Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who is Rebbsie Taylor?

Today is my duel for the Dueling Bards. Please drop by and add in your two cents about the outcome of the situation.

Rebbsie Taylor, the character I entered in the duel, is the MC in my WIP THINKING OF YOU. (For more information on THINKING OF YOU, you can read the summary on the Projects page or browse previous posts.) She is a Controller, or Trol for short. These are people whose bodies can emit vibrations that change certain aspects of their surroundings. For Rebbsie, that aspect is other people's thoughts.

Because of her unique ability, Rebbsie was recruited for an elite government team of Controllers when she was only fifteen. Her team became her family, their leader her love. Then the Department of Wave Manipulation, the secret section of the government that dealt with the Controllers, started killing them off.

In THINKING OF YOU, Rebbsie is now twenty-two and working against the Department to save members of her species, primarily children. Her mind and memory are unreliable due to grief and an undiscovered repercussion caused by her waves.

Rebbsie is well-trained, but sometimes impatience and passion cloud her judgement. She is sarcastic and smart and portrays great confidence, but her mental illness causes her to second guess herself. She also has a flare for the dramatics.

But instead of me telling you everything, why don't I let her show you? The following excerpt is a flashback mixed with a dream.

Dark. Or maybe empty was a better word. I could see but there was nothing to see. No walls. No ceiling. No edges. No curves. I had no clue what I stood on. I wondered if I was dreaming or dead or if I had completely fallen off my rocker.

The quiet drenched me. I started to count my breaths and realized I couldn’t hear them, despite the up-and-down movement of my chest. Listening, I found I had no heartbeat.
Dead then. Damn.

Before the thought could really sink in, the void space around me began to fill. The outline of a room appeared, familiar shapes fading into being.

The love-seat lounged in its spot, looking shriveled without Star splayed across it while Trent hovered on the edge. Tass’s mini trapeze dangled from the ceiling, for once not twisted into a pretzel-like state. In the front of the room was Clarence’s swivel chair—the pulpit from which he preached. Around and around he would spin, staring at the ceiling while he talked. I used to stare at it too, trying to figure out what he saw. The table Kyle and Treshie propped their feet on still stood in the back. A large rug dominated the center of the room. Without touching it, I could feel the fibers against my skin. That had been my place.

And this. This was our conference room. Where we had planned missions. Where we had been a family. It was a good place to spend eternity.

I closed my eyes, waiting for it to hit me, waiting for the knowledge of my death to take its toll. But the seconds went by and I felt nothing. I frowned. Death shouldn’t be this easy.
I am dead. Nothing.

I opened my eyes, frustrated, and I was no longer alone. They occupied their respective spots, settled in as if they had been there the whole time. My team had arrived. Another me lay on the rug, eyes closed.

Sound rushed to my ears, the creak of Tass’s swing.

“It needs to be oiled again.” Tass said. Her voice had a weird tinge to it. Like it had been recorded.

She scooted off the seat and walked into the closet, coming out with a small oil can, a replica from
The Wizard of Oz. Tass loved that thing. What had the Department done with it once they’d booted us out? What had they done with any of our things? She climbed back onto her perch and started dripping oil into the joints.

I watched her, confused at what was happening. A bittersweet deja vu swept over me.

“What is the first thing you do if you are ever captured?” Clarence asked, drawing my attention. He began his daily speech, as he often did, with a question. He faced the far wall, his back to us.

“Swear?” Kyle asked. He slapped Treshie a high five under the table.

I grinned. My replica did the same. Those two always made me smile.
They used to make you smile. The grin slipped from my face.

If you want more of Rebbsie, I guess you'll just have to go check out the duel. ;)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dueling Bards - Realms Faire

Today, as you may know, is the first day of the Realms Faire. The Faire is primarily hosted by M. Pax though many other bloggers have stepped up to host various activities. One such blogger is Cassandra Webb, who is hosting the Dueling Bards event. And guess who's one of those dueling bards? ME.

Well, I guess, technically, I'm not, BUT one of my characters is. Rebbsie will be going up against Bevan McGuiness’s character, Slave, on Cassandra's blog on Wednesday. The winner of the duel will be determined by commenters, so please take the time to stop by and tell us how you think the duel should turn out! You'll be entered into the contest for the day's prizes.

Also, in case you don't know who Rebbsie is, I'll be providing more information about her on my blog the day of my duel.

And while you're waiting for Wednesday to roll around, I suggest checking out today's duel. Prizes include copies of Ellie Garratt's TAKING TIME AND OTHER SCIENCE FICTION STORIES and having a character named after you in an upcoming series. You may also enter the Rafflecopter below for the chance to win even more prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If that's not enough excitement for you, here are the other Realms Faire events:

P.S. I promise I will post a NaNo update soon.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Character Names - NaNoWriMo 2013

8 days until National Novel Writing Month

I love coming up with character names. I love the creativity, the thought, that goes into it, finding new names that, even if they aren't the one, speak to you, and, most of all, that feeling you get when you finally find the perfect fit. Like putting the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

Yesterday, I made my final decisions on the character names for my NaNo novel. I'm super excited about them and thought I'd share.

Before I get into the names, however, I should probably tell you the main idea behind my novel. It is based off the concept that luck can be a gene. Naturally, this gives people varying advantages and disadvantages in life. Due to the nature of these advantages/disadvantages, certain activities, such as gambling, have been outlawed. This has prompted a sort-of second Prohibition. Traveling gambling houses, with names like MARCO'S HOUSE OF OCCASIONALLY PROSPEROUS GAMING, abound throughout the country. When my main character, who has an acute curiosity and a draw to card games, stumbles upon this very house, she runs away with it. This is a retake on the phrase "running away with the circus."

And now...

  • February St. Claude - protagonist, sixteen, lives in a compound away from society's "unluck" gene discrimination
  • Erie St. Claude - February's sister, fourteen, feels like she's in her sister's shadow, lives in compound
  • Rhys Baker - the boy everyone, including February, expects February to end up with, February's close friend, lives in compound
  • 'Van Jacques ["Jacques" of Spades] - travels with the gambling house, helps February satisfy her curiosity about the world, love interest
  • Kapri Jacques [Kap] - 'Van's sister, travels with the gambling house, becomes February's first close female friend
  • Christian Hart [Ian/Kit] - frequent visitor of the gambling house, from prosperous family, good friends with 'Van, takes a small romantic interest in February
  • Dillyn Elliott - Ian's girlfriend, disapproves of his gambling, slowly forms a friendship with February
  • Marco - the gambling house master
  • Mum [Ambrose Jacques] - 'Van and Kapri's grandmother, has large influence in the gambling house, becomes a sort of mentor to February

What do you think? Feel free to ask questions. I would love to talk NaNoWriMo with you. ^^

Now that I have the characters and their names settled, I'm going to focus more on my plot. I've begun to create this fantastic world in my mind and I want the plot to do it justice. So far, I've only done broad brainstorming. It's time to make decisions and add more details.

Also, would you be interested in reading excerpts about each character throughout November? I was thinking I might post them on my Tumblr, but would you rather read them here? Let me know!

How is your NaNoWriMo planning going?

P.S. I did a similar post to this back in October 2010 for THINKING OF YOU.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Productivity for the Win!

21 days until National Novel Writing Month

My NaNo is beginning to come together. A cast of characters has manifested and just thinking about their relationships makes excitement flutter in my chest. Prominent settings have been established. I also have the thinnest thread of a plot. And when I say thin, I mean nearly invisible. But at least there's something.

Planning isn't the only thing I've made progress on this week either. I have also added about another 1500 words to OBJECTION, putting it at a little over 45k. While this is great progress and makes me very happy, I think I'm going to have to alter my pre-NaNo goal. With everything I am trying to accomplish before November gets here, finishing the first draft of OBJECTION seems too ambitious. I am now aiming for at least 50k by October 31st. If I get farther than that, great. If not, I will have still made substantial progress.

That's not even the end to the good news. Recently, I've begun working with a new critique partner. This exchange has prompted me to take another step in my revisions of THINKING OF YOU. I completed the transfer to Scrivener and reordered the scenes to fit my new plot line. This is a big step because I can now see what I need to work on in an organized layout and tackle each task one at a time.

Overall, I am quite pleased with what I have managed to accomplish in my writing so far this week. I've gotten more done than I have in quite a while. This aura of productivity is the perfect lead in to NaNo.

What achievements, big or small, have you reached this week?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

NaNoWriMo Planning Has Officially Begun!

25 days until National Novel Writing Month

It's October, my official NaNoWriMo planning month.

With me, planning isn't a very extensive process. I like to have a list of characters (including their names), a title, and a general plotline. Perhaps a touch of worldbuilding. I need a direction to head in and a few provisions for the way, but not a map of every twist in the road. As these things occur to me, I write them down in a notebook that I carry throughout October.

Planning notebooks are another aspect of my writing that is affected by my color coding system. The color paired with this year's NaNo, my untitled lucky genes story, is yellow. Hence, my notebook must be yellow.

Notebook without Strap
I had the perfect notebook picked out for this October. During the back-to-school sale at Wal-Mart, I discovered notebooks similar to the one I used for this year's NaPoWriMo but in bright colors. They were even in the clearance section by the time I went to purchase one. However, I had failed to notice the notebook did not come in yellow. I was devastated. To make up for it, I bought the notebook in every other color. Then, to top it off, once I got home, the strap on the green notebook snapped.

That was it. I took that broken notebook and made it yellow myself with the help of this video.

Here are a few pictures of the process that go along with the steps in the video:

Step 3

Step 5


My Planning Notebook
After my notebook was satisfyingly yellow, I decided to snazz it up a bit with some stickers. I also replaced the strap with a yellow rubberband.

For the past five days this notebook has traveled with me. I have yet to put much in it, but it's still only the beginning of the month. Soon it will be filled with all sorts of planning goodness.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? How do you prepare?

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Sorry. I had to get the excitement out of my system.

Because you see... I made All Region! And I wrote every day the past week! And I'm almost done updating Goodreads! And all the things!

-takes a deep breath- Now. Now it's all out of my system.

Over seven days, I wrote 469 words. Though that doesn't even equal two pages, it makes me happy. Those are words that I normally would not have written during a week like last week. Every day needed more hours in which to get everything done. Yet, if only for a minute or two, I found time to tap out a few words. That's a special accomplishment to me.

Since All Region is over, I hope to get more words written in the upcoming days. However, I have heard that All State (which I now get to go to :D) is in October. If I really want to make it, I need to practice a lot more. I'll have to figure out a way to adequately adapt my schedule.

Also, once I finish catching up on my social networking, I'll have buckets more time to write. I just need to add these last twenty books to my Goodreads and update my NaNoWriMo profile, which won't take too long. Then it's off to Tumblr and Youtube. At the same time, I'll continue reading my backlog of blog posts. Soon everything will be back to normal.

To part with, because I promised Laura I would be posting my writing, here are the 469 words. Please keep in mind that they are rough.

...I start to read the words with a voice in mind. I can’t get it perfect. I can’t match it up.

With the prompt, our minds automatically turn to Armie, because that’s all we’ve been able to think about for days, and from Armie it turns to our meeting in the bar.

“We had lunch with a friend,” we say.

The computer takes a second to reply. We wonder what tests it has to run before it can give us what it considers to be the best response.

Tell me about your friend.

We cock our head to the side, wondering what we should reveal and what’s important to keep hidden, because somehow we feel there is something we shouldn’t share.

We’re taking too long. The computer nudges us. What is their name?

Again, we take a moment to contemplate. Do we want Armie connected to this? What if they decide to bring her in too for more experiments? What if her name pops up some weird flag and gets her caught as a revolutionist?

A small puff of breath escapes our mouth as we part our lips with no words behind them.

Where did you eat? The computer nudges us again.

“At a bar.” No thought required. I tilt our head to the side. “A Homo bar.”

Why did you go there? It is trying to sneak up on us. We feel it. It is trying to slowly twist the information we would not previously give from our throats.

We smile. “It seemed appropriate.”

The computer takes longer than usual to respond. We wonder if we should nudge it. Our lip twitches.

Have you gone there before?

That’s the hammer that strikes the nail on the head.

Because for me the answer is no. Never. Never. Never.

And for Eme the answer is a million times.

Loneliness and the slumped shoulders of exclusion well up in my mind’s eye and the cavity where my heart usually sits. Backs come up from memories. Backs that are shaking with laughter, having already forgotten me, having no need for me.

Eme is trying to intrude, trying to comfort. But the hurt is a thick wall especially made to keep her out.

All of this rips through me in a second. Just a quick flash. The littlest pinch. Yet it leaves me shaking as the two of us stare at the computer screen in a silence with too many words in it.

“It depends on who you ask,” we finally say after what feels like a millennium or two.

There is a pause. Which one of you I ask? The computer asks, requiring more information.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go shriek with joy again.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Change of (Goal) Plans

In order for me to explain the changes I've made to my goal plan and the thought behind them, I will go through each step that led to my current format.

Go here for the explanation behind this style.

Above is the beginning set up of my goal plan, entitled The One Year Goal Plan - 2013 Edition. I'm reposting it as a refresher and a reference.

In June, I decided my original idea needed tweaking. Months went by where I barely accomplished anything. My March goals became my April goals became my May goals. I knew I wasn't going to reach my aspirations within the year. I began to stress. For those of you who don't know, Brooke + stress = JUST NO.

I had to find a way to fix my plan. Gone were the Year Goals. In came the Long-Term Goals.

However, most of my goals were still time-constrained. Even though removing the January 1st deadline relieved a lot of pressure, that fact still weighed on me. So a few weeks after I made this mind-blowing change, before I even told you guys about it, I decided to carry it further.

First, I made each one of my projects their own sheet in my Excel workbook.

Then, I removed the aspect of time. Long-Term Goals became Big Goals. Month Goals became Medium Goals. Half-Month Goals became Small Goals. Mini-Goals became XS-Goals.

I also added other features as I revised my goal plan.

As I was adding in goals, I realized I had some that needed to be completed, but that weren't necessarily part of a larger goal. Yet they weren't enough by themselves to be a Big or Medium Goal. These I called EXTRA Goals and typed in color. On the picture above, which shows goals for OBJECTION, the EXTRA Goal is in pink. This goes along with my WIP color-coding system. On the THINKING OF YOU sheet, the EXTRA Goals are blue.

I included counters for some goals, too. If you take a look at the OBJECTION image again, you will see that in the Finished column for Medium Goal #1.1 I show the number of words I have out of the number I want to have.

Overall, I am very happy with how my goal plan has turned out. I ended up with eleven sheets and I will get to each one in my own time. It's what I call freedom with direction. And it feels great. :)

What do you think of my new goal plan? What about freedom with direction?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Starting Today

I have reached a decision. I will complete the first draft of OBJECTION by NaNoWriMo.

Starting today. Every day this week I'm going to write. It doesn't matter how much, just that I do. I could write two hundred words or I could write three chapters. For this week, they hold the same level of achievement.

This method will work partly because I need to get used to writing on a regular basis again. Also, my All Region audition is on Saturday. One of my friends suggested I listen to my music while writing. That will help me better memorize the notes, which is great, but I can't type, look at my music (which requires turning pages), sing, and listen all at the same time.

I have yet to write today, but I plan to as soon as I sing all four songs at least once. It's already late, so I probably won't add a lot, but it will be something!

In other news, I'm already completely caught up on a third of my blogs. Now I'm working on my Goodreads as well, which requires going through all my shelved books and adding all my owned books.

I also finally finished my goal plan post. Come by Wednesday to see it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dudes! Two Months Until NaNoWriMo! + Some Other, Less Mindblowing Stuff

I forget what I was doing and why it suddenly occurred to me, but, the other day, it struck me that NaNoWriMo starts in just a little over two months. Two months! Sixty-five days! I don't know whether I'm excited or terrified!

Really, I don't know why this is all so mind-blowing or why I'm flipping out.

I chose my main concept already. I think I've been planning on writing my untitled lucky genes story for NaNo 2013 for over a year. (I'm actually kind of worrying about not having an idea for next year yet.) My brain has even been contemplating and analyzing plot ideas for the past couple of weeks. I guess it realized and forgot to fill me in. -grumbles at brain-

Of course, with NaNoWriMo eminent, the next question is: What do I want to get done before then? My mind instantly starts throwing things at me. THINKING OF YOU revisions. THE TRUE PRINCESS read over. Short stories to write. Old poems to edit. Blogs and other social networks that require attention. Plan, too! Good thing I don't bruise easily.

However, though I dodged most of those goals, letting them fly past for a later time, I managed to catch one. OBJECTION. If I sat my ass in my chair and buckled down, I know I could finish that draft. It's far from impossible and it needs to be done. I mean, I was supposed to have this done before last NaNo!

Nothing has been finalized yet. I'm still thinking, still considering. But it's looking very likely that finishing the first draft of OBJECTION is going to be my pre-NaNo goal this year.

Now, that I've gotten my little freak out out of the way (ha!), I have some other things I'd like to share with you.

Firstly, I should be posting about my revised goal plan very soon. I'm almost finished finalizing the changes. After that, writing the post shouldn't be so hard. I know I've been promising this particular post for a while now, but my life has gotten busy again. In a good way. :)

I'm also proud to announce that I've begun to catch up on blogs. Like really catch up. Like months' worth of catching up. So far, I've finished four out of twenty-four. And I'm extremely happy about it! I'm not letting myself get stressed out over the workload. I'm pushing through. Better yet, I want to do it. I have the motivation to do it. And beyond that, I have the motivation to search out more blogs when I'm done (I know twenty-four is low and I want to remedy that).

I'm just in a really good place in my life right now.

I get to stay in my town with my friends, at least until Christmas. (We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.) I'm enjoying my classes a lot. They provide a broad, well-balanced spectrum of learning. By the end of the day I feel almost saturated with knowledge. I'm currently learning the French numbers and conquering my All Region choir music (which entails singing in both Latin and German). I have three AP classes and I'm steadily immersing myself in Trigonometry. Friday, there's a meeting to discuss this year's musical. Saturday, I'll be hanging out at a friend's house for half the day. Even the movies I've seen lately have seemed to add to the wholesome happiness I've been feeling. (I really recommend YOU'RE NEXT, if that's your sort of thing.) It's all just amazing!

P.S. Going with excited. ;)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We Have Internet!

Finally, finally!

The Internet service guys came yesterday and ran the appropriate cable to my room. Now, my computer, my lovely computer, has been reunited with its long-awaited companion, the Internet. It's glorious! I could do cartwheels I'm so happy. :D

Using my personal computer gives me more access to Blogger and other social networks. I don't have to share and it's close to me. This will make it much easier to keep up with all of you and maintain my own blog. Squeee!

Tomorrow, though, I return to school, which will cut into my free time. I have homework and extracurriculars and friends. However, school also puts me back on a more regular routine. It forces me to make time for blogging and writing. That, coupled with my writing schedule, should keep me on the straight and narrow.

-does a little dance-

Monday, July 22, 2013

Considering Other Options

Today is the last day to vote in the Ink Haiku contest. Go here to learn how. Thank you!

Do you ever feel like your novel ideas are just too weird? Like you love the book, but when you really sit down to think, you're not sure if anyone else will understand it the same way you do. You worry that if you try to explain it to someone, they'll give you a funny look and try to scoot away discretely.

Recently, while I was on the phone with one of my friends, he asked me what my novels are about. I always hate this question, but I attempted to answer. I told him that THE TRUE PRINCESS is about a princess who gets cloned...He thought it was strange. And while I firmly believe in my story, his opinion did not exactly boost my confidence.

As I've been working on THINKING OF YOU, rearranging the plot and trying to better build the story, this has been a concern that has crossed my mind a few times. What if I spend all this time on my story and then no one else thinks it's as amazing and creative as I do? What if everyone just thinks it's bizarre?

I've read many posts on self-publishing where people have explained that they self-publish for this very reason; their book is a bit too unique for the current market. However, self-publishing in its entirety is not for me. I do not have the skills nor the desire to produce an entire book by myself.

But I have thought of something else.

Many people my age who write don't see physical publication as an option, at least not at this point in their lives. However, they still want people to read their stories. So they go to what teenagers go to for everything: the Internet. They post their stories, their poems on sites like Wattpad, Fictionpress, Figment. The latter I use myself-very, very rarely posting shorter works there.

Perhaps you can see where this is going, but, if not, I am considering posting THINKING OF YOU on an online writing site. Even though I already have a Figment account, I'm leaning more toward Wattpad. Of course, I would research as many options as possible if this is what I decide to do.

Why am I considering this?

Well, there are a few reasons. It would let me know how people feel about my writing beyond my short poems and short stories. If I work at it, it might help me build a reader base so there are people who would buy an actual book from me. Also, being able to show an agent "see? people like me" could never hurt. It would give people something to read while I work on something I believe to be better for the market and publication. And you never know what feedback I might get; someone could point out a major flaw I need to fix or point me in a direction to make my story even better.

Obviously, there are also drawbacks to publishing an entire manuscript on the Internet. For one, the site I used would most likely get non-exclusive rights to my story. That is always my biggest concern and consideration before I post anything on the Internet and that would be no different here. I would also have to spend a fair amount of time reading others stories on the same site. As us bloggers know, you do not get without giving.

I have to take all of this into account while making my decision. In the meantime, I will continue to make my story as good as I can, to make it as good as it can be. Because no matter what decisions I make in the future, I will always want that.

What are your thoughts about "publishing" work on online writing sites?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Writing Week

Visit this post to see how you can help me win the Ink Haiku contest. Thank you!

I spoke with my critique partner, Tania, recently, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, about which of my projects I should focus on next. I explained to her how I haven't had the chance to work on anything major in months and I wanted to get back on the horse.

She asked me the following question: If you had more time, what would you work on?

I considered it. OBJECTION, THINKING OF YOU, and THE TRUE PRINCESS all came to mind. Each of them is at a different stage. One is being drafted, one revised, and one is somewhere in between. However, each one gets me excited to sit in a chair until my butt becomes flat.

After listening to my answer, she asked me the next obvious question. So, what story will you start with first?

She wanted me to pick? I stared at the computer screen while one part of my brain tried to find an answer and another just screamed. Then, suddenly, a third, reasonable voice said, "Shut up and calm down. You can work on all three." And then it told me how.

So, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I present to you my writing week!

Sunday: reading
Tuesday: blogs/others writing
Wednesday: short works
Friday: blogs/others writing

My first week is halfway through, and Mr. Reasonable is kicking back with a smug expression on his face, going "See? Nothing to worry about." I've already added a little over 1k to OBJECTION, something I haven't done in so long I was genuinely concerned that I had forgotten what my planning notes meant. Afterward, at three in the morning, I danced down my hallway. I haven't been that happy in ages. And I didn't fret over reading blogs every day. I knew I'd have all day Tuesday to do that and now they can wait for Friday.

It's also a flexible, non-strict schedule. If I get the itch to work on OBJECTION on, say, Wednesday, I'm going to do it. Or if my life eats me for a day, well there's always the next week. It acts as a guide and motivator. When my brain starts up with its "You could do this. Or this. Or, oooh, this!" I can say, "You know, I really don't need that. It's Saturday. And Zoie has waited patiently for her turn." When my mind starts whining that it's tired or itdoesn'twanna, I can say, "Come on now. It's Wednesday. You can at least edit half this story."

Everything will get done. One day at a time. :)

How do you divvy up your time between projects? Do you work on one or more WIPs at a time?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Powerpuff Girls and I Currently Share a Color Scheme

Visit this post to see how you can help me win the Ink Haiku contest. Thank you!

When I was little, my favorite show was THE POWERPUFF GIRLS. I had nightgowns. I had dolls. I had a sleeping bag, a bedspread. I had the movie. I had it all.

I don't have those things anymore, but I still love the cartoon. Lizzie and I catch it on Boomerang as often as we can. (We also recently discovered it on Netflix!) We, along with our friend Jessica, even dressed up as them last Halloween (and sadly got no good photos -.-).

Only last Thursday night, however, did I notice a certain color-themed connection between myself and my three favorite superheros.

You see, I assign each of my WIPs a color. Then I buy notebooks, binders, folders, index cards, whatever supplies I need to write the project, to match. And guess which colors the three novels I'm focusing on at the moment have been delegated?

Isn't it awesome? I didn't even plan it! In fact, I don't know when or if I would have noticed it, if Tania (by the way, did you see her cover reveal?) and I hadn't been discussing what story I should work on next (which brought me to another revelation I will be sharing with you soon). My subconscious just knew those colors were right.

And in case you aren't convinced the Powerpuff Girls and I have a deep chromatic relationship, here's a picture of three shirts I recently bought:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cover Reveal - CLOAKED IN FUR by T. F. Walsh

I have some very exciting news to share. My critique partner, Tania, has recently signed a book deal with Crimson Romance for her first novel, CLOAKED IN FUR! Today she's releasing her cover to the world and I get to be a part of it. Check it out!


Genre: Paranormal Suspense w/ Romance

As a moonwulf, Daciana never expected to fall in love with a human. Hell, she never imagined that she’d abandon her pack, endanger everyone around her, and break the worst rule possible. But she did.

A rogue werewolf is killing Daciana’s friends, and she sets on capturing the creature. She’ll do whatever it takes to stop the beast. The police and her boyfriend, Inspector Connell Lonescu, are starting to question her involvement in the murders, which is endangering the pack’s secret existence. But when the pack alpha kidnaps Connell, revealing the awful truth about the creature and its connection to the pack, Daciana must choose between saving the man she loves and saving her pack family from certain death.

Available August 5, 2013 from Crimson Romance

(+Pre-order Here)

About the Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she's always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Calling All Haiku Lovers

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to be entering a haiku contest on Figment. Last night I posted my entry.

The first round of the contest is vote based. The twenty entries with the most votes, or "hearts," move on to the finals, where judges will choose ten winners. So... This is the part where I ask for a favor.

It's simple really. Just follow the four easy steps below.
  1. Go to
  2. Sign-up to the site if you don't already have an account. It's free. If you do, sign in.*
  3. Go here and read my entry. The site estimates it will take about five seconds.
  4. If you like the haiku, click on the "heart" button. And that's it!
Currently, I need 160 hearts to be in the top twenty. Every vote helps. Thank you for taking the time!

*If you have to sign up, remember to check your email to verify your account.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Can You Hear Me?

Testing. Testing. One, two, three. Does this thing still work? I hope so.

I know it's been over two months since I posted anything, but, to be honest, nothing much has happened. At least on the writing front. My life has still been hectic and time consuming, but I think it's settling down now. I may have to move soon (crossing my fingers for staying), but other than that, everything is steady and normal.

There are a couple of big things I should share with you. In April, I learned that I did not get accepted into the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for 2013. That was a heavy blow. Luckily, my friends were there to support me through the crying. However, even though I was rejected, I still stand by the pieces I submitted. And! One of my good friends did get accepted into their percussion program. He just got back and he had a great time. Hopefully, we can return together next year.

I'm also working on revamping my goal plan (again...). But I won't go into that now because I will be writing an entire post to explain why and how. I'm not sure when exactly because I don't currently have Internet on my personal computer which makes it a bit hard to provide visual aids. Plus, I have to finish the remodel before I can reveal it. Duh. :P

Now, this post doesn't mean I've come completely out of hiatus, but I am working on that. I've been gone a while now and there's so much to catch up on. I'm reimmersing myself slowly. Already I'm keeping up on my emails and have responded to everyone who commented on my Figment profile (though I still have some stories to finish reading and critiquing). And though I haven't been posting, I've made sure to keep up with all of your comments.

While I'm once more getting comfortable with the swing of things, I want to reconnect with my joy for blogging. To do this, I decided it would be best for me to write posts that don't require much thought for a while. By that, I mean more organic posts, more natural me posts. The kind of things I used to write about when I first began my blog. Things like the slightest progress on any given project or ideas I get during the day or new office supplies (I'm just itching for the back-to-school season at Wal-Mart). Simple little updates to get me back in the habit of writing regularly about my writing.

And I thought I'd start now with two small things to go with my two big things. :)

First, Figment is currently hosting the Ink Haiku Contest. The prompt is loneliness. I have until July 15th to come up with a good idea and submit my entry. When I do, I'll let you know and post a link (along with a plea to check it out maybe...).

Second, speaking of office supplies, I recently acquired a small, 140-page notebook from Staples.

I'm using it to write down short story and poem ideas. Each new one gets its own page. I'm even including information about what inspired them. The notebook fits in my tiny teenage girl pockets (because apparently girls don't use their pockets) so it can go with me anywhere. And it's pretty. :D

And that's it (like I said, writing life pretty much non-existent). You'll be hearing from me soon. In the meantime, I'm off to read contest rules and watch videos on YouTube. Also, keep an eye out. I might be getting a new profile picture.

Have you posted anything recently that you think I should read right now? Leave a link in the comments and I'll stop by to check it out.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


my entire life
is the struggle
of deciding
if you're
good for me

don't ask me
which side
is winning

Monday, April 29, 2013

and... him iii.

that day
when your mom
let me in
and I caught you
dancing around your room
with your headphones in
singing at the top
of your lungs
I stood there for
ten minutes before
you saw me
hoping you would
never stop

Sunday, April 28, 2013

angels wear pink dresses

there's a boy at her school who wears pink every day
once she stood outside alone with him, staring at his busted lip
she asked him why

Because her car was pink. Her bedroom walls too. Because her mom wouldn't let her dye her hair pink and when she pouted about it I didn't tell her I liked her natural color better. Because she bought me a pink shirt she never got to see me wear. Because she loved standing outside at that moment in the middle of the sun setting when the whole earth is tinged pink and she couldn't be buried at that time of day. Because there's still an old tube of her brightest pink lipstick in my glove box. Because when she blushed her own shade of pink it was the prettiest thing in the world. Because if there is such a thing as God, I know he gave her a pink dress to go with her wings and I want to match her every day to make up for the promise I won't get to keep on prom night. I have a million reasons, but it's mainly because my most important one isn't here.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

making up

I stared
at your back
across the bed,
unsure whether to
roll over or
reach out and
touch you.

Friday, April 26, 2013


I took all the things
I couldn't throw away
and put them in a box
with a random address on it.

Maybe they'll do it for me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

taking a breather

                       I needed
to air my self out today.
So I took off my skin
and hung it on a clothesline.
Put on my spare one
and wore it for the day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I need at 3 a.m.

I didn't want a
love poem and you
didn't give me one.
Instead you offered
Cokes over late
night video games
played half-delirious
and Cheeto wars.
The cheese licked
off my fingers satisfied
me more than a kiss
ever could.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

and... him ii.

that day
when you first
held my hand
I had to keep myself
from squeezing
too hard
in fear you would
let go

Monday, April 22, 2013

and... him i.

that night
on the phone
when you fell asleep
I finally hung up
simply because
my phone died

Sunday, April 21, 2013

and... her iv.

every night
when you
say good night
and I say
it back
I lie
because then it
isn't anymore

Saturday, April 20, 2013

and... her iii.

that night
on our road trip
when you told me
to count
each bright light
as a moment
you would love me
I counted
flashing lights
more than once

Friday, April 19, 2013

still here (maybe)

we all feel like
the empty soda can
that has sat
for weeks
on your desk

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

of me

why do I let days
fall, sand
into glass,
never hard enough
to shatter?

flip over my hourglass.
we'll watch it longer
than we did before.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

some days

we sitso close and our
smiles reflecteach other
and we breathe
in thesame air andyou
smell good.

other days
there is only the aftermath
and the faintest hint
of where you
brushed up against me.

Monday, April 15, 2013


they call it chemistry
because when your
skin leaves mine
I can hear
bygones of bonds
snapping and
eons of electrons
weeping for
lost soul mates

Sunday, April 14, 2013

and... her ii.

that day
when it rained
I said
I stood that close
to you
for the umbrella
but I didn't mind
getting wet

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

and... her i.

that night
with the shooting star
when you asked
I didn't tell you
I wished
that you wished
for me

Thursday, April 11, 2013


mud squished.
under my shoe
and a curse slipped.
out of my muth

with. disgust
I jerked back
and stared at. the
solitary footprint.

she leaned forward.
and lined up
her foot with the
imprint. of mine

when she. drew away
her footprint rested
inside of mine.
and she laughed

I grinned.
knowing. the image
was inverted

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fishing for a Living

Cast a fishing line down
your throat,
hook all the words that are
hiding there,
and yank them up between
your teeth.

If they should be lured
to bite,
dig through the mud in
my eyes
to find my words squirming to
get free.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

fully formed

let me count your knuckles
     [one, two, three]
each a time we've come this close
     [four, five, six]
bumps under my fingers I know well
     [seven, eight, nine]
the space between longer and more prominent
     [ten, eleven, twelve]
held together by threads thin as self
     [thirteen, fourteen, fifteen]
easy to slide over, as if never there
     [sixteen, seventeen, eighteen]
but if I bent them back to feed you
     [nineteen, twenty, twenty-one]
they would fall heavy on your tongue
     [twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four]
and roll in your stomach like bad memories
     [twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven]
on the last knot, I wait for skin to grow

Monday, April 08, 2013


he called her name
     heard it in sounds
     not her shape

he stepped into the front yard
                  into the cold
     saw her sitting
                  growing a skin of snow

he crunched toward her
     laid his hand on her shoulder
                           with the curves of concern

she moved away
      left dimensions unspoken
      in the miniscule space created

-come inside.
--I'm enjoying the cold.
--it gives me the shivers you used to.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

growing up

do you ever
think of the time
they said they'd
tell you when you
grew up
so you went
and tied bricks
to your feet
and trudged back
then they laughed
so hard they
couldn't tell you?

Saturday, April 06, 2013


the paint is peeling
the seats are ripped
the tires leak air
the radio doesn't get FM
the back doors stick
the brake pedal squeaks
the AC doesn't work
and there is no muffler
but it always gets me
to you

Friday, April 05, 2013


you are so full of energy
so full of life
and I am a dead battery
that needs recharging

Lines We Live In

we were who we were
before     our lives could be
expressed in numbers able
to be counted     the lines drawn
around how we felt and who
we felt it for were bold and

                       Do you ever miss that?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

holding hands

her grip
felt more like
preventing me
from leaving
than wanting me
to stay

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Degree of Exposure

when the tide lapped our feet
hungry for the salt off our skin
we woke

we pulled away from each other
despite the resistance from our bodies
sticking with sweat

outlined in sudden white against your chest
my hand, fingers splayed too short, grasping
you looked, laughed

then traced a stinging line across my neck
the dips and ridges of your face branded
must mean more

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

for keeps

a day without a
date-you left
your jacket here

today I found
it; slumped, dying;
in back of the closet

it held you,
your shape, closer
even to a ghost

and your smell
explored creases and
cracks of leather

I put it on
a wire hanger,
closed the door

you have other

Monday, April 01, 2013

you're welcome

Don't thank me
for the tears I cried
over you.

(you may have noticed
how puffy my eyes are)

Don't thank me
for cleaning up your mess
when you broke my heart.

(by the way,
I need that piece back)

Don't thank me
for smiling
when I see you.

(it's only because
I can't help it)

Don't thank me
for moving on
to him.

(he has your eyes

They are all mine.)

Thank you.

National Poetry Writing Month + A Hiatus Update

April 1st marks a special day in my writing life. It is the first day of National Poetry Writing Month, or
NaPoWriMo for short. NaPoWriMo is a month-long challenge where the goal is to write a poem every day. This will be my third year participating.

Many participants post their poems online and I am one of them. A poem will be put up later today and then every day after until May 1st. To see my past poems, you can go to my Samples page or scroll through the posts under my NaPoWriMo label. If you are interested in seeing others poems, there is a list of participants' sites on the NaPoWriMo site.

I've been looking forward to NaPoWriMo. Last year, it helped me get through an emotional time. I'm hoping that this year it will help me work out my thoughts and feelings about various things going on in my life right now. W. H. Auden said, "Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings." I believe he's right.

In preparation for NaPoWriMo, I bought a new notebook. It's bitty and fits in my hand. This makes it easy for me to carry it around. You never know when inspiration will strike. Also, I have a few ideas stored in my head that should get me through the first few days. I'm ready!

If you would like to take part in NaPoWriMo as well, check out their website. Don't forget to add your blog to the participants' list if you are going to be posting your poems.

However, though I will be posting very regularly in April, I am not officially coming out of my semi-hiatus. While I am nearly ready for it, my life is not. If that makes sense. But soon. I think it will be soon. Until then, my only posts should be my poems. Just as a warning. ;P

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A Semi-Hiatus is Needed

So... I've never had to write a post like this before. I've written about being tired of reading, of projects, of life in general, but I've never said I'm tired of this. Of talking to you guys through my posts and comments. Of reading yours, even if I get a bit stressed over that occasionally. I've never said I was tired of the Internet. But there's a first time for everything.

I just have no motivation. To do an-y-thing. I don't feel like reading and replying to emails, like reading posts, like writing posts, like critiquing things on Figment. I don't even want to watch YouTube videos for goodness sake! This lethargy and lack of drive weighs on me.

And I think this worry and stress is affecting other areas of my life. I feel nothing when I think about my writing goals that I was so excited about just a month ago. Thinking about my homework makes me want to just cry or explode or die or all three.

I need to shut down, reboot. Which is why I'm going on a bit of a hiatus.

I'm not sure how long I'll be gone. I need to immerse myself back in my life, my writing, and figure out a way to make the Internet a less stressful place once again, a place I enjoy being. No matter how long though, I'll be returning in storm. As the mood and ideas strike me, I plan to write and stockpile posts so that I will have plenty of things to share with you when I get back. I may also post an update or two between now and then. You never know what may happen.

Hopefully, I'll "see" all of you soon!

Monday, March 04, 2013


Today I have two very special announcements!

The first I've waited about a week to tell you. Last summer I mentioned that the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute was putting together an anthology for the class of 2012. Well, they've finally finished it!

QUARTZ FOUNTAIN includes three or four poems from each student as well as their portrait. I'm the third person in because we're organized in alphabetical order. Three of my poems are included-two I read at a performance while at OSAI and one I chose. It is available in paperback for ten dollars. Purchase links are on my Publications page if you would like to check it out further.

While I am very excited about my anthology, that's not the end of my good news!

About a month ago, I participated in The Overcoming Adversity Bloghop hosted by Nick Wilford. His goal was to compile entries for an anthology he would sell to fundraise money for his stepson's college fund. The Kindle edition of this book was released today! The paperback will hopefully be released in a few days time. Purchase information for this book can also be found on my Publications page.

It's funny because the piece I wrote for OVERCOMING ADVERSITY: AN ANTHOLOGY FOR ANDREW was a part of my writing sample for my audition for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute this year. Here's to hoping it lives up to its name and overcomes the adversity that is being chosen to attend this camp once more!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Tour of My Storyboard

Last month I completed my storyboard for THINKING OF YOU. I've showed you a picture of some of the finished index cards before, but I decided to make a video showing you the entire board and explaining it and my process in making it a bit more-a tour video if you will.

Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions. ^^

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Guilt

Today is President's Day, which means I have no school. Since I have no school, I'm hoping to get a lot of reading done. I'm hunkering down and immersing myself in books in a way I haven't done in a long time. I'm letting myself go and getting rid of this "book guilt."

What is book guilt? It's a term I learned from Kristina Horner. I'll let her explain it to you.

When I saw this video, it felt like she was talking about me, like she was describing my reading life. It was eye-opening. I don't want this video to be about me. I want to go back to the way I was, where I read every chance I got and enjoyed it and fell in love with characters and stories that I still carry around in my head today. I'm climbing back up that reading slope and today is my first step.

If you have the time, I've made a video about the books I want to read by the end of the month and all the books I've gotten this month.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kaylie Austen's RAVENS Release Day Interview

I hosted Kaylie Austen on my blog back in March 2012 (here and here). Today she is back again with big news. Her book, RAVENS, has been published! In celebration, I have asked her a question for each letter of her book title. She is also being nice enough to giveaway a signed copy of RAVENS! Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post.

Brooke: RAVENS has had two different publishers. How did having to switch publishers make you feel? What do you suggest for other writers who have problems with their publishers?

Kaylie: Having to make a change like that was worrisome and frustrating, but thankfully RAVENS was picked up quickly by another publisher who had also liked the novel from its early days.

When writers have issues with their publishers, they should always evaluate the issue first and get to the root of the problem. Sometimes fault is with the writer and as a writer, you must be humble enough to acknowledge that and make necessary changes. This is a business, not a right, and that goes both ways. Publishers and editors must also be professional and dependable. Make sure it’s a legitimate issue. If the problem is actually your editor or publisher and not you, then approach that person. They should be willing to discuss things and want to work on it with you. The next step is to contact the head of the department or CEO. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, look at your contract carefully and see if you can retract your rights based on the legal qualifications. Sometimes, and thankfully not my experience, a writer may have to take a serious loss or get into a legal battle. After the storm, you just dust yourself off, gather your confidence and know-how, and move on with another lesson under your belt and become a bit wiser.

B: Are there any big events happening to celebrate the release of RAVENS, either online or in real life?

K: There’s a Goodreads giveaway, and I’ll have a giveaway on my blog as well as some interviews around the web. No big event, though. I’m getting my toes wet for now.

B: Vaguely described in your book summary, Ravens play a big part in your story. Could you give us a few more sentences explaining what Ravens are? Do they actually look like the bird or are they something entirely different?

K: I’m a huge fan of the X-Men and Gambit (swoon) is mighty hot. I loosely fashioned Ravens after him. Ravens are children who were teleported into a parallel universe where they’re superhuman and are hunted by humans. The colored part of their eyes are white and the white parts are black. They only emerge at night to remain hidden. They have electromagnetic capabilities, are agile, fast, strong, and many have independent powers. For example, Liam can cause illusions in people, read their minds, and he can communicate with Kendra when she’s in our world using telepathy.

B: Even though releasing RAVENS is extremely exciting, you have other books as well. Do you expect to release HELLHOUND any time soon, with this publisher or another one? Are there any other novels in the works?

K: HELLHOUND (paranormal mystery) will release in 2013, but we don’t have a set date yet. As a surprise that I’m announcing with you, because it seems you’ve been with me for so long, I’m terribly excited to announce that my zombie mermaid novel will also be published, hopefully in late 2013 or 2014. I have a few novels I finished in 2012 that haven’t found a home, yet. I hope to have amazing news about them soon.

B: Novels can be hard to write, which is why many authors also write or start out writing shorter works. Do you have any shorter projects you're working on now? Do you have any published?

K: I had two paranormal romance shorts published in 2010, but they are no longer in circulation. I don’t have any projects going right now, although I do have ideas for a RAVENS sequel that will take the crew to one of the three moons in the parallel universe, the one that’s been terra-formed for prisoners.

B: Saving her sister is Kendra's main goal in RAVENS. What are your goals, both for RAVENS and your writing?

K: Every writer wants to see their baby become a hit. I just hope people like it, even if it remains low key. My goals are simple, though not easily obtainable. I hope to achieve some of these goals in 2013: signing with an agent, signing with a major publisher, and eventually, one day, maybe making it onto a bestseller’s list. I think that’s a generic ballpark for most aspiring authors, but a worthy one and one worth fighting for. Blood, sweat, and tears as they say.


What are Ravens, and are they as the world wants us to believe—sinister and without human qualities? When abruptly taken from their world, select humans are transformed into creatures of the night with penetrating eyes and uncanny abilities that most believe are a threat to mankind. Stripped from their mundane and ordinary lives, these creatures have no choice but to stalk the night and fight back in order to survive.

One such Raven is eighteen-year-old Liam, who uses his telepathy to communicate with Kendra in order to lure her into the transformation. It proves to be a double-edged gambit that turns into a tumultuous journey. Racing against time to save her sister, whom she believed to be dead, Kendra falls through a portal and into a parallel world where humans hunt her. She becomes a Raven with ill-controlled powers, trapped in a torrid affair with Liam, and desperately struggles to find a grip on her new reality.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Kayle At: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

About Kaylie Austen: I was born during a monsoon in an Indian village that lacked a doctor and a hospital but had many nesting cobras nearby. That’s the most fascinating thing about me. Other than that, I’m a true Texan, and yes, I bleed orange (Longhorns!). Currently, I reside in the Pacific Northwest with my husband. My novels include YA fantasy, YA sci-fi, and paranormal romance/mystery.

I’ve been writing since the age of ten, and completed two novels before high school graduation. I love to learn, my life is rich with culture, and I’m an undercover nerd.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Charity Bradford's Blog Tour Post: Changing Plot Points

Today is magical. Why? Because I'm hosting Charity Bradford on her blog tour for her debut novel THE MAGIC WAKES. I've been following Charity on her writing journey for quite some time and I'm so happy for her. Plus, I just love her cover. -sigh-

Changing Plot Points

I want to thank Brooke for hosting me today, and for thinking of such an interesting topic. Leave it to another dedicated writer to think of asking “How many times did your plot change while writing THE MAGIC WAKES?” Before I answer, I want to do a quick review of plot and plot layers or subplots.

Plot is your story. What happens in the beginning all the way to the end—the main storyline. This plot can have lots of layers or subplots that keep it interesting. Their purpose is to add conflict and put obstacles in front of your characters. Slow them down from reaching their goals.

For instance, the main plot in THE MAGIC WAKES is Talia needs/wants to survive a planetary invasion. That’s simple enough. Don’t die. Since she lives in a technical world, I added layers by making her a scientist that knows about the invasion because of magical qualities, not research. She’s also accused of working with a secret society out to depose of the monarchy by my male MC. Throw in a heavy dose of immediate physical attraction during their verbal sparring and things are complicated even more.

Subplots can also be storylines of secondary characters. They should however relate to the main plot and intersect it in places. Jaron is an alien out to destroy the Dragumon—no matter the cost or people that get in the way. His goal is different from Talia’s for most of the novel, and debatable even after they meet.

Now to Brooke’s question. How many times did my plot change while writing THE MAGIC WAKES?

Who knows! My big plot changed at least once that I can remember, and at times it felt the layers were in constant flux.

In the beginning Talia was named Elyzbeth. She was only 17 and heading off for her first year of university life. She had loving parents, a brother, and a best friend. The idea was that she met this mysterious and totally hot guy in her mandatory arts class. After years of them just flirting I knew something had to change. There was no reason for my bad guy to pick on them. They were just going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and it wasn’t working for me.

I changed Elyzbeth’s name, killed her whole family, and gave her another ten years of experience. Now she had a career and emotional issues to deal with. This is also when I decided to combine my weak original idea with some creepy dreams from my past. Now I had goals for Talia.

Many subplots changed while working with crit partners or my editor. They were wonderful about pointing out areas that needed more. We discussed things and several new scenes (some that are my new favorites) came to be. Here’s a short list of subtle changes:
  • Talia gained a furry pet
  • Talia’s dreams come true in degrees
  • Landry gained a real reason for hating the Signum
  • Talia learned how to control her dreams at times
  • Jaron’s demon gained a personality and now will play a major part in book 3!
  • My beginning and ending both changed at least 100 times
  • Because of beginning tweaks I came up with some new tech for certain scenes of the book
  • One guy turned out to be the bad guy after being a good guy for 4 years
I guess the bottom line is plot changes during the writing process are not only good, but necessary for us to reach our highest potential. It goes back to that idea that you think of what might happen and then think of 4 other possibilities before settling on one in order to avoid clich├ęs. We write what comes naturally, and then we dig deeper and things change.

THE MAGIC WAKES by Charity Bradford

Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.

Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

About the Author:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | First Chapter

Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS and SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. THE MAGIC WAKES is her first novel.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Overcoming Adversity Bloghop - Flash Fiction Piece

Today I am participating in the Overcoming Adversity Bloghop to support a good cause. The host of this blogfest, Nick Wilford, is trying to raise money to send his disabled son to a higher education school that will fit his needs and help him have a successful and satisfying life. He will be compiling the flash fiction pieces posted during the blogfest into an anthology which he will then sell. The proceeds of this anthology will go into his son's college fund.

The two major requirements for this piece were:
  1. The entry must be at or below 500 words.
  2. The entry must be centered around the prompt "overcoming adversity."

Her name was Adversity and I guess that was appropriate because she had red hair. As red as the blood she coughed up on occasion into white tissues she kept in her pocket.

Her favorite class was English, a sort of dry humor considering she was a play on words herself.

Her favorite class was also mine because I sat right beside her every day. Every day she was there anyway. On none of those days did I say a word to her.

Until she wrote a word to me.

She leaned across the aisle, her yellow pencil clenched between her fingers. She only ever used wooden pencils. It scratched across the top of my desk, but her hand was in the way and I couldn’t see what she had written until she straightened once more.

The faint gray marks almost blended into the desk top: four lines, three dots, and a curve. The rest of the hour, though the teacher must have written and gone over a hundred sentences on the board, the only mistakes I saw were the slight waver of the “i” in “Hi” and how she ended it with a smilie face instead of a period. I wouldn’t have corrected them for the world.

We met at the door to the classroom when the bell rang. Everyone else had streamed ahead, eager to be home and out from behind the bars of school. I gazed down at her, trying to find the word in my throat. I had never realized how short she was, how narrow and frail. Her presence always outweighed mine.

She waited, smiling, and ran a hand through her hair, shaking off the few strands that clung to her fingers.

I watched them drift to the ground as I said, “Hi.” Not nearly as perfect as hers.

She laughed until she coughed, but even as her chest made horrible over-crowded noises, the grin never left her lips.

I glanced back into the empty classroom. The teacher cleaned the last errors off the board.

“You know, you would’ve gotten in trouble if you’d been caught,” I whispered close to her ear. Her heat made my skin itch.

“I know,” she said and this time when she laughed it was clear, “but I did it anyway.”

The teacher looked over at us then, her eyebrows close together.

“Guess we better go,” Adversity said.

I opened my mouth, but she put her finger over it. “I don’t believe in saying good-bye.” Then her skin was no longer touching my skin.

I stayed in the doorway as she walked down the hallway, stopping just inside the open outside door. Sunlight gave her entire body a halo. She pulled the tissues out of her pocket with two hands and threw them all away.

-465 words

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Preparing for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute Audition

Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute's Class of Creative Writing 2012

Some of you may remember when I made it into the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute last year. I'm trying out again this year and my audition is next week on Sunday at 1:30 PM in Oklahoma City.

As part of the audition I must bring four copies of an up-to-five-page writing sample that can be any combination of poetry or prose written after June 24, 2012. I've been working on that writing sample since the beginning of January.

So far I have written and edited: one "longer" story, about 1k, that takes up two pages; three poems that take up one page; and one flash fiction piece, about 500 words, that takes up one page. I have one flash fiction piece left to write. I will probably start work on it Tuesday or Wednesday since I still have to write my piece for the Overcoming Adversity Blogfest.

While I think my two prose pieces are pretty good, there might be something I've missed. To ensure they are as well written as possible, I've posted them on Figment for critique. SHOW ME YOUR FANGS, the longer piece, is here, and HEARTH AND HOME, the shorter piece, is here. I would appreciate it you read either one of them and told me what you thought either here in the comments or on Figment. I will post the three piece when it's ready.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

End of the First Month - Goals and System Evaluation

Tomorrow is the first day of February. I have quite a few exciting things going on during the month. There's my Winter Formal, my sixteenth birthday, my mother's birthday, pre-enrollment for eleventh grade, my Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute audition (as well as Lizzie's and Ben's) where I'll also get to see some of my writer friends for the first time since this summer, and one of my other good friends has her sixteenth birthday too. I'm going to be very busy.

Today, however, it's still January, and I would like to give you an update on my goal progress as well as analyze and evaluate my goal system.

I had five Month Goals I wanted to complete in January. I completed one. And I am ecstatic!

Look at all those yeses.
My storyboard is finished, you guys! I feel like my story has finally settled into place. For two years it's been twisting and flipping around in my brain. Now, I have an outline I'm happy with set out in a way that makes it obvious what I have to do to make the writing reflect it. I can't wait to start work on the actual prose in March.

And while I didn't complete my other goals, they initiated progress. I added about 10k to OBJECTION and am focusing on finishing that draft in February. I finished SHOW ME YOUR FANGS and even though I didn't do anything with THE SMILE FIXER, I still completed two short works with the addition of HEARTH AND HOME. I haven't been feeling the reading, but I've squeezed some in.

This system is working great for me. It's helping me to be both productive and organized. It keeps me from feeling bad when I don't accomplish something in a certain amount of time by showing me all the things I have accomplished. It makes me feel good about what I'm doing and motivated to keep doing it.

I've already decided on and inserted February's goals into my spreadsheet and I can not wait to get started!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trying Not To Be a Hypocrite

Every person is the star of their own play, but sometimes it's hard to see past the stage lights. Hard to see the faces of the other actors. The faces of the audience. To remember they're there, they're real, and they have feelings.

As a teenage writer, I worry that people won't take me seriously. That they'll automatically assume my work isn't good or that my craft is just a hobby. I worry that people won't think I have the experiences to portray life and emotions and characters accurately and believably. That they'll judge me because of my age before even reading a word.

Yet, if someone at school asks me to read something they've written, I have to keep myself from groaning.

Partially this is because that stereotype I'm so afraid of stems from truth. The things my peers write usually aren't so great. And then what do I tell them? I won't say it's brilliant or that I liked it. I won't lie to make them feel better. But why should I make them feel bad when their pursuit of writing usually doesn't last longer than two weeks?

Still, I squint through those stage lights and see the faces of the audience and remember. I read the things they give me and try to keep an open mind. Sometimes I'm surprised.

But people my own age are not the only people I judge like this.

Occasionally, when I'm reading a new blog, I'll get a rather mean thought. I have to catch myself and tell myself that everyone has to start somewhere. The greats were not always so. I have to remind myself that I'm not so far along this journey myself.

Perhaps it is a human thing to do, to make snapshot judgements about someone that you would not want made about yourself. But that does not make it right. I try hard not to be a hypocrite, but sometimes it takes a little more effort than others. Perhaps sometimes I don't always succeed. Feel free to point it out to me if you ever catch me failing.

And remember, those stage lights that don't allow you to see everyone else, make it easier for everyone else to see you.

How do you do on stage?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time's Up - The First Set of Half-Month and Mini-Goals

Yesterday was the last day to complete my first set of Half-Month and Mini-Goals. Since I've never tried this goal system before, I thought I might share my experiences and progress. It could help you decide if this is something you might like to try in the future and it will assist me in getting my thoughts/plans for the second-half of January organized.

Before we dive into feelings and thoughts and all that mumbo jumbo, let's start with some stats.

I have eight BIG MAJOR goals. Four of them had Half-Month Goals for the beginning of January. The rest were "Non-Focuses." I finished none of these Half-Month Goals.

The four Half-Month Goals were broken down into fourteen Mini-Goals. I finished five of them.

Looking at those numbers, it does not seem as if I had a productive fifteen days, but let me put it into perspective for you.

The four Half-Month Goals were:
  • Read through THINKING OF YOU's modified draft one and make index cards for already written scenes.
  • Reach 42,000 words on OBJECTION.
  • Finish drafting SHOW ME YOUR FANGS and planning THE SMILE FIXER.
  • Read 15/31 books under 200 pages.

I finished reading/making index cards for THINKING OF YOU up through chapter ten, putting that Half-Month Goal at one-third complete. That's serious progress for me. I've started working through my scenes, deciding what has to be moved or merged. I've started considering where new scenes need to be added, which is important since deciding on and making index cards for those scenes is January's second Half-Month Goal. I'm not worried about finishing my storyboard by the end of the month. Next Monday there's no school and I'm setting aside that day to do the last twenty chapters.

While I didn't reach 42,000 words on OBJECTION before my first deadline, I did get there today. The word count currently stands at 42,058. I plan to finish the draft by February 1. However, before I write another word, I intend to sit down and re-outline my ending. I've changed it quite a bit and I need to see how it's going to play out on paper. I'll probably do that tomorrow and then continue my steady progress to the end.

I now have a draft of SHOW ME YOUR FANGS, a story you may remember from early last year. I intend to edit it in the next couple of days and use it in my OSAI audition. I didn't even touch THE SMILE FIXER though, barely even thought about it. Perhaps this weekend in between laundry loads I can finish outlining and start drafting.

On each of the first three goals, substantial progress was made. This cannot be said for the reading goal. I read two out of those fifteen books. If I catch up in time, it will be a miracle. Right now I plan to focus on the sixteen books I planned on for my second January Half-Month Goal. If I have time after reading them, I will go back to the books for the first half of the month.

I have to say, even though I barely finished anything, I am not upset or disappointed in myself. In fact, I'm rather happy. This goal system is more a way to keep me moving forward with my writing than to make sure that I finish all of my minor goals. And it's doing its job splendidly in my opinion.

How did the beginning of January go for you? What do you think of my goal system?