Monday, August 29, 2011

Writing Prompt #30

Your character is in a kitchen, could be their own, a friend’s, a restaurant’s, etc., you choose, and they think they hear an intruder approaching! They grab. . .what! Rock the characterization with this simple choice.


Here’s mine:

Genie paused, soup spoon half to mouth, ramen dangling precariously, and listened. The drip-plop of a noodle landing back in the bowl obscured only for a second the creak she thought she’d heard, but nothing silenced it a third time.

Ice seared her system and she burst out in goosebumps. Who the hell was in her house? Would he know where she was? Her gaze locked on the doorway to the kitchen. Hide or fight?

Part of her mind tried to reason that she might be able to escape if she ran for the door now, but she was too scared to move toward the sound. She could maybe scramble through the kitchen window, but she couldn’t for anything turn away from the doorway and expose her back to the potential threat.

The creak came closer.

Holy shit.

Soup spewed when she dropped her spoon and pushed away from the table with both hands, shoving herself backward before standing.

Weapon. No knives. Weapon. No knives.

Law & Order: SVU and CSI: Miami had drilled it into her brain. People who didn’t know how to use knives were more likely to get themselves injured than their attacker.

With her gaze bolted on the kitchen entrance, all she could see was the mug of cooking utensils she kept in the corner of the counter. She grabbed the heftiest item in there—the potato masher. Maybe she could bash his head in with its wavy edge. Maybe if she caught him on the top of his skull. Maybe if she bashed him with all the spastic, strangling fear rushing through her limbs so fast they shook.


Against the revolting of her stomach she kept her back plastered against the counter and crept along toward the refrigerator, inching closer to the doorway.

She needed surprise, it was her only hope.

She was near to hyperventilating and three feet short of her goal when she locked up, unable to make herself move any closer to the doorway. She should hold the potato masher in her right hand and cock her arm back, ready to lunge and brain him the sec he came into view. Instead she gripped it in both fists, holding it in front of her like a shield. She couldn’t fight the instinct to curl inward and protect her core.


It is with some relief that I sent off my editing tests to Harlequin this morning. As much as I enjoyed working on (most of) them, it is nice to have such a major project completed and off my desk.

Now…for the wait. They quoted a response time of October. While that wait might kill me, it is at least much better than having no idea if there would be any response initially. As much as working for Harlequin would be lovely, I’m not leaning one way or the other on my hopes for the job, since it would be a second job for me, and I already do quite a bit of work at my first. Let’s see how things shake out, shall we?

Now to get back to my first love: writing!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Empress Game Progress

Was able to steal a little writing time this week in between editing, here's where I'm at on EG:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dry Spell

On a prompting hiatus once again to work on edits. This time it's editing tests for romance giant Harlequin. I'm very excited to be working on 5 category romances and 1 single title. The Harlequin lines represented are:

Love Inspired

I'm also working on a book for their HQN imprint. One of my all-time favorite futuristic romance authors, Susan Grant, (second only to the amazing CJ Barry) is published with HQN, as is guaranteed good read historical author Nicola Cornick. And of course, they've published historical powerhouse Bertrice Small.

I'm three novels in and I've already seen 1 cowboy, 1 sheriff, and 1 cowboy turned detective turned cowboy. Not that I'm complaining...

Here's my fave CJ Barry cover. I swear it's not because the hero bears a striking resemblence to the Farscape character John Crichton.

Okay, maybe there's a slight resemblence...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Broke 100!

Happy news! I broke the 100 page mark on Empress Game last night!

300 pages left to go...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Writing Prompt #29

29) Write a sentence for each of the following made up words:

1) Glamaccord
2) Heartangle
3) Whipfire
4) Intrafall


Here’s Mine:

1) They descended the stairs together, catching the eye of all with their glamaccord. The stylishly mutilated off-one-shoulder grey sweatshirt and high side-ponytail were in full evidence. Too many pairs of legwarmers swaddled calves. They were zombies from their pasts, crawling straight from I Want My MTV to the pages of Us Weekly.

2) She grieved for the acuteness of his heartangle. Had it been right he might have been swayed. Even a small expansion of the minor arc of his emotions would have let doubt in. Almost she wished he could be obtuse. Any fool with arms that wide deserved the serving of advantage taking they got, but it would have spared him the ache his ray sped toward.

3) “I love you.” The words burned like whipfire, searing though his skin to the core of guilt beneath. What good is love, when you don’t want it? (Inspired by kickass lyrics from The Brother Kite)

4) Kayla sprinted for the magchute, her only route to Corinth. The air tearing from her lungs couldn’t slow her frantic effort. The lift pod hung in the intrafall between polarization reversals, its descent a millisecond from switching to a breakneck launch. Fear reached its hand out. Gravity failed her. Her last step flung her into a swimming stroke that ricocheted her off the door before sending her spinning away, fingers grasping air.


Thought for my day, and my ongoing dilema of which novel to work on:

No time spent writing is ever wasted.

A reply to Writing Prompt #26

My dear friend David Medinnus took the time to write a fabulous (and chilling!) response to writing prompt #26, but blogger wouldn't fit it in the comment box. I am posting it here for him so that you can enjoy his unique view of a shattered life.

Thanks so much for the post, David!

Here's his work:

Jon stared at the weapon that lay disassembled on the coffee table. Unassembled, the Steyr GB 80 didn't look particularly menacing; for the most part the pieces appeared to be just the miscellaneous flotsam and jetsam of any engineering shop. When assembled, however, they were so much more than the sum of their parts, and the honored forefather of the entire Glock manufacturing philosophy. Developed during the end of World War II, the Steyr had been mass-produced to replace the aging P38 pistol used by European law enforcement. They had seen decades of service until the mid 1980's, when the Glock line of polymer and polycarbon frames had replaced them. A remnant of the age of dark steel and cold iron, the Steyr was well-past its usefulness.

Like its owner.

Jonathan Stone had an affinity for the tools of the trade of his (some would say) mis-spent youth, and often used their care and maintenance as a form of meditation. The cleaning solutions, lubricants, and cleaning patches almost moved by themselves as Jon recalled what was likely to be his final conversation with Marlene Rogers, who had been his lover until a few hours ago.

The evening's downturn had started with an innocent telephone call. Jonathan had been in the shower; he had been in the catacombs of a data center, running new cable between demarcation and switch. The enclosed space between the raised flooring and the concrete slab was a spiderweb of ethernet, fibre optic, and electrical cabling, all of which could easily become unplugged when transversed by the unwary, and the work being done required meticulous concentration. By the time he'd finished, Jonathan was dirty, sweaty, and exhausted.

When he had finished his shower, he had dressed and returned to the living area. He could almost feel the chill from Marlene.

"There is something wrong?" he asked, a master of the completely obvious to the end.

"You got a call from Grizzly48. He was curious to know how you're holding up," she began, ice water dripping from every word. "He said that you and Freya36 were close, and he was worried."

Jon went still inside, and he felt his emotions recede in the distance, as if he'd loaded them into the back of a moving truck.

"So, how are you holding up... Zero9?" she continued, her voice going from a rigid frigidity to blazing sarcasm in milliseconds.

"I'm fine, Marlene," Jon lied. He listened to his own voice, which had gone flat; even he didn't really believe his answer.

Jon didn't remember in detail what she said next, although he remembered the subtext; he didn't love her, as love can only come with trust. He didn't trust her, or he would have told her about having worked for the state department as part of an "urban counter-terrorism team". That he'd signed the Official Secrets Act was apparently not germaine.

She didn't understand -- and he wouldn't want her to be able to -- that he hadn't been handling out civil citations. When his team went into the field to 'arrest and detain', it was with the knowledge that any mission where they actually arrested and detained anyone had been a failure.

When the state department cried "Havoc!" and released their team, it was understood that there was not enough evidence admissible in a court of law to ever convict. It was understood that judgment had already been passed down, and that the object of the mission represented a "clear and present danger" to their country.

What they didn't tell you was that every time you pulled the trigger of your gun and watched the innards of another human being splatter against the wall, a small sliver of your soul withered. They didn't tell you that the powerful bonds with the rest of your fire team could be shattered into rage and raw grief, and that when those scarred over you were left with an instinct to cringe away from human contact. They didn't tell you that when your knife entered another human's body just under the sternum, avoiding the rib cage on its way to the aorta that you would feel the death as it claimed him, traveling from his body to yours like an oil spill across a body of water.

They didn't tell you that the only people who would understand were the same people in the process of destroying their own souls for God and country - because they couldn't. The members of a fire team had a notoriously high churn rate, and were too valuable to waste in promotion to command.

Jonathan had left while there had still been a modicum of his own soul left intact, knowing full well that if he was not a model of discretion, he could very well find himself under the category of a Clear and Present Danger.

In the two decades that followed, he had learned that the only way around the emotional crippling he'd endured was to re-open the wounds and keep them open while they healed.

He'd learned that the way people looked at you changed if you didn't reflexively flinch at the carnage to which the human flesh is heir, whether by accident or malice.

He'd learned that a lover's gaze inevitably turned to stone if they could ever internalize and understand what you'd done, regardless of the reason. He'd learned that some pain, some anguish you couldn't share with anyone, and that some actions were beyond redemption.

He'd learned that when you gazed into the Abyss and it looked back at you, you never saw its gloating stare at claiming another victim.

He'd learned to swallow grief like 200-proof vodka, and not to share or show anyone else. In trying to help they'd ask questions he couldn't answer, which led inevitably to confrontations about trust issues.

Marlene had slammed the door on her way out - out of the apartment, probably out of his life. Jon had walked to the closet, removed the false wallboard panel hidden my a home-made shoe caddy, and taken his "box of toys" to the living room.

The Glock 26, disassembled, cleaned, and oiled. Four clips loaded with 9mm 110 grain hydrostatic shock rounds.

Each of his three throwing knives, sharpened on a stone, cleaned, and oiled.

A finger tree saw that had never been drawn across wood, oiled and re-coiled.

The Steyr GB 80 was the final instrument taken from his toolbox. It had belonged to Sharp21, who had been his first fire team operations "manager". It was both a tool and reminder, a legacy reeking of blood and cordite.

One day, the tools of his former trade were likely to not be replaced in the box, but rather to end up in a forensics pathology lab. Jonathan would be beyond the pain that meant he still had the capacity to heal.

But not today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writing Prompt #28

28) Merriam Webster defines Character as: one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. Let’s talk the character of characters.

List three strengths and three weaknesses, no matter how big or small, of your character.


Here’s mine:


1) Commitment to an ideal – justice
2) Desire for non-violent solutions despite his physical strength
3) Quick mind

1) Rigid view of the feminine ideal
2) Not opposed to bullying in order to get his way
3) Perhaps too much faith in Isonde and Arden

Struggling to come up with three weaknesses for Malkor, a character I’ve just started working with, made it clear that a) he is a bit too Mary Sue and b) I need to work on making him more 3 dimensional!