Sunday, July 18, 2010

Excerpt Monday July 2010

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other.

SETUP: This is a scene from my Young Adult novel, Melody's Song. Melody has a run in with Nate - literally.

The cool night air slapped me in the face when I opened the side door to escape and it took me a second to realize it was drizzling. The misty rain pattered down against my hot skin. The chill felt good. It might not be that long before we got snow. It snowed in Ohio, right? A tinge of excitement coursed though me. My first snowfall! My eyes widened as I strained to look at the misty rain, searching for that alluring first white flake.
A low chuckle came from the semi-darkness behind me. I pivoted to search for the source, my balance tittering on an unsupported ankle and I crashed to the ground.
Two hands reached out to grab my arm, but my rear hit the cold pavement before they could get to me. Nate knelt down, concern etched on his handsome face. Well, concern and amusement. My heart skipped three beats, forgetting for a moment how to work.
“Are you okay?” I could hear him straining to keep from laughing. Smart guy.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I tried to brush off splatters of mud clinging to my jeans, but like day old grease in a grease trap, it fused to my pants.
“Let me help you up.”
“No thanks, I got it.” An edge of annoyance crept into my voice. Did he purposely wait in the dark to scare me? The rain started to pick up, fat droplets plunging to the ground around us, sounding like fingers tapping on a desk. I ignored his outstretched hand and struggled to my feet.
Pain shot through my ankle and rippled up my leg. Hot tears prickled at the edges of my eyes, but I swiped them away. Nate’s arm encircled me before I tumbled back to the wet pavement.
“Whoa. Steady. Your ankle?”
“No my ear. Idiot,” I snapped. It felt like a smoking red hot poker straight from a blacksmith's forge was searing straight through the skin and skewering the bone. I desperately wanted to stop the tears threatening to overflow. But it hurt. I mean it really hurt. Like the kind of pain I imagine a guy would feel if his dick got caught in a zipper. A zipper with razor sharp teeth.
“Can you walk on it?”
I clung to Nate’s strength, his warmth seeping through my shirt and into my chilled skin. Our eyes locked and for one blissful second I forgot about my ankle. His chest rubbed against my side, my hands gripping his taunt biceps. Our faces were only inches from each other and his breath a wisp of vapour.
“Can I take a look?”
I nodded as he assisted me over to a bench near the store’s front door. The rain pelted off the tin roof above us making a musical hymn. I concentrated on the sound, trying to keep my mind off the pain. He knelt on the ground in front of me and held out his hand, palm up. Our eyes met and I hesitated. Was I doing something wrong? Could I screw up my assignment anymore? I’m pretty freaking sure falling for your Charge was a big no-no. What would the Senate think? What if they reassigned Nate’s file? What if…wow he smelled amazing. I filled my lungs with the earthy scent making me light headed. I lifted my leg and let his warm hands examine it. My stomach did a nosedive when he touched my skin. A jolt shot through my blood and tingled from the tip of my toes to the top of my ears.

Links to other Excerpt Monday writers
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

HIW - Finishing a story

HOW I WRITE is a blog series where writers of different genres discuss how they go about the business of writing a book. Like snowflakes, writers are unique and we have unique ways to produce our creative product, our books. So walk with us, learn from us, and help us become better writers in the process. Click HERE to visit the other authors in this series!

There is a quote I read last week that went something like this: True happiness in life is having my beginnings than ends.

I really took that quote to heart for my personal life, but not so much for my writing career. This topic had me reviewing what I have on the go and I have at this moment (drum roll please) 5 wips - 2 of which are full novels.

What is the negative to having all this on the go?
1) In theory I should never hit a wall. If I have more than one story to focus on, I can keep my plot bunnies working all the time.
2) When I decide to refocus on one story, I have to reread what I have written to get back into the voice and groove of the story. This will either excite me and prove that I am on the right track, or I will start edits to fix what wasn't working anyways.
3) If I hear of a submission call...hey, I might just have something tucked away.

But what are the negatives?
1) Sometimes (mind you it is rare) I have the desire to work on two stories at the exact time.
2) It takes longer to finish a WIP if I am jumping too it.
3) I look at the amount of open stuff I have on my plate and want a nap. The pressure and self-induced stress can feel overwhelming not having enough time in the day to get to the deadlines I want too.
4) Heaven forbid I have a major writing sprint and finish everything - I'll have to edit everything at the same time and I hate to edit!

Having more than one WIP on the go doesn't work for everyone and to be truthful I wish I didn't work that way myself. I rather focus and get one writing, edited and out first, but where the fun in that? And that's really what it comes down to for me - writing is a passion for me at this point before it is a money making career, so at this point in my career I am letting my imagination, heart and plot bunnies led the way. :)

Has having more than one WIP on the go been a good or bad experience for you?

Happy writing,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

HIW - Starting a new WIP and tools to get the job done

HOW I WRITE is a blog series where writers of different genres discuss how they go about the business of writing a book. Like snowflakes, writers are unique and we have unique ways to produce our creative product, our books. So walk with us, learn from us, and help us become better writers in the process. Click HERE to visit the other authors in this series!

Starting a new story and tools I use

I was giddy to see this topic! Something I have knowledge on! Is it a problem that at any given time I have 6 WIPs? What can I say, I don't like writer's block. The more pans in the fire the more I can jump around.

I just started a new WIP - a sweet, adult short aimmed for a submission call of 20-25K. Since the story has such defined word count guidelines, I wanted to do things a bit different with this story (isn't there wisdom in the old truth that when we stop learning we die?) So in the spirit of that, I wanted to try something new. For this story I used character graphs *gasp* and I plotted the story from start to end, chapter by chapter. I am very excited to sink my teeth into it because there is zero chance I will run into a wall - I seriously hope I am not going to have to eat these words.

Here's the odd thing: The ending came to me before anything else. I had a vague idea of the story, but was unsure how to make it work. Then out of nowhere, boom, I actually visualized the ending. So I wrote that down in point form in a Word doc. Then I bugged my CPs, my husband, my dog - I'd say even my cats, but nothing bothers them - until the rest of the story fell into place.

I am attaching a copy of a character chart below, but in summary, I think this is a new way for me. I can't foresee any roadblocks or reasons why I can't work through things. I feel I can easily wrap up the story within the 20-25K guidelines. And I think I have a pretty great little story here!

Okay, off I go to write! Good luck everyone! If anyone would like a blank copy of the character chart (the pretty one in Word) send me an email at or leave your email in a comment here and I will make sure I send it to you.



Here is the chart I used for the heroine, Amber Sinclair. (it has pretty colours and is divided into boxes, but I am not techincal enough to get it to appear that way here)

Character: Amber Sinclair
Role: Heroine
Height: 5'5"
Hair: Blond
Eyes: Brown
Body Type: Slim
Age during Story: 32
Profession: Runs the animal shelter in small town.
Background/childhood: Normal family life. Parents still together and live in the same small town she grew up in. Her husband left her last year, cheated on her with more than one person from town. She threw herself into the animal shelter and the animals, giving up on love.
Archetype: The Nurturer

Goal (physical need, what they THINK they need) To raise $8,000 to pay back taxes, insurance and repairs on the shelter – otherwise she will have to close it since government funding has dried up.

Motive (emotional need, what they really need) Her entire life is the shelter and the animals. She will be heartbroken and lose the purpose of her life if she can’t raise the money.

External Conflict (physical): The auction is a lot of work and she is determined to make it a success. When Em (bff) suggests they add a bachelor date-off part, she is hesitant but agrees. She is also worried about money, and with old Dr. Morgan retiring as the town vet, she is afraid the ‘new guy’ won’t give her a break on the outstanding vet bill or a discount on future services.

Internal Conflict (emotional): Worried about the attraction she is feeling for the new vet, Dr. Rick Barron. But since he’s so secretive and hot, she is determined to get him in the auction.

Positive Traits: Optimistic (not about love), Determination

Negative Traits:Unrealistic, poor book management, self-sacrificing

Fatal Flaw (Achilles heel, the one thing designed to bring them to a standstill in their present way of being): If she loses the shelter, her world, which has only been holding together since her ex husband left her, will fall apart.

Secret (the lie they tell themselves to get by): Her animals are all that she needs to feel love.

Epiphany: If she opens her heart to Rick, she might find love.