Saturday, January 26, 2013

Writing, Editing Update

It’s been a while since my last update, so I thought I’d share a little about what’s been going on since Thanksgiving when I finished the first draft of my novel. First, let me say, that editing is a long, torturous experience that feels like plucking my fingernails off one by one… Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad. I am having trouble with it though.
(photo credit:

Those who have followed the updates about the book since the beginning know that I started writing it in third person and switched to first person about 20K words in. Well, I have decided (with some advice from a writer friend – THANKS COURTNEY!) to just cut all that off and see if I can’t start a little past that. That was hard. There are SEVERAL scenes and moments and just plain necessary information tucked into those words that I have to either put in somewhere else or explain a different way or, well, leave out. (And even as I say that, I know that most of it needed to get chopped…so, yeah, it’s a good move) It’s hard for me to know what is necessary and what is just superfluous. I had to go through a period of questioning and mourning and whatnot. I’m finished with that now. I started editing, in earnest, a week or two ago: meaning, cutting and trimming and just plain making my scenes better one page at a time (by the way, my flash fiction experience has been extremely helpful with this process).

As it stands now, I have approximately 200 pages (after the ones I’ve cut or edited already) left to edit. At one page a day, that’s another six months! Hahaha! I hope I can move faster than that. My goal is to edit three pages a day (for all you non-math-types, that’s one and a half months to finish). Even as I type this, that sounds absurdly pathetic…but I think it’s realistic. Add to that another period of time (month-ish???) to write any scenes that need to be added and edit those, and – worst case scenario – I’ll have a completed draft ready to send to beta readers by May.

While I’m editing this novel, I will continue to write new content for one or several projects I have in my brain. That goal is so ephemeral you can walk right through it, I know. I have SIX ideas for new books competing in my head right now. Yes, six. Six! …And I love all of them! I’m having difficulty making a decision on any of them, or rather, I’m having difficulty saying no to any of them. J So, during this time of getting-to-know-my-editing-brain, I will play around with each of them and see which comes out in the lead. (One is the one I thought I would write for NaNo this past year – the one I can’t categorize – YA of some sort with no fantasy, one is a YA Sci-fi, one is a middle grade fantasy, one is a YA urban-esque fantasy, one is a children’s picture book, and one is a…um…probably a chapter book serial-type-thing?) As you can see, I’m all over the place. They’re just going to duke it out over the next couple of months and see which one comes out on top. …I’ll keep you posted! J

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Gargoyle

My first ever entry into the Flash!Friday micro fiction contest! (It's week 8 already!)This is run (in part or whole - I'm not really sure) by my fabulous friend Rebekah Postupak (@postupak)! It's very hard for me to write SO STINKIN' SHORT, but I gave it my best (and chopped like crazy!). The rules asked for a 75 word story based on the following picture...give or take 5 words... I made it in 78. SCORE! :)


“I can see all of Paris from here!” Jean grasped the gargoyle and leaned forward.

“Jean, that death grip you have on his horn might make him angry.”

 “He’s just stone, Anton” Jean rapped his knuckles on the gargoyle’s head, “Falling is much more terrifying than he is!”

“THINK AGAIN.” The gargoyle turned.

Jean was devoured within minutes.


“I did warn him.”

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I couldn't help but join the 55 word challenge this week. I LOVE the picture! :)

His mother was the trendy sort. If the hat was good enough for celebrities, it was good enough for him. Miniature elephants? They were all the rage. The picture was the last they took together. Both were sickly. Now his mom wears pink, even when it’s not October, and cries as she puts it on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No Kiss Blogfest

Hey all! I came across this No Kiss Blogfest just today, celebrating all the near kisses in the world. The idea just captured me and I wrote this scene today (Yes, today. All of it, today. Meaning: I haven't really edited it much. Sorry. Some of the pacing is not what I want, but that will have to be fixed at another time.) As it's due up by tomorrow and I have a date with the hubby tonight, yeah, this will have to do! :) The scene is technically in my newest WIP (work in progress - for those of you non-writerly peeps) so I wasn't sure I wanted to post it, but then I just couldn't help myself. :) I hope you enjoy! (for those of you interested, the scene came it at 1,390 words)

As I pick up the last discarded cup on the corner table I glance out of the corner of my eye. Jake is cleaning off the coffee table. He’s the only one left. We’re alone. Why was he still here? “Thanks for helping.” I stand and smile at him.

“No problem.” He surveys the room, “You need it. I thought this kind of mess only happened when there was actual drinking involved.”

I purse my lips. I don’t like the implication that he’s been to those parties. Who am I kidding? I know he’s been to those parties, I just don’t want it to be true. Deep breath. Keep it light, “Nope. Kids are slobs with or without alcohol.” I pause and place my hand over my chest and give him my most overly sympathetic face possible with a dash of shock to get the point across, “I’m so sorry! Did you somehow think we were perfect? I’m sure we dashed that preconception tonight. Now you won’t ever want to hang out with us again!” I fake pout.

He gives me that half smile that sends tingles down my spine. How does he do that? He’s all the way across the room! “I don’t know, I suppose I can stand one more gathering…as long as you’re there.”

Um. Did he just say that? I think dumbfounded is the appropriate term for what I am experiencing. Honestly, no words will form. He’s standing there looking perfect and waiting for my reply. I open my mouth to say something, but I have no response to that. He’s not… We’re not… I mean, we’re friends. That’s it. I finally manage a lame, “I usually am,” before I turn to drop the cups into the trash and proceed to the plates on the floor next to the chairs. I can’t hear him. Is he still standing there, or did he start picking up again? I strain my ears, but it’s hard to hear over the beating of my heart doing double time through my veins.

Get a grip! I’m sure it was just harmless flirting. No big deal. I take another deep breath and stand with my arms full, and he’s there – right in front of me. I’m embarrassed that I inhale sharply and jump a little – maybe a lot. He drops his armload into the trash and reaches out to steady me. His hands on my arms do not steady me. Goosebumps spread from point of contact to, well, everywhere. My mouth goes dry and I feel like I can’t get enough oxygen. He’s a plate away from me and looking at me like, well, like he wants to – no, that’s not possible. I must be reading him all wrong.

His eyes go from concerned to soft and he smiles a real smile – one of those that spreads sunshine through my veins and wraps the world in welcome. He lets go of me and takes the plates out of my hands and drops them in the trash. Now there’s nothing in between us. He takes a step forward, “I meant what I said, Brooke.”

He’s not actually touching me, but I have never been more physically aware of anyone in my entire life. It’s like I can feel him through the air. Like sound waves bounce around and you hear them from across the room, he’s giving off some sort of vibration my body is interpreting. I feel like I need to step back so my brain can start working again, but I can’t seem to make my body do what I’m telling it to. “What do you mean?” I manage to whisper. I can’t actually look him in the eyes, but looking at his chest just makes me want to reach out and touch it. I can see his firm muscles underneath the midnight blue t-shirt he’s wearing. It looks soft.

“Look at me.” I shake my head slightly. I’m afraid. He lifts his hand to my chin and gently tilts it so that I have no choice. Sure, I could refuse – I doubt he’d push hard – but my body only seems to want to do what he wants rather than what I am telling it. His finger is soft and warm, but I can feel the guitar callous on his fingertip. Where is the oxygen in this room? And I am now way too warm. My eyes finally succumb to the direction of my head and I find myself looking into his eyes. “That’s better.” His eyes search my face and his thumb starts gently rubbing along my jaw line. Fire and ice simultaneously blossom across my cheek and down my spine.

 I close my eyes to try to get myself under control.

“No. Please. I want to see your eyes.” He leans in and closes the distance between us to a millimeter (or at least that’s how it feels). He cups my face in both his hands, his pinky fingers tingling a particularly sensitive spot just behind my ears.

My mouth opens involuntarily and my eyes fly open at the shock of it.

“Brooke. If I wasn’t clear before, I want to be very clear now. You have hypnotized me. I think about you all the time. Your smile. The crinkle in your eyes when you laugh. The way that piece of hair falls into your face and you impatiently brush it back. Your thoughtfulness – about everything. Your kindness to everyone you meet. The way you like to dance down the hall instead of just walk. Your joy. You are infectious and I want to be near you all the time.”

That’s not something I hear everyday. Okay, I’ve never heard it. Ever. I don’t know what to say. ‘Thank you’ seems trite. “Wow. I’d want to hang out with me to.” Is what I manage to say. Nice.

Jake threw his head back and laughed. I watched his neck muscles contract and that adam’s apple thing moving and I just wanted to lean in and see how it felt against my lips. Whoa. “You see!” He continued, startling me out of the impulse, “You never say what I expect! How can I make this more plain? Go out with me, Brooke. I want you to be my girlfriend.”

Again, that’s never happened to me before either. Well, assuming you don’t count the check yes or no note I had passed to me in social studies in fourth grade. Boys just don’t go around asking me out. I wasn’t prepared. “Um,” is all I manage, which is pretty impressive considering the circumstances. He leans closer and I can feel the heat of his breathing against my face. He smells of peppermint mixed with his musky cologne. It’s intoxicating. I close my eyes and just breathe it in.

“That wasn’t an answer.” I can hear the smile behind his words, let alone feel the movement of his lips just across the void.

“I’m not allowed to date yet,” came out of its own accord. That isn’t what I wanted to say, but it’s true nonetheless.

“Hmmm.” His hand moves from my cheek to cradle the back of my head and the other hand traces fingertips down my neck and arm, sending chills and making my legs feel like jelly, to finally grasp my hand. “I suppose we can wait a couple months to make it official.” He leans in closer and my heart is about to explode out of my chest when the front door opens. We jump apart.

My parents are home. They’re laughing as they come through the door, then their eyes rest on us and they both go silent. They just stand there staring. I must have the most surprised/guilty face ever seen on anyone. I clear my throat, “Welcome home. We were just, um, cleaning up. How was the show?” I smile a frightened little unsure smile and my dad purses his lips and swallows.

“We had a great time.” He looks around now, “Looks like you did to.” He turns back to Jake, “Thanks for your help, but we can take it from here.” He holds the door open for him and raises his eyebrows.

“Yes, Sir.” Jake mumbles as he nods his head. He glances at me for a moment before walking out the door.


Hello All! I hope your holidays were absolutely spectacular! I had a wonderful time with family and enjoyed my break! I am jumping back into the flash fiction circuit with a special Tuesday Tales that is up to 500 words long! WooHoo! I LOVE longer wordcounts! :) Anyway, I managed to get in at 499 words with the prompt word of Mulligrubs and the following picture. Enjoy!

Mulligrubs: \MUHL-i-gruhbz\, noun: Ill temper; colic; grumpiness


I watched as Claire relaxed into the water. The way the water caressed her body – was not something I should be thinking about! We were just friends, and I shouldn’t be here – standing three feet from the water. How had she talked me into this?

This wasn’t her fault. She just asked me to go with her to see the tidal pools and watch the tide go out. I just didn’t realize that entailed swimming. My mom was going to kill me, then ground me, then lecture me until sunrise…again.

“Why don’t you join me?” Her voice was so soft and velvety. It had power over me that was dangerous, especially here.

“I can’t.” I intended to speak normally, but my voice caught in my throat and came out a whisper. Why was she making me so nervous? She thought of me like a brother. I knew that.

She peeked at me through her lashes, “Oh come on, Mr. Mulligrubs, you’re not being very fun today. What’s wrong?”

“I’m just not supposed to be here. We should go.” I looked down. I was so embarrassed to have to admit to her that I wasn’t allowed here.

I heard a splash and looked up. She was sitting now – leaning back with her hands behind her. The strappy dress was clinging to every curve and I missed what she was saying. She looked annoyed.

“I’m sorry. I just –” She splashed me. A really good splash too. I was dripping.

“See. Now you have no excuses. You’re already wet.”

“It’s not about being wet…” I lost my voice completely as she stood, dripping and glorious, and walked toward me.

“Triston, don’t you want to come in with me?”

“Of course, but –” Blood was pounding in my ears.

“Your Mom’s not here. She’d never know. I promise not to tell.”

“Oh, she’d know when all hell broke loose.” Now she was confused. “Nevermind. I just can’t.” She’d never believe me about my father. Or the curse. Or his rage at how my mother had tricked him. If he ever got a hold of me…

“It’s okay. I understand.” She turned her sad eyes away from me and started to walk away.

“No! It’s not –”she turned back and tripped on something. I stepped forward and caught her.

I looked down.

Water seeped into my shoe, holding my ankle in a vice-like grip. Don’t panic. I could feel my heart racing. He probably won’t kill me. “Claire. Go. Tell my mom what happened. Tell her I love her…”

“What do you mean? That’s not funny. Just come with me.” She was so beautiful. And smart. And funny. And perfect. I leaned in and kissed her. I’d dreamed of it many times. This was way better. I only stopped when the water swelled around us. I pushed her toward the car, “Go! Don’t look back. Tell her I’m sorry.”

The tidal wave came in fast and engulfed me, dragging me out to sea.