A Really Super Fun Blogfest

Oh my gear doodness, this particular blogfest is so much fun! Kate Larkindale has challenged us to share not just the beginning of our projects, but the middle and end as well. Since I have two completed manuscripts and a work in progress, I had a really hard time deciding which one to use in the contest. Well, maybe I didn’t exactly decide. Maybe I’m going to use one for the official contest, and make a post tomorrow to include the other two!

So without further ado, here is my entry for the blogfest. YAAAY!

Blood Moon‘s opening paragraph:

“Pants?” Eiden looked at me oddly. I had my skirt hiked up, showing my pale, bare legs.

And the middle paragraph:

“Arrows started raining on us from inside the Wall,” Amarie said. “Theryn and Alara ran back to defend us. At least two arrows hit Theryn.”

And now, the end. I have to warn you, this is a major cliffhanger ending that probably won’t be a big deal to most people, but if you ever wanted to read all of Blood Moon without spoilers, or say this is the future and my dreams have come true and these books are already published and you’re just going through a million of my old blog posts because I’m your favorite author and you love my blog but you haven’t finished the second book yet–well, don’t read the next part! (I’m counting the last sentence as part of the paragraph, otherwise it’s like nothing.)

At my orders, most of the Guard members fell back but two of them still held onto the arms of the one they were trying to subdue. He shook thick, dirty-blonde bangs out of his eyes and peered at me through the forest gloom.

“N-Nissa?” my brother Drew said. “Is that you?”

Yay! So that’s my entry. Don’t forget to pop over to Kate’s blog, look at all the other entries, and vote for Kristin Baker your favorite! Also be a dear and follow Kate and all those other peeps too.

Turn the Last Page, Close the Book. Open Another One

Early this morning I typed the last sentence in my second book, Blood Moon, the sequel to The Moongate. I’d been planning that particular sentence for a very long time, and writing that final scene felt just as great as I’d always imagined it would!

Next on the agenda: query The Moongate like mad, while letting Blood Moon sit on the shelf for a while before the rewrites. I still have over 200 agents in my list I haven’t queried yet. Funny I should be starting another round of querying when a recent piece posted by my friend Marsha Ward, the founder of the American Night Writers Association, liberated me from the anxiety of querying. She listed the reasons she chose self-publishing and e-publishing over traditional publishing houses. Sure, a big publisher and a prominent shelf at Barnes & Noble would be great, but so is the idea of complete control over everything I write, including marketing, cover art, and when and how I’ll publish. Plus I know I’m a good enough self-editor, and have some great critiquing friends, to ensure that if I do end up self-publishing you’re still going to get a great read.

I’m now certain that I’ll be happy with whatever road my books eventually take to publication. This feels great, because it means no more tears and self-doubt with every rejection letter I receive! I just hope querying doesn’t take too long, because writing is too much fun to put on hold. Especially since I’m planning to take a break from Moongate to finish my steampunk dark fantasy!

I’m Going to Swim Like a MAN!

As winter in Northern Nevada gasps its final breaths and hacks out one more round of snowflakes, we’ll be driving to the L.A. area after school tomorrow to get on a boat. My in-laws are treating their kids and grandkids to a cruise in Mexico. Our first big vacation in years! So last night I mentioned that I needed to get Lia a pair of swimming trunks. My husband tried to correct me with “Swimming suit?” No, I really meant swim trunks. As in, men’s swimming suits. I already have a pair, blue and white with those big ol’ Hawaiian flowers. They cover my thighs. They also have pockets! I remember last year when I bought them, my husband thought I’d lost my mind.

So Lia and I don’t like showing that much skin–what’s wrong with that? Neither of us really like the look of so-called “modest” swimming suits today. Tankinis don’t always cover the stomach, which would be disastrous for the eyeballs of anyone looking in my direction. I do like the cute boy-cut shorts that you can put on over your swimming suit, but no way am I showing off my thighs this season. And those pathetic built-in bras do nothing for the well endowed! Last year I wore a sports bra under a tank top with my men’s swimming trunks, and didn’t feel self-conscious for the first time in years. I’m sure my hubby would rather see me in a more feminine swimming suit, but too bad, honey. Maybe next year, if I can get a regular workout routine going.

My original plans were just to scrap swimming altogether and hang out on the deck, concealing my flab underneath skirts as I always do. Then I found out there are two waterslides on the ship. Forget being a landlubber! I might even ride the jetskis in Cabo, broseph. (To get that joke, look up “Take it to the Next Level” by BalloonShop on Youtube.)

In bloggy and writing news, check out the nifty new little things I’ve added to the right side of my blog. I’ve listed the blogs of my best writing buddies, so check them out too. I’m about 3/4 finished with Blood Moon and writing like a crazy person, very excited about wrapping up the story even though the dreaded romance scene is coming up (unless I decide to save it for the next book). And the six-week mark of my full submission to a great New York City agency is fast approaching, so I’m hoping for an acceptance letter from the agent any day now! I suppose I could live with a rejection too, because then at least the wait will be over, and I can have rejection chocolate.

And that’s it for now. This pirate will post again when she’s back from pillaging the Mexican Riviera.

I Write Crappy Romance

Okay, so I’d much rather torture, maim, and dismember my characters, make them fight amongst themselves, even kill them off. You want a story with severed body parts flying around, characters sacrificing themselves to save a realm, acidic demon blood that eats through clothing and flesh? I’m your writer! (Not like my books are filled with carnage from cover to cover, but they have their exciting moments.)

I don’t write sappy romance. I couldn’t if I wanted to. When I’m experimenting with a love scene, or even partially mushy dialogue, I blush and squirm and giggle while bemoaning the fact that the scene is, like, soo totally corny.

But like most females, I do appreciate a good kiss scene–especially if it’s between pirates, star-crossed lovers (think Edward Scissorhands rather than Edward Cullen), or a skeleton and a rag doll. Even better if I’ve had to wait through tons of action, while the tension builds, until finally somebody gets kissed and it’s epic. And there are body parts and blood flying around in the background.

Don’t get me wrong, I want romance in my stories, but the romantic element needs to be a side plot off the main action story. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the romance genre, I’m just more into action and adventure.

So I’m coming up on this scene where my two main characters finally come to terms with their feelings for each other. There will be kissing. There will be mushy dialogue. There will be much giggling and blushing from me, and probably a lot of deleting. I think I liked it better when these two particular characters were trying to kill each other.

At least there are some romantic scenes coming up in Harry Potter that I can draw on for examples. I’m on Order of the Phoenix, and I do know there are some kissing scenes between Harry and his first crush, Cho (awkward first-love kissing scenes at that), and, later, Harry and Ginny.

I think I’m going to have to alter my to-read list and include books with more kissing. Ugh. *squirm, blush*

Chapter 17 excerpt

I read in a writing book that you shouldn’t share a first draft with anyone. You’re supposed to edit and polish your manuscript until you’re sure it’s pretty freaking amazing, before allowing your beta readers to pry it from your hands to tear it apart with their own opinions. I fully agree. It’s embarrassing when my friends catch a really obvious first-draft mistake that I could have easily caught during an edit.

Nevertheless, I’m going to post a very first-drafty snippet from Chapter 17, still hot from my brain. I figure, since it’s only a few short paragraphs of dialogue, it’s not going to make sense anyway.

***

“Show a little more care!” snapped the Lord, backhanding the Dark Fey across the face so hard he stumbled backward a few steps. “The future of our race is inside this bag.”

“Apologies, my Lord,” the demon whimpered, rubbing his cheek. He backed to the door, pausing as he took the handle. “When should I send in the healer?”

The Lord switched off the sun-box. “An hour before midday,” he answered, waving off the Dark Fey.

When the door had clicked shut, the Lord turned to me, pointed teeth gleaming in what he must have thought resembled a friendly smile. I returned it with a withering glare.

“I see you are not quite as excited by the prospect of spending a pleasant morning with me,” the Lord chuckled, sitting in his chair. He reached into the sack and pulled out a small book, which he dropped at his feet before rummaging around some more.

The sight of the book had caught my attention, and I forgot to glare. My jaw dropped open, and I goggled at the title on the spine. It was written in English–the book was from my world.

“The future of your race is a paperback romance?”

How about a snippet?

They say (“they” being a few professionals in the literary field I’ve spoken to at conferences) that a lot of editors and agents won’t sign a novel if it’s previously been published–even if “published” means self-published or posted online. I’m not sure if posting little clips counts as something that would cause a publisher to cross themselves and back away from my manuscript…

But darn it–I tend to get more excited about a work-in-progress if I’m sharing a bit here and there and getting feedback. (Especially if feedback involves statements such as, “You can’t leave me hanging there, what happens next? I can’t wait to read this!”)

So who cares? I’m going to start posting little teasers every once in a while, for lack of a better idea of stuff to blog about. I can always remove them later, if posting turns out to be an issue. Besides, it’s not like “they” are looking here anyway.

Alrighty, then. Here’s a bit of Chapter 16:

***

The oak shuddered more violently, and a knot formed in my stomach as I realized what was happening: They had axes and were trying to cut it down.

“Burn it!” a gruff voice cried. “Fill the air with smoke until she falls out of the branches!”

I closed my eyes and swallowed. They just might set fire to all of Vangirron if I stayed hidden here.

Theryn was gone; so many Aronaurans had already been killed or caught; yet the Wall remained strong and secure, as long as the intruders within were eventually driven out or destroyed. They were desperate to get to me–word would spread of my hiding place, until more and more would join them, and Vangirron would be overrun. I had nowhere else to go.

It was time.