Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – Dark Journey to the Witch

weekendwriting

Here by the skin of my teeth this week thanks to wireless issues! Eeks! Happy Sunday! Welcome to my post on the Weekend Writing Warriors – a place for authors to come together to share 8 to 10 sentences of their current WIP. Check out http://www.wewriwa.com for a list of all the participants and the details on how you can get on next week’s list!

The past handful of weeks I shared snippets from my newly finished first draft of Rise of the Angerroots. I would love to say that rewrites are coming along wonderfully but that would be a lie. I’ve managed to add it to scrivener and that’s about as far as I got. It’s going to be slow going. In the meantime, I’ve hit the rewind button to start work on the prequel which will help to introduce my story world. It seems only fair that I begin share the snippets from this new project.

Meet Serena…

**

Woman harvesting magical flower in the forestThe shadows cut deep into the forest. Serena kept her cloak over her head to conceal her identity as she moved swiftly along the dark forest path, never daring to look around lest she meet the eye of one who might recognize her. Eventually she stopped outside a worn down old cabin with a broken window and hesitated before taking the crooked steps leading to the front door. Serena considered her mother’s warnings but these were desperate times, she decided, and her fate was already chosen. An old woman peered out the window before letting the curtains fall back into place and Serena felt chills travel down her spine. She could turn and go but she had already come so far. She might as well hear the old woman out.

Before she could knock, the door swung slowly open and Serena found herself face to face with a short, not entirely unattractive woman with jet black hair and crystal blue eyes.
“Raven?” Serena asked, even though there was no mistaking the woman’s identity.

**

That’s it… I look forward to your thoughts on my snippet. Next week I will share another peek into this novella and hopefully better news regarding my rewrite progress. As always, thanks for reading! See you next time. :-)

 

Reimagining

Old vintage typewriterTo Reimagine, according to Merriam-Webster, is to imagine again or anew; especially: to form a new conception of. To recreate.

In college, I didn’t major in Writing or English Lit, but because I’d always had an interest in creating stories, I took an Intro to Creative Writing class for fun.

Or at least, I expected it to be fun.

How could I go wrong? Easy A, I figured, after years of English teachers telling me how much they loved my writing.

That was the year I got a glimpse into harsh reality, which as it turns out means a lot more than coming up with fun stories and putting words on paper. Sat in a small, stuffy classroom in The Cathedral of Learning with about fifteen other students, we were led by a grad student. I am pretty sure she hated me. At the very least, she liked giving her red pen a workout on my papers and I blamed it on grad school angst.

Then that crazy teacher started talking about something called “revision”. After returning the short stories we put so much sweat and tears into producing, she expected us to revise them. Fair enough, I thought, and went off to the computer lab to fix my typos, move a couple of awkward sentences around, and print off a fresh copy of my story.

Turns out that wasn’t what my teacher wanted. She explained that revisions are a reimagining of the story.

“What?” I cried in horror. “You want me to write a whole new story?”

Well, yes, kind of. Begin with the story you’ve created but then try to see that story in a different way. Could it be better told from a different character’s point-of-view perhaps? Maybe the action unfolds in a completely different way?

I thought that was pretty much the craziest thing I’d ever heard. After all, I’d already turned in something that was “good enough” and I was eager to move on to the next assignment. Trying to come up with a whole new version of the same old story I’d already told felt like way too much work for an already over-taxed college student.

Darn those grad students and their angst.

For the sake of passing this class, I did that crazy reimagining thing anyway.

Guess what? I liked this new version of my story better than the original.

I suppose there is some merit to going through this exercise, as painful as it may feel at the time. It’s a little more daunting as I sit here staring at a full length novel as opposed to a short story I wrote for class but nonetheless, I’m trying to imagine my whole book in different ways.

A lot of work, for sure, but as long as I end up with a story I love and you love, it’s well worth the time.

Now… back to my revisions and rewrites!

See you Sunday for a snippet of my latest and greatest. Until then…

For the Love of Food

Mmmm… food. There is such variety and creativity that can go into making a meal. It’s no wonder so many of life’s important occasions centerValentines dinner on wooden background around it.

This month we celebrate Valentines Day and some of you may have romance on your mind. What is your favorite meal to share with the one you love? Is it a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries? Lobster and shrimp? Or a healthy salad filled with plenty of tomatoes, avocado, and almonds?

It seems that no matter which way you turn, you’re bound to come across a food that will inspire passion from the obvious choices like bananas and cucumbers for their suggestive shapes to foods like oysters and chocolate which are known for their aphrodisiac qualities.

And it’s no wonder that phrases like “the way to his heart is through his stomach” come into being. That may be typical of men but it’s also true for me! I love a good meal and a man who cooks is about the sexiest thing there is. Bonus points for inspiring the mood right there.

Did you know that when the tomato was first introduced to Europe, it was called a “love apple” because of its stimulating effect. Turns out there is some truth to that due to the lycopene in them (good for your prostate, guys).

An aphrodisiac is defined as a food, drink, or drug that inspires sexual desire. Since this is the month for getting romantic, I’ve researched the top foods to add to your lover’s plate. Bon apetit and enjoy. ;-)

Seafood ( oysters, cavier, prawns, lobsters, shrimps, abalone, and others), Tomato, Avocado, Honey, Garlic, Basil, Wine, Asparagus, Chocolate, Strawberries & Raspberries, Almonds, Bananas, Cucumbers, Peaches, Apricots, Figs, Eggs, Nuts & Seeds

Personally, I love garlic shrimp scampi and a glass of red wine followed by a little melted chocolate drizzled over just the right places. (ahem) What is your favorite food to help set the mood?

 

 

Why Hello There, February. How You Doin’?

White Love Hearts with Ribbons and Bow for Valentines Day GreetiLove is in the air…. or maybe it’s sweat mixed with tears? I don’t know. Either way, it’s February and the first draft of Rise of the Angerroots is complete. (Can I get a whoop, whoop?) I won’t lie to you, it’s a mess, but then, aren’t all first drafts? During the month of February I will be dedicated to pulling it all apart and fitting it all back together again. Rewrites. Yay. Can you hear my enthusiasm? I’m kicking myself for not using scrivener software for this one.

All kidding. aside, I am excited about it, really. It’s been a while since I have written something from start to finish that I feel actually has potential to become a good story. Yes, I completed NaNoWriMo back in November but that one … well, let’s just say it won’t be seeing the light of day anytime soon.

Plans for the next book are already underway and I’m eager to get plotting. My time will be split between the rewrites for Angeroots and starting the novella that will set the stage for the entire series. While each book will stand alone, I thought it would be fun to dive a little deeper into the world I created and see what happens. With a bit of luck, we’re looking at a May release date.

In the month of January, I wrote 48,543 total words. Heck, that’s like nearly finishing NaNoWriMo in January! I accepted the challenge of writing at least 1,000 words per day (or 365,000 words for the year) and I’m holding myself accountable to that. I’ll keep you posted on my progress at the start of each month.

The NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge is also underway. I received my first round assignment on January 23rd – to write a story of no more than 2,500 words using an immigration officer and a séance in the suspense genre. I submitted my story on Friday so now I wait with fingers crossed. There are so many participants in this challenge, I don’t expect to win, but I do hope to be one of the top 5 in my group to advance to round 2 in March. If I do, I will share my short story, Point of Entry, on my blog. If I don’t … Well, I will take into consideration the feedback I receive from the judges and try to make it better. Then perhaps I will share it. :-) Either way, I’ll share the contest results in a future post.

Remember ‘The Ghosts in my Attic’ last April? That was my theme for the 2015 A to Z Blog Challenge. I didn’t manage to complete the 2015 challenge but I’ve signed up for 2016 and this year I’m in it to win it. I’m still up in the air over a theme, however. Any suggestions? All your ideas are welcome. As much fun as it would be to revisit those ghosts, I kind of feel like that might be cheating. You know, been there, done that. I would love to find something as equally unique though. Hmmm…

Anyway, have a cup of hot chocolate to celebrate the beginning of a new month, keep warm, and stay tuned for more. Until we meet again… un beso.

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – Love at First Punch

weekendwritingWelcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors, where a great group of authors come together to share 8 to 10 sentences of a work-in-progress. For more information and a list of the participants, check out http://www.wewriwa.com

Over the past several weeks I have shared snippets from Rise of the Angerroots as I finish my first draft. I am happy to announce that I am finally finished. Yippee! February is going to be a busy month of rewrites and edits so I am going to take a break from posting snippets from this story and switch over to something else for a while, just not entirely sure what.

In the meantime, here is my last offering until the story undergoes a clean up. Sarah is regaining her memory. Here she remembers meeting Nathanial for the first time. Love at first punch?

 

**

He nodded toward the lifeless creature. “I saved you from that. It would have killed you.”

Evening forestDespite her reluctance to admit that she may be in the wrong, she glanced toward it and back at the man pinning her to the ground. “So, what is your point?”

“Where I come from, if someone helps us, we don’t try to kill them.”

He let go of her slowly and she sat up rubbing her wrists. She thought about lunging for him again but there didn’t seem to be much point unless she wanted to land flat on her back again.

“My name is Nathanial,” he said reaching out to shake her hand.

“Sarah.”

**

I look forward to your thoughts. Enjoy your Sunday and see you next week!

Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – There Will Be Blood

wewriwa2Greetings and Happy Sunday! It’s my new favorite day of the week because today I gather with my fellow authors to participate in Weekend Writing Warriors as we each share 8 to 10 sentences of a current work-in-progress.

For more details on the blog hop or to click the links of the other participating authors, visit http://www.wewriwa.com – I highly recommend you do!

This month I have been sharing snippets from Rise of the Angerroots and I am happy to report that my rough draft is nearly finished! Looks like February will be a fun-filled month of rewrites. Oh my!

Sarah can’t remember her past. When she kisses Max, bits of her memory return, except unfortunately for Max, it is the desire for another man she remembers. Last week when she confronted Nathanial, her next door neighbor, and the object of her true desires, he held back from kissing her. This week, our two men ‘meet’…

**

“You have a lot of nerve coming here,” Max said. He waited for the first blow, which he was sure would come and when it did, he would use it asboxer his excuse to strike the man down once and for all. He didn’t really need a reason but for Sarah’s sake, he would offer one.

Nathanial appeared calm but Max knew his enemy well enough to sense the tension that boiled under the surface.

“You want to kill me so do it,” Nathanial said.

Max lashed out before he had the opportunity to censor himself. The punch caught Nathanial square in the jaw, knocking his head back and sending a smattering of blood onto the leaves surrounding them. Max brought back his fist to strike another blow but caught himself in midair. Nathanial hadn’t even brought up his hands to block him.

“I have no reason to fight you.” Nathanial said, regaining his composure and rubbing his jaw.

**

That’s it! Not a lot of love between this pair. I hope you enjoyed my snippet and I look forward to your comments. Have a happy Sunday! See you next week. :-)

Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – Will You Kiss Me?

weekendwritingWelcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors Blog Hop where several authors join together to share 8 to 10 sentences of their current work-in-progress. Check out http://www.wewriwa.com for links to all the participating authors as well as details to sign up for next week, if you’re interested in joining the fun.

It feels like only yesterday we were getting ready to ring in the new year and here we are already halfway through January. I seem to be suffering from a bit of the post-holiday winter blahs but I made a commitment to write 365,000 words in 2016 and so far, I’m sticking to it.

I am happy to report, as a matter of fact, that I have enjoyed some very productive writing days. I added another 16,214 words to my work-in-progress (Rise of the Angerroots) this week and so far, I don’t hate it. (Give me time.) My first draft has reached the 50K mark and I’m heading into the climax. While I’m not entirely sure where it will all end up, I’m reminding myself it’s only a first draft and there is plenty of time for refinement later on. I’m excited to begin the rewrite phase and stick all the pieces together.

So with that being said, let’s jump into my 10-sentence snippet…

Last week things heated up between Sarah and Max but the moment was broken when bits of Sarah’s memory rekindled a forgotten relationship with Nathanial. Sarah wants to know if Nathanial still feels the same but clearly, Nathanial doesn’t want to join her walk down memory lane. The following snippet takes place after she’s helped clean and bandage some mysterious wounds he has come home with.

**

portrait of a young man on a black backgroundThere was so little space between them that she could almost feel his exhale against her face. She willed her body to close the distance just a fraction until her nose was almost touching his chin as she tipped her head to study his eyes. She heard the gasp in his throat before he regained his composure but whether it was a response to the pain that coursed through his body or her proximity, she couldn’t be sure.

“Nathanial, look at me.”

He broke away to grab a bottle of pills, popped the top, and downed several.

“Should you be taking so many of those at once?” she said in alarm, their moment forgotten.

“Stay away from me, Sarah, for your own good.”

She felt chills course through her body. How dare he make assumptions.

“Don’t worry, I intend to,” she said, trying not to let the hurt bleed through her words, “But for the record, a simple thank you would have sufficed.”

**

I look forward to your thoughts. See you next week!

The Holidays May Be Over But …

IMG_7134Yes, it’s January 12th. I did glance at the calendar before I sat down to write this post. Is that going to stop me?

Nah…

I know by this point most people are ready to move forward and put the stress and craziness of Christmas behind them. Most of us have undecorated and put away (or thrown away – so sad) the tree. We’re back to work or school or whatever we call the normal routine and we’re embracing (or not) all those resolutions we made at the start of January.

That’s okay. I’m sharing these photos with you anyway. In my part of the world when the start of the year means cold and snow and dreary days, I’m grasping for a happy pick-me-up. Over the weekend, the family and I went to Phipps Conservatory for their after-hours candlelight tour. I’m so glad we managed to squeeze it in before it ended because it was as beautiful as I expected.

It’s tough to pick out just a couple of my favorite photos but here you go… I hope you enjoy them, too.

IMG_7135 IMG_7149 IMG_7163 IMG_7173 IMG_7180 IMG_7181 IMG_7186

Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – Kisses and Blunders

weekendwritingIt’s that time again! Last week I made the unfortunate mistake of scheduling a post for the Weekend Writing Warriors Blog Hop but never adding my name to the official list. Oops! Don’t I feel silly? If you missed that post and would like to catch up, you can find it HERE.

Otherwise, onward and upward! The Weekend Writing Warriors are a group of several authors who come together on Sunday to share 8 to 10 sentences of a current work-in-progress. For the list of participants and details on how you can join in next week’s hop if you so desire, follow this link: http://www.wewriwa.com

I have been sharing snippets of Rise of the Angerroots, a story that I desperately hope to finish before spring. So far, I’ve been making great progress toward reaching that goal and I am eager to share with you a glimpse of my effort.

Max had mixed feelings about discovering his betrothed (Sarah) is still alive but when he confronts her, he realizes she doesn’t remember him. This gives him new hope – and new problems. As they get to know each other all over, bits of her memory return and it isn’t Max she has on her mind. Poor guy. And just when everything seemed to be going so well between them, too… What will he do?

**

Beautiful couple kissing

She closed her eyes and gave in to it, her body responding with heat and desire, her head unable to process anything except the feel of his lips moving against hers and the touch of his hands sliding down her back. He grasped her firmly as their bodies melded together.

Overwhelmed, Sarah put her palms against his chest as though she wanted to push him away but when the flood of memories came back to her, she resisted. She tipped her head as Max planted kisses along her neck. His left hand moved to cup her breast, teasing the nipple through her blouse.

“Nathanial,” she whispered, lost to the sensation that made her body tremble and her mind come to life.

Suddenly he stopped and let go, putting distance between them.

She looked up at Max in shock. With eyes open, she realized the man she’d seen in her memory hadn’t been the man she’d been kissing.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, her body still shaking, “I don’t know…”

**

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to share your thoughts. I look forward to reading them. See you next week…

 

 

Dear Ideal Reader…

Young girl sitting on a park bench and reading a book, on a beauIdeal Reader scanned the weather forecast and the latest headlines while she sipped her coffee this morning. She had exactly ten minutes of peace and quiet before getting the kids up for school. In the rush out the door, she remembered to stuff her Kindle into her purse so she had something to help pass the time during the train commute into work, assuming of course that she managed to get a seat. Although when it comes to a good book, she’s managed reading while standing shoulder-to-shoulder, too.

Ms. Reader eagerly browsed the latest releases on Amazon and read the descriptions of the stories that caught her interest. A couple books looked promising and reader reviews seemed favorable toward them – so she hit 1-click ordering and added them.

Ms. Reader opened Facebook later that afternoon when she had some downtime at work and she liked the latest pictures of her sister’s kids. They were covered head to toe in finger paints but had happy smiles. She even made a few comments on her best friend’s recent boyfriend troubles. It never occurred to her to seek out Facebook Fan Pages for the authors whose books she downloaded. Who has time for half the drivel that occupies the space on Facebook’s Newsfeed as it is?

A coworker talked about Twitter over lunch but Ms. Reader shrugged her shoulders. Something to look into for another time, perhaps. She might like to follow a couple of news sites or drool over the latest photos from Mark Wahlberg and Bradley Cooper.

Ms. Reader rushed through making dinner and helping with homework. She groaned when she realized Junior had Math homework again. She barely survived fractions the first time around. When the kids were finally tucked into bed, she changed into her pajamas and settled into bed with her latest, greatest read. She was really enjoying this one and couldn’t wait to see what else this author had available. When her eyes finally closed, she had sweet dreams of the Hero from her new favorite book who just so happened to look a heck of a lot like Bradley Cooper. Go figure. But she couldn’t help but think … there is something missing … some  book she has yet to read that she knows she’s been waiting for …

I’ve been writing it and I promise you, Ideal Reader, it will be in your hands soon enough. Funny how easy it is in this digital age to get so caught up in everything else – aside from sitting butt in the chair and writing. I’ve been so focused on what I’ll be posting on my blog, and how often, that I forget why I’m doing it. I’m so obsessed with helping to promote the posts and books of my fellow authors that I overlook the fact that I’m essentially creating a marketing strategy for a product that doesn’t actually exist yet – MY book. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with helping fellow authors and I would like to continue to do so, I think my energy at this stage is probably better reserved for pouring into that book Ms. Reader is so patiently waiting to read.

After all, Ideal Reader isn’t even aware of the hours I spend on social media. She doesn’t care if I update my blog regularly. She doesn’t even notice if I never get around to sending out that monthly newsletter I keep promising I’ll start. Maybe one day she’ll take notice, but not before she falls in love with the words I write and the characters I create.

First things first.

Yesterday I came across an article in the paper with the details of what would have been a great networking opportunity right here in the city of Pittsburgh. The only problem being that it happened back in September. Since I don’t happen to know anyone who has created a time machine, I’m probably not going to be attending this particular function. As I kept scrolling, I realized there is a whole community right here under my nose that I am completely oblivious to, mostly because my focus has always been pointed in the wrong direction. As I sit down and prepare a business plan and begin to take myself seriously as a writer, I find for the most part I’m doing okay. I am writing every day, after all, and I read quite a bit too. But there are certainly tweaks in my mindset that have to happen before I can ever truly be successful.

I think it’s a good thing I’ve had this revelation. It brings Ms. Reader and I one step closer to finally being together at last… I’m no Bradley Cooper, but I think we can still share a happily ever after together. ;-)