Pronunciation Guide

Saturday, December 10, 2016

WOW IT HAS BEEN FOREVER

Well, the title says it all. It’s been months. I’m so sorry. Lots of stuff going on – publishing, a new job, life craziness…um…other stuff…? We got a dog…! *tries to think of what else happened after April 12th* Yep, got the dog (Castro, like the former dictator, ha!) on the 16th of April. Publishing pretty much consumed the summer…I have no idea what happened to the fall…

And now it is two weeks until Christmas.

Christmas.

Oh wow.

How in the world is it even December already? Sheesh…

So, an update on what’s gone on since April!

1. I published Sowing, Book One of The Purification Era, in August. August 9th, I think. Yes. It has been a learning curve – the marketing and promoting…which falls under marketing – but it’s been fun, and I feel like the book is doing quite well.

2. I’ve been working on Quelling, Book Two. About 70k total in there (Sowing is 128 in comparison). It’s not all consecutive…but it’s coming along.

3. I’m going to be at the Centerville Library (Ohio) on January 9th for a signing/meet and greet thing! They call it 2nd Monday, and it will be awesome! If you’re local, I’d love to see you! I’ll have books available!

111 W. Spring Valley Road, Centerville, 45458
1-3 pm


4. I started a new story – which I worked on for Nano; OH MY GOSH, NANO HAPPENED TOO. It’s more fantasy-ish than the Puri world is (aka, there might be magic…maybe…) and takes place in a sort of Ancient Greece/Rome setting. Title is All The Shimmering Suns, and…I’ll just put the current blurb below instead of me trying to summarize it.

“If they give you a chance, Aster, take it.”

Years ago, Aster’s parents smuggled her away to freedom, narrowly escaping the invading Nephele army. At seventeen, the past catches up with her. Torn between death or conversion to the Nephele faith, Aster chooses life – thereby signing that life over their military. A soldier’s path promises prestige…and the possibility of finding her parents.

Ruthless and devoted, Helios has never questioned the path before him. Though he despises the new recruits, he obeys tradition, doing his part to train them. It’s merely another step toward power and position.

An ancient chimera has other plans.

With the city in flames, Aster and Helios flee – only to end up underground, trapped and hunted. If they can find a way to trust each other, they might survive.

If they can’t, there may not be a world left to go back to.



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

30-day writing challenge - part 1

So…I was supposed to be doing a 30-day writing challenge the whole month of April, but I’m a slacker. :P Stick with me; I’m going to catch up!

Below, you will find days 1-5. The next set will be in another post!


Day 1: Five problems with social media

1. That I waste so much time on it
~Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE facebook, and I have met some incredible people through it, but dang it, I am such a procrastinator, and sometimes, facebook just kills any productivity. Blah. (That was a long sentence.)

2. You can’t tell tone in text
~I’ve gotten into spats with people solely because I interpreted something a certain way because if I were saying those things, I’d be saying them sarcastically. (Even though I rarely use sarcasm…I mean, come one. Have you met me?) So much of communication is body language and tone, and without that, only words remain. And words are often mistaken. So yeah.

3. That I think facebook is the only social media, apparently :P
~I know other things exist. I am awful at them. Twitter? *laughs, swipes hand over head* Yep, I can’t follow it. Goes right over my head. (Body language!)

4. People present the image they want to present
~Some people are super real all the time, in every area. Some people put on a front. Most are somewhere in between. It becomes a problem when you equate someone’s filtered facebook life – everything is perfect, we’re always smiling in pictures, etc. – with your struggles. Don’t assume people are always happy just because they post happy stuff. We all have our own battles.

5. There are so many different avenues, it’s hard to know which to use
~Advice to authors says to be on social media. To have a twitter, instagram, facebook, goodreads account, blog – all of which you update regularly. That’s all fine and dandy until that becomes your life, and you don’t write in your books anymore because you have to keep up with all the platforms you have talking about the books you don’t write anymore because you’re updating your twitter for the thousandth time today about the book you’re writing but actually aren’t writing because you don’t have time because you’re on twitter! (Run-on sentence!) It’s exhausting. That’s why I default to facebook and kind of keep it at that. :P Though I do want to keep this blog off the ground for longer than five seconds.


Day 2: Your earliest memory

I’m in a lake, standing just a little ways into the water. I’m maybe three or four. I can see fish swimming around my feet. Why that sticks out, I have no idea. But there ya go. I don’t go in lakes now, but if I can see things, they don’t freak me out. I’d wade in up to my ankles where the water is still clearish enough to see the fish. I have no problem with fish unless I can’t see them. :P Plus, goopy algae and stuff. *shudders*

Okay, moving on from that


Day 3: Your first love and first kiss

*blushes* My first love was my first kiss. He’s also the only guy who’s ever kissed me. And I actually don’t remember our first real kiss. (For shame.) I remember when he first kissed me on the cheek, though. Whew. I think our first real kiss was in my living room; he was sitting on the floor with his back against the couch, and I gave him a little peck on the lips. That wasn’t the first time he’d kissed me… We have a kind of complicated courtship thingy. For a long time, we weren’t going to kiss on the lips until our wedding, but we strayed from that, and it was a freeing thing, too. The waiting had become legalistic, and I…well, kissing him on the lips was a big step for me in freeing myself from some very harmful beliefs. (Not that I think waiting to kiss is bad. It was just bad for my mind and heart, if that makes sense.)


Day 4: Ten interesting facts about yourself

I don’t know if these will be “interesting,” but…

1. I’m short, under 5’0. I still hate it at times.

2. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 11. I was scared before we moved (when I was 7), and we moved to the country where there weren’t sidewalks or a paved driveway where I could learn.

3. My first crush was at my house for some party thing, and he was dressed up as a pirate. I think. But I was messing with him, and I broke his plastic sword. And I hid it and lied about it. Afterward, I felt awful, and I went in my room and cried for being such a terrible person.

4. Lemon, lime, and orange hard candy flavors are my favorite.

5. I say I don’t like certain foods when I’ve never had them. But there is literally no need. I know they’ll be nasty.

6. I changed the way I cross my arms because of a character I wrote about ten years ago. He crossed his arms a certain way, and I wanted to imitate him, so I did. It felt unnatural for a while, but now the other way feels wrong.

7. I don’t really care for the beach. I’d rather be in the woods. Sand gets everywhere. It’s gross. The beach is pretty, though. Just not as pretty as a forest.

8. I talk mostly in movie /TV show/Jim Gaffigan quotes. It is sad when people don’t catch this. It’s awesome when they do.

9. This list is difficult. I just woke up. My brain is tired. My body is tired. … My nose is froze. My tail is froze. (See! Quote! What’s it from? Can you tell me? Think Disney.)

10. I talk to and about my characters as if they’re real people. Yes, I’m aware that they’re not actually real. But they also are. They feel real. And I argue with them too. That’s fun. No, I’m not crazy; I’m a writer. ;)


Day 5: A place you would live but have never visited

Europe. Germany, Wales, Scotland, Ireland…any of those. So. Gorgeous.


WHEW. Stay tuned for the next five! I know one of them is about tattoos! Ahhh! *dies*

Sunday, January 24, 2016

“R” is for…

“R” is for…

Romance and Relationships (and apparently a rant)

For years, I’ve resisted calling myself a romance writer. Honestly, I don’t want to associate myself with the genre. I’m sure there are some amazing romance books out there. I have friends who primarily write romance. It’s not my preference, and I’m not the target audience for that.

Here are my biggest issues with them:

~Authors pumping out book after book of recycled characters and recycled plots. (Get an original idea. Gosh.)

~Blurbs that end in questions like, “Will they be able to overcome _____ and find love?” (Cue sarcasm, and cue me moving on. To be fair, I don’t like questions in blurbs period. For me, they undermine their purpose. They tell me what will happen in the story.)

~Constant, heart-pounding attraction that makes girls want to have sex with a stranger just because he’s hot, unrealistic expectations, and male love interests who are perfect or flawed in a perfect way. (As in, his flaws are actually good traits in disguise, not actual flaws. And please, no god-like physiques. At least not without a reason. No one is born looking like that.)

~Books that present themselves a certain way when they’re actually just about sex. (I now hesitate to start reading any book that looks interesting unless I know something about the author’s genre. Thanks for that, Sherrilyn Kenyon.)

~Books about sex that call themselves “romance.” (Nope. Just nope.)

~Written porn disguised as romance. (Noooope.)

~Love triangles – especially ones that are purely there to add conflict and angst for no reason other than to add conflict and angst. (Here’s an idea: if your story can’t stand without a love triangle, maybe you need to figure out a different plot.)

~The author’s fantasies masquerading as a book. (Ew. I do not want to be in your head as you write a thinly veiled version of yourself making out with a ______ *insert paranormal creature or god-like god*. Sorry not sorry.)


I do write romance. (She admits it! Murderer! …Wait…) But I will NOT lower myself or my writing to what I mentioned above.

My characters are deeply flawed. I’m going for realism in every aspect. My girls aren’t perfect without knowing they’re perfect; they’re way screwed up. My guys… Ha. Just ha. They are so messed up and broken, I am honestly still amazed anyone besides me actually likes them, let alone loves them.

My guys might be in good shape, but it’s not gushed about every two sentences. And there’s a reason for it: they’re soldiers. If they aren’t in top physical shape, they’re probably dead. :P

I hope my books offer good surprises, not ones that make people feel deceived and dirty.

I delve deeply into relationships. Characters drive my story. Relationships drive the characters. Some of those relationships turn romantic. But beyond the romantic love, it’s still about relationships.

Monday, January 18, 2016

“Q” is for Quelling!

“Q” is for Quelling! 

Quelling is the second book of my series, The Purification Era. It starts where Sowing ends, literally. Sowing ends in one POV, and Quelling starts by showing the other side. The stuff that happens in Quelling was originally part of Sowing…but it got waaaay too long, so I split it. :)

What you can expect from Quelling:

~More Mas 
~More Sorek 
~More romance (WUT. I’m not saying between who, though…)
~Death…lots of that…
~Itzalin 
~The Ward 
~Betrayal ;) 
~Some awesome new characters 


Some questions about the book:

**What are you most excited about introducing in book two? 

I am really excited to push some of the characters to a breaking point. That’s not exactly something I’m introducing, but it leads to some really cool stuff. ;) 

**Who is your favorite new character?

Hands down, Elkanah. He’s Mas’s friend and just…fun. He plays a relatively large role, and I love his personality. He’s somewhere between ruthless and awkward, and he babbles when he’s nervous. :P I love him. 

**What has been your biggest road block in writing this, and how have you gotten over it? 

The rebels. I’m not good at figuring out their movements, and they’re so trapped and oppressed that it makes it hard for them to do anything. That, and since it is in Rab/Ari’s POV’s, I can’t show some stuff. So trying to figure all of that has stumped me a bit. Also…Mas. Mas is killing me in this book. I can’t elaborate much, but calculating each of his actions and decisions is exhausting. I feel bad for him. Poor guy needs a drink. *snorts at inside joke with my characters* 

**How do you feel the name relates to the story? 

The entire book deals with increasing oppression, the Huls’ attempts to quell the rebellion before it starts. (Sort of. ;) ) Whereas Sowing deals with things starting, Quelling is the response of a brutal regime that will do anything it takes to achieve their goals. 

**What is going to be featured on the cover as importance? 

I’m still thinking of cover ideas, but there will be fire. Fire has immense significance to the series in general and this book in particular. My current idea is a person burning at the stake in the background with something showing oppression in the foreground. 


Here is a little sneak peek! 

~~~

I couldn’t see the gate from the Burrow, but I could see some of the square, and every free moment I had, I glanced over. Hoping, praying, waiting. I saw thousands of Hulcondans, but never Sorek. After the Burrow cleared out for the day, I sat with Edaliah near the bell tower with a clear view of the gate.

No sign of him. 

I laid awake for what felt like hours that night, staring at the black ceiling, imagining every terrible scenario my mind could hold. Wondering what it’d mean for the group if they’d already discovered his deception. How long it’d be before Masrekah took my sister somewhere secluded and used her against me. What would happen to the rest of us if Sorek never came back.
The next day was no better. Worse, actually, because it rained for much of the morning and afternoon, and being outside to watch for him was too suspicious. So I sat at home while Ariliah was off with her stupid Hulcondan friend, my stomach churning, staring at the door, willing him to knock.

Again, nothing. Only silence. 

Masrekah stayed silent as well. There were no announcements, no Assemblies, and no arrests as far as I knew. There were no killings or executions, and, unless he was keeping it quiet, no posters either, though I thought I saw a couple guards taking something off an alley wall. For anyone looking at the city, it would have seemed there was nothing amiss, no rebel activity, no hunt called down. He seemed to be doing absolutely nothing, but that had to be a trick, a trap of some sort. Something to keep us nervous so we couldn’t predict his next move. It was Masrekah. He always had a vicious plot.

With him, silence was not safety. Silence was deadly.



Sunday, January 3, 2016

“P” is for pretty/purple prose

Well, a lot has happened in the past six months! Sowing is with beta readers right now; I’ll get all my feedback by the 16th, edit accordingly, and get the book to my editor for the second pass. Once she’s done, it’s on to either self-publishing or querying! (Still undecided.) My husband and I have been consumed by house-hunting! Yay! (Not. We’re getting there…)

“P” is for pretty/purple prose

Purple prose: prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself. Purple prose is characterized by the extensive use of adjectives, adverbs, zombie nouns, and metaphors.

I get lost in physical description. Some writers can describe trees in a poetic way, but I’m like, “Uh…it looks like a tree. With leaves. And bark. It’s tall and stuff. The leaves are green. OH! And there are branches because, you know, it’s a tree.”

*facepalm*

Characters are worse. Some writers use purple prose to detail every aspect of their characters: her heart-shaped face (what kind of heart? a Valentine-type heart or an actual heart? because one is kind of awkward and the other is something I’ve never seen a person’s head shaped like), long tresses that flowed like a waterfall down her slender shoulders (so her hair is crushing her shoulders? yikes), azure eyes that dazzled like the ocean under a rising sun (what if I’ve never seen the ocean? are people’s eyes really azure?)…

I’ll never write purple prose. Why? Because when I read it, I blank out. Even if I get through (I usually have to reread), I forget it. It’s overwhelming, so my brain detaches. I skim.

WORK IT IN TO THE STORY!

I’m kind of a minimalist. For being a writer, I’m probably too visual. I can see it, but I can’t make words of it. I’m working on describing settings better, but no one will ever picture my characters exactly as I do, even if I describe them in detail. Mas is dirty blond; people still picture him dark-haired. So what? Even my narrators don’t see others the same way. Rab notices a man’s build before anything else about him, instinctively calculating how much of a threat he is. Ari tends to focus on eyes, drawn to the feature that gives away her mother’s moods the most. If both girls saw the same things in people, I’d lose that subtle difference.

Neither girl overtly states whether her respective love interest is attractive, handsome, or whatever else. Those are throwaway words. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I prefer to show attraction through interaction. (Though the last hopefully shows disgust.)

~Heat washed across my face and down my neck, once again leaving me acutely aware of the low neckline of the tunic. It wasn’t anywhere near as low as some of the girls I’d seen flitting about, but it was lower than I was used to. I tugged at it, wishing once again that it didn’t show so much skin. His gaze dropped to follow the movement, his lips parting, and I jumped at the opportunity to look away, drawing my hands inside my sleeves.

~ His eyes returned to mine and held for a moment before gliding over my lips and toward my chest. His grip tightened on my waist, his thumb edging higher up my side. My mind zeroed in on the pressure of his touch, something between confusion and delight flushing through me.

~Without a word, he grabbed a few bowls, balancing them in the crook of his arm. My eyes traced over the muscle, and I spun on my heel toward the back room.

~She grinned. “But see? He’s not old, fat, or gross, is he?”
Heat filled my cheeks. “Oh, hush.”

~He blinked once, glanced down at himself, and brushed the fingers of his right hand over his chest. Heat blazed through my face as I followed the movement, and I huffed, tearing my eyes away.

~He removed his bracers, waited for the guard to rearrange the items in his hands, and surrendered them as well. He whipped his tunic off over his head, leaving only a sleeveless black shirt behind. I winced but kept my gaze steady. Numerous tattoos dotted his right arm, one presumably for each of his ranks. He gave the tunic to Stoic Face, exchanged some words with him, and started massaging his forearms, his muscles rippling under the movement. I wrinkled my nose and swiveled my attention back to Sorek.


How about you? As a writer, how do you handle description? As a reader, what do you think of purple prose?