Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My knight in shining armor... or a brown truck..

I almost kissed a perfect stranger today. 

He showed up on his white horse (well, I guess a brown horse - a big boxy brown horse) and stepped out onto the grassy plain. 

"For Heather?" His strong voice questioned.  He had kind eyes, and I melted as he turned them in my direction.  His brown sun hat matched the milk chocolately hue of brown of his jacket and pants.

"That's me!" I yelped with joy as I ran the final feet that divided us.

"Can you sign here?" He handed me a small box, and pointed to the box where I was to sign.

I hesitated for a moment.  Is he asking for my phone number?  Could he be interested?  No, I thought to myself, I must just sign my name and let him go back into the wiley desert from where he came.  "Thank you, Heather."  As he repeated my name, I felt the heat rise into my cheeks as I blushed.  "This is for you then.  Have a great day."

He paused for just a moment.  Just enough for my arms to flinch as they yearned to fling themselves around his neck.   Instead, I held the box to me closely.  I knew what the contents held and the immense change it would bring to my life.  Or well, the life it would bring.

He climbed back onto his iron steed and maneuvered back down the long driveway.  As he turned to continue his journey, he tipped his hat to me and waved.  I just nodded my head and watched him drive off into the distance. 

Then I hightailed it into the house and ripped the cardboard apart to get to the power adapter, frantically found an outlet, plugged that puppy into my laptop and squealed with joy as the lights jumped and frolicked back to life. 

Ahhh... I can write again!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Teaser Tuesday


"How could you do this to my family?" Jacob yelled at Aly as she walked down the hall towards him.  He stood in the doorway, blocking entry to her room, with a mix of anger and pain so visible on his face, that it hurt her to see.  In that moment she knew she loved him.  She knew because more than anything else, his believing that she could do this, ripped her heart out. 

"Jacob?" She asked in a voice too quiet to have been hers.  "You believe it too?  I don't know why I thought you couldn't shock me anymore."  She stood there in front of him searching his eyes for a hint that he might believe her.

He shook with anger.  "Shock you?  Shock you? I couldn't be more shocked by you Aly.  I never would have thought you do this.  What is it?  Was it for money?  No, it can't be that, you come from plenty of money.  Were you not happy with the level of celebrity we were providing you?"  He dropped his eyes from hers and his shoulders slumped just a little.  "How could you hurt us, how could you hurt Andrew like this?"

In any other circumstance seeing him like this, so raw, so vulnerable, she would have rushed at him and pulled him into her arms to try and make it better.  Now, it was unbearable.  Even though she could see in his eyes the pain and betrayal that was causing him to say such terrible things, she couldn't take another moment.  "Jacob, please move," she asked, that unfamiliar quiet voice returning.

He raised his eyes to hers again and parted his lips as if preparing to say something else.  Without a word, he dropped his arm and walked down the hall, away from her. 

She struggled to slide the card into the door, the tears lining up to fall were blocking her vision. "Come on, come on," she said to the lock.  Two more attempts and the heavy door swung open into her room.  She took a few steps into the room to clear the door, then pushed back on it with her full weight to close it.  As soon as she heard the click, she sunk to the floor in sobs.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Editing has always been one of my favorite parts about writing.   As my novel is on it's 7th draft, I'm realizing that each edit becomes a victim of my latest mood.  I could write this same story twenty times, each time with a different twist on a character or situation. 

Unfortunately, that's not a good thing if I'd ever like to finish this process.  I'm afraid that is the real problem at hand, I don't want to finish.  It's hard to set aside characters that have become so familiar to you that you remark upon them in daily life as you would a close friend or family member, "Tommy would have loved that joke."  In the case of NORMAL, these characters have been with  me for about 3 1/2 years now.  I don't believe that it has series or even sequel potential, so how do I just set them aside and say, "I'm done." 

When do I move them from characters that share their secrets with me, pressing me on to reveal their story to characters that become static in their story on a page? 

I am sure now that is why my other completed novel, the UNTITLED one, still sits on the shelf waiting. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Santa rocks

Today I sat outside in nearly 70 degree weather and edited and edited and then... I actually wrote!  This was the best present Santa could have put under the tree for me.  I can't tell you how amazing it feels when I'm in the zone.  After an almost month long drought, the words are flowing.  My red pen is marking up my manuscript like my daughter writes all over the wall.  Lets just say - it's a lot. 

I'm loving my characters and I am firmly in the "I need a sequel" mood.  I know I'm not ready to say good-bye to these characters, but I'm not sure they have another story to tell - at least not right now. 

I'm itching to get back to it, and sad that things like making dinner for my family are harshing my mellow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Night Before Christmas....

Thanks to our kind friend who will be staying with our diabetic kitty, we are going away for Christmas this year.  That said, we had to ask Santa to come early to bring his gifts for the girls.  He kindly obliged when we saw him at the local mall.

Tonight for all intents and purposes is our Christmas Eve.  This means tonight we shall cuddle up in bed with the big down comforter (yes, they start out in our bed on Xmas Eve) and we read and read and read Christmas stories until the little ones can't keep their eyes open any longer. 

On our list:  The Night Before Christmas - Clement C Moore
Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss
Mooseltoe - Margie Palatini
Santa's Favorite Story - Hisako Aoki

We also read whatever else we have around that's age appropriate (Junie B Jones and Judy Moody are favorites right now).

The kids usually don't make it through all of them but they love it, due to the unfortunate timing of my husbands Christmas party, our "christmas eve" had to be cut short and when I asked them which part they wanted to keep... "Mom, we have to read the books!!"

Do you have special books that are part of your Christmas?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I'm apparently not very good at killing people off - the first person I killed just got up and walked away.  I guess that's one way to avoid the dilemma of what a bunch of teen/twenty something girls do with the bodies of the evil-doers they slayed.   LAME.

I made it to 13K.  I failed hard at NaNoWriMo.  I'm okay with that.  Life got in the way.  Flu, Family, Food...  it's all good though.  Really.

Here is where I stand.  I love BITE ME.  I love Leigh and I have fallen in love with Natalie.  Hard.  Sophia was supposed to be my darling, but Natalie clawed her way into my heart.  I'm not giving up on them - but I do need to let them go for a while. 

Jacob, Andrew and Aly are plagueing me.  "Edit us" they cry from the dark recesses of my dreams.  I kid you not.  They stalk me in my dreams.  Maybe it's because Nick Jonas is going out on his own on a solo project that I feel all emo about my little characters right now.   My little Andrew set off on his own too, well, until this last draft anyway.  I'm seriously stressing about how Nick J will be received by the world.  Am I still talking about a Jonas brother?   Maybe it was the 37 hours I spent in the past week, in a mini-van with 3 obsessed Jonas fans.  Can I say Jonas anymore times?  Jonas??!!!

Something else surprised me this month (this month of epic NaNo failure).  I'm ready to edit my first novel, the one fantastically titled "UNTITLED."   It hit me, this last week in particular, that I'm ready.  Maybe it was being back in my old stomping grounds where the book was originally conceived and outlined over a decade ago.  Maybe it was the copious amounts of Tryptophan - or it could have been the beers.

So, BITE ME is trunked temporarily.  NORMAL is back on the hacking block to get redded up for betas and UNTITLED will see the light of day again.  SOON.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm so far off track it's not funny.  After two weeks of hell with the flu and then a week of family and food - and I'm 35K off of my goal for tomorrow night. 

Not good, right? 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I am sad to announce my characters are down with the flu.  They are laying on the couch, whining and running fevers...

Let's just say my NaNoWriMo word count is at a stand still.  I wish one of their super hero powers was being able to heal... oooooooooooooooooh

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'm doing something I've never done in a book before.  I'm killing people off.  Good guys/bad guys... who knows.  What I do know is that everyone is at risk.  I had planned all along for one of my characters to die, but she wasn't going to go until later on in the "series."

In my very first novel the book starts with a recent death and the repercussions of that loss are felt through the book, but it's not like I killed her. 

I'm pretty sure people like me are not meant to have this kind of power.   Mwah haha ha ha ha ha!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's coming....

Tonight I wrote a chapter that actually scared me.  Now, I'm a skeredy cat to begin with, but the suspense and fear in this chapter for Leigh had me jumping at every noise in the house. 

I don't particularly like weak female characters in writing (for the record, I haven't really met a "weak" female in my real life, however, many fiction female characters are), or at least I don't like writing them.  So the character of Leigh is more difficult for me than I thought it would be.  I don't like saying Leigh is weak.  She's not.  She is fairly helpless right now. 

Imagine being a little, sarcastic, moody teen who is fiercely independent.  Then you gain into these kick-ass new skills and talents, but your wobbly about learning to use them.  Not to mention that you are seriously out-matched by a whole host of baddies that want you dead before you can't well - be dead - or at least more dead.  Then enter your older sisters that have already cast long shadows on you for your entire life, and suddenly you have to allow them to fight your battles.

I thought it would be fun to write about this tough teen girl, who says the things I thought about saying back in the day.  What I'm finding is that I'm crying with her instead of roaring with her.  She needs some support because for once she can't fix this in her own head.  What is scarier for her - being stalked by people who want her dead, or admitting she's scared and having to reach out.

At 8,500 words in, I don't have that answer, but I'm getting excited to find out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No plot, no problems

I'm gonna admit it.  I'm having a hard time getting from Point A to Point B and let's just forget Point C.  I thought I had this under control.  Between my characters running off on their own program and a terrible case of exposition - this is going down hard.

I had a great night of writing on Friday, but then took Saturday off to regroup.  I'll admit it - I'm stuck.

There is SO much going on in this novel that I'm struggling with not editing it as I go.  I need to drive the plot forward but I'm mired in details.  That's kind of the story of my life.  Details.... love details.  Love planning.  With NORMAL I loved writing it.  So far I'm torn with Bite Me.  I want to love writing it too.  So far it's been fun but I'm reaching that stage where I'm going to have to write while kicking and screaming.  Maybe that's what my characters need, more kicking and screaming???

So, before writing tonight my word count stands at a paltry 6,400 words.  Only 43,600 to go... almost 2K a day.  Okey dokey. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Recharge the brain...

So - I took a day off and recharged.  Not from NaNo burn out but just life burn out.  Something had to give and so I didn't add anything.

They funny thing is - I couldn't get the story off my mind.  My dreams were filled from the characters from both books and they were fighting for attention.  This morning I woke up and could not stop writing.  It's a little stressful since I have all of this ground to cover in BITE ME - but I'm not able to really get the editing for NORMAL out of my head.  I think this where it would be nice to have a clone.  Although - I'm pretty sure I'd set my clone on other things - like laundry, dishes, cleaning... and keep the writing parts to myself. 

So, what I'm learning about Leigh in BITE ME is that she is much more fun that I thought.  I assumed I would struggle with keeping her from being too big of a brat, since her main life struggles until this point primarily include feeling like a misfit and a significant dose of sibling rivalry but I have found that she is snarky and although has a tinge of brat, it is entwined with a sarcastic sense of humor that is so much fun!  I think I love her.  I'm also drawn more to her sister Natalie than Sophia - which I didn't anticipate either. 

I had a whole scene carefully laid out since I was trying hard to avoid the verbal dump of information when Leigh finds out she's a vampire.  In the middle, Natalie just jumped in, tired of drama and laid it all out there for Leigh.  I sat back after I was done and said, "whoa - that wasn't the way that was supposed to go down." 

Just who is driving this bus?  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fighting the urge...

It's a battle I'm losing, but I'm trying to write most of this without editing excessively as I go. I tend to write 10 pages and then spend a bunch of time editing and then continuing on. I'm trying to get the story out of my head and onto paper this time. Let it all hang out there on the paper. Then I can chop away and edit, edit, edit, but it's harder than it sounds.

I keep hearing, "watch the adjectives", "don't ask, don't tell" (oh wait, I think that one is 'show, don't tell'), "is that ANOTHER adverb?" "is there a plot here?"

My motto right now is that it is what it is. I write with an excessive amount of description, adjectives... adverbs and any other ad-things I can do that vividly bring to life my characters and the setting. Unfortunately I also know that is the trademark of a weak writer that doesn't trust their reader enough to visualize their own world. (Yes, I've been re-reading "Self-editing for fiction writers")

So, tonight my mind has too many other things on it to allow me to lose myself in my world. My MC is struggling to understand her new place in her family, the world and a fight for survival. In the mood I'm in she'd just go run out in front of a bus and end it. Except I know she's strong and she wouldn't ever do that right? hmmmmmmmmmmm.... I'm going to bed so that she may live to see another day (or night.. she is a vampire after all. Does she even do the day? What about that pesky sun... what happens to my MC in the sun? does she sparkle? smoke? catch ablaze? get sunburned? bloody hell!)

Oh 3,910 words.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another day... another post... more words...

I love the beginning of a book. Everything flows so nicely and I don't have to worry about pesky things like plot continuity because hey, everything is new right? I figured this part of NaNo would be the easy part and so far I have been right, it would be wonderful if this novel just flew through me. I can dream!

A friend of mine expressed serious doubts about the quality of writing that happens from trying to spew 50K in 30 days. I say, I agree with him. I'm sure some of the NaNo writers are producing grade A, super polished, gorgeous writing. I'm more sure though that the majority of us are writing crap. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done, it doesn't mean it's not a worthy endeavor. I think allowing the free flow of words and pushing them out on to paper/screen is critically important to both newbie writers and experienced, published authors. NaNo pushes us to write, in all it's craptastical goodness so that we have something to mold and shape into a pretty little package someday.

This is truly the best and worst of writing in one 30 day time frame. Some use NaNo as an excuse to write their very first novel, others do NaNo for inspiration, others for the pure challenge. Whatever the reason, I say it's about writing, and that's just plain good. In February or March of next year, it might turn into something great, once I hit my third, fourth, fifth revision. Maybe I won't bother to revise and just tuck it away. Who knows. Talk with me on December 1st and see what I think about it.

My count at the end of day two is 3,416 words. My characters continue to surprise me (I had no idea my MC's hearing would be so acute) and I love them all so far.

It's a done deal now, the secret is out and Leigh finally knows the truth. How on earth does someone, especially a 16 year old girl, deal with news like this.

I guess I'm about to find out.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day One - Down

So - I finished my first day of NaNoWriMo and I'm happy to say that I met my goal (and beat it -1,640 words today!).

Already in the first chapter my characters are surprising me. My MC is a Daddy's girl (and I thought she was a momma's girl) and she's a slob. Splendid. I have a feeling that I'm in for an adventure.

Up next - FANGS!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

BITE ME Dream Cast

Something I have done for all of my books is to try and create a visual of the cast of characters. This is the dream cast for the SNI for NaNoWriMo and is very much a rough draft - as I learn more about the characters through writing them - they often change. The other thing that WILL change are the names of my characters.

This is Leigh (Anna Sophia Robb) - my 16 year old MC, the youngest of five girls. She is tough, independent, snarky, but desperately looking to fit in somewhere. The M&M - tough candy shell, soft yummy chocolate center.


This is Katheryne (Lucy Hale), the oldest sister. Katheryne is 22 years old and the leader in every sense. She is focused on their task, dedicated and serious.

Natalie, (Demi Lovato) the twin sister to Sophia. Natalie and Sophia are 20 years old and have a strong bond. Natalie is athletic, strong, dark and powerful.

Sophia, Natalie's twin. Sophia is incredibly sensitive, caring and empathetic. She has the strongest gift and has been in love since she was 15 - but learned the secret at 16.

Elyse (Erin Sanders) is 18 and is the light of the family. She is joyful, and unburdened by her responsibilities. She is often the intermediary between Leigh and her sisters.

Elyse's LI (Josh Hutcherson)

Natalie's best friend (Stephen Sraight)

Sophia's LI (William Mosely)

Katheryne's LI (Mark Salling)

(Alex Davalo) Leader of the "created"


Yep. I'm doing it. After drooling at the thought last year, I decided I really wanted to give it a shot this year. It doesn't hurt that I have a full on shiny new idea (SNI) that was just demanding to be written.


Kick off is tomorrow.... I can't wait to start writing!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Casting NORMAL

NORMAL was inspired by a dream I had about 2 1/2 years ago. In my dream a confident, focused girl had the ultimate temptation put in front of her while on vacation- a gorgeous rock star who had fallen for her. I wrote notes and fleshed out an outline about this dream for future plot and added it to my SNI file. I can still see some visuals from this dream as clearly as if I had it last night. I have had this dream or a variation of it several times since then.

Fast forward to February 2009 - sitting in a dark theater with my daughter and her friend watching the Jonas Brothers 3D Concert movie. Going into the movie I didn't even know which brother was which - coming out I could only think about that dream I had. Something clicked and saw the book clearly in front of me. The movie really brought home the feel of the book, although my initial dream formed the plot and personalities of my characters - and my daughters certainly helped flesh out the mindset of uber fans.

Even though Camp Rock is much loved in my home - I was not interested in casting my novel with a repeat of the Camp Rock trio. So my cast only includes one of the Joni. Originally Jacob Roman was cast as Nick Jonas in my head... over the course of writing it I realized Joe is truly Jacob. Joe is now too old for Jacob but that's how I see him.

Handle with Care (the band) is more alternative rock than pop... but their ages and good looks have brought them the kind of fan-base that was previously reserved for boy bands.

The book takes place over a span of 3 years, so I've tried to reflect some of the age changes in my cast photos. Keep in mind that when casting a book, I'm often literally looking at a single picture and the look/feel that picture portrays to me - not necessarily the real actor or personality behind the person. (Also - obviously I didn't take these photos and do not want to take credit for something that isn't mind. I don't know where most of them came from over time but I hope no one minds me sharing them.)

ALYSON SULLIVAN - When I saw this first picture of Leighton Meester I immediately thought of Aly - only problem - she's missing Aly's bright blue eyes. The first picture would be Aly towards the beginning (age 17) and the 2nd of Aly around age 20.

Enter these photos of Jessica Stroup.... this is more like the Aly from my dream. Only imagine her with darker hair.

JEANA - Aly's best friend (Ashley Benton) is the one that forces Aly out of her head and to try and have fun. She is bubbly but wicked smart with takes people off guard.

THE ROMANS (brothers that form the band, Handle With Care)

Jacob Roman - this first picture of Joe Jonas is what made me finally realize that Joe is Jacob Roman as I see him. Something about his pose, the look on his face, the stage - it just screams Jacob to me. Jacob starts out 18 years old and ends at 21.

Andrew Roman - this has been difficult for me to cast, since I am having a hard time finding someone that captures the dream version of Andrew. This photo of Stephen Sraight is the closest I have found to really giving me the funny, sweet, innocent type of air that Andrew has. Andrew is 16 years old to start and ends up 19.

Tommy Roman - Jake T Austin just might work out for Tommy and his athletic, sporty, hard core guitarist. Imagine with super short hair... Tommy and Tanner are 14 (almost 15) to 17.

All of the Roman boys were hard for me to cast but Andrew and Tanner are the hardest. A youngish Jeremy Sumpter catches the unique look Tanner (Tommy's twin) has - with his lighter hair and blue eyes. Tommy is a complete introvert with a dry sense of humor and big brain.

Molly Quinn IS Caitlin Sullivan, Aly's little sister and Tanner's friend/LI. Molly with more of a strawberry blonde look would be perfect. Cait starts out almost 15 and ends up 18.

Devon Sullivan (Logan Lerman) is the youngest of the cast of characters. Aly's 12 (to 15) year old little brother is adorable and oblivious to the drama unfolding around him.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Naming my novel is harder than naming my children....

I had such a difficult time naming my kids. I love names. I love what they symbolize, the people they remind me of, the meanings behind them. Each of my kids have a first name and two middle names. So for three girls that is nine names. I would have given them four or five but my husband made me stop.

I thought when my book was finished a name would suddenly come to me and I'd be set. The working title is NORMAL - which mades me cringe every time I say it.

I'm in the process of heavily overhauling this and hope to begin querying it at the beginning of the year. I'm just guessing it will need a name by then.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The trunked novel

I wrote a novel over the span of ten years. I started when I was barely out of the grasp of being a young adult myself and completed the novel a married woman with a baby. This novel has no title but I call it Emma - even though my Main Character is no longer named Emma (but one of my real babies is now!).

I lost the novel when a computer died and the 3.5" disk it was on failed. (Told ya... old school). One day while unpacking after a move I found a copy of the book I had printed out. The thrill of seeing those words again spurred me to type it back out and finish it. (I saved it on a hard drive, an external hard drive, a CD-ROM and a flash drive - in addition to have printed it out... I'm learning folks!)

Yet, once it was time to edit it, I had lost the spark that caused me to write it in the first place. I still love my characters, and I knwo they haven't said everything that needs to be said, but I had other voices calling for attention (and no, my mental illness begins and ends with clinical depression so it wasn't "those" kinds of voices) and begging to be written.

So this novel sits, completed and loved, awaiting major revisions. Someday I whisper... someday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yes, it's true

I write. I write a lot. I've been writing short stories, poems, lyrics, novels since I can remember. I've shared my writing with very few people as I went along life. I dreamed of being a published author someday but never allowed myself to truly hope.

Here I am now, in my 30s and I am letting people read my writing. I found an amzing group of writers that have really helped me feel more comfortable sharing my writing and admitting out loud to the world that I am a writer.



I have two completed young Adult manuscripts. I have three other works in progress and a plan for a novel that I'm going to do for National Novel Writers Month - I'm planning on writing another novel in the month of November. Crazy, I know.

I'm hoping to share my journey here as I learn to step out and share with the world that I write.