Pronunciation Guide

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…
~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.”


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.


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?