Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tuesday Guest Tickle: River Gods by Heloise West

JuicyBitsLGHeloise is a member of my critique group who writes beautiful, lyrical prose. Her primary interest lies in time periods which are not our own, and she has a particular affection for Venice and all parts Italian. (What can I say? The lady has good taste!)

Her short story with Dreamspinner press has just released as part of the Juicy Bits anthology. If you haven’t heard about it, the idea was essentially to strip away most of a full length novel, leaving us with just those bits that you come back to read over and over again.

Here is the premise of her story:

In Renaissance Florence, legend says the statue of Neptune, once a man who spurned women, walks the night in search of his lover. Sculptor Beltramino also yearns for a lover. Marco, on the run and accused of a crime he did not commit, finds shelter in Beltramino’s garden, as if in answer to Beltramino’s prayers. The two submit to a formidable erotic attraction that transforms them into lovers who are stronger together than apart.

If you want to check out her blog, she’s going to be doing some fascinating posts about the legend mentioned in the description above, and about some of the history that plays into the setting and the central idea.

Keep an eye out for this chick. I’ve seen what’s coming down the pipe, and you’re not going to want to miss it.

Conversations with my Editor

In response to Missy Welsh stating that she planned to do her own NanoWriMo in May, June and July and that she was thinking about blogging the process…

Me: I would totally rather experience that vicariously.
Editor: Me too.Oh wait — that *is* how I experience it. Mwahahahaha!
Me: You behave, or we’ll all send in a manuscript at the SAME TIME. *cackles*
Editor: Evil. Expect “boogers” to be inserted at random spots in your next mss
Me: How do you know it’s not already in there a thousand times?
Editor: Dammit. Wait, if “booger” is in there 1000 times, this ms might have…issues.

This is the reality of publishing. Sorry to burst your bubble. 🙂

Mother Nature perturbs me

Why on earth should we be looking out the window on April 24 and be seeing this?

Crazy global warming weather isn’t warm.

However, it is an excellent excuse to snuggle down in a warm blanket and write for the rest of the evening.

Another really nice thing to do on cold, miserable days is listen to podcasts. Tonight I going to go back and revisit some older Writing Excuses casts, in between putting a few more words onto today’s wordcount. I had a story fall totally complete into my lap on the way to work this morning and I’m excited to be working on it.

It’s a good feeling to have. 🙂

Tuesday Tickle: The story with no name

I started this one when I had some weird psychological things to work out, right after hubs passed. I kind of wondered what kind of relationship someone could have if the person they were in love with couldn’t understand emotion. It’s morphed into a thrill set in a middle eastern influenced fantasy world. Don’t look for this one soon, since it’s going to take a fair bit of reading and research to pat it into the shape I want it to be in.

The subtle clink of chains woke Rholid from sleep. He smiled and waited. The room was still dark, though he could see the first graying of the sky through the shutters if he turned his eyes far enough to the left that it bordered on painful. A breeze blew in through the slats, the smell of salt water and rotting seaweed like a gift, a memory of home brought on the breath of the sea gods.

Thaon’s hiss of frustration as he failed to pick the locks on his chains was like another gift, though this had to be from whatever local god protected the lives of the city’s tradesmen from born killers. In the five months since he’d won the slave on what he’d thought was a lucky hand at cards, he’d learned exactly why the young man’s owner had bet so high on a lousy pair of ravens.

“You can’t pick them,” he said aloud into the dawn air. The clinking stopped. Rholid waited to see what tactic Thaon would take this time.

“I don’t like sleeping alone.” Thaon had a beautiful voice, expressive, like the best of entertainers. Right now the emotion it held made Rholid’s heart ache with loneliness and need.

“If I could trust you not to choke me to death in my sleep, you could sleep with me. But I like to live, so you get the floor.”

A sad sigh, and then the chains clanked louder. Rholid rolled over in bed and propped his head up on a pillow. The pale glow of Thaon’s moonlight hair showed over the foot of the bed, though his face remained in shadow.

“I only did it the once. I didn’t know you then,” he complained, crossing his forearms on the straw tick and resting his chin on them. “You’re being very unfair.”

Oh, the things that live in my mind…

Learning from Life

Or, rather, raiding life for story ideas. Here’s what happened…

I have some fairly unpleasant neighbours. I knew, at some point, that my period of grace after my husband’s death would have to run out at some point. After all, I’m not from the area, I don’t drink the Kook-Aid unless I see merit in it, and I’m artistic and possibly a little eccentric. I also don’t subscribe to the kind of cliquism which is rampant in this area.

Thursday night, I was informed by a friend that the rumours had started. I’m broke and desperate. I’m expecting a large insurance settlement. My horses have been without water for the entire winter and I haven’t had their feet done since the fall.

I expect there will be more. I haven’t heard yet how many men I’ve been sleeping with, but since none of the other rumours required any basis in fact, I expect the ‘woman as whore’ stories will soon start. Maybe they already have–I’ve had a few visits from masculine neighbours who’ve never said boo to me in the thirteen years we’ve lived here.

It’s depressing, because it’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation. And symptomatic of the way society has educated women to attack any of their number who appears to have more freedom from control or empowerment than others. If I confront the rumour monger and set them straight, they’ll find other ways to undermine me. If I ignore it, the stories spread and mutate unchecked. And, from the text of the rumours (my God, someone was actually oblivious enough to put it in writing), it’s pretty obvious that it has less to do with me, and more to do with someone seeing me as maybe getting something they don’t have, and trying to punish me for it.

I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days, trying to find the ‘path of least destruction’ through this temporary minefield, and I think I’m going to ignore it. For one thing, I have too much to do to be bothered attempting to correct this, and little hope that it would actually change anything. For another, there are enough people out there, I hope, who know this woman for who and what she is, and will roll their eyes at it. And for another…

I discovered a lovely little cowboy plot bunny in the middle of it. 😀 If they only knew…

In other news, we had a small birthday party sleepover at a local hotel for my daughter’s thirteenth. This morning, I woke up to find one of my daughter’s bras hanging from the ceiling fan. I think I’m trouble. :O

Tuesday Tickle: Bite Me (Later)

Just a few lines tonight. Writing’s been a hit-or-miss kind of project lately, with more misses than hits. Writer’s block–or, rather, depression masquerading as writer’s block (so I can feel even worse about myself, right? Depression’s a shady bitch.). I’ve learned to recognize it for what it is, which is half the battle. I haven’t figured out the other half yet, unfortunately, so the month’s wordcounts are rather ragged. But here’s a little bit, totally unedited and very first draft.

Levi wasn’t nearly drunk enough to deafen himself to the call of the moon. He lay on his bed in the rooming house and groaned as the liquor tried to drag him down to unconsciousness and his bones tried shift and take on their full moon shape. When he’d first arrived in the city, he’d kept things stable by hunting stray dogs. Since he’d discovered the witch, he’d managed to placate the wolf with sex and food—lots of both. But now Glyn wasn’t answering his calls.

He rolled off the bed and shook his head. A walk would clear the fog from his mind. And help him burn off some of this raging energy.

The wolf agreed.

Learning About The Bells and Whistles

I’ve been playing around with Liquid Story Binder a bit more. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s similar to Scrivener. It’s a PC program and, as far as I can tell, is as full featured as anything Scrivener has to offer, though the interface is a bit different. (By the way, I just went to the website to get the URL, and it’s on sale for $23, so go check it out!)

Like Scrivener, there’s a bit of a learning curve to it, but it’s usable right out of the box. The reason I’m blogging this now is, because I have two monitors to work on, some of the options and functionalities that didn’t work for me before are now a bit more useful.

Here’s a screenshot of what I’m playing with now:


This is actually both screens. The left side is the laptop monitor, the right side is the second one.

On the right, you can see the short story, Forastero, that I’m working on, and something called a Planner, which is where you store your chapters/short stories.

On the left is something called a Storyboard, which works like a set of virtual notecards. You write in them, you can add images, and move them around however you want. I tend to think in chapters rather than scenes, so mine is broken into chapters, but it can also be used for organizing scenes.
The storyboard is my new toy. I’m trying to get a little more into planning than I have been, to avoid some of the questions I keep running into. And I’m wondering if it might help speed me up a little. I didn’t do pictures in this one, but I may try them later in something else.

My favorite part of it is the planner, though, because I like being able to see all the chapters in order. You can move them up and down, or add new ones as you go. You can also write in scenes in the planner, instead of chapter like I do, and have the program build the manuscript for you later.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all works in conjunction with the whiteboards. 😀

I threw a bit more junk out of the office today and tried moving the desk to see if it really was as heavy as I remembered. (Yes, it was!) But not impossible. Maybe over Easter weekend I’ll move everything about.

Conversations With My Editor

Editor: Here’s an idea for you–sexy cockroach.
Me: o.O
Editor: Evil laugh.

*Fast forward one month*

Me: Hmmmm.*scribbles* *plays with Paint* *Emails editor* Don’t be surprised if this gets written.

La Cucaracha cover

Editor: Muwahahahaha! I win!

It’s like she’s got some weird superpower.

That’s okay. She doesn’t know the giant gummy bear that arrived at her place yesterday is possessed and will sneak out of the cupboard tonight to paint her face with Crayolas. 😀

By the way, if you like the cockroach, you can buy the t-shirt at Spreadshirt

Tuesday Guest Tickle: Tempeh for Two by Karenna Colcroft

TempehforTwo_200The concept behind this series always makes me giggle–imagine a vegan werewolf. A vegan alpha werewolf, at that. I like Karenna’s style. It’s that same sly perversity that created Glyn and Levi for me.

Tempeh for Two is that last book in the ‘Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat’ series. As such, you should buy them all, so you’re not left figuring things out when you get to this one. 😀

Here’s what the story’s about:
Tobias Rogan never wanted to rule anyone, but in the past several months has gone from quietly running the smallest pack in the U.S. to controlling the Northeast Region. And now, to save the werewolf world, he must challenge the Anax, ruler of all werewolves in the United States. But Tobias’s mate, Kyle Slidell, is being held as blackmail, and Tobias must choose: Issue his challenge and risk Kyle’s life, or allow the Anax to declare war.

We found the others in the kitchen, where Kendra and Avery were bustling around cooking and setting food on the island. Ordinarily they would have had everything ready before our friends arrived, but I didn’t blame them for the oversight this time. Too many things had happened for them to have their minds entirely on their jobs.

Dave and Ramon stood at one end of the island. Brianna sat at the corner of it with Trey beside her. When we entered the room, Brianna jumped off her stool and hurried toward us. “Tobias!”

“Hello.” I gave her my first genuine smile of the day.

She faltered and stopped a few feet from me. “I’m sorry, Arkhon. I should—”

“You should call me Tobias unless I tell you otherwise.” Werewolf titles held a horrible weight for Brianna. She had never been permitted to address the alpha of her first pack by name, and she had been used by him and most of the other males in that pack. Saul had insisted on a different title, one which should have been earned not demanded, but he’d made her call him “Alpha” at times as well, from what she’d told me.

The day she’d joined my pack, I’d told her she would only be required to call me by title on formal occasions. This wasn’t one. Seeing my friends from Boston brought a lightness to my heart that had been missing since March. This was a celebration.

“Tobias.” Brianna’s smile returned. “It’s so good to see you.”

“And you.” I reached to touch her and stopped at holding out my arms, giving her the choice of whether to accept a hug.

She did. She was sturdier than she’d been last time I’d seen her. Back then she’d looked half-starved, even after two months of healing and life with Carlos. She’d put on some weight now, and it looked good on her. She appeared healthy.

She allowed me to hold her for only a moment, but it was enough for me to sense the growth and healing within her. She pulled away and turned her smile on Kyle. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He grinned. “Mated life looks good on you.”

Brianna’s cheeks colored. “Yeah, sure.”

I walked over to Trey, who had also stood but had remained at his place. “Hello, friend.”

“Hello, Arkhon.” He tilted his head.

I rolled my eyes. “Do I have to say this to each of you individually? Titles are formal. We’re friends here. Unless I tell you otherwise, use my name.”

“Hello, Tobias,” Trey said in a half-sarcastic lilt.

“Have you taken over being wiseass of Boston North Pack?” I grinned. “How are Mikey and Jeremiah?”

“Mikey’s doing all right.” He sobered. “Still has nightmares sometimes about what happened back in January. Lately nightmares about his mother’s family, too. And he told me to tell you to watch out for the colorful wolf.”

“I will.” I had no clue what Mikey might mean by “colorful,” but if the boy had seen fit to send me a message, I would listen. If we’d listened more to Mikey in the past, some of the events we’d dealt with over the winter might have been avoided. At least we would have been better prepared.

“Jeremiah helps him a lot with the psychic stuff,” Trey said. “He’s been teaching Mikey how to filter things better, for one thing. He’s keeping an eye on Mikey and Tareth while we’re gone, and if Tareth has the baby before we get back, Mikey will stay with Jeremiah.”

“The baby had better not come while I’m away,” Justin said in a near-growl. “I will be there to see him born if it kills me. He and Tareth need me.” He paused. “I need to be there. I can’t miss the birth. It’s too important.”
“I’m sure Tareth doesn’t want to have him while you’re gone either,” I said.

He nodded and relaxed. “I know. Just keep hoping.”

“Hey, Kyle.” Ramon’s white teeth flashed in something between grin and grimace. “I have a joke for you.”

“Oh, how lucky for me.” Kyle shook his head. “I don’t know if I want to hear this, but go ahead.”

“If tofu turkey is called tofurkey, what do you call tofu duck?”

All of us stared at him for a second. Kyle caught on first and started laughing so hard he had to lean on the island. “You asshole.”

The rest of us laughed with him, and the lingering tension and anger from Kyle’s trial finally went away. The darkness didn’t completely leave my mind, but for the first time in two days, I felt completely happy. I was with friends. This was how it should be.

Karenna Colcroft is a firm believer that love is love, regardless of gender and number. She is a survivor who knows that true love doesn’t heal all, but it can help someone find the motivation to try. Karenna lives in the northeastern United States with her two children, her real-life romance hero husband, and three cats, one of whom does a mean parrot impersonation. Find out more about Karenna and her books at

A New Nightmare for You


This goes way beyond the werecockroach story my editor gifted me with.

(Yes, indeed. A werecockroach. He’s a superspy. An indestructible superspy. I mean, he’s a cockroach, right? Not entirely sure who his arch-nemesis is, yet. Maybe a wereSEAL? Too far? Too much pun? Bear in mind, if you shoot this idea down, the next one will be exponentially weirder.)

Why is there a Mountain Goat in my head?