Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Countdown

Did anyone else write the date today and go, "OH CRAP!" ?

I've been back since Sunday, but every night I sit here and can't think of much to say. Or at least anything I want immortalized on the internet for the world to read for all eternity.

Nano was a bust for me. Too much happened every night I got home, then company came, then I was out of town, so yeah... I only managed about 6,000 new words on my WIP. I haven't even looked at it in two weeks. I don't remember what's going on, to be honest. I need to read it again and get back on track. Not tonight. Tonight I'm wore out from a full day's work and an agonizing death march around the mall.

I still have a partial with one agent and a full MS with a publisher who showed interest. We'll see how it all turns out eventually, I suppose. I hope for the best, but the reality is - it's tough out there.

Yesterday I got an unexpected email. My longest fanfic has been nominated for an award. The sentiment is nice, and I really do appreciate it. I won't know the results until the end of December. Voting starts December 10th. What surprised me was that anyone even remembered it. I haven't updated it since July 2008.

Out of curiosity, I signed into and discovered something amazing: people still read my story. It's had over 300 visitors in November, and over 1500 hits. I looked at the history of the last year, and every month is like that -some a little better, some a little less. Altogether, it's had over 195,000 hits. I about fell out of my chair when I saw that last night. Maybe I should go back to fanfic, eh?

I hope everyone is doing well and keeping warm.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catching Up

It will come as no surprise to some of you that I was at a midnight showing opening night for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, or that I was there in costume. Okay, to be honest, I was going to go in costume, but decided I'd be too hot so just wore my Time Turner. I have a Death Eater outfit that I wear to all the midnight book and movie things, but this time I just didn't feel like bothering with it.

While I like all the movies and consider them more works of fanfiction than a translation of text to film (to keep my sanity and my hair), I will say I was very impressed with Deathly Hallows. It was hilarious and amazingly sad, but we knew the latter, right? I was highly impressed with their ability to weave humor into such a dark piece.

******TINY SPOILER ALERT FOR SOMETHING NOT PLOT MOVING*****Unfortunately for me, about half way through the movie, it took the mickey out of me. In my fourth MS (which is an MG), I have the portals to the other world being out of order toilets. There's a scene in DH where they travel by toilet. Now I have to change it or it'll look like I copied the idea. If it's actually IN the books, I don't recall it.

On a side note, I won an Honorable Mention from the Women on Writing website for their Summer 2010 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by agent Kathleen Ortiz:
It was for a rewritten version of You Are, which I posted several months ago. I won a couple of e-books and a $20.00 Amazon gift card, which is nice.

I hope everyone is doing well. I've been trying for a couple of promotions at work so that's been taking a lot of my energy. No matter how much we love writing, our jobs are what pay the bills, right? On occasion, I'm capable of proper priorities and being responsible like a real adult.

My daughter's in town now and we'll be out of town together for most of this week, so I will go ahead and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving in case I don't get another chance to post before then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWri-not so much

So, Day 1 of NaNo was a bust. I got zero words written. I had a late night at work, then stuff happened afterwards, so it was pretty much NaNot.

Last night I got 1305 words written. It's under the daily expected, but try as I might - I couldn't just keep going. This whole word vomit thing is beyond me. I paused, I plotted, I carefully constructed each sentence, and at one point I even took about ten minutes to decide what a lesser character's name should be.

And you know what? I'm good with that. I know I won't make the 50,000. I knew that going in. I'll be out of town the last week of November. I have company coming on the 17th. I joined NaNo to force myself to do the butt-in-chair on a daily basis. Even if I only write 20,000 new words, that's 20,000 more than I had.

So tonight, when I get home from work after 6pm, I'll do my best to write another 5+ pages of carefully constructed sentences. For those of you who are awesome at the word vomit thing (I'm looking at you, Mia and Emily) more power to you. I won't deny I have literary penis envy.

Have a great Wednesday, y'all!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My 100th Blogpost

I waited until today so my 100th post would be on my favorite holiday, Halloween. or Samhain for some.

Okay, guys. NaNoWriMo. For some of you, it has already started. For me, it's not officially time for 3 1/2 hours. I haven't signed into my account (I know, I suck) to do my updates and connect with people because... okay, I could drone on about real life and whatnot, but the truth is: I'm a forgetful cow who is easily distracted by anything shiny.

Or with awesome special effects.

Trick-or-Treating etiquette is apparently a thing of the past. A group of six kids came to my door. Every single one of them grabbed heaping handfuls of candy out of my bowl and one little bugger grabbed THREE. He just kept coming back as long as I had the door open for the other kids in his group. HIS PARENTS SAID NOTHING.

At least I'm smart enough to just set my kids loose without me so I don't have to excuse their bad behavior or scold them in front of other people. Ah. Blissfully ignorant, me. My other awesome parenting tactic is to cover my ears and say 'lalalalalalalalala' a lot until they give up trying to tell me something I don't want to hear.

This doesn't work as well with bill collectors. Just saying.

On another note, I guess I spoke too soon. I got a partial request for Postmortal today. "PADDLES, STAT!" *beep* *beep* *beep* We'll see if she pulls through.

There's the doorbell again. I wonder if handsmacking is allowed in Trick-or-Treating etiquette...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flatlined Again

So, I think I'm calling it: Postmortal has died. Which is ironic, considering its content. It's been several weeks since I sent out the last queries, and while I had requests for fulls and partials in the beginning, no one's asked for more in three months and I'm out of agents. My second MS has flatlined, and now joins Lesser Evils in the Abandoned Department.

I'm okay with that. Sure, it stings a bit, but I'll get over it. I've done it before. I've been working on a couple of other things, and maybe one of them will work out. I've definitely felt a severe dip in my gungho-ness, though. I enjoy what I'm working on, and that's all that matters. The love of writing will be there, even if the only people who ever read my work are my family and a few 'readers' I have that read my chapters as I go.

NaNoWriMo is something a lot of us are participating in soon. This will be my first time. I'm going to use it get my butt in gear to finish at least one of the ones I've started. I know this breaks the rules, but I'm not actually competing with anyone but myself. I'm the sort to slowly type up a chapter and edit as I go, with each paragraph and dialogue tag scrutinized before I move forward. I don't turn back until the entire thing is written, then read back through it to make sure the pacing is good and fix something here and there. Just sitting back and letting the words flow is going to be a whole new challenge for me.

So, who all is doing NaNo this year? Have you been outlining and making notes? Or do you just have an idea and are going to see how it goes?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So, I'm a Goober

Today I'm a goober writer for Goober Writer's Anonymous over at Emily's Playhouse.

Who am I kidding? I'm a goober writer every day. Sometimes just a plain ol' goober. I make mistakes. I doubt myself. I feel like an idiot for pursuing a dream instead of being content with 'the day job.' I have some days when I'm excited about what I'm working on, then some days when it feels futile. Time consuming. I have this fear that twenty years from now I'll still be unpublished, and I'll look back at my life and regret I wasn't living it as I could have been.

But that's the risk we're all taking together, isn't it?

I hope everyone has a fabulous Thursday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Immitating Others

I had a mild panic attack yesterday. I was talking to my thirteen-year-old about my MG I've started. I was explaining my main character and the world he discovers, and I was very excited (and a little proud) of how different it was than anything else I'd ever seen.

Up until she said, "Oh, that's just like *insert name of popular children's book*."

No, not Harry Potter. I'd never in a zillion years accidentally immitate Potterverse. I'm a well-versed Potterdork. But this series she compared mine to is also pretty popular. I knew it because I'd bought her each book as it came out. I've never read it. I've never even read the back to find out what it was about. I just knew she liked it. So, with her words I went from excited to incredibly depressed in 2.4 seconds.

She brought me the books for me to look over. I googled the series. Researched the characters, plot arc and motivations, and am relieved to say mine is still very different from that one. There *are* similarities, though. Unintentional ones. I know this is to do with the fact that *there are no new ideas.* Even that one is compared to another previous author's work.

So how, in this world of millions of books, can we possibly know *our* ideas are fresh and new? They probably aren't. Someone else has already written your book with different characters and motivation. And not necessarily in book form. I told my friend about one element and they said, "Oh, that's like a Dr. Who episode." Crap. I've read jacket copy of some books and said to myself, "That's a Buffy episode."

It sucks, but we have to soldier on and hope that our new take or twist is different enough to not be considered immitation hacks. I don't watch Dr. Who. I haven't read many of my daughter's books. There's the possibility (or inevitability) that if this book finds representation and is published, someone will think I've copied someone else. But none of us do that on purpose, do we? We don't *want* to be like others. We want to entertain with our newness, not disappoint with our similarity.

This might be a bad idea, but I hope an agent would help in this regard. If they are interested in the book, but think parts are too similar to something I've never heard of, they'd let me know so I can change it. Unless they discard mine from the get-go for being too similar. It's a frightening possibility.

Has this happened to any of you? Have you thought you had a new take or idea, only to discover it's been done?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just My Two Cents

There's been a lot of talk about the agent/potential client dynamic in regards to the query system. I think we can all agree the system is far from perfect. We, as writers and hopeful clients, feel great frustration when we receive form rejections or no response at all. Agents -trust me- feel that same frustration when they have to weed through a bunch of crazies to find something that is different enough to sell, but same enough to fit the market.

I would never want this job. Yes, most of them rave about how much they love their jobs, and I'm sure they do. It's just not for me. They are always working. If they are awake, they're working. If, gods forbid, the tweet about having dinner with a friend, some assume they are being 'too busy socializing' to read our queries. Personally, I think that's a scapegoat reaction: blaming someone else for our own shortcomings. Agents are humans, too. They have every right to eat, drink, catch some sleep, and mingle with other humans. One agent said she got over 1,200 queries in one month. If she spent only 2 minutes on each, that's about 45 hours of reading queries. That's more than a full week for most of us. And it's not even their job.

What really needs to be done, in my opinion, is for there to be a more streamlined approach to the whole thing. Agents have become the gatekeepers for the publishing houses that can no longer afford to pay people to read manuscripts. I'm old enough to remember when they did this. They would advertise "get paid to read books from home." Now the agent does it, and they do it for free.

Yes, there's their 15%. But let's take a look at that. The average debut author makes $5,000 - $10,000 on their first book. On the high end, that's $1,500. How many hours did the agent spend reading the book? Editing it? Reading it again? How many hours did it take them to draft their proposals? Pimp to editors? Work on the contract? Where do many of them live? New York. It's a pretty expensive place. That $1,500.00 is a pittance for the work they put in. In the meantime, they are reading our query letters for free, and if time permits, replying for free.

It's not their fault the system is what it is. Nor is it even the publishing houses. There's only so many slots and there's a whole bunch of us. We need to find a better way. Let's try to think of one.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Now For Something Completely Different...

I remembered something today that made me wonder why I'm pursuing publication: I wrote for fun. I wrote for the joy of making people laugh, making people worry, making people gasp in shock or squee with delight at something I made happen. My first attempts at writing fiction (in the last decade) started about five years ago. On an impulse to try something new, I began writing fanfic.

It was for my own amusement in the beginning. I was waiting for the next Harry Potter book to come out (Half Blood Prince) and had been directed to a fanfic website by I saw so many stories, and I wanted to see what I could come up with as well. It was great fun. I'd post a chapter, people would read it, they'd leave comments about their favorite parts or try to guess what was going to happen next. There was real interaction there, and I miss that.

I love to make people laugh. I would frantically write out long chapters in long hand during the day, then type them up and post them as fast as I could. Sometimes I wrote three chapters a week (which was about 20,000 words). I had such fire then, such a burning desire to entertain my readers and give them the next piece of the puzzle, the next clue, the next heartbreaking event.

I look back at that work now and I cringe. I've learned so much on my writing journey, I can hardly stand to look at the amateur gibberish I posted. But my readers loved it, weirdly. I miss them. I was led astray by their encouragement to write my own work, to try to get published.

And I realized today my attempt to be published has been selfishly motivated. It became about me and my desire to prove to myself I was 'worthy' or something. But I was happiest when I was writing my nutty stories and getting the joy of a reader's reaction immediately. I used to post a chapter then hover over my email for an hour, just waiting to see what the next comment would be.

Writing a novel isn't like that, is it? You work countless hours on a story and only friends, family, beta readers, alpha readers, or your critique group ever see it. If it's not worth publishing, it gets shelved. It seems like such a waste. You hold on to the hope that maybe someday, if everything goes right and works out, you might get an agent who will read it and maybe try to sub it as well as the work that interested them. Or they might tell you it's a lost cause and to move on to something new.

I don't know what I want, I guess. I would like to make money doing something I enjoy instead of something I hate. But more than that, I want to entertain people. It's what I do. I was never after fame and fortune. I'd be happy with a caricature of me on the back of my books, to be honest. I've seen authors say they dread book signings and being involved in publicity, but to me that'd be the most fun. I've been a vendor at fantasy and comic conventions and it's a hoot to interact with people.

I'm not giving up. Not by a long shot. But today I've been thinking long and hard about when I'm the happiest with my writing, and it's when I know immediately I've made other people smile or even laugh a little.

Not with this post, obviously. I'm sort of the Eeyore of blogging today.

What do you like most about writing? Think back to when you first started writing. What motivated you? What kept you going? What made it the most fun?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Answers

We want them. Who has them? As writers, we spend a lot of time on the internet, don’t we? We join forums, blog, tweet, and follow every link someone posts about articles written by ‘those in the know.’ We try to stay abreast of publishing, are wary of trends and following them, see what deals are (and are not) being made. We judge our work against others. We sometimes read a book and ask ourselves, “Why this book and not mine?”

We watch the e-book debates with furrowed brows. We read the agents’ posts about the unimaginable number of queries they get in a month, and sigh at the futility of it all. Who are we to think we’re special? That we are so much better than other writers out there? Are we kidding ourselves?

What do agents want? What do publishers want? What do they not want? What is too high a word count? Too low? What genres are selling? What aren’t? Who represents what, and who won’t touch YOUR genre with a ten foot pole? Why?

We have so many questions, don’t we? See? I asked two more. Sometimes it feels like our bitty brains are going to explode from all the questions rattling around like firecrackers in our heads. But take heart, my friends. I will tell you the biggest secret in the history of the universe (aside from the true role of cereal mascots). I know who knows the answers to all our questions.

You do.

Don’t believe me? That’s okay. Sit back and relax, grab something to drink, focus your thoughts into your biggest questions, and ask one of yourself. Instead of googling it, instead of scrolling through the thousands of blogs you’ve read, draw upon your memory for the answers. Not there? Try again. It might take time, but you already know the answers.

1. What do agents want? – Books they will fall in love with so they can sell them to the best of their ability. If you’re not in love with your own book, you know no one else will love it either. Would you recommend your book for others to read? Would you proudly proclaim ownership of your book with no apologies? If not, no agent will either. You know this. See? I’m not making this up.

2. Why this book and not mine? – Timing and patience. Your book was not done at the same time that one was. Your book was not submitted to that agent on that day when they had room on their list. Your book was not what that agent wanted. Your book was not ready. It needed more time. It needed more attention, more editing, more revising, more plot resolution. You know this. Publishing takes time and patience. There’s more answers to that question, and I promise you, you already know them.

3. Who are we to think we’re special? -- Rhetorical, you say? No, this is a valid question. And you already know the answer. Each book written is special. It takes us on a journey to new places where we meet new people, and maybe even discover new creatures or strange governments. Like snowflakes (or writer flakes if we’re truly honest), our books are special, as is our ability to tell our stories.

4. What do publishers want? – Books that will sell. It’s business, my friend. You know that. Simplicity at its finest.

5. Word counts, genres, prologues, POV, tense, omg, my head’s going to explode! – The answer to these are so easy it’s ridiculous. What is the right choice? Your way. As long as you’re good at what you do, as long as you’ve honed your craft and can tell a story, none of that matters. Don’t scoff. Don’t roll your eyes at me. It’s true. Go to a Best Sellers section at any bookstore. On those shelves you will see varying word counts, multiple genres, prologues (it’s TRUE!), all POV, varying tenses, and a multitude of ‘mistakes’ we worry about. Stop sweating it. All you need is number 2. No, not ‘number two,’ potty brain. Number 2, above: Time and patience. If you believe in yourself and your work, you WILL make it someday.

And you already knew that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Staying Positive

It's hard, isn't it? It feels like the cards are stacked against us. There are so many highs and lows, and sometimes it feels like there's a whole lot more lows than there is highs.

I was doing okay. I won Honorable Mention in S.E. Slinkhorn's Mash-Up Contest last week, which definitely put a smile on my face. I got an email that I was a finalist in the Women on Writing's contest, so that perked me up a bit, too. I've been getting positive feedback from readers of my latest two projects, and that helped me feel like I was on the right track - that maybe I don't totally suck when I write more than a page of crazy rant stuff (e.i. my shorts).

Then it happened. I got my last partial request back with a rejection. I wanted to stay positive. I know it's subjective. But as I pondered agents in querytracker tonight, I got a huge dose of the why-am-I-even-bothering blues. I had 7 total requests out of 40 queries, and still have 23 queries waiting for a response. I expect many of those to never have a response at all.

To be positive, I try to think of that as 11% positive response. There was *something there* which interested agents, I just lacked *something else* which kept their attention. I'm trying to not think it's my writing. None of the 7 had a word of feedback for me, so I have nothing to go on. Just my own insecurities whispering in my ear. I'm wondering how old I will be when I finally get published. I'm wondering what the publishing landscape will look like by then. I'm wondering why no one who loves me hasn't won the lottery and rescued me from my day job.

Okay, that one I wonder at least twice an hour M-F, so it doesn't count right now.

So tell me, how do you guys stay positive? Supportive friends? Certainty of superiority? Alcohol? Prescription medication?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mash-Up Contest

This is for Steph Slinkhorn's Mash-Up.

Hazard a guess at the genres.


I’ve been here for years, but the internet has yet to make me famous.

As easily as air, I could slip into anyone’s home. From my house to any house to any place of employment that has a connection, I can be found lingering, just a few keystrokes away.

Even better are the portable units tucked into people’s bags or slung over their shoulders. I might even get to sit in a pretty girl’s lap in the park once in a while, when the signal is good. Sadly, I have no memory of any of this because no one ever pushes the right buttons to bring me to where they are.

I’m starting to take it personally.

People come and go. It’s like they aren’t even real. There is a body on the other side, isn’t there? A being that breathes, has hopes and dreams. So why do you vanish for days at a time then come back with a new icon? Do you do this in real life? I think your boss would fire you if you took ten days off without notification then came back with a facelift.

If it is the anonymity that attracts us to cyberspace, then why do people try so hard to make friends? More importantly (because I’m a priority over any of you), why do all of mine disappear?

Impatiently, I wait for the people I know to appear as little yellow circles on my screen. Each day there are fewer and fewer.

She blocked me on her one account, but she doesn’t know I know the other. I see her sign off and on. I know her new schedule now. It’d be safest to go to her apartment between noon and prime-time, since I think her roommate moved out and it’ll be empty. I just… miss the smell of her. Is that a crime?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Rejectionist's Uncontest

So, is doing an uncontest. I was originally not going to participate, but I read other entries and some masochistic part of me said, 'WOW! I was WAY lamer than that. I need to share!'

Whatever respect you may have had for me will soon evaporate. I will pull pieces of entries that began when I was 13 years old and sentenced to a year in an all girls private Catholic School. That's how it felt anyway - a sentence. So, when you read words like 'campus' or 'campused' that means the school and being grounded by the school for less than stellar behavior.

I'm including the spelling mistakes and grammar scariness, mine and Margie's.


January 22, 1988
Met Ron. Me & Paula & Tina faught over him, but we let him choose & he chose me! I stopped seeing Nels. He's an asshole! & stopped seeing Dean. He's got a girlfriend that looks like Tiffany, the singer!

January 23
Met Ron again. I like him a lot. He's a virgin! (note added 05/19/88: Bull Shit!)

Feb 13
Got arrested for drinking underage & Genni arrested for drinking and driving underage. We were with Huey & Greg in his Daytona. Mom's pissed.
P.S. Ron gave me a red single rose! It's gorgeous & perfect, but I'm still campused from getting in car with Todd & Dean.

Feb 15

Feb 28

Inserted note from best friend Margie (who spelled my name wrong)on same page:
Christy - I seriously doubt you will ever read this again escepially since you never touch your diary but remember you are the weirdest person I have ever met & that I ever will! - me

March 8, 1988
*lots of scribbling*

April 11, 1988
Well, Sunday I met Eric. I met him on Easter. I met Benji on the 8th. I had fun. We made out alot. He lives in Denver. He's gonna take me to California, maybe. I love him.
I'm going to spare you guys the rest. Just take with you the knowledge there are far too many pages in my diary with a new boy name on them. I was the picture in the dictionary next to the term 'boy crazy.'

Do I seem any less lame if I admit to having many drawings of 'the bird' or rock band name lettering in boxes? Probably not. Most pages also contain far too many hearts and the words 'love' or 'kill myself.' 13 was rough, y'all. I ain't gonna lie.

Be thankful I've omitted the poetry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Passion - a short

So, it's been a while since I wrote a new one. The random spark flared last night and I polished it up today after work. It's exceedingly short (164 words) but to add any more would take away from it, I think. Or maybe I could write my fourth novel from this humble beginning? Just thinking out loud, as I'm wont to do. Anyhoodle, enjoy.

The Passion

It was the passion of the thing that moved me.

Those hushed voices, a murmur of disbelief in my ears. All else shrank from my reality like heavy clouds sucked into a silent vacuum, leaving only the blood which danced down his fingers and my entranced gaze.

Pressure built in a painful swell until I released it in a primal scream that threatened to pull my lungs out into the heavens with it. Fear was not the blanket into which I crawled. My cowardly feet twitched to move, but I remained. Grief blipped like a sonar screen in my mind, scanning the void for emotion. It found none; only irreconcilable awe.

I was enamored by the passion.

The crumpled body before me was an unfortunate side effect of a man’s emotions stripped bare. Rage and love, a two headed beast, swallowed the man whole in an instant, and the flash of steel carried away my mother.

I used to call the man my father.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time to SPEAK up

There's a lot of chatter on the internet today about Laurie Halse Anderson's book SPEAK and the suggestion it be considered a banned book for being 'soft porn.' There are numerous posts about this. Janet Reid’s got a few links on her post, and the author has some words about the suggestion in her post here: Laurie Halse Anderson

What I want to speak about is the post I read written by CJ Redwine.

Those who have followed my blog for a while might understand how important the topic is to me because I'm using honest to goodness links instead of just writing out an address in my usual lazy way. CJ's courage has given me a drop of my own.

Back in April, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I posted a couple works of fiction to help spread awareness.

And yet, there is truth in that fiction.

It's not an easy thing to talk about. It's certainly not the sort of small talk you have at a bar or a party. Most people who know me are aware of what I've been through. Why? Because I'm not ashamed. I don't blame myself for what happened. I was young, small, weak, and far too ignorant about the evils of this world when I had my experiences.

Yes. Experiences.

When I read CJ's blog post, it was like reading my own diary entry. I was molested by the son of a family minister for four years, beginning when I was five. When I say 'minister,' I don't mean your typical minister. This man had his own small 'flock' of which a family member was a part of, and I was taken to this man's home and left alone for hours with his son who -I assume- was trusted. The truth is, the whole lot of them were a weird bunch of people, and I was saved from a continuation of such 'attention' by my father's decision to move us as far away as possible from those lunatics as he could.

I tried to speak up once. I suspected what the son was doing to me was wrong. Unfortunately, another young girl in 'the flock' had accused her father of the same thing, and it was decided that I was 'just looking for attention.' I was punished for my sinful lies, and I never mentioned it again.

I 'wasn't right in the head' for years. I didn't know how to socialize with boys. I didn't know how to accept affection from my family or friends. When I was eleven I met my best friend. She was the sweetest person I have ever met, and I think about her every day, even though I have not seen her in twenty years.

We shared our secrets, and hers was far more sinister than mine. She actually made me feel lucky for what I'd been through. Her mother would give her as payment to men for drugs. Yes, that's no typo. From the time since before she could remember, her mother would let grown men sexually assault her own daughter in exchange for cocaine, crack, meth, or whatever they had.

We lived in a small town in Colorado with no more than 5,000 souls. A beautiful tourist trap town predominantly German and Italian in descent. This was not a high crime inner city or 'the scary part of town,' and yet the very same evil lurked in the shadows of majestic mountains and slithered along fresh streams. Her family was not poor. Her mother just didn't want her father to know she was doing drugs so offered my friend's tiny body in lieu of payment. It was proof, for me, that evil really was everywhere. I had not escaped it when my father had moved us so far away from the scary nutjobs.

I won't go into any details of what my four years in the private company of a young man was like, but I will say that I somehow escaped with my virginity in tact. A small mercy, especially compared to what my friend suffered. I managed to cling to my virginity until I was thirteen. One month and twelve days after my thirteenth birthday, to be exact. I remember it every year. It's a pretty hard thing to forget. I had been out with my friends, and a 'friend of a friend' offered to drive me home. Instead, he drove me out into the country where no one could hear me scream as he... well, you can guess the rest.

I was afraid to tell anyone, especially my parents. I thought I deserved it for being so stupid. I thought no one would believe me because he was so popular and widely loved in our community. As time passed, it festered in me. I let myself believe I was destined to know nothing but suffering. I had more abusive relationships than I care to go into.

I found my strength again about a decade ago. Sometimes it all seems so far away, and I know that dwelling on the past serves no purpose. But learning from it - yes. I'm open with my daughters about my experiences. I'm probably even a little annoying at my frequent reminders of how they can tell me anything. They need to know what dangers there are in the world, and they need to know they can talk about them.

They need books like SPEAK. Every girl and boy does. Please click on the links at the beginning of my post. We cannot sit idly by while some ignorant (and frankly a bit demented) man calls rape 'mild porn' and lose a chance to maybe save some poor child's life. They need to know they are not alone. Even if they don't have the strength or courage to speak about it, they need to know they are not to blame, and they can find their strength again.

I am a sexual assault survivor, and I am not ashamed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Procrastination is my BFF

In fact, if there were a land called Procrastinationia, I'd totally be the queen of that place. Instead of ordering executions and demanding tax increases, It'd be decreed that scheduling events would be punishable by death or giving me a pedicure, criminal's choice.

The truth is, I need a deadline. When left to my own devices, it can take me ages to get around to something I need to do. Those of you who won critique from my contest know this is true. I'm also terribly forgetful. If I've slept since I agreed to something, I need to be reminded. Sleep erases my short term memory, therefore the premise of 50 First Dates was totally believable to me.

If anyone was expecting a point to this post, I don't have one. I was just sharing some random thoughts. I wrote a blog post a couple days ago, but blogger ate it and I got mad, cursed at it, then walked away. Now I forgot what I blogged about, so you get this randomness instead. Clearly, it wasn't earth shattering information or worth remembering, so you're probably better off.

Speaking of earth shattering, do you ever feel pressure to hurry up and get published before the world ends in 2012? I mostly don't believe it, but part of my psyche has latched onto it and knows the world with blow up one day BEFORE my release date. Let me apologize in advance to mankind for making the world end. I'm sure I have the power to control the cosmos. It's in that other 90% of my brain that I don't use often.

So, update on MSS?

Lesser Evils - pretty much abandoned at this point. I'll revisit it if I ever get an agent.

Postmortal - 26 rejections, 23 awaiting response, and at least 5 of those are going to be no response = no. 16 of those were sent in recent history, so I haven't given up on them yet.
Partial requests: 5, rejected: 4.
Full MS requested: 2, rejected: 1.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cyber Hugs All Around! (maybe the pink is effecting my brain)

Yes, I know. My blog is very post modern Valentine. I cannot find a layout I'm happy with. I need something more 'me.' I'm a fantasy/sci-fi girl. You'll definitely see some changes when I have the time to mess with it again.

Most of you share the common bond with me of being writers. We are all blogging and on forums, doing all we can in order to learn more about the craft and the industry of publishing. We share our joys and our woes. We ride the rollercoaster of good news/bad news from the industry professionals, and we wonder if we'll ever get our chance to ride the rails.

But we are all different. What separates us? Genre. Because of this, we have different agents we query, and different blogs and sites we frequent. Some of us are members of RWA or SFWA while others are members of CWA, MWA, ITW, or one of the YA Lit groups. Due to this, cliques are possible. People tend to gravitate towards other people with common interests.

What I love about the writing community, however, is that we don't do this. Sure, we know what our friends are up to, and that their preferences aren't like ours. But at the same time we recognize we are all in this shaky boat together, and we are there to help each other succeed in any way we can.

We don't break down to competitiveness or pettiness. We are competing against each other for a coveted slot with an agent, but instead of tripping each other or putting gum in their hair, we cheer each other on. We're so past high school crap, and that rocks.

I love us. Seriously, I'm so proud. It almost puts a dent in my eternal cynicism. Almost.

So, what groups are you all in? Where do you spend most of your time online?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hiatus Complete!

Miss me at all? Surely not. You have all been fiendishly typing away on your manuscripts, right? I'm SO RIDICULOUSLY BEHIND, and I hang my head in shame. Quick updates all around, then I'll entertain you with a story.

I still have one partial and one full MS out. I stopped querying a few weeks ago for the most part because I have a couple of opportunities in the works and I want to see how those pan out first. I hope to give an update on my super sekrit stuff soon.

Those of you waiting on me for feedback... I'M SORRY. My kids were my priority the last few weeks and all my time went to them. I swear I'm using the next several days to get caught up on things I'm doing for you. I'm off work until Tuesday due to a death in the family.

Now for story time. I used to post little stories all the time, and I've been slacking on that pretty seriously the last couple of months. I'm reposting one of my favorite moments in my life that I originally posted back in February before most of you found my page.

For the record, I'm doing much better now, but the first couple of months of this year were very, very difficult. I'm not trying to rehash my obstacles. I just wanted to share again how awesome my kids are, and why this was originally aptly named:

Why I'd Kill For My Kids -original post February 17th 2010

As some of you know, I've had surgery recently. Two of them, in fact, back to back. One in November, and then (due to complications) a second, more awful one. I've been off from work since November 10th. I went three weeks without any pay until my disability started paying 80% of my wages. Christmas for me and my girls sucked. I won't go into my financial difficulties, but rest assured: they suck. Like... can't afford Chex Mix suck (my lifeblood).

My girls have taken it in stride, although the odd complaint now and again makes me feel like a failure as a mother. I am still home from work, and though I've used this time to try to find an agent and feel productive, I still feel like a failure. My youngest is turning 13 in two weeks, and I can't afford to throw her a nice birthday to commemorate her entrance into the awesomeness it is to be a woman.

Said child did something amazing this morning. I was still in bed (as I don't get around too good most days) and I heard her as she sang to herself while making a bowl of cereal, then dragged the trash can to the curb (a day late. She thought it was Tuesday), then heard her outside with her friends while they waited for the bus. A few minutes later she came running back into the house, then left again, then came back inside.

I called to her to ask what she was doing. She came into my room and said, "Ashley was selling band candy. I went and got my last two dollars so I could get you some. I put it on your desk."

I argued she needed that money for lunch money, and I didn't need any chocolate.

She said, "School lunch is $2.75. We don't have that. I made a sandwich. Chocolate makes you feel better, anyway." Then she ran back outside before I could reply, hollering through the (very thin walls) that she loved me.

And I love her, too. I love her so damned much.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday updates

I don't have any of my own news still. I've two partials out and a full MS of my second book, POSTMORTAL, and to be honest I've not been sending out query letters for the most part the last couple of weeks. I'm enjoying the time with my daughters before the summer ends.

My first MS has gotten some surprise interest. I hope to update you guys with some news about that in the next few weeks. I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, yeah?

In a way quite pimpish, I'm going to share some news I just gave myself this morning due to my googling. Remember this cover I showed you last Saturday?

The book is now number 8 in Poland. My little brother is so famous! I'm so proud of him. Another thing I discovered since my last post is that he has many other cover art projects he has done, and one of his more recent works is this:

Can you believe it?!? Sherrilyn Kenyon! Since I'm going to assume most of you don't speak Polish, that's the cover of Night Pleasures from the Dark Hunter Series. He's working with someone to do the series' covers. I'm so giddy with pride.

Well, I'm off to work since that winning lottery ticket remains elusive. I hope you all have a rockin' weekend, and I should be back to my post-y self in a week or so. Miss you guys!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Exciting News

Not my own news just yet, but exciting for my adopted little brother in Poland. He and I have been great friends for years. He spent last summer with me here in Texas and he's coming again next April.

Since we became friends, I've finished two books and he's been signed on as a cover artist for two publishers in Poland. I was browsing Polish book store websites this morning and found out that this book he is on the cover of:

is number 25 on the Best Seller's list in Poland. Isn't it pretty? He's such a good artist. He did the covers for the Melissa De La Cruz Blue Bloods series. These are his other covers:

To see his other amazing art, this is his webpage: Wojtek's Awesomeness

I don't have any news of my own just yet. I'm still spending time with my daughter while she's in town. We're off to my parents' house today. I have two partials and one full MS out with agents right now. Keep your fingers crossed. I hope everyone's doing good. Sorry for the absence, but I'll be back regularly in a week or two.

Miss you guys!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm On American Idol!

You may have noticed, dearest blogging friends, that I have been somewhat absent of late, so I guess I need to make some sort of announcement regarding this. I'm not going on hiatus. I'm going on half-ass, which is a little different. My daughter is visiting from out of town for a few weeks so I will be online a lot less. I'll still pop in and take a looksee when I get a moment, but mostly I'll be in the living room watching Buffy or Angel episodes on DVD which is... what we do when we're together. I know it's not incredibly exciting, but I'm fairly poor and can't afford to eat out and hang out in theaters a lot.

During our drive back home to Texas from Colorado over the weekend, I had an epiphany of sorts. I've compared querying to fishing in a tiny boat in Lake Erie with 1,000 fish in the lake and thousands of other fishermen (fisherpersons?), and that felt pretty accurate, but now I've struck on a new, more accurate metaphor.

We're all on American Idol.

When we are at the query stage, we are that hopeful pre-fame starlet who is standing in line with a thousand other hopefuls, waiting for our chance to stand in front of three judges (agents) in the biz and have them tell us we're the most awesome thing they've seen all day. We all think we can sing (write) and we all think we have something fresh and new to offer.

We get our turn, and all eyes are focused on us. We might be a little out of tune, or possibly our dance moves look a bit like a puppet on puppet crack, but when we're done, we stand there, hopeful to have made at least one judge interested. There's plenty of Simons, aren't there? The ones who think we'll never make it. Then there's the others who see potential, but nothing they haven't seen before. Most of us leave the stage in tears or anger.

A precious few get to hear those precious words, "You're going to *insert name of city*!" and in the writing world those words are, "I'd love to see more. Send me X amount of pages."

Then the nail biting really starts. Will my performance be as good as/better/more marketable than the others? We wait in agony while our performance is in review, something we poured our heart and soul into. Only a handful of us, however, move on to the finals. In the writing world that is, "Please send me the full MS."

More agony ensues. We doubt ourselves. We dare to hope. We wait, we check our emails, we look around at our fellow hopefuls and wonder if the judges secretly like them better.

Then more heartbreak. They can't take us all. In the mighty words of Sean Connery, "There can be only one."

What stage in American Idol are you guys? I'm in the agonizing wait mode. I've four partials and one full MS out in the void right now, being judged. I'm hoping none of them are Simons in disguise. I sent my query feeling relatively confident, but now after weeks of waiting, I feel the doubt creeping in. It's no surprise. Like most writers, I'm my own worst critic.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Write Like...

So, I have a habit of compulsively doing something that sparks my interest. The last two days (aside from playing Text Twist on MSN until I forget how to spell the simplest words) I have been playing around in this thing. You guys should all try it. It's both heartening and soul crushing. It's called 'I Write Like' and it analyzes your writing style:

The results are in, and it turns out my little badge on the right is greatly misleading. I'm going to have to take it down and replace it with something else, but at the moment I'm undecided.

I entered every chapter of Lesser Evils individually into the analyzer (putting the whole MS into it crashed my internet. Don't do this. Learn from an idiot) and each chapter pulled a different result. I then did the same thing with Postmortal. Out of a combined 44 chapters it reviewed, only one pulled a female writer. So, I'm thinking of changing my badge to this:

Between both books, there are clear differences in my writing style. Lesser Evils favors a couple of authors the most while Postmortal leans greatly towards one different author.

Lesser Evils: 46% Dan Brown, 30% James Joyce, 6% H P Lovecraft, and 3% each Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, Mario Puzo, J K Rowling, and (wtf?) Edgar Allan Poe.

Postmortal: 65% Stephen King, and 7% (a chapter a piece) Douglas Adams, H P Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, and Vladimir Nabokov.

So, in other words:

I won't do a chapter by chapter breakdown of Lesser Evils since it's boring, but I will share the breakdown of Postmortal because I find it very interesting.

Chapter 1: Kurt Vonnegut
Chapter 2: Douglas Adams
Chapter 3: Vladimir Nabokov
Chapter 4: Stephen King
Chapter 5: Stephen King
Chapter 6: Stephen King
Chapter 7: Isaac Asimov
Chapter 8: Stephen King
Chapter 9: H P Lovecraft
Chapter 10: Stephen King
Chapter 11: Stephen King
Chapter 12: Stephen King
Chapter 13: Stephen King
Chapter 14: Stephen King

It suggests that I tried a variety of influences before settling on a Stephen King style. I find this interesting as I've only ever FINISHED one Stephen King book. He's not really my cup of tea. I don't do scary. The one I read all the way through was Eyes of the Dragon. I put down Cujo and The Talisman. Cujo scared the crap out of me, and The Talisman just confused me. Then again, I was 12. Maybe I should try him again...

As for my little shorts I have posted in the side bar ------>
The results are this:

BOOM - Chuck Palahnuik
The End of the World - Margaret Atwood
A Typical Morning - Stephen King
You Are - Stephen King
Bitter Hands - Stephen King
We Are - Arthur Conan Doyle
I Am - Oscar Wilde
Peeping Tom - Chuck Palahniuk
Solo Pillow Talk - Dan Brown
Language is a Playground - Margaret Atwood
Eight True Things - Chuck Palahniuk

I've... uh... never heard of Chuck Palahnuik, but three of my pieces are similar to his style. Two are like Margaret Atwood, so maybe my 'inner penis' is smaller than I thought.

So, now you guys try. I'd love to hear the results.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

*AHEM* Tammy Narayan, Lynn Simpson, Nicole Ducleroir, Roland Yeomans, and Justine Dell, you there?

Okay, so I have an obnoxious streak. You people owe me addresses, stuff to eviscerate beta, and how you want your cold, hard cash redeemed. One of you has already done this, but I'm not singling anyone out. :-) Also, all contestants are welcome to send me a query letter or first chapter to take a looksee at, don't forget.

In other news... I don't have any. I have two partials and one full being reviewed by agents. I'm hoping for good news, of course.

In matters not related to writing, I'm flying to Colorado on Saturday. I'll be gone for the weekend. I haven't flown in years and am a little nervous. Do you remember that song by Alanis Morrisette called, "Ironic" about things that happen too late? I have a new, irrational fear I will find representation on Friday then my plane will fall out of the sky in a horrible, fiery ball of doom on Saturday. Or I'll get an offer via email at the same time my charred remains are being spatula'd up from a cornfield.

I bet you had no idea I was cynical, right? *insert sardonic smile*

So, you may have noticed the little 'Vonnegut' thing to the right. There's a site (in the title) where you paste a chapter of your MS and it analyzes your writing. I was quite chuffed to be compared to Vonnegut... until I systematically inserted individual blog posts and was compared to Dan Brown, J.D. Sallinger, Stephen King, Nabakov, then Stephen King again, then Dan Brown again. So, apparently I've a host of men living in my brain or I've got a previously undiagnosed personality disorder.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Day Job

I have mentioned on occasion a sad truth: I don't like my day job. Most people don't. I knew that going into the workforce. I've had a wide variety of jobs over the two decades I've been earning a paycheck. Motel cleaning, security guard, waitress... all of which weren't that bad, but I longed for a 'real job.' One that was a 'career.'

Sometimes I miss being a security guard. I didn't do much. I patrolled a 19 story building in downtown Denver, but mostly I did a lot of reading. There's no time for that at my current job. It would take pages to explain what I do, and if I said my job position, you would make assumptions about how easy it is thanks to media misreprenstation.

My company constantly tries to retitle my job to make it seem more... something. I don't know what the hell they're doing, actually. Every title does nothing to explain my job. In fact, it makes me think of things totally different than the title suggests.

The last three:

AGENT. That makes me feel like a spy. I feel like I should be combing over secret documents in search of damning evidence which will lead to the coup of a dictator. Or at least give away top secret technological advances which will be the turning point in the Great Vegetable War of 2015 (if we survive Armageddon 2012, that is).

REPRESENTATIVE. Seriously? Me? I can barely represent myself, much less be someone a major corporation wants speaking on their behalf. I'm not sure they thought this one through. I'm not saying they're stupid yes I am, but considering me a representative of... just about anything would be -at best- ill-advised. Unless we're talking about chocolate. That I'd rep on the barter system in a heartbeat.

ADVOCATE. This one is the most strange to me. I feel like I'm supposed to have a hand-made sign and be singing a catchy protest jingle in front of the White House. Or maybe even be a lobbyist in D.C. Or out saving puppies. Or seals. Or sea kittens. (seriously, GOOGLE the last one)

What about you guys? What do you do for a living? Are you like me and dream of making enough money to quit said 'day job' and maybe go back to full-time easy, low paying job with authorly royalties to supplement the difference?

You know what we need? A writing commune. A big farmhouse in the middle of nowhere (that has internet, of course) and we can all have low paying jobs that support ONE mortgage/utilities/food bills. Who's with me? We'd play Scrabble, of course, because we're all wordsmiths, and have our own rooms where no one cares if we showered this week because they can't smell us through closed doors... um... too much? Oh, look! A chicken!

Anyway, I think it'd be grand.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Drum Roll Please and Maybe a Bit of Saxaphone for a Jazzy Touch

This was seriously agonizing, you guys. I've spent all day reading and re-reading (and procrastinating by napping to escape the awful truth of needing to make a decision) your entries. Although they were all so awesome, I did have to narrow it down to five because I'd made RULES. Gah, I hate rules.

Those that I chose were based on my own personal preference, and are in no way reflective of lack of skill in those not chosen. Wow, I totally sound like an agent in a rejection letter with that line. And, for the record, I totally get why they say that. Choosing is HARD. Thank God for the bribes sent my way or I'd never have figured it out. *joke*

So, without further ado, here they are:

1st Place to Tammy Narayan for her short story about a woman, her smelly infant, and their strange disappearance.

2nd Place to Lynn Simpson for her short 'The Kidnapping" about a nutty woman and her fondness for cats and violence.

3rd Place to Nicole Ducleroir for her short "Arms Wide Open" about an abusive jerk and his blind wife.

4th Place to Roland Yeomans for "The Bear With 2 Shadows" which is about Hibbs and the Turquoise Woman and her teaching him about his path.

Honorable Mention to Justine Dell for "The Hunt" which totally reminded me of Indiana Jones, only far more gullible. I really want to know what happens next!

Okay, guys. If you followed the rules, you are followers so I shouldn't NEED to notify you, right? RIGHT? Of course. Now, e-mail me with your names and your preferences for gift card/internet coupon/whathaveyou. Congrats to you all.

Don't forget ALL CONTESTANTS, I offered to critique a query letter or first chapter of your WIPs, so send those along for me to take a looky-loo. Please send them in the body of the email and not as a file. It's a lot easier for me to edit that way and I'll get it done faster.

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's Friday Again. Funny How That Happens Every Seven Days

So, 36 years ago I was born in a hospital in Arlington, Texas. To all you youngins out there, birthdays become a lot less fantastic as you get older. I've said for a while now that I don't even think a birthday is giving credit in the right place. I pretty much had nothing to with being born. Today I even feel the urge to send my parents a thank you card. "Thanks for having sex, guys. 'Preciate ya!"

If nothing else, at least in my case, my birthday has become an anniversary of another kind. For a long while it has been more of a "Yay, I made it this many years and managed to not die in a horrible, fiery crash or succumb to illness!" The latter is especially true after the last year I've had (the former I feel most often when being a passenger in the car while child/friend/relative drives. Seriously bad drivers).

Plus, the older you get, the less your employer cares. I have to go to work today instead of sit around and think thankful thoughts of my dad's potent sperm and my mom's obliging egg. Do you ever consider what if YOUR egg had been ovulated out and some other egg got the brass ring instead? Okay, maybe it's just me.

On a different note, my new MS has had some interest. A couple of agents have asked to read it. I'm too nervous to be excited. They might pass on it, but at least it is catching people's eyes.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Zombie Cupcakes and Awards

So, I was dragged kicking and screaming invited to participate in an experiment over the weekend. The outcome is on Mia Hayson's (also My Literary Jam and Toast) new blog Will Blog 4Brainz. The link is here:

Pity me.

I've also received a couple of awards recently, so decided to stop hoarding and go ahead and spread the love post them.

The Versatile Blogger Award

The first is The Versatile Blogger given by:

Lisa Green at Paranormal Point of View
Kelly Dexter at Nerdsville Rhapsody

The rules are thus:

There are steps required for the Versatile Blogger Award:

1) Thank and link back to giver.

Thanks, guys!

2) List seven things about myself:

1) I'm a lot more boring than I seem.
2) My first car was a VW Bug.
3) I hate socks.
4) I cut my own hair.
5) I have less organs than I was born with.
6) Black is my favorite absence of color.
7) I breathe. Most days.

3) Pass the award on to 15 other bloggers you've discovered and think are fantastic.

Seriously? 15 people, pages, links? The next award wants the same thing, so I'm combining instead of posting 30 people's names.

4) Let the bloggers know about their award.

The other award is the Lovely Blog Award

Given by Tessa Conte at Tessa's Blurb

Rules are thus:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Okay, fifteen people:

I seriously just spent half an hour trying to find someone I know that doesn't already have these. I had a list only three people long before I deleted and wrote this lame paragraph instead. I get points for trying, dangit. Short attention span, guys. Seriously short... what was I saying? Oh, right. Zombies. They're at Mia's new place. Funny ones.

***And another lame reminder of my 106 Followers Contest which ends this Sunday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

When Inspiration Strikes

I'm going to share something with you that may or may not come as a big surprise to those who know my cat is named Snape. I started writing five years ago, and my inspiration was someone whose name I'll never know. Let me explain.

I was hopping around the internet as I was wont to do with my evenings after work and I had the notion 'Hm. I wonder when book six is due out...' So, like any good fan of Potterverse, I hopped over to to find out. I browsed around some articles, and in the side bar was the line 'a great fan fiction story you should check out.' So, I did.

They weren't lying. It was pretty good. Not great, nothing to make me email everyone I knew, but pretty good.

But it wasn't done. At the site, they updated a chapter at a time and hadn't updated in over a year. This was disappointing. I wanted to know how it ended. Then, I swear, I have NO idea where this randomness came from, but I said to myself 'well, I guess I'll write one and give it my own ending.'

Up until that point, I was a poet. A bad one. I had written little things since I was a wee lass, but never tried to do anything more than five pages long. But something CLICKED in my head. I can't explain it. I started my story and wrote 52,000 words in six weeks. I didn't know how fan fiction websites worked at the time, so I posted the whole dang thing at once. Seven people read it.

At the time, I was all 'wooHOO!!! Seven people read my story and loved it!!!' *Cloud nine euphoria.*

I started a new one, and posted a chapter at a time this time. It became a beast. It was this epic tale of woe and heartbreak that capped at 250,000 before I said to myself, 'self, it's time you tried to write your OWN characters, don't you think?' I probably wouldn't have had the thought if not for my reviewers constantly saying 'why are you writing fanfic? you need to be writing stuff that you can sell.' I was all 'sell? no one would PAY for this tripe.'

Then I decided, 'hey, wth, why not?' So I started the story that became Lesser Evils.

I'm explaining this because I had a rather shocking moment yesterday morning. I saw an author had gotten a bookdeal on her three-part series, and the story line was remarkably similar to my fanfic. At first, I was pissed. I'll admit it. I won't say anything that will give away any of the plot or ANYTHING, because the truth is: it might be coincidence. People say there are no NEW ideas, just rehashes of old ideas, but that's not entirely true. Sometimes there ARE new ideas and when we read them or see them in a movie, it blows our mind. Remember the first time you saw The Sixth Sense?

Not that I'm saying my work is on the same calibre of that, but that's my point. My idea was a little out there, like me. So my first reaction was 'OMG, you hack! You totally stole my idea!!' But I calmed down pretty quick.

The truth is, even if they did read my story and drew inspiration from it, that's actually a good thing. It meant I inspired someone to write, just as someone else had inspired me once upon a time. Even if this person goes on to be a bazillionaire with their trilogy, that's cool. I would not be where I am today if not for the fanfic I posted. I would still be watching television every night or... yeah, I don't know what else I used to do before I wrote. I don't regret posting my work online. I needed the feedback and encouragement and I got it from other writers.

Which is why I'm not afraid to post my little shorts I share with you. Maybe they'll inspire you, maybe they'll just make you laugh. Either way, I did a good job, and that's all I ever wanted. I want to do a good job. Only, yanno, not where I work. I hate that place. :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beauty is in the eye of the guy with the glasses or something like that...

Do you like it? I call it "I Wish I Was Beautiful"

I made it a while back. Every once in a while when the writing doesn't happen, I create stuff in my artsy program. This is my favorite one, and I think it's because it is the most personal to me. On the surface, yes... I wish I was beautiful. But it's more than that. This butterfly is beautiful in his (yeah, it's a him) own way, but he's so wrapped up in being like the others, he fails to see his own worth.

Don't we do that as writers? We see other people's writing and think, 'whoa, I suck compared to that.' Come on. Don't lie. You know you do it.

Well, I'm here to say: KNOCK IT OFF.

We're all gifted. No, that's not the 'everyone is special in their own way' falsity that parents tell their kids when they suck at sports. I mean that we, as writers, are gifted. We're also nuts, but I digress. We write, and that alone sets us apart from those who don't. We each have a different level of skill, but also a different level of imagination. The only thing that will EVER limit us is ourselves. Write that masterpiece. It's in you. All you have to do is type a lot, edit a bunch, fill in the plot holes, rewrite a scene or two, add a character, change the ending, and kill those adverbs and TADA!!! Success. Now get back to work and stop your bitching. You're beautiful.

And don't forget my contest! Deadline is July 4th (this year, for you procrastinators out there who need clarification).

Friday, June 18, 2010

'Tis Friday

I don't have a lot to say lately, as some may have noticed. I'm working on my WIP a lot, and my life is pretty monotonous otherwise. I get up, read blogs, go to work, come home, read blogs, write if I can, then go to bed early. There's rarely any variation to this.

While my mind is on my story, I'm very focused and often tune out all other things. I'm obsessive compulsive so will do one thing until I absolutely HATE it, then find something new to obsess over. This is greatly affected by my short attention span.

So, the only thing I can share regarding writing today is a short little thing that popped into my head. It's a writer's re-write to the opening of Poe's The Raven. Enjoy.

Once upon a midnight query, I did edit 'week' and 'dearie'
Over many a bland sentence until my eyes were sore.
While I plodded, nearly slapping, my forehead for the plot gapping,
As someone twittered they'd be napping, napping at ten 'til four
''Tis unheard if,' I muttered, 'napping at ten 'til four -
The butt in chair, 'tis what writing's for.'

Ridiculously short, yes? Blame my attention span.

It's Friday, so on Twitter I see #FollowFriday for pointing out good followers. On Wednesday they do #WriterWednesday for fellow writers. I'm tempted to do #MoronMonday, but I do not know certain coworker's Twitter names.

Everyone have a great weekend!

PS My contest is still open until July 4th. I hope to get some more entries, of course :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Awards Time!

I've received a couple of awards and I'd like to pass them out today. The first one was from John Paul over at Where Sky Meets Ground. It is the Journey Support Award.

It's hard for me to single out specific people for awards because you've all been so fantastic with your comments and support. You help me continue writing, even when I feel like giving up some days, or at least give up sharing my work with others. Without each and every one of you who visit and communicate something back to me, I would feel as though I was making this journey alone.

The second award comes from Anne at Piedmont Writer. This one comes with the following rules:

1) You can only bestow this honor on one fellow writer at a time.

2) You can only pass it on to someone who has shown signs of recent struggle.

3) You do not have to have received it to pass it on.

4) When you pass it on, you must provide a word or two of encouragement to the receiver.

5) As awesome as this award is, you can't write a post with the intention or hope of getting this award. I mean, we struggle, yes, but we aren't needy.

6) When you receive this award, you have to state one positive thing about your writing ability. After all, the best kind of encouragement is the kind that comes from within ourselves.

My recipient is Roland D. Yeomans at Writing in the Crosshairs

For those of you who follow my blog, you may realize how important both these awards are to me just by the mere fact I'm using HTML LINK CODING ZOMG ME HATES IT.

To appease rule 4 (and because I want to say it): To Roland,

Chin up, chest out. The heart is just as worthy an organ to think with as the brain.

To appease rule 6: I'm not half bad at dialogue.


Now, regarding my 106 Followers Contest

I've not had as many entries as I would have liked, which is understandable considering the summer season and possibly short notice. I see on other blogs where more time is given than what I gave, so I thought I might extend it until July 4th. I greatly appreciate my new followers, and welcome aboard! It's great to have you here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A few things...

First and foremost, I want to speak of how sometimes life just sucks. Last night, Alyssa Smith's house burned down and she has nothing. She's an editor for Sterling Books. A website has been started in which donations are accepted to assist. We did it for Nashville. We can do it for someone in the biz, too. I suck at linkage, so here it is:

In fact, I'd be awesome if they did another auction of agents' assistance. I'm sure thousands would be raised.

Secondly, and on a lighter note, I gave forced my daughter my first 10 chapters of my WIP for her input on the YA-ness of it. She left me a note on my desk that I got when I got home from work. It reads:

Started Around: 7:50 - 8:07

Finished: 1:01 pm

...I loves it...

LOL! In your face!!

That's exactly what it said. It made me giggle, so I thought I'd share.

Also, don't forget about my contest, folks!

The link is thus:

Everyone have a great Wednesday!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Digging out the oldies...

Happy Saturday, folks. I've managed about 1,000 words of my WIP, which is way under my goal, but the day's not over yet so maybe I'll get to my goal before the day is out.

During one of many episodes of procrastination, I found a scene I'd written well over a year ago. It's funny how far my writing has come in just one year. So, bearing my amateurocity (new word), I've attached it to the end of this post. You will find adverbs galore, I promise. It's also much longer than what I usually post, so no worries if it daunts.

I hope everyone's having a good weekend. Here in Texas it is HOT, and if not for A/C I'd be curled up in a ball somewhere weeping. I hate heat. I lived in Colorado too many years, for one. I used to have an old Ford with no A/C and that was just miserable down here. The heat distracts me when I'm writing. I don't have good airflow so I periodically go to the cooler side of the house. I should just move my computer there.

Another reminder about my contest. No pressure, of course, but the more the merrier.


Though he probably ran this colloquialism into the ground the last few months, Gus couldn’t help but thoroughly feel his life now really sucked. Not just a little, not ‘we need to cut corners’ sucked, not ‘you’re grounded’ sucked, not even ‘we’re moving’ sucked. No, this was a pure and overwhelming sort of suck that left a person in need of a bigger but no less accurate word to define it. As such, this whole new level easily qualified as Sucktacular.

Maybe it would have been better had his family been the sort to be able to vocalize their pain when Mom had left them forever, but his family just didn’t work that way. Dad was… well. Sarah was just too little to really understand or comprehend what they had lost. Mary was no longer a conversation partner at all, and Jesse spent far too much time holed up in his room now that they were back from school. He rather suspected his brother had been in Sarah’s bed far more than his own at night, however, which was good for him, maybe, but it still left Gus with no one to help him release the anguish which seemed to be building by the day, by the hour.

He and his eldest brother, Jake… just didn’t work that way. Besides, Jake was busy trying to be their pseudo parent and past history told Gus a Jake with a frayed thread was not a Jake he should strike up a heart-to-heart talk with. Or any sort of conversation, really. In fact, he avoided him as much as possible just to keep the eerily quiet house from erupting in cross words or the echo of slammed doors that would distress the others. Gus did try to be considerate, after all. Sometimes.

This summer was especially stifling, or maybe it just felt that way. His last term at school had been unusually difficult after they had buried Mom. Gus no longer had Jake there as his ‘just in case’ touchstone, Mary had not returned to finish the year, Jesse was withdrawn and had done poorly in his classes, and somehow football just didn’t mean a damn thing to him anymore and he had surrendered his position. In fact, Gus lost interest in just about everything, and he had been in the principal’s office more times that term than the total of the previous three years due to the alternative ways he had found to pass the time. He was no longer the same boy he had been. He didn’t care for fun, didn’t search out entertainment. If nothing else, he was impulsive, more so now than ever. His decisions were quick and rarely thought through to the end.

Decisions like this one. Really, Gus didn’t see the harm. He had been swimming these waters the whole of his life and it was one of the few things he engaged in that never resulted in an injury. In fact, as far as pastimes went, this one was pretty tame. Without a word to anyone he wandered out to the beach, eager to cool his body and maybe just relax his mind a bit in the salty waves. It wasn’t long, however, before swimming alone got downright boring. With a quick glance to the cliffs it took only half a moment to consider diving off the cliffs might be a spot of fun in an otherwise dismal existence.

He swam to shore and strode up the beach, then climbed up to the top of the cliff, then stood there dripping and looking out over the edge. Well… as long as he aimed it right, he would easily avoid the rocks, he supposed. True, Gus’d never swam beneath the cliffs before, but if it got too much, he’d just swim back to the beach, no worries.

Mindful not to take his deep breath until he actually neared the water, Gus merely jumped, angling himself to where he would effortlessly avoid the rocks, a small smile gracing his face in satisfaction as he inhaled deeply before plunging beneath the water’s surface.

Glancing up towards the sunlight as his velocity slowed, he was trying to determine just how deep he had gone when he came to an abrupt and very painful stop. His attention swiftly dropped to his chest, then his eyes went wide with horror as he realized he had gotten himself rather impaled on a small (and decidedly sharp) crag of coral.

Planting both hands on the reef, Gus tried to pull himself off of it, but what he got for his trouble was the end of it snapping off, having lodged at an angle and apparently snagged inside him behind his rib.


Yeah, that about summed it up.

Breaking the surface with a gasp, Gus rolled onto his back and futilely pressed his skin to the branch of calcium protruding out of his… lung. Godsdammit, yes, his fucking lung. That would explain the difficulty in breathing.

Suddenly thrown down by a powerful wave, Gus found himself doing an underwater summersault before scrambling for the surface again, horrified to discover he was further from shore. The beach now looked miles away to his panicked mind.

Well, staring at it wasn’t going to get it any closer. With great effort and greater pain, Gus began to swim towards his home, praying someone would be looking out a window and see him since he seriously doubted he’d be able to trek up to the house once his sorry ass washed up on the beach.

He was not aiming for the shore itself, but more the waves so they could carry him in and save him some effort. Scared there were sharks nearby, he swam as fast as he could. Hopefully if they were drawn at all, they would head to the waters beneath the cliffs which he was trying desperately to remove himself from.

Catching a break at last, he found himself being taken up in a large wave, doing his very best to angle himself so he could body surf his way towards the shore and he managed it for the most part. Once his feet were able to touch the bottom, he stumbled out of the water in a hunch, clutching futilely at his chest in instinct to paw at the source of pain.

“Jake!” he called as best he could, but his lung capacity was cut in half and he was gurgling up blood and water from the punctured one, coughing it out in a pink spray on the sand. Falling to his knees he tried again, this time in a scared sob, “Jake!” as he fell onto his side, slowly rolling over onto his back. Oh, fuck. This was bad. Really, really bad.

His little brother, Jesse, arrived from out of nowhere, it seemed, and he sank to his knees beside Gus, terrified eyes taking in the coral that protruded from his slender chest.

“Gus?” Jesse asked worriedly, turning his head towards his older brother to get his eye, his heart dropping into his stomach when Gus gave him a small smile with eyes that were far too glossy and lips stained red with the trickles of blood which flowed at each corner.

“I’ll get Jake. Don’t die. Oh, please Gus, don’t die,” Jesse begged, tears streaming down his face, then turned and ran back towards the house to fetch their eldest brother.

Gus had so much he’d wanted to say to his little brother when he found him, but he just didn’t have it in him to speak. In fact, he barely had it in him to do anything. Much against Jesse’s wishes, he was quite sure he was dying. He wasn’t particularly happy about it, certainly wasn’t ready for it, but at the same time he knew there wasn’t anything he could do about it.

As his brother disappeared from view, Gus was certain he had just seen his brother for the last time. With the last ounce of strength he had, he rolled back to his side and shakily scribbled in the sand.

He was still on his side when his brothers returned, his gaze quick to look up to Jake, eyes wide with a terror which was firmly taking hold of him. But in a heartbeat it was gone, washing away with the last breath he expelled as his body rolled again to its back.

Written in the wet sand, a message was scrawled with crude penmanship. Gus had taken a moment to decide what the most important words would ever be that he could say to his brothers. Impish to the last, he decided to leave the world with a joke in his heart to keep the coral in his lung company. Near his head were the unmistakable words, Mom liked me best.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Feeling Funk-tabulous

I've noticed a trend on the bloggosphere and around about. The funks are setting in. At first I thought it was just me and I felt bad for being such a bad blogging friend, but I'm starting to notice a trend. I think many of us have hit a spot in our lives/writing/blogging/working/whatever where we're just kinda blah.

I fought it over the weekend and got a few thousand words done on my WIP, but I'm not really happy with it. My CPs have no complaints, but it's missing something to me. Maybe it's part of my funk. Maybe even if it was better than Austen (nope) I'd still think it sucked.

I'm at 55 rejections and 16 no replies. Not a single partial. I think I only had one personal rejection. It's this and other things that are going on in my life that make me question my worth. If I'm even any good. I wonder if I'm an idiot. A dreamer. Nuts.

Okay, I know I'm nuts. Let's leave that one alone for now.

I want to keep going on and on about all the things in my life that are going wrong, but that'd just be a pity party and I hate that. I'm just venting, I guess.

So, this is me checking in on Wednesday. I know my posts are inconsistent, but I blog when the mood strikes. You people with schedules boggle my mind. I'm never good at keeping a schedule or having plans. My plans always fall apart, so I quit bothering.

Side note: Don't forget about my contest. If you don't have time, that's cool. I'm using it also as a way to get myself in gear. I want to finish my WIP by the contest deadline so I can devote all my time to the contestants.

I hope everyone's summer is not as hot as mine has been lately. The electric company is going to LOVE me. I can't wait to see the bill.

Anyone else feeling funk-tabulous? Maybe we're a hive psyche. One starts to feel down and it spreads across the blog hive.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

106 Followers Contest

Why 106? Because that's the number of followers I have today.

The Rules:

I hate rules. Therefore, mine are simple.

1. Blog about it. Why? Advertising rocks. Anything extra you'd like to do is appreciated mucho.

2. Be a follower. Why? It's the polite thing to do.

3. Short story, roughly 500 words. Why roughly? Because I won't disqualify for over or under, so long as it's a complete story. I'd enjoy it if it's 1000. I'd be disappointed if it's 100. It can be any genre. I'd prefer funny or incredibly tragic. I'm like that.

4. Email it to because I want to consider them privately, not as posts. If you want to post on your blog, that's cool, but still email me.

5. The deadline is June 15th. Why? Because it's an anniversary of sorts for me so an easy day for me to remember. ***This has been changed to July 4th!

The prizes, you ask? Capitalism rears its head. This is also simple. It's up to you.

1st Prize: $40.00
2nd Prize: $30.00
3rd Prize: $20.00
4th Prize: $10.00
Honorable Mention: $6.00.

Why? Because it's the 106 followers contest, so I'm giving out $106.00. I'm not foolish enough to send cash in the mail, so these will be in the form of gift certificates to anything you choose. Bookstores, Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, I don't care, so long as it's a chain store I can find in Texas or one with a website I can order from.

Also, all contestants will have my undying devotion. I will prove this in a meager offer of editorial assistance. Have a query letter? A partial? Some sort of vague idea and lack direction? All contestants will receive honest feedback, if they wish. I'm no professional, and it won't hurt my feelings if you're not interested. Just bear in mind that I might not be timely if I have dozens to go through, but I will get through them all.

So, good luck, blogger friends of mine. I look forward to reading your work!

*****Whoops on the math. I fixed it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm easily distracted

Which is why I've not been around much. Real life things have been calling me and have left me with small time to be around. It doesn't help that my wireless keeps crashing since I'm the sort to curse and storm off rather than fix it, plus I did have that time away in Colorado which totally pulled my head out of writing for a while. It gave me a lot to think about.

Much to my amazement, I seem to have tipped over 100 followers. My sidebar doesn't show the number (unless I highlight the area) and I can't get the color to change when messing with the display options, so I gave up trying to fix it. See paragraph one, sentence three. My point is, I didn't even notice I was close to 100.

So, it makes me wonder if I should have some sort of contest or blogfest. You guys tell me. What's your pleasure? I'll tell you up front that a contest of mine would be about talent and not popularity. It'll have nothing to do with Facebook or Twitter point racking. It will be a contest to showcase your writing, as would a blogfest, so pick your poison.

In the meantime, another one of my shorts. Let me know if you can picture this guy in your head, even without a description. I can, but I wrote it.


The drop down list of my friends at the top of the page tells me you were online two hours ago. The comment I left you is from six hours ago, but you said nothing to me in return. I see the little picture that is what you’ve chosen to represent yourself in cyberspace. It is down on my list of recent visitors, but you said nothing to me.

I left you a note. The box turned from yellow to grey, so I know that you read it yesterday between noon and one o’clock. I kept checking because I could not wait to read what you would say in response. Yet, you said nothing to me.

I went to his page. I see you’re talking to him again. Why do I even care? You’re the idiot who smiles as he brushes your hair back from your face, knowing the words that fall from his pretty lips are lies.

I shouldn’t have told you my account name. I was safe from the world before, hiding in cyberspace where I could speak to people who understood me and did not call me names or kick my dog or throw my book bag in the ditch. I was safer with the freaks than I am with you normal people. Now you’ve told them all my name and they come to my page and mock me there, too. I had to change my account name again. I’m so tired of doing that.

Not to mention money down the drain from another subscription that bit the dust. I was almost at a thousand pageviews, too, you bitch.

I think this time I will pretend to be a girl from another country and cannot speak English well. It is so fun to intentionally massacre the language, to warp the words as they are thrown at me by others to warp me.

I mean, it’s not my fault I am the way I am. It’s everyone else’s. Every jock that pushed me, every teacher who mocked me in class, every girl that laughed at me when I tried to flirt, every relative who wouldn’t sit next to me at Thanksgiving… you are all the reason I need acceptance, but will probably hide in my one room efficiency apartment every night after I am back from working at my menial job in my fluorescent lit cubicle.

On the internet, I am a god. How can reality possibly compete?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blogfest... a bit late

Wow, I'm really, really sorry I worried you folks. I've been in Colorado and just got back last night. I returned to find emails and notes of being missed. I'll admit, it does make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside that people notice when I'm not visiting*stalking*their blogs or posting on mine. I've got A LOT of catching up to do on blogs.

I thought I'd be back sooner than I was so I had signed up for Roni's blogfest

It's a bit late, but here ya go. This is a scene before the one I posted for the Last Line Blogfest a couple of weeks ago. To set the scene a bit, Sam has been riding with a very religious truck driver and is at a truck stop in Limon, CO. He is back from the grave and in a radically different body with special powers he is still learning about and headed west because he has vague dreams that tell him to go where there's mountains. This is the scene where Sam and Scarlett meet. The reason they 'recognize' each other is because they are both unnaturally pale with long white hair and red eyes and their clothes are the same, except different colors (in case that part confuses anyone).

Rated PM for Potty Mouth:

The windows to my left piqued my curiosity once more, and I paused to browse pewter dragons and authentic Native American dream catchers made in China. Beyond the shelves I could see customers, and when my eyes fell on one in particular, my heart nearly leapt from my chest like an alien spawn on crack.

She looked down at a display of scorpions under glass. Her pale hair was separated into two tightly done braids that rested on her chest. She wore an ensemble of red, and chose to roll up the sleeves of her red poncho to near her elbow. Her eye shadow and lipstick were bright red against her pale skin.

Like a trod upon mouse, my nose squeaked against the glass I'd pressed up against, and her head snapped up in surprise. When our eyes met, I saw her irises were as red as mine. Lined thickly in that black junk girls wore, her eyes went wide when they focused on me. I wasn't sure if it was alarm or joy as she gaped at me.

Granted, I was pressed against the glass as unapologetically as any kid at a shark aquarium. At least the kind of kid that likes sharks a lot. Ones scared of sharks wouldn't have looked as eager as I no doubt did.

The spell was broken when she turned away and ran towards the door. Not sure if she was running away from me or towards me, I stepped back from the glass to wait and see which direction she headed when she got into the long corridor. I was mildly relieved when she approached me. It would have been embarrassing to have to chase her down in the parking lot.

She spoke first. A lot.

"You're like me, right? You look it. Dead, too?" She leaned in close and sniffed. "You look it, and kind of smell like it, too. What are you driving? You're driving, yeah? Going where I am, I bet. You have the dreams? Of course you do, or you wouldn't be here. Brown, huh? I got red, obviously. Thank God. I'd look horrid in brown. Not that you do. Well, you don't look fabulous or anything, but not bad."

"Did you actually…I dunno… want me to give answers here?"

"Huh? Oh, um, sure. I guess. I mean, I already figured it out for myself, except what you're driving."

"I'm not." I was curious how she was able to drive, but she already annoyed me and I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to her anymore. The only thing that kept my feet planted was the fact we were obviously connected somehow, and it was more linear than the Kevin Bacon Factor.

"You're what, then? Hitchhiking? That's dangerous, you know."

"Yeah, well lately I sort of feel invulnerable."

She smiled in a way that made me very uncomfortable. In a flash, she twirled a butterfly knife in her hand then stabbed me in the chest.

"Ow!" I hissed, turning towards the wall to yank it out before someone came along and saw. "You trying to kill… okay. I'll stop there, but OW! What the hell did you do that for? You tore my clothes."

She rolled her eyes, her hand open and expectant of her knife's return. "If you're going to be such an infant, you can stab me back if you like."

I was tempted. Won't lie.

I slapped the open blade into her palm and said, "I'm not being an infant. I just think your flare for the dramatic is out of place in broad daylight where anyone can see us."



"No, Scarlett's my name, dipshit."

"You're being pretty antagonistic to someone you just met, don't you think?"

"No different than I treat anyone. You're not so special I'll change my ways."

"I don't think you're… stable. Have a nice death." I walked away from her. Actually, I think I scurried like a rat away from her, but I don't want to split hairs.

To be honest, I was incredibly disappointed. She was the first person I'd met that was like me, and she was a lunatic. Normal people didn't go around stabbing others for fun. Seriously, it was random and illogical. Not to mention the fact it hurt like hell.


I really didn't want to, but I stopped.

"I'm… I'll try to be less… whatever," she said to my back.

"Whatever?" I said, turning around to face her. "Less stabby? Less insulting? I'd prefer both, to be honest. If it's too much to ask, piss off."

"Well, wherever we're going, I've got a car and you don't," she countered. "Want a lift?"

Decisions, decisions… ride with holy-roller, truck-driving stutterer from Deliverance, or with Tank Girl on amphetamines. It was an easier choice than I'd anticipated.

"I guess. Just don't stab me anymore. I don't have any other clothes."

"Cool, come on."

I looked around for Bill and wondered if I should tell him where I'd gone off to. I didn't want him to worry about me. I didn't see him, and I felt bad for disappearing on him, but I was sure the girl was a piece of the puzzle to my new life and didn't want her to leave without me.

Okay, I sort of did. I was conflicted. She was crazy.

Scarlett approached a car, and I prayed she was just pausing to mock it. Unfortunately, she unlocked it and got in. It was a white, two-door Pinto station wagon at least two decades older than I used to be. If that wasn't enough to rate a negative score on the Cool-O-Meter, it was also adorned in stickers from bumper to bumper along the bottom and sported purple flames on the hood.

"Whoever you stole this from probably thanks you," I said as I slid into the passenger's seat. The backseat was missing, leaving a large cargo area.

"Don't insult Martha. She's sensitive."

I snorted. "Martha? You're shitting me."

"My brother named her. She was his for years. Gave her to me when I got my license. Gave her back to me when I zombied. He's got Gerda now. She's a Gremlin, his favorite."

I made a mental note that Scarlett's entire family was unbalanced.

"I was lucky to get her," Scarlett said. "Hitchhiking is dangerous. You're brave for doing it. There's a lot of nuts out there."

She would know.

"No, bravery is travelling cross-country in this thing," I said. "Cross-street is even a risk."

"Get out and walk, if you like."

"Nah, I gotta be there when I'm right. I get the opportunity so rarely, you know."

"So, what's your name?"


"We're introduced now," she said as she held out her hand to shake.

I took it in mine politely, then the freakiest thing yet happened. I saw Scarlett for who she really was. Her hair was black and cut in a short bob, but other than that she was about the same, only shorter. Her complexion was pale, and her dark makeup was in place around her eyes, but her eye shadow was a rich purple. Her eyes went wide, and I knew she saw me, too.

"So, you're a short, dark dork and not really an ivory god, huh?" she said.

"I could say the same about you."

"If you wanted to walk."

"Which I don't."

"Then shut up."