Friday, August 31, 2012

40 WEEKS OF ME- Week 5, Language

I wish I was a polyglot.

I keep hoping that my parents are right and that if I try real hard I'll finally become fluent in another language. Then I remind myself that if it hasn't sunk in after 40 years, chances are good (not impossible) that the most I can aspire to reach is  bi, possibly trilingual status before I leave this world.

So where does this leave me. I am a mini polyglot. Micro, minuscule, barely worthy of whispering the name. I know how to say thank you in seven languages. It's always good to be polite, especially if you're lost in Mexico (spring break in San Felipe was a little crazy during my college days). I can get by with rudimentary Spanish. Enough so I wouldn't starve and could find el bano if I had to pee.

Okay, I speak Spanish a little better than that, but most native speakers find my attempts hilarious. I am stubborn, so I keep trying even in the face of abject humiliation.

Because of my Creole roots, you'd think my father would've taught me French so I could at least communicate with the family elders, but he didn't. I think this is fairly common in many families. Unfortunately, this is the reason Louisiana French Creole is in danger of dying out.

My dad is fluent in French, Spanish, and Korean from when he was stationed in S. Korea. He spoke Creole to coomunicate with French military officers when they were stationed together in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. So, French Creole is my second language to work on getting fluent in

To be considered a polyglot, you have to be fluent in four languages. Sticking with a romance languages would be the smartest move to achieve success. Italian should come next; however, I'm more fluent in Korean.

Let me clarify that by saying that I understand quite a bit of Korean now (all of my K-dramas are paying off). I'm also learning to read it. It's easy to memorize Hangul, the Korean alphabet if you put it to song. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star works for memorizing the consonants. Unfortunately, my  ability to wrap my tongue around pronouncing the words correctly is sadly pathetic. 

I am leaving Japanese fluency to my daughter. If anyone in my family has the ability to take after my father's innate language skills, it is her. At least she knows the difference between Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji without having to Google it. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


As you know I have a thing for ghost stories. This is a cute one.


ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE (아랑사또전; Arangsatojeon) is a 2012 South Korean series that I'm watching on HULU. It appears to be based off of a folklore about a vengeful spirit in the Joseon era refuses to cross over until she reveals the circumstances of her murder.

Chased by "ghost-busters" who take out any ghost who messes with a human, Arang stumbles across the magistrate. The one person who can actually see the dead, but wishes otherwise.

Given this is a mystery, I can't divulge much more or I'll ruin the suspense. There are only four episodes on Hulu as of the completion of this post, but I've already gotten hooked by the humor in this romantic/comedy.

The Magistrate is played by Lee Jun Ki, and the adorable but kind of scary ghost is played by one of my favorite actresses, Shin Min Ah. If she looks familiar its because she played the Ninetailed Fox in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Deana Barnhart

I bet you're wondering about this #GUTGAA that's being bandied about the internet. Whenever I read the word, I think of some exotic dish.

In a way, that's what it is. A feast for writers who are ready to query/pitch their darling projects to agents and editors from small publishing houses.

Deana Barnhart is putting on a month long extravaganza beginning on August 31st. To participate you must first signed up HERE.

You can find the schedule of activities HERE

You can find me... yep, I'm participating in this as well. That's the surprise part of this post. I'll let you see what I'll be up to for yourself HERE.

So, get your query ready and let's get this party started!


Monday, August 27, 2012


Geesh, when did I get so analytical?

I'm a panster. I come up with an idea, then I dreamscape it out for weeks or months until I have the first half of the book completed in my head. Next, I start writing out scenes in my handy dandy notebook, which I later transcribed into the computer.

I work in linear fashion. Each chapter connected to the one before until I get stuck. When I get jammed, I write the end of the book. This helps to clear my block so I can connect the beginning of the story to the end.

So what happened when I checked out Write On Con? I found all these wonderful events like The Index Card and Revision by author Katy Longshore and Plotting with 3×5 cards by author Kimberley Griffiths Little.

I got totally inspired. I bought some post it notes and...

Well, the rest is history.

I broke each chapter down into scenes. Some chapters have more scenes than others even though they are roughly an equal number of pages.

I also color coded the scenes. Blue are paranormal activity, yellow are romance. Orange is everything else. The problem is that I need more colors to really break it down better. There are some scenes that have paranormal and romance. Others which are action scenes. I want something for conflict, etc.

Obviously, I've gotten a little sticky note crazy.

Still, there's something gratifying about having your entire book broken down for clarity; especially, in the revision process or even if you are a panster who hates to outline (like me) this is a good way to see what you have and what you've missed.

What do you think? Is this a process you would try?

Friday, August 24, 2012

40 WEEKS OF ME- WEEK 4, Ghosts

Once upon a time, when I was five and my sister only two, our parents rented an old apartment in downtown Madrid, Spain. It was a fairly tall building because it had a balcony which sloped downward. I was terrified I would fall through the iron bars to the brick courtyard so far below.

My fear of falling stemmed from this time. Funny. I thought it came from falling off of the cliff, but it appears the roots were buried in my psyche a lot earlier.

The apartment had an aura to it. Some of you may understand what I mean.

It's as if the walls breathed.

The spirit which haunted us seemed to spend a lot of time in me and my sister's bedroom. I never felt any malignant intentions from it, but I'm pretty likeable.

My sister on the other hand told me a different story last night.

See, I was thinking about ghosts. This week has been dedicated to impromptu GHOST WEEK on my blog inspired by Terri Bruce's HEREAFTER. I mentioned the ghost to my sister...she ended up describing the entity who still won't leave my mind after all these years. A tall man. Gaunt. Shadowed. Wearing a felt hat. He didn’t like her and tried to hit her with a broom. He would sit in the rocking chair. And the chair would rock, back and forth. It seemed more than just a drafty room or the tilt of the floor.

Then she said she saw this spirit in her house a few years ago.

What? Spain…U.S.A?

Oh, yeah. She said the spirit walked past her bed as she tried to fall asleep. It saw her watching and lunged at her. Arms outstretched.

She said she screamed and closed her eyes. She began to pray, terrified. And the spirit vanished.

To my sister, this wasn't a peaceful entity. It frightened her.

Was he real or a figment of our shared experiences? I don't know for sure. I do know this man exists in our memories, and now, in the memories of those who read and share this post. He will continue to exist each time his story is told long after the tellers leave this earth. Too bad he has to be such a jerk in the afterlife.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Letting Go and Holding On" - TERRI BRUCE

I want to thank Angie for letting me take over her blog today. In keeping with Angie’s theme of “The Things I’ve Learned” I wanted to talk about some story decisions I made while writing Hereafter—specifically things I let go (things that were cut from earlier drafts) and things I held onto (things that people wanted me to change but I ended up keeping) and the reason why I made the decisions that I did. For writers, I think this is one of the biggest struggles—to know when to let go of something that we really love about our story but which just isn’t working, and when to hold onto our vision, even when others (including agents and editors) are pushing us to change it. Warning—there are some light spoilers in this post, so if you hate that kind of thing, best to come back after you’ve read Hereafter. J

 Things I Let Go:
1.       At first, Jonah was a walk on, bit player. Irene meets him at the beginning of the story, he informs her that she’s dead, and gives her enough information to get to the city. Then he was out of the story completely. Jonah, however, had much different ideas about his role, and pretty quickly, try as I might to prevent him, he wormed his way into a co-starring role. The interplay between the characters was just too good to let go of—whenever Jonah and Irene were in a scene together, the scene basically wrote itself. At the same time, it was the dynamic tension between them that pushed the plot forward. People notice right off how much Irene bullies Jonah, but he bullies her right back quite a fair bit. If it wasn’t for Jonah, Irene would still be sitting in her living room drinking screwdrivers. Out the window went any idea of leaving Jonah behind. Of course, this decision was created all sorts of problems—see #1 below—but it was clear from the beginning that this was the right way to go.

2.       Originally, the story concept was that Madame Majicka was a kind of gatekeeper of the tunnel to the other side, and she gives Irene a list of six items that the dead need to have in order to cross to the other side. The original concept was much more of a treasure hunt/epic fantasy odyssey. Pretty quickly, I realized this wasn’t going to work. Irene wasn’t having it, first of all; she pretty much plopped herself in the bar and sat there, refusing to participate. It was too much work and she didn’t have to go through the tunnel, so what was the point? I realized Irene needed a reason to seek out the tunnel and want to cross over; her first choice would always be to stay on earth—it’s familiar, it’s what she knows, and it’s safe. I began to see that the “real” story was Irene’s personal, inward journey—her growth as a person. The original idea of an outward odyssey was relegated to being the framework for the inward journey.

3.       I had planned to have Irene confront LaRayne and Alexia at some point—though the point kept moving around from the beginning of the story to the end. However, there were all kinds of problems with this—LaRayne and Alexia couldn’t see or hear Irene, so the confrontation was really one-sided and didn’t have any resolution. Irene would get to call them out as bad friends, but since they couldn’t hear her, what would the impact of that be? Perhaps cathartic for Irene, but it would mean she would also have to face up to the fact that she was in large part to blame for her death as well—the blame doesn’t entirely rest with LaRayne and Alexia—and that would require a lot more self-awareness on Irene’s part than she really had at any place in the story. By the end of the story, where she has developed enough self-awareness, she has both moved on mentally from her life to the point where she doesn’t really care about them anymore and also at the same time is still refusing to face up to some harsh truths. She’s not in denial, per se; rather she’s avoiding doing the hard thing (okay, let’s just say it: she’s being a big baby), and so a confrontation with LaRayne and Alexia didn’t seem to gel here either. In the end, the quieter self-confrontation at the funeral over the depth of friendships and her choice of friends was much more in line with Irene’s character, where she was mentally, and also seemed more realistic. How many of us have kicked ourselves for not dealing with something at the right moment? For not speaking our mind, for not facing a situation head on, for not putting on our “big girl pants”? I think we all have, at one time or another, and so, my final approach was a reflection of this.

Things I Held Onto:
1.       The number one thing I was pushed to change was Jonah’s age. Everyone almost universally hated his age at first; most wanted him to be either much younger, so there was no “squishiness” about his relationship with Irene (some readers found it highly inappropriate for a thirty-six-year-old woman to be hanging out with a fourteen-year-old boy), or much older so there could be a romantic relationship. One agent urged me to make Jonah a “nineteen-year-old college hottie that Irene cougars.” Several agents (including the “cougar lady”) felt the mixed ages of the main characters made it unclear what market this book was intended for—as one agent put it, “kids don’t like to read about adults and adults don’t like to read about kids.” I dug in and absolutely refused to move Jonah’s age. I didn’t want to write a romance and absolutely did not want to write a story where the hero swoops in and saves the woman, or even a story where the woman changes in order to make the man happy (sort of passive saving from the man, if you will). I wanted a story where the woman saves herself. In this case, she needed a little push—which she gets from Jonah. She changes not to please him and not because she’s in love with him, but because she doesn’t want to let him down. She wants to protect him and take care of him, not the other way around; one could say he makes her want to be an adult. However, if he was too young, the story wouldn’t work because Irene isn’t maternal in the least. She would have no use for and no urge to protect or care for a very young child. Once I realized that story I was telling was about a woman’s personal growth, I knew Jonah had to stay fourteen, no matter what—he had to be old enough to help her grow but young enough that he’d need some taking care of.

2.       The second thing everyone pretty much universally pushed for was for Jonah to have a deep, dark, tragic secret. I’ll talk more about this in my guest post on bullying at From the Bootheel Cotton Patch ( on September 10th; however, I will say here that this was a “never gonna happen.” I felt VERY strongly about this—too many of us, especially our teens, live lives of “quiet desperation,” and I felt that was compelling in and of itself. Jonah didn’t need “and the kitchen sink” to re-enforce his feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression. What I loved about my publisher, Eternal Press, was that they never once asked for any changes to Jonah’s age or motivations—everyone at EP “got” the story that I was trying to tell. That was such a relief!

3.       The one thing that never changed was the core world-building concept, which was to create a version of the afterlife in which every culture’s and religion’s beliefs are true in a very literal sense. This, of course, meant I had to do a lot of research. There were times I wondered why I was doing all this research or would think “you’ve got plenty, just go with this.” However, I would end up going back and doing just “a little bit more,” which usually ended with me finding some totally awesome little factoid that I just had to incorporate into the story. So far, readers have identified the world-building in Hereafter as one of their favorite parts of the book, which thrills me to no end and definitely makes me feel that all the research was worth it.

So there you have it—a little bit of insight into the behind-the-scenes negotiations, both internal and external, that I went through with Hereafter.

Terri Bruce
Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say "don’t bother." To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.
This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option…


She wasn’t sure what to do next. The house seemed quiet and still—in fact, almost dead. She listened hard. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but somehow the house, her house, seemed foreign and strange. The house seemed to be holding its breath, almost as if it was waiting for something. She felt the thick, gathered pause pushing around her. Irene shivered. She crossed her upper arms, trying to smooth away the sudden goose bumps. How could she get goose bumps if she was dead? The phone rang, causing her to jump. Her drink crashed to the floor. She stared at the phone stupidly for a moment, and then, recognizing LaRayne’s phone number on the caller I.D., she grabbed the receiver.



 "Yes! It’s me!" Relief flooded through her. LaRayne could hear her!
There was a pause and then LaRayne said, "Hello?"
"LaRayne? Can you hear me?"
"Hello? Irene?"
Relief fizzled away. Disappointment washed over her, so strong her knees buckled and she grabbed the counter for support.
The line went dead. LaRayne had hung up.
Slowly, Irene replaced the receiver, numb with shock.
The phone rang again. Irene let the answering machine pick up this time.
"Hey, Irene. It’s LaRayne…I’ve left you some messages...well…you know…call or whatever."
Irene cleaned up the spilled drink, sweeping the broken glass into a dustpan and dumping it in to the trash, and then mixed herself another one. She wandered back to the hall and then back to the kitchen and finally to the living room where she dropped heavily onto the couch. She sipped her drink, not really tasting it. Then she spied her laptop across the room on a chair. She fetched it, firing it up.
Email. Yes, that’s it—email. I’ll email everyone and tell them what happened, she thought through a fog of mounting hysteria.
Even as she thought it, dully watching the computer scroll through start-up screens, the "drunk emailing" incident of a few years ago—which had led to then-boyfriend Chase becoming ex-boyfriend Chase—came to mind. The part of her that was still thinking rationally pointed out that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to email anyone until she knew for certain what exactly was going on.
You still don’t know what you want anyone to do, she thought. Call a doctor? Perform an exorcism? What, exactly, was the remedy here?

Book Details
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Eternal Press
Number of Pages: 296
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

About the Author

Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.

Contact Details



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Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Today,  I'll have a little bit of fun talking about my new, favorite anime addiction. I started watching InuYasha after I got caught up with Naruto Shippuden (OMG, the last episode finally brought back Naruto, thank God).

Here is the blurb from Wikipedia:

InuYasha (犬夜叉), also known as InuYasha, a Feudal Fairy Tale (戦国御伽草子 犬夜叉 Sengoku Otogizōshi InuYasha), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. The series was adapted into anime and follows Kagome Higurashi, a teenager from Tokyo, who is transported back in time to the Sengoku period, where she meets the half demon, InuYasha. When a centipede demon from that era tries to take the magical Jewel of Four Souls embodied in Kagome, she accidentally splits the Jewel into various shards, which are dispersed across Japan. InuYasha and Kagome start travelling to recover it, gaining allies and enemies throughout the journey.

Anyway, I think if I were a teenage girl I would totally be in love with InuYasha. What's not to like really? He's protective. He growls. He has cute dog ears. Adorable. My son is lucky I didn't watch this series when I was pregnant with him or he would be in need of a nickname: Yasha or Inu.

And what's up with the love triangle between Kikyo and Kagome? I really wanted Kagome to punch Inyasha in the face whenever he puts Kikyo before her (okay, I don't really condone violence in the real world, but I get a kick everytime Kagome yells, "Osuwari!" )

Rumiko Takahashi does a wonderful job of making his each of his characters flawed, yet loveable because of those flaws.

Monday, August 20, 2012



My eye through x-ray lense.

On Thursday, August 23rd, a special guest poster will be taking over this blog as part of her HEREAFTER Online Book Tour. She's a woman after my own heart. A lover of ghosts and an expert on the afterlife.

So, please come back on Thursday to show her your support. 

Unless you're afraid of ghosts, to which my response is...if there's something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call...

Terri Bruce

Friday, August 17, 2012

40 WEEKS OF ME- Week 3, Dreams

I have extremely vivid dreams. They feel like I've been dropped onto a movie set. They're full color, and typically, involve lots of action. It's rare for me to have a nightmare. As in years. If I read a book or watch a television series that really draws me in, I'll probably dream about it.

This is an example of a typical dream. I’m telling you about it because it is one of my favorite dreams. I woke up feeling super proud of myself for handling this situation in this manner, even though, wow totally bizarre.

It was a combination Game of Thrones and Walking Dead dream. I was fighting zombies with my zombie fighting crew. I had a really large sword which I used to decapitate zombies with one swing. There was a bunch of running from zombie hordes.

In the fateful battle, I saved my crew but took a bite to the shoulder in the process. I knew the risks. I knew the result. I handed my partner my sword and gave a rousing speech about struggle and perseverance.

"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come." ―Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly recite the Night's Watch oath, by George R.R. Martin

Then, I knelt in front of a stump and laid my head across it (think when Ned Stark executed the deserter from the Night's Watch).

I closed my eyes. The wind blew back my hair as the sword stuck. My breath caught as the edge of the blade sliced through my neck.

And I woke up.

So, to answer the question a lot people have wondered about—no, you don’t die in real life if you die in your dream.


Sunday, August 12, 2012


As I drove to work last week, I let my mind sort of drift. I watched the cows in the pasture, stared at the hot pink, post apocalyptic looking sun, and despaired over the smoke from the wildfires burning in the foothills which made the pretty pink sunrise. Like I said, I wasn’t thinking about much of anything when my epiphany struck like an owl slamming into my windshield.

Let me back up to provide those of you who are new to this blog a bit of background for this particular ah ha moment. I began writing HOUND OF ANNWYN back in March of 2010. It features two of my favorite characters, Juliet and Jude.

Here's the query I used back then.

Juliet finishes Jude’s sentences, feels his pain, and gleefully exploits the fact that he can’t bluff her in poker. She takes their psychic connection for granted until her heart stops beating at the exact moment that her twin brother dies in a car accident. Nearly eight minutes elapses before their resurrection.


A year later, seventeen-year-old Juliet’s near-death experience continues to haunt her. A ghost contacts her in the high school bathroom and a sexy, albeit annoyingly conceited boy with wings—who claims to be her guardian, but definitely no angel—saves her after she’s attacked by a hell hound in the woods.

Her brother’s emerging, uncontrolled empathic and telekinetic abilities—he accidentally hurls an alarm clock at Juliet’s head while she sleeps—are eroding his humanity and threaten to blow their familial bond apart at a time when they need to be united.

Unaware that the darkness infecting their relationship is a manifestation of the evil that returned with them from the underworld, its taint spreads unchecked through their small mountain town. If the twins can’t resolve their differences and link their powers, neither they nor the people they care about will survive. And this time, death’s grip will be eternal.

This story owns a special piece of my heart because it was my first Young Adult endeavor. It is the reason I fell in love with YA. I worked on this story for three months, and then entered the story in the Speculative Fiction Marathon at agentquery connect. I then went through twelve intense weeks in which this manuscript was critiqued my peers. It was a total blast, and I found my critique partners through this process.

I wrote this story by alternating each chapter to tell the story from their view point. In the initial draft I used the Roshamon Effect, only at the time I didn’t know there was a name for this particular format. Here is the Wikipedia definition.

In the Roshomon style, I wrote the chapter from the protagonist POV; however, at certain times they would come together in a scene. The scene was written through the lens of the character whose point-of-view the chapter was written in. Then in the next chapter, the same scene was shown from the alternate twin’s point of view. I liked this effect because it showed how flawed Juliet and Jude’s relationships were with one another, and how their perceptions of their sibling’s motivations were skewed.

For example:

Jude's POV:

Electricity sparked between Juliet and Gwynn as they stepped toward each other. The hairs on Jude’s arms stood on end. The static hum in his head grew louder, almost distinct as if words were trying to break through the block that had been constructed in his mind.

Juliet gave Jude a tight smile then addressed the real subject of her ire. “I’m a grown woman, Gwynn. I’ll kiss anyone I choose. See that boy over there?” she pointed at Randy Lipshultz. “If I wanted too, I’d kiss him, right now. You wouldn’t be able to stop me.”

Juliet's POV:

Juliet gave Jude a tight smile, but her attention remained focused on Gwynn. “I’m a grown woman, Gwynn. I’ll kiss anyone I choose. See that boy over there?” She pointed at a random guy, praying she wouldn’t get called on her bluff, because... eww gross, she’d once caught Randy eating his boogers.

“If I wanted too, I'd kiss him, right now. You wouldn't be able to stop me.”

Unfortunately, seeing the scene multiple times regardless of the differences inherent to the point-of-view characters perceptions failed to hold the reader’s attention. It needed an in-depth overhaul,

Out of necessity, I put the revision on hold as I worked on other projects. That’s not to say that I haven’t worked on it for the last two years. I have. If you were to read the version I queried in 2010 to the current version, you would see that I've removed the Roshomon Effect. You can check out the updated sample pages here.

The last issue I need to correct is my inability end the story without a cliffhanger. I think my epiphany will solve this problem. What is funny is that I should've seen the answer to this issue a long time ago. It is so freaking obvious. I guess I needed distance from the story to be able to see the answer to the problem I was having with finishing it.

So, I'll let you know when I finish this final (okay, it probably won't be the last) revision.

Friday, August 10, 2012

40 WEEKS OF ME- Week 2, Writing

My birthday resolution involved a few goals. I vowed to work on squashing my reserve by being more open, which lead to me deciding to share something new about myself every week, for 40 weeks.

Little known fact about me is that I've always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first book in fifth grade (1983), THE HOUSE. It was a tale go a demon possessed House. I don't really recall the plot. My little sister does, vividly (29 years later). She can recite the entire plot, plus character names.
Apparently it made a lasting impression on her (terrified her).

I took the story to school and my classmates passed it around, taking turns reading it. Someone took it home and I never saw it again.

Three years later, the movie, HOUSE came out.

Oh, I was horrified. My fourteen-year-old self thought that one of my old classmates had stolen my story.

I didn't realize then that this would happen numerous times over the years. That I would read a book or watch a movie, and then moan about the fact that someone had thought of the same idea I had.

Only they'd written it better.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


My amazing agent, Kathleen Rushall, answers L.S. Murphy's 5 questions over on Banshees, Books, & Baseball. If you're interested in querying her about your manuscript, this is a good place to start.

Personalizing a query letter is something that agents talk about, but writers may not always feel comfortable doing. I know when I was querying, I kind felt like a faker-- that I was sucking up to the agent whenever I tried to personalize it.

I found an interview with Kathleen in which she talked about the kind of books she was interested in. I thought, oh my gosh, she's perfect for me. And I told her so in my query. Luckily, she agreed.

So please, pop on over to Banshees, Books, and Baseball and say hello.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I took these swampy photos during my bike ride on Saturday through Teichert Ponds. The sky and water are this beautiful shade due to the smoke from a forest fire in the foothills. The picture above that I used for the blog cover is my favorite. It's what I imagined when I wrote the opening scene for Juju's Child.

This picture was taken from the bike trail. If you look closely you can see the blackberries on the bush in the lower left corner. My father-in-law and I make quite a few berry halts during our ride. Delicious, yum!

I trampled through the brush to get this picture--risking snake bites and poison oak. No, that's not a snake at the bottom of the page, but I thought it was at first. Yes, I am a little melodramatic.

This picture was taken at the same spot as the cover photo. I can totally picture a dead body floating beneath the water--which is the premise of Juju's Child, no I'm not being morbid for morbidity's sake. The only problem is that the pretty pink sky ruins the atmostphere of decay and darkness that I wanted to convey with this imagery.

It really is a beautiful area...

How often do your surroundings influence your writing? Have you ever found that perfect spot? The one that you dreamt about and lovingly crafted onto the page...and now you've found it in the real world?  

Friday, August 3, 2012


Howdy, I wanted to give a heads up to my awesome critique partner, Michelle Hauck. She has some good news to share on her blog, Michelle4Laughs-It's in the Details. Michelle isn't new to this blog. She was also gracious enough to write a Sharing Our Voices post. So please, pop over to her blog and wish her congrats.  

I also promised to share something about myself today. Since I don't really want to take away from Michelle's big news. I will share how much I appreciate Michelle (and all my critique partners fall into this category of awesomeness).

Michelle has a unique superpower. She can find plotholes like nobody else. If Don, DMCWILD is the King of Echoes, Michelle is Princess Plothole. She found plotholes hidden within my plotholes. She's is that good. And she's blunt. No sugar coating. Not that any of my crit partners put on rose colored glasses when it comes to my work, and I wouldn't want them to. The only way to grow is to have a blunt assessment of my story. It's strengths and weaknesses.

Michelle has been there for me through my last two books. I hope she will be there for many more to come.  I want to wish Michelle much love and success with her novel, KINDAR's CURE. I loved this story, and I can't wait to own my very own copy.
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