Monthly Archives: May 2013

My Summer Office

I officially moved into my ‘summer office’ today. This is the view from my floor-to-ceiling ‘window’:


That’s right–I’m out on the back deck. And it was a total surprise, because it’s supposed to rain buckets today. Instead, it was sunny enough to get a bit more of the lawn cut with the reel-mower and to entice me outside. Only real issue, beside freak rainshowers, is the weak internet connection. Meh, I’ll live.

Maybe I’ll get a little more done now.

Bonus image: Old Man Pony eating cake, just because it’s so darn cute!


Put another 2,000 words on Bite Me Tender between yesterday and today. Now, to add a bit more to the steampunk.

A Little Steampunk Music for Ya

I love this song. Now I want to write a story about airship pirates, but I think The Tales of the Ketty Jay are probably better than anything I could come up with.  *Note to self–dig out the Ketty Jay for a reread*

Tuesday Guest Tickle: Second Skin by Genna Donaghy

Genna is a member of my critique group and a fantastic friend and beta reader. She’s just signed a contract with Musa Publishing for her first novel Second Skin.

Second Skin is a thriller detective story with LGBT elements in it and a fun twist on the genre. In celebration of the contract, I wanted to share a little bit with you:

A second doorway led off from the room. This was locked, and Shane watched Franklynn shield the electronic keypad with one hand as she typed a code.

The moment the door clicked open, the German shepherd lunged forward, making Shane start in surprise. Franklynn moved faster, though. With deft hands, she snagged the eighty-pound dog by the scruff of the neck and pulled him back.

“You’ll just get in the way, Jamison. Stay out here.”

The dog snapped its teeth at her. But it turned away from the door and skulked to the futon where it leaped up with easy grace. And… was Shane’s imagination in overdrive, or was there a gleam of intelligence in those eyes?

Franklynn looked to Shane and gestured to the door. “After you.”

What have I gotten myself into? he wondered, but supposed it didn’t matter. He’d play stupid, observe what he could, and call his brother for backup if there was anything illegal going on.

The room beyond was the largest by far, big enough to park buses in. It was windowless, with bare concrete floors. It also stank of bleach. There was a series of wire cages stacked against one wall, with larger ones on the other side. Excited yapping, squawking, and howling came from that direction, and he guessed there were small animals locked within.

A deep voiced bark drew Shane’s attention to the right. Several large dog kennels were set up; each was a durable chain-link rectangle, with a plastic doghouse in one corner.

A man stood inside one of those pens, as naked as the day he was born.

Yeah, she puts an odd twist on things. Makes for an interesting read.

You can catch up with Genna on her blog Genna Writes Good.

And, if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at writing MM, feel free to look us up at the critique group. Or, if you’d rather just dip your toes and chat, with no writing requirement, you can try us at our discussion group.

Two More Goodreads Early Member Bonus Stories!!!!!

Love Has No Boundaries Stories

Sorry, it would have been up earlier, but I went to look and Jaye McKenna’s story sucked me right in.

This is exactly what we were talking about in Before You Hit Send this week

When I think about it, I got a good grounding in basic grammar in junior high, which disappeared in high school, as we began focusing more intently on Shakespeare and reading novels. But, unlike Ms. Wrede, I had a teacher in Grade 12 who was incredibly enthusiastic about creative writing. We had weekly creative writing assignments, which I enjoyed much more than I expected to. She taught and encouraged and made public mention of people who had done well.

This is what crit partners and beta readers are there for as well. To let us know where we’re on the right track, where we have strengths that we may never have suspected. And to prove that not everyone is going to be put off by a few poorly used commas or em-dashes.

One of the things many new writers struggle with is the, apparently, mistaken idea that a grammatically perfect manuscript automatically has a better chance of being published.

I’m living proof that that is a complete crock of *bleep*.

Not that I would send in something where I hadn’t done my absolute best with my grammar, because that’s also a matter of respect for the editor’s time, but I don’t stress about it as much. During Before You Hit Send, I even got a qualified ‘okay’ from Angela James for my tendency to write sentences where ‘he did this, then he did that’, which I know is a comma splice, but ‘and then’ drives me mad sometimes. And I’m a big believer in saving words wherever I can, in case I need them later for pretties.

On the writing front, this week was pretty much a write off. I’ve started reading First Footer, by Jules Jones, which was edited by the lady I will be working with. And now that line about her choosing to work with me makes sense–there’s a fair bit of ‘raised eyebrow’ in First Footer already, and I’m only on the first chapter.

THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!! (Sorry about the exclamation marks, Angela. But I really needed them!) (That one, too.)

Tallulah Blue and Britain’s Got Talent

There’s just so much to make you laugh in this video. Watch David Hasselhoff through the whole thing and then wait for the comments at the end. The construction workers are a giggle, too.

Goodreads Sneak Preview and Outtake

The stories will start going up on Goodreads in about a week. We don’t have a schedule yet, but that adds to the fun and surprise of it all.

Last Friday I posted the first part of Sign of Spring in my thread. This week, I posted the first half of an outtake from the story–a piece I started to write while I was noodling around with the idea and trying to figure out how much time it should cover. In the end, despite how much I liked this little scene, I decided to compress the time frame for the actual prompt. Edits on Knight, dealing with a snafu with Bite Me Tender and trying to keep up with the crit groups and a whopping pile of betas put the final nail in the coffin of my idea to make it into a full novel.

But this little fellow wouldn’t go away. In the end, I fleshed it out and it’s now its own 2500 word mini-story, told from Justin’s point of view. I’ll put the rest of it up next week. I call it Caps with Justin. Because I suck at names.

Here’s the first few lines, and a link to the rest on Goodreads…

I knew Robin had never stayed in a hole-in-the-wall motel by the dazed way he looked around the tiny room, with its second-hand furniture and 1970’s style everything. Poor guy, he’s never really lived, has he? That’s why he’s out here, with his broken heart and his fear.

Fretful, is what my mother would have called him. Just before she’d say, ‘You’re only afraid of what you don’t know.’ And then she’d look at me and send the unspoken message, ‘Piss or get off the pot.’

I guess I’m pissin’, because I sure do like this pot.

“I’ll walk down to the corner store,” I told him, dropping a short kiss on his cheek and upending my backpack onto the bed. “Get us some snacks and something to drink. Why don’t you settle in, have a rest. Or, if you’re feeling frisky, you can have a look in the yellow pages and order some supper. Whatever you feel like. I’ll be back in, like, twenty minutes. Maybe less.”

He glanced at me then, and I don’t think he realized how lost he looked. So I kissed him a second time, a little longer and on the lips, because it smoothes out those lines around his mouth and gets his shoulders down from around his ears.

And then I goosed him and ran out the door, laughing.

Read on…

Furface and the Boyler Room are coming along. I’ve been slowed down a bit by a food allergy–I’ve been sleeping a lot because of it and, when I’m awake, I’m not a lot of good. The good news is that the symptoms should pass by tomorrow, and Glyn has finally explained one of his ‘issues’ to me, so now all I have to do is find a way to get it down on paper without sounding like a doofus.

The joys of having characters that are smarter than you are. Meh.

Tuesday Tickle: The Boyler Room

I spent the morning fighting with two different printers to get my contract printed off, only to lose severely and have to make a trip into town. Contract is signed and sent. Let the waiting recommence. In the meantime, I have gotten almost nothing written today. Ugh. I’ll likely hit my targets before bedtime, but it’ll be a hard slog. True to my rather bizarre method of writing, I’m working the ending of The Boyler Room (note the name change–I think this one will stick).

Anyway, here’s few words from The Boyler Room, a part of today’s 1000 words, so pretty much unedited. Actually, it’s a bit of a performance. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you could join me in welcoming our star attraction, Leland!!! (JUst a note: he’s wearing an ‘Egyptian’ costume with a white cloak over it)

Right on cue, the machinery jerked to a stop. Lee waited eight beats before he stood up and moved away from the throne. The noise crescendoed and then died away as Lee began to dance.

He stepped out carefully, long legs appearing and disappearing in flashes through the cloth. A slow turn put him with his back to the audience. He deliberately extended his left leg to the side, toes pointed and knee bent just so to expose the flesh halfway up his thigh as the muslin cloak fell away. A roar greeted this display and he firmly repressed a smile.

With slow, lazy movements, Lee pulled the leg back in and pushed out the other, only this time he kept it straight and bent his left knee so the cloth fell away from the right leg completely. He let the right side of the cloak tumble from his fingers and shrugged it back off his shoulder, baring his right side to his spine as he gracefully reached out to lay the curve of the hook against the skin of his ankle. Turning his head to smile wickedly at the men, he languidly drew the prop up his leg, until he could hook it in the hem of his skirt and tease them with a brief glimpse of the curve of his ass.

Straightening his left leg, he raised himself until he was balanced in the center of the stage, legs spread wide. He dropped the left side of his cloak and turned the flail out until the audience could see it, spinning the beaded strands like one of Mattie’s tassels.

A quick flick of his wrist brought the flail around to smack against his ass with a muffled rattle. The yells of the crowd covered the clatter of the hook hitting the floor as he tossed it under the throne, where he wouldn’t risk stepping on it.

There’s our Lee (Leland is his stage name!) And yes, it needs some serious editing, but I’ve been talking about the story for a few weeks now, I thought I should give you a peek! 😀

Bite Me Tender has a home!

Just sent back my acceptance this morning. Assuming the contract passes muster (and I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t), Levi and Glyn should see the light of day for more than just my beta readers. Details, obviously, to follow.

My summer now looks something like:
Sign of Spring: maybe June
Nuts About You: maybe July? haven’t heard yet, but June was the original date, before they extended the call
Bite Me Tender: end of August/early September

And, in celebration, I leave you with this tidbit of deliciousness:

Honest, it’s research!

Funny things you learn wandering around the publishers’ websites

I signed up to take this course by Angela James of Carina. It’s called Before You Hit Send. And this evening, I’ve been sitting around avoiding writing, because I got off my schedule and I’m a little messed up, when I decided to have a bit more of a peek around the Carina blog. And it was really interesting…

Like any author, I zoom in on the submissions page. For the first time, however, I went all the way down to the bottom of the page. And now I’m kicking myself, because there is a wealth of information in there.

I’ve been following their blog for a couple of months and mostly because I came up with the steampunk story and thought it sounded like it would suit their line. Many of the posts linked to at the bottom of the page are from early in their inception, so I wasn’t ‘around’ when they were posted. In terms of transparency of process, Carina just shot to the top of the list.

Each post covers a specific topic. You can read about their acquisition process, find out what gets you accepted, what gets you rejected (with quotes of editorial comments!),query do’s and don’t and a host of other Really Useful Information. There’s even one on how to respectfully withdraw your manuscript from a publisher without burning your bridges.

Being slightly Type A, slightly OCD and a nervous newbie, finding this was like waking up and having Christmas arrive–again! YMMV, but it was Tesla mileage to me.

Put 1000 words on the werewolves today. I love it when Levi turns things on their head and Glyn doesn’t get to be the boss. Now, to go add another 500 to The Boyler Room. Gideon’s buying some fans. 😀