Category Archives: books

First chapter of new book

So the sequel and the novella are in the process of being merged into a book. I promised I would post the first chapter here (when I was happy with it) and so I shall. This is original work. Enjoy responsibly.

Chapter one – The Trip

I was in a dark room lit by a single thick beam of light from above. Standing in that illumination was a tall, somewhat light-complected woman with sparkling skin and very long, braided blue hair. She was dressed in a black sports bra and dark jeans with boots. Her arms were toned and strong, and her visible stomach muscles flexed as they moved a bit, giving her a graceful, dangerous feel. Her upper face was mostly covered by a black mask but her blue eyes, surrounded by sparkling blue eye shadow, were clearly visible through two large holes. As I studied her, those blue eyes began to change and glow until it seemed they were lit from within by bright candle flames. She wore an enigmatic smile on her pale cold lips, with no teeth showing. I stepped toward her and the gold light glowing behind her eyes brightened considerably. Since eyes are not normal if they glow like candle flames, I realized I was asleep and shook myself awake.

The scenery passing by my side of the small car hadn’t changed much. It was still a beautiful view of the stark winter landscapes prevalent in this part of the country. Today was Saturday, December 20. Next week I would celebrate my fourth Christmas in these parts and I still had not tired of it as it was so unlike the state where I was born. I enjoyed seeing the seasons in all their glory, from leafless and cold to brilliantly clothed in green and back again.

I glanced at the woman behind the wheel of the vehicle and grinned ruefully as I adjusted my tired slouch to a more comfortable upright position.

“Sorry about that. Hope I didn’t drool on your car.”

Vishi laughed merrily. “Considering I fell asleep not once, not twice, but three times while you were driving, I think I can understand a little drool. I didn’t understand what you said, though. Something about a tutor? Don’t tell me you need a tutor in one of your classes. You’re the one making the perfect grades, Sara, not me.”

“I said what? Tutor?”

“Yes, in your sleep.”

“Huh.” I rubbed my jaw and twisted my long braid of brown hair around in my fingers while I considered. “I don’t remember saying anything. You were talking to me and then I saw something strange that made me believe I was dreaming, so I woke up.”

My roommate, Vishi, is a sharp-eyed, sharp-tempered little thing. Half Italian and half Mexican heritage, her feisty side is hard to reckon with at times, but she more than makes up for it by being one of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Her only true downside is her cooking ability, which doesn’t really exist, but I’m happy to do all the cooking with her pitching in for half the groceries and the cleaning duties. We live in a little house in a little city where she goes to a university full time while I work pretty much full time and go to a community college two days a week. It’s a good situation; we get along pretty well, having met in high school where we became friends. If she said I was talking about a tutor in my sleep, then I was, as she is also one of the most honest souls I know. Funny thing is, I hadn’t realized I was worried about my grades. I have other things to be concerned with, though I wasn’t going to let her know that.

The strange dream was one of them, and it wasn’t the first time I had experienced it.

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Analytics, queries, and anti-heroes

Here’s a few links I’ve gathered from friends and other bloggers that might be of interest.

A friend of mine handed me an article from the New York Times regarding the possibility that the same game changing analytical methods/data accumulation used in baseball (and online viewing) could be applied to future book publishing. I found it very cool and somewhat creepy. I hope the publishing industry gets bigger or more varied test audiences before it starts formulating procedure changes, but this does illustrate the fact that a tale well told needs to have the teeth needed to keep a readers’s interest or no one will finish (or remember) it.

This was a startling 180 degree take on query efforts. I believe if I ever query publishers again, this information and attitude adjustment will come in handy.

I read this shared link about anti-heroes and found it interesting. I also found a related article on heroines interesting, too, especially when applied to villains. I’m not sure I would take everything little thing said in the articles to heart, but it is always wise to be open to new suggestions and ideas. Always.

 

Update on sequel

The sequel to Sudarium passed the 40k mark a couple of weeks ago and is rapidly proceeding to nearly novel size. I believe I will follow a friend’s advice and combine them into a novel with a title to match the overall story (along with new cover art).

So, if you are one of the two people to have purchased Sudarium (and I already know who one of you is), let me know and I will make sure you get a free copy of the entire story since you already paid the price I will charge for the novel.

Making Connections

There’s a saying that if you want to be a good writer, you should read. Read a lot, in fact. It gives you a feeling for how others write, whether similar or different, and gets you used to what others produce as far as stories go. Your imagination is fine for coming up with a story line, but if you have no clue how to take the next step and type it all up, reading a finished story is an invaluable example.

I would argue that you also have to talk to other writers, too. Or at least visit with them online or read their blogs. There is a lot of useful information out there, and some people are kind enough to do some homework for you and post links and advice on their forums. Some even chat with you. All of this can save you some hard knocks.

My online friend Jana has such a blog and she often takes the time to offer links on her personal blog and put advice and talk about her writing issues in her professional one. She and I write on different subjects (she writes romance and action in a specific genre and I am more general and stick to platonic adventures) but her writing is far more mature in quality (as she has been doing this far longer), and it has been great to see what she goes through to produce her works, both the highs and the lows. It is from her that I gather quite a bit of the information I share here.

No one works well in a vacuum. Encouragement, sharing, compassion, sympathy, and advice are crucial to improving not only your writing, but also your life. Just remember to take the time to thank those who help you on your way, and pay back the kindness by helping others.

Thanks, Jana!