Sunday, September 30, 2007

My first review—Five Cups for Full Circle!

My first review—Five Cups for Full Circle!

Please forgive me while I cheer, hoot and scream myself into a whirling dervish of joy! I just received my first professional review for my first novel and Coffee Time Romance called it “original.”

Here’s the review if you want to read it.

Five Cups (ultra rare extraordinary read), “original” and “a book no one should be without.” Wow! Can anyone clue me in on when this will FEEL real, because I’m still in shock!



Saturday, September 29, 2007

Questions for Characters: Answers!

Not too long ago, I asked if you hand any questions for the characters. Basically giving you the chance to interview the characters. And here are the answers! If you guys think this is fun and entertaining, then I’ll do it again after a little bit. If you come up with any questions, leave them here, e-mail them or hold on to them. I enjoyed this and would like to do it again.

Thanks for participating! ^_^

A single microphone stood on a darkened stage. The lights went up and the hum of electricity filled the silence of the auditorium.

About to Sin:

A woman dressed in a peach sari walked across the stage. A matronly woman with her long dark hair pulled back in a bun. Years of laughter and love had left their mark in her face. Once she stood in the light, gray hair highlighted her dark locks. Another woman, younger and wearing boot-cut jeans and a batwing teal shirt, hurried on stage after the older woman. Anand, walking slowly and gripping his forehead, followed his sister.

The older woman tapped the microphone. “Is this on?” A thick British accent carried her words through the auditorium.

The younger woman spoke. “Yes, Mom, it is.”

Anand’s mother shielded her eyes with her hand and looked out toward the audience. “I don’t see anyone. It’s much too bright.”

Anand sighed. “They’re there, Mom. They’re always there.” Anand shook his head and sighed. “You just HAD to ask her, didn’t you?” He leaned toward the microphone. “You could have asked me about my childhood, you know. What? Do you want to hear that I ate play-doh as a child or something?” He held up an index finger. “Once! Exactly once. And it was way too salty.”

“Would you just let Mom answer the question?” Reaching into a pocket, Rachna pulled out a folded piece of paper.

Anand’s mother read the question aloud, “How do you feel about your son? Proud? Concerned?”

Silence surrounded the trio. Anand’s shoulders relaxed as he looked upon his mother. His features softened and one corner of his mouth twitched as if he wanted to smile, but wouldn’t dare let himself.

Anand’s mother looked up from the note and she smiled, brightening her face. “I love him, dearly, as I do all my children. I am concerned, though.” Her smile dropped a bit as Anand’s rose. “I fear he will never know the joy of being a father.”

Anand rolled his eyes. “Mom, I keep telling you…”

She pointed a finger effectively hushing her son. “Science shall help you.” Returning her attention to the audience, she continued. “And I’m very proud of him.”

If one were looking close enough, they might have noticed the tiny blush upon Anand’s cheeks. A blushed he would deny for he does NOT blush.

“He’s a good doctor—very dedicated to helping those who are ill.”

Anand shook his head and mouthed the word: “money.”

“Lies!” A voice from off stage that sounded a lot like Father Daniel traveled across stage.

Anand’s mother shook her head. “Not lies. I am very proud of him. He studied hard and has grown into a fine young man.”

Rachna put her hand on her mother’s shoulder. “I don’t think he meant you, Mom.”

“Oh,” Anand’s mother continued, “He could call home more.”

Anand stuffed his hands in his pockets. “I called last week.”

Her finger went up again. “Twice a month is not often enough. I gave birth to you and raised you. I put up with all those times you wasted gauze wanting to cure me of ailments I didn’t have. We could never keep tape in the house due to you. I believe I’m entitled to more than two phone calls a month.”

Rachna sighed. “I WARNED you, Anand.” She put an arm around her mother’s shoulders. “Anand is very busy and he works strange hours. It’s difficult to call.”

“And it was difficult giving birth to five children.”

Rachna started shuffling her mother off stage. Prior to stepping into the wings, she looked back at Anand. “Don’t make me pin you to the floor and force you to call her.”

“We’re not children anymore. You can’t do that.”

“Don’t push me, Anand,” she said as she exited.

Daniel walked on stage and joined Anand next to the microphone.

Anand tossed his arms into the air, “Does everyone get a question except me?”

“I hardly think ‘two people’ constitutes ‘everyone’.” He reached into his black pants and pulled out a note. “Besides if you were more interesting, people might ask you questions.”

“I’m plenty interesting!” Anand protested.

Daniel’s mouth opened and closed several times after he silently read the note.

“What’s it say?”

Daniel flatted the note against his chest. “Oh, dear. This…this…is…”

“What’s it say, Daniel?”

“It’s a complex and private question.”

Anand snatched the note away from Daniel and read it aloud, “Do you still think that being in love with Anand and expressing this sexually is sinful?” Anand scratched the back of his head. “Wow, they don’t pull their punches do they?” He folded the note in his hand and looked at Daniel. “Do you love me?”

Daniel crossed his arms over his chest. “Have we reached that point in our relationship?”

Anand shrugged. He looked down at his feet. “Maybe.” Cutting his eyes back toward Daniel, he whispered, “Maybe.”

Tension charged the air between them.

Daniel cleared his throat. “This feels like rushing things to me. Perhaps I should address the second part of the question?”

Anand sighed with relief. “Yeah, good idea.”

Daniel closed his eyes and rubbed his fingers over his forehead. He took in a breath and opened his eyes before speaking, “I’ve spent many hours wondering this. Some might say years pondering this and I’m still not sure what I believe. At one time I knew. At one time I was certain. However, I’ve had to readdress this issue. There’s nothing in the Gospels about same-sex relationships. Jesus never spoke, directly, on the issue which would lead some to believe that it isn’t a matter of importance to Him. All the scripture concerning homosexuality comes from the Old Testament and that also comes with historic context which—”

Anand interrupted with a hand on Daniel’s shoulder. “I don’t think they want a theology lesson. I think they want to know about you personally.”

Daniel nodded. “The fact of the matter is that I made a promise of celibacy at the time of my ordination. Failing to live up to that promise constitutes lying. And that is very clearly a sin. I do not have an easy choice ahead of me. If I cannot live up to my promises to God and the church, then I am not fit to wear the collar I hold dear.”

Anand knitted his brow. “I’d always heard it phrased ‘a vow of chastity’, but you keep saying a ‘promise of celibacy’. What’s the difference between chastity and celibacy?”

“That depends on who you talk to you. Religious order priests take vows. Diocesan priests make promises.”

“What’s the difference?”

“It’s complicated.” Daniel shrugged. “Unless you’d like another lesson…”

“No, thank you.”

“I didn’t think so. Bottom line: I must choose between two paths of the heart. I cannot have both.” Daniel stared at the floor as he walked off stage.

Anand shook his head. “There has to be a solution and we’re going to find it.”

Full Circle:

The lights went down and the auditorium grew silent. Once the stage was illuminated again, all of the vampires from Full Circle stood in a semi-circle around the microphone. Pebble, sat upon a wrought iron perch.

Kendrick pulled out a note and unfolded it. “This one is for the raven.”

Alvaro pulled the perch closer to the microphone.

Kendrick read the note aloud. “How much do you really understand anyway? Can you talk back, like in minds?” Kendrick very briefly smirked.

Pebble with his richly dark wings sat on his perch and stared out toward the audience. His dark eyes seemed to carry more wisdom than they should. He bristled and began to preen for a moment. The air around the bird took on a mysterious feel and seemed to drop a bit in temperature. Pebble stretched out his wings and with two great flaps, he took flight.

Byron shook his head, “I can’t figure out if that bird is an idiot or more than he appears to be.”

Alvaro sighed. “How can we tell the difference between what is real and what we perceive to be real?” He moved the perch away from the microphone.

Alis visually tracked the raven as it left the stage. “Or what’s just creepy.”

Barely perceptibly, Kendrick ticked an eyebrow before putting the note back in his pocket. Reaching into his suit coat pocket, he pulled out another note. “This one is for me. Why did you nearly completely force yourself on Byron when you found him again?” His eyes grew wide and his mouth dropped open. “Is that how it seemed?”

Byron nodded. “Kind of. Yeah.”

“Oh dear.” Kendrick put his hand to his chest and leaned close to the microphone. “I would never take anyone against their will.”

“No, but you were all over me like white on rice.” Byron rolled his eyes.

Kendrick knitted his brow. “Byron you don’t know the joy in my heart when I saw you near the church. When I followed you in—”

“Chased,” Byron corrected.



“Followed.” Kendrick cleared his throat and continued, “into the church—our—church, I…I supposed I was a bit overzealous. Once I figured out that you didn’t remember me…” Kendrick dropped his head. “I thought…

“You were horny,” Byron interrupted.

Kendrick continued, “Hoped…that you might…”


Kendrick sighed. “I had originally suspected that our separation was why you didn’t remember me and I’d hoped that being near me would help you.”

“You were horny and not in control of yourself.” Byron smirked. “You stalked me all over that sanctuary and until I had no choice but to just ask you what you wanted.”

Kendrick nibbled his bottom lip. “I searched for you for over three centuries. Forgive me for being a bit zealous.”

Byron rolled his eyes. “First it was ‘a bit overzealous’ and now it’s ‘a bit zealous’.” He slowly nodded. “Calling your behavior ‘a bit zealous’ is like saying Elizabeth Bathory did ‘a few bad things’.”

Alvaro visibly shuddered. “Elizabeth Bathory—that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time. Not long enough.”

“If you would have just tasted of me instead of running away, that day would have been very different.” Kendrick crossed his arms over his chest with an indignant huff. “Next question.”

“I suppose I’ll go next.” Alvaro reached into his pocket and pulled out a note. “Given your history does living in a church bother you at all?” He knitted his brow.

Josiah laughed. “Bother him? You have no idea!”

Alis smacked the back of Josiah’s head. “Don’t be a jerk. If you can manage it.”

“And you’ve fed off too many men!” Josiah pointed at the mid-wife female vampire but kept his eyes on Alis. “You should take a lesson from her.”

The female vampire’s eyes grew wide. “Don’t look at me; the author didn’t even give me a name!”

All of the vampires turned toward her and gasped. “You don’t have a name?” They asked in unison.

She shook her head. “Not that I’m aware of at least.” She fiddled with her skirt. “I’m told that it’s like this. All of us are named after a time era or a specific historical figure—except Kendrick and Byron. Apparently the author hasn’t fleshed out my back story enough to figure out who I am other than a lesbian.”

Byron shook his head. “That pretty much sucks.”

Alvaro adjusted his glasses. “To be fair she really didn’t do much.”

Kendrick knitted his brow. “However, she is a part of the coven and she deserves a name.”

“Technically we are not a coven. We’re a few members short.” Alvaro sighed. “Back to the question at hand. I’m assuming the question is referring to why I left Spain and my history with the Torquemada—being the history that in the eyes of some might have left me a bit upset with The Church. I’m very comfortable in a church. More comfortable in a church than any where else really.”

Kendrick nodded. “It was his suggestion to set up at the church.”

Alvaro continued, “Perhaps I wouldn’t be if I had been captured and tortured; however, it’s possible for someone to warp theology and doctrine while the theology and doctrine remain good.” He walked off into the shadows and returned holding The Book of the War of the Lords. “I think what Samael recorded about Lucifer shows us, clearly, that the intent can be…” He flipped through the ancient pages. “…twisted while…” His right index finger brushed one of the pages. “…while the…the…”

“And we just lost him.” Byron chuckled. “Who has the next question?”

Josiah fished through his pockets and produced two notes. “I do. Two of them.” He grinned, obviously proud of his popularity, before reading the note aloud, “When the hell are you gonna wake up and see the wealth of love just BEGGING for you?” His smile dropped. “I don’t understand the question.” Glancing at Kendrick, he added, “Unless…of course…”

“Back off, Mr. Hormones.” Byron shifted and stepped in front of Kendrick.

Josiah jutted a finger at Byron. “You’ve not even been here for three centuries. You have no right to speak.”

“Do you forget whose memories I have now? I know all the shit you pulled!” Byron returned the finger except his was vertical and not an index finger. “You’re walking on thin ice with me for many reasons.”

“At least I’m not walking out!” Josiah stormed across the stage and stood toe to toe with Byron. “Did the ice break? Or do I need to say it twice?”

“It’s about to!” Bryon grabbed Josiah by the shirt. “Many more times than twice!”

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, please.” Kendrick put one hand on Josiah’s shoulder and one hand on Bryon’s arm. “Let’s not fight in front of the humans. It undermines a sense of unity.”

Josiah jerked out from under Kendrick’s touch and turned his back on Byron. “Oh yeah, love is just all around me.”

Kendrick sighed. “Just read the last question. Supposedly, we’re all still in that church where the author will be starting the sequel. If she notices us missing, she’ll…well…she won’t be well.”

“Hopefully, I’ll get a name this time.” The unnamed vampire shrugged. “Not that I’m complaining or anything, mind you.” She picked at her sleeve. “I’m just saying that it would be nice to be something more than ‘the female who isn’t Alis’, ‘the mid-wife vampire’, ‘the unnamed female vampire’ or ‘the lesbian’.” She sighed. “Add to the fact that the humans don’t even know I’m a lesbian.”

Alis patted the unnamed female vampire’s shoulder. “That’s all right. The humans don’t know that Alasdair is my covenant mate.”

“At least all of you have cool names. I’m just Bob.” Bob jutted his thumb at Phineas. “Rumor has it that the author barely lets him talk because she thinks his dialog is pain in the ass.”

Phineas nodded, but didn’t say a word. Not a damn word.

“And,” Bob continued, “Her editor had to talk her out of killing him off.”

Phineas’s eyes grew wide.

The mid-wife vampire sighed, “At least you two have back story.”

Byron spoke, “So, we’re in agreement that the author is a bitch. Next question.”

“This is a two-parter.” Josiah read the note, “What does Kendrick have that keeps your pining away for someone who DOESN’T want you? In other words, why are you in denial about Alvaro?”

Alvaro looked up from the book. “Pardon? I heard my name.”

Alis leaned toward Alvaro. “Someone wants to know why Josiah is in denial about his feelings for you.”

Alvaro blushed. “He has feelings for me?”

“How can I be in denial about Alvaro?” Josiah shook his head. “In denial about what?”

Alis rolled her eyes. “He’s so far gone that he doesn’t see it when someone beats him with it.”

Shaking his head, Josiah spoke, “Let’s focus on the first question. What isn’t there to like about Kendrick? Really.”

Byron shrugged. “He’s a bit pushy.”

“He’s perfect.” Josiah said to anyone who cared to listen.

Alvaro nodded. “Sometimes, he’s flakey.”

“He…lacks…a certain something…” Alis weakly smiled. “What I’m trying to say is he’s not exactly like your typical leader. He’s…”

“You can say it, Alis.” Kendrick smiled. “I’m not quite as strong as some.”

“He’s incredibly strong.” Josiah countered. “He’s one of the originals and he has powers that…amaze me.”

Alis added. “He’s a bit idyllic at times.”

Alvaro knitted his brow. “He doesn’t always think his plans completely through.”

Kendrick narrowed his eyes. “Fine. I have faults, but should we really be mentioning this before the humans?”

Byron looked down at his white silk shirt. “He places a bit too much importance on outward trappings and signs of power instead of—”

Josiah cut off Byron, “Shut up! He’s charismatic, powerful, wise and…” his eyes traveled toward Kendrick. “…cunning and stunning. And once he realizes that he’s with a lover who doesn’t appreciate him, he’ll want me. No…” Josiah shook his head, “He wants me, but he can’t admit it. The covenant with Byron won’t let him voice his real desires.”

Alis rolled her eyes. “He’s in love with who he thinks Kendrick is.”

“No, I’m not.” Josiah argued. “Besides, he needed me—NEEDS me. He’s hurting and...” He sighed. “Is it so wrong to want to take that pain away?” He tilted his head down and picked at his nails. “I don’t think that’s so wrong.”

Kendrick patted Josiah’s shoulder. “I can appreciate wanting to be the hero. I understand the whole knight in shining armor mindset. But, do you not think that…” He turned his head and looked at Alvaro. “…someone else might be hurting and needing you more?”

“Wha…?” Alvaro’s eyes grew wide and he ducked behind the book. “How…?”

Alis threw her arms up. “Idiots. Stubborn idiots. The both of them!”

“What do you mean?” Josiah looked at Kendrick.

“It’s not my place to say anymore.”

Darkness engulfed the auditorium. The sound of a raven’s wings filled the darkness.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Calling all Questions

I’m gonna give something a try. Earlier I saw a post by another author where the author interviewed one of his characters. I thought that was neat and then it hit me…why not do a Q and A between the readers and characters?

What do you think? Lame idea? Good idea?

So, if you think it’s a good idea. Here goes…hit me with any question you have for any character from Full Circle. Make sure you let me know which character it’s for. I figure Full Circle is safe because it’s done and there can’t be any spoilers. (There will be a sequel.) However, I’m willing to accept questions for About to Sin characters too, but I will not spoil the story. So, you ask the question and the character answers it.

If you aren’t comfortable posting your questions here, you can e-mail them at im_cupnjava [at] yahoo [dot] com[mercial] and use the subject “Question for [Character Name].” After I get a few, I'll do a post answering them.

I reserve the right to not answer any question, but I will tell you why I…rather…why the character didn’t answer it. ("Alvaro passed out from embarassment due to this question. Josiah is currently trying to revive him." Or "The answer to this question will spoil a scene in the story.")

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Guess what…

“This is a beautifully written story.”

“I loved this when I first read it and I love it still no matter how many times I read this. The... feel of the piece is outstanding and the eroticism beyond pleasing. You already know I want more of this. Feed the need”

“Awesome! I am so into this story! I can't wait to read the next part! You are a wonderful writer!”

“Yummy, provacative,scintillating, prose, out there scenario, but pulled off as just this shade of believable-enjoying it immensely"

“very fast pace ,to the point no junk and going off the trail, very emotianal, very sexy"

“What can I say words escape. This is not your ordinary erotic piece. There is a great depth to the characters. You feel the desperation and need that simmers beneath the surface.”

“This is a wonderfully well written story. The guilt/sin, contrition/absolution kinks are so tasty you just have to lick your lips. It's going to be extremely difficult to wait for upcoming chapters on this one."

“I love this story. I can't get enought of it.”

“This story kicks ass. When are ya gonna put chapters 15 and 16 up? My computer cant connect to them and I am verry hocked on tha storry.”


I’m so thrilled! The reader support for About to Sin has positively blown me away! Thank you all for reading and taking the time to leave a review. I hope I never disappoint you.

A Blast from the Past

Wow! I just got off the phone with Barry Geiman . He and I used to talk on a regular basis when I worked with Maureen Sharib. This was part of my life before writing.

I really owe both of them a huge apology. If you think I hermit on you guys by going quiet for a couple of months, you have no idea. It’s been a year…two years…umm…more(?) since I’ve spoken with them.

Literally, I was there and active one day and gone then next. The truth is that I, frankly, sucked at the work. I understood the principles. I enjoyed the work and when I was good I was really good; however, I sucked most of the time and I have absolutely no ability in business development. It was through their unintended guidance that I owe thanks, in part, for my writing career.

While working in research, I wrote a couple of articles. The articles were more popular than my actually work. LOL! Gee…what a hint. A few months later, I received a phone call from J.V. (mentioned in my bio inside Full Circle) and she made me promise to try to get published.

So, if you enjoy my work, you need to thank not only J.V., but also Barry Geiman and Maureen Sharib.

Monday, September 17, 2007

About to Sin--Updated!

About to Sin just got updated.

While trying to get to know the man beneath the collar, Anand begins to get a hint of the man who chose to wear it.

I hope you enjoy this transition into Anand's backstory, baggage and life.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Today we bid farewell to...

Today we say farewell to another keyboard. Replacement Keyboard lived an especially short life and was snatched into Keyboard Heaven rather early. While here, Replacement Keyboard preformed with mediocre abilities and toward the end of its life completely forgot its multi-media functions...except for volume control.

Volume control worked especially hard and well and was always diligent with its green bars at the bottom of the screen duties. Although senile and with numerous buttons faded, Replacement Keyboard did try its best to provide hot words and a pleasing blue light.

I wish we could say that we would miss Replacement Keyboard, with its clear nail polish cosmetic surgery enhancements, but that is not the case. We shall only miss the money that will go toward Replacement Keyboard Number 2.

We will NOT miss the crappy and ill-designed Back-Up Keyboard Number 2 one little bit.

Electrons to electrons. Microchips to microchips. We do not return Replacement Keyboard back to its maker for it is no longer under warranty. Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of CompUSA, I shall fear only non-multi-media keyboards for the spirit of volume control aren't with me.

Go in peace.

Ok, ok, so that was a sub-par eulogy, but the keyboard DID suck. >.< What did it last? A year or so?

Friday, September 14, 2007

And life keeps getting better!

I've been given a piece of fanart for About to Sin! Here's a link to an LJ post where I thank the artist and show the art.

I'm completely thrilled!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Writer's Blogs

I stumbled across an interesting post about writer's blogs on Amazon.

I hope that I'm not doing the things people are complaining about. I try to make this blog informative and productive. Hmm...I probably do have too many "me, me, me" posts in here.

What do you think about writer's blogs in general? Do you think they're worthwile reads or just another place for someone to yammer on about things only important to them?

I think they have good potential if they aren't all promo. I like some personal information about the author, because it makes me feel as if I'm getting to know them. I know that's not really true, but it still carries that sense. I like using my blogs as a way of keeping in touch with readers and fellow writers. It gives me a communal feeling of sorts. Some blogs focus on industry news and that's quite helpful. Other blogs focus on writing tips and that's equally as helpful.

All blogs are risky in a PR sense. If I go batshit insane it will, most likely, first show on a blog. If I'm not careful about my rantings (see previous posts), I can risk offending a good deal of people. (Or maybe one person when I factor in the traffic this blog usually gets. LOL!)

I run three "writing" blogs and one personal blog. Each blog has a different target audience and more often than not the blogs have unique content.

However, I'm going to continue reading through that thread on Amazon and see what kinds of things people are seeking when they visit writer's blog. Perhaps, I shall learn something.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bad Book.

Sometimes a book is so bad you have to rant about it. Sometimes it is so terribly bad that you have to rant twice.


Dear My Editor,

How come *points to print book by Publisher Name* this writer *points to name on cover* can do all of those things you told me to correct? How come he gets to have all sorts of POV slips and many of them make absolutely no sense. How come he gets to have pretty hefty logic gaps? How come he's allowed to tell and not show when showing would have been especially simple and much more enjoyable? *twitch*How come he gets to use weak be verbs in EVERY FREAKING sentence for three goddamn pages? *twitch* How come I cringe when I think about how much I WOULD HAVE enjoyed this book BEFORE I started learning about writing? *twitch*

How come I'm not allowed to suck as much as he, the PRINT author, does? It's not FAIR!

With love,


To be honest, the story sounds really cute and I do hope I'll be able to get past page twelve before I go mad with twitching to "fix" the story. Come on, some of these things feel like he went out of his way to do it wrong. Maybe it's crappy editing instead of poor writing? Maybe it's both?

Dear Print Author Sir,

Far be it for me to question your skills, but when you are working on your next title, please, try to consider that using weak "be verbs" instead of "action verbs" actually weakens your writing. Also, when something happens beyond the line of sight of a character and you go out of your way to make sure the reader understands that Character A cannot see Character B doing what Character B is doing, you are not allowed in three pages to mention how Character A saw it all.

Also, if I read one more adverb when an adjective or a verb would have worked much better, I'm finding you and shoving this book up your tush. I think this one needs more digesting time.

And please, I beg of you, please, could you try to include more showing and less telling?

With all of that said...

I'm currently on page 10 of your novel. I do appreciate the humor and the plot, according to the back cover, does seem rather cute. I do hope that you do not cause me medical problems while I try to get through your novel. I've spent three days (including bitching time) getting to page 10. At this rate I should be done with your book in a little over 55 years and I'll be kind enough to write you a reader review.

With love and nothing sharp hidden behind her back,



Dear Print Author of the book that will take me 55 years to finish,

I'm going to choke the shit out of you if I ever meet you. What were you or/and your editor thinking? Do you know what POV means? Do you have any idea what it means when someone says "passive writing"? Are you aware that there are active verbs in the English language? Additionally, not every side-character deserves POV especially when it is painfully obvious you wrote it to fluff word count. Damn shame those were some of your best sections too.

How could you take such a charming story, give me great character designs and write the story in such a way that it's a lesson in how NOT to write.

In a way, I should thank you. The cock-up you managed to put before me gives me hope that...wait...before I finish that let me check the publisher. Oh, this is pure bullshit. I know some authors who have subbed really good work to that publisher and were rejected. So much for finding hope in that you got print-published.

I'm terrified of what might be lurking in your other linguistic torture devices (aka books).

Dear Editor who edited the aforementioned author,

I hope what I'm reading is a sign of author arrogance and not an example of what you think is good editing. This is the kind of editing that makes other editors cry. If this is the result of working with a PITA author, then grow some balls and make the PITA author do it right. If you cave to PITA authors and author arrogance THIS MUCH then you have no business being an editor.

I hope I never work with an editor who will allow me to shame myself, my editor or my publishing house to this level.

Dear Publisher who published the aforementioned story,

Stop smoking crack. It's one thing to see potential in a story and accept a MS based upon that, but you really should do something--anything--as a quality check to make sure the potential wasn't killed in a horrific linguistic accident that exploded crap all over dead trees.

Additionally, you may want to check your organization to see who is trading sexual favors for MS acceptances. At the very least, you could share the name of the person who needs the blowjob that badly so that they may be barred from touching the slush pile. Perhaps an office pool for an "escort" is in order? Get this person laid before they destroy your publishing house.

All three of you owe me the money for one whole bottle of blood pressure meds.


I'm moving this book to the bathroom so that the pages might have some kind of use.

Don’t preach to your reader.

Tami Parrington mentioned this in blogpost right around a year ago and something has gotten under my fingernails and has forced me to mention it again.

Hubby is getting into a webseries called Afterworld. Normally, when something bothers me, I don’t mention it by name. Afterworld gets the dubious honor of being an exception.

I’ve watched just enough of that to make me ache. The idea is wonderful. The visuals are creative and good. The production group seems to have a real good handle on keeping tone. The voice actors are good too.

The writing, however, is making me wish I knew who to bitch slap. Every time the song in my playlist changes, it seems as if they’re preaching to the viewer. The section I actually sat down to watch had both hubby and I rolling our eyes and mocking it by humming a song. (I’d tell you which one, but the importance would be lost because it’s a long standing joke.) And hubby LIKES the webseries.

Here’s a clue…applied with a baseball bat. If you have to spread your “message” like I would cream cheese on a bagel, then you told it wrong. If you have to slap a sappy, sickening, after-school-special-flashbacks-giving, “What’s the lesson you learned today, children?” moment at the end of it all, then you are not only being condescending toward the reader, but you didn’t tell it right.

Besides, leave the preaching to the pulpit. It’s not a fiction writer’s job to provide a moral guide to life unless of course you’re one of those writers with an agenda. If you are, you can bet I won’t be your reader.

By all means, writing can illustrate a point and can do more than just entertain. But, as writers, we don’t get to tell the reader what lesson they’re supposed to learn. Reading isn’t a passive activity were the reader gets spoon fed everything. What a reader or a viewer garners from a story is unique to themselves. Writers set it up. We tell (via showing) our stories and let the reader draw any “life’s lessons” conclusions on their own. Those conclusions are the reader’s/viewer’s job not the writer’s duty.

Fiction writers can lead the reader. We can guide the reader. We can hope the reader will take home the idea that X leads to Y and Y is bad, but we shouldn’t smush anything against the reader’s face. Often times (I’m tempted to say all the time), the best way to make a point is to not come right out and make it. Hint. Elude. Imply. Finesse the concept. Do not take a…well…baseball bat and crack the point against the reader’s skull.

Do your job. Write the story and let the reader do their job.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tropical Storm Gabrielle

If there are any weather/news junkies here, you may have noticed there's a little storm off the coast. Gabrielle has been upgraded from subtropical to tropical. This is a minor storm, very minor, and it is expected to graze my area. If the power flickers I'll be surprised. We're looking at...get this...water rise of one foot.


One foot? And this is news? The places that are in the direct path are looking at a water rise of about three feet. It's supposed to hit some time between low tide and high tide. If it hits early and close to low tide the water rise will take it to about the level of normal high tide. If it hits closer at high tide we're looking at basically a double high tide. The wind speeds MIGHT, possibly, if a large crowd sneezes to help this gimpy little storm, reach gusts of 60 mph.


Anyways, I didn't want anyone worrying.

Advice site.

KM Frontain has a wonderful writing advice site up. I try to read as much of these types of articles as possible. Not every piece of advice written on the net is worth heeding, but knowing what I disagree with and why I disagree with it is rather important and useful.

I need to work on POV transitions and I’m doing my best to learn what I can, but this has to be some of the best advice I’ve ever read about POV.

Here are some quotes from her POV article.

1A. Always lead away from one character POV to another using action, speech, or a "timing or placement" phrase.

What's a timing or placement phrase? Things like "Over on George's side of the table" or "When his friend looked into the kitchen". It's that simple. Actually, the timing and placement comes in if you use action to move away from a certain character's POV.

Personally, I love doing this. In Tainted Past the first POV transition is when the main POV character feels the effects of the morphine. Other times I have the character leave the scene or a new character enter as a transition marker. I see now that my transitions in Tainted Past are smoother than those in Full Circle.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of Full Circle. I think it’s good work, but it is a first novel. It’s the official starting point of my growth as a writer. I can only imagine how in 5 years I’d finesse the work I’m doing now.

Tainted Past is told mainly from Tyler’s POV. Most of the emotion and the power in the scenes will be from Tyler’s perspective. However, there is information critical to the story that is only known by the other characters and that’s why this story needs third person and not first person.

Here’s another quote from the article.

You had better not intrude one perspective or thought pattern belonging to one character into the thoughts of another, unless they're telepathically connected.

I’m glad KM included this. There are always exceptions to rules and telepathically connected characters are the exception. Well, it’s not really an exception is it? If they’re telepathically connected then the character B’s POV becomes character A’s POV. There’s a section in Full Circle, during a sex scene, where this briefly happens.

This is another gem from the article.

3. Be careful of your pronouns; do not leave your reader wondering who is speaking, acting or thinking.

What do I mean? Because multiple characters are acting or speaking, you can't just use "him" or "he" if all your characters are male.

When people read their first m/m it takes a while to become accustomed to the “name heavy” aspect of it. When het readers from a writing group I sometimes attend read one of my excerpts, I can count on them marking paragraphs as name heavy.

When I get that back, I’ll check it over and tweak it. I’ll also make a note about it and ask my editor to check it for being name heavy. My editor has never considered the paragraph name heavy. By het standards they would be name heavy, but by m/m standards they aren’t. It’s the nature of the beast. If there can be any doubt about the object of the preposition, use the name.

Thanks to KM for writing such informative articles!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Writing Process Part Three: Writing Phase

Disclaimer: My process may not be your process. I'm not above making mistakes. Yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah and so on.

At this point in the process, I’ve covered all the research that I think I’ll need before I get into the nitty-gritty of writing. There’s ALWAYS more research that will be needed like little factoids to check, verbiage to verify, and maybe even big things that I didn’t anticipate. However, for this story, I think I’m ready to start typing.

The first scene is very important as it sets the tone for the whole piece. When the reader starts the book they have a blank slate, more or less, in their minds. Chances are they’ve read the blurb, perhaps read the excerpt and viewed the cover, but they really don’t know what to expect. They’re completely open and if you screw up the first scene you could be sending your reader in the wrong direction.

The beauty of writing in this day and age, you can screw up anything and correct it with just a few keystrokes. So, don’t sweat this too much, but do keep in mind you want a strong first scene.

I’ve heard some good tips about first scenes and I’m going to take a moment to share some a couple of them. Some people like to start in the middle of a conversation. Some like to start with some action (sexual or otherwise). Some like to start with the ending of something and that “hooks” the reader because they have to mentally scramble to piece it together. Some say those are horrible ways to start a scene. Um…I think that’s all I’ve read about first scenes beyond making them strong. (Whatever the frick that means.)

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

I keep all of this in mind when I’m working with my first scene, but I don’t bang my head against the screen trying to make it fit some kind of formula.

I try to have a rough idea of what the blurb will be and I never expect something revealed in the blurb to be a point so suspense in the story.

Let me restate that for emphasis, because I don’t think many authors realize how much they kill their story with the blurb. Do not spoil your story with your summaries and blurbs. Fanfic writers, if your story hinges on a secret pairing DO NOT list the pairing in your summary.

Let’s all take a moment and think about how often we’ve read spoilers in blurbs. Kind of scary isn’t it? Yes, I know I mentioned Kendrick needing to find Byron in the blurb of Full Circle, but I never expected the reader to expect Byron and Kendrick to not be together. Come on, did ANYONE really expect them to NOT get together? No. No one expected that. So, I didn’t count on that being a suspenseful plot point, but I did use it as a normal plot point.

Sometimes suspense will sneak up on you. I never expected Anand and Daniel staying together to be a point of suspense in About to Sin. Due to the way that story is being presented I realized that, somehow, I managed to put suspense in there and it got to the point that it hurt the story. Some readers feared so much for the fate of the relationship that they were holding back on an emotional connection with the characters and the relationship. That’s a compliment, really. It means that I’ve written it well enough that some readers are right there with the boys in the “How can we work this out, because I don’t see a good way here” thing. It also means that I’ve written the sympathetic characters.

I gambled on assuring everyone that Anand and Daniel will be together come hell or high water. That seems to be working because the suspense is now where I want it. Not IF they will be together, but HOW is it all going to work out? Will Daniel leave the priesthood to be with Anand and how much will it crush him? Will Daniel stay in the priesthood and keep the relationship on the DL? Would Anand, someone who is out and proud, be willing to do that in a relationship? How long could Daniel hide a DL relationship and how would he settle the issues inside of him for doing something like that? I don’t like “ifs” being the point of suspense. If the reader figures it out, assumes the ending or if I slip up and give it away before I want to, then the suspense goes right out the window and I’ve lost the reader to boredom. If the reader figured out the ending, but can’t figure out HOW it will all work out, I’m golden.

With this sci-fi story what’s something I will need to include in the blurb to hit my target readers, but I wish I wouldn’t have to? The fact that Ryir is male and not female. More specifically, I’m going to have to include that Ryir is a eunuch. This book will be listed in the yaoi or gay fiction section of the catalog. I’ll need to spill the beans on this before the reader even opens the book. So, at no point in time should I expect Ryir’s gender (or would that be sex?) to be a point of suspense for the reader. This means I need to focus on making the HOW of this revelation interesting, because the revelation itself won’t be. The reader will know long before the characters know. If I can get the character worrying about how this information might change things, then I’m golden. However, I’m not counting on that. Does anyone think Kaz and Ryir won’t get together? Nope. I can’t use that. So, I need to focus on the process of them getting together being interesting. Kaz and Ryir getting together: no suspense. Kaz and Ryir staying together: in this story there’s believable suspense, but I’m still not counting on it. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure where the suspense will be in this story and I ain’t sweating it. I’ll find it.

So, with this sci-fi story that I still haven’t named, what do I need for a first scene? I want to show the setting: outer space. I need to show the humor. I also need to get the main couple together so I can start working on the relationship. This is a yaoi story and an erotic story. The relationship aspect cannot be pushed to second. It needs to be handled with every bit of care as the plot of the story. Additionally in the first scene, I need to give the reader some foundational knowledge about the characters without it being an infodump.

Also, this scene is pretty important for my writing style. Remember I write linearly (aka sequentially) so as I write I’m building upon what I’ve written and I’ve never changed the opening paragraph of a story. I’ve tweaked it and edited it, but I’ve never changed it. So, I’m counting on what I type to stick.

So, with all of that in my mind, I turn off the ringers to my phone. Set up a techy play list (Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk mainly) and pull up a blank document. I close my eyes and get wrapped up in the music. I use my mind’s eye to see what’s going on and eventually my fingers will start punching keys. Point of note: When I’m struggling to type, I will sit with my eyes closed and blindly touch type until I’m “feeling it” and can carry on with my eyes open.

Here’s the first chapter with my comments in italics. For publishing purposes, I won’t be able to share the whole story. I can only share what would logically be considered and excerpt. So, please, understand when I don’t share the whole thing. However, I don’t think any publisher will begrudge me sharing a rough draft of a few pages here and there.

Begin chapter one:

The spaceport teemed with life. Humanoids from all over gathered at the merchant port. Kaz stood at the promenade and watched the people on the lower deck shift and move. The mass of beings appeared to meld into a single organism. An ameba of sorts that oozed in one direction, shrank in another and wriggled in a third.

People came, deposited their swathe of color in the ameba and left for whatever their destination was. The food merchants hit the top of nearly everyone’s list. A few stragglers simply lingered looking like lost tourists. Kaz smirked when one man pulled out a digicam. Not like tourists, they were tourists. And most definitely lost if they were taking a picture of the bathroom entrance.

Some people may think I’ve killed this story before it had a chance with these two paragraphs. Starting a story with the setting isn’t considered all that strong. I couldn’t think of a good action scene and a middle of a conversation thing didn’t seem fitting. So, I’ve tried to highlight the humor. I think “oozed” and “wriggled” are funny words and the thoughts of a tourist taking a picture of a public bathroom makes me snicker. I think this will work.

Also point of note: I used the word digicam. I think anyone who lives in our day an age will know that’s a camera. Yes, this is a sci-fi story and I could have called it anything. However, if I’d used a really strange word I would have needed to bog down the sentence to explain it to the reader. Additionally, humans are creatures of habit. Once we get words we tend to hold onto them. From telegraph through teletype and telephone and ending with telecommunications all of those words begin with “tele.” I don’t think in the future things will be named all that different. How long has Latin been a dead language and how many of our new terms still have Latin roots? I doubt anyone will call me on if the word digicam will be used in X century. I might be writing about the future, but I need contemporary readers to be able to understand it. Besides most speculative fiction becomes laughable when the future becomes now. Do I need to ask for my “in the year 2000” flying car or self-cleaning house to make my point clearer? I’m not going to fret over coming up with super-duper “space age polymer” words for things that might very well have mundane words like “plastic”.

Nearly everything could be found at space station Dirk, named after the man who discovered and refined the use of Dirk Crystals as space-going fuel. Kaz didn’t care about Dirk, his crystals or whatever that Miyla vendor sold.

That other Miylas ate.

That moved.

That smelled like wet tar covered in burning rubber.

He especially didn’t care about that.

Two things with this section. I included the Dirk Crystals thing to cover my ass over why people in the future can travel through space. At one time I was an avid sci-fi reader, but I didn’t pay attention to the tools writers would give themselves. I was just a reader and that’s going to hurt me with this story. Will sci-fi readers expect me to explain the science in this story? I mean, really explain the science or will some things, like space travel, go without question? I don’t know.

The second thing is the structure for the Miyla vendor. I used that structure for humor (controlling pace for humor). I thought delivering the funny in such a way would boost the humor, but that’s very risky structure and I should be prepared for an editor to make me change it. And, I forgot something very important. The reader isn’t in my head. I need to describe the aliens. However, I can cover that in self-editing. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. Writing gets it down. Editing makes it pretty.

The Duster, Kaz’s ship, a lean, mean, vicious bounty hunting ship, was in for some-billionth light-year overhaul, assuming the odometer’s accuracy could be trusted. That mattered to Kaz, but it stood second to something that had to be the jewel of the universe: Karne Cream Soda.

This paragraph is also risky. The Duster isn’t a lean, mean, vicious bounty hunting ship. That’s what Kaz THINKS it is and this paragraph runs the risk of deceiving the reader or making it look like I have a continuity problem. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it clear to the reader later on. Also, this is written from Kaz’s POV and what he thinks is what needs to be written. The truth or the difference between Kaz’s POV and reality is brought out by interacting with other characters. The POV character can be wrong, but you don’t want them so wrong as to be deceiving the reader.

However, this paragraph does give the reader Kaz’s motivation for being where he is. The man is thirsty and only one drink in the universe is important to him right now.

He turned his back to the ameba below the railing and stared at the Karne store. He liked to take his time and savor the moment with this. The store front was every bit as colorful as the Karne culture wasn’t.

The structure of that last sentence is risky. It’s odd structure and one that some people consider as feeling incomplete. I, personally, like that structure.

The Karne, from a desert planet, tended to dress in dull tans. Their language looked to be little more than variations of wind-waves on dunes. This store, run by a presumably orthodox Karne man, knew the importance of color in advertising. As if Karne Cream Soda needed advertising.

I need to explain why Kaz thinks the Karne man is orthodox.

Some demi-god on that forsaken planet concocted the most succulent formula ever known to human taste buds and especially Miyla taste buds. That formula put Karne on the star charts, in nearly every spaceport and at the top of Kaz’s supply list.

As he approached the store, he didn’t need the adverts to remind him of the pale amber color, white fizz and shifting bubbles. His mind easily recalled the mellow mix of exotic spice blended with a smooth cream—a taste equally crisp and creamy.

Karne Cream Soda came in fresh, hydrated, dehydrated, canned and even frozen varieties. A supply of canned should be onboard the Duster now. Kaz came here for the fresh variety. The best variety. A little slice of the divine when served so cold the glass started to sweat before the pour was finished.

At this point, I want the reader to at least on a small level to want to taste this fictional soda.

The intercom over his ear beeped. He tapped the ear piece expecting one of the crew to be contacting him.

“You about ready? Maintenance is done.” The voice a low baritone meant one person and only one person.

“Yeah, Enron, I just gotta get a Cream Soda and I’ll be back to ship.”

“If you knew the history, you wouldn’t call your accountant, ‘Enron.’”

Kaz smirked. Maybe he did know the history and still felt the nickname fit. Did Enron ever think of that? Nope. The crew never gave him enough credit.

I’m beginning to show a bit of the relationship dynamics between Kaz and his crew here.

“And you can’t deceive me. You’re not going in for just the soda.”

Oh yes, he was.

“You’re going in there for that Karne woman.”

Well…there was her. Kaz smiled. “What can I say? I’m in love.” He patted his chest to emphasize the point.

And now we see the real reason this soda is so important, or do we? Is it possible that our hero puts a wonderful woman on the same level or below that of a soda? This can hurt me or help me. It will vary from reader to reader.

“Yeah, for the twelfth time in an E.A. year.” The snide tone to Enron’s voice indicated the number-cruncher wasn’t taking this love affair seriously.

The reader should be asking what “E.A.” is.

“That’s not true and since when do you accurately understand Earth Alpha’s time references?” And touché!

And answered. I’ve established how most time will be measured. I needed an increment of time that the reader would be able to understand. Star Trek may have the stardate, but Scotty still gave his estimates in hours—Earth hours.

“About the same time you learned her name.”

Kaz’s lips pulled into a thin line. That stung. They’d been here for six E.A months and he’d fallen in love with her with the first soda. Karne women were veiled in as much mystery as their bodies were fabric. Normally not seen beyond the confines of their own planet and sometimes their own homes, they wore fabric from head to toe with only their eyes exposed to the outside world.

Is anyone going to think that I’m talking about anything other than a burka?

So, he didn’t know her name and he didn’t know what her face looked like. None of that mattered. He knew her eyes. Those glorious breath-taking eyes. He saw them peering at him between layers of fabric in his sleep. There’s something about being denied seeing anything else on her that made her eyes seem all the more stunning.

The Karne were an attractive race to begin with possessing sloped eyes and upswept ears. Her eyes haunted Kaz. Their slant whispered of feline evolution. The wet of her eyes grabbed the light and sparkled rivaling the very drink the men around her served. Her irises, a shocking silver, pierced Kaz’s chest with every risky glance. The pupils, as black as her thick eyelashes, formed an elliptical pool of secrets.

I may have gone too heavy here with the SPESHUL eyes. However, this I write yaoi and this is one of the luxuries we get to enjoy. Also, this is the only part of her body, essentially, that he can see. So it makes sense to me that he would see them as oh-so-wonderful. As a side note: this section is an homage to the notes I read from an anthropologist about his studies in Afghanistan (pre-war). The way he described one woman’s eyes blew me away and I still don’t think I captured it right. I don’t want to plagiarize the man, but what he grabbed in with a few sentences with something I can’t do in two paragraphs. *groan*

Every so often, he’d sneak a peek at her hands—long thin fingers with light pink nail beds and warm tan skin. She had to be beautiful. Had to be.

The long thin fingers is the first hint to the reader that not all is as it seems. Only the people who know the physiological changes common to eunuchs will pick up on it.

Damn that fabric.

Being denied her visage, made him crave it even more.

“Hurry up.” Enron’s voice put his baritone to her face—a vision Kaz never wanted to visit again. “Get your soda, get your heart-broken and get back to the ship. We have job.”

“Who are we going after?”

“Cargo job.”

Kaz winced. Not another cargo job! “We’re bounty hunters not cargo carriers.”

“Right.” Enron drew out the word. “That’s why we’re in a cargo ship. Perfectly logical.”

“We’re in a cargo ship because that’s what I could afford at the time.”

“Look do you want to be the fastest cargo carrier or the slowest bounty hunter?”

Kaz sighed and his shoulders slumped. “But being a bounty hunter is so much cooler than being a cargo carrier. Dog fights and races. Not ‘sign here for delivery conformation.’” It wasn’t his fault they showed up at bounty hits last. The Duster was meant to be a bounty hunter ship. Slick and fast and…and…completely and totally bulky and under-gunned.

Yes, our hero is a bit shallow.

Enron cleared his throat. No doubt waiting for Kaz to relent. Again.

“What are we carrying?” He relented.

Somewhere in here I need to add a line about modifications made to the engine. There are two reasons why they’re the fastest cargo ship and the slowest bounty hunters. Kaz in his quest to be a bounty hunter, gave the Duster wonderful engines. The second reason is that they have turned off the artificial inside the cargo holds. The fact that the base design of the ship is that of a cargo ship and not a speeder makes it slower than the speeder, but the modifications make it faster than a typical cargo.

Oh, and there’s a third reason they’re the fastest and it has to do with them being stupid…I mean…daring…no let’s go with stupid enough to use Fold Portals. That’s rooted in the idea that the shortest distance between two places is, in fact, a curve and not a straight line. I can’t really explain the physics behind that or Einstein’s theory. Since none of the characters can either, I don’t have to. Fold Portals are basically what we’d call wormhole, but they’re less stable. In this universe the coordinates to such holes travel in black market circles. That’s also connected to the THEORY that traveling and speeds faster than light have to happen in envelopes and travel in protected areas that are basically between planes of existence.

Umm…yea…I totally don’t understand all of that, but I know enough of the basic concept to get across what I think the reader will need to know. Then again, no one may question why in my sci-fi FICTIONAL story people can travel in space ships.

“We’re being paid enough to not ask that question.”

All right, that was a little cool. “It better not be toys again.”

“Like the bunny you put a spiked collar on?”

“That’s our mascot not a toy, ya snippy bastard. Kaz out.” He tapped the com unit disconnecting the transmission. He didn’t need this kind of abuse. Grease gave him all the abuse he could ever need. And Bunny Duster certainly didn’t deserve that lack of respect. Cute little bunny with blue ears and a pink nose. A little heart on his tummy. And when Kaz squeezed Bunny Duster’s tummy, the furry ears would stand up. How could that not be the best mascot in the history of ship mascots?

Who doesn’t like a hero with a cute little bunny? Whoa…I just reminded myself of Ni. Ok, I SO don’t mean for there to be any connection with Ni. Ni is hardly a hero, right?

When he walked into the store, one of the Karne men stood. “Same as earlier?”

Kaz nodded. She remained seated on a stool with her eyes cast toward the floor. Five other men mulled around behind the counter seemingly acting busier than they were. As the man poured the soda, Kaz looked at her without trying to appear as if he was looking at her. He’d be leaving soon and this would be his last vision of her. Silently pleading for her to look up, he tried to make a memory.

Pale linen covered her from head to toe. Fabric piled up in her lap and swallowed her feet. Her hands, folded over her thighs, quivered in a barely perceptible tremble. The soda, in a sealed cup, clacked down on the counter before him. She slowly blinked and cut her eyes up.

Blood scurried from Kaz’s face. His breath left him and his heart nearly hammered its way out of his chest. She was risking her life giving him that glance and he knew it. Trying not make the situation worse for her, he smiled at the man and offered his cred-stick for payment.

“Was risking” need to be changed to “risked.” That’s an obvious “be verb” fix.

Water already beaded on the sides of the glass and the amber color, for some reason, didn’t seem nearly as pretty as it should have. “You gentlemen…” He took a chance and looked at her. “…and lady, have a wonderful day.” With his cup in hand, he turned and mentally bid the store farewell.

Didn’t seem nearly as pretty as it should have. Oh dear, is some woman knocking the soda from Kaz’s number one spot?

Angry voices, in the Karne language, pushed against the back of his shoulders. Damn it. He took two steps toward the door. In the reflection of a particularly glossy advert, he saw the outline of her being snatched up by the shoulder. Double damn it. Guilt pressed against his chest. Was it her glance or his salutation that did this?

Does the shallow hero with an affinity for fluffy bunnies and risky jobs actually have an ethical streak?

One of the men, the reflection was too vague to determine which one, pushed her from out behind the counter. Another man barked at her in a tone that screamed of admonishment. Kaz’s gut twisted.

Gut or guts?

She dropped to her knees. A stumble or a sign of submission? He wasn’t sure. This wasn’t his culture. He shouldn’t get involved.

But, he kind of caused it, right?

Any more action on his part might make it worse for her. So, why was he turning around?

One of the Karne men, the one who made the soda, lifted his hand. Her arms snapped up defending her face. Kaz darted toward her and snatched her wrist. Not his place. Not his culture, but his instincts wouldn’t let him leave it like that.

I need to add something here, like him putting himself between her and the Karne man. Kaz grabbing her wrist is NEEDED, but it doesn’t really protect her in any way. I know what I was trying for here, but it doesn’t work. This needs attention.

Damn ethics.

She looked up at him with terror in her eyes. Fuck! He’d touched her and thus signed her death warrant.

The whine of charging blaster pistols sliced his ears. After ripping himself from her eyes, he scanned the barrels of five pistols pointed at him. A sixth directly at her.


Nothing to do now, but…”Run!” he screamed. Partly yanking on her and partly of her own volition she secured her footing and together they raced for the door. One bolt buzzed by his ear shattering the glass of the pneumatic door. Glass crunched under foot as he, with her in tow and drink in hand, cleared the door.

I need to figure out if “partly of her own volition” is a POV slip or not. He would be able to tell if she was helping herself stand because of the pull against his arm, but will the reader see it that way? Actually, readers don’t give must attention to little POV slips like this, but editors do. So will the editor see it like this?

The rest of the store’s windows crashed to the deck as the men unloaded their charged bolts. One bolt ricocheted off something and skimmed some of the sweat off his glass.

Now, that was going too far! Attacking the innocent soda? Wrong—wrong on a multitude of levels. Ducking and darting through the crowd, the alternating whine and buzz of the pistols, followed them. Tapping the com unit with his wrist, Kaz yelled at the crew, “Start the engines! Start the engines!”

“What’d you do this time?” Enron asked.

“This time” all the back story the reader could possibly need.

Hoping to get lost in the ameba of people on the lower deck, he aimed for the elevator. Blaster bolts charred the thick clear doors as they closed. The feminine electronic voice of the elevator spoke, “Doors closing. Stand clear.”

Through the walls of the elevator, Kaz watched people scramble for cover on both the upper and lower floors. Security rushed toward the commotion and a couple of the Karne men faded into the panicked crowd.

She, with labored breath, leaned against the side of the elevator car. Her palm with her fingers stretched out seemed to hold more of her weight than her feet. She had to have the longest fingers he’d ever seen on a female. Crappy upbeat music from some world filled the elevator.

Two things. Once again, I’m mentioning her long fingers. That’s another clue. It’s very subtle as women can have long fingers and be fully female, but it’s still a clue. And the upbeat music bit needs to be expanded. I don’t think ironic humor carries. I’m trying to give the reader the image of chaos all around the elevator as last decade’s “snappy, poppy” pop music is piped into the elevator.

“Did you get hit?”

She didn’t respond.

“What did you do, Kaz!” Enron asked again.

The elevator dinged and the electronic voice spoke again, “Doors opening. Merchant deck one. Enjoy your visit at Space Station Dirk. Good day.” The doors hissed and parted.

Worry would have to wait. He hoped she could still run. She straightened to her full height and Kaz nearly dropped his soda. She had to be close to his height and he was 6’ 3”. Are all Karne women that tall?

Her height is a clue that something is amiss also. Is it possible for the female of an alien species to be nearly 6’3”? Yep, sure is. But, it’s also a point of observation needed for the eunuch status.

Zig-zagging through what was left of the crowd and staying very clear of whatever had escaped Miyla food vendor, they ran through the halls of the station seeking the commercial traffic elevators.

“You idiot!” That would be Grease’s voice through the com unit. “What the hell have you done?”

“Start the engines, Grease!” Explanations could wait.

“They’re started. Tell me why I shouldn’t leave you behind?”

“I own the ship!”


Prime example of how his crew treats him. This is NOT one of those leave no members behind groups. Kaz better watch his ass or they will leave him. Or at least that’s what Grease wants Kaz to think.

Arguing could wait too.

He nearly lost his footing as he rounded the last corner to the elevators leading to the mechanical bays. He slammed his elbow against the call button and the whine of a single blaster came from behind him.

He turned and the barrel pointed directly at her—a straight and clear shot. “Leave,” the Karne man said in the common language, “this can go away for you.”

Five. Four. “I’m sorry…” Three. “…I can’t do that.” Two. He lunged for her. One.

I don’t think this is clear. He’s counting down the time it takes the elevator to arrive. What I’m trying to show is that he’s taken these elevators way too many times.

The elevator doors opened. “Doors opening. Commercial Annex. Enjoy…” By the time the electronic voice finished its spiel, Kaz had her knocked to the ground and together they rolled into the elevator.

The bolt fried a circle of carpet just outside of the doors. The pistol whined as it recharged.

“Doors closing. Stand clear.”

The whine grew higher.

The doors hissed.

Kaz lay on top of her with his drink still in his hand and his eyes looking down the barrel of a pistol. Close faster damn it! Close faster!

The whine stopped and the Karne man shifted his aim down. Smirking, he jerked forward and the pistol broke the eyebeam of the doors, making them open again.

“Interruption. Doors opening.”

“Did you forget about that?” The man asked. He then chanted something in Karne that made the woman beneath Kaz shake.

That really ticks me off about elevator chases. Our elevators come with something, an electric eye beam or those “inner” doors as a safety things, something to work as a safety catch. They won’t close if that safety mechanism is engaged. Why do the cops or whoever is chasing whatever is being chased always forget that? The closing of elevator doors thing is false suspense.

Kaz swung an arm interrupting the chant and knocking the man’s wrist to the side. Pinning the weapon-wielding arm against the wall, he planted his knee right between the man’s legs. Not all humanoids had their genitals in that spot, but the Karne did. The man jerked and the blaster fired, burning a hole in the roof of the elevator shaft.

“Error 325,” the electronic voice spoke, “Maintenance has been contacted. We apologize for any inconvenience.” Something behind one of the plates popped and flashed. Smoke threaded through the air at the top of the car. “Fire detected. Please, vacate immediately. Halon release in five…”

The only thing scarier than a fire at sea is a fire in space. How much ya wanna bet Halon is gonna be standard? Or at least something like Halon. I once worked in a control room with a Halon fire retardant system. We had to go through special training just to know how quickly it would kill us. Dead before the paramedics would even think that someone might be trapped.

Kaz kneed the man one more time before whipping away from him.


She short-stepped her clothing and rolled out of the elevator.


Kaz grabbed the pistol and hammer fisted the nape of the man’s neck.

“Emergency closing.” The doors hissed. “Two…”

Kaz sprung out of the elevator.

The doors closed just as the voice announced, “One.”

The emergency closing overrides the safety mechanism. If you’re stuck between the doors during an emergency closing, you’re screwed. This also explains why the doors seem to close faster here than when our hero was wanting them to close.

Karne man? Dead. Dead as dead can be. If the species breathes the same air as Kaz, a human, there’s no way they’re going to survive a Halon filled elevator car. He is go-straight-to-dead-Do-not-pass-Go-Do-not-collect-$200.00 dead.

He stared at his cup. Frost formed along the bottom rim. “Damn…” he mumbled. This wouldn’t be safe to open for a while. At least he still had it. Glancing at her, he held out a hand to help her to her feet.

Now that he wasn’t distracted by the blaster pistol, he tried to recall the feel of her in his arms. Memory failed him. All he could remember was that high pitched whine of the gun.

Stupid gun. What gave it the right to thieve the sensation of her in his arms? Still something poked at his mind as not being quite right.

Another clue that she may not be as she appears to be.

She took his hand and together they rushed toward the second commercial shaft. Fire alarms screamed around the hall and red lights pulsed, indicating that the Halon hadn’t contained the fire.

Did I forget about the pistol he grabbed? Yep, I sure did. He needs to do something with it before she can take his hand.

Karne man? Still dead. Dead, dead, dead. Lifeless. Finished. Dead. This just means the fire spread into non-elevator car areas…ya know…like the shaft and stuff. There’s probably Halon going off all up and down that shaft. Oh, if I wanted I could come up with some way that he’d still be alive, but that’s so freaking clichéd. Besides, with the Karne, I don’t need any particular one of them alive to do what I want to do.

It’d be a long time before he could show his face here again. If ever. But, at least he had her and his Cream Soda.

I’m not sure if I’m going to keep this a chapter or put it with what I have for the second chapter. Chapters in ebooks tend to be much shorter than yaoi fans are accustomed to. Hmm… thinking about this.

So that’s the first chapter and a little bit of how I self-edit. When we return we’ll do some more of this.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Books Meme

KM Frontian tagged me.

1) How many books do I own?

A few years ago when I last boxed up all of my books for a move, I had over fifty boxes of books. If you want to know how many I have now, you come over and count them. I know I haven't beaten Bernita with her 5,000, but I must be close to KM's 200. A goodly amount are non-fiction, but I'm not really sure what the percentage is. Hubby is a big fiction reader and I'm the non-fiction dork.

2) The last book I read?

I will refrain from mentioning the one I'm currently trying to read, but I manage to bitch about it more than read it. The last print fiction book I read was Pleasure Dome (yaoi manga). The last ebook I read was Kay's The Legacy and I haven't finished it. I bought it, started reading it, fell in love with it and my computer crashed. From here on out all ebooks are going straight to my flashdrive. I need to download it again Chip/LAP gives you five downloads per purchase in the event you lose your copy like I did.

3) Top Ten Favorite Books.

(in no particular order)

1) Xanth Series.
2) Myth Series.
3) Synonym Finder
4) The Pictoral Guide to the Kama Sutra
5) The Encyclopedia of Superstitions
6) Saiyuki Series (manga)
7) My Edgar Allan Poe anthology
8) A Child Called It
9) Encyclopedia of Serial Killers
10) The Ultimate Guide to Gay Sex

Geez...there are so many more that I adore!

Ok, now to tag people.

Jose Bogran, Jon, Oh bother...anyone who wants to do it just do it. LOL!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Goals—progress update.

While doing the tags on this blog, I noticed where I posted goals for this year. I thought I’d check in with them and see how I’m doing.

I earned three writing contracts in 2006. In 2007, I’d like to see a minimum of six.

Status…we’re not doing so good here. I’ve signed two contracts this year and those weren’t ebooks. However shorts are good, right? This goal got jumbled partly due to my fault and partly not. Lady Aibell had some technical problems that slowed things way down and I spent my time focusing on those titles and About to Sin instead of working on my WIPs. I was afraid of over-committing myself. I’m new and I don’t want to sign on the line unless I know I can deliver by deadline. I erred on the side of caution with this and it may or may not end up biting me on my ass. I could have more titles coming out, but would they have been rush jobs?

Do not lose another friendship.

So far so good! As a matter of fact, I’ve gained some friends this year and I think a few of them are going to turn out of be really dear and close friends.

Take better care of myself.

So far so good! I’ve been going to the doctor when I need to. I also took the surgery option for a definitive solution to one of my ailments. I’m being more careful about what I eat and I’m, in general, taking better care of myself. Oh, did I mention I’ve lost and kept off over 40lbs? According to one scale, I’ve lost and kept off 50 lbs. According to another one, I’m still at the 40. Which would be correct? The one at the hospital or the one at my doctor’s office?

Work more diligently with a writing career. Now that I know that this is a real option for me, I need to make it work and work to make it.

So far so good! I’m staying up on networking, promo, marketing, professional development and I am making progress with titles even though I’m not making as much progress as I’d like.

Take more time for friends and family.

So far so good! I’d been spending so much time devoted to writing that I thought my marriage was beginning to suffer a bit. Hubby and I are doing wonderfully and it doesn’t seem to be really cutting into my writing time too much. Do I dare say it? Have I come close to finding balance between my work life and home life?

I’m still gonna gun for more contracts, but I think I’m doing pretty darn good!


I neglected the tags (AKA Labels) for this blog. I've gone back and added them to non-bunk posts. I'm still working on the next part of the Writing Process series, but at least you now have tags to use to find anything you may want to find, right?