"Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I'll tell you a story." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

22 September 2012

a quick update...

I know I said I was taking a break from this blog, but since apparently there are still a few people stopping by I just wanted to let you know what's going on in my writing world...

First, I had started writing SoT:The Darkness.
There has been a bit of a snag, though--I gave in to the world of technology and I was typing it on my new notebook computer I got for school. Well, the computer died (completely) and I have now lost everything I just wrote. Granted it wasn't all that much, and it probably needed to be rewritten anyway, but it still hurt! I am definitely going to go back to the old fashioned method of putting everything down in ink on notebook paper. It may take me quite a while to type it up at the end if I do that, but that's okay. It will just be editing time that way!

Second, I've started sending out query letters for SoT:The Prophecy. I sent one a long time ago that I never got a response from, but looking back now that was probably a good thing since my story was nowhere near ready to be sent out. This time, though, I've got a list of agents to pester....I've also gotten my first rejection note. That part isn't so much fun, but I guess it welcomes me to the ranks of those who are trying to get published! I'm just going to stick to the idea that I'm in the company of writers like Stephen King and Dr. Seuss and Dean Koontz and probably just about every other author in the history of publishing. And I'm going to keep sending out query letters until I catch somebody's attention!

24 August 2012

an apology...

So, I haven't written anything here since April...meaning I owe anybody who is interested in my crazy writing life an apology.

I am so so sorry!

Things are crazy in my life right now and have been for a few months. I wrapped up my short but very informative (to me, not necessarily my students) teaching career in May, then I spent the next couple of months getting ready for my sister's wedding and a move from Arkansas to Ohio for grad school. I've just finished (well, sort of--I still have a couple of classes this afternoon) my first week of grad school, so life definitely hasn't slowed down any lately.

My writing life is going to, sadly, be on hold for a little while. I may get a few words in here and there, but I don't expect to be making any real progress on my story until I get a break from school...which won't really happen until the end of the semester in December.

So, with that in mind, I'm taking a bit of a hiatus from this blog. I know, I know--I just came off of one since I haven't posted anything here since April. This one will be different, though, because it will actually be planned.

I can't get away from writing, though, as anybody who knows me or who understands this crazy drive to write can attest to, so I will still be updating my other blog and you are more than welcome to stop by over there. That blog is a bit different from this one (okay, maybe a lot different), but it's still me, so maybe you'll find something you would like to read there, too!

Mostly, this decision comes because I want to spend any spare minute I get to write actually writing...I want to dive into my story any chance I get, giving myself a minute or two here and there to escape this crazy world of physics I'm fighting my way through mathematically right now in grad school.

To those of you who have kept up with my writing here, thank you. Your comments on my story are greatly appreciated.

Hopefully I can come back here in a few months with the announcement that either 1) I've submitted SoT:The Prophecy or 2) SoT:The Darkness is well underway!

17 April 2012


So, I just realized that I haven't written a post on here since February 28th...wow.

I've gotten really wrapped up in my new blog, so all of my writing lately has been aimed at that. And when I say all, that's really what I mean--I couldn't tell you the last time I did any "novel-ing."

In all honesty, that makes me a little sad. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with the writing I've been doing. I'm overwhelmed with the response I've been getting from those posts. What I'm sad about is the fact that I've let my story fade away again. It has once again made its way to a back burner, and I'm afraid that it's going to stay back there too long and become just a pipe dream again.

I'm not guaranteeing anything, but I am definitely going to try and get back into the habit of my creative, fiction writing. I'll try and keep this blog a bit more up to date...

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

28 February 2012

big decisions

So, I'm in the middle of trying to make a couple of big decisions about SoT.

First, do I try and submit it as a fantasy for adults or do I change the ages of my main characters and submit it as Young Adult? You would think that I would have already made this decision, seeing as how I submitted to the Amazon contest in the general fiction category instead of YA. I've gotten some recent feedback, though, that has me wondering again.

The second decision is one that kind of depends on the result of the first--who do I submit it to?

I've decided that I'm only going to try for an agent. I don't want to submit to any publishers right now for a couple of reasons: if I do manage to get an agent, I don't want to have made things hard for him/her because certain publishers already saw my pitch and turned it down. More importantly, though, I really think I need some fresh eyes to look at my writing before I even attempt to get it published--I don't think it's polished up enough to be published right now.

In the meanwhile, I'm doing some editing and reworking now that it's been a while since I worked on the story. I'm also working on the new story, but that's a long way from being put into the public eye! ;0)

23 February 2012

ABNA results are in...

So, my pitch didn't make the cut this year for the Amazon contest. Really, though, I'm not all that disappointed. When I looked back at my pitch (probably for the 20th time), I noticed a couple of glaring mistakes I had somehow let slip by me in what I submitted. There were also a few places that I saw needed to be cleaned up (the meanings were pretty muddy). In all honesty, that pitch, as is, shouldn't have made it through to the next round.

I would have really liked to move on to the next round so I could get some feedback on the actual story, but that didn't work out this time. I can't say that I'm upset, though. The way I'm looking at it is like this: at this stage, people weren't judging my story. They were judging my ability to summarize that story and put it into 300 words or less, something I know I'm not very good at anyways.

Now, it's time to work on my query letter and figure out how to write a good pitch. Hopefully I've learned from this and I'll be able to fix the mistakes. The good thing about queries? Most agents want a section of your writing along with the summary. Maybe I'll catch somebody's attention!

So, even though I'm not all that disappointed, maybe I can convince Nathan that I need a consolation dinner tonight...

17 February 2012

just some random thoughts!

So, this has nothing to do with anything today, but I haven't posted here in a while and just thought I would check in and let everybody in on what's going on in my writing life right now.

First, for the random finding that inspired this post, I am super excited to find out that Odd Thomas is being made into a movie! I am a huge Dean Koontz fan--I would read anything he writes, even if it were just on the back of the cereal box. Well, maybe that's not quite the compliment I was hoping for it to be since I quite often find myself reading the back of cereal boxes, anyways... Seriously, though, I have read around 30 books by him (which sounds like a crazy amount until you realize that he has written over 100 books!) and I would happily recommend any of those books to anyone willing to listen. So, back to the topic at hand, I am super excited to see one of my favorite series of his getting made into a movie!

So, what's going on in my writing life right now? Well, I'm waiting to find out if my pitch made it past the first round of the ABNA. I'll find out on the 23rd. Right now, to be honest, it doesn't seem like a big deal. I would be thrilled to find my name on that list of the 1,000 in the general fiction category who made it to the second round, but I'm not counting on it.

That's not to say that I won't be getting on the website first thing Thursday morning to search for my name--I definitely will. It's just that, right now, I don't think I will be crushed if my name isn't on the list. That will just mean it's time for me to polish my pitch and get it sent out to the agents on my list (well, there's only one there at the moment, but it will be plural before too long).

On the other side of my writing, I finished, for the most part, the background and outline for the new story I'm going to be working on next. I'm actually really excited about this next story. I think it is going to be fun to write, which should make it more fun to read. I'm just hoping I can make myself write it in a much shorter amount of time (read that as: less than 5 years like the first one was) so that I can remember everything that happens instead of having to remind myself all the time.

So, I guess the biggest thing going on in my writing life right now is this. Procrastination.

I'm thinking I need to lock myself in a room with no internet access for a while so I don't get distracted. Or procrastinate. Or make excuses.

08 February 2012

uncovering the razed cities

This section takes place right after Syndria leaves Simon and Ina's home in the woods outside of Caron.
Syndria walked on all day, the mountains her guide once Simon turned back at the edge of the forest. It was quickly growing dark, and though the Healer was afraid of what magical terrors would be able to find her in the open grasslands she was traveling through, the girl didn’t think she could make it to the mountains before night covered the land. Simon had told her there were many small caves in the mountain base--she was certain to find shelter in one. To Syndria, though, despite walking for hours, the peaks never seemed any closer.
In the pale moonlight, Syndria saw something begin to take shape in the distance. As she drew closer, the Healer could see what at first appeared to be a hill standing alone in the grassland. Thinking perhaps she could find some sort of shelter there, at least enough to feel more secure, she hurried her pace and quickly reached the strange hill. Once she stood at the base of the hill, Syndria wondered how she had not seen it earlier. Perhaps in the twilight it had blended in to the mountains in the distance.
 “Whatever the case,” Syndria said aloud, “I am here now and I should look for a place to sleep.” Dropping the heavy pack from her back, the young Healer decided to sit and rest a moment. When she put her hand against the hill to steady herself, Syndria jumped back in pain. She felt a tremendous jolt of some kind, a feeling she had felt only once before, and it took the girl a moment to place from where that first feeling had come.
 When Syndria had been with Nedra for eight years, the Ancient had explained what the presence of magic in others meant to a Healer. She sliced her palm and asked the girl to heal it, but not without a warning first.
 “Before you touch my wound, prepare yourself. You will feel what will seem to be an explosion in your own hand, a feeling unlike anything else. While you touch me it will be as if your palm is burning. Hold the connection only long enough to begin the mending and I then will let the cut heal on its own.” When she had touched the Healer, Syndria had felt a pain unrivaled by anything she had felt since, even the excruciating pain of the prisoners on the edge of death. It took every ounce of strength the fifteen year old had to keep contact for the few seconds it took to begin healing the Ancient’s hand. After the young Healer had composed herself, Nedra spoke again. “If you are ever required to heal someone who has been injured by a Wizard, you will feel the same feeling. And while it is possible, to do so may drain far too much of a Healer’s own gift. Choose carefully how much you do for someone with such an injury.”
 Kneeling at the base of the hill, Syndria knew there was no question as to the origin of the pain. Though it seemed impossible, this hill had been touched with some kind of magic. But why? What reason would the Wizards have for touching a single hill standing in the midst of a grassland with magic? Though she searched her mind, Syndria could come up with nothing. That was when an idea crept slowly in, the Healer’s rational mind trying all the while to push it away. She could take the pain from those she healed. Would it be possible to take the magic from the hill? Perhaps then she would see the reason for a spell’s presence.
“You really are a fool, Syndria!” she told herself. The pain of merely beginning the healing process on Nedra had been more than excruciating. What would happen if she tried to take the magic into herself? Besides the immediate consequences, it was possible that the Wizards had contained something within this hill, something that should not be released. But while her rational mind was arguing all the reasons Syndria should just go on her way and leave things alone, one thing changed her mind. It seemed a simple argument had ridden in on the back of the idea to try and take the magic into herself. The Wizards who had cast some kind of spell on the hill she was looking at were undoubtedly the same who tortured and killed good men as traitors. Syndria could not imagine them doing anything for the good of Tundyel. Everything they did was an order from King Simann.
 Her mind made up, Syndria took a deep breath as she tried to prepare herself for anything. Still kneeling, the Healer braced herself and touched the hill, her eyes closed. Immediately, Syndria felt the same excruciating pain she had experienced healing the Ancient. It was as if she were feeling the pain of hundreds all at once. An explosion started in her fingertips and shot up her arm, quickly spreading throughout her body. She felt as if she were kneeling in the center of the potter’s furnace instead of the cool meadow. Struggling against common sense telling her to simply pull away, Syndria willed her left hand to join her right against the hill. Her entire body trembling from the pain, Syndria pushed the feeling from her mind and focused all her energy on trying to take the magic as she took the pain from people. She held it as long as possible, but after only a few seconds the pain was too much for her to bear. She started to drop her hands and realized in horror that she couldn’t move, couldn’t stop the pain. Opening her eyes wide with terror, Syndria began to pull back wildly. No matter how hard she tried, the Healer’s hands would not move. When she happened to glance up at the top of the hill, Syndria stopped struggling. The hill seemed to be disappearing, revealing stone underneath. Though the pain was no less intense, Syndria again focused on taking the magic into herself, closing her eyes once again as unimaginable pain racked her small body. Suddenly she fell back, no longer unable to take her hands off the hill. Every inch of her body shaking from the pain, Syndria curled into a ball as her mind faded and everything went black.

27 January 2012

Paodin meets Red

So, here's another little snippet of my story. Please feel free to tell me what you think--I really want to know!
Chapter 8
Paodin walked into the Amber Stream Inn and Tavern just as the sun began to set. The tavern was dark, lit by only a few candles placed sporadically around the room, and the place was empty except for two grizzled old men seated at opposite ends of the mahogany bar and the bartender.

The man tending the bar seemed out of place in the dusty tavern. He wore rich fabrics most often seen on members of the Royal Court and even in the dim light Paodin could see they were spotless. His long coat hung open, which Paodin imagined was a result of his ample stomach outgrowing the buttons. Unlike most of the common men in Meinsley, the man behind the bar wore his thick red hair cut short. As Paodin sat down on one of the rickety bar stools the man turned toward him.
“What do you want?” he asked, bored.
 “Are you Red?”
 “That’s what people call me,” was his reply.
Ignoring the man’s seeming indifference, Paodin continued, “Jamis told me to ask for you once I got to town. He said you may be able to help me.” At Jamis’ name Red’s interest grew, and when Paodin placed the leather coin purse on the bar his demeanor changed altogether.
 “Ah! Welcome to the Amber. Any friend of Jamis is a welcome distraction.” Stepping out from behind the bar, Red motioned for Paodin to follow. “Come. Let’s see what I can do for you.” He scooped the sachet off the bar and led Paodin through a small door hidden in the shadows.
 The room the two men walked into was a complete opposite to the dark and dirty tavern. A large desk sat in the center of the room, polished until it shone. The chair behind the desk was massive and covered with rich burgundy fabric, looking fit to be one of the king’s thrones. Red sat down behind the ornately carved desk and motioned for Paodin to sit down across from him. Leaning back in his personal throne, Red laced his fingers together across his prominent belly.
 “Tell me, what can I do for you?”
 Paodin got straight to the point. “I have a horse, but I need provisions, enough for a three day journey. I also need a heavy cloak, warm enough for nights in the mountains. I am traveling to---”
 “Your business,” Red cut in, “is your own. My business is to provide a service, and to do so I have no need of knowing your destination. By the looks of you, you could use a scabbard and some boots. Yours appear to be well worn.”
 Glancing down at his feet, Paodin realized the man was right. His boots were all he had still been able to wear when the old hermit had given him clothes, but they were by no means in good condition. Looking back up at the big redhead, he said, “There are many things I could use, but all I have to give you are the coins in the purse--and even those have been given to me. I have nothing more to offer.”
Red dumped the coins onto his desk, talking to himself as he counted them. “This will buy enough food and perhaps a cloak, but it will never spread thin enough for boots or a scabbard. If I get a cloak from the old woman it will be warm enough and cheaper, though it will not last as long. Then there would be enough for a scabbard as well. I still couldn’t procure the boots for any less than two days’ worth of food, though.”
 “My boots will serve me well enough,” Paodin interjected.
 Looking up from the coins, Red ignored Paodin’s statement. “How are you with a bow? Are you a decent hunter?”
 “It has been a while since I hunted, but I was once fair,” was his answer.
 “Good. I’ll give you a room for the night and I won’t even charge you, and then you’ll have your supplies at first light,” Red said, grinning with pride in himself. “Follow me,” he said as he stood. “I’ll even give you one of my clean rooms. They’re usually reserved for my, um, ladies’ guests, but visitors have been few lately!”
 Paodin stood, reluctantly following Red from the room back into the dingy bar room and up a rickety staircase. “You are certain my provisions will all be ready at first light? I will need to leave in quite a hurry.”
 “Yes, yes,” the man said casually, pulling at his long coat as the two walked down a grimy hall. “Your horse will be loaded up, watered, and waiting for you to drag yourself from bed, and your supplies will be waiting in my records room, which you saw earlier. Don’t you worry--Red is working even now.” He opened a heavy door that squeaked on its hinges then stepped in ahead of Paodin. “Lottie, move on down the hall. This guest doesn’t require your services tonight.”
As Paodin stepped into the room, a blonde woman in only a skimpy dressing gown brushed past on her way out the door. Paodin averted his eyes, not wanting to make the girl nervous. “She can dress first. I don’t wish to inconvenience her.”
 Lottie giggled and patted Paodin’s cheek. “Too bad, Reddie. He’s a real gem!” With that she blew the two men a kiss and swayed down the hall.
 Red laughed, a big hearty laugh that shook his belly. “You must be exhausted, son! Good night.” He shut the door as he stepped out of the room, his laughter echoing down the hall.

23 January 2012

i entered!

So, I finally did it--I submitted my story to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition today.

I'm terrified, to be perfectly honest. 

I've had my writing out on this blog for a while now, which was scary enough. Now, though, I've entered a contest where the whole point of putting my story out there is for it to be judged.


Now, all I have to do is wait...that may very well prove to be the hardest part. I won't get to find out anything else until February 23rd.

The first round of the competition is based solely on the pitch, probably one of my weakest points with my writing. I wrote one, though, so I thought I would share it here. I would love to hear what you think about it (I have a couple of days to change things on my submission, so maybe somebody will have some wonderful advice that will make my pitch 10xs better!), so feel free to comment!

Bound by nature’s strength and frailty,
Though two, as one in unity,
Shall true heir of Tundyel make
And by the Truth the throne room take.

When King Simann took the throne he had the Rilso family and the True Wizards killed. Despite Simann’s precautions, though, there were still people in Tundyel who believed in the Prophecy and believed the true heir would drive Simann from the throne.

Many of those people ended up in Simann’s dungeon, a place they left only through the crematory. When Paodin ended up in the dungeon, however, something strange happened.

Paodin had been tortured many times, each time healed by the young Healer. Before she left the dungeon the last time, Paodin stood to face his captors and squared his shoulders. When Simann’s Royal Wizards entered the cell, Paodin spoke of his faith that the last True Wizard still lived and would see Simann driven from the throne. Then, he vanished.

With the castle in an uproar over the escape of the prisoner, the yound Healer Syndria was accused of helping him. Secretly sent away by the woman who raised her, Syndria escaped the castle in which she was raised only to find herself alone in what was quickly revealed to be a hostile land. When she was attacke by a bear on the mountain pass, she was saved by a familiar face—Paodin.

Now, both dedicated to seeing the Prophecy fulfilled and Simann driven from the throne, Syndria and Paodin have joined together to raise a rebellion. Together, they will face threats both mortal and magical and discover a force much more sinister than King Simann—a Darkness intent on stopping Paodin, Syndria, and the Sons of Tundyel.