Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Spin the Wheel of Conflict

I've been trying to come up with content for the online component of a my local writer's group when I happened upon Chuck Wendig's blog. This, in and of itself, is not abnormal. I frequently direct my fellow author friends to his website for writing advice, as well as his spectacular use of profanity. It's rather impressive. But I happened upon the blog, looking for a topic to post about in the facebook group, when I saw this weekly challenge. So I challenged them to partake, and of course, had to participate myself.

So, without further ado, my attempt at the flash fiction prompt:

I know something is wrong before I roll over to discover the bed empty. It could be nothing, I tell myself. Could be. But there’s this feeling deep inside, this knowledge that began as a tiny grain of sand and, through time and ignorance coating layer after layer, has grown. It’s easy to ignore a grain of sand. Harder to discount the boulder.


I push the feeling down and stretch sore muscles, fleeting memories still weighed down with sleep, flashing over my skin. A touch here. A kiss there. So much passion and pleasure.

The comforter lay crumpled at the foot of the bed. When I stretched, the sheet had retreated down to pool around my waist but the warmth of the room makes both unneeded. Still, with the temporary absence of body, I pull both the sheet and comforter to my chin. The room is dark and heavy with night. Sleep. I should go back to sleep and when I wake, they will be there. Just as they have been every morning for the past few months.

The nagging feeling will not submit. I curl onto my side, peering into the dark. Slowly, the outline of the door to the bath emerges from the gloom. Empty. I place a hand on the vacant space beside me on the bed. Its warmth is long gone. I don’t need to check the other side to discover the same.

I hate that I feel the creep of suspicion instead of lazy content. My imagination has served jealousy instead of love. Fear instead of acceptance.

I asked for this. I arranged this. I made it happen.


Me. Me. Me.

It was there in the stolen touches that went unnoticed in a bonfire of lust. Covert glances across a room. Simple generosity of out-of-the-way gestures. Invisible lines forbidden to cross.

After all this time, how could those lines still not be crossed?

Some random light glints off the ring on the fourth finger of my left hand. It shimmers under the tilt of my hand, a pulsing reminder of permanence and commitment. But did it still mean the same? Before I dared to want more? For me?

For him?

I fling back the covers and rise to my feet. With the icy unwelcome of jealousy coursing through me, I reach for a robe. Cinching it closed, I inhale the intoxicating scent of him—earth and spice and the rawness of male. He smells so different from my husband, who prefers expensive colognes and musk-scented soap. I can still taste him on lips, still feel his hands on my body.

Disgust at my insecurity almost sends me back to bed. Almost.

My feet skim the carpeted stairs. Fingers rest lightly on the banister. Each breath is held—not for silence, but for despair. So afraid to make a sound, so afraid of what I’ll find.

At last in the foyer, I pause. Light spills across the wood floor, falling through the arch of the family room. Quiet sounds follow, that of a television turned low. On hushed steps, I slip to the entrance, resting a shoulder against the jamb in relief. My mouth opens to announce myself, but I don’t, just wanting a moment of voyeuristic peace.

Shame creeps in the wake of relief and disgust. How could I have questioned them? Jealousy can make you see things that aren’t there, I know that, but that it could shake something I thought so impervious makes me humble. I am playing with fire, and where there is fire, someone is going to get burned.

They are sitting on the sofa, their backs to me. One dark head, one fair, illuminated by the table lamp beside them and the television in front. Adam leans forward, reaching for something on the coffee table. Seth raises both arms, stretching taunt muscles and uttering a soft groan that goes straight to my middle. A smile curves my lips as I imagine myself walking around the sofa and giving them something other than an old movie to occupy the early hours.

Then Adam leans back into the sofa. And Seth’s arms drop, stretching one across the back of the sofa behind my husband.

The boulder returns and brings a few friends.

His hand lifts almost subconsciously, not quite cradling the back of Adam’s head, hovering just over his blonde hair. A hesitation, though neither acknowledge the suspended moment that Adam pretends he doesn’t notice.

Suddenly the fingers clench into a fist, supple muscles of his bare arm going rigid. Seth forces his fingers wide, returning them to the neutral back of the sofa instead of my husband’s hair. He tilts his head to the side, says something to Adam who laughs quietly.

There is not enough air in the world to breathe. Back against the wall, the damning sight hidden from view, I struggle to stay upright.

I shouldn’t feel like this, shouldn’t begrudge them a connection that doesn’t involve me. Adam and I are married, yes, but I asked for this. I did this. I made this possible.

I never imagined…

Leaning around the corner, I see I’m not the only one having an epiphany. Inches apart, they’re facing each other, television long forgotten. The light has played a harsh trick, shrouding their expressions but I can read enough tension in the shoulders, the harsh rise and fall of their chests. Maybe it’s the shadows messing with me, but I think Adam leans forward, a fraction of an inch.

They move at the same time, turning to look over the sofa. At me.

I lower the hand that had clamped over my mouth when I gasped. Movements in sync again, they push to their feet, the sofa a physical barrier to the space ripped wide between us. I don’t know what to say, if anything. And when my husband breaks the stillness to push past me and leave Seth, I can only think:

My fault. I did this.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Writer's Voice

Welcome to my entry for The Writer's Voice, a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted Cupid of Cupid's Literary Connection, Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Monica B. W. of Love YA and Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.). Good luck to all the participants!

YA Paranormal Romance

AJ Ashford curses too much, is failing French, and holds top spot on her principal’s shitlist. She’d much rather play guitar than conjugate verbs, but when said conjugation is interrupted by a creature only she can see, the resultant spaz-attack sends her freak status at school rocketing, until she silences the star quarterback with her right hook.

Xander Sorokin, prince and future commander of the demon-hunting Sentinels, is wanted for the murder of his foster father by the very people he was destined to lead. Hunted by his closest friends, he searches for answers to questions no one is asking. Until he meets AJ and her black eye, and his need to defend the weak awakens for the first time since his escape.

Only AJ doesn’t do demure damsel; she prefers to swing the verbal ax.

With AJ’s rejection still stinging, Xander’s past slips into the seat across from him, armed and dangerous. He evades capture only to be ambushed by demons, an attack which spills over to an innocent. While Xander fights to pull an unconscious AJ from the resulting car wreck, an angel sends her back to the land of the living with a mission to help the gorgeous and chauvinistic Xander. But how can she help when she doesn’t know the problem? Or when she can’t be in the same room as him without wanting to slug him…or kiss him? One thing’s for certain, when the two of them get together, Heaven and Hell better both watch out.

REMEMBERED, the first book of a young adult paranormal romance trilogy for fans of Cassandra Clare and Lauren Kate, is complete at 97,000 words.

Bitter Victories

Just outside Paris, France
July 15, 1789

Gavril rested against the wall, still wearing the clothing from yesterday’s successful raid, his gaze drifting over the courtyard and gallows below. In the early morning light, a slight haze coated the ground, obscuring most of the cottages in the distance. The acrid stench of soot and ash wafted from billows of smoke rising on the eastern horizon.

“Why does it vex you so?”

King Ivan’s smooth voice echoed against the stone, accentuating both the size and emptiness of the hall. Word had come late yesterday about the Bastille in Paris, but the news had been dwarfed by the celebration here.

Gavril frowned at the small crowd already gathered around the gallows. “How could it not?”

Restrained anger made his French clumsy. Gavril struggled to control the disdain, knowing he shouldn’t direct it towards his king. He wasn’t angry with him, not angry with anyone in particular…except maybe himself for being this weak.

The king approached with a measured pace, his age just beginning to show in the slightly stiffened movements. Even decades removed from the field, he was still as deadly as the Sentinel army his council oversaw, the same warriors Gavril fought beside. The king’s wizened face held the emotional control of the politician he had become in order to lead, but his eyes betrayed his confusion. He genuinely didn’t understand Gavril.

That made two of them.

“She’s just a girl,” Gavril said before he could think.

“Is that why you failed to finish the task?”

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Visit my friends at The Fiction Femme Fatale to win some ARCs or critiques! Visit their site to win!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

35 Word Pitch

So I'm attemtping to condense my adult UF into a 35-word or less pitch. I've narrowed it down to two choices, and I'm looking for feedback. Please vote on which one you think works better. If you have comments or suggestions, please feel free to unleash your inner editor in the comments.

Title: A Taste of Blood
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pitch Number One (34 words):
When Alex Callahan’s werewolf father reveals her friend’s murder, Alex knows he’s the key to avoiding a brewing supernatural war. But he’s been dead for thirteen years and no one else believes he’s back.

Pitch Number Two (35 words):
Twin brother joins local pack? Normal. Dead dad walks into a bar? Not really. Investigating makes human Alex the next target in a brewing supernatural war she can prevent. If only the pack believed her…

  • Option 1
  • Option 2
  • Neither, they both suck
  • I wrote one better in the comments.
More polls: snabbIä

Friday, May 11, 2012

Top Ten Things I Learned




Top ten things I learned

from participating in

The Writer’s Voice competition.

Last week, I entered into a multi-blog writing contest in hopes of landing on a talented team, to be coached and then showed off to agents. To see my entry, click here. For more information on the contest, you can check out the above link. In fact, go check it out and click through the multiple posts about the contest and other teams so you can see the talented authors who made it to the coaching round and read their entries. I'll wait.


Done? Good. Maybe you learned the same things I did.

1. There is some seriously amazing, unrecognized talent out there.

200 entries does not the entirety of publishing encompass. But of those entries, most were polished until they shined, had great ideas, had characters that jumped off the page, and openings that hooked me in the first paragraph. I was flabbergasted that some of them did not already have an agent and/or a book deal already. Serious talent. I was awed being one amongst them, and some of them were so awesomely wrought , they made me feel like I didn’t know my craft. Kudos to my peers on a job well done. I have much to which to learn and aspire.

2. The part of me that wants to be a slush pile reader squeed in glee, and then cowered in fear at what agents/publishers face every day.

I joke that I the job I would love to do every day (aside from owning my own bookstore) is a slush reader. I’d love to read through submissions, pulling out the great ones and passing them along. But how do you take the good, the great and the awesome and separate them? How do you pick which one among so many possibilities gets your attention and which ones don’t? It would be extremely difficult, and I don’t envy their position. Just like I didn’t envy the judges for The Writer’s Voice contest, having to narrow down the 200 entries to only 40. Because…

3. Good writing isn’t always enough.

Sometime the concept is old, there’s not enough of a twist, the market has shifted...yada, yada. The judges, and consequently the agents and publishers, aren’t looking for more of the same. They’re looking for the next best thing that can sell, that has a place in the market. It’s a business decision, and sometimes, the business can’t focus solely on good writing.

4. New teeth are weird.

Wait, that’s my new Dr. Who obsession I acquired trying to avoid The Writer’s Voice hashtag on twitter showing itself.

5. YA/MG market is growing fast.

Everyone wants YA and middle grade. I’m not 100% sure of the exact mixture, but a vast majority of the 40 that made the next round were YA/MG manuscripts. Does that mean there’s no room for my adult urban fantasy? No, but maybe I ought to polish my YA and start querying that as well.

6. There are some seriously funny, and seriously disturbed writers out there.

I followed new blogs and twitter personalities because of this contest. I got lost on twitter just watching the crazy antics of some. Writers are a separate breed: a little crazy, a little schizo, a little nerdy, a little genius, a little obsessive, majorly passionate and I love you all!

7. A sonic screwdriver fixes everything (unless it has a deadlock seal).

And so do beta readers, and crit partners and the supportive writing community. I love my writing group at the Kelley Armstrong website; they have taught me so much. And I can see the fanatic support and results of other writer’s CPs in these entries and on twitter. If you write, find a home. It takes a group to raise a writer.

8. This was A chance. Not THE chance.

There are many other contests, and queries, and agents, and publishers out there. Just because my piece didn’t move on, doesn’t mean I’m done (though I thought that several times this past weekend.)

9. I’m about three to five years too late…

but that’s not going to stop me (or you) from trying. What didn’t work here, may work for others. Sometimes, good writing is enough.

10. The Doctor is rude. Not Ginger.

And so am I.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writer's Voice

I'm partcipating in a multi-blog contest known as The Writer's Voice. Below is my entry and all cheerleading and comments are welcomed! Good luck to the other participants and thank you to Krista Van Dolzer, Brenda Drake, Monica B.W, and Cupid for organzing this amazing competition.

A Taste of Blood
Urban Fantasy

Alexandra Callahan knows the monsters hiding under the boardwalk are real; she just overlooks the fact her twin is one of them. Instead, she treats her mooching werewolf brother the same as any other family member who eats all the food and won’t do the dishes: with heavy doses of sarcasm, practical jokes, and a whole lot of ignoring the paranormal. But when their deceased father leads Alex to the murder scene of her friend Maddie, she can’t ignore Aaron’s furry side any longer. Not when a werewolf almost bites her head off and she stabs another in the face.

And those were the good guys.

Alex didn’t inherit the gene that makes her brother howl at the moon, but she definitely acquired the accompanying stubbornness and loyalty. Despite the pack’s claim otherwise, she’s convinced her dad is alive and knows something about Maddie’s death. Since he’s only appeared to Alex, finding him is up to her. It isn’t long before Alex contracts a maligned spell, pisses off the pack’s enforcer, attracts the attention of their devious wolfwitch, and becomes a Master Vampire’s thrall, all while pitching her advertising agency to a potential mega-client. When she confronts the wolfwitch about his secrets on the night of the full moon, a battle of wills becomes a battle within Alex’s body. The moon always wins.

Alex’s unveiling as the first natural female werewolf is sidelined when a pack member dies protecting her, forcing the pack to look within their ranks for a traitor. Betrayed by someone she trusted, Alex discovers the past never dies and what you don’t know will kill you. The Jersey Shore isn’t just for tourists and MTV anymore. The Jersey Shore has teeth.

A TASTE OF BLOOD, complete at 116,000 words, is an urban fantasy for adults who like their fiction more furry than undead.

Chapter One

The last time I saw my father, I broke my brother’s nose. Aaron simply wiped the blood on his suit’s sleeve and pulled me into a hug while I sobbed. As far as irrational outbursts went, it was spectacular, but we were twelve, at our father’s funeral and both a little emotional. Aaron just handled it better. Thirteen years later, he still did but I think even Aaron might have had something to say when Dad walked into Sawyers.

Martini glass pressed to my lips, I stared at the hooded figure sliding through the bar. His average height, dark shirt and jeans blended with the masses, but I thought I’d seen his face. He moved with purpose, the crowd parting like the Red Sea, as if they knew there’d be problems if they didn’t.

Invoking time-faded memories, the gait and crowd response raised the hair on the back of my neck. The conversation between my two best friends faded into the rest of the din. With shaking hands, I settled my glass on the table before I dropped it. Besides, the martini had already sloshed and no matter what anyone said, wasting a drink like that was sacrilege.

No. This wasn’t happening. The dead just didn’t casually stroll into a bar. My subconscious was projecting. It was dark; I couldn’t see. I was drunk. Daydreaming even. I threw explanations at myself, hoping one would stick, but apparently my brain was made of Teflon tonight.

“Alex? Earth to Alex.”

“Must have sighted a hottie.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lucky 7: A sneak peek at Remembered

Hmmm, perhaps this is Seleste deLaney's way of telling me that I need to blog more. (BTW, shameless and unsolicited plug for this author: you need to read her. <3)

The rules:

Go to page 77 of your current WiP.
Go to line 7.
Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they're written. No cheating.
Tag 7 other sadists, I mean writers.

Since both my WiP's are in edit stages, I grabbed the one I haven't started hacking at yet. My young adult paranormal romance Remembered, the first in a planned trilogy.

The room was dim, and finally quiet. Leaning back into the chair, Xander rested his cheek against his fist and fought the wave of exhaustion pouring over his weary body. The fight had taken more effort than he’d been prepared for. The crash had taken the rest. Xander had been running on pure adrenaline since AJ had uttered his name in the ambulance. He should return to his apartment, steal a few hours sleep and go north as he’d planned, but he couldn’t find the strength to leave.

Amazing, the power of hearing one’s name in so unexpected a moment.

And now for the commiseration: