Getting Back in the Swing of Things, Writing Things, That Is

I’ve decided to stop p***y-footing around.  And I use the asterisks because I hate that word, but I can’t deny that that is exactly what I’ve been doing with my writing lately.  It is time for me to really try to get an agent.  No more feeling sorry for myself because query writing sucks (which it does, btw).

For the rest of this month, if I’m not working on wedding stuff or actually at work, I’m going to be revising Twenty-Five again, working on my query letter, and researching new agents to query.  A friend of mine from TNBW thinks I have a good shot with British agents, so I’m going to add a bunch to my list.  I’m not giving up on getting an agent for Twenty-Five until I’ve exhausted every single possible agent out there.

Beginning in May I’ll be sending out all of those queries, and since sending out queries really doesn’t take that much time, I’ll be devoting the rest of my free time to writing.  Because I need to finish The Death Effect.  Anytime I read portions of TDE, I love it, but I very rarely work on it.  I’m going to finish it.  I am determined that Twenty-Five will not be a fluke, I will finish another book!  I will, I will, I will!

Your job, my lovely readers, is to hold me accountable.  I am really going to need your help.  If I haven’t posted in a couple of days, leave me a comment or send me an email asking for an update- even if you don’t care for an update.  I need motivation, I need goals and deadlines.  My goal is to have sent at least 50 query letters by the end of May and at least 60k words of TDE.  Since I’ve already sent 18 query letters that means I have to send 32 letters, and since TDE is already at 28,535 words, I only have to write 31,465 words.  Now if I can just forget that it took me five months to write the 28k words I already have, then maybe that 31k won’t seem so daunting…

Think positively, Rach.  You can do it.  You can do it.

I’m Freaking Out a Little…

…because I’ve lost the flash drive that I keep all of my writing on.  And I mean ALL of my writing.  Twenty-Five, The Death Effect, all of the drafts of novels I haven’t finished, ideas I’ve only written a few sentences of, my short stories, my poetry, EVERYTHING.

Now, normally this wouldn’t be such a huge deal, because I post everything on TNBW and it serves as my “back-up” in case something like this happens, but about a month or so ago I had a bit of a breakdown.  I deleted everything from TNBW except for two short stories that I was entering into a contest, Twenty-Five, and The Death Effect.  So the good thing is that Twenty-Five is all there.  There may have been some editing I did without updating the site, but the whole book should be there.  The Death Effect I think is almost completely there, but there may be one or two scenes that I hadn’t updated yet.  Luckily, anything that isn’t on TNBW should be hand-written in one of my notebooks.

What bums me out is some of the poetry and short stories.  There were some I didn’t hand-write but typed immediately.  And I had all of my reviews from TNBW saved in separate documents for every project I ever posted.  I won’t be able to get those reviews back if I can’t find my flash drive!

So, any ideas for the best way to back-up your writing should this ever happen again?

2 Things. No, 5 Things. Well, Really 10 Things.

Sometimes I like to read the Tag Surfer on writing and come across very interesting blogs. This week, I found 2 I really enjoyed.

The first is A Broken Laptop, by Mercedes.  I clicked on Mercedes’s blog initially because it had a picture of a cute guy- pathetic, I know.  But my last experience with Religious Guy did not turn out so great, so my interest in CUTE guys has expanded.  Okay, moving back to the point.  The post with the cute guy was about a contest Mercedes and said cute guy (whom I will now refer to as Scottish Simon- because Simon is his name and he is Scottish and I like alliteration- wait, did I use “whom” correctly there?) are engaging in.  She has to finish a chapter a week and he has to write 5,000 words a week.  If one of them completes their goal and the other doesn’t, Completer is declared the winner for the week and gets a reward.  This week Mercedes won and her reward: posting a picture of Scottish Simon’s tattoo on her blog on Monday.

While I love cute guys and absolutely ADORE cute guys with tattoos, that is not the actual reason this post intrigued me.  I really like the idea of competing with someone else to achieve goals.  Because, let’s face it, I’m a fierce competitor (just ask Religious Guy about our game of Rummy or “Say the First Thing that Comes to Mind” or the other game we played that I can’t remember the name of right now) and an over-achiever (just ask anyone I went to high school with).  I need some kind of stimulus to work on TDE.  It’s coming along very slowly.  I don’t think I can start any kind of competition until May, though, because I have 2 weddings in April.  Soooooo… Anyone want to have a writing competition with me?  I’m not sure what my goal will be yet, but I’ll think of something.  Sadly, should I lose, I have no tattoo for the winner.

One other aspect of Mercedes’s blog that really intrigued me was her “Writers in Masks” series.  She features a writer a week with a blurb/link to their blog/publishing credits along with a photo of the writer in a mask of their choosing.  I found it really interesting that the masks all seemed to match the writer’s blurb in some way, either the tone or their preferred genre and style of writing.  It made me think about what my own mask would be.  I have one picture from my sister’s wedding that I like, I’m covering my face with both hands and I think that matches my writing pretty well.  I tend to hide myself behind my writing, i.e. behind my hands (since those are the instruments I use to write).  What kind of mask represents you and your writing?  Check out Mercedes’s blog for more info on how to become one of her “Writers in Masks.”

The second blog I found was The Adams Zone.  This post was all about learning from the mistakes we make as writers, but also learning from our successes.  Linda listed five things she would do differently when working on her next project, based on her previous experience in writing a novel.  She also listed five things she would do again because they worked the first time.  I found this to be a wonderful exercise, at least, I found the idea of it wonderful.  So I’m going to try it for myself.  As mentioned above, progress on TDE is going really slowly.  And TDE is not the first project I’ve attempted since finishing 25.  I haven’t really sat down to examine what worked for me on 25 and what didn’t work on the projects I haven’t finished.  I think if I do, I may be able to identify why it was so easy to “finish” 25 and so difficult to finish anything else.  And I use finish in quotation marks, because a book is never finished until it makes it to the bookshelves, and even then changes can be made between printings.  (Yes, I’m being optimistic here with the hope that my book is going to be so popular it will go through multiple printings during my lifetime. HA!)  I’m going to change the exercise slightly and just list ten things I’ve learned work (or don’t work) for me.

Here there are, 10 Things

1.) Writing Chronologically– This doesn’t work for me.  While writing 25, I always wrote whatever scene came to mind, never worrying about where it went in the book.  This actually CREATED the chronology for me without having to outline right away because main events  put smaller scenes into perspective.  I learned what had to come BEFORE such-and-such happened and it was easy to imagine what would come after.  I tried to write my NANO project, Anita’s Dream Diary, in chronological order.  It sucked.  The first chapter was great, but it all went downhill after that because I didn’t really know where the story was going.

2.) Outlining– This works for me, but only AFTER I’ve started writing.  I wrote my first 25 outline after I wrote half the book.  I wrote my first TDE outline after I wrote about 10K words.  Again, neither of these works were written chronologically.  I tried outlining The First Mermaid after only writing two chapters, but it just made me feel stuck.  I didn’t want to continue working on the story.

3.) Critiquing– Getting reviews from other writers and readers is great.  But I’ve discovered I need to wait until the work is in final first draft stage to start asking for help.  I mean, it needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end that flow cohesively together before I start asking people to tear it apart.  I’ve tried getting critiques as I write and they just make me want to cry and trash the whole work.  I’m not encouraged to continue working on writing the rest of the book because so many flaws are found in Chapter 1.  Flaws need to be fixed, yes.  But not if that means you stop writing altogether.  For me, editing is stage two.  I’ll use reviews and critiques once the entire story has been written down.  It feels like progress is being made when I can sit down and edit several chapters as once, rather than trying to make chapter 1 perfect before moving on to chapter 2.

4.) Critiquing– Yes, it gets a second point on the list.  Critiquing is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.  Readers can find flaws in your work that you overlook.  They recognize plot holes, typos, cliches, everything and anything that you don’t want to survive before an editor sees it.  I planned on stopping 25 at a certain point.  My reviewers made me realize that the end of the story I originally envisioned was NOT the end of the story.  The book is SO much better now because of critiques.

5.) First Drafting by Hand– I’ve mentioned this several times.  My first drafts suck.  I mean really suck.  But, by handwriting them first, I get a second shot at my first draft when I type it.  My thoughts and ideas flow more easily when I have a pen in my hand than when I am typing.  I even write a good portion of my blog posts by hand first.  Not all of them, but at least half.  After finishing 25, I started typing almost all of my other ideas first and found that I got stuck at around 10-16K words.  25 was at least 75% hand-written before I typed a single word.  I had 60K words without even realizing it.

6.) Writing for Me25 is the love story I want for myself.  I wrote it because I was sick and tired of having nothing good going for me.  I wrote it for me.  When I started other projects, they weren’t really for me.  They weren’t really ideas I felt a strong personal connection to.  From now on, I’m going to write stories that I will enjoy, forget the rest of the world.  Because if I like them, then I’ll put more work and effort into them, more passion and heart.  And hopefully the world will like that.

7.) Simple Plots25 is a simple plot with complex characters.  It is based in reality.  I think I did this very well.  My attempts at complicated intricate plots really didn’t work.  I think I have more talent for bringing out the emotions in characters than in putting them in a series of impossible situations.

8.) First Person POV– I think this is the most natural voice for me to use.  When I’m intending to write in third person, I find myself slipping into first.  It’s so much easier to express the characters feelings when I am in first person.  25 was written completely in Abby’s first person perspective, then on second draft revisions, I added in Ben’s first person perspective, which resulted in a much fuller, deeper story.  I’m using both first and third for TDE, but every time I start writing a character’s scene who is supposed to be in third person, I start writing in first without thinking about it!  I have to go back and change everything!  But, I’m not giving up on third person completely.  I think it is one of the things I should really work on mastering, even if I end up writing in first person for every other project I ever do.

9.) Character Description (Physical)– This is something I don’t do very well.  I think it is because when I’m reading a book someone else has written, I often hate their descriptions of the way the characters look.  I always picture the character differently in my own head.  So, when I write, I want to leave character descriptions open so that the reader can picture the character however they want.  I’ve found though, for the most part, that my readers haven’t liked this.  They want at least a little physical description.  That’s why I was doing the writing exercises over the past two weeks.  In 25, I’m going to actually have to go back and add in more description for some of the minor characters.  There’s several that I never describe at all!  I need to go back into TDE and add in some for a good majority of the characters, as well.  Whew, lots of work ahead of me!

10.) Unnecessary Words– There are certain words I use way too much: THAT, JUST, HAD, WELL, and “I MEAN” are my biggest offenders.  I don’t even realize I’m using them until someone points it out.  Every time I read through a draft (of anything I’ve written) I will find new examples of these unnecessary words.  A good portion of my editing is taking them out and adjusting sentences to make them sound better without them.  I really don’t know why I use the word “just” so often, but it’s like a big glaring red flag anytime I sit down to edit.  I see it ALL over the MS.

Incorporating the Exercise

Alright, so I took my writing exercise and used it to expand a character and chapter of TDE.  Yes, there is dialogue here, but I think I managed the description and character building fairly well.  Let me know what you think!

Chapter Ten: The Girl Who Died

I remember the day I really noticed Jax for the first time.  We’d been in classes together every other year or so since pre-school, but didn’t become friends until fifth grade.  We shared a table that year because Tasha Moore moved over the summer, putting Jax Nathanson right behind me in the alphabetical order.

During the second week of school, our teacher Mrs. Klein told the class about family trees.  “You connect married people with a bold dash and their children with another bold dash.”  She demonstrated on the chalkboard then asked us to fill in the names of our parents and siblings on the blank chart she’d passed out at the beginning of the lesson.

I carefully wrote in my parents’ names using all caps, G-E-R-I, D-O-N-N-Y, and my sister’s, T-A-Y-L-O-R and was just about to write my own when Jax’s arm shot up beside my head.

“Mrs. Klein?”

“Yes, Jax?”

“What about adopted kids?  Do they go on the tree?”

The teacher approached our table and knelt in front of Jax.  “Well, adopted kids are part of the family, too, aren’t they?”

Jax shrugged his shoulders.  “I guess.”

“Of course they are.  So you use a big dash to connect them, too.”  She patted his hand before walking away to answer another student’s question.  Jax still didn’t write anything on his chart.

His conversation with Mrs. Klein ran on a loop in my head, my pencil frozen on top of the paper where L-I-S-A was supposed to go.


That was the word for kids like me, but I’d never really known it until that moment.  I remembered very vividly the day my mother explained why Taylor looked like her and I didn’t, but somehow I’d never connected the dots.

Leaning across the desk, I whispered, “Are you adopted?”

Jax didn’t even turn his head to look at me, just nodded and continued staring at his blank chart.

“Me, too.”

That got his attention.  “Really?”



“Whaddya mean?”

“Why were you adopted?  My real mom died when I was five.  I was a foster kid for a while, but these people just adopted me.  I guess they’re my mom and dad now.”  He didn’t sound very happy about having new parents.  But it made sense.  I wondered if I’d been happy when I got my new parents.

“My parents have always been my parents,” I said slowly, realizing it was true.  My real parents gave me up, didn’t want me.  “They adopted me when I was a baby, I don’t know why.”


I looked back to the chart in front of me.  I didn’t know why I was part of my family, but I knew I was.  Pressing down finally, my pencil formed the letters of my name.  I drew the line between myself and my parents as bold as possible.  Jax’s chart remained empty.

“Alright, class, settle down.  Your homework for tonight is to fill in the spots for your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  There are questions on the back of the sheet for you to ask your parents.  Tomorrow everyone will tell the class a little about their family.”

Jax immediately balled his paper up and stuffed it into his backpack.  He didn’t give a presentation the next day.

He completely fascinated me: I watched him after school, studying his face.  His dark brown hair had been shaggy when we first started school, but by the time we became friends, it had been shaved closed to his head.  The shade of his eyes matched his hair almost perfectly and he had beautiful tan skin.  His face was actually rather plain, a straight nose and square jaw, but he was still nice to look at.

The thing that fascinated me the most about Jax was seeing him with his new parents.  I was sitting on a bench outside of the school the same day as our family tree presentations, waiting for my mom to pick me up, when Jax and his parents exited the building.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  He actually looked like them!  His new father had dark hair shaved close to his scalp and his new mother had a square jaw.  He looked like he belonged to them, but he hated belonging to them.  I loved belonging to my parents, yet I didn’t look like them.

I found out a few weeks later that his new dad was in the army and that’s why he shaved his head.  He shaved Jax’s a month after the adoption was final.  Jax hated him.

It was a weird thing to have in common, being adopted, but it was nice to have someone who knew what it was like when my parents just didn’t get me.  Not that it happened often for me, even though it happened all the time for Jax, but it was still nice.

He was my best friend.

Day 3 of the Writing Exercise

My third attempt at creating character description without dialogue.  My intended focus here was Emmy, but things kinda got away from me.  Now I’m worried that these exercises are encouraging “telling” as opposed to “showing.”  Although, part of me doesn’t really care if that’s the case because I hate the show vs. tell rule.  Well, I did until I started reading The Wings of the Dove by Henry James.  Now I totally get why showing is better than telling.  If you’ve read even the first page of that book, you’ll know what I mean.  I’m only finishing it because I spent money buying it and feel like I have to or I might as well have trashed the $10 bucks I spent.

Anyways, all thoughts on this exercise welcome.  I think tomorrow I’m going to focus on a character from a book I actually intend to finish writing, The Death Effect.  I know the excitement is killing you…

Emmy was the most beautiful child Aribelle had ever seen.  She wasn’t just cute- she was absolutely gorgeous.  She had thick, curly blonde hair with just a hint of red undertone.  Aribelle could tell it would darken as she got older and eventually match her father’s.  But instead of grey eyes, Emmy’s were bright blue, wide, and sparkling with long blonde eyelashes.  She had the prettiest plump little lips and to-die-for dimples on her chubby cheeks.  Aribelle adored her instantly.

And she adored watching Tom interact with his daughter.  They laughed and teased and tickled one another.  She had never pictured him as the father type, but seeing him with Emmy, she wondered what else she’d been wrong about.

Of course, if she asked him about it, she’d find out she wasn’t entirely wrong.  At any point before Emmy was born, Tom would have said he didn’t like kids and never wanted any.  He and Julia agreed that they didn’t want a family.

Emmy was a blissful accident.

But, even during the pregnancy, Tom had doubts.  He never believed he could be a good father or love any child, even one of his own.

It only took a second, though, for him to fall madly in love with Emmy.  The nurse handed her to him, all pink and new, and he’d never felt an emotion so powerful.  He couldn’t even name the feeling- it was too overwhelming, too all-consuming, to be described by the simple word “love.”

Loving Emmy made him love Julia even more and Julia claimed the same was true for her, but things still fell apart.  Not because of Emmy.  No problem in this world could stem from such an angel, all smiles and laughter as she was.  But Emmy couldn’t help the situation, no matter how much they tried to grow their relationship around her.  Love wasn’t enough.  Tom didn’t think it ever could be.

God, I love to read…

I really really really love how a good book makes you forget you are reading and makes you say, “Oh, I’ll do it in the morning,” when you realize you were supposed to pack over an hour ago, and even though you KNOW you are not a morning person.

I am really not a morning person.  And I really was supposed to pack my bag for Saturday and Sunday in Fayetteville, including one visit to church, which means ironed clothes, not just something I pull out of the laundry basket (the clean one, that is), and one night out with a friend of my friends which means clothes that look like I put some thought into them, not just something I pull out of the laundry basket (yes, still the clean one).  But instead of ironing and packing tonight, I read.  I read a book I could not put down.

And truly, I forgot I was reading.  I was just immersed in the life of the characters: watching them, easedropping on their conversations, praying for that kiss right along with them.  God, I LOVE a good book!  And this was just a DAMN good book.

Funnily enough, it was a book I never would have read if I hadn’t started writing.  It was the second book of Claire LaZebnik’s (both the second she published and the second I read, though I read her last one first and still have read the first one): Knitting Under the Influence.  I honestly have not been so mesmerized by a book since Pride and Prejudice or Harry Potter.  And yes, I feel no shame in putting Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter in the same league.  Both excellent, wonderful, beautifully written stories.   But back to Mrs. LaZebnik.  I only found her because I was looking to support other authors, as you may remember from my post about Judging a Book by It’s Cover.  And today, I was sitting in Barnes and Noble, typing away the handwritten pages I had collected over the past week for TDE and I needed to use the restroom.  On the way back to my table, I happen to walk through the aisle where I found The Smart One and The Pretty One back in January.  And lo and behold, right there beside it, Knitting.  It wasn’t there last time.  I liked Smart/Pretty, but I LOVED Knitting!  And I never would have thought to pick it up in the bookstore if I hadn’t written my own book and wanted to support other people out there like me trying to “live the dream.”

You want to know something else that’s funny?  Immediately upon completion, I felt the urge to write.  I was literally compelled.  I said out loud, “I need to write,” grabbed a notebook from the bed/nightstand beside me, fumbled around in my laptop bag for a pen and started journaling.  It probably would have been more productive if my immediate desire had been to work on TDE, but all writing is practice, even if it is just writing for yourself, to work out your own feelings. (And I know you are all probably scratching your heads about the bed-slash-nightstand thing, but take my word for it, you don’t want the long explanation.)

Also, and this is pretty hilarious, my mom walks into my room at some point looking for something and she asks what I’m reading.  I show her and she says, “I think I’ve read that.”  I’m all like, “Okay, whatever,” and go on with my reading.  About half an hour later she comes back in with a list in her hand and asks me the author’s name.  I tell her, she finds it on her list and reads off the title.  Yep, she’s read it.  She owns a copy!  She bought it at a yard sale!  But, if she had ever asked me to read it, I probably would have said no.  I don’t know why, but I don’t like to read books that other people tell me to read.  I just re-read this and realized it doesn’t sound hilarious, but I still find it amusing, personally.

And now it’s past midnight, I’m all jacked up on my reading-a-good-book high, I still haven’t packed, and still have no desire to pack.  Guess I’ll just be running late in the morning.

A Taste of TDE

I’m in the mood to share some writing.  So here’s a chapter of The Death Effect for your enjoyment.  It hasn’t been edited or critiqued yet, and I’m not looking for anything like that here.  Just wanted to give the universe a taste of my story.  There shouldn’t be any spoilers, if you’ve read any of my previous posts about TDE, you know the girl dies…

Chapter Twelve: Her Sister

Why?  Why did this happen to her?

Taylor watched, her breath snagged inside her throat, as her father stood up and approached the door.  It’s just Jake, she thought, just Jake coming to find me. But the rational voice in her head told her she was wrong.  Jake would have called first.  And Jake knew she was there, she’d texted him when she got off work.

Her father’s steps fell heavily as he approached the door.  Thud.  Thud.  Thud.  Taylor massaged her right temple with her thumb, trying to rub the fear and guilt away.  She heard the squeak as her father turned the handle and pulled the door inwards.  She turned her eyes down to the table, unable to face the officer or detective she knew would be standing there.

“Mr. Maxwell?”

“Yes?  Please tell me you found Lisa.”

“Sir, I’m so sorry…”

Taylor slumped forward and felt rather than saw her mother jump up from the table and fly across the room.

“No,” her mom cried out, “no!”

“I’m so sorry, ma’am, but a body…”


Taylor finally looked up, only to see her mother wailing and falling to her knees, her father trying to hold her up.

“… a body was found in Bear Lake not long ago.  It matches the description of your daughter.”

“It has to be a mistake,” her father mumbled, “it can’t be Lisa.  It has to be a mistake.”

“I know how difficult this is, but I need someone to come down to the morgue with me and identify the body.”

Her mother’s cries increased and her father sank to his knees, wrapping his arms around Geri’s shoulders, neither answered the officer.  Taylor stood on shaking legs and shuffled to the door.  She looked the officer in the face.  His jaw drew his mouth into a tight line, his dark brown eyes gazed with concern into hers.  It was Officer Kasey, the same man who’d taken the initial missing person report.  But now, he cared.  The tears that had been pooling in her eyes finally broke free and gushed down her face.

“I’ll go.  I’ll go and identify her.”

The officer nodded.  Taylor retrieved her heavy winter coat and purse from the kitchen table.

“It’s not her, Tay, it can’t be.”  Her dad grabbed her arm as she passed by to follow Office Kasey.  She squeezed his hand and walked out the door, with one last glance at her parents, left devastated and clinging to each other.

“Why didn’t Detective Carson come?”  Taylor asked as Officer Kasey opened the passenger door to his patrol car for her.

“He’s finishing things up at the crime scene.  He wanted to come and give the news himself, but I volunteered and it was more important for him to be there, gathering evidence, than me.”

Taylor gulped, the words “crime scene” hitting her like a knife to the gut.  She slid into the seat and he shut the door and moved around to get in the driver’s side while she buckled her seat belt.  After he got in, started the car, and maneuvered onto the highway, she turned to look at him.

“Why did you volunteer?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Why did you volunteer to come and tell my family that my sister is…” she couldn’t finish the sentence, the word left unsaid lingered in the air, stunning them both into silence.  Kasey shifted in his seat, looked in the rearview and sideview mirrors, anywhere and everywhere but the passenger seat.

“I mean, I can’t imagine anyone actually wants to be that person, the one who destroys all hope.”

“No.  No one wants to be that person,” he agreed.  He cleared his throat.  “I guess I volunteered because I felt guilty.”


“I didn’t really take the case seriously when I filled out your report.”


“Well, I did everything I was supposed to do, I filled out the report, asked the standard questions.  But I didn’t really believe there was anything wrong.”


“I don’t know.  Things like this happen all the time.  A family member doesn’t hear from their loved one in a day or two and automatically thinks the worst, when ninety-nine percent of the time, they just took a vacation without telling anyone, or something like that.”

Taylor pulled her coat tighter around her and breathed hot air onto her numb fingers.  She wished something could warm her heart.

“So, I guess I volunteered so I could say I’m sorry to you, to your parents.  I could have dug deeper, asked more questions, treated you with more respect.”

“You think the body they found is really her?” she whispered.

“I’m sorry, but, yes.  The picture you gave me…”

“Right.”  They didn’t speak throughout the rest of the drive.  Taylor couldn’t talk, the flow of tears was too overwhelming.

When they approached the brick building, Kasey disturbed the tension.  “Are you sure you can do this?  It can wait until one of your parents can come.”

“No, I don’t know if I can do this, but I can’t let them go through it, they’re in enough pain.”

He led her inside, instructed her to sign in, then they descended a dark, narrow staircase to reach the basement.  Taylor almost wanted to laugh- it was so stereotypical, like she was an actor in a film and the set director had made the scene as dreary and unwelcoming as possible.  But then, why would they make the stairway to the worst moment in life anything but bleak?

A grey steel door greeted them at the bottom of the steps.  Kasey punched a code into the panel beside the handle, then held the door open for Taylor.  She took a step forward and stopped.

She couldn’t go any further.  She knew that in another few feet or so she’d be face-to-face with the corpse of her baby sister.  She couldn’t do it.  Her feet trapped her firmly in place, cemented to the ground.  Any step forward was just one step closer to the truth that she’d never said “sorry” and would now never have the chance.

“Taylor?”  Kasey’s voice echoed off the blood-red bricks, but she didn’t hear him.  She could only hear the fighting, the bickering, the nasty words thrown between her and Lisa.

“Why didn’t I make it right?”


Taylor turned to Kasey and grabbed his shirt with both hands.  “Why didn’t I make it right?  We fought so much the past couple of years.  I didn’t want to fix things between us.”   She collapsed against him, sobbing out her guilt and pain.  “And now it’s too late.  It’s too late!”

One Happy Post, Seriously

I want to do a happy post, since so many of my thoughts on writing lately have been downers.  So, here you are, one bonafide sparkling happy post!

When I get a book published, I’m getting a tattoo.  I already know where I want it, in fact, I let my MC in Twenty-Five get a tattoo in the same spot, on the outside of my wrist, where my arm meets the base of my hand.  Easily covered up with long sleeves or a bracelet if necessary.  If Twenty-Five is the first book to be published, I’ll get the roman numerals for Twenty-Five, XXV.  If it’s one of my other projects, well, I guess I’ll have to think of something that symbolizes them.  I’m not sure I want anything representing Death on my arm, but I can probably come up with something for The Death Effect.  Perhaps the Greek or Roman letters for TDE.  Who knows.

When I get a book published, I hope I make a little bit of money so I can get myself out of debt.  It would be so nice not to have to worry about going to the doctor, or getting my oil changed, or something like that, because I’m worried the payment won’t go through.  Okay, that wasn’t very happy, but focus on the positive- making a little bit of money 🙂

When I get published, I’m going to let my mother read my book.  I haven’t let her yet.  The MC is so much like me and I don’t know how she’d react to it.  I think she’d like the book and I know she’d be supportive, but there are still some secrets about myself I’d like to keep to myself for now.

When I get published, the acknowledgements or dedication is going to read:

For all those tired and weary souls who sit down at a desk or computer, who balance notebooks in their laps, who fight with their pens- this book is for you.

For all the friends who read my book before I even knew how to write a book- this book is for you.

For everyone who knows what it feels like to be alone, wishing for love and friendship- this book is for you.

For C, J, A to the third power, and V and everyone over at The Next Big Writer- thank you thank you thank you for being my toughest and most loving critics.  Thank you for pushing me to be better.  For telling me that my story had heart, hope, passion, and beauty- this book is for you.

And lastly, for Mom, Daddy, Theresa, Amanda, and Danny, though we fight and argue, tease and laugh at one another, I love you with all the depths of my heart.  Thank you for being my family- this book is for you.

Now THAT makes me very happy.

I had a really good weekend.  I’m going to try very hard to be less of a grumpy, woe-is-me, person.  I hope this is a good start.  I’m determined, I have this dream, I’m going to keep going after it.  What’s the point of having a dream if you just let it die?  Thinking it’s never going to happen isn’t healthy and it isn’t productive.  I’m going to try and have the attitude from now on, WHEN I get published, not IF I get published.

When I get published…

When I get published…

When I get published…

Why I Love Hand-Writing My First Drafts

I don’t hand write everything. But I think I get in a better flow when I’m writing by hand. Mainly because I don’t have the distraction of Facebook or TNBW or Absolute Write or even the dashboard of my blog!

Also, when you write the first draft of something by hand, you get a second shot at the first draft when you type it. For example, I hand wrote part of a chapter of The Death Effect during down time at work the other day. Shhh, don’t tell my boss! (Not that it really matters that much because down time at work is literally seconds in between phone calls and guests checking in and out and stylists needing help with their schedules and the purchase order being checked in, etc. etc. etc. And, my last day is January 9, 2010, so, I think it’s a moot point anyways.) Here’s a few sample sentences that I hand wrote:

They each dropped a rose into the grave. Donny took Geri’s hand and put his other arm around her waist to lead her back to their seats.

Okay those are sooo not exciting. But! When I typed it into my draft I saw how unexciting it was and my inner editor changed it to this:

Her fingers trembled as she loosened her grip on the roses meant to be the last gift to her daughter. The stems rolled out of her hands and tumbled into the grave, a few petals breaking off as the flowers struck the casket. Her husband’s touch replaced the roses as he took her hand and put his arm around her waist to lead her back to their seats.

Still not amazing, but can’t you see the VAST difference! Handwriting is great because it gives you a chance to have 2 first drafts. If I had been typing my first draft, I probably wouldn’t have gone back through and changed that sentence until a couple of months from now, if at all, once I’ve finished the whole book.

I wrote the entire first draft of Twenty-Five by hand and didn’t start typing it until it was 75% complete.  I think that’s how I even finished it in the first place.  It feels more tangible when you can hold the pages in your hand, and it feels more like your work when you see your hand writing expressing the words making up a story.  I feel like I need to stop staring at a computer screen and pick my pen back up if I want to have any shot of finishing another book.