Tag Archives: writing

The great experiment

My love for writing began a few years ago when I had immersed myself in Vampire Academy fanfiction. I read hundreds of stories, always subconsciously searching for one story that I could never quite find, at least not in one submission. That’s when it occurred to me to write the story myself. Writing and posting that first chapter was one of the most nerve-wracking and exhilarating experiences of my life. Would anyone read it? Would anyone like it?feather_pen_141556

Well, people did read it and even thought it good. The encouragement and feedback I received spurred me on. Every night I cranked out another chapter, eager to know what my readers—I had readers!—would think of the latest installment. As I wrote the story, I incorporated some of the suggestions left by the readers and, of course, let the characters lead the way. What a wild ride that was.

So, I decided to try that again only using my world, completely new characters, and different storyline. I posted the first chapter of What the Fae? on Wattpad. Each Monday I’ll post a new chapter. The goal is reader collaboration to help mold the story. I know where I want the characters to end up, but there are a million different ways to get there and I hope readers will suggest different routes to take.

I figure this experiment will be a great success or an epic fail, but that’s the point. I’m trying something different and that’s what counts. Of course, I’m still working on the sequel to Pucker Up, tentatively titled Lip Smacked, and my short adult story, The Collector.

So, go check out What the Fae? and tell me what you think.

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My first mistake of 2013

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who downloaded a free ecopy of The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers this weekend. Ninety-three downloads put Mr. Whiskers in the number one position for free Teen Short Stories. Whoo hoo!! If you missed out, don’t worry. It’s only $0.99 at Amazon.

So, as I mentioned previously, my good friend, Kody, agreed to give up soda if I wrote an adult story. And believe me, he let me know almost every day for the first week what a major sacrifice he was making to encourage me. I don’t take the threat of whoring oneself out for a Mountain Dew lightly, so I wrote my story. Okay, it was a short story, but I wrote it. Yay me! It’s a thriller with killers and body parts and stuff. A bit of a change from the young adult genre I’m used to, comfortable with. But the concept was great, the ending superb. I knew he was going to love it. So I sent it to him for his feedback. You have no idea how nervous I was while waiting to hear back from him.

You know what he said?

It was okay.40133

I still have a bruise on my forehead from where it hit my desk in utter defeat. My voice wasn’t much different from my YA writing, he figured out the ending right away, and my POV switch was too jarring. Ugh! But you know what? That’s perfectly acceptable because at least I took a chance and dared to jump out of my comfort zone and do something different. So what if I made a ton of mistakes writing my first thriller. I’ll keep writing and researching and learn how to write a thrilling story. I’m not giving up. What I’ll do with it once it’s done, I have no idea. But that’s not the point. The point is I’m doing something different. And different is good.

 

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Filed under mistakes, my books

An interview with Kody Kline

This year, I decided to give back to all the amazing writers who play a part in helping me improve my craft and get my books published by featuring them here. First up is fellow Stonehenge member, Kody Kline. He is constantly pushing me to broaden my horizons and challenging me to step outside my comfort zone in my writing. In fact, wemade a deal that he would join me in ditching the soda drinking habit (he’s a self-professed Mt. Dew fiend) and I would write a story geared toward adults. We’re both still going strong.

photo

Not only is Kody a fascinating man, but a talented writer who has already indie-published a short story, The Saraithian Rising, and a book of poetry, Poetic Trash, both available on Amazon. The beauty and passion that spills off the pages of his work has quickly made Kody one of my favorite authors and I’m honored to call him my friend.
So, I sent Kody a bunch of questions to get to know him better and here are his replies:
Q1. What story are you working on right now?A –  I generally work on several stories at one time.  My main project is a fantasy trilogy, the Etherium: Rise of Fire is the first installment.  My other works consist of short stories of the scifi realm and stories that tie into the world of the Etherium.

Q2.  If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be, what would you talk about, and what would you eat? 

Nick_Cave

Nick Cave

A –  I can’t limit the answer to just one person: Nick Cave, he’s a true musician, and has influenced my life; Gary Oldman, an amazing actor; Audrey Tautou, she’s just the most adorable person ever; Jean-Pierre Jeunet, my favorite director, who makes beautiful films, and I would love to crawl in his mind; and Andrew J. Robinson, because he played my favorite antihero of all time, Elim Garak.  We would talk about anything, conversations go where they desire, not where you desire, and we would eat food.

Q3. What is your favorite book as a child and as a man and why?

A – My favorite children’s book was There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, by Dr. Seuss.  I couldn’t say why, I just loved it.  As an adult, the Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book of all time.  The story is impressive in that no part is superfluous.  Every piece is a part of an amazing puzzle, and the way it is written, well, it’s just easy to fall in love with.  The characters and world are vivid and tangible.  And not only is it a revenge tale, but the way Edmond obtains his revenge is stirring.  A masterpiece of literature, to which I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around how Dumas organized the story in his head.

Q4. When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer?

A –  I’ve always had an overactive imagination, and an ability to carry my created worlds and people in my head.  The Etherium is something I’ve held for fifteen years or so.  It is hard for a pesron to look into themselves and see their weaknesses, but I went through a point in my life that was extremely difficult and faith breaking.  When I emerged on the other side, I recognized I lacked the courage to write my stories.  While reading a Philip K. Dick story, I said to myself, I can do this: and I just started– haven’t looked back.

Q5. Who are your greatest influences when it comes to how you write and/or what you write about?

A –  For fantasy, my favorite author is David and Leigh Eddings.  Their work is what I, at first, modelled my style after.  Their worlds and characters are well devised, and every time I read their stories, I still laugh, cry, and enjoy the experience.  This is what I set out to create myself.  But as I continue to evolve as a writer, I let my own voice take over, and honestly, most of my inspiration comes from the aether, dreams, and the blessed spirit.

Q6.  Why do you think Alan Rickman is one of the best actors of all time?

Alan-Rickman

Alan Rickman

A1 –  I don’t.

Did I mention he can be a smartass? Let’s try that again. A2 – haha! While I do think Rickman is a great actor, he’s not on my personal list of best ever.  Don’t get me wrong, I love his work, and will always look forward to watching one of his films.  But there are just several other actors who I find more enjoyable.  That is personal taste and what makes our world superb.

Q7.  If I challenged you to write a story that was neither science-fiction nor fantasy, what genre would you write and why?

A –  Probably a suspense, murder story.  When it comes to movies, one of my favorite genres is serial killer stories, mind trip movies, and it would be fun to see if I could make my own skin crawl, and write a character who is extremely calculating, methodical, and horrible.

Q8. Are there certain characteristics that you believe all great heros should posses, or all memorable villains?

A – Heroes should be selfless, willing to sacrifice themselves to do what is right, what is necessary.  They are humble, honest, sincere, and virtuous.  Villians, well, they are the fun ones!  No remorse, passion, and intelligence are the factors I look for in a memorable bad guy.  But I move towards Antiheroes, personally.

Q9.  I like to write stories about strong female characters who don’t need a man to rescue them. Is there a common theme or message central to all your stories?

sarcoverA –  I love strong female characters, and I think it’s a shame there are not more of them.  But, we are slowly awakening as a society.  Hopefully, this will become more prevalent.  In my fantasy world, woman are on equal footing as men, and they join the ranks of Raithian Knights.  My main character will actually fight a woman, who is both strong and sensual.  While I appreciate a strong woman, I don’t think this excludes their feminity, their grace, and their beauty, so I still pay attention to this as well.  Overall, woman are amazing…

If you’d like to learn more about Kody, visit his blog.

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2013 is going to be the year of mistakes

This morning I came across a quote by the oh-so-talented and super hot, Neil Gaiman, that I really love: _48034224_neilgaiman

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So That’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work, or family, or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.  -Neil Gaiman

So this year, I am going to make mistakes— in my writing, in  my friendships, in my family. But in making these mistakes, I will learn and become a better writer, better friend and better wife and mother. Then I’ll make even greater mistakes next year. Maybe I’ll try writing a romance story, or sci-fi thriller. I’ll step out of my comfort zone to market my books. I’ll try new recipes and eat different foods. The possibilities are endless.

I will encourage my children to make the most glorious mistakes possible, too. And we will have the greatest year ever, knowing we are willing to screw-up, to push ourselves to new places and greater challenges.

I am looking forward to a wonderful, mistake-filled year.

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New short story coming soon

The short story I have been working on for the past 4 months, The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, is almost done. Yay! The plan is to have it available by Christmas. Here’s the blurb:

title (2)Mr. Whiskers is dead—muerto—shuffled off his mortal coil.

 All Laney had to do was watch the store and feed the cat.  Too bad she hadn’t known there was a cat.

 She has a plan, though.  An obscure spell contains the power to grant life, only long enough to save her job, and her vacation in Paris.  Just because she botches the simplest of spells doesn’t mean she can’t control complicated magic, right?

 The mysterious new guy at school, Kody, goes along for the ride; providing emotional support and, well, let’s be honest, he’s just hot.

 After struggling through the spell—when nothing seems to be going right—they find that giving Mr. Whiskers a tenth life turns out to be more than they bargained for.

I had a blast writing this story and my critique group enjoyed reading it. They laughed in all the right places, thank goodness. It always makes me nervous when I bring a submission in to my group, worried they won’t laugh when I want them to. Or laugh when I don’t want them to.

Writing is such a personal craft. Even with a work of fiction with a variety of characters and events, a writer still puts so much of themselves into every scene. Having other people read your work and then critique takes a lot of guts. But, that’s how we grow and learn and become the best writers we can. Though it is hard work, I’m loving the journey to the New York Times Bestsellers List. I’ll get there someday.

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