and I can't write them? Typically, twice a month... as dictated by weird hormone surges, I can't write. My brain feels foggy like I've taken cold medicine and everything is mostly lost in a static in my mind. It's terrifying if I've got WIPs unfinished because despite the occurrence of these days--48 times now--every time I worry... what if I can't finish those stories? What if the stories never come back into my mind again and they're never finished? What if this static of noise without direction is the rest of my life? I try to sleep through those days just to get through them as fast as I can. Sure enough, just like clockwork, the time passes and I can write again.

So, I write... to get things out of my brain. Some of the stories I'll just send to my sisters to read with no real plans on what to do with them. Some of these manuscripts were just really good practice for me. Mostly, it doesn't bother me that the bulk of the manuscripts I've written will never see the light of day, it's not about that for me... it never was.

Secondly, I write fast and clean. While not everything I write will get published, I work really hard to get the story across. That's what is important to me. It's paramount to everything else. The story has to get out of my mind and onto paper just as I see it. This sometimes makes for "telling" rather than "showing" that'll get worked out of later revisions. Sometimes, it creates hilarious typos with words that "sound like" the word I was thinking of. Time/them, place/plus, there/tear, hears/hers, eat/each, beat/beach... and so on. I do rereads frequently and other than missing words or these substitutions, I write really clean. My rough drafts, according to betas, are the least 'rough' drafts they've ever seen.

Third, I write like a script in my rough drafts. I focus on dialogue and expressions and movement. I don't stop to describe the locations or the exact way something appears... I work on that in a second or third revision. Quite honestly... I skip over descriptions when I read most of the time, so I do the same on my rough drafts. While it's clean and gets the point across, my rough drafts really read more like scripts than manuscripts.

So... how fast do I write? Manic writing eats up time like you wouldn't believe. Sometimes I tell people that I can write a complete manuscript in two weeks and they're astounded... what they don't realize is that I'm sleeping three hours a night and writing for twelve hours a day some of those days. I think it's not uncommon for a writer to write about 750-1000 words in an hour. I've raced writers on Twitter who can punch out 2K in an hour. My mind is being barraged during my manic obsessive phases... so I write and write and write without stopping. So, while two weeks sounds like nothing... it's really 100 hours of work... and I think many writers could do 75K in 100 hours.

So, what brought this up? I just finished my second WIP off last week in a very short amount of time. I've been trying to finish Versus The Bounty for a year now (it was already at 55K and it's story has been finished and eating at my thoughts since May,) but I also decided that the first person needed to be in third person. Finishing it in third person would leave some of it in first and the rest in third... which... there was no way I could do that. (I can't even let my son wander around with just one shoe on... are you crazy?) So, I started the process of conversion and, honestly, next time just rip out my fingernails one by one. This is the tedious and technical bit of being a writer that makes me want to scream. Luckily, it went fast... really fast. Then, I finished it. Reread it. Revised it. Reread it. Revised it. Sent it to my two sisters. Reread it. Revised it. I've just sent it to my husband and told him to ignore all the girly parts. After he is done, I'll revise, reread, and revise again. Then... it'll be done.

My intention is to nudge with this book but, normally, though my books go through this many revisions and rereads and a lot more betas, I typically shelve all my books for six months. I shelve it... let my mind forget it... and then reread it with fresh eyes and a blank perspective. Then, regardless of whether I intend to query it ever... I revise it. Typically, I shelve it for six more months, and then go through the process again.

So, if you're looking at the books on the side... yes, all twenty-two of those books have been through at least three betas, four revisions (or more), and yet some of them will just sit in my computer. My betas find this sort of sad... as if all stories need to find a public voice. These stories have been inside my head and haunted me to the point that I'm just really happy to be able to share them with betas and, more importantly, have them out of my head so I can sleep.

So, that's how it goes... I know I'm an oddity due to how prolific I am but, let's face it, I was going to be an oddity no matter what. The entire series of books known as The Company of Him books... will probably just always be stories that I like to reread and were really good practice for me. Those betas that have read them... it's like a cool secret world between us.

The Honor books... are less likely to go that way... partly because no one who has read the Honor books will allow that. Honor has a weird cult following... and my hardcopy beta review copies have traveled all over as my betas mailed them to family even. (It was truly bizarre.) Honor Among Thieves has been read by at least thirty people. My mother has a full set of the Honor books that keeps circulating among my extended family apparently. I think it's because Honor has a life of her own really. Her character has been there in my mind fully-formed from conception--in all her irreverent, violent, and quirky glory. It's why she has her own Twitter profile... because she is seriously creepy in her split personality aspect of me. On the other hand, Honor Among Thieves needs to have the beginning rewritten in a different way. My plan is to reread and saturate my mind with that world again and then rewrite the first 50 pages from memory. It'll drop all of the unnecessary graft that has peeked in due to rewrite after rewrite after rewrite. That's the theory.

Unfortunately, that project got pushed back burner while I finished "Versus the Bounty" and now... I've got another WIP sneaking its way back in.

In mid-October, I will have been writing for two years. I'll have been querying... seriously... for a little over a year. I've got two WIPs that are nearly half-way finished. Something intrigues me about completing 24 manuscripts in 24 months. I'm tempted. Well, really, I'll have to go on to 25 in 25 months because really I hate even numbers.

On the other hand, I've been told that sleep keeps you from going insane.


BTW, this amount of writing means that I'm always looking for beta readers and I don't have a steady critique partner because of my manic paces. If you ever see anything I'm finished with and you'd like to volunteer to beta, please contact me at wendy at sparrow dot us .

This is what I'm working on right now... and I'm nearly giddy about it. I set it down for the summer so I could write a bunch of short stories out of my brain. When I went back to reread it, I think it's actually my best manuscript to date... but I haven't gotten a lot of opinions on it. So, I might be crazy. I've done tons of research for this one... (which isn't so out of the ordinary--I tend to do crazy amounts of research) and I've also got pictures to refer to. I'm really, really excited about this to the point that I might query it when it's done and drop this "no more querying ever" plan of mine. We'll see.

It's called "The Sentinel's Run" and it's a YA dystopian.

Here is a snippet:

It was only five years. Five years and a chance of one in five that I’d return alive. I poked a stick into the swirling water, catching a small whirlpool and breaking it. This would be the last free day I had… the last time I decided where to go and what to do. Decisions were a luxury item in the Dunn. Decisions like talking to the girl that fished on the shore opposite me. Her long blonde hair would flicker in the sunlight like wheat on the day before harvest, and her laugh would tumble across the water. She was beautiful and elegant and her curves were that of a woman—not a girl. She was from Tanger and while we’d never spoken, in my mind we had. Who would marry her if I never returned? Maybe no one. There were so few males. Sometimes marriage to one girl meant you were taking on the care of all her unmarried sisters.

If I survived, I’d have my choice of females. If I survived.

Before I’d left, I’d been no more than a gelding to the girls around. I was an untouchable. There was no point to looking at a male who was younger than twenty-two. No reason to sow hopes that could be killed when their letter came.

I stabbed at a rock and watched as the soil beneath it spun into the current. What would happen if my letter hadn’t come? Would people have let my time go by quietly and sent their own males off to die? Would I have let them?

Maybe it was as well my letter had come.

Goodbye river. Goodbye fertile ground. Goodbye peace and quiet and hearing the birds in the morning. There were no birds in the Dunn. There was no peace. Not now. Not ever. It was on the front line of defense between the Anbots and the Humans. As long as there were more humans born and the Anbots manufactured more weapons, there would be war. I should be grateful it didn’t spill over into Tereslay. I should be. I wasn’t.

Perhaps it was selfish of me, but I didn’t start this war. I didn’t create the machines that began to feed on us and grow stronger. I would never create a machine smarter than I was. Any fool should have known better than that. I would never insist that every machine have a brain that could be turned against us. I was simply born into this world with its hell.

Father had tried to convince me it would be a growing time for me and I’d come back a man. I knew beneath my father’s word was the word “if.” For the next five years my life would hang on the word “if.” If I survived the first year, I’d most likely survive the next four. If I survived, it might be worth it to me. Veteran sentinels made a lifelong commission and could marry whomever they wanted. If I survived, I might be accepted into town sentinel forces where the worst you’d expect was separating drunks in fights and settling domestic disputes.


It was early, but the girl from Tanger was sliding down the other side of the swift river with a pole. She was sweet as honey and feminine. I waved… sentinel duty was making me bold. It was too late, but that was the way of it. She laughed and waved.

“I leave for duty today,” I yelled above the rushing of the river.

“I’m sorry,” she yelled back.

“What’s your name?” I called. Perhaps I could think about her at night while I tried to shut out the horrors that I’d only heard described. Well, if I wasn’t on night duty…. Perhaps thoughts of her would block out the darkness—the darkness around all hours of the day and night.

“Lauren Fister! What’s your name so that I can watch for you?”

Watch for my name in the casualties, she meant. It was always possible my name would be linked with an award of bravery, but it was still likely to be in the casualties even then.

“Coby Leeman!”


“NO! Coby!” I yelled.

“Colby?” she yelled.

Eh. Close enough. It was unlikely she’d remember. It was unlikely I’d live.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Naked Revision

Wow. It's been a while since an update. It's one week before school starts for the kids so we've been busy sneaking in fun. (We went camping this last weekend actually.) Plus, I got really sick for a week... blech.
So, about six months after I complete a manuscript, I pull it out of the drawer to do a revision and consider what I want to do with it. I jumped the gun by a month and worked on the "naked gargoyle" one a bit early.

For those that don't remember... I posted a picture of the sketch I made to help me focus and some people--felt like he appeared to be naked. *cough* Diana *cough* She subsequently got a shirt to commemorate his nakedness. *sticks tongue out* So, I went back through the manuscript... and perhaps it's because it's about a teenage girl with OCD who is a cutter... but I'm, once again, wondering if it's too graphic. (I don't normally write about OCD with the exception of one of my Company of Him characters.)

The manuscript itself was fairly clean of typos and the prose seemed fairly straightforward. I made fewer notations than ever, but I'm still a little worried about the subject matter.

It's written in two POVS. Gris (who can change form into a gargoyle-like thing called a Watcher who can see and kill Shades--ghosts that feed on emotions--and he can manipulate the darkness) and Piper (the girl with OCD who is being targeted by a murderer.)

Here is a quick excerpt (from Piper's POV):

I floundered on my nightstand for the flashlight. It was gone too. Crap. Maybe I wasn’t actually awake. Maybe this too was a dream. I pinched my arm. “Oww…” I probably hadn’t needed to pinch that hard.

“Is there someone there?” I asked again.

Was I really expecting someone to answer?

Then, someone did, and I realized I would have preferred them not to.

“Piper?” a raspy snarl said.

I shuddered.

“What do you see, Piper?”

Whatever was out there wasn’t human. It sounded like it had teeth. Did you lie to something that sounded like it had a mouth full of teeth?

“Who are you?” I asked.

There was a snicker and the voice hissed, “Don’t you ever answer questions?”

Well, that was just rude. Whatever was out there didn’t know me well enough to make snap judgments like that. “I’ll answer reasonable and intelligent questions put to me face-to-face by people not afraid to show themselves.”

“No, you don’t.” The voice sounded… reptilian. Was it a monster? Was a monster arguing with me? “What do you see, Piper?”

“Where are you, and who are you? If you show yourself, I’ll answer your questions.” I might. I might not. To be fair, until I knew what was in my room, I wasn’t sure what I’d do.

“No, you won’t. Trust me… some things are best done in the dark.” It snickered again.

I rolled my eyes. “Are you some sort of lecherous… thing?”

“Answer my questions, and I’ll hand you your flashlight and be gone.”

“Fine!” I said, nearly shouted. I went still as someone else in the house moved in their sleep and a headboard scraped the wall. No, I couldn’t get anyone else involved in… whatever this was. When no one called out, I whispered, “I can’t see anything. I can’t see in the dark. The doctor calls it the poorest dark adaptation he’s ever seen. He told me to take vitamins….”

“You were too stubborn?”

“No.” Well, a little. “They never worked.” Well, they hadn’t worked in the month I gave them—not even a bit. “Besides, are you supposed to be insulting me… whatever you are?”

“What do you think I am?”

How should I answer that? Whatever it was… I felt the air stir as it prowled in my room. It could see in the dark. It could see well. It didn’t bump into anything. It smelled less sulfurous than the others. This one smelled deeper and richer like a freshly turned field. It was nice. “I don’t know. I don’t know what any of you are.”

“Any of us? So, you have seen something or can see something?”

“I don’t need to. I can feel the air get cold when you’re in here. Some of them knock things over. They move my stuff. Usually you don’t talk, so you’re sort of breaking the rules there.”

“I’m not one of them,” it said.

Whatever that meant. It wasn’t exactly comforting to know that there were different types of monsters living in my room at night. I had multiple bogeymen? That was creepy. “Did you kill my dog?” I asked.

“No.” The end of the word trilled as if its tongue was long.

I had to know. “Did I kill my dog?”

“Shouldn’t you know that?” it asked.

It was mocking me. Of course it was. Why was I expecting whatever haunted me at night to be any kinder than the people that saw me during the day? I swung my legs back into bed. Stumbling around in the dark would probably amuse whatever creature was here tonight. I lay back down and closed my eyes. It would leave or it would kill me, but there was no way I’d just let it make fun of me.

“Shouldn’t you?” it repeated.

“Go away,” I mumbled. “I’m pretending you don’t exist, and it’s more difficult if you’re talking. So, either kill me… or go away.”

“I’m on your side, Piper,” it said.

Right. No one and nothing was on my side. Jester might have been close, but he was dead. My parents wanted to be as long as I didn’t act like I was different in any way. No one was on my side. No one. I was alone in the dark even when it wasn’t dark.

Something heavy fell at my side, and I tried not to jump. The cool smell of metal—steel came with it. The flashlight. I snatched it and a rush of wind fanned my face as I managed to whip it around and slide my thumb along the cylinder to the switch. The light illuminated my empty bedroom… and the curtains blowing around my window. There was a pop and my nightlight flooded the room with its pale blue glow. A moment later, my overhead light flashed on.

So, that's the gargoyle one... and I need to also deal with the fact that one week has eight days (six school days... darn it.)

I've also pulled the dystopian out of the drawer to tackle and finish this month. Part of the tackling includes switching the entire thing to third person, though. It's a tedious chore, but I think it'll help.

I finished the vampire/arch angel manuscript which is in three parts from three POVs, and I'm not sure what to call it or what to do with it. I've got it with four beta readers and I'm waiting to hear what they think.

Finally, I've had a rough week for rejections on subs. Out of 20 or so submissions, I still have 7 out. I don't know what to think of that. Most are on Curse Me a Story. I still have quite a few queries out also.

So, that's it. That's me in a nutshell. (Help... I'm in this enormous nutshell.)