Sunday, June 15, 2014


I'm baaaaaack! No, my writing-induced breakdown did not kill me. After about three weeks I worked up enough gumption to take another crack at Dragon's Whisper.

Now, I'm done with revisions (except for inserting one scene) and I'm doing a final read through with micro-editing in mind to make sure everything is just right. This is the point where I'll tweak chapter lengths, scene endings, and such. *gulp* Since this is my first novel, each part of the process is brand new to me. (And scary as heck, in case you hadn't picked up on that.)

It's probably time to start thinking about marketing, and I really should have a Facebook author page. Maybe I'll start that up. (I should be reading through Dragon's Whisper in my Sunday free time. No, I'm not procrastinating. Not at all.)

This ties in perfectly with my point. (Yeah, a point! What a rare and glorious thing. Ooh ... Sharp and shiny ... Right. Back on track.) This read through is pure torture. My brain is getting in the mood for micro-editing, but I don't want to do it until I make sure everything is just right. So I have to torment myself with my own horrible writing and somehow keep myself from editing it.


Talk to you later (if I survive this read through)!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Much Needed Break

So, I'm going to take a break from writing. I have no idea when I'll be back. I know I will be, but it could be anywhere from a week to a year before I come back to writing. Until then, I won't be doing any more writing posts. I'll still be doing reviews, and probably a few more of them, too. Maybe I'll fling in a few random posts. (Anyone want a clip of me playing a banjo? :P )

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Review of The Merchant's Son by C. F. Barrows

Today I'm going to review 'The Merchant's Son' by C. F. Barrows, which is the prequel to 'The Follower'.


I liked this area of Sehret a bit better than inside the mountains, like in 'The Follower'. This is probably just personal preference, though. Like the first book, the world building is wonderful.


Poor Siran. I will always say this. I constantly wanted to hunt the author down for being so mean to Siran. And Tal ... For reasons I will not reveal because of spoilers, I wanted very, very much to hunt the author down. (Still do, actually.)

Just like in the first book, the characters were well-developed and enough to make you squirm with their realism. This time, though, there were fewer, and you got plenty of time to bond with them all.


Nice and smooth, steadily progressing, and never going slack, the plot was well done in this one. I will admit that this feels like a prequel, but not in the way you might think. There's plenty of action and a perfectly good story here; it just feels like there's more for the characters after "the end."


C. F. Barrows has improved in this book. I can't fault it. I loved it. I will recommend it, and I give it 4.5 stars.

This book is an emotional meatgrinder. You start it with your sanity and feelings intact. Once you get to the end, you have a bloody, mangled pile of hamburger.

Go read it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Review of The Follower by C. F. Barrows

(Yes, laziness strikes again. I just snagged the picture off Amazon. :P )

Today I'm going to review C. F. Barrow's book 'The Follower'.


The world of Sehret is amazing. It's complex, realistic, and engaging. It has that "snap" of realism to it. The history is drop-dead amazing; the history is just as real as the current situations.


Another part of this book that has that realism in it. These characters are human enough to make you squirm. C. F. Barrows doesn't honey-coat their characters or human nature. Their characters aren't all cut from the same mold, either. They're each different and well developed.

My only complaint about the characters is that there's just a few too many of them at first. I understand that they can't be introduced much slower, with the inciting incident being what it is, but it took me a little while to get my bearings. (NOTE: The second time through this book was much, much more enjoyable, since I had already gotten the characters straight.)


The plot is strong. Things are a bit choppy at first, but once again, once you get your bearings, it flows nicely. The tension builds up well and never drops. The climax doesn't disappoint. (Although I very nearly came after the author when you-know-who nearly died.)


Overall, I love this. I couldn't wait to come back to Sehret in the second book ('The Merchant's Son', the prequel, which I will review tomorrow.) I'll give this book four stars, and it's definitely something I'll recommend.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Writers' Claustrophobia

So, I've finished my second draft, done my read through, and now I'm starting on revisions. I've also started feeling claustrophobic about the whole thing. I've started stressing about editing, revising, characters, chapter lengths, cover art, Create Space, beta readers, critiques, dialog, epilogues, writing style, punctuation, typos ... You name it, I've obsessed and stressed myself out of wits about it.

Now that I've diagnosed myself with Writers' Claustrophobia, I have no idea what to do with myself. My self-imposed deadline is seven months away still, but that's far too close for comfort.

Stay tuned as I battle my way through this and the editing process.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Character Quote

I'll have a better post tomorrow (hopefully), but for now, here's a quote I stumbled across in Dragon's Whisper today.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Review of Jeweler's Apprentice by E. Kaiser

(Yes, I know I'm sloppy. I just snagged the picture of the cover off Amazon. I'm horrible at this, and don't know how to do it right. It works, kinda sorta. :P )

So, I promised E. Kaiser a review a while back, and I know I'm late on it, but here it is. I just finished this, so I'm writing the review while I'm fresh.

This has a nice, complex (but not too confusing), storyworld. It took me a little while to get a grip on the political situation, but that's probably because I tend to commit the sin of skimming. (I know; it's horrible. Shoot me if you must.) The lack of magic is refreshing, and this story doesn't need it to raise the stakes or add tension.

I like Fia. She's a good character. I like how she's not one of those typical "kick butt" heroines that seem so popular right now. She's had propriety drilled into her head, but she still struggles with it and her slightly more reckless side peeks out on occasion (and gets her into the trouble that makes up the
inciting incident). I would have liked the POV a bit deeper; to have been able to see underneath the manners a bit more. Her character's there, it's just not tapped into completely.

Ilido is awesome. I really like him, and I like his secret. That's a wonderful plot twist that I didn't see coming. I think he might be my newest character crush. He's just so cool. (Honestly, I'd kind of like to see if Fia and Ilido work out as a couple. I know they don't really know each other well enough for that yet, but I can dream, can't I?)

I really like everyone at the Olayin house. I love how intricate their past is; they aren't made up on the spot. Each character has scars, grudges, and stories.

The plot is solid, and has a few good twists in there. The end surprised me; as in, it came sooner than I expected. Or maybe I just got sucked in. Or both. ;)

Writing Style
Awesome writing style, and something I envy. It might have just been me getting used to it, but the style seemed to get much less flowery after the first few chapters. Flowery is great, but it doesn't lend itself to quick reading in big pieces. I tend to have to stop and digest after a ridiculously small amount.

Loved it. Can't wait to get a chance to read the second one. I hope we get to know Fia a bit better. Overall, I give this ... 4.5 stars, because I'm indecisive that way. :P Read it if you love a good, clean, magic-free fantasy.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Frozen VS Tangled

As I promised, I'm writing a post comparing Frozen and Tangled.

So, a few days ago, we bought Frozen and watched it. Unfortunately, we are not part of the obsessed Frozen fandom. My dad mentioned that he liked Tangled better. I have to agree, I liked Tangled better, too. That got me to thinking about the similarities and differences, and why Tangled went over better with us than Frozen. I thought about it, and came up with a few reasons.

NOTE: I have nothing against people who really love Frozen. That's great. It's an enjoyable movie. This is just my opinion on why I think Tangled worked better.

A SECOND NOTE: Don't read this if you haven't watched both Tangled and Frozen. I can't avoid spoilers.


Frozen: Let's see. We've got Anna and Elsa to keep track of, then Kristof, Hans, and of course Sven and Olaf. It's a bigger cast, and you can't spend as much time bonding with each character and getting to know them.

Tangled: The cast is kept really slim. The focus is nearly all on Rapunzel and Flynn. You get plenty of time to get to know these two characters and root for them.


Frozen: This had epic consequences. An entire kingdom was at stake. If Anna didn't catch up to Elsa and get her to bring back summer, all of Arendelle would suffer.

Tangled: This had a much smaller scope. It's more personal. If Flynn and Rapunzel failed, the only ones that would really suffer would be themselves. Rapunzel would go back to her tower forever, and Flynn would die. Mother Gothel would win, and no one else would get dragged into things.


Frozen: The action never stops. After the setup and Elsa freezes everything, the characters move and move and move until the very end. Only then do they stop for about two minutes. With so many characters and so much action, it's even harder to bond to the characters and get to know them.
Heck, the characters themselves don't even get a chance to think about what's happening to them. The relationships between the characters advance, but it's more along the lines of, "You saved my life, you're pretty cool," instead of, "I've spent time with you, your interests are similar to mine, and I think I might like you."

Tangled: The action comes in steady beats. Something happens to the characters, then the action falls away and they get a chance to think about it and advance their relationship. They slowly get to know each other and grow to like each other. There are systematic breaks in the action throughought the story. (Right after they nearly drown and Rapunzel heals Flynn's hand; once they get to the kingdom and they have fun there; Flynn get captured and put in jail while Rapunzel is locked back in her tower to think about her failure)


Frozen: Seriously, I think Frozen wound up too quickly. The climax was AMAZING, but it wound up too fast. It wasn't quite believable. Elsa just said "love," the snow melted, and everything was fine and dandy.
I think it should have ended a bit differently. It shouldn't have been so easy for Elsa to reverse what so much fear had done. She so suddenly had complete confidence in herself and understood love, so she could melt her own fear-made ice?
There should have been a scene of Else trying to melt the ice, but the fear of not being able to do it keeping her from doing it. A vicious cycle. Then Anna helps her, and then it can wrap up.
And for characters being able to prove their love, the thing with Anna and Elsa was great, but Kristof got shoved to the side. And Hans ... *growl* That gets its own blog post someday.

Tangled: This ending was well paced. It was a believable as a fairy tale can be, and had a nice wind down.
Rapunzel and Flynn both got to prove their love; Flynn by dying trying to save Rapunzel, and Rapunzel by promising to stay with Mother Gothel if she lets Rapunzel heal Flynn.

So, there you are. A quick description of why I think Tangled is better than Frozen. What are you thoughts? Am I ten miles off, or somewhere near being right?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Plot Bunny

A plot bunny emerged while I was doing my math. I grabbed my notebook and scratched this down:

Six years ago today I made a deal with the devil. Today, for the first time in those six years, I regret my choice. Who knew regret could be so bitter?
I did, of course. Back when I was a stupid fourteen-year-old. Fourteen-year-olds shouldn't be allowed to make life-changing decisions.
But the devil doesn't follow rules either way.

I think I'm high on my new plot bunny.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Proper Excuse and a Victory!

Yes, I've been gone too long. Again. But this time I have a real, justifiable excuse.

I finished the rewrite of Dragon's Whisper.

Yup. Excuse me while I dance around the room.

Ahem. Anyways. Yeah. I finished it a few days ago, in a huge flurry of six thousand words. And now I'm forcing myself to take two weeks away from my baby before I start the revision process.


Oh, no. I didn't just turn into Gollum over a novel. Nope. Not me. I'm completely mature. I didn't dance around the room or babble to myself for an hour, either. Not this mature writer.

Oops. Just ... Ignore my nose, all right?

Anywhoot. Now I'm working on designing the cover for Dragon's Whisper. And since I need something to do during the week or so left of my self-imposed break, I'm going to jump on the Frozen bandwagon and write a post comparing Frozen and Tangled.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Adventures of the First Novel

Since Dragon's Whisper is my first full-length novel and the first story that I've really taken seriously, I'm figuring everything out as I go.

If you don't want to get burned out ten-thousand words in, don't edit as you go. You'll crash and burn.

Plotting didn't work.

And probably a few other lessons I can't think of in my tired, buzzy-from-writing state.

But since this is my first time through, I'm discovering each part of the process of writing a novel and realizing how it differs from the last. Once the first draft was done and I started on the second, a whole bunch more lessons have jumped out at me; some can even be applied to real life.

There's nearly always more to people than you can see at first.

Nothing is plain black-and-white. It isn't that simple.

Plotting is useless. Completely and totally useless. The characters ruin any semblance of a plot you have if you try.

Let the characters go where they will. Trying to press them into an outdated plot doesn't work. If their personalities develop too much, your plot's going to have to develop with them.

Keep lots of chocolate nearby. And a box of tissues.

Lots of chocolate.


Fifty thousand words. My novel hit fifty thousand words. It is now an officially recognized novel. I am no longer calling it a novel in faith -- it's real now. And since I'm burned out from writing a ton to hit fifty thousand, and I can think of nothing else to blog today, this is it. Have fun today, everyone.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Romance? Gack!

I am no romance author. This is obvious. Out of all the books on my shelf (and being a writer, I have a ton of books) not a single one is a romance. I've never dated or been in a romantic relationship. I have NO STINKING CLUES about romance.

And of course that means my characters decided to fall in love.

Not only is this not part of the plot, it's not part of my experience. I have no idea how to handle this. Blasted characters.

But it does make me think. It must mean I have well-developed characters, if they fall in love against my will and the plot.

Who knows? Maybe this will be a good exercise for me. Since I don't have an outline or written out plot or any idea on how to handle this new romance. So I'm going to have to just follow my characters.

Of course, following one's characters tends to end up in unexpected complications and plot twists.

But is that really a bad thing?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dragon's Whisper's Playlist

Funny how you can find music to fit your story (and how music influences your story). Today, I've decided to share Dragon's Whisper's current playlist. These songs sum up Dragon's Whisper. (And, as you'll see, I've put notes in there. Those might not make much sense, but oh, well. *shrug*)


Hero - Skillet

Falling Inside the Black - Skillet (Valerick)

The Fatal Wound - Switchfoot (Valerick and Rael)

You Decide - Fireflight (General message of the book.)

Strong Enough To Save - Tenth Avenue North (General message and feel.)

Nothing Is Wasted - Jason Gray (Rael and Vincen. (As seperate characters, not a couple.))

Alone Yet Not Alone - Joni Eareckson Tada (Rael.)

When God Ran - Philips Craig and Dean (General feel.)

What Scars Are For - Jonny Diaz (Vincen needs to hear this one.)

Held - Natalie Grant (PERFECT.)

Not Alone - Red

The Last Night - Skillet (Vincen to Rael.)

Never Surrender - Skillet (Rael and Vincen. As a couple. Or at least close friends.)

Sometimes - Skillet (THAT scene.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Today someone on the Go Teen Writers Facebook group asked what we thought death would look like if it was an entity. I tried to give a nice, neat answer like everyone else. Instead, this came out. Enjoy a bit of morbidness to enhance your day.

In a room full of people, he immediately commanded my attention. He was a full head taller than anyone else, yet no one gave him even a glance. Almost as if they couldn't see him. He scanned the room, looking for someone.

Try as I might, I couldn't age him. At first glance, he seemed possibly early twenties. At second glance, his features seemed even younger than that; at odds with his height. A moment later, he seemed as old as life itself. The longer I looked, the more confused I became.

His eyes fell on me. Dark eyes, nearly completely obscured by black hair. Cold, piercing eyes. He looked me over, appraising me. A satisfied smile played on his lips.

I froze as he looked at me, unable to move.

He slipped through the crowd like a wraith. No one noticed him as he slid between them, touching none. He moved with steady footing, yet his feet barely seemed to touch the ground. The same cold effiency that was in his eyes inhabited his stride.

As he neared me, I wished I could run. But he held me with the focused gaze of a lion stalking prey. I couldn't move if I tried.

He approached me. I hoped it was just my imagination, but I swore I felt a chill.

"Who are you?"

He bent down, getting much too close for comfort.

"I have something to show you." His voice came cold and breathy in my ear.

Panic told me to run. To break free of this strange man's spell and run.

"Who are you?" Why was that the only idiot question I could ask?

With the speed of a striking viper he grabbed my hand. His fingers were cold; they belonged on a man lying in a casket, not this boy standing in front of me.

My hand tingled, my fingers grew numb. I tried to jerk away, but my strength evaporated. I could only stand there and shake. The numb cold spread up my arm, indicated by deathly white skin in its path.

The man bent close again, whispering to me one last time. "The name's Death, darling."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Characters and People

It's horribly frustrating when your characters become so human that you find out you didn't know them as well as you thought. But it makes you think, too. All my first impressions of these characters are turning out to be wrong. And, uncomfortably, it's the same kinds of misconceptions that I tend to make in real life. There's a whole lot more to people than we can see on the surface. And if this is the only thing I get out all this work on my writing, I'll be satisfied.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Character-induced Plot Twists

Well, Rael did what she wasn't supposed to and found out what she wasn't supposed to.

Then she tried to kill herself.

Yeah. Blasted character. Now I'm having to cobble extra time into the timeline, to get her recovered before the plot can continue normally.

Well, I guess it adds length. Still. Blasted character can't stick to the script.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Short Story

Since I once again don't know what to post, I'll share a short story I wrote. A prompt nudged me in the right direction, then my muse just chucked the rest of it at me and I wrote it out in a half-hour.

Laughter echoed through the halls of the house a second ago. Now, with my youth pastor looking straight at me, the room seems to have gone silent.

"I'm fine."

He watches me with concern. "Are you sure?"

I nod and force my lips to turn upward and a hopefully realistic spark of happiness to come into my eyes.

He relaxes. My ruse must have worked. I turn away, then slip down the hallway.

The laughter intensifies. I roll my eyes at the silliness of it.

Since when was it considered a good idea to bring the youth group to an empty house on the beach for an outing? Fun, of course. Fun places aren't my thing.

The door to a back bedroom creaks as I open it. A gentle breeze stirs in the room and my nostrils fill with the smell I can only call "old house," mixed with salt. Waves crash just outside the window.

A sigh of relief seeps out of my lungs. No matter what everyone says about youth group, I don't enjoy it. The ache at the back of my mind suddenly turns into a sharp stab.

I'm alone.

Waves break against the rocks, creating a sound that should calm me, but instead grates across my brain. The room smells like loneliness. Loneliness smells like hell.

I chose it myself, though, didn't I? I came here to get away from a different type of hell. The torture of empty laughter. The false feeling of friendship I so easily settle into.

All I hear is my own ragged breathing and the taunting crash of waves. Will it always be this way?

Hell is forever.

Every "Christian" bone in my body screams my error to me. Heaven exists. Christians go there. But it all seems so shallow. Yeah, great. Heaven's fine to believe in. But all I've ever seen is Hell. It's all I can believe in.

A sudden urge grabs hold of me. I cross the room and test the window. It sticks and squeaks, but opens with enough pressure. A slinter jabs into my palm as I climb through.

Outside, the ocean is even louder. The wind is stronger, too, beating against me and blowing my hair into my face. I swipe it out of my eyes and move toward the water. I scramble out onto some rocks reaching out into the edges of the water.

The wind rushes around me and whips the water into white-capped waves. My loneliness still stabs at me. No matter how many walls I put up to keep myself from being hurt, I can't keep out something that lives inside of me.

"God, where are you?"

The wind sweeps my voice away before I can hear it. Something about opening my mouth unleashes something.

"All the promises in the world don't make up for anything! I'm still lonely after you yank every friend I have away with divine acts. Stop calling everyone I care about to something else, all right? But why would you do that? You don't care. I don't care what everyone says in church. All I can see are acts of cruelty in your name. Why do you promise christians heaven, yet force me into a living hell? If hell is lack of your presence, then I think I've gotten there."

I gasp for breath, but I'm not done.

"Everyone says you have great plans. Some plans. I don't care how great they are. I can't live like this. What did I do wrong? What did I do to earn this? Why do you play games with me? I feel like a cat chasing a laser. The friendship I'll never get."

I have to breathe again, but the words keep coming. Years of pain and frustration. I couldn't stop them if I tried.

"I've been a good girl and gone to church. I know what the Bible says. That Jesus went through everything we possibly could. But you haven't! How could you have? You are God! You understand everything you do! You never had to deal with unexplainable "acts of God." You knew why. But I don't! And I'm starting to doubt that there's actually a reason."

I sink to my knees. I can't take this. I can't spend sixty-some years in this screwed-up world trying to blindly follow a God that only shows himself by playing sick jokes.

I rise.

"I'm done. You've proven your point. If you're gonna show yourself, this is your last chance!" I shout to the empty wind. My muscles tense as I prepare myself.

"Could you trust me?"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vincen's Answers

Like I promised, I'm forcing Vincen to answer your questions.

1. What are you scared of?

Vincen: *clears throat, glances at me* Must I answer?

Yes, you must. You aren't getting out of any of these. And if you try to lie, I'll know it. So be good.

Vincen: *sighs* ... Dragons ... Being unwanted ...

A bit more than that, Vincen.

Vincen: Well ... Considering I was enslaved for five years by a dragon's charmed amulet, I have reason to fear them. And ... I've always feared that my father left because he was tired of me.

2. If that picture an accurate representation of what you look like, do a lot of girls flirt with you?

Vincen: *shifts uncomfortably* I do not think the picture is completely accurate. And no, most girls stay away from me. Being enslaved turned me into a insensitive idiot. And now ... My author says that the best term to describe me is "geek." So no.

3. Do you think of your adoptive family or your birth parents as your family?

Vincen: My birth parents, of course. My adopted parents have me call them "mother" and "father" as if it's completely natural. But they aren't and never will be.

4. Do you really want to be scholar, or are you being pressured into it? What else would you want to do?

Vincen: I do want to be a scholar ... Somewhat. My father wished for me to be a scholar, since both him and my mother were warriors. He wanted me to do something more lasting and less dangerous. My adopted family will not let me do anything else. It was his wish for me to be a scholar, so they hold me to that.

5. Why don't you want to be a scholar? What about healing entices you?

Vincen: It is not so much that I don't want to be a scholar, but that I want to be a healer more. *looks at me* Do I have to answer the rest of the question?

Yes. You do. Or I could always change the plot of the story so the dragon makes you kill someone then commit suicide.

Vincen: *sighs* Fine. My mother died because of an infection that got out of hand. It could have been easily prevented, had she known. I want to be a healer to prevent that from happening to others.

So, there we are! Thank you cooperating (somewhat), Vincen!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

You Ask the Character -- Vincen

Since I'm completely out of ideas, I've decided to do something else today. Another character interview ... Except you guys get to ask the questions! Today I'll fling Vincen from Dragon's Whisper up for interview. Ask him whatever questions you want, and I'll force him to anwser.

A brief character profile:

A fifteen year old orphan, Vincen lives with a (large) adopted family in the main settlement in Farra: the Village. His mother died from infection when he was young, and his father went on an exploring expedition when he was eleven and didn't come back. He's currently training for the rank of scholar because it was his father's wish for him and his adopted family holds him to it. He secretly gets training from a healer in his spare time.

Fire away at him, and I'll force him to answer in my next post. ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some Random Snippets

I'm trying to blog regularly. To keep this up, I'm doing some random stuff today. First, a snippet of Dragon's Whisper, put up on a pretty picture using my new favorite method of procrastination, Picmonkey.

So there's that. My poor MC. I shall avoid saying any more, because my beta readers will slaughter me if they see this. My beta readers hate me. ;)

And for something else ... Um ... How about a snippet of a scene I rewrote today? That work for everyone? Okay? Okay.

She was snapped back to reality by a crashing in the forest. She brought her dagger up, even though it wouldn't be much help if a dragon took a fancy to her.

The dragon burst through the treeline, roaring and thrashing its almost bird-shaped head about. Its black scales, hinted with blue, glinted in the light. Rael's attention was drawn to its wicked black claws, so similar to the one her dagger was made from.

A chill ran through her. She looked up from the dragon's claws – and straight into its eyes. The beast looked directly at her, its eyes an icy shade of blue, filled with intelligence and malevolence. The chill Rael had felt intensified as the creature held her in its glare.

The thing's concentration on Rael was shattered by a battle cry. The gathered warriors attacked the dragon, swords and battle-axes mere blurs as they swung toward the creature.

The dragon reacted with amazing speed. It dodged blows as quickly as the warriors delivered them. It darted away from ax blows and wove between swords, using its spiked wings and tail as well as its claws and teeth to deflect and strike.

A fighter darted close the dragon. Rael held her breath, waiting for the beast to die like it should.

It didn't. It reared onto its hind legs, flapping its wings out behind it and using its tail to steady itself. Its claws flashed as they came down.

The man let out a pain-filled scream that made Rael's stomach turn. He crumpled.

Rael swore she saw cruel pleasure flicker in the monster's freezing blue eyes as it returned to striking blows.

The dragon came back down onto all fours, lashing its tail and knocking a few warriors away. With a sickening crunch, a battle-ax connected with the dragon's wing. Black blood mixed with the red on its scales.

The dragon staggered sideways and roared, its speed and rhythm interrupted. It swung its tail in an attempt to make up for its blunder and now-useless wing.

A warrior that had taken advantage of the dragon's wound to get close fell backward, his sword knocked from his hand. He scrambled backward, defenseless without a weapon. He somehow managed to reach the edge of the action without injury.

Before she could think her actions through, she had tossed her dagger in an easy underhand toward him. It landed a few feet away from him and skittered to his feet. He snatched it up and cast her a grateful glance.

The dragon roared again, beating with its tail and remaining functional wing. The fighter let out a battle cry and darted back into the fray.

She watched the fight more closely now, somehow she was invested in it.

The dragon roared again, its voice laced with pain and rage. The warriors scattered. Try as she might, Rael could find no reason for the sudden change.

The dragon lunged, but the fighters easily moved away from it. Its jaws snapped open, and it spat a mouthful of blue fire at them.

Cold fire?

The blueish – silver fire spattered against the wall and slid harmlessly off the stone.

The dragon roared again, its voice weaker this time. It swayed on its feet. Only then did Rael notice the black blood pouring freely from the creature's neck. She thought she caught a glint of metal, but the dragon shifted before she could tell.

The warriors held back, waiting. The dragon continued to snarl and lunge for them, but each movement was weaker and slower than the last. Eventually it could barely maintain its footing.

It let out a final angry roar as its legs gave out and its thrashing ended.
So, this has been my attempt at regularity. Tune in next time (hopefully tomorrow. ;) )

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Trap of Comparison

The trap of comparison is something I fall into quite often. Just when I get feeling good about my writing -- whether that be the plot, style, characters, storyworld -- I stumble upon an author I think is more succesful than I am. "Succesful" can mean any number of things. Simply having a self-published novel or two out by mid-teens qualifies. Having cool catch phrases, a good author page, decent quality illustrations ... Anything. Since I don't think very highly of my own work to begin with, it's astoundingly easy to find someone to envy.

Once I start comparing my accomplishments to others, I get myself stuck in a cycle. Searching through my work and cringing at it, trying desperately to find something comparable in there. I never do. I start thinking that my work is crud because I don't have a catchphrase or good character quotes to pull out of it. So I try to make something similar.

I fail, because I can't properly re-create someone else's stuff for my own story and expect it to work. I get really frustrated with myself for not being able to make what I consider to be something synonymous with success. This drives my muse into hiding and feeds the vicious cycle.

So I sit there feeling sorry for myself and hating myself for not being creative.

Right now, all I know to stop this is that it helps to force myself to not do anything creative at all and wait. When I figure out a real solution, I'll let you guys know. ;)

And since I read somewhere that it's good to regularly include pictures in blog posts ... Here.

Some fan art of Brian McBride's character Alicia from Paradox. I know I've already said I liked that book, but I can say it again in the form of fan art. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Quotes

I'm trying to blog routinely. I might not get it for a while and my posts might be painfully short, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Anywhoot. Today, I worked up a few character quotes. This first one is from my current WIP that I hope to have published by the end of the year, Dragon's Whisper.

Jethro is my awesome angel charrie. One of them, at least.
 And this one. I'm not completely thrilled with this one for one reason. This is from Dragon's Whisper's sequel. The book I have kept myself from starting because I want to get the first one completely done before I start the sequel. (Not to mention I have a prequel begging for attention.) This sequel even has a title already. It's screaming to be written.

Book Review of Gilded by Christina Farley

Today I'm going to review Gilded by Chistina Farley. You can get it here:

I jumped right into this book, and loved it at first. The characters are strong, and Jae's character arc is strong and believable.

I must admit, when I hit the gods and demi-gods, I nearly threw the book out the window. Especially when Haemonu turned on the charm and Jae wanted to go with him. When I got to that point, I thought the book was going to turn into a useless erotic romance between Jae and a demi-god.

It didn't. It was handled beautifully. I usually don't enjoy the gods and demi-gods, thing, but I managed to enjoy this.

And ... Maybe it's just because I'm a Christian, but I was able to find some allegorical elements in it. And I loved the end, that I will not detail because of spoilers.

So. Final thought. If you like adventure books, and don't mind magic and mysticism, then try this book. It's awesome.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dragon's Whisper Snippet

So I can post more often, I've decided to start posting story snippets and flash fiction. Here's a scene that will probably get my beta-readers hunting me down with pitchforks.

Sonra stood at the end of the street. She held perfectly still, searching through the chaos. The stench of fear assaulted her as she looked. So many lost souls.

But they were not her mission. With sharp eyes she continued to scan the streets. She caught a glimpse of her target, but he disappeared behind the flick of a dragon tail.

She moved down the street, passing through both man and dragon. When she reached them, the dragon stood over the man, blood fouling its claws.

Sonra willed her physical form to appear. “Get away, Ralistye.”

The dragon flinched and snarled. “You cannot tell me who I can take. We have been given free rein. And I have previous ties with this one.”

“That does not matter. Get away.”

Ralistye withdrew from the man and flapped off, screeching as he went. Sonra knelt next to the man. A sliver of information was allowed into her mind. His name was Tyrim. He had indeed had interaction with Ralistye, but that was in the past.

Fatal violence flickered around him. He wouldn't last much longer. She reached toward him, silently requesting healing.

Her arm jerked back. He was not to be healed.

Her attention was drawn to the shell of a young girl in Tyrim's arms. Already gone. Sonra longed to touch her and heal her, but her arm was deadweight.

The girl was not to be healed, either. Nor was the mother who lay near.

Her attention was drawn back to Tyrim. He still had a few minutes left. A few short minutes.

Her fingers tingled as she knew what she would be allowed to do. She focused on Tyrim and his departed family and blinked. When she opened her eyes, they were in a quiet part of the forest.

She settled onto the ground next to Tyrim. The pain, confusion, and guilt in his eyes made her wince. “Have peace and feel no pain.”

The pain instantly faded from his eyes, but the confusion and guilt remained. They struggled within his eyes for a moment before guilt won over.

His gaze fell on the empty body of the young girl in his arms. He pulled her close to him and tears wet his cheeks as he murmured to her. The regret flowing so freely from him gave Sonra pause; she had to take a moment and push it away.

“You have no reason for regret. Have peace.”

He didn't notice. “I'm so sorry … If I could only tell you … If I had only tried harder …”

Her purpose here grew clearer. This she could do. “This is not your fault –”

Another flash of information.

“ … Nor is it punishment. You asked for forgiveness, and it was granted.”

Tyrim calmed slightly, and a hint of fear mixed with his grief. Though it slipped underneath a moment later, it was still there. He trembled with conflict and weariness.

A sudden revelation hit him, and panic joined the emotions assailing him. “My daughter …”

An impression was given to Sonra. He had another daughter. And for the moment, she was well. She was protected. “Your daughter is well. She is alive. She is being protected.”

He relaxed and slumped to the ground, the panic eased.

Sonra could feel his strength fading, could see his lifeblood seeping out of him onto the ground. She kept her eyes on him and prayed. Prayed for peace. For a gentle passing. For his family to be waiting for him.

Sonra reached out and softly touched his shoulder, praying to be allowed the ability to ease his passing.

The slightest shimmer of peace came from him as his breathing slowed, then stopped. Even in physical form, Sonra saw the air shimmer above the discarded body. She focused, listening.

A laugh. A true one. Full of joy and a peace that couldn't be grasped in the fallen realm.

Not just the laugh of man, but of a woman, a little girl, and a young man.

Sonra breathed deeply and smiled. It was well.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review - Brain McBride's Paradox

Allrighty. I KNOW I haven't posted much. As usual. I wish I could promise to do better, but I can't. I have enough trouble writing regularly as it is.

BUT. Anyways. Today I have a quick book review of Brian McBride's Paradox, book one of the Starcrafters' Saga. You can get it here:

I'm not completely sure how to do this, but I'll give it a shot.

Overall, I love this. The world was wonderful, the kind that gets a hook in your brain and won't let go until you're done. The combination of more modern and medieval technology is unique.  I ripped through the book in one day, and re-read it sooner than I usually do.

The characters could have possibly been fleshed out a bit more at first. For a while at the beginning, David and Jake seemed to kind of smoosh together into what felt like a single character. As the story went along, though, they seperated and turned into good, realistic characters. I especially liked Hannah.

There was one plot twist that I felt the characters didn't react strongly enough to, and that made it feel ubrupt. I felt a bit jilted by it. The characters actually grieved less than I did.

A similar thing happened with the general writing style. It was choppy and lacking in the details department at first, but once I reached the end, it was leaving me breathless. The writing at the end was amazing.

Overall, this was wonderful. I loved it, and I can't wait for the second one. I'll give this book four stars.

(Edited to add: I cannot believe I forgot to mention this. *sheepish grin* The violence. There are endless opportunities for the violence to get graphic and gory. And it seems inevitable with so many ghouls, gremlins, dragons, vampires, werewolves and demons and big battle scenes. But Brian does an amazing job of keeping it from getting too detailed. Something very noteworthy, considering how easily he could have tossed in as much gore as he wanted.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cover Playing

I haven't been around much. Sorry. My posts will probably be rather brief for a while. Since I'm hoping to get Dragon's Whisper self-published within the year, I need most of my free writing time for that. Besides, when you put that much effort into one project, it's hard to feel inspired for anything else. But to make up for it, I'll post a few mock covers for Dragon's Whisper.

(And as you can probably tell, I haven't decided if I'm going to use a pen name or not.)
Well. Back to Dragon's Whisper!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Return of the Inner Evil Author

Inner Evil Author has been fairly well-behaved for the last few weeks with Dragon's Whisper. But wowee, I should have known better than to think that would last. My beta-readers are going to kill me. It's a very good thing I have my writing cave of feels to hide in.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Crazy Idea

I have had a crazy idea. It won't leave me alone. This might be called a plot bunny. Or it might just be considered insanity.

What if I wrote a short prequel for my current WIP? Just the thought ... *shudder* It is frightening. But it makes sense. I've read a bunch of articles lately about what a good idea short, free stories are. It would make sense for my situation. Prime the pump for when I self-publish my novel.

I think I shall go hide under my bed and try to ward off the plot bunnies now. HELP.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Self-Confidence ... Again

I still haven't gotten the hang of this "standing on your own work." (Thank my mother for that quote.) A quick glance at a list of fantasy cliches sent my recently recovered self-esteem down the drain. Oops. But something I'm wondering - Does any author ever learn how to "stand on their own work" and stop caring if it's "officially" cliched, or if they get a bad review? Even the New York Times bestsellers.
Writers are perfectionist--people-pleasers.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


I NEED to get better about posting more often. Maybe I'll get this someday.

But for a topic for today. This time, I actually have a somewhat good one. I've been working on my Y/A Christian fantasy novel, and a few critique partners had suggested I change a certain event. I took their advice and edited a major event out of the first few chapters. It took away some major character development, too.

Then I sat back and looked at the chopped version. And I discovered something.

I hated it. I had just neutered my story. I took someone else's advice for it, and it was no longer mine. Something was gone out of it. Some of its heart. The spirit of the thing.  So I restored it to its original condition and breathed a sigh of relief.

Now, this doesn't mean that taking all advice is bad. It's a good thing. You need outside opinion. Dragon's Whisper would be a hunk of junk without all the beta readers and critique partners.
But taking a bit of advice and using it for your purposes is different than taloring your story to fit everyone's opinion.

Not only will you kill yourself trying to please everyone (It's impossible!), you will no longer have YOUR story. It'll be everyone else's story. It won't be yours.

Your should be writing for YOU. Not for the market, or to make everyone else happy. It's great if that happens, and if you enjoy yourself and write a great book, it usually does. But it shouldn't be your goal.

So, this blog post was slightly longer! (And I'll hopefully get better at posting regularly.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Character Conversation

In honor of Dragon's Whisper hitting two milestones this week (the novella mark and the halfway mark), I'm going to do an conversation/interview with my female protoganist, Rael.

Welcome, Rael. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Rael: You already know my name. Isn't that enough?

Not quite, Rael.

Rael: I am a wanted criminal, and that is why you can't know any more. It could be used against me, later.

I promise that the authorities won't hear a word of this conversation, Rael. Give us something more.

Rael: *eyes me suspiciously* I'm not sure I trust you. What do you want to know, anyway?

I should have chosen a different character. Tell us where you live, and why you're a criminal, to start with.

Rael: I live in the forest. I lead my group of Believers. Satisfied?

Not quite. What do you believe?

Rael: We follow Joshua, the Maker's son. The dragons that took the Village didn't approve. So we're outlaws now. Happy?

I guess. I'm not going to get much more out of you, am I? So go on. *shoos Rael away*

That was a bit of a disaster. Maybe I should have chosen a different character. Oh well, we'll try this again some other time, with a friendlier character.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back Again ...

Whew! I went away for a rather long time, didn't I? (Man, I don't think I'll ever get the hang of blogging regularly.) I promise I'll get a piece of flash fiction of something put up pretty quick to make up for the long silence.
So. An update is in order, I guess. The second draft of my Y/A novella, Dragon's Whisper, has hit 13K words. I've calulated that, so far, the second draft is unfolding as at half the speed of the first draft. (It took 13K to reach a point that took 5K to reach in the first draft.)
Hmm. What else to mention?
(Julie: You could always mention us, you know.)
I guess I could. BUT NOT TODAY. Go away.
(Julie: *crosses arms* Not a chance.)
Gah. Characters.