What’s Up, December 2015

Nano winnerFirst of all, congratulations to all my fellow writers who took the plunge into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and came out winning on the other side. Whether you wrote 50,000 words or not, tackling the challenge is still something to be proud of and I hope you had fun along the way.

Obviously, NaNoWriMo is one of those challenges I can’t resist because 2015 marks my eight year signing on and my seventh year winning. I now have a 50,000 word “paranormal romance” currently titled Blood Moon. This mess, err, I mean book, will undergo extensive rewrites during the month of December and with a bit of luck, will be ready to submit to publishers sometime early in the new year.

My zombie story is on hold. It stands at just under 10,000 words. Hoping to jump back into that story as soon as the dust settles from my previous writing frenzy.

Rise of the Angerroots is also still waiting in the wings. I have high hopes to submit this one to the Amazon Scout Program in early 2016 and/or simply self-publish. More on that soon.

As the year ends, I look ahead to my goals for a new year of writing. I am happy to have settled into a regular routine and I am excited about having stories to share in the near future, both long and short.

For starters, I have entered the 2016 Short Story Writing Competition. Round one begins on January 22nd. This is my first time participating in this type of challenge and my stomach is in knots.  Stay tuned for details on how you can cheer me on.

I also have a short story in the works for hopeful submission to a horror anthology. I will be carving out some time to get that finished and polished in the coming weeks. There are few other potential anthology submissions I have pegged with deadlines coming up throughout 2016. It’s my goal to submit to at least three of them by the end of 2016.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for fun in #1lineWed and the #DecWritingChallenge and keep your eyes on the blog for weekly snippets of my works-in-progress via Weekend Writing Warriors.

And… most of all, have a happy December! 🙂


Wednesday Writing In Progress – The Dragon

Fantasy landscapeI have been away for a while, not absent from writing, but focused on other writing-related projects. But now here I am back where I started. The truth is it’s nice to be back. It’s nice to play with new ideas and it’s kind of nice to pick up the blog and make another effort at posting regularly. (Not my strong point, I know.) You can expect to see a lot more from me in the near future both in terms of blog posts and (hopefully) published stories. Fingers crossed!

Today I thought it would be fun to share a little snippet of a current work-in-progress. After all, it’s Wednesday and we’re midway through the week. Why not look at where we’ve been and think about where we’re headed?

I’ve always loved and been fascinated by dragons so wouldn’t it be fun to write a story that actually includes one? While I’ve always wanted to keep a dragon as a pet, the dragon of this particular story is not nearly so friendly.

I hope you enjoy my little sneak peek into my world of writing. Keep in mind that it’s still very much a first draft but I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the story and where it may go from here?


Fruitlessly, she pulled and struggled against the rope. The men who had brought her here had been thorough in their attempts to keep her in place. At one time in her life, she might have called them neighbors or even friends, but as they’d prepared her for her death, not one had been willing to meet her eye or hear her plea, not even Kyrad.

Hot air washed over her with the putrid stink of the dragon’s breath as it settled just a few feet from where she lay on the platform of the high mountain. She could scream but no one would help her. They had purposely left her here to die, a sacrifice to the hungry dragon in return for peace amongst the village, a scheme which all seemed entirely too convenient in her opinion.

“Die gracefully”, they had told her when the calling had been made, “It is, after all, a great honor to be the chosen one.”

Layla sucked in her breath as she watched wide eyed as the dragon paced along the edge of its high perch. Just a few more wriggles and her left hand would be free.

The dragon let out a loud bellowing roar that shook the mountain and echoed far into the distance. Layla wondered how many people down below in the village looked up, cowering in fear, as they held fast onto each other for comfort. They were waiting for the dragon to claim his meal so that the sacrifice would be complete. Layla had been the chosen one. She closed her eyes and held back the hot tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks. No, she wouldn’t face death this way, not as a coward. There had to be another way. She continued to strain against the binds as determination filled her. In the name of her parents, she would prove them all wrong.

In the distance, thunder cracked in response to the dragon’s roar, a deep sound that shook their world. Dark clouds swirled above, moving closer at rapid speed. The first fat drops of rain began to spill down on them as the dragon turned his focus back to Layla. He sniffed tentatively and his arrow-tipped tongue tasted the air as he approached her. Even though she had nowhere to go, she sank back into the rock as though she wished the mountain would split wide and swallow her into its depths. The dragon spread his wings wide as he arched his back and shot a plume of smoke and fire into the night almost as if he were thanking the gods in triumph. Rising on his hind legs, he was easily four times the height of a grown man. Nevertheless, Layla held steadfast onto the only thing she had left – hope.

Red bead eyes regarded her with curiosity. She’d managed to free her left hand finally but she didn’t dare to move while she was under such close scrutiny. She held her breath, biding her time, waiting for the dragon to make a move.

The dragon ambled forward until its snout was nearly pressed against her nose. Layla squeezed her eyes shut and said a silent prayer to the gods and then as the dragon lifted up its head and opened its jaws wide to snap down over her, she quickly flung her weight to the right where she still dangled helplessly by the hand still tightly bound. She watched in horror as the dragon’s razor sharp teeth clamped down over the brush and rock. It recovered, snorting steam from its nostrils as it took two steps back, preparing for the next attack.

By some miracle, Layla managed to free her right hand. She scrambled into the bushes before the dragon’s teeth could catch her. The dragon roared as flames shot from it jaws and ignited the bushes where Layla had sought protection. She squealed and ran, barely escaping. The two went back and forth this way for a while, the dragon insistent on catching its prey and Layla determined to escape. She needed to get to the other side of the platform where she knew there was a way over the mountain, to the safety of the village below.

But as the dragon nipped at her feet and tore the bottom of her gown, she realized with a heavy heart, even if she managed to escape, where would she go? The village was no longer her home and her friends were no longer her friends. If she returned from the mountain, she would not be considered a hero, but rather a coward that sacrificed the village for the sake of her own life. This left her only one option, she couldn’t simply escape from the dragon’s clutches, she needed a way to destroy it. It was her only hope.

Layla grabbed a large rock and flung it as hard as she could, aiming for the dragon’s eyes. It hit with a satisfactory thunk right between the eyes. She hunched over trying to catch her breath while the dragon, stunned by the retaliation, took off to the sky and began circling overhead again. This gave Layla a moment to try to clear her head and think.

The rain fell faster around them and soaked the dress until it clung uncomfortably to her body. Layla scrambled, desperate to find anything that she could fashion into a weapon before the dragon returned to its perch. Her hand clutched the stone that still dangled around her neck on a golden chain. It had been a gift from Kyrad. Angry, she ripped it free allowing the chain to drop in a heap to the ground. She fastened it quickly to the end of the longest stick that she could find and wrapped it in place with the broken chain. She’d only just finished her makeshift weapon when the dragon’s talons touched down just a couple of feed from where she worked.

She squealed, sinking back into the shadows and nearly losing the stick in the meantime. The dragon roared, rearing its ugly head and shooting flames in every direction. This time, it meant to have its meal, the initial curiosity replaced by a ferocity that she didn’t believe she had the strength to match. Who was she to slay a dragon, after all? If it were such an easy feat then any of the large men from her village would have surely completed the task by now. Layla cowered, her heart hammering wildly in her chest, biding her time until the dragon’s next strike.

The dragon scratched the ground with its sharp talons much like a bull paws the ground before it charges. She watched as tendrils of smoke rose into the air from its nostrils, the heat turning to steam as the rain cooled the fire. Layla shivered as fear and dampness crept along her spine. Every moment stretched into an eternity before finally, the dragon made its move, running at top speed from one end of the landing to the space where Layla laid in wait. It was now or never, she knew, so once again she said a silent prayer to the gods who listened and raised her weapon just as the dragon towered over her. Its large body shook as the beast howled into the night. And then, much to her horror, its full weight sank down over her.

Six Sentence Sunday – Back at It

I haven’t been around in a while. Did you miss me? (Of course you did. Silly question.)

Nanowrimo just about did me in but I finished it and made it to 50K without hurting myself or anyone else in the process so it’s all good. Now that I’ve just about recovered, I figured I’d jump back into the blog on my favorite posting day … Six Sentence Sunday!

Yes, friends, it’s that magical time again when I torture you with six sentences of something. There are lots of us participating in the madness so if you want to sample some of what others bring to the table, then be sure to click here for the official list.

But wait! Before you go … Don’t forget to read my offering. It will only hurt for a minute. I promise.

And just what shall I share this week? Well, let’s see. I have some good news. I’m finally getting around to putting the finishing touches on the story formally known as Ghosts Don’t Wear Silk Stockings. This story is back new and improved slapped with a shiny new title and cover. I’m calling it Dating and Divining nowadays (but whether or not this sticks is yet to be determined). Release is just around the corner so I’ll have more news soon.

My six puts you right back in the middle of life with our good friend Brianna Halloway. This girl has guy problems of supernatural proportions.


“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said with a smile that revealed perfectly white teeth. There wasn’t a hair on his head that was out of place, as if he’d just stepped out of the pages of a magazine. As a matter of fact, she thought, he bared a striking resemblance to the man on the cover of the romance novel she’d just finished reading. She looked at the cover again and back to the man who still watched her curiously and shook her head to clear such strange thoughts. It couldn’t be.

“It’s okay,” she said trying to find her voice, “I was just leaving.”


I will return soon with details on the release of the book and how you can read more than six sentences at a time. But if you’re really crazy about those six sentence snippets then come back next Sunday for another sneak peek…

Six Sentence Sunday – What Kind of Kidnapper Are You?

The funny thing about November and Nanowrimo is that the days keep passing whether we sit down to write or not. This post finds us already eleven days into the challenge of writing 50,000 words in only 30 days. We’re almost at the halfway point! I’ve never struggled to write that many words in the past so this year I wanted to mix things up a bit and challenge myself to write 72,500 words – or about 2,500 words per day, minus Thanksgiving.

Is it working? Well, not so much. I mean, I’m managing to stay afloat but it’s more taxing than I’d banked on and some days I produce over 4,000 words while other days I spend more time staring at the computer than I actually spend writing. But heck, that’s what Nanowrimo is all about, right?

By the 30th, I’ll have more than 50,000 words. I’ll be a Nanowrimo winner as far as the official challenge is concerned. Will I step up to the plate and answer my own challenge to write 72,500? Well, probably not … but it’s early days yet so we’ll see.

In the meantime, it’s one of our favorite days of the week – Six Sentence Sunday! And without exception, I have returned to share a snippet of my madness. Cassie, our 17 year-old runaway, has found herself mixed up with a potentially dangerous fugitive named Ben that kidnapped her in order to ensure a passage across the country to find the girl that might be able to save him from a bleak fate. Cassie has no reason to trust or to like her kidnapper but she finds herself drawn to him…


She knew she shouldn’t care about him, especially under the circumstances, and she hadn’t known him long enough to think of him as anything other than a monster, but still, she just couldn’t bring herself to believe it. She wanted to know why she sat there with him in this moment because whatever that reason may have been, it felt somehow pre-ordained.

“How will you get your guarantee?” she whispered. He looked at her for a long time and a strange understanding passed between them that she couldn’t put into words.

“I don’t know yet.”

“What kind of kidnapper are you?”


According to spell check, “pre-ordained” is not actually a word. Hmmm… Really? Have I gone that crazy already?

At any rate, whatever sort of kidnapper Ben may be, it’s clear that things will get shaken up a bit for both of them this November, even if I have to make up lots of new words to do it.

Thanks for stopping by and sampling my six. Be sure to hop over to the main Six Sentence Sunday website and check out the other participants as well.

Until we meet again…

Six Sentence Sunday – Teen Angst and Nanowrimo

Happy Six Sentence Sunday and look, it’s day four of Nanowrimo and I’m still pretty much sane and speaking coherently. (Enjoy it now because it won’t last.) Best of all, I’ve managed to scoot over to my blog to share with you a snippet of this crazy work-in-progress in honor of Six Sentence Sunday.

In typical fashion, I approached Nanowrimo with no plan, only my love of writing and my desire to produce at least 50,000 words in a single month. Where I lack in plot, I make up for in enthusiasm (and maybe even a little bit of creativity? Or is that craziness? Who knows.) But I sure have fun with it and that’s the main thing. I always say that the rest of the year is for serious writing and November is just for letting loose and seeing where it takes me. I don’t plan to change that.

Since I seem to toggle between semi-serious stories and downright comical and I did a pretty lighthearted story last year, it was time to change gears and go for serious this year. I had this idea a while ago inspired by an REM song. For some reason, I like the characters and I felt compelled to follow them to wherever they may lead me. I’ve never ventured into young adult territory before but this year I might cross that border and see how it fits. But what it is or where it ends up is all yet to be determined. Still early days yet…

So, let’s keep in mind that Nanowrimo is about plugging away and racking up the word count even if that means sacrificing quality for the time being. I’ve tightly restrained inner editor in the dungeon until December so take this with a grain of salt.

Cassie is a 17 year-old with all the usual teen angst that comes with the age. It’s August and senior year looms ahead with responsibilities and choices in deciding what to do after high school. If that wasn’t daunting enough, things are not going well at home. Mom and Dad are getting a divorce and Cassie is getting caught up in the middle…


By the time evening came, she lingered outside in Mike’s car as long as she could reluctant to go back into the house that had started to feel more like a prison than a safe haven. Mike held her hand and watched her, no doubt trying to read the expression in her eyes.

“We should run away together,” she said at last breaking the silence between them. Mike inhaled sharply but didn’t respond right away. She stopped staring at the drape covered curtains hiding the shadows that moved within the walls and looked back at him.

“It’s going to get better, Cass, I promise.”


Be sure to hop on over to the official Six Sentence Sunday website to check out the other writers. I would venture to guess than more than a few of us are posting our latest and greatest from Nanowrimo this month. Is that a good thing? I sure hope so. 🙂