Thursday, May 21, 2009

RIP Nameless Woman

I killed a woman today. It's no one you know. Now, it's no one anyone will ever know.

Once upon a time (ie: about eight hours ago) there was a woman who was to be a part of the Son of DD. She wasn't there very much, had no speaking lines. In fact, her only purpose was as a prop, to motivate other characters into action.

But, in my revisions of my synopsis (still trying to beat this writer's block, you see) I have eliminated her role. She's been downsized, I've gone in a new direction, etc.

And now, where she was to die in the course of the book, she instead starts the novel already deceased.

So, here's to you, unsung, unnamed cannon fodder. May you rest in piece.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Teaser Tuesday Cinco

Teaser Tuesday once again! Per popular request, today's excerpt comes from Project NaNo, or Peacemaker.

As a bit of set up, our intrepid hero Caleb has been captured by Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. The old shaman that leads them has forced Caleb into a magical duel with one of the braves, and things have gotten a bit out of hand.


The Indian man threw one hand out toward the remnants of the large fire, and the flame answered, rising in one sinuous line like a great serpent, the head weaving back and forth menacingly. In the trees overhead, leaves and twigs popped softly, the sap in them boiling in an instant. The scent of burning foliage permeated the clearing. They had only moments before the entire forest ignited, tinder-dry as it was.

“No!” Horrified, Caleb watched the serpent, careful not to be entranced. Like the snake it resembled, fire could ensnare the mind, luring people to their deaths with false promises of escape. The trick was not to look it in the eyes.

Regardless of where it originated, fire was pure energy, and this Caleb could grab. The hungry monster within him gleefully launched itself at the serpent of flame, gulping greedily. He felt the searing heat of it as it entered his body, and the blue flames around his fists turned orange, singing the hair from his forearms. The fire serpent hissed and writhed, coiling over and over itself in an effort to escape, but Caleb had a large gaping hole within himself. There was more than enough room to capture and hold it.

Dimly, he heard Ernst yelling for him to give it over, to bleed off the power that was never meant to be encased in a human form. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he had to. Give it up, or burn with it. But oh, it felt good, the heat coursing through his veins. Even with his eyes closed, he could see the world tinged in shades of red and gold and at the very depths of his vision, the blue of hottest flame. If he let go, he could be part of it forever, his energy blended with the eternal energy of flame. He’d known, ever since Chicago, that this would be his fate.

Something struck him across the face, hard enough to jar his senses. When he opened his eyes, he found the ancient shaman standing before him, hand drawn back to slap him again. Seeing that he had Caleb’s attention, he shoved Ernst into the Peacemaker’s arms, the jackalope’s antlers gouging him through his shirt. His blood steamed where it oozed from those scratches, and others.

“Caleb, please give it to me. Please.” Ernst sat up on his haunches, quivering little nose nearly pressed to Caleb’s. His voice echoed, taking on the crackling sound of a burning fire. “You have to give it to me, or you’ll burn. Please.”

Yes. He’d seen men burn from within. Their fingers turned black and the skin curled, flaking away as ash. The fat bubbled, and they smelled like sizzling bacon. That was why he could never eat it. And to a man, they’d died with smiles on their faces, seduced by the very power that devoured them alive.

“Yes.” His own voice was barely audible, the air in his lungs too hot for his vocal chords to handle. “Take it!” Inside, the fire roared its denial, and it scrabbled at him with searing claws, not wanting to relinquish a ready meal.

Through the heat, he could feel Ernst’s forehead pressed against his, antlers pricking painfully. The brown fur was blessedly cool to the touch, and it cleared away some of the heated delirium from Caleb’s mind. The fire left him, kicking and screaming, but drawn inexorably out nonetheless. That tremendous power funneled through the tiny form that was Ernst and away into wherever a familiar put such things.

Caleb was left cold and sweating, hugging the furry form close to his chest. There was no need for him to say thanks, unless it was to the Almighty for sending him Ernst in the first place. He would be so lost without him.

Someone touched his shoulder, and he looked to find the old Indian peering intently into his eyes. After long moments, the ancient one nodded. “Epeva’e.” Whatever it meant, he was obviously finished with Caleb. He handed the staff back.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Still Kicking

Yes, we could spend paragraphs upon paragraphs waxing poetic about how much I phail as a blog writer...but no one wants that, not really. (ok, I don't want that, not really.)

I swear that I intend to write here. I do. Every day, I look at this page and I think, "What can I whine about next?" Face it, there's only so many years of "Augh why can't I WRITE?!" that people wanna hear. When I figure out how many years that is, I'll let you know.

Sadly, my no-writing streak is extending from my WIPs, to my blog, to my own still-not-up website. I think the Intrepid Auggy is about to strangle me. I mean really, all he's waiting on is for me to write some kind of bio thing. It's MY OWN LIFE! How can I not know what to write about it?!

Debating on whether or not to post a teaser tomorrow. Part of me thinks I should ban myself from it as punishment for not writing. The other part thinks that I'm an idiot.

This week is my ninth anniversary with the hubby. Nine years, and I haven't killed him yet, despite hitting him with a car twice. (pre-dating) Two years ago, on our anniversary, we sat at a restaurant, sans child, and dreamed up DD. The superstitious part of me is hoping that this year, we can sit at a restaurant, sans child, and hash out the problems I'm having with Son of DD. I guess I just like the symmetry of it.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Teaser Tuesday IV

Posting a Teaser Tuesday way early, mostly because the last couple weeks I totally forgot.

This one is a snippet from the first chapter (the only chapter, really) of what I was calling Project 4, tentatively titled Tactile. What would your world be like, if every touch told you the story of a thousand lives?


I was in the middle of eating lunch, and halfway through the Lady Cassandra’s forced wedding to the Duke Debarge, when Raleigh raised his head from his dish with a curious whuff.

“What’s up?”

“Rowl,” he said, quite firmly, and walked to the door.

I frowned but let him out, trying to peer down the winding drive to see who was intruding on my solitude. I couldn’t hear the diesel rumble of the McGoverns’ old truck, so I knew it wasn’t my neighbors.

Raleigh went bounding down the hill to vanish around the curve in a flurry of white and gray fur. I heard no screams of terror, so I assumed whoever it was would be walking up the hill shortly. With a heavy sigh, I started packing my pizza away in neat plastic bags.

It was ten full minutes before the quiet knock came at the door, and I wondered if Raleigh had given the unknown visitor a hard time. “Who is it?”

“Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ma’am.” A woman’s voice, young, hesitant. When I opened the door, my impression was confirmed. She was shorter than me, by a good deal, with a cute pageboy haircut and freckles across her pert little nose. Freckles! Her dark uniform gave her nothing at all in the way of authority. She looked like a kid playing dress up.

Her face lit up upon seeing me, as if she’d been afraid I wouldn’t open the door at all. “I’m Constable Sikes. May I come in?” She stuck her hand out at me.

You don’t offer to shake hands with a tactile psychic. It’s like offering to greet the queen by sniffing her crotch. I eyed the offending appendage until she blushed and withdrew her hand.

“Beg your pardon. I wasn’t thinking.”

I thought the girl might weep if I kept her on the doorstep any longer. “Come in, Constable.” I stepped away, keeping a very clear distance between the two of us.

She hovered just inside the door, and I went on about cleaning up the kitchen, plunging my hands under running water to wash my dishes. The water was soothing, easing away the tension that had sprung up between my shoulders. I didn’t like strangers in my house. I didn’t like familiar people there either. Who knew what kind of psychic bile they’d dribble all over the place?

Behind me, Constable Sikes attempted small talk. “You have a lovely home, ma’am.”

I turned in time to see her reach to pick up the little wolf figurine from the shelf by the door. “Don’t touch that!” It came out a bit harsher than I’d intended, and she jumped, snatching her hand back. “Dear God, what are they teaching you at Depot these days? Why would they send you here to meet with me, and not even tell you how to behave?” I dried my hands on the towel, scowling at the world in general now.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m nervous.” I watched her gather herself, drawing up to stand straighter. “You’re right. I should be thinking.”

“What is so important that they sent you here all by yourself?” I stopped myself from adding “little girl” to the end of that.

“I’m not by myself. My superior is in the car, ma’am.”

“And why is your superior not coming to talk to me?”

She blinked at me, as if I should have already known. “Your dog, ma’am. He won’t let him out of the car.”

I groaned, and my stomach tied itself into three or four intricate knots. There was only one person Raleigh reacted that strongly to. I gestured for the little Constable to move away from the door, then poked my head outside.

“Raleigh, let him go!” My voice echoed off the hills around the cabin, mockingly. Let him go, let him go! A moment later, Raleigh came bounding up the hill, tongue lolling happily. As far as he was concerned, he’d done a good deed. “Go lay down, trickster.” I ruffled his fur as he muscled through the door past me, getting only feelings of playfulness and contentment from him. That’s why I love animals. They’re such uncomplicated creatures.

Unlike the man now marching up my driveway. His dark coat flapped around his legs, taking the gravel road in strides twice as long as my own. He’d cut his hair since I’d seen him last, the tiny fringe of dark curls at the back of his neck now gone. It looked good on him. Not that I’d ever tell him that.

“Corporal Redfield. To what do I owe the distinct displeasure?”

Thursday, May 7, 2009


This may be the greatest thing I've seen lately. Hats off to Lara Zielin and her vocal stylings!

Since I'm still stuck on Son of DD (waiting on Chie to call me any moment to hash out the stuck place. Did I mention how much I love her?), I've been fiddling with an idea for a YA UF novel. I've run the premise past several appropriately aged people (thanks to Chie's students, who will never realize how much they've helped me) and it seems to be a winner.

My issue is that I'm not sure I'm qualified to write YA. I mean, I didn't fit in with teens when I WAS one. They were always slightly alien (and scary) to me. I was the geek who would sit at the teachers' table, if they let me.

Whether or not I'm qualified, it's a low priority thing, and mostly just something to keep my brain occupied while I'm waiting for my editing notes and so on.

That's my life right now! All about the waiting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Heartland Book Bank

Today was the Real Job(tm)'s annual community service day, wherein all employees leave work early to community service. (go figure) This is one of my absolute FAVORITE things about the Real Job(tm), simply because every year I sign up to help at the Heartland Book Bank.

The book bank is an awesome place. First's full of BOOKS. That automatically puts it pretty high on my list of "cool places I want to spend time". But more than that, the book bank is a place that enables people to obtain books for FREE. Read on, it gets better.

The Heartland Book Bank is a not-for-profit organization with a double purpose. First off, they promote literacy. They take in donations of books and make those books available to different agencies and home schoolers for free. There's no limit on how many books an agency can take, or how often they can visit, and it's all free!

Secondly, they serve to recycle the materials they get that just aren't usable any more. Books that have been well loved, or are simply too old to be relevant any more. (really, no one needs the federal employee benefits manual from 1969)

All workers at the book bank do so on a volunteer basis, and they are dependent on donations from the general public. (pssst, that's you!) So if anyone is in the Kansas City area, and you have books or time to spare, be sure to look up the lovely people at the book bank. You will never find a more grateful bunch.

Me, I have grand dreams of being able to organize some kind of multi-author donation/signing...thing for them once my book is out. I haven't pinned down plans yet, but Kansas City seems to be assembling quite a group of local authors, and it would be nice to be able to give back.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The END of the WORLD!

So, Bryn blogged today about various and asundry apocalyptic scenarios. And I am a teeeeeeeeny bit ashamed to admit that I made an appearance in her post. Yes, you guessed it, I'm the "online writing friend" with a zombie phobia.

True story. They freak me right the fuck out.

Robots don't bother me. You can break those. People don't bother me. You can break those too. But when the broken people get UP again, and shamble after you moaning...I am SO gone. And don't even get me started on whatever creative genius dreamed up FAST zombies. How is that even fair??? Corpses are supposed to stay still, people!

I do intend to write a zombie book one day, mostly as a form of therapy. Right now, I'm leaning toward telling the tale of the last bastion of human civilization, near the arctic circle ('cause frozen zombies are immobile zombies. No body heat, get it?). And of course, they are being threatened by global warming, and every year, the circle of frozen paradise is shrinking, and the zombies are advancing.

Wait...this was supposed to be theraputic how?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A book's natural habitat

So yesterday, I happened upon the wild and elusive Silver Phoenix in its natural habitat, a book store!

And of course, what do we do when we see something rare and unusual? We KILL it! Er, wait, no... We rip it from its home and... Er, um... Ok, well, long story short, I bought the only copy they had. (I am working under the assumption that it was the LAST copy they had, not the ONLY copy they had. See what I did there?)

Kiddo was very excited to see a book from someone mommy knew on the shelves.

This has been a lazy weekend, really. Today, me and the fam are going to go see Wolverine (I mean c'mon...Hugh Jackman...).

Next week (which starts tomorrow) though... Oh, I have grand plans for next week. There will be writing! And...more writing! And...stuff!