Category Archives: first novel

Breaking Free (and a general update)

I know, I know. It’s been far too long since I posted anything here. In 2015, I had hand surgery and became asthmatic, both of which slowed me down a bit. I volunteered at three summer writing camps for grade school kids, which was super fun. I made a lot of progress editing my second novel and wrote several short stories and poems. I haven’t written much flash fiction since I stopped posting weekly, but I did write one piece recently, which was a lot of fun, so maybe I’ll get back into it. A few months ago, I took my first novel and started re-writing it, removing one of two POV characters entirely from the story (about 45% of the content) and switching from third person past tense to first person present tense. I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s interesting and fun so far, so I’m going to stick with it and see what happens.

The real reason I’m writing is that the latest anthology from Scripting Change, Breaking Free, is now available!

It includes a poem of mine.

Proceeds from the anthology will benefit Reach, an organization based in Massachusetts which supports domestic violence victims of all backgrounds and ages, while also increasing awareness in local communities.

The digital collection is available through:

The Scripting Change store
Smashwords (set your own price!)
Amazon in the US
Amazon in the UK
Amazon in Canada
Barnes and Noble

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It was him!

Last weekend, I went out for dinner at a local restaurant with a friend. I was eating my meal, when out of the corner of one eye, a bright shirt caught my attention. Something in my facial expression changed.

“What?” my friend asked.

“Don’t look now, but,” I held up one hand and tried to conceal pointing with the other to the man who was now walking past my elbow. “It’s one of the characters from my book!” I hissed.

The man turned to order at the counter. My friend studied his profile. His jaw dropped. “It is!” he whispered.

My eyes bugged out of my skull. “I know, right?!” From the cut of his hair to his posture to the slightly baggy clothes to the color of his shirt. It was him, like he stepped right out of the page. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to jump out of my seat and ask him his name, what he did for a living. He even wore nerd-tastic glasses, which I had thought would be too cliche for my character, but now I’m totally adding them. OMG. I was so excited, I was bouncing in my seat, food forgotten. I hoped the man didn’t notice…

My point is, inspiration can strike anywhere–whether it’s a character that you already wrote springing off the page, or finding slices of inspiration in observing those around you to blend into new characters. Keep your eyes open. Open them wide and take a good look around.

Thursday’s Children are talking about firsts this week. It was definitely a first seeing a character I wrote leap out of the page into the flesh. It was a total shock.

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Read the other Thursday’s Children’s posts by clicking on the link below (and consider joining in the fun):

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So You’re a Vampire Now – #flashfiction

Hopefully you’ll find this a little more entertaining/humorous than my last post. I wrote this piece last month for my writing group. Our assignment was to write a short piece imitating the style of “Orientation” by Daniel Orozco, a witty, satirical short story that uses a deadpan, second person voice and inane details to desensitize you to the oddities taking place in an Office Space or Dilbert-like cubicle farm (it reminded me a bit too much of my old workplace). I had a lot of fun writing this. I hope you enjoy it!

Writing Exercise: Try your own hand at writing a short piece in this style of voice. Post a link in the comments to your piece!

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This is the alleyway, and here’s the bar where we like to hunt. Come on inside, and you’ll see two areas: the dance floor, and the lounge. The dance floor is the elders’ territory. You can take your pick from the lounge. Never feed IN the bar. Except in the bathroom. That’s okay. But only during an emergency. Try to get your victim out of the bar and into the alley before you begin to feed. If you have an emergency and need to feed in the bathroom, ask your master first. If you can’t find your master, ask any older vampire who isn’t currently feeding, but try not to be too intrusive if he’s busy charming a victim. If  you feed in public, you will be punished. You don’t want to know how.

You must pace yourself when you feed. What do I mean? I’m glad you asked that. We pace our feeding according to the 2-pint night–one body to drain–at least to begin with. If the whole gang is going somewhere and we’re taking down a crowd and you’ve got four bodies to feast on, pace them out; don’t suck them dry all at once. Alternatively, if we’re headed into a desert spell and one’s gotta last you a whole week, sip on her. A little here, a little there–make her last. She’ll get drowsy and regenerate more supply. Good question, good question. Ask too many though, and you won’t see the outside of a coffin for a long while.

As I was saying, that’s the ladies room, and that’s the men’s. Don’t get them confused. Only use your designated restroom to primp and only use it to feed in an emergency with prior approval. If you see a lady go into the men’s room, do not follow her. It could either be someone going in to meet the Master, or, there are a handful of cross-dressers around.

There are three bartenders: two men named Andrew, who look completely different, and a woman named Erika. Never speak to the bartenders. Don’t even look at them. Pretend they don’t exist.

The emergency exit is in the back of the bar, past the restrooms. An alarm will sound if you use it. Try not to use it. If you end up covered in blood and you can’t remember where it came from, use it and run. Run like the wind.

If you cut yourself, your skin will magically knit back together. If you break a bone, it will magically heal too. There will still be blood, ooze, and pain. But you’ll get over it. Pretty quickly too. It’s kinda awesome. You want a demo? No? Alright, maybe later.

You can’t eat food anymore. Can’t drink anything either. The only thing you can consume is blood. If you try to eat or drink anything else, you’ll just barf. I’ll let you try that one on your own.

You can’t have any contact with your former family or friends. No one you used to know. If any of them ever show up at the bar, point them out to your master, then leave. Your master will make sure they are not on the night’s menu. If you can’t find your master, find an elder vampire. Go down the list. If you can’t find anyone else, feel free to ask me.

Can I see your cell phone? Thanks! No, you can’t have it back.

Sorry about that. Doesn’t look like the SIM chip survived. This is your new cell phone. It has the whole gang’s digits pre-programmed into it. Only call if you’re in a bind or if you’ve been invited to call. I think that about covers it. And we’re back in the lounge.

I call dibs on the redhead. Yes, I can do that.

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It’s fun breaking out of your routine to try to imitate someone else’s voice sometimes, especially if that writer has a strong voice. It’s a good learning experience. It’s something we did often in the Fiction Writing class I took at De Anza college. I think it’s a helpful exercise when you’re trying to figure out what exactly your own voice is. I highly recommend trying it on occasion.

In other news, the process of revising my novel to incorporate an urban fantasy element by introducing a new character has become more involved than I expected. I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s fun though. She’s spunky. The other night when my husband came home from work, I bit him on the shoulder (not hard). He asked me, “What’s gotten into you?” I shrugged. I think it was a bit of my character.

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Re-envisioning

My husband finally had a chance to read my first novel when we were on vacation last week. He had quite a few thoughts (on almost every page). He is a very critical person. But I figure, if I can take his criticism, I can take criticism from anyone. And, I think that I greatly benefit from his insight. He has read a huge number of books, mostly sci-fi and fantasy, so although he is not exactly my target audience, he is a good beta reader.

Before he read my first novel, my husband and I discussed how my second novel is in the urban fantasy genre, and how I think I’m leaning towards wanting to write urban fantasy and dark urban fantasy/horror more than science fiction in the future (maybe UF with sci-fi elements). We discussed how I was a little afraid that publishing my first novel as a sci-fi would pigeon-hole me as a sci-fi author.

So, when he read my first novel and decided that he thought parts of it would be more plausible if you add urban fantasy to it, I decided I liked the idea. If my first novel is sci-fi and urban fantasy, then it will pave the way for my second and subsequent novels to be urban fantasies. This novel is more than just sci-fi and urban fantasy; it’s a mix of a lot of things: sci-fi, urban fantasy, romance, and technological horror, with a little humor thrown in to dispel the tension. I suppose it would more generically be called speculative fiction.

I’ll be re-writing a number of passages, adding a few new sections and a new character over the next few weeks. I think it will be a fun challenge. I’m going to alternate working on this re-envisioning with writing new scenes for my second novel.

If you feel stuck in your writing, you might want to try Writer’s Digest’s (@WritersDigest) 30 Writing Assignments for the 30 days of June.

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And I’m done!

I just finished editing the Epilogue of my first novel to post to my beta readers. Now comes the scary part — searching for an agent and publisher.

I’m really excited. It’s the first big milestone I’ve reached since I finished the first draft of the novel over a year ago. If you happen to know any literary agents, or have any advice for me, I could sure use the help! This is such a new adventure for me. It’s daunting. But the feedback I’ve received to date has been so positive, it gives me confidence and hope. Thank you!

If you want to become a beta reader, leave a comment or email me. There’s still a lot of editing to come (and a new novel to write).

My plan for this blog is to post excerpts from my novels, writing prompts, other short works of writing, musings on my inspirations, and news. I started a writing group a little over a year ago and we’ve been writing short pieces between and during meetings, so I’d like to share a few of those. Subscribe, or come back soon to see what’s new!

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