Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Evolution of a Cover

Yesterday my new cover for Water, Book Three in the Elemental Series went live on tour for everyone to ooh and aw over with me! But I thought you would all like to see the before and after pictures so you can see just how damn amazing Stephanie Mooney is!

So this is my new cover:

Awesome, right? Just pretty enough while still being a bit creepy, right?

Well this is what it started as:

I know, right?! I have no idea how Stephanie made my cover from that!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What I’m Working On – March 2012 Edition

I go back and forth on what I want to work on once I finish a project because I have so many ideas gamboling around in my head and I want to get them all done right away!

On Friday I finished the hard edits of Fire, book four in the Elemental Series, so I need to transcribe those edits onto the computer, giving me my second draft. But I also want to start a new project. I’ve been working on the Elemental Series for the last four years so I definitely want to take a break from that world for a little while. But at the same time, there is a loud, panicked voice in my head screaming that I need to write the fifth book right now. Because if I don’t write it right now it will never, ever get done!

The new project I want to work on is an adult Urban Fantasy story with a strong Paranormal Romance plotline about a witch named Mattie. I’ve written a few flash fiction pieces about Mattie and she is just so, so much fun! She’s got a bit of an attitude problem and a smushed-faced cat named Artemis. In Mattie’s world all the supernatural and preternatural creatures live out in the open with the rest of the mundane humans of the world. I think it will be a lot of fun to write in a world where the magical creatures don’t have to hide their abilities and true selves.

And of course I have the projects for my pen name that I feel like I need to get done right away. And those are always much shorter than the novels I write under my real name so that screaming voice in my head tries to convince me that I should tackle these first because they won’t take long! But if I put off my longer projects then it’ll just be that much longer before I finish them! Do you see the vicious mental cycle I go through!

I’ve never written two projects at once; I can be in the editing stages for one and writing another, but I’ve never tried to write more than one at a time. Maybe it’s time to try that?

As for Mattie’s story I did sit down this morning and start the outline, I think it’s probably only for the first quarter of the book, if I’m lucky it’s the first quarter, but we’ll see once I start writing. I have never outlined before; as a rule I’m a pantser, which means I just sit down and write by the seat of my pants. When I tried to write my first book I outlined the whole thing from start to finish and then just couldn’t write the damn thing. It took me a long time to realize it was because I felt like, having such an detailed outline, that I already told the story and had no motivation to tell it again. But I’ve been having such a hard time thinking about what Mattie’s story is that I needed to sit down and jot down some ideas about where the story could start. I didn’t outline in detail so I think I may still be safe.

I think I’m probably going to start with Mattie’s story this week. I’ve been wanting and waiting to write her story since this past summer, so I think she’s waited long enough. I’m excited about this one. We’ll see how it goes, I may try to shop it for traditional publishing, but I’m not sure yet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flash Fiction: Strange Desire

Its been a while since I joined in on Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenges, but I had time this week and I really liked his challenge. He ordered us to open up our perfered music player and see what the first song was that came up and use it as the inspiration for this week's story. Once again we only had 1000 words to work with, but amazingly, I used less than the allotted number of words! So I opened my player and got "Strange Desire" by The Black Keys. Et voila!

Strange Desire

It was raining the first night I met Owen. His hair was dark and plastered to his head, water rushing off his jacket, making puddles around his boots as the door closed behind him, the bells jingling his arrival. Standing behind the counter I was able to watch him as he looked around the crowded charm shop, clearly confused and a little intimidated. Ronnie kept her shelves well stocked and if you weren’t careful, you could be paying for jars and jars of vervain, thistle thorns and violet blossoms as they tumbled to shatter on the floor.

If I hadn’t offered to watch the shop for Ronnie, she would’ve been the one to meet this green-eyed stranger. When he finally made his way through the maze of the shop he approached the counter, keeping a few feet back. The collar of his jacket was turned up around his jaw and the length of his hair swept forward, leaving very little face for me to see.

“Help you?” I asked.

“Um, yeah,” he said, jamming his hand into his pocket and pulling out a slip of paper. Passing me the damp note he said, “I need these things.” I pursed my lips as I read over the list, noting the very specific list of ingredients.

“You’re haunted?” I asked, the blunt question bringing his head up and he blinked at me.


“These items, you’re gonna do a spirit banishing, right?” I pressed, turning from him to get the white mistletoe berries that Ronnie kept behind the counter because they were so expensive and difficult to get.

He shifted his weight from foot to foot, his hands in his jacket pockets as he tried to look around the store casually.

“Look,” I said as I measured out the berries, “you gotta tell me or I can’t sell you anything.”

“Why?” he demanded, looking at me again. This time I saw the spark in his eyes but his power of persuasion wouldn’t work on a witch so I didn’t look away.

“It’s the law, Green-eyes.” He blinked at me again, the corner of his mouth twitching in an almost smile. Finally he nodded and I went to gather the other items he would need.

“Have you ever performed a banishing before?” I asked, crouched behind a shelf, looking for the alcohol infused carnation petals.

“No,” he replied, his voice muffled by distance and shelves.

“They aren’t easy,” I said as I came around, the petals in one hand and the bundle of black candles in the other. “Ghosts are stubborn, especially if they don’t know they’re ghosts. You be sure to mean it when you do the spell. Most people can’t perform spells like these unless they’re witches or psychics, you know?” He didn’t respond, just kept staring at me, making me feel twitchy. I was just glad he blinked occasionally.

“Um,” the paper bag rattled as I tried to still my hand, placing his items inside. “Do you have red storax oil?” He glanced up at me, pausing in his motion to take out his wallet.

“Do I have what now?” he furrowed his brow at me and I found myself staring at the dimples it caused on his forehead.

“Red storax oil,” I repeated. “I’m pretty sure I know what spell you’re using, after the ritual you’re supposed to keep some of the berries in that oil.”

“Oh,” he said slowly, moving his eyes to the cash register. I quickly punched in his total, the machine letting out a loud chime as the total came up. He tossed a few bills on the counter and snatched the bag. Before I could give him his change he was turning away, making his way towards the door.

“Dude,” I called after him, catching his attention and making him glance over his shoulder. “Your change?” He came back, moving faster than my eyes could track and his fingers were suddenly brushing the back of my hand as he took the cash I was holding. I jumped back when I finally realized he was there, dropping a few of the coins on the glass countertop. The coins spun where they fell until they came twirling to a stop. I was holding my hand to my chest, staring wide-eyed at him.

“Red storax oil, you said?” he asked, his voice a little softer now than it had been before.

“Yeah,” I managed, my voice catching in my throat. “We, ah, we don’t have any right now. The apothecary down the block should have some though.” He glanced to his right as if he could see the apothecary shop through the very walls of Ronnie’s shop. He nodded his head towards me when he pulled his eyes from the wall.

“Thanks,” he said, softer still, I felt a pressure over the swell of my shoulder, grazing my skin along the muscle, as if his very voice carried the caress of warm fingers.

“Sure,” I said, feeling my face flush.

He turned on his heel again and left the shop, the bells jingling again. I swallowed my heart and braced myself on the cool glass countertop. You’d think I’d never met a vampire before.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why I’m Scared of the Zombie Apocalypse

Or any apocalypse really, let’s face it there will be things none of us are prepared to give up when the end comes. I’ve talked about having a survival plan for the apocalypse (given the whole world isn’t set on fire or taken in a series of tsunamis) without being some crazy “doomsday prepper” but no matter how much you prep there are going to be things we run out of or things we don’t want to have to deal with. That is what I’m terrified of.

1. The day we run out of toilet paper. This wasn’t something I had ever thought about until a friend told me she planned to hoard all of it when we start to get the warning signs. Toilet paper! Can you imagine not having toilet paper anymore?!

2. Feminine products – I’m being discreet here for the guys, but guys, you should be afraid of this too. I cannot imagine the anger and rending of flesh that will happen when the women realize we need to start raiding the feminine products aisle in the store. When we run out of these products it really will be the apocalypse.

3. The day the only things not yet molded or gone to mush are Twinkies and McDonald’s food.

4. The day we run out of coffee. What a sad, sad day that will be.

5. The first time I accidently swallow gasoline when I try to syphon some.

6. The day I can no longer charge my ebook reader – I mean I’m not going to be able to cart hundreds of books around with me so an ebook would be the best option, right? But what if we don’t have a generator?! The dude in The Book of Eli was able to charge his MP3 player… we have to figure this out.

7. No more hair dye. I know, as soon as the shit hits the fan, whenever my last touch up was, that will have been my last touch up. I will no longer have my loverly red hair and I will be sad about it.

8. If it is a zombie apocalypse, that fish are contaminated. If we follow popular belief then this will be a disease passed through saliva so couldn’t it be water born? Wouldn’t that affect fish? And WATER?! I suck at science so this is just me freaking out.

9. Having to kill my own food. If someone brings me an already dead and skinned animal, I can break it down in my kitchen and not blink an eye, but the thought of having to gun down, or arrow down, an animal and see the life fade from its eyes just upsets me so much! I know being a vegetarian might not be practical in that situation, I just hope I don’t have to do the killing.

10. If it is a zombie apocalypse then my biggest fear would be having to kill my husband if he’s bitten. We have a pact to kill the other if they are bitten, but that doesn’t mean I’ll want to.

Dude, the apocalypse is going to be a bitch.