Saturday, August 30, 2014

Achievement Unlocked: MilWordy

For those of you who just found this blog: welcome. Take a minute to look around and make sure you understand that I'm generally insane when it comes to word count and writing. A testament to this insanity is the sole fact that I undertook the MilWordy challenge for the third year in a row.

What is Milwordy, you ask? Why, it's the goal/challenge/insanity to write one million words in a year. Some people modify that goal (like me) and try to write a million words in less than a year (also like me). I know three people who can write a million words in a month. What those million words are depends completely on the person.

For me the goal was to write a million words from January 1 to November 30 which is the end of National Novel Writing Month. Last night, August 29th at about 8:30PM I wrote my one millionth word. It was "down." How, bleh.

Anyway, those million words DID NOT include Tweets, comments on forums, blog posts, or work related stuff. It is 1,000,000 words of fiction spanning across 11 novels, various short stories and a short story turned novella turned ongoing thing that's now novel sized. For a more detailed review keep checking my Novel Series tab under the 2014 year.

It's kind of funny that I'm writing this post now. At the beginning of the year I had set out to write two books a month then failed miserably by March. I wasn't even sure if I could get to the million and here I am three months early. I'm about 99.9% sure this happened last year too thought I think I hit the million in the beginning of August. Meh.

The difference between this year and last year is that I've still got a series to finish and another single book I really want to write. Maybe a short story for some kind of submission thing going on in October. I'm not likely to stop like I did around this time last year.

Now I know anyone reading this blog post is asking how in the HELL I wrote a million words. It's simple. I have no life. I have two friends who work opposing schedules to me so I see them once a month if I'm lucky. I have no kids, no significant other, and really no other hobbies besides reading and writing. When I get home from work (9AM -5PM) I eat dinner, go to the gym then write.

My average word count per hour is 2,000. During November or Camp NaNo months, it's closer to 3,000. If I'm researching something it's about 1,500. That means in about 2 hours I can write a 4,000 word chapter, maybe more, maybe a bit less.

Also: PRACTICE. Like I said somewhere up there this is the THIRD time I've completed Milwordy. I didn't wake up on January first and say "I'm going to write a million words this year because I've never done this before." I woke up and said: "Well, time to start writing another million words."

I've been writing for close to two decades. For the first 15 or so years of my writing career (of sorts) I wasn't really writing as much as I probably should have. The last four years have shown the most output solely because of National Novel Writing Month. I would not be sitting here celebrating my third Milwordy win in a row if I hadn't found NaNo back in 2010 and beat the challenge by 50K.

I owe every story to Nation Novel Writing Month and if I could donate my words in monetary increments every year I would. If I ever get around to self-publishing properly and actually making enough not only to survive but to have a lot of extra disposable income, NaNo is one of the places I would donate large amounts to regularly.

But I suck at marketing. I've said it before: I am a writer. I don't know how to edit. I don't know how to promote and I sure as heck don't know how to make a living off my writing. I just write. That's all.

For those curious folks, here's a look at my monthly stats and what I wrote:

January
Word count: 84,755
Novels: Dryer finished on January 11. The start of Witches.
Other: Various summaries, queries, and pitches that never got sent out.

February
Word count: 142,503
Novels: Witches, Car Jacking
Other: Continuation to Lies.

March
Word count: 124,571
Novels: Hunter
Other: Short stories set in the mystery series universe (called Memories) and a character from one of my other worlds meeting another character for the first time.

April (Camp NaNo)
Word count: 145,067
Novels: Disease Finished on April 13, start of Trust
Other: Memories, and more with the other characters from a different world.

May
Word count: 125,308
Novels: Trust finished on May 2 and Child finished on May 24.
Other: Memories, and back to the other world.

June
Word count: 96,563
Novels: Blood Christmas
Other: Memories, other characters again.

July (Camp NaNo)
Word count: 148,522
Novels: Pieces finished July 13, Senses finished July 31
Other: Best Friend, some planning for The Tattooed Man, another scene for other characters

August
Word count: 134,191 (as of the 30th)
Novels: Zombies finished on August 16, The Tattooed Man
Other: Planning for Mists of Time, November NaNo project.

Note: My online WC says 1,004,287 but if you add the above totals you'll get 1,001,480 meaning I miscounted on my personal tracker. I'll fix it when I'm not so lazy about checking from Jan to April.

Now that I've update the people who follow this blog I'm off to write three chapters (or so) for the last book in the Mystery series I've been writing since November 2013. This is book 13. I'm losing my mind.

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Novel Series #6: Trust

This was probably one of the hardest books in the series to write. Why? It deals with suicide. I'm one of those people who sometimes thought that the world would be better off without me and went so far as to plan how I would die. So yes, this one was quite personal for me and there were a couple of times I had to sit back and wander around online so I could keep my head together.

Trust is book 8 of the 13 part series, book 6 of the year, and the second book I wrote during April's Camp NaNo. I finished it on May 2 which brought my April Camp NaNo total to 145,067. My goal had been 70K but then the whole NaNo excitement set in and I went a bit crazy. My cabin didn't win but we wrote 500K in total. It was awesome. Onwards to the details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller fiction

Word Count: 77,312

Prompt: Being honest: Saw. Originally the killer was supposed to be a psychologist who captured suicidal teens and put them through a Saw-esque test to see if they wanted to live. When I mentioned the name of the psychologist, he informed me that he wasn't the killer. It changed a bunch of things but I like it better.

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

Minor Characters of Note: Patterson the Chief of Police, David Jones (yeah, he came back), Cade Golding, and Brent Mitchelle.

Summation: Crazy person kidnaps teens and puts them in a sort of trust game, hence the title.

High Points: Lucy finally getting her cat. She was supposed to have had one for the whole series but it didn't happen until this book. I'm not sure why but it worked out.

Low Points: The entire freaking novel because of subject matter.

The World: Ours.

Memorable Lines:


"It's a trust game, right? I mean that's all life is too: a big trust game. You have to trust the people around you to help you when they say they will and all that. So, this is like life. You either trust that I'll be back before you like, starve to death or dehydrate or well, you don't." Killer to his first batch of victims.

"You do know that sometimes this shit happens and the people wanted to disappear, right?" Brown asked.
"I know but I don't think this will be like that." James said.
Brown looked at him and scowled. Boss had a feeling this wasn't going to be a normal missing person's case. The last time that had happened they had lost their person in Cynthia Fucking Myers.
"Yeah?" Brown questioned.
"Yes. This is different. I'm not sure how but it's not a case of three teens simply running away together." James answered.
Yep. They were fucked. Brown wouldn't be getting any sleep for at least two more days unless the rest of the team couldn't make sense of what he had. But this was his team. They would figure out what was different almost as fast as his system could pull all the information.
...
"I have every text you've ever sent in your entire life. Think about that for a minute." (This is why Brown is called Dragon-God)

"I'm not being replaced by Lucy, am I?" Mia asked.
"I don't think she can take down unsubs or kick in doors like you can. You think of things differently than her and I. We're logical, sometimes too logical, where you're more, well, not emotional but you see things like a human being. We don't sometimes. We need you." James said. (Foreshadowing...woah...)

"What if the perp knows they're suicidal and hates that?" Mia asked. (And the prize goes to Mia! Self doubting can take a hike.)

Brown wished he could keep his big mouth shut. It would keep him out of a lot of problems. He couldn't. That just wasn't in his coding.
"Do you really need to find him?" Brown asked (Lucy about her father).
That was the one thing he couldn't understand. Finding Chang wouldn't change who she was as a person. It would give her a full identity but it wouldn't change how she'd been raised or what choices she'd made up to this point. It probably wouldn't even effect what choices she'd make in the future. Hell, it could make everything worse, especially if Chang didn't accept her or believe her.
"Yes." Lucy replied.
Brown wondered if he could re-code his brain so he knew when to stay quiet and accept things. That wouldn't happen until he could figure out how to upload his brain onto the net. That might take a few more decades.
"Why?" Brown enquired.
He could feel McGregor's stare on him and turned. It was McGregor. She was glaring and scowling. That was always a bad combination.
"I just need to." McGregor said.

She was switching more than she had before her mom died. Brown knew it was because Lucy, the weaker half was still dealing with the death and couldn't handle complicated conversations that dealt with emotions yet. McGregor, the unemotional and stronger one could. So whenever something big went down that would fuck up Lucy emotionally, McGregor jumped in like some kind of alternate personality super-villain. It was weird.
"Would finding him really make a difference?" Brown asked.
He watches at Lucy and McGregor struggled. It was strange to see because it only happened in her eyes. They flicked back and forth from wanting to cry and wanting to make his head explode. Brown wondered if there was any mental illness in her family history but it wouldn't cropped up by now. Maybe McGregor existed because of stress. That made sense.
"It would to me." She said.
Brown wasn't sure who she was now. He didn't want to think about that for too long because that would fuck his head up. Whoever she was kept her stare on him and Brown sighed. He ran a hand through his hair and met the imposing stare.
"Fine. I'll do my best, okay?"

...
Dealing with McGregor all the time was like running through a maze full of mines blind. You never knew what to say or when or if saying the wrong thing would set her off. (He then leaves the office WILLINGLY to go home to sleep. He was always dragged out before.)

"Morning." Samson greeted.
"Still looks like night to me but I'll take it." McGregor said.

"No signs of struggle but he was chained down by the right ankle with his boot on. Like I said before: he drank the bleach." McGregor said. (Literally, drank bleach. Yes, this is why this one was difficult to write.)

"So it's the second type of perp? The one that wants to help them? How is this helping them?"

(This is the scene that makes Sable stick around: )
"McGregor?" Sable asked.
"Yeah?" McGregor returned.
"You stopped recording." Sable said.
"Yep." McGregor said.
"Um, why?" Sable questioned.
"I'm taking a breather." McGregor said.
It was almost six in the morning. Her head was throbbing because of the smell of bleach and the thought that Adam Muller had given up. She couldn't get over that fact because she had been him at one point. She had been a loner, a freak, made fun of, and thought that she was worthless. At least he had friends. McGregor never had a friend until James, Mia, Michael and now Sable.
"I, um, well; I didn't think any part of this job would affect you." Sable said.
"When the job stops affecting you then you have to worry. You'll get nightmares. You'll see the dead in your dreams and sometimes you'll wake up and smell death, burned skin, bleach, or chemicals in general. Sometimes you'll dream that you're performing an autopsy on yourself. You'll start to look at people differently, wondering what's under their skin, literally. You won't flinch at gory scenes in horror moves and you'll start pointing out inaccuracies. And sometimes, like now, a case will hit close to home in ways you didn't expect. Other times the torture, the pain, and the dead will be so horrific that you can't afford to think of the body on the table as a human or you'll just want to sit in a corner and cry. You've only been at this a year. You haven't seen anything yet and working with me, well, it's not going to make anything easier.
"I've seen people have their faces torn away, be thrown into dryers, get burned at the stake, and get tortured so badly that not even dental records could be used to identify them. That's only been in the past three years.
"This kid might not be as marked up but I could relate to him. I was him in High School. Sometimes it's better to deal with the burned and the tortured than cutting up someone who you could relate to." McGregor said.

"So why do you still do it?" Sable asked.
"In the end I'm helping people. I'm giving families closure and I'm making sure that the people who are sick enough to do this are put in a place where they can't do it again. I'm weeding through all this shit so the world's a cleaner place."

"I seriously considered Michael not being in his office." McGregor said. (She'd tried calling him to no response, yes this is right after he left.)
...
"Where did he go? I didn't think he left the office." Sable said.
"He doesn't, not willingly. There was one time when Mia and James had to physically drag him away so he could sleep. Heck, we still have to bodily drag him away for birthdays and he doesn't leave for holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. This is beyond weird." McGregor said.
(informs James)
"Okay. Are we the only survivors in some kind of end of the world thing?" James questioned.
(Not in this story. Funny how that's the first thing they all think of when Michael leaves the office. :P )

"Um, I hate waking you but we need you to hack into a laptop and look up some things for Lucy." James said.
Michael made some kind of unholy noise from under the sheets and James almost took a step back. He remembered this was Michael. Michael wouldn't physically hurt him.
"I'm on strike." Michael said.
"You're not part of a union." James told him.
"Ha." Michael said.
James waited but Michael didn't move. When James was about to shake him, Michael flipped the sheet down and sat up. James stood then yelped when Michael thwacked him with a pillow.
"That kind of hurt." James said.
"Sorry, not sorry." Michael said.
...
"I slept." Michael announced.
He looked proud of it. Hell, James was proud of him for leaving the office and sleeping.
"I know. I'm happy for you and still a little freaked out that you left the office to sleep in the first place." James said.


"I'll find him in the phonebook." James said.
"Do you mean Michael?" McGregor asked.
"I mean the actual phonebook. Michael's busy with other things and I'd rather not distract him with something so simple. Besides, the day I need Michael to look up a listed phone number is the day I should seriously consider retiring." James said.

Jameson was a large, intimidating, African-American while Miller was a small Asian man. It reminded Sable of a movie but she couldn't remember the name of it.
"Well we got Rush Hour this time." McGregor said.
"Huh?" Sable asked.
"Rush Hour: Jameson and Miller. You know the movie with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker?" (Hehe)

"He's meeting them online through some kind of game or internet forum." James said.
"Okay, great, but why didn't Brown see that?" McGregor asked.
"Brown missed it because three good friends being a part of the same online group wouldn't look strange." James said.


"I hope you never have to. I'm not supposed to be bring my daughter. I'm meant to be guarding her from guys until she finds the right one then walk her down the aisle. I'm expected to be excited when she gets pregnant then hold my grandchild in my arms. I'm supposed to be giving her advice on how to deal with the terrible twos and other little things. She was to bury me when her kids were in their double digits and I'd lived a life seeing her grow into the beautiful, smart woman she had the potential to be. I'll never get that. Some monster took that away from me and I'll never forgive him."

McGregor wasn't just the part Lucy used to separate herself from her work like the other people in forensics or the detectives like Boss and Bossette did. McGregor wasn't a calmer more collected Lucy. No, McGregor was a shield, a weapon to use so Lucy didn't take the final plunge and end up sitting in a bathtub of her own blood.
Without that mental break, or whatever the fuck it had been, Lucy McGregor wouldn't be here right now. The snapping of her brain and the creation of McGregor had saved Lucy's life. It was horrifying and sad at the same time. Brown wanted to know what had caused the snap, what had caused McGregor to be born. It might help them understand both McGregor and Lucy a little bit more.

"You're getting help?" Lucy asked.
"Well, no, not for the variety of mental problems I probably have..." Brown said. (and we take a moment to remember who he's saying this to.)

"Is it sad that I think she reminds me of me?" McGregor asked.
"One of you is enough. We don't need two." Miller said. (Well technically...)

"Are you all right now?" James questioned.
"Yes, well, mostly." McGregor replied.
"Is Lucy all right?" James asked.
McGregor stared at him and he stared right back. He knew. Of course he knew. He was James Reeves, Doctor James Reeves and Criminal Physiologist. One woman with a bit of multiple personality disorder wouldn't throw him for a loop.
"Lucy's fine. You know, you're the first person to notice that." McGregor said.
(Tells her story)
"I've felt the same as you." James said.
McGregor swallowed hard to get rid of the tears but it didn't work. James was there to hold her when she fell into his arms and started sobbing. It had been the song lyrics. James probably didn't even know that his last sentence was tattooed on her back and had been one of the few things that helped Lucy get through the first year of High School.
"Good job, you broke McGregor." Mia said.

Michael was seriously considering leaving his office without being forced. James wanted to check the weather in Michigan and the Grand Cayman's to see if both Hells had frozen over.

"Where do you put it all?" Sable asked.
"In my belly." Michael told her.
"Well you must have two bellies." Sable said.
"Maybe but you ain't cutting me up to find out." Michael said.
"Aw, but it'd be fun. Besides, we know how to put you back together." Lucy added.
"Funny but it's still a no. I like my skin all in one piece, ya know?" Michael said.
"Fine, be that way. We could have made a scientific discovery and been famous." Sable said.
"Hm, fame brings fortune and chicks but if I'm normal anyway then it was for nothing. I'll think about it." Michael said.

"Gotcha you sonofabitch. No one escapes the Dragon-God."


On Lucy making 12 dozen (YES, 12 DOZEN) cookies:
"I didn't say anything. You kind of learn to take the quirks as they come because over-thinking them just hurts the brain." Abella said.

"What would the name DrKiller signify?" James asked.
"That he was in the medical profession and made some mistakes." Lucy answered.
He was about to tell her that he was being serious but so was she.
...
"Or it's just a name he pulled out of his ass to fit in with the forum. I asked Michael what Drag0n meant one time and he said that "dragons are cool and 0 usually means the beginning or end of all" so, yeah." Mia said.
"One of his online friends is named Karma. She's a 19 year old Russian punk Goth girl with a huge dragon tattoo on her entire back. Actually, that's kind of how I would picture a human manifestation of Karma." Lucy said.

"David wouldn't mind coming out." James said (as in running with him but it's too late.)
"David as in David Jones? I think he's all ready come out, but you know." Lucy said.
Baking did something to her brain, James was sure of it. She hadn't joked this much since before everything happened with Anne and her mother.
...
"Don't eat all the cookies and get crumbs all over my map while I'm gone." James said.
"We make no promises." Lucy said.

"Now if we could combine you three into one person." Sable said.
"That would bring forth havoc on the world unseen in all of history..." McGregor said.

(about to go out in the rain):
"I'm made of spice and rock n' roll so I won't melt in the rain." McGregor told him.
(later)
"I thought you wouldn't melt?" James questioned.
"There's a point where even spice and rock n' roll gets a bit rusty." McGregor told him.

"There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who can power through the suicidal thoughts and the ones who can't. You're obviously one of the formers. So am I. Those kids weren't. Why do you think that is?" McGregor asked.

"I realized that if I took those pills then they won. All the taunts, the beating, the rape, all of it would have made them right. It would have made me another statistic. I didn't want to be a statistic anymore. I was, no, I am better than them."

"The fun part is figuring out what you're meant to do."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Novel Series #5: Disease

This was book five of the year and was the first book I did for April's Camp NaNo. I finished it on the 13th of April, wrote a few short stories for a kind of "mental break" then started the next book in this series.

For a reminder: there are 13 books in this series. When I started writing this particular blog post it was May 24th and I finished book nine of this series about an hour prior. It's kinda, sorta, August now. Someone has to poke me to remind me to do these things, seriously. Anyway: no the series doesn't have a proper name. I haven't figured that out yet.

The books in order: Face Snatcher, Hangings, Dryer, Witches, Car Jacking, Hunter, Disease, Trust, Child, Bloody Christmas, Piece, Senses, and The Tattooed Man. I'm going to be summing up Disease:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller fiction

Word Count: 65,978

Prompt: I can't remember besides wanting the team to go to Las Vegas.

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, Sable Abella (she became Female Main Character 3 in this one), and our killer.

Minor Characters of Note: Patterson, Miller, and a few famous people two of which I'll probably change the names for. The one I won't change the name for: Criss Angel. It's Las Vegas and Michael got the team into the Luxor. This was bound to happen.

Summation: Twelve people have died from a new form of flesh eating disease that only affects the face. The team is brought in as a consult to help find the killer.

High Points: James and Mia. Lucy and Sable meeting Criss Angel.

Low Points: What happens when they find the killer.

The World: Ours.

Memorable Lines:


"What the Hell is this?" Lucy questioned.
If Lucy didn't know what it was they were going to have one fuck of a hard time. Mia caught James looked at Lucy. Even Patterson raised an eyebrow.
"Pathology said some kind of burn." Patterson said.
"This isn't like any burn I've ever seen. It looks like a cross between necrotizing fasciitis and a chemical peel gone wrong. Normal burns, even chemical burns don't present with swelling or that much blackening of the skin." Lucy said.
Mia caught Patterson grinning. This is why they had been placed on the case. Mia watched as Lucy took the first picture and stared at it. She spotted the second picture then started at that one, looking confused and intrigued all at once.
"Look at the case file on the way. Brown, I'd suggest using your system to get all of you booked into a section together so you can study the file...Good luck." Patterson said.
Mia could do nothing but follow James as he stood. They were out in the hallway moments later surrounded by Lucy, Abella, and a twitchy Michael.
"Um, holy shit." Michael said.
"I can agree with that. Okay, we're going to have to head home to pack. I can only assume this might take a little while so we'll have to be close to somewhere that we can get laundry done. There's no way we can pack for months in one suitcase." James said.
"I don't even own luggage." Michael muttered.

"Really?" James questioned.
"Really." Michael said.
"I've got an extra one at my place. I'll bring it back with me." Mia told him.
"Thanks Bossette." Michael said.


"I've never been to Las Vegas before." Abella said.
"Neither have I." McGregor told her.
"I don't think any of us have." James said.
"I bussed it from my home town to Washington then was bussed from Washington to here. This is my first time on a fucking plane, never mind Las Vegas." Michael piped up.


(After being put in a private section in first class)
"I don't want to know how you managed this, do I?" James asked.
"Nope. Ya'll didn't even ask what hotel we're at." Michael said.

"What hotel?" James asked.
"The Luxor." Michael replied.
"That's the famous casino, how in the, no, I don't want to know how you managed." James said.
"Then you won't want to know how I managed two Tower Luxury Suites side-by-side for half price." Michael said.
One of the flight attendants nearly tripped over her own feet when she heard that. McGregor could feel the jealousy radiating off the woman when the flight attendant passed.


"You all right there twitchy?" Lucy asked (Michael).
"Nope. I don't like new places. My office is safe. Safe is good." Michael answered. (Aw)


"Okay, I don't want to move." Lucy said.
Mia looked to see her curled up on the couch. Lucy seemed ready to fall asleep right there and Mia couldn't blame her. In four hours they would have been up for 24 hours and that included a five hour flight.
"I'm sorry." James said.
"You're going to make me move, aren't you?" Lucy asked.

"Well, no. You can sleep there if you want but you're going to wake up cranky from stiff muscles. I'm apologizing because Michael's going to have his computer going still and you'll likely hear him all night." James said.
"Faku." Lucy muttered.
"Joder." Abella murmured.

"Huh?" Lucy asked.
"It's 'fuck' in Spanish." Abella told her.
"Ha, we've got multi-lingual swearing going on." Mia said.



"You should get one of those shirts that says you don't play well with others." Mia told her (Lucy).
"I have one and brought it with me." McGregor said. (I need one...hehe)


"We can help." Chief B suggested.
Brown gritted his teeth at that. The mere thought of him needing help was enough to make him want to jump out the really high level window behind him. He hadn't needed help in looking up stuff since he was ten.


"The unsub, the case, it's horrible. The unsub is giving the victims a chance to finally live like they'd been unable to because of low self-esteem then just rips it away."

The scene that makes Ms Anti-Social (Lucy) accept Sable Abella into the team first:

"Do you like The Walking Dead?" McGregor asked.
"Yeah, despite the fact that a zombie can't sneak up on people. I mean the stench alone would give them away." Abella said.
McGregor stared at her but she simply tilted a head to one side, curious. Criss Angel was one thing. The Walking Dead was an entirely different thing. Maybe...
"Game of Thrones?" McGregor questioned.
"Dany's dragons are awesome. And it really sucks that it takes Martin three years or more to write one book. I mean, I understand that it's hard and all but there are still two more books. That's too long to wait." Abella replied.
McGregor continued to stare. Abella looked normal. She shouldn't be into things that most people found odd or unusual. That was too weird.
"Huh." McGregor said.
"I also like Rammstein and am totally jealous that you got that shirt before they took it off their shop." Abella said.

McGregor couldn't help but smirk. Having Sable (YAY!) around was going to be better than she thought.


"If you say anything to Patterson about this I will go Michonne on your ass." McGregor said. (It's her favorite threat)
"Why would you go Michonne on Abella's ass? Is that some kind of sex thing?" Michael asked.
"No." McGregor said.
"Yeah, that answered question two. Where's the answer to question one?" Michael questioned.
"Nope. I'm not answering that." McGregor said.
"You forget my power, mortal." Michael said. (Hehe)


"Dragon-God is tired and hungry. Feed me." Michael said.
"I'll bring you something up, wait; you have room service right there" James said.
"I know but I can't think of what food to eat. I can't just call 'em up and be like "Yo, I heard you guys make food. Gimme some." They'd hang up." Michael said.
(a bit later in the conversation)
"Bring food or I'll eat your books." Michael said.


"There's no phone number." James said.
"Oh. OH! Yeah, that's my job. Hold on." Michael said.


The men looked at each other. They were both a good four inches taller than him (over 5'10") and twice his width in muscle. James briefly wondered if there was some kind of company that made these kids of stock body guards and rented them out for high prices.


"Well that's, I don't have an adjective." James said.
"Would you like to buy one?" McGregor offered.
"Sure." James said.
"It's worth your first born." McGregor said.
"Ah, I won't have a first born though." James said with a smirk.
"Yep. I've had my daily dose of creepy now. I was starting to get worried." Michael said.


"Michael doesn't talk about where he even came from. I've got a theory that he grew from a microscopic cell in an abandoned computer somewhere."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Transgender Models and Writing

For those of you that don't know or have stumbled upon this blog for the first time: I've written over 3 million words which translates to 78 stories of both long and short fiction. In almost every single one there is usually a gay male or a feminine man. The mystery series has a lesbian woman of color and I wrote a novel about a person who transitioned though not in a very nice way. That one's complicated, seriously. There is also an asexual male and a gender neutral character who's not really gender neutral but...um, yeah it's complicated. We'll leave it at that.

The funny thing about this is that I am a straight female. Yeah, I do feel "masculine" at times and I've wondered what it would like to be male but despite my complaining once a month: I am female and happy as a female.

The odd thing is that even though I have written male characters who were feminine (I'm looking at you VanHelgrove clan) I didn't know what it was called. And when some of these male characters started wanting to dress as women I got really confused. All that was solved three (or more) years ago.

Back in 2011 (or so) I discovered the model Andreja Pejic. She was billed as being "The Prettiest Boy in the World." Yes. SHE was billed as being the Prettiest BOY in the world. At the time Andreja was an androgynous model: a male who made a living off dressing feminine which is something I'd never heard of until discovering her.

And of course, I swan-dived (I'm a horrible diver) right in for the sake of the characters who were trying to do the same thing and leaving me completely confused as to how to write them.


I tend to research everything I'm interested in like crazy and Andreja was no different. I found interview after interview and studied picture after picture. I'm pretty sure I've collected everything about her that I possibly could.

It was a whole new thing I'd never heard about (no offense intended as I live in a small city that's a good decade behind the rest of the world) and I began broadening my research to include the "trans" part of LGBT.

What I found was amazing. I had no idea there were people out there who didn't feel comfortable in their skin. I had no idea there were men and women out there who sometimes dressed as the opposite gender all the time because that was how they felt comfortable. Yes, I had heard of drag (that's a whole story it itself) but trans is entirely different.

Anyway, I had no idea there were people out there who were born as one gender but felt the opposite and sought to change their outer body to match their inner self. I had no idea that those characters were a part of the trans community. I had no idea what the word androgynous really meant.

Suddenly I needed to include more people into my stories. I'm not saying that to be arrogant or to get some kind of nice "push" from any kind of community. I say that because I believe that despite what's happening in my worlds: everyone should be included.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't look at my characters and go "Okay, well, you have to be trans because I need a trans character." That would be WRONG OF ME. I also don't look at my characters and go "Oh you have to be a person of color because I need more people of color." Again, THAT WOULD BE WRONG OF ME. Why? Because then I would become that writer that's including people for the sake of being Miss ALL INCLUSIVE AREN'T I NICE? *giggle giggle*

No. Discovering a trans model like Andreja enabled me to give these male characters who wanted to dress feminine a voice. Seeing what trans was and really looking into it helped me make these characters who they were supposed to be. It helped me to discover who they really were: NATURALLY. I knew what they wanted to do but I didn't know why. Knowing why helped me make them into real people, the real people they deserved to be.

Because of Andreja characters like Shawn (Seer/Seeker), Drew (Testing Grounds), Dragon (Lies), Star Van Votte (Model), Andre (Chosen Ones of the Forbidden Object), and Jordan (Changed) FINALLY had their full identities. These stories had always been in my head and sitting in my "why can't I go ahead with this thing? What's MISSING?" pile.

Because of Andreja the above characters were finally allowed to grow and become who they really were when before they just had a huge question mark beside them because I couldn't figure out who they were, not really. I didn't understand that yes they were a male who wanted to dress as a female because before Andreja I didn't understand it. Those characters and those stories just sat there and it wasn't fair for them.

Now when I find myself thinking/writing "he" and "she" about the same character I know it's not weird and I'm not confused about it. Now I can sit that character down and ask them exactly how they feel without wondering what the Hell is wrong with me as a writer or that character as a character.

The best part? Because of Andreja I will be writing an entire fantasy trilogy based around a transgender main character: Blaire. Blaire is physically male and dresses as female but does not prefer either personal pronoun. I'm not sure if Blaire will transition into a female in the story as (s)he's going to be saving the world and all, but we'll see in November.

So a big thank you goes out to people like Andreja Pejic, Lea T, Laverne Cox, Ines Rau, and many others for helping me see that there is more to gender than just what you're born with and that sometimes your physical and mental/emotional gender does not match up. Thank you for helping me see that it's not weird or wrong and that everyone deserves the freedom to live their life as they feel they need to, including the imaginary people I write about daily.

Thank you for helping my characters become who they really are and allowing them to express themselves as they needed and wanted to for their stories to be told. Thank you for helping me understand. Thank you for being the powerful individuals you are and for representing people who may be struggling with what they see in the mirror. Thank you for being true to yourselves. You're all beautiful, no matter what anyone says.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Best Friend - Short Story Snippet

This month's WIP was Pieces, book 11 in the Mystery Series. Pieces focuses on an unknown subject who has cut up his victim and is delivering parts to people, more specifically the survivors of the cases Detective James Reeves has worked on. In talking to a friend of mine on Twitter (@Dammit_Woman) I made a meme:

That's right: EVERYONE GETS A BODY PART!
Then we kept talking about it and I called myself "The Body Part Fairy." We started talking about what the Body Part Fairy would be like and being the morbid person that I am the following spewed out of my head:

Best Friend: The Body Part Fairy

“Mommy, mommy, my tooth is loose!”

Mother smiled at the little girl hopping up and down in front of her.

“How long till it falls out?” the little girl asked.

“Oh I don’t know. But you’ll get a special gift when it happens.” Mother said.

“Yay!” the little girl answered.

The days passed as they are wont to do and the little girl’s tooth finally fell out. It was the first baby tooth she was losing and she was especially excited to stick the front tooth under her pink pillow. In the morning the tooth would be gone and she would have something special in its place. The little girl went to sleep with a smile on her face, the gap of the missing front tooth like a void between the other teeth in her mouth.

She sunk into the world of dreams and soon was entirely oblivious to the world. A few minutes to midnight the visitor came. The little girl was not awake to see her, nor did she feel the gentle hand going under her pillow and removing the tooth. A box wrapped in golden foil was placed under her pillow but the little girl didn’t notice. The visitor walked through the wall with the little girl’s tooth in hand and a smile on a face too pale to be human.

Morning brought sunshine, birds singing, and the excited squeal of a little girl. Mother grinned and walked into her daughter’s room as the little girl pulled the box out from under her pillow. The golden foil crinkled as it came away from the cardboard underneath. The little girl opened the top of the box and smile broke out on her face.

“I got a foot!” the little girl said.

“Oh how wonderful! The foot is the best part to start with, Annie.” Mother said.

Annie nodded in agreement, her messy blond hair bouncing. She came out of bed then put the foot into a box that was standing upright in one corner of her room. Annie carefully placed a needle attached to a blue tube into the top of the foot. The box beeped and Annie smiled. Annie wasn’t exactly sure how the box worked but it would keep the foot fresh until she got the last part. Annie knew that would be a special night.

The days became weeks which became months which became years. Slowly Annie’s box filled up with body parts: the other foot, a hand, three fingers, then three more, the other hand, part of a leg, part of an arm. Every body part was carefully placed into the box, stuck with a needle and sat in the corner of her room day and night.

Finally, Annie lost her last tooth. She grinned and placed it under her pillow. This was it. She would finally get the head to the body that had been forming in her room since she was six years old. She had waited eight years for this, listening as all her friends got parts and started to form bodies too. She would be the first in her group of friends to have a full body though. Annie would be the special one.

Annie went to sleep that night with a smile on her face, not even caring that there was a gap where her last molar had been. Tonight she would receive the head. She would have the full body. She had to sleep so it could happen and she giggled before falling into a light slumber. The night wore on and six minutes after midnight there came a noise...


*****

There's another four pages of it and it gets really creepy after that. But you know, a little girl being excited about receiving a human foot as a present from the Tooth Fairy isn't creepy enough.

Anyway, I'll get someone to read the full thing, maybe find a cheap editor, finish a cover of sorts and might put it up on Smashwords or something. We'll see how that goes.

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

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Update: Milwordy

For those of you who don't know: I'm doing Milwordy. For those of you who don't know what that is: it's a writing challenge in which the person doing the challenge writes a million words in a year. Fun fact: I've done this twice before and won well before my goal date.

At the beginning of this year my goal was to write two novels a month. If I was still following that goal I would be at book 12 (or so) for the year. I decided to stop that goal in February because it was just too damned hard. More details here.

For about two weeks in the beginning of March I was really depressed because I didn't think I would hit my million. Well, it's June and I'm at 638K and change in month six of my goal. Seven books have been written and I'm four books away from completing my 13 book thriller/mystery series.

That half million isn't just the 13 book series. It's actually books 3-9 and a few short stories that include the mains from that series as well as shorts that don't include the mains. I also included the query letters and synopsises I wrote (but haven't submitted) but didn't include any blog postings, tweets, or NaNo posts.

So, I'm a bit over half-way on one of my four goals. The other three goals for this year: finish the thriller series, submit a query letter, and lose weight.

Well, I'm 9/13 on the thriller series and unless I stop writing right now I'll finish that by hopefully September with a book a month. I might get a little ahead and finish by August because camp is in July and I tend to do at least two novels during NaNo events. I'm hoping to be done with the series in August so I can take a break, write a stand-alone then plan another trilogy.

Submitting a query letter: I have two different letters written for two different series. One is for the fantasy Cara Series while the other is for the Thriller series. I've got a list of agents that represent fantasy or thriller and I've learned the rules for submitting. Why haven't I submitted? I'm (again) on the fence about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. I'd like to remain a self-published author and even made a plan to stay self-published but haven't followed through yet. I want to wait until the end of June to see how my 9AM-5PM job is going to turn out.

Losing weight: IT HAPPENED! I went from 195/200 pounds to 188 (as of May 23rd). I still have about 30 pounds to go in order to at my "ideal" weight but we'll see what happens when I get there. The frustrating thing is that it doesn't seem like I've lost any stomach fat. That's where I carry the most weight and yeah, I can get into old clothes I couldn't before but it doesn't look like I've lost any. I still look pregnant even though I'm not.

But I'm still going to the gym (after a month) and I'm enjoying it. It's become a kind of game in where I compete against myself to get better. This is a good thing. I'm hoping that by this time next year I'll be at my goal size and have stayed there for a few months. What is my goal size? About 155-160 pounds. If I go any smaller I'll look too thin and muscle weights more than fat so I figure even if I'm at a higher number I'll still look all right since I'll have muscle. Frankly I'd be happy to get rid of the belly fat.

I haven't pushed as hard as I wanted at the beginning of the year but I am proud of how far I've come. It's the little steps that build up to the big steps, right?

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 Novel Series #4: Hunter

I'm trying to catch up on these and be more active, really. Life gets distracting and tiring plus I like to just sit and write when I go home. Writing is a different kind of thinking than what goes into these blog posts and I'd rather think like a writer.

Anyway, this was book 4 of the year which was started and finished in March. It's also book 6 of the Mystery Series.

Hunter carries on the story of the same main characters found in the prior books of the series: Face Snatcher, Hanger, Dryer, Witches, and Car Jacking. The details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller fiction

Word Count: 71,825

Prompt: I think it had something to do with an alternate method for the killer in Face Snatcher keeping the faces. Someone mentioned beheading them and mounting them like animals and well, yeah.

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

Minor Characters of Note: Patterson, Chief of Police, who still doesn't have a first name. Sable Abella, Knight, and Steel. Knight and Steel also don't have first names for some reason. I've no idea why.

Summation: Homosexual couples found in mattresses in local dumps with no heads and shot through the heart. Yep.

High Points: Abella

Low Points: Lucy and her girlfriend Anne

The World: Ours.

Memorable Lines:


The smell of rotting refuse was strong in the mid-morning sun. James squinted against the sun and took a light breath as he, Mia, Lucy, and Abella were led deeper into the dump. The call had come half an hour ago and Patterson assigned them to what would be the new case.
One of the workers at the Bin There, Dump That dump had become suspicious of a mattress. It looked lumpy, weird things were leaking out of it, and it smelled worse than other things. James had no idea how the man could tell how horrible the mattress in question smelled being surrounded by garbage but he didn't question it, not yet.
James winced as he had to step over something brown and unidentifiable. They took a turn around a mound of garbage and there it was. The mattress in question had been dragged down from a pile and cut open. Inside the man had found a human arm. That was when the man called his boss and the boss had come down then called the station.
The operator at the station passed the call to Patterson who immediately called James. Now here they were on a cool September 10th, walking through a dump to see what was left of the human body in a mattress.

"This was a shot gun blast, single shot, precise so the unsub is a hunter of some description. As for the removal of the head, that was done after he drained the body of blood via this cut through the throat. Again: another hunter's tactic. The head was removed cleanly, no sawing or hesitation. I'm going to guess that he's mounting the heads after doing some kind of modified taxidermy on them." Lucy explained.

"Why do people always take heads as trophies?" James asked.
"To establish dominance over the victim, you know, prove their power and prowess in battle." McGregor said.

She smirked when he looked up at her and nodded. The half-amused, half-exasperated look on his face told her that he knew it all ready. It had been a rhetorical question. McGregor had a thing for answering those.

"So we've got a homophobic hunter killing homosexuals because someone he loves came out and he thinks homosexuality is for lesser beings?" (Yes, yes you do.)

"I said "no," what part of that don't you understand? The 'n' or the 'o'?"

"It doesn't matter how much martial arts you know when you're faced with a 12 gauge shotgun bullet."

"We talked about how many hard-asses who swear in Japanese are allowed to be on this team." Mia said.
"I'll take my punishment later. We've got to meet the Sato's soon." James told her.

"That's a heart-attack waiting to happen." James commented.
"Yeah but it's so good. And hey, I'd rather die happy than resort to eating non-greasy health food." Brown said.

"That is one big mother fucking mug."
James looked up to see Mia with still damp hair and a look of jealousy on her face. She was staring at his mug.
"Thanks. It holds a pot of coffee." James told her.
"You're going to be so wired later." Mia said.

"Kuso." Mia muttered.
"Faku." Lucy murmured.
"Mierda." Abella added after a beat.
James wanted to laugh when Mia and Lucy looked at Abella so quickly that he was sure they might have whiplash.
"Did you just swear in Spanish?" Mia asked.
"Yes? Everyone else was swearing in their mother-tongue, so, yes." Abella said.
James leaned back and watched with a grin on his face. He was almost glad it was close to 6PM. Suddenly Lucy started chuckling and Mia joined in. Abella looked relieved then stared at James.
"You didn't." Abella said.
"I'm not allowed to be the other hard-ass that curses in Japanese. That's apparently reserved for Lucy. And I'm too muddle-blooded to have a "mother-tongue" besides English." James said.
"I never actually asked your ethnic background. Is it bad that I feel bad?" Mia asked.
"Nope. My mother's side is from Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. As far as I know my father's side was Polish, Russian, and Norwegian." James told her.
"All blond and blue-eyed. That's really kind of creepy." Lucy said.

"It's all CSI's fault. That damned show raised a generation to think this job is glamorous when you're normally ankle deep in some kind of shit and start thinking that if you don't smell death in a week it's been a bad week, job wise. Most of them drop out in first year when they see pictures of actual wounds. If they make it to graduation, they drop out of mentoring because god-forbid they deal with a real dead person. Urg. I hope Anderson gets them (new students) both."

"That would be me. Hacker-God, Dragon-God, knower of all things tech." Brown said.

"Homosexuals, why did he have to go after people like me? Why couldn't it be someone normal like you? Why is it always the weird, fucked up ones that society hates? Why can't people like me be happy for once. Just fucking once. I've had enough of life beating the shit out of me. It's fucking bullshit."

"Abella, hey. Oh great, you broke my assistant. You're going to have to buy me a new one." Lucy said.

"Um, there's a whip in here." Abella said.
"Neither owned a horse." McGregor mentioned.
"GAH!"
McGregor turned to see that Abella had dropped the whip and was blushing furiously. Abella took a breath and McGregor shook her head.
"How can you stare at a maggot and not get grossed out but freak out at the mention of kinky sex?" McGregor asked.
"I'm so glad you didn't say kinky fuckery. And maggots, well, they're not gross. I don't know. It's not the thought of sex it's just, weird? No, that's not the right word. I'm not, well, that experienced and stuff, so yeah." Abella explained.
"Kinky fuckery?" McGregor asked. (I love how that's all she gets out of the explanation.)

"God never reveals his secrets. It'd blow up the universe."

James waited until Mia stood beside him. They shared a glance and knew this would be the most dangerous chase of their entire careers.
"I only have six bullets." James said.
"You fucking idiot." Mia told him.

"You can dress him up and clean him up all you want but I don't think we can ever integrate him into normal society." Lucy said (about Brown).