Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Roller Coaster Ego

It seems to me that being an author is one of the hardest careers on an ego.

Especially in this age. I would be so much happier if I had no internet connection and couldn't track what people are saying about me and how many books they are buying. I wouldn't have to check my email every few hours (minutes) to see if I'd heard back from my publisher/agent. Instead, I would simply check the mailbox once a day, and then continue on my merry way.

It's amazing how quickly the wind can go out of my sails, so to speak.

And just as amazing how small thinks send me floating high again.

In one minute, I can get a partial request from an agent. In the next thirty seconds, I can get a biting review. A few hours later, I might get a raving email from a reader who simply loved my book. Encouraged, I might then check my sales stats.

Up. Crash. Up. Crash.

Yeah, it's not even an "up down." It's an "up...CRASH."

Sometimes I wonder if this is all really worth it.

There's more to my life than writing, after all. There's cooking--I almost always get favorable reviews there--or reading, or singing, or doing the dishes... All of these things can be very rewarding. And purposeful.

But let's face it. Nothing fulfills me like writing.

And so we carry on, waiting for that next high. Sounds a bit like an addict...

Can you relate? What gives you your highs and lows?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Missed Opportunities

There are always events and other things I hear about that I want to do or participate in. Rarely does it fit into my immediate schedule, so I think, "I'll do it later." And later. And later. And...well, you get the picture.

But sometimes, later doesn't come around.

My gym offers a free fitness evaluation to all members. They test your VO2 max, your metabolism, your body composition, etc. I didn't want to get this done while I was pregnant. Then I had the baby, and didn't want to get it done while I was still really overweight. By the time she hit six months, I kept saying to myself, "I'll schedule that next week. I'll do it the next time I see a trainer. I'll wait until I don't have the kids with me."

Well, last week my gym got bought out. Today I walked past the fitness evaluation room, and it's been emptied. I guess that equipment wasn't included in the buy-out.

Bummer. That's one opportunity I didn't capitalize on.

Moral of the story: Well, I think you can figure that out.

Ever miss out on something just because you never set a date to do it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Villain Goes Bad

We ended up cutting The Hand, or Truman's, POV from Perilous to create more suspense. But the scenes really let the reader get into the psyche of this multi-faceted bad guy who isn't your typical kidnapper. Most of the information in the following scene was conveyed in the novel from Jaci's POV, but here it is when we still had The Hand as a main character.

Harry Truman stood at the end of the hallway, arms crossed, and watched Claber and Grey laugh over some private joke. Their laughter cut short when they saw him.
            Truman ignored Grey. “Claber, I want to see you and Eli in my office. Now.” It was true that Grey had gone along on the mission, but he’d gone only as a additional muscle. He didn’t have a voice in the decisions made. Truman wanted to know from Eli and Claber why they now had three teens hiding in the attic.
             Claber’s head jerked up in a quick nod, and he hurried away.
            Unfolding his arms, Truman turned around and went into his private study. He swatted at the dusty desk and sat on it. A half-empty bottle of whiskey lay next to him. He eyed it, tempted to take a swig, but decided to wait.

            Claber and Eli didn’t waste his time. Within three minutes, they were both there.

            Truman nodded. “Shut the door.”
            Claber did so. Eli cracked his knuckles.

            Truman stood and paced for a moment, then came to a halt in front of the men. He clasped his hands behind his back, feet slightly apart. “Well? I sent you to get the Swan Lake necklace. Which you got?” He gave Claber a pointed look. Claber sent him a stiff nod, and Truman relaxed a bit. “Thought I said no stops. Get the necklace and come straight home. So what happened?”

            Claber gave Eli a pointed look.

Eli returned the look, swallowed hard, and said, “It was my fault. We stopped in Idaho Falls to get a bite—”

            “Idaho Falls?” Truman interrupted. “What were you doing in Idaho? You were supposed to head west through New Mexico just to throw them off the trail, and then head north for the border.”

            “Got a call from our agent in Idaho Falls. Said he needed a new cover, the police were suspicious. So we drove up to take care of business.” Beads of sweat lined Eli’s face.

            Truman swung around to face Claber. “Why didn’t you notify me, instead of waiting for me to call and find out why you were late?”

            Claber’s eyes widened. “I assumed our agent had called you first. And even if he hadn't, I didn’t think it was that big a deal if we detoured to Idaho. Our border agent works at the Montana entry and Idaho’s fairly close to there. I figured we’d kill two birds with one stone.”

            Truman gritted his teeth. He wanted someone else to blame, but he had to admit the logic was reasonable. They had to cross at a certain place, and they had to wait till a certain time to do it. There was no reason not to take a few hours extra and go to Idaho Falls. That didn’t explain why they’d shot a girl, though. “Go on. What did the agent say?”

            Eli continued. “Since he knew we were coming, he had already bribed the mall security. It should’ve been quick and easy.”

            Truman pressed his lips together, mulling over the words. He was right. “So where’d the girls come from?” he asked, his voice hard. “I’m a jewel thief, not a kidnapper. I’m wanted for burglary, not murder.” He turned his cold gray eyes on Claber.

            “They were spying on us. Calling the police. I didn’t see any choice except to kill them or bring them along. They’d seen too much.”
             “They saw a black van!” Truman snapped. “You should’ve drugged them and dumped them in a ditch! And the girl that’s dead. What happened there?”
Claber shrugged. “She didn’t listen. If I hadn’t shot her when I did, she’d have  flagged down that Jeep and this whole thing would be over.”

“Then you should’ve just killed them all so we could forget the matter!” Truman shouted. “What, are we going to leave a trail of dead bodies from Idaho to Canada? Lead them right to us?”

He sighed, feeling the fight go out of him. “We’re in a tight situation here. McAllister is very angry about our part in the chicanery in Guadalajara. He’s going to tear Canada apart looking for me until I pay him back the seven million I owe him. He upped the prize on my head to four million, or I would’ve been leading that raid, not Eli.” He paused, but neither man said a word. “No false moves. We can’t afford it. The Swan Lake necklace is worth one point five million. Everything we pull in this year goes to paying that debt, understand?”

            He exhaled and pressed his fingers to his temples. “Claber, get me Sid.”

            Claber went to the phone on the desk. He pulled a small notepad from the drawer and dialed a number from it.

            Truman saw Eli narrow his eyes and wrinkle his nose. He jerked his head in acknowledgement of the sentiment. “I’m not fond of Sid either. He plays with dirty money. But I bet he’ll buy each of those girls from us for at least half a million, maybe more. Then we’re still in the game, aren’t we?”
             Claber looked up. “Truman. He’s on the phone.”
            Truman moved around the desk and took the phone. He put a smile on his face, even though the man’s slimy voice put a foul taste in his mouth. “Sid. How would you like to do some business?”        

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm Grateful for a Dirty Kitchen

My kitchen did not get cleaned last night.

Waking up to a mess is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate the smell and the dirty dishes and not having what I need for breakfast.

But last night I spent close to three hours in the bathroom with my three children while we endured a tornado warning. We read books and watched Netflix on my computer and tried to entertain the baby. I checked on my laundry room, which always floods in bad storms and flooded again. I checked on family and friends to make sure people were okay. And I followed along with the news story of Joplin, and the hundred who died in this sister city not even an hour away.

By the time I put the kids to bed at 12:30am, I didn't care about cleaning my kitchen.

But I am filled with gratitude that I still have one.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I'm worldbuilding for my new novel.

I've never done this before, so it's kind of a new experience. So far, it's awesome. I realized as I started on chapter 1 yesterday that I am the god of this novel.

Wow. Once I realized that, I felt so much power. So invigorated.

For those of you who don't know, worldbuilding (according to Wikipedia) is the "process of constructing an imaginary world." In the world I am building, planet earth has gone through a series of disasters, called by the survivors as the Great Disasters. Those who survived the Great Disasters then had to battle of a series of illnesses brought about by the disasters, call the Three Plagues.

Those who made it through all that are called the Survivors. Since I created their world, I have absolute control over their story.

I outline when I write, but not much. I prefer to wing it as I go. So I started chapter 1 not even knowing the Great Disasters had happened. But as I constructed my setting, questions popped into my head like, "Why is the weather like this? What happened to all the people? If this is planet Earth, what could cause it to be so different?"

One thing led to another, and defining the Great Disasters helped me to figure out the climate of my world, as well as the geography and the government.

I've never really tackled worldbuilding this way before. I have a novel written in an alternate history which has some worldbuilding elements, but only for a brief period of time. This worldbuilding has got me excited. The trick to worldbuilding is to make it believable. Whether the imaginary world is fantasy, alternate history, dystopian (such as mine), every reader knows this place doesn't actually exist. But you want them to believe in it. There's some awesome websites out there to help, such as this one from the Sci-Fi and Fantasy group.

All novels require a bit of worldbuilding, so these are important skills to know. How are you using worldbuilding in your WIP?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Before I was Published...

I thought the first draft was the hardest part of writing.

I thought a 3-star review was negative.

I thought all I wanted was to see my book in print.

I thought everyone would love my book.

I thought I would never get tired of typing.

I thought my career was guaranteed.

I thought I didn't need lots of money to market.

I thought everyone would be excited about a local author.

I thought the publication process would get easier.

I thought it would be easy to get into bookstores.

Turns out I was pretty naive.

What surprises have you found along the way?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Secret of Eternal Youth

Today I have a special offer for all you readers.

For a limited time only, I will sell you the secret of eternal youth. I suppose I should be more specific. I can sell you the secret of ENDURING youth. Because you will age. Just slowly.

I have found the secret, and I am willing to sell it for $10,000. Oh come on, it's not that much. It's youth, after all. Look how well it works for me.

Me in 2002 (just ignore all the other writing. This was before digital cameras were popular, so it was scanned in from a photo album):

me in January, 2011:

Yes, in January, you can tell I'm in need of a tan. And I've got an...attachment. But as you can also see, in ten years I haven't aged hardly at all. Maybe a year or two.

I cannot guarantee the results, as each person may have varying degrees of success, depending on such things as genetics and age and ethnic background. But quit fooling yourselves, this has very little to do with diet or exercise or creams.

So go ahead. Take the plunge. Click here to make a payment and learn the secret! You know you want to!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Things that make me nervous

I am sitting here at the computer with my heart pounding, not able to focus on even basic things, like finding the right browser to open from the start menu.

As I sit here thinking about this, I wonder if other people get bouts of nerves like I do. Sometimes it's the silliest thing, too. What's set me off right now? My publisher asked for my phone number. Which means someone is going to call me.

No big deal, right? But oh my heck, it freaks me out.

It's in response to an email I sent where I asked a question. So, logically, I can presume they want to answer my question in person. But I feel like a kid being sent to the principal's office. Am I in trouble? Is someone angry at me? Did I break a rule?

OMH. (I'm experimenting with these fun little acronyms. This one and OMW--oh my word--pretty much sum up the extent of my expletive vocabulary.)

Other random things that make me nervous?

* checking my bank account (what if there's less money than I think there will be??? But come on, isn't it better to know??? Ignorance can be bliss...)

* checking my email (especially if I'm waiting for something important)

* driving in reverse (i.e., exiting a parking space)

* making phone calls (I've addressed this particular idiosyncrasy in some detail in a previous post)

* waiting (yeah, pretty much waiting for anything. the suspense kills me)

* checking Amazon.com for reviews (I hardly ever do. Can't stand the anxiety attack)

* any time anyone says anything to me along the lines of, "I need/want to talk to you." (It's that "yikes" feeling again! What did I do??)

So, am I a little strange? Or do these things make you nervous too? Or is it something else entirely?

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Conference and a Query

It's over!!!

I can post what I want again! Yay!

Tomorrow I flight out in t early morning hours for Utah. I am so excited. I have a busy week, starting with a book signing tomorrow night, another one Wednesday night, a school presentation Thursday morning, and then the LDStorymaker's Conference Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

During all that fun an excitement, I hope to sell a ton of books, meet in person lots of internet friends, and eat too much food.

I might get on to blog later this week. But in case I don't, I'll leave you with something that should occupy you all week long. :) Here is a my query, freshly written, for my novel Inevitable. I just finished the second draft last night, in time for the conference. Have at it. It's fresh meat, and I want to see some blood.

Dear agent:

I am querying you about INEVITABLE, my young adult novel, word count 55,600. [insert something cool about agent here.] Jayne’s psychic powers are becoming very intrusive in her life. She thinks Seeing the death of her boyfriend is the worst thing that could happen, until she Sees a murderer in action and he makes her his next target.

Jayne hates lemons. They are the harbinger of death for her. Every time she smells a lemon, she knows it’s someone walking around, waiting to meet her eyes and show her how they die. She never knows who will be the next person to astound her with visions of their death. The worst part is, she can’t change it. No matter what she does, they still die.

So when she meets Aaron and Sees his death, even though he’s Superman reincarnated, she does everything she can to push him away. His efforts to charm her are wasted… well, mostly. As if knowing how her crush dies isn’t enough to make it hard to get attached, Jayne then Sees a murder through the victims eyes. Now she thinks she has a stalker, and the police think she’s crazy. She has to prove to them that this man is the killer, and she has to do it quickly, because it looks like he’s after her next.

But Jayne’s learned the hard way that some events are destined to transpire, no matter what actions one takes. Jayne tries everything she can to save her life…but this time it might be her own death that is inevitable.

Set in the present day, INEVITABLE addresses not just the normal teenage issues of insecurity and broken hearts, but the unlikely situation of knowing how people are going to die. It will appeal to readers of Alyson Noel’s The Immortals, as well as Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones series.

The entire novel is available upon request. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Best wishes,
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