Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Now you're left with nothing but story. Your manuscript is still in very rough form, but there's not a boring bit in there because you've taken all of the irrelevant stuff out. Now you're ready to revise and polish. I go through many drafts on a book, so I do a highlighting pass after finishing my first draft, then do it again when I'm nearly finished with the manuscript. After some more tweaking and polishing, I use the highlighting tool a third and final time. When the manuscript is all golden, I'm finished. (Two notes: First, the highlighter is invaluable to me because except during that first pass, I'm not starting at Page One and progressing to the end of the manuscript. I jump around, working on whatever scenes and chapters I'm in the mood to work on. The highlighting tells me what I've finished and what still needs to be looked at. And second, on the last highlighting run I'm just deleting words and sentences, not whole paragraphs and scenes. It's all pretty painless by that time.)
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
A Cherokee Legend
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Friday, January 22, 2010
I veered over toward a fountain. Reeve handed me a penny before I even asked. He found my desire to wish on stars and pennies to be amusing for someone who didn’t believe in fantasy.
It was one of the few sweet and non-violent impulses that I allowed myself. There was some part of me that wanted that kind of magic to be possible. It had to be. Right?
I stood with my back to the fountain, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.
‘What do you wish for?’ he asked inside my head.
I peeked one eye open. “I’m not supposed to tell you.” I closed my eye and took another deep breath.
‘Why?’ he asked. I could feel he’d gotten closer to me and it made my heart jump around a little.
“It won’t come true if I say it out loud,” I said.
‘So…. Don’t say it out loud. Just tell me.’ His voice in my head sounded warm and deep.
“It’s against the rules,” I whispered while frowning at him. I could tell he was prowling around in front of me trying to force me to open my eyes.
“THE rules,” I explained. “The unwritten rules regarding wishing on anything….”
‘So, you’re saying that someone thought of our situation when coming up with unwritten rules?’ His tone was amused.
Reeve was really close now. I could feel the warmth from his body. It made me shiver.
“Yes, they knew someday two people would come along who could hear each other’s thoughts and one of them would be vastly annoying about cheating on the wishing rules,” I said.
I scrunched up my nose. I was going to have to try extra hard to block him out so I could make a wish. Actually, most of what I wished for was right in front of me trying to annoy me enough to kick him. I frowned and said, “Actually, the frustrating thing is that if I did tell you what I’d wish for, you’d be forced to try to give it to me. That ruins wishes.”
“Not necessarily,” he said. “Maybe it’d be something I wanted to give you.” He said it in a husky voice that made me wonder what he had in mind even while I shivered again.
“Are you cold?” he asked amused… knowing that I wasn’t.
“Well, if that was the case, if you wanted to give me something, then you could do that without me forcing you to,” I pointed out.
Then, an idea for my fountain wish came to me. I wished Reeve loved me the same way that I loved him. I wished that with every part of myself… especially the girly part that believed in wishing.
‘You know what I’d wish for?’ Reeve asked.
I tossed the coin over my shoulder, opened my eyes, and asked, “What?” while raising an eyebrow.
He was staring down at my hips but looked up smiling. His smile was dangerously close to a smirk. That smile always meant one thing.
I cleared my throat and said, “Never mind. I think I know.”
‘Did you ever decide which step seeing you naked was on this path to mating? I’m guessing we’re not going through these steps very quickly. How many steps are there? Ten? Fifteen?’
His questions sounded vague and thoughtful. I got the feeling he might know more about the steps, so I decided not to attempt a stumbling and embarrassing guess. I didn’t have much input to give. I was four years old even if my memories of the world seemed a little older. He was four hundred and five. He must have gained some carnal knowledge in all those years.
He’d read books. Books had ‘stuff’ in them. I’d read a very interesting book that I’d borrowed from Pamela in which a vampire was the lead male character even. Most of the ‘pertinent’ descriptions had left me feeling a bit ill. I like to think that made me practical and rational. Seriously, who throws around the words “heaving”, “swollen”, and “engorged” thinking it sounds sexy when you could use those same words to describe viewing a case of gangrene. I think the fact that I was repulsed just goes to show you that I saw a more universal application of the adjectives in use.
I looked at Reeve who still had a serious look on his face.
I found it strange that he was wondering about seeing me naked again. I couldn’t figure out what the draw was. I was short and scrawny.
Reeve looked over my body as if considering a puzzle or writing up a checklist, and I shifted uncomfortably.
What if, once he saw the full me, he wasn’t interested anymore in me at all? Maybe he’d get tired of me…. Maybe he secretly wanted someone more like Callie. She looked so statuesque and perfectly perfect. Reeve was perfect. He was huge and muscled. I stared at the frown on his sculpted mouth.
Did it matter if there were any steps beyond kissing? Kissing was pretty amazing. My stomach jumped around like a wild thing trying to fly every time. Why clutter up something perfect with crass groping or my nakedness?
Reeve finally said, “From what I’ve seen, I think there are probably nine steps.’
“Yeah?” I asked aloud. Wow. He must have really thought this through. I might have made up a step just to make it an even ten, though. Reeve wouldn’t. He was strictly honest… sometimes to a fault.
Okay. So he wasn’t perfect… but I didn’t hold his honesty against him.
“I think we’re on two,” he calculated.
Two? Two wasn’t very far. Was he telling me this because we were taking too long?
“Your point?” I asked crossing my arms.
“I just told you,” he said in confusion. “I think seeing you naked is around step seven.”
“Step seven? What are steps uhh….? No. Wait. I don’t want to know. Let’s just get going.”
I started walking and then turned to see him looking at me from behind while walking very slowly.
“You’re starting to make this creepy,” I warned him while putting my hands on my hips.
“I find you fascinating,” he said honestly.
I felt my cheeks flush and my heart start thumping. I felt flattered and terrified. Was that the same as saying he loved me? Probably not. I wondered what step that was. Maybe it wasn’t one in Reeve’s mind. My heart started thudding… from dread.
What if he really didn’t love me? Now that I thought about it, fascinating wasn’t the same as a declaration of affection of any kind.
A snake swallowing a rat was fascinating in a grotesque way. That really clarified the definition in my mind. Fascinating could be documentary-worthy. Then, there was that woman with the world’s longest fingernails in the world record books. That was fascinating.
“It would be nice if it was before step seven. Maybe we could skip steps?” he suggested, dragging my mind away from vile topics.
“We can’t skip steps! That’s why there are steps.” I threw my hands up in the air for emphasis and to distract him from the sound of my nervous heartbeat.
It worked, because, for a moment, he followed my hands with his eyes as if they were saying something. It was wise of him, because most of my hand movements were making a statement. This one was saying, “SKIP STEPS! NO! Then we’ll get to the monster at the end of the book which is where you see me naked and freak out.”
“We can skip step five, though,” he said. “I’m more interested in seeing you naked.”
“We CAN’T skip step five! That’s an important step.” I had no idea what step five was. It could be sharing straws for all I knew. I was just not ready to jettison ahead to step seven.
“We could move step seven up so that it’s step four or five and just slide the remainder of the steps backward. We wouldn’t be skipping things that way,” he suggested.
I narrowed my eyes.
“You’ve seen me naked,” he pointed out.
I choked a little. Wow. That memory was both disturbing and good. “It wasn’t by choice. You and all the Hunters seem to think the Inner City is some sort of men’s locker room.”
“You were the first female there in five hundred years.”
“Just because you prefer for there not to be any mystery….”
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wow. It's been a while since I dove into Flashy Fiction and became a contributing member of society. I'm back, though.
She was sitting in the corner surrounded by a dozen guys. The music was blaring and dancers kept stumbling into me. A stoned teenager made up almost entirely of piercings walked in front of me and stopped, blocking my view. The lights were obnoxious. How was I going to get a decent picture in this place?
I slid around the teenager just as she was getting up, much to the astonishment of her entourage. She glanced around, searching for someone. Her eyes fell on me. Uhh. Looking behind me, I couldn't see who she was smiling at. She was coming right my way. I fumbled in my pocket for the camera.
"TALIA, I love you!" a guy nearby screamed and two of her body guards grabbed him as he dove for her.
She didn't even slow down. Ten feet. Eight feet. It would be obvious if I pulled out the camera when she was headed right for me. Besides, I was supposed to get a picture of her new tattoo, and I couldn't see it. They'd said it was on her neck, but her hair was down. Four feet--and she stopped right in front of me.
Her eyes traveled up and down my frame. Uhh. Okay. I was a desk monkey. What was she looking at? If Nick hadn't gotten swine flu, he'd be here. This was his job--he was the photographer. I barely knew how his camera worked. What was I doing here? Oh yeah, the ten thousand dollars--and our rent being due--overdue.
She closed the remaining few feet and slid her hands up my chest and around my neck. Holy... freak... Talia was touching me. She leaned in, her lip-sticked mouth touching my ear, her warm breath against my skin, and she said, "I know what you're thinking. Talia Talons is right here--right now. You know what I'm thinking?"
"I have no idea."
"I have a thing for nerds, and my bus is outside. Let's go get you out of this tie."
The next morning was surreal as I stumbled into my apartment. Nick was lying on the couch wrapped in the Snuggie my aunt had given me for Christmas. His face still looked unnaturally pale as he asked, "Was his information good? Was Talia there?"
"Oh yeah." I swallowed and blinked. I wasn't sure that I wanted to share the pictures, though. I was in most of them... and a few were just of me... and my tie. Talia had really enjoyed taking pictures. I sort of just wanted to keep them... to myself.
"So, this tattoo. Did you get a picture?"
"Right on. What was it of?" Nick asked. I waited while he coughed miserably.
"It was Tux."
"Tux?" Nick repeated.
"The uhh... Linux penguin. It's a computer thing... and it wasn't on her neck," I said. Wow. It was most definitely not on her neck. Up close, you couldn't tell where the skin was located. I could give him that one--to pay the rent.
"Rick, you dog, you don't remember me, do you?" I said, easing into the drawl of my past.
He squinted at me. Not a clue. Not a darn clue. Typical.
"Cindy," I prompted him.
"Riiiiggghhtttt," he said. Clearly, he didn't remember me.
"I used to change your diaper when I was eleven. I lived down the street from you."
He cleared his throat.
I went on, "I remember thinking, my heck what are his parents feeding him? We're talking nuclear waste toxic."
A few of his friends outside started laughing at his discomfort.
"Then, there was the fact that you got gas from everything no matter what I fed you. Geez... even water. I used to double up on your diapers just to try to keep it in."
"Okay, Cindy, it was really...."
"Then, you got older... and you were a pill. You used to throw the biggest tantrums if I didn't let you sleep with that stuffed rabbit of yours. What was his name?" I was nearly being drowned out by the laughing at this point.
Rick revved his Harley again and took off.
"OH YEAH! FLUFFYKINS!" I yelled at his back as he took off. Several of Rick's friends were clutching their stomachs from laughing so hard.
"Who was that, Jess?" Laura asked, walking out of the bar.
"This guy that once stood me up for a date in high school," I said, dropping the accent. "Did you find out where the rehearsal dinner is?"
"Okay, cool, maybe this trip back won't be so bad after all."
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Okay, so this is probably a really stupid thing to post, but I'm excited about it. I finally have hardcopies of all of my books up until now printed on Lulu. I have a bunch of betas that prefer that, and it is sometimes easier to find typos in them that way. It's also silly and time-consuming that I like to do all my own covers for fun, but I'm silly and most of my life is time-consuming. Anyway, so here they all are... all my books. Yay! I have them all in my hands--like a tangible thing. The top ones are the Honor books. Then, the Company of Him series. Finally, the strays that are stand-alones.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
“Scorch’s dad is married to Lyle’s sister,” Penny said.
Thanks Penny. Let’s just get it all out into the open.
“He hates her because of that—because they’re related?” Asher asked.
“My father had an affair with Lyle’s sister, who is about twenty years younger than him. He divorced us, married her, and now they live in Mississippi. I think he told my mom that Bliss is knocked up, but she is trying to keep it from me. Yay. The sibling I always wanted will come from the superwhore.” Perhaps I’d been too vehement because my statement caused complete silence. I flung myself on my back to stare at the blue, blue sky. It was easier than seeing pity or whatever on Asher’s face. Okay, so maybe I’d one-upped Penny on spilling my life story. I had no idea where that had all come from.
“Bliss is pregnant?” Penny repeated.
“Yep. I think so. My mom was just about to go through in-vitro when she found out about the affair. It’s not a good subject to bring up and confirm. I’m still trying to never talk with my father, so I don’t know for sure, but that’s what it sounds like.”
“Your father is such a….” Penny couldn’t find the right word. I couldn’t find the right word. I sympathized with her plight.
“Yep,” I agreed. “I’m supposed to spend Christmas with him as part of the divorce settlement. It’s fine, though, because I won’t have to travel as Bliss wants to spend time here in Vegas with her family, so I can spend time with Lyle during winter break. I’m hoping to have my father committed to an asylum before it comes to that.”
“Wow,” Penny said.
“Totally,” I agreed.
“That’s really messed up,” Asher said, in complete agreement.