Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Character Interview: Rowan from "Burnt"

Rowan Lupine is Darius Lupine's two year younger brother. They're as different as, well, their physical description says. It's kind of a Lupine thing, okay? Their parents: Ryker is tall, pale, bulky, dark haired with black eyes while his wife Olivia is tall, tanned, blonde, blue eyed, and slender.

The Lupine crest is dueling wolves: a black wolf and a white wolf more specifically so the Lupine's tend to marry someone who is their complete opposite physically to kind of bring the crest to life. I might eventually try to sketch the thing.

Anyway, this is interview number two for Burnt: The Story of the Fire King. Again, I'm going to try to do this without revealing too much and yes, I am the interviewer. Onwards.

Basic information: Rowan Lupine
Age: changes from four to 26 in the book
Occupation: Second Heir to the Throne of Seiovania
Country: Seiovania
Parents: King Ryker and Queen Olivia

Siblings: Darius who is older by two years

Physical Description
Height: About six feet even, let's say five inches shorter than Darius
Weight: 180 pounds, so slender.
Hair color: Silver, waist length and straight.
Eye color: Blue
Skin color: Tanned
Other: He has burns on the left side of his face that he covers with his hair and can't grow a beard to save his life. He's as similar to Olivia as Darius is to Ryker.

The Questions

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being me.

What does that mean exactly? Hm, well, as the second heir to the throne I should be allowed to do whatever I want. I should be able to travel, dress how I wish, love who I wish, all that. But certain things have made it impossible for me to be me so I have to pretend until Darius is King.

Why until then? Well, when he's on the throne, married, and has a child then I don't really matter anymore for preserving the line and all that.

That makes sense. So who do want to be? Me but not, well, not the way I am now. I'm fairly sure I can't say much more or else it'll destroy the story, correct? *sly grin*

*Laughs* Okay, okay, you got me there. We wouldn't want to do that. So, besides being you, what do you want most out of life? *dopey grin* True love.

Awww. Have you ever been in love? Mmm, I thought so once when I was ten and two seasons old but that was, well, I can't say lust because someone of that age doesn't know what lust is. It wasn't love. We kissed, it was wonderful, but it wasn't love. When I saw that person many seasons later the feelings I had weren't there because I know what love is.

That's sweet. What's it like to be in love? *blushes* I thought we were trying not to reveal too much?

Hey, I didn't say who your lover is or the circumstances in which you meet or anything. I mean unless people have been following my Twitter *Rowan gives a confused look*, ah, don't worry about it. Anyway, what's it like to be in love? Complete and utter acceptance no matter what and knowing that even if you're scarred, wrinkled, lose a limb or begin to lose your mind because of age, that the person will love you forever and a day. That's really important.

Trust me, I know. *Rowan giggles* So, what's your motto? Oh, hm. Oh! Strength, integrity, and love.

*Laughs* Darius said the exact same thing. Did he? Well it was something father may have mentioned overmuch.

Good to know. Thanks. *grins* You're welcome.

There are a lot more layers to Rowan than what's here and Rowan's the kind of character that might make a bit of history. Possibly. He's definitely not a typical main male character. Anyway, if you want to learn more about Rowan, check out my funding campaign so Burnt: The Story of the Fire King can be published. It's totally worth it. ;)

We may or may not be talking to more characters but until then: questions, comments, rage, rants, and everything else can be directed to the comments.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Writing Tip: Character Interviews

One of the most important parts of your novel are your characters. If you don't know them then your reader won't know or connect with them. There are a lot of authors out there who say that doing character interviews can help you with learning who your characters are and I'd have to agree.

You get to learn about the person you're writing about in a fun and unconventional way. You get to talk with the person and sometimes bits of plot that you're having trouble with will be resolved. Now, you don't have to include everything you learn from a character interview in the novel and the interview itself can have whatever question you like. Here is a list of 35 questions that seem to be the most commonly used:


  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  2. What is your greatest fear?
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
  5. Which living person do you most admire?
  6. What is your greatest extravagance?
  7. What is your current state of mind?
  8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
  9. On what occasion do you lie?
  10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
  11. Which living person do you most despise?
  12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
  13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
  14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
  16. When and where were you happiest?
  17. Which talent would you most like to have?
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
  20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
  21. Where would you most like to live?
  22. What is your most treasured possession?
  23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
  24. What is your favorite occupation?
  25. What is your most marked characteristic?
  26. What do you most value in your friends?
  27. Who are your favorite writers?
  28. Who is your hero of fiction?
  29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
  30. Who are your heroes in real life?
  31. What are your favorite names?
  32. What is it that you most dislike?
  33. What is your greatest regret?
  34. How would you like to die?
  35. What is your motto?

These are thanks to a friend of Marcel Proust's who asked him these questions to get to know him better. If you study them you'll find that they're actually really good for discovering the layers behind every character.

Have I used them in the past? Yep. I used question 1 to interview the two main characters in Burnt: The Story of the Fire King. Yes, I used one question. Why? Well, because asking that one question made my characters say things that allowed me to ask another question without having to go down the list.

That is the heart of every interview. You shouldn't need more than one or two questions in a personal interview because the questions you ask should give you a clue to other questions you could ask. Confused? Check out Darius' interview to see what I mean.

With ANY interview, no matter what the question always remember to follow up with: who, what, where, why, when, and how. So, for "What is your idea of perfect happiness?" you could ask "Why? How would you obtain it? What do you mean by that?" When I asked Darius I received: "When everyone I love is happy, including the people of Seiovania." I followed up with "You know not everyone can be happy, right?" The interview itself gives a huge insight to who Darius is as a self-sacrificing character. Read more here.

When I asked the same question to Rowan, his younger brother I got: "Being me." It followed up with "What does that mean exactly?" We ended up talking about his responsibilities to the throne and love.

See where I'm going with this? One question, properly phrased, can bring up all sorts of questions if you listen to your interviewee's response properly.

So you don't need a list of 35 questions to ask every character. Pick your favorite one or two and go from there. If you really listen to what your character says, you should get a lot more out of one or two questions then 35 questions that may have a complex answer you don't notice.

Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and whatever else can be directed to the comments. And don't forget to check out my fundraising campaign to get Burnt published.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Character Interview: Darius from "Burnt"

If you actually look at the cloud tag (or whatever) for "Character Interviews" you'll come up with three other posts I did way back in 2012. The interview for the character of Leopold came first and it's funny to look back and see how much my writing style has changed.

In that interview with Leopold I said that I always do character interviews. Eh, not so much anymore. I interview them in my head and the information sticks. I do still have a notebook stash with all my old notes and everything I've ever written. It's taken up two dresser drawers now. Yep.

Anyway, I decided to do character interviews for the characters from Burnt: The Story of the Fire King. Why? Well, I'm procrastinating on editing the novel itself, finishing up the memorable lines for book 13 of the mystery/thriller fiction series, and summing up Burnt. I can multi-procrastinate, yes.

Enough rambling. I'm going to try and do this without revealing too much and yeah, it's like I'm actually talking to them. Deal ;) Here we go:

Basic information: Darius Lupine

Age: Changes from 6 to 30 in the course of the book.
Occupation: Royalty
Country: Seiovania
Parents: King Ryker and Queen Olivia.
Siblings: Rowan who is two years younger.

Physical Description
Height: When he's done growing up, about six feet and seven inches, perhaps a bit more.
Weight: 300 pounds, all muscle. Yeah. He's a beast.
Hair color: Black and to the shoulders
Eye color: Black. No really.
Skin color: Pale
Other: He has a full on beard that goes over his collar a little bit and he took completely after his father in looks. People often think that Darius is King Ryker.

The Questions

What is your idea of perfect happiness? When everyone I love is happy, including the people of Seiovania.

That's a lot of people. You know that not everyone can be happy, right? I am aware of that. It has been a long time since I was considered naïve but I would like to think that I can help get people as close to being happy as I can.

Lofty goal. Why do you want everyone to be happy? Someone has to be.

Don't you think you're deserving of happiness? Well, yes. But my happiness will always be directly related to my family.

Speaking of, you're the Heir to the Throne of Seiovania. What's that like? It comes with much pressure to be perfect. It also comes with knowing that sometimes you will have to sacrifice pieces of yourself in order to run the country well. There is much responsibility and many lessons to learn.

What are you willing to sacrifice to run the country well? Whatever I need.

Wow. That's noble of you. Father expects it as does everyone else. I am the eldest son and heir to the throne. I do not want to let my father or anyone else down.

Even just a little bit? Wouldn't you rather be free to do what you want? Of course. But I would regret being able to do whatever I wished for the sake of greed or selfishness. The throne comes first.

You seem sad. *sighs* There is overmuch to do.

I understand. One last question. What is your motto? Hm. Strength, integrity, and love.

That's, totally you. Thanks. You are most welcome.

Darius, ladies and gentlemen. If you want to really get to know him, hit up my funding campaign to get Burnt: The Story of the Fire King published and you'll get to read all about him sometime next year. With any luck.

Next time we'll talk to Rowan, Darius' two year younger brother. Until then: questions, comments, rants, rage, and other can be directed to the comments. Don't forget to check out the funding campaign and help a writer out.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I need YOUR Help.

Actually, I probably need (mental) help in general.

What? Everyone always says to open with a joke. Anyway. As the title says: I need your help. With what? Well, there's a bit of a story. Here's some cookies and popcorn. Chill. It shouldn't take too long.

I've been a writer for almost twenty years, writing first in pencil on ruled paper and moving with technology to pound away at a keyboard in Word. Some of my original work is still on 3.5 inch floppy disks. Yes, I'm showing my age.

As with anyone who writes there is always the dream of being published and of course that wasn't any different for me. But see, I actually tried to publish. I failed miserably and it struck such a blow to my self-confidence, self-worth, and all that other fun stuff that I'm fairly sure I've been depressed for about four years. You can read more about that here.

Basics: in that post I talk about how I'm afraid of rejection. Even reading over what an editor has done to my story is a blow to my "ego" of sorts. I actually cried when I got edits back for the failed self-published novel. I tried to get something else edited and haven't looked at that thing for almost a year because of it.

So going back to the point: I need your help. If I want to be a "professional" author I need to get over this fear. The only way to get over this fear is to set a concrete deadline and KNOW that there are people out there who are waiting to see the results.

What results? Publishing Burnt: The Story of the Fire King.

I can't do it alone mainly because I am flat broke with no job. Ah, wait. I have a job that I can't leave and am not getting paid for. It's complicated. In the end: I have no money and no way to get money. Unless I win the lottery with the tickets I don't buy. ;)

Moving on: I started a funding campaign in the hopes that I can raise enough money for editing, a cover, and marketing. Why? Because it's about damn time I start publishing the novels listed in that "Novel Series" Tab. No seriously, go check that out. There's a TON there. I write at least a novel a month, thirteen last year and I'm planning on 16 this year. Eventually someone has to read them besides me, right?

So yeah, I'm asking for your help. But I'm not expecting anyone to just donate their hard-earned money to someone who they don't know well or at all for a novel they know nothing about.

In the coming weeks there will be character interviews for the characters in Burnt. There will be a detailed plot summation that mimics the ones in the "Novel Series" for Burnt. This blog post goes into more detail about my situation. I'll probably write another post or two about me in general.

There's also a ton of information on the campaign page itself but to sum it up:
I have no money and editing, a cover, and marketing are expensive.
I am giving stuff away for different donation amounts. Said stuff includes Burnt in various forms, posters, interviews, and other fun stuff.
Burnt is essentially a Frozen inspired story but with two brothers, fire magic, non-racist society, exploration of two very different characters, the difference between social classes, and what Royalty is expected to be like. So, Frozen on steroids. Totally not feel-good-Disney either.
Burnt also gives a shout out to the T part of the LGBT community. One of the characters is transsexual and wishes they could live as the opposite gender but can't because of certain situations.

So, check it out and if you feel so obliged: donate. Pass the word along. Help me show the world that trans* folks CAN BE main characters that aren't just there to be the token LGBT character. Help me become a better me.

Linkage:
The Blog Post that Began it All (Fear)
The Campaign
Burnt: The Story of the Fire King Summary
Character Interview: Darius Lupine
Character Interview: Rowan Lupine
My Twitter

Friday, October 3, 2014

2014 Novel Series: #10: Senses

We're winding down to the end of the series which still doesn't have an official series name. I should probably work on that. Anyway, this is book 12 of the 13 part series. I won't have book 13 finished by the end of August 2014 as I'd planned but hey, I've worked on this series for less than a year even though it has more than a year's worth of books. That's freaking good enough.

Senses was the second book I did for July Camp NaNo which brought my total up to 148,522 for that month, 3-kish more than April's Camp. I finished it the last possible day and like in April, my cabin didn't reach the goal. We came close though, like within 100K or something. Unfortunately I wrote most of it. It was sad. ANYWAY. ONWARD!

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Word Count: 67,511

Prompt: Killer taking away all five senses. No seriously, that's all I had. No motivation, no nothing until book 10 (Bloody X-Mas) and I figured out the motivation and why he had that motivation.

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, and our killer

Minor Characters of Note: Patterson the Chief of Police who still doesn't have a first name, David Jones and his boyfriend...again. They're such fun characters...Oh, and Jasmine, McGregor's sister.

Summation: Killer takes the five senses of his victims in order of taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing.

High Points: Michael and Karma (Gavriila) in general. Plus Michael going "God Mode."

Low Points: David and his boyfriend. Oh and random new sub-plot when I thought I cleared them all out...

The World: Ours. Again, I'll be really happy when I can write "Ours but with MAAAAGGGIIICCCC" or something.

Memorable Lines:
Sable would compliment McGregor well in the future and McGregor mentally smirked. (Foreshadooowwwwiiinnngggg...)

"The eyes have been gouged out and there's a steel pipe through the head running from one ear out the other. I'm pretty sure the tongue is missing and there's burn marks around the nose. I'm thinking hot glue." McGregor answered.
"Huh, four of five senses." Sable said.
Sable didn't give herself enough credit. McGregor smirked.
"Yeah. I bet the hands will either be removed or corroded which would get rid of touch. We'll have to really look hard to see which injury happened first. That'll mean something to the unsub." McGregor said.
...
"Detective McGregor, a word?" one of the reporters called out as she passed.
"Nope." McGregor said.
The reporter stared at her for a few seconds. Technically "nope" was a word.
...
"Detective McGregor, what's the situation?" the same reporter asked.
"Messy." McGregor replied. (I love her)

"Videos came up with jackshit. Camera angles are bad all around and the fucker covered his license plate with something. We do have make and model of the car." Brown said.
"And I am looking through DVM to see how many there are." Gavriila said.
Brown looked at her for a second and grinned. He took a huge bite out of his burger, got it into manageable chunks, and shook his head at her. She raised her eyebrow at him.
"DMV, kitten." Brown said.

"An actress." James said.
"Yeah. Taking out the tongue first, eyes and hearing last makes sense now." McGregor said.
"An actress would interrupt any kind of ranting the unsub was doing." James said.
"Yeah, you can't get more extroverted than an actor." McGregor added.
"Does that mean the perp's an actor?" Mia asked.
Brown looked at her. Sometimes she came up with the coolest shit.
"He could be, yes." James said.
"That's an interesting angle. Hm," McGregor muttered.
...
"I am taking online criminal psychology courses. Help me to understand why there are so many crazy mother fuckers in the world." Gavriila said.
She was hot. She was into him. She could cook. She was fucking brilliant at computers and making herself brilliant at criminal profiling. Brown wondered what he'd done to deserve her. (D'awww)

"It's sad that I need body guards." James said.
"What's sad is that you're a guy and all your body guards are female. No, that's not sad. That's pretty cool actually." Mia told him.

"He's got a snake tattoo. I'm calling Michael so he or Karma can start looking for this guy." McGregor said.
"We'll go get lunch. That doesn't sound productive." James said.
"Nope but hey, you can't interview family members you don't know about." McGregor said.

"Hello, this is Detective James Reeves with the, hello?" James asked.
He pulled the phone away from his ear in wonder and looked at it. Mia waited. She'd learned that from James. He stared at her, stunned.
"They hung up on me." James said. (Hahaha)
Mia had no idea who the Hell would hang up on a detective. They didn't have time to ponder it as they caught movement out of the corner of their eyes and turned to look. A pudgy man in gray slacks, a billowing white shirt, and a baseball cap came running to the doors and unlocked them.
"Detective Reeves, hello, hello! Come in, come in, it's nice to finally meet you in person!"
Mia wasn't sure if she should walk into the building or run screaming. James looked unsure himself but the shorter, wider man had grabbed James' arm and was pulling him into the theater. James followed because he was nice and Mia followed after James because she was worried as fuck.
They entered the cool theater and the pudgy man guided them to a door marked "Office" while talking about seeing James on Channel 6 and how brilliant James was, how good-looking, how young, and a mess of other things Mia didn't catch. The man was talking too damned fast and waving his free hand around like it was some kind of device to help get his point across.
...
"I'm sure. Detective Liu and I are here on official business." James said.
If there was ever a phrase that could make a person go from 60 to 0 that was it. (snickers)

"We need to sleep after this." Brown said.
"Too bad we cannot sleep together." Gavriila said.
Brown grinned at that. A comment like that used to make his fingers mess up on typing but he'd gotten so used to the comments (and typing this fucking list into DMV files) that he was fine. He'd missed an r. Fuck.
...
"You almost made me miss a name. Knowing our luck it'd be the fucker doing this." Brown told her.
"Ah, sorry. I will take off my top later for apology." Gavriila said.
He'd missed an f. God damn it. Brown glared at her and she giggled. Brown couldn't stay mad at her for long and typed in the name again. That one was a bust.
...
"Stretch kitten." Brown said.
"You too dorogaya. You have been sitting for as long as me. I get food now." Gavriila said.
(He gets up and stretches)
"Wow. She's got you whipped from across an ocean." McGregor said.
"She shows me her boobs of course I'm going to do what she says." Brown told her.
"And she's got great boobs. Anyway. We're going to watch James walk around the files like he's doing some kind of pagan ritual. Have fun." McGregor said.

"Good morning." James said.
"Nothing is good about the morning until I've had coffee." McGregor said.

"Ranting involves talking. He can't ASL (American Sign Language) their asses." (I shouldn't snicker so much at that but I did.)

"I'm retiring at the end of the month." Anderson said. (Why is this important? He's the Head of Forensics and told McGregor in the past than when he retires, she'll get his position. Yep. ;) )

McGregor took five minutes to get her apartment door opened then almost face planted because she forgot she had a cat that blended in with shadows really well.

"Anderson's retiring." McGregor said.
"Yep. JD?" Sable questioned.
She was offering a shot glass. McGregor downed it. Booze was good.
"My sister, Jasmine, is moving here." McGregor said.
"That's good." Sable said.
"We're buying a house together."
"Cute."
"She's giving up her salon and renting out the house we grew up in to move here."
"That's sweet."
"I'm not sure if I want her to."
McGregor downed the second shot Sable poured into her glass. Booze was excellent.
...
"You know what I think?" Sable questioned.
"I wish I could read minds. Wait, no, then I'd go Professor X fucked up in Days of Future Past when he takes the serum to stop, I'm going to stop." McGregor said (Ha)
...
"I'm not a fan of change." McGregor said.
"Says the one who moved five hours out her home town, moved twice once here, got a cat, started letting people in, switched offices, and joined a team. Oh yeah, you're totally uncomfortable with change." Sable said.
The sarcasm was strong in this one. McGregor laughed. It was nice to laugh...
"Okay, okay, you're right. I'm just nervous." McGregor said.
"I would be too if I was you, hell anyone would be. I mean there are going to be men in the house sharing a bed with your sister when you're there." Sable said.
McGregor smirked at that. Sable didn't give herself enough credit.
"You're going to make some guy really happy one of these days and if he's an ass I'll go Michonne on his ass so bad that we'll have to hide the body together."

"Boss, I've known everything about you before you even met me." Michael said.
That was a frightening thought. It made sense in some weird way as Michael had come to the force slightly after James.
"What?" James asked.
"Technically you and Bossette were the whole reason I wanted to come here." Michael said.
That was flattering and scary at the same time.
"And if we're going to be honest or whatever: I'm the only reason Patterson paired you two together."

Thanks to the DMV they had gotten a picture of what Timmons looked like so McGregor didn't have to walk up to the waiting area and ask for him by name. They weren't some kind of doctor's office though technically she was some kind of doctor. Her patients were all dead when they got to her though.

"Tracking, tracking, got 'em. 5432 Hedge Street, it's a house that's been abandoned since two years ago, actually foreclosed, used to belong to a Donna McDellen who was an animal hoarder and um, died inside. Her cats ate her. That's fucking creepy."
...
In the middle of the room was a black phone (what Michael tracked to find the unsub).
"Don't move." James said.
Mia didn't have to and James only shifted when McGregor came to stand beside him. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number. The cell phone in the middle of the room began vibrating and playing a song James didn't recognize.
"Faku. Kuso." Mia muttered.
McGregor scowled as James hung up his phone. They could do a check but James knew they would find nothing. Because of the media, Michael had been kicked off the team. The unsub had outsmarted them.

"Media's fault. The fucker knows who we are and how we find our perps. The bastard's taken out Michael." Mia said.

"Fick. Not it. And he's (David) hot." Agent told them.
"And living in America." Double D added.
"I know. It makes me sad." Agent said.
"Dude, we're looking for his boyfriend." Double D said.
"Supposed to be anyway." K broke in.
It was funny how K was the youngest in their group but the most focused. Brown had a theory that the longer a person spent on the internet as they got older, the less focus they had unless they literally grew up immersed it in like K was. Either that or K was part cyborg.

"ON THE GROUND!" Mia screamed.
Her gun was out and up but the unsub hadn't even looked at her before taking off. She got a shot off and he let out a pained sound. She'd hit him in the shoulder but he kept running. Mia had two choices. She could stand her ground and shoot him while he was still within the 10 foot range or she could run him down and tackle him. Mia liked the second approach. (Of course she does. She's badass like that.)
...
Okay, maybe she'd gone a bit overboard. Unsub's SUV was half crushed in a pole. Hell, the one side and the front end of her SUV was smashed to shit. Not to mention the post box one of them had knocked over, the various skid marks on the asphalt and, how the fuck was there broken glass on the street? (LOL)
She'd busted a window, her SUV's passenger window somehow. Damn. At least the station would pay for the repairs. She just hoped she didn't get some crappy car as a replacement till hers was fixed. (I love Mia too.)
...
"Ready?" James asked.
"Yep. We'll use your car to meet up with McGregor and Abella. Mine's a bit beat up." Mia said.
"A little? I forgot how great you are at take-downs. Don't let me forget again, okay?" James asked.
"You got it partner. See you at the station." Mia said.
...
"Detective," Mia started.
"Fucking awesome Bossette! That was better than the movies!" Michael exclaimed.
"Thanks. You're pretty fucking awesome yourself, Michael. I couldn't have done that without you and your online team." Mia said.
"Aw, thanks Mia. I'll see you later. Dragon-God out."

Mia joined him and James heard her curse when she locked the SUV. It had been an amused curse.
"My window's busted out, why the Hell am I locking it?" Mia asked when she got close to him.
"Rhetorical question?" James returned.
"Yeah..."

"We're going down stairs." Mia said.
"Have fun." McGregor told her.
(They're looking through a completely blacked out cabin for the potentially living victim of the unsub)

Part of their job dealt with touching dead people and cutting them open. Another part of the job was taking apart a scene which Sable had found meant anything from digging around in trash or looking through a creepily dark cabin in the middle of the night. It had been a bad idea to binge watch The Walking Dead with Lucy the past 20 or so days. Sable kept thinking a walker was going to jump out at her.
...
"I know it's late but wake up." McGregor said.
"Sorry, I was thinking about walkers jumping out of dark corners and surviving the zombie apocalypse if it happened (ha, oops)." Sable said.
McGregor grinned at her.
"I have successfully converted you..."

"You are one strong chick." Jameson said.
"Hey, you dead lift, oh bad pun. Anyway, you start lifting corpses as a career and tell me how easy it is." McGregor said.

"Both are still in surgery." James said.
"Sucks to be you." McGregor said.
"I know, I know." James replied.
Sable covered her mouth to keep from laughing but McGregor didn't bother.
"Yes! You took me up on the song lyric game." McGregor said.
"Song lyrics?" James asked. (Of course. :P)
McGregor groaned and would have knocked her head off the steering wheel in frustration if she wasn't using it...
"Do you need me there for intimidation?" McGregor questioned.
She was grinning. Sable had a feeling McGregor liked being the intimidating one on the team.

"I'm getting something to drink." James said.
"The punch isn't spiked." McGregor offered.
"Too bad." James muttered.

"Since when do you like Sable?" McGregor questioned.
"Since she offered to make me food." Michael said.
"So, I can have my chair back?" Sable asked.
McGregor had meant to ask Michael why he'd taken Sable's chair (in his office) away but they'd been too busy with other things. Michael smirked.
"Sure, Chiquita." Michael said.
Sable's eyes went wide and her mouth popped open in shock. McGregor couldn't help but grin. Hell, James and Mia were smirking. Sable had a nickname, a tad bit racist of a nickname but Michael had accepted her into the team. This made the night better no matter what else would happen.
"That's, oh fine." Sable said.
"Good. So I'll kill Ranger once I get back upstairs." Michael said.
"And we'll hide the body." McGregor offered.
"I guess I should get the bleach." Sable said.
"We'll need gloves." James added.
"And we can use that stupid Jeep they loaned me." Mia mentioned.
"I got some extra bed sheets and a shit ton of plastic drapery from the old salon." Jasmine pointed out.
McGregor laughed along with her friends and her sister. You could count on someone when they were willing to help you hide a body.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fear

Fear is an interesting thing. It can make you do a lot of different things depending on the situation and who you are as a person. Fear motivates people in ways other people never expect. There's a lot of different things for different people to fear at different times. It's a complex emotion (hey, what isn't?) and as a writer I've explored it. I've studied fear in my characters and of course, I've studied it in myself.

For those of you reading this that follow my Twitter account,you'll notice that for the past two days I haven't been writing. For those of you who have no idea who I am: that's REALLY weird for me. Well, unless I've finished a project or National Novel Writing Month is over. I've not finished a project and NaNo isn't until November.

So, why did I stop writing? Am I suffering from writer's block? I don't believe in writer's block. Am I having problems with my Inner Editor? My Inner Editor is my Muse and we rarely have issues. Am I stuck in my current plot? Not really. So, again, why did I stop writing?

I'm afraid.

That's right. I'm afraid. Of what? Well, a lot of things. I'm afraid of midnight, mirrors after midnight, oh, right, writing. Sorry. I'm afraid of rejection. I'm afraid of not being good enough. I'm scared to SHIT of what I'm planning to do next month so I'm procrastinating this month.

What is it that's making me so afraid?

Well, you see, I've been an official self-published author since March 2010. Yeah, four years. I've not even come close to seeing my return on anything. I actually hate the only novel I have available right now and all my anthologies are unedited.

I'm also working as essentially an unpaid intern and have been for about the same amount of time as I've been self-published. For clarification: I've not had a paycheck in over four years. I've been surviving off lines of credit, credit cards, and inheritance. Not fun, I'll tell you that much.

What does that have to do with my fear of what's going to happen next month? Simple. At the beginning of this year I made it one of my goals to publish something. Next month, I'm going to start the beginning phases of completing that goal.

My plan is to start some kind of funding campaign (kickstarter, gofundme, gofundle, pick one dang it) and raise enough funds to edit, get a cover (if I can't make a decent one) and promote Burnt: The Story of the Fire King which is this month's novel.


If the campaign is successful (I'm planning to run it until December) then I'll have a published novel I'm proud about out into the world by early next year, depending on editing. If I use the 2K or so I hope to keep for promoting then I'll actually be able to get it into reader's hands and possibly make enough to at least pay some of my bills.

So what's the problem? Again, I'm scared shitless. Why? Because I've done the editing shtick before. I've had editors tell me that my stuff is great but seeing all those comments and red lines makes me think I'm not good enough. I see it as a kind of rejection, that I've messed up so bad that I shouldn't even bother. Granted it is grammar, wrong words, and tighter sentence structure that is meant to help (and does) but I still can't seem to get past it. I'm not sure why.

I do know for sure that I don't like to leave a goal unfinished and I've had the publishing goal on my resolutions list for years now. It's about time I give it one more try. Again: that is scaring the crap out of me. I know that as soon as I start the funding campaign and especially if it succeeds: I'm going to have to deliver. I'm going to have to get the book edited and actually CORRECT the changes then move on. I've given myself a deadline of October 10.

That deadline means I'll have the funding campaign started and I'll be promoting it like nuts. I'm hoping I don't deliberately let it fail so I don't have to see someone's professional editing.

Hell, even letting a good Twitter friend read a short story freaked me the Hell out. She tells me I'm good enough. Others have told me in the past that I'm good enough.

I don't think I am. I'm afraid I'm not. I'm afraid of being made fun of and rejected. I'm afraid of negative reviews and people not liking my work, and by extension: me.


But, I intend to overcome that fear. I owe it not just to me but to my characters and to all the people who have believed in me all these years. And quite frankly: I need to do this. If I don't I'll end up living on the street, literally because there is only so long lines of credit and what not can hold out. I'm running out of time and damn it, I like my bed.

Fear can conquer you if you let it. I'm tired of letting it hold me back.

Until next time: comments, rants, rage, questions, and concerns can be directed to the comments.

Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 Novel Series #9: Pieces

So this was book 9 of the year, the first book written for July's Camp NaNo. I finished it in 13 days which is funny because there are 13 books in the series. Anyway, I then took a mental break and wrote a scene for a completely different world. I planned a bit of the 13th novel, wrote Best Friend: The Body Part Fairy and moved on the to the 12th book of the series.

This one wasn't as hard to write as the ones prior. It looked back to the events before Face Snatcher where James was on his own as a profiler and basically helped people. Also, this is the book that (with Dammit_Woman's help) inspired Best Friend: The Body Part Fairy. I was giving everyone body parts so...yeah. ONWARD!

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Word Count: 67,010

Prompt: Voltaire's Ex Lover's Lover:



Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, Sable Abella, Gavriila "Karma" Saytakhmetov and our killer.

Minor Characters of Note: David Jones and his boyfriend Andy Smith (again, I know), Cade Golding, Patterson, and, Voltaire - the singer, animator, musician.

Summation: An old case that James tried to solve comes back to haunt him. It was his first official failure but not because of something he did. Now he has a chance to catch the killer who is systematically sending all the survivors of James' prior cases the body parts of the killer's new victim.

High Points: Voltaire.

Low Points: Michael, kind of.

The World: Ours. I'm going to be so glad when I don't have to type that...

Memorable Lines:

(James is 22 here:)
"It'll be fine, kid." Rogers (a much older detective) said.
James scowled. That was the other thing he hated about being a decade younger than the youngest detective. They all called him kid, son, sport, or boy because of the age gap. James had always hated those kind of nicknames.
"I am not a child, nor am I the offspring of a goat." James told him.

What if I were to cut you up and mail each part to a different town? It would take the most brilliant private eye the rest of his life just to put you together. Are you ready to play again Mr, pardon, Detective Reeves?

"Okay. So, what exactly is going on?" McGregor asked.
"Um, there's a severed finger in the box." Izzy said.
Sable dropped the folder she had been holding. Mia cursed under her breath and began moving the boxes and files off the table. McGregor raised her eyebrows and strode towards James. He offered her the box and true to whom she was; McGregor pulled a pair of bagged latex gloves out of her back pocket before taking the box.
"Huh. Do I dare ask where the rest is?" McGregor questioned.
"You can ask but you won't like the answer. The rest won't be coming for a while." James said.
They all looked at him like he'd lost his mind. The funny thing was that he was sure he had just found it.
"What?" McGregor asked.
"I've worked this case before. It won't end like it did the last time." James said.
"Okay. I'm going to go get my kit. Then we can get updated on the old case." McGregor said.
"Two old cases." James said as she started walking away.
"What?" McGregor questioned.
"Oh, James saved me from a serial rapist eight years ago." Izzy said.
"Of course he did. He's James." McGregor said.

"I wondered why I recognized the note." McGregor said.
"Bet you thought you were going crazy, huh?" Mia asked.
"Not really. I recognized the song lyrics." McGregor said.
"Song lyrics?" Michael asked before James could.
McGregor looked at the speakers then at James. It had been a song. No one had figured that out. They had simply thought it was a way for the unsub (The Puzzler) to taunt them.
"You guys had no idea it was a song?" McGregor questioned.
"No." James answered.
She snorted then started half-singing, half talking:
"What if I were to cut you up and mail each part to a different town? It would take the most brilliant private eye the rest of his life just to put you together, a piece in each mail box all over the planet, from Moscow to Tokyo to Guadalajara. I wait for the day when I finally defile, the bodies of my ex-lover's lovers. I'll pile high to the sky, the bodies of my ex-lover's lovers. I wait for the day when I finally destroy, the bodies of my ex-lover's lovers. It's a song called "Ex-Lover's Lovers" by Aurelio Voltaire." McGregor said.
...
"You okay over there?" Mia asked.
"I'm fine and not lying about it this time." James said.
"Oh, good. I guess you just needed to be given a severed finger in a box." McGregor said.

"He moved to live in Woodborough, followed the cases we worked on, and is now physically watching each survivor just to taunt me. I would be flattered if this wasn't so morbid." James said.

"Who gets the job of sewing that (the fingers to the palm) back together?" Mia asked.
"Sable." McGregor said.
"Huh?" Sable gasped.
"Hey, you're my assistant so you get the jobs I don't want to do. Plus it'll be fun putting the hand back together. Oh and you need practice with sewing body parts back to the main body. You're great at closing wounds but this is entirely different."

"Well, you found him. Hello Detective. Whatever it was: I didn't do it." (Hehehe)

The surviving victim of the Face Snatcher (blind among other things) :
"I never got to see what any of my rescuers looked like. That hurts."

"Now I know why dorogaya fits in so well with all of you. You are all weird." Gavriila said.
"It's an exclusive club." McGregor said.

"Well it's an excuse to bring you all over to the dark side with me and give you Gothic make-overs. This is going to be fun."

"Nah I'm good. Besides, it'd be weird to jump to protect James, you know?" Mia replied.
"Why would it be weird?" James asked.
"Cuz you're a guy and generally guys protect women." Mia said.
"Oh. Sorry?" James tried.

"I love you." (Brown)
"You do?" Gavriila asked.
"Yeah. You're my 42." Brown told her.
"And you did not even have to use a masterball." (Ha)

"You can say it, Ki-, detective. I know I made a mistake. I should've listened to you." Rogers said.
Eight years. It had taken eight years for James to hear Rogers admit that. It was not as satisfying as James had thought it might be. James was glad for that at least.
"But hey, I didn't think a 22 year old that looked so damned young could be right on something as simple as whether or not to go to the media. I should've known better with your track record and education." Rogers said.
This was getting out of hand...

"I know you made them for yesterday (McGregor made James cookies for slapping him), but, oh never mind. You know I'm giving most of these to Michael, right?" James asked.
McGregor snorted.
"I know. You've got to keep your girlish figure and all."

"It wasn't. Yeah I got all my homework done before 8PM and could spend my nights reading ahead in textbooks or just reading. But everyone who befriended my used me for homework help or passed off projects on me. No one wanted to be the one to pick me for a partner unless it was for a project that had a huge grade percentage attached then they'd trip over themselves and make me do all the work. Then there are the accusations of plagiarism, cheating, and the glares you get when you correct a teacher? Not worth it." (McGregor on being the smart kid)
...
"Would you give up being smart in order to be normal?" Sable asked.
"Never. Normal's over-rated." McGregor said.

"Though I'm not sure why I'm not improving." James said (about shooting)
"It's totally your eyes. Have you noticed that very few cops wear corrective lenses? There's a reason for that." McGregor said.
"I figured as much." James said.
"You could get laser eye surgery." McGregor told him.
"Well," James started.
"Then again there was this scene in "Final Destination Five" where the laser freaks the hell out and ends up making the hot chick's eye melt. When she finally gets off the table she trips on the button eye that popped out of the teddy bear she was squeezing and fell out the window. Then her other eye popped out. It was awesome though I'd never trust one of those machines." McGregor said.
...
"I don't like the thought of lasers penetrating my eyes." James said.
"Good reason. Why don't you wear contacts?" McGregor asked.
"Let me modify my last statement: I don't like the thought of anything going near my eyes including my own finger." James said.
"It figures you'd have ommetaphopia." McGregor said.
(It's the fear of looking people in the eye - he can still do that- or have anything going near your eye. Fun word for the day. :D )

"And I'd like to eat nothing but chocolate all the time and never gain an ounce. We don't always get what we like."

"Serial rapists are always fun."
Sable was sure McGregor's perception of fun was screwed up. Then again this was the woman watched horror movies and shows to point out what was wrong with them. It made sense that McGregor's perception of fun was off.

"Don't worry about it Michael. We can never win them all."

"You should watch "The Walking Dead." McGregor told him.
"Why?" James questioned.
"Zombies. Is there any other reason needed?" McGregor asked.

"He went to the library where my mother worked every other day for the entire time he's lived here." James said. (He is the unsub, the entire time is five years. Creepy, no?)

"I know, I know, I can't keep looking towards the past because I'll miss the future." James said.
"Oh look, I've trained you to lecture yourself." Mom said.