Category Archives: writing

Rainbow Snippet for 6-23-2018

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Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Looks like I’ll be posting from Book Five of the Academy of the Accord for a while. It’s a fantasy series that I have been (and will be) working on for forever.

A bit of background on the characters in this snippet for those new to the series.

Kordelm and Wellhym are warriors, captains at the Academy, and lovers.

Draethlen is 10 years old, and is a new cadet at the academy. Marsden (the commander of the garrison at the academy) rescued him from an orphanage where he was sexually abused by the headmaster.

Skipping a few lines from last week. Wellhym and Draethlen are already in a bathing pool when Kordelm joins them.

Kordelm leaned back,closing his eyes with a deep sigh of contentment.“I think I could live in here.”

“Feel free,” Wellhym said, “but don’t expect me to bring you your lunch.”

Kordelm idly splashed water into his face, and a moment later Draethlen was scrambling backward out of the pool to avoid being swamped as the two wrestled, apparently trying to drown one another.

The match was over as quickly as it had started, and both men were laughing as they turned to Draethlen. “It’s safe again,” Wellhym assured him and he eased back into the water.

“You have to watch Wellhym, though,” Kordelm said. “Ordinarily he’s quiet and steady, but every once in a while he gets this insane urge to drown someone.”

“Look who’s talking,” Wellhym said with a snort, leaning back and spreading his arms along the edge of the pool. “I seem to recall you starting it.”

“All I did was this,” Kordelm protested splashing water at him again, grinning.

“See what I have to put up with?” Wellhym said to Draethlen. 

Kordelm’s head was resting on Wellhym’s outstretched arm. “You make a nice pillow,” he commented.

Wellhym half turned, and brought his other hand around and pushed Kordelm under the water, then scrambled out of the pool laughing as Kordelm surfaced. 

“Time for lunch,” Wellhym grinned, toweling off as he padded back to the dressing room.

Kordelm watched him go then turned to Draethlen. “When you make friends, and find a best friend, try to have more sense than I did and pick someone closer to your own size. You’ll be harder to drown.”

(For the record, Draethlen didn’t listen. His best friend is at least a head taller and about twice his bulk. LOL)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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World Building — Background Info

First of all, let’s define world building. The way I see it there are two different aspects.

One is the creation of the world, the background information, etc.

The other is showing it to the reader.

Let’s start with the creation of the world and background information. We’ll come back to showing it to the reader another time.

As I mentioned on Monday, I tend to do more world building for things set in the “real” world, like the novel I’m going to be trying to finish during Camp NaNoWriMo next month. You would think that I would do more of it with my more fantasy oriented stuff. I mean, after all, I’m creating a whole world from scratch for that. But no one can actually fact check a world I create, so there’s less research involved.

For instance, this book is set in a small town in Pennsylvania because… Well, because I know small towns in Pennsylvania. I grew up in them and I live in one now. My main character, Cara, is a lawyer, and at the start of the book she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Why? Because Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have a reciprocal agreement about law licenses so she doesn’t have to take the bar exam again to practice in Pennsylvania. Before I decided on where she lived, I Googled for information about lawyers practicing in more than one state and found the Oklahoma thing. (The fact that I know someone in Tulsa that I can pester with questions helped cement the choice.)

And having never dealt with arranging a funeral or cremation, or settling an estate/inheritance, my search history is a little… interesting… at the moment.

Most of the paranormal stuff in the book comes from general background knowledge that I already have. Some of it came from asking questions in a Face Book group I’m in (my knowledge of herbs can be a little lacking) which actually prompted some people to experiment with different herbal incense combinations.

(I’ll be turning to them again soon with some questions about the Fey and agreements with them.)

For something more strictly and fully in the fantasy genre I wouldn’t need to do all of that.

So what do you need to do for stories that lie outside the “real” world?

Well, there’s a lot more naming involved. Planets (for science fiction), countries, oceans, towns, rivers, etc.

And maps. For fantasy especially you should have a map. (Says the writer with about seventeen thousand notes in various places in her series to “draw a map” or “a map would be nice” or “check the map if you ever get around to drawing one.”)  Now, this doesn’t have to be a really pretty map that you would show to someone else. It just has to be something that shows the relative positions of towns in relation to each other and any major geographic features so that when you have your characters travel from Town A to City B they go in the same direction every time.

And it’s probably a good idea to make the map as you go – or even before hand – instead of getting stuck where I am now with my series. I have a rough idea where most stuff is but there are one or two things that don’t want to fit in. For instance, the Fortress is east and south of the Academy. And there’s a town that is south and west of the Academy. And that’s fine. Except it makes the town too far from the Fortress. (Well, it makes it farther away than I want it to be.)

But that’s okay. I can work around that. My real problem lies with a couple forests that need to be… somewhere. Somewhere south of the Academy, but east of that town, but not near the Fortress.

So, yeah. I really should draw a map.

Another thing about non-reality based writing is government and religion. Not something you have to think about for books set in our world, but for fantasy and science fiction?

And those are both things that I tend to gloss over, usually falling back on a traditional monarchy and not mentioning religion (or even government) unless it becomes an issue in the book. (Or is central to it, like a couple of trilogies that I’m ignoring, one of which probably wouldn’t take too much to finish…)

And I think I’ve rambled long enough for one blog post. On Monday we’ll tackle some other aspect of world-building.

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Wednesday Words #182(6/20/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a magical plant
a song
summer

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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World Building, Sort Of

Since I touched on world building on Friday I thought I’d write a bit more about it for today.

There’s just one small problem…

I don’t know what to say about it.

When I write something that is science fiction or strictly fantasy I tend to make things up as I go, which leads to some interesting problems, so it’s a bad habit that I should probably try to break.

When I’m writing something that is more along the lines of paranormal or urban fantasy I actually do a lot more research than I do for SF&F.

Why?

Because people can fact-check it and I don’t want to look like I was making it up as I went.

So, anyhow, there are some questions I want to tackle on this subject:

Why is world building important?

How much is too much?

How little is not enough?

But I’m not going to tackle them today. It’s way too hot and my brain has melted and my body is in process of doing the same.

I’m on night shift this week so I’ll write about them when I’m in air conditioning.

 

 

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Sunday Snippet, June 17, 2018

I’m posting from Hedge House, a nearly completed first draft. Finishing it is going to be my project for Camp NaNoWriMo next month.

Picking up from last week — Cara was awakened by a phone call, even though her phone’s volume was off.

 

Her voice was as shaky as her hands, part of her mind wondering if her grandmother would sound the same as she did in her dreams.

But it wasn’t a woman’s voice that replied.

“Cara Hawthorne?”

“Yes.” She sat up, her hand tightening on the phone.

“You probably don’t remember me, but my name is Jacob Wylde. I was a friend of your grandmother’s.”

Jacob Wylde. He had lived in the groundskeeper’s house and had always had time for the endless questions of a curious child. She had helped him – he had helped her – plant a flower garden every year. Marigolds and petunias.

“Miss Hawthorne?”

His voice pulled her out of the near trance of the memory.

 

Tentative Blurb:

When Cara Hawthorne returns to the childhood home she had been torn away from twenty years earlier, she thinks it will be to do nothing more than settle her grandmother’s estate and return to her job as a junior lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Tulsa.

But every nook and cranny of the house and gardens unearths long-buried memories, and when the town’s mayor sets his sights on her and the property she finds herself caught up in a centuries old battle with powers she has only barely begun to understand.

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Rainbow Snippet for 6-16-2018

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Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Looks like I’ll be posting from Book Five of the Academy of the Accord for a while. It’s a fantasy series that I have been (and will be) working on for forever.

A bit of background on the characters in this snippet for those new to the series.

Kordelm and Wellhym are warriors, captains at the Academy, and lovers.

Draethlen is 10 years old, and is a new cadet at the academy. Marsden (the commander of the garrison at the academy) rescued him from an orphanage where he was sexually abused by the headmaster.

(This book is my current edition of editing hell, so… squint.)

Picking up from last week.

“Some men,” Wellhym said, choosing his words carefully, “love women. And there is nothing wrong with that.” Draethlen nodded, and he went on. “And some men love other men. And there is nothing wrong with that, either.” Draethlen’s breath was coming faster as fear mounted. “But,” Wellhym continued, “what is wrong, is for someone to force themselves on another, male or female, who is an unwilling partner.” Suddenly Draethlen found himself being held by Wellhym, surrounded by a pair of powerful arms that made him feel somehow safe. “What he did to you wasn’t love, it was hate.”

“Why?” Draethlen asked, his voice muffled by the man’s chest. “Why did he hate me?”

“He didn’t hate you, Drae, he hated himself. He just took it out on you because you were smaller and weaker than he was and by hurting you he didn’t have to hurt himself.”

“What if, what if I really do like men like they said I did?”

“Well, then, you love men instead of women, that’s all.” Wellhym’s voice was gentle and matter of fact. He pulled back a bit to look Draethlen in the eye. “Just promise me one thing, Draethlen. Whoever you love, do it gently.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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June Halfway Progress

I’ll be working night shift tonight but have been on evening shift this week so no editing got done other than some work on the outline and world building for Hedge House. (And June is half over already!)

Wait. What? World-building? Isn’t Hedge House set in our world?

Well…yes and no.

I mean, yes, it’s set in our world (with a few changes to reality) but the town and businesses are all fictitious and have you ever tried to build a town from scratch?

You need streets and businesses and services and they all need names and let’s not forget about the people who live there.

And events and festivals – all those things that make a town… a town instead of a collection of houses and businesses.

Seriously, just stop for a minute and start thinking about the things in your town. And start making a list. It’s… overwhelming. (And I love lists!)

And while I may not need all of this for the book, I need to know it, just in case, especially since I need to fill in some paranormal events in the rewrite and having the town all set in my head gives me ideas. (Yes, I am creating a back story for the town and plan to exploit it. I’m an author: exploiting back stories is what I do.)

I’m more or less basing the town on my hometown (kind of combined with where I live now) just so I have some sort of starting point and an idea of what all is needed. My list already has over fifty items on it and is still growing. (And between the two towns they have a population of less than five thousand; I’d hate to have to create a large city!)

So, that’s what I’ve been up to this week. Just a couple more weeks until Camp NaNoWriMo and I’m a couple months away from being ready.

 

 

 

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Wednesday Words #181(6/13/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a moonless night
a mysterious package
a lightning bolt

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Whyyyyyyyy?

The month is a third over and I haven’t touched the edits of Book 5. Why do I do this to myself? (Of course, I have a very good reason for not touching it – it’s a mess and I’m avoiding dealing with it.)

And then this afternoon, while trying to mentally sort out the opening sequence (yes, it is still giving me trouble!) and telling myself for the umpteen thousandth time that I really need to draw a map, an idea wandered in, plopped itself down, and said, “Make me happen.”

That wouldn’t be so bad (it’s a good idea, even a great one) but it doesn’t belong in this book. (It does belong to the series, though. I’m just not quite sure where.)

Why? *sob* Why me?

I have scribbled the idea down and now I just have to figure out where it goes. Some of it probably goes in Book 4 but I have no idea where the second half of it goes, but it needs to be before Book 8.

And now I have a headache.

I did make some progress (sort of) on the outline for next month. I need to make the changes in the Word doc and print it out again before I do too much more because it’s getting to the point that I won’t be able to tell what’s what if I don’t. (I ended up color coding the current print out.)

I’m also thinking I should maybe go get the current incomplete manuscript printed out so I can insert stuff where it belongs (and take out stuff that’s being changed) before it gets any more convoluted. That just might happen this Friday.

So, I’m working on stuff. And thinking about stuff.

If only it was the right stuff…

 

 

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Sunday Snippet, June 10, 2018

I’m posting from Hedge House, a nearly completed first draft. Finishing it is going to be my project for Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I’m not quite sure whether to classify it as paranormal or urban fantasy; the two of them tend to blur together a lot for me.

Why hadn’t she turned off the volume on her phone before she went to bed?

Cara fumbled for it, the fog of sleep clearing enough that she could see that the sound was off, and yet the phone was definitely ringing. The number was one she recognized, one she had almost called many times, always changing her mind at the last minute before hitting dial.

Even as a shaky finger pressed the screen to answer the call part of her mind wondered if the letter had had time to reach her yet.

“Hello?”

Her voice was as shaky as her hands, part of her mind wondering if her grandmother would sound the same as she did in her dreams.

But it wasn’t a woman’s voice that replied.

 

Tentative blurb. (Gawd, but I hate writing blurbs!)

When Cara Hawthorne returns to the childhood home she had been torn away from twenty years earlier, she thinks it will be to do nothing more than settle her grandmother’s estate and return to her job as a junior lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Tulsa.

But every nook and cranny of the house and gardens unearths long-buried memories, and when the town’s mayor sets his sights on her and the property she finds herself caught up in a centuries old battle with powers she has only barely begun to understand.

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

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