Go for it!

I was outlining Abby 2, and I had a thought. It is a thought I have reasonably often, mostly related to Vampire Diaries, but still. My thought was “you need to go for it, every single time, no matter what.”

Let me explain. I often have the issue with television shows, especially, where I feel like it’s being phoned in. Look, I’m not interested in it being phoned in. I’m interested in you blowing me out of the goddamn water every single time. My time is too valuable to spend watching/reading something that was phoned in because “hey we needed to do another one.”

Do not settle into the “it’s just another episode” bullshit that is so common in sequels. I never understand why people work so hard to get me as a reader and falter on the second one. Unless, of course, you’re Hunger Games. Then I get it.

Why is this coming up? Because I was writing the outline for Abby 2, and I had an idea. My idea, unfortunately, would be essentially “what does a day look like in Abby’s world now” and you know what? I don’t care. If I don’t care, why should you care?

That idea doesn’t go for it. The idea needs to go for it. The reader deserves this. The reader deserves for me to leap off a goddamn cliff at every possible turn. If it doesn’t do that… well, I didn’t try hard enough.

I’ll admit, I’m a fan of the ridiculous. I like the 3rd Wow expansion because Arthas appears at every possible turn to screw with you. I like lines like “Jeremy has a crossbow, doesn’t he?” I like that freeway scene in the second Matrix movie where Morpheus tosses around trucks on a freeway. I want every scene to do that, and I recognize some people don’t.

I mean I just came off reading The Blood of Olympus, and you know what? I couldn’t stand the book. It felt so… filtered and diluted. It is so much worse than The House of Hades, it’s astounding. It doesn’t even attempt to go for it, at all, ever.

And you know what, maybe my books don’t do that. But I want them to do that. I want my villain to mess with my hero constantly. I want my villain to stomp on my hero and grind her to pulp beneath her heel. And then, at that lowest point, I want my hero to stand up and be a goddamn hero.

No Complaints, but…

If there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that this whole book thing is a lot of work. I spent the last several days rewriting Abby Banks (it’s awesome now, thanks for asking), coming up with a cover, and proofing the cover.

I also proofed the entire Kill It With Magic audio book, and I think I’d give it an 8 out of 10. Maybe a 7.5, I dunno, I have heard the story so many time I can’t stand it anymore.

…That was all this week. I still haven’t written anything new.

Last week, I did outlines and wrote the first 10k of Lillim 5 and, basically, rewrote Abby Banks.

And, do you know what the sad thing is? I’m behind, like a month behind. It’s almost the end of February, and I should be halfway through Lillim 5, and I’m not. I’m going to have to crank into over drive so I can finish it and get into Abby 2.

I haven’t even outlined Abby 2.

Now, I’m not complaining. I’m over the moon that people are actually buying things I write. February has been, by far, my best month. That’s a little surreal because I still have a hard time believing that people want my stuff. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and people will find out that I’m this big fraud…

I was also told that I should write some short stories about Caleb and Lillim’s mom. Nothing overly dramatic, but just like “Here’s a mission go do it” type things. I’d been toying with the idea (I actually wrote a Warthor one). The sad thing? I’d love to do it… I just don’t have time.

Is it sad that I’m looking at my calendar and thinking, “Maybe next year?” I mean, I’m planned out until March 2016, and I don’t even have Under Wraps incorporated into it. I’m going to have to fit that in as an extra…

Way Better

So have you ever been in the situation where you send a book to a beta reader and she hates everything about it? She hates the main character, the love interest, the plot, the, well, everything.

That’s not exactly what happened with Abby Banks, but it’s close, and I’m being melodramatic.

So I’ve spent a lot of time trying to salvage what I wrote and wound up writing an additional 4k words and deleting about 2k other words. I rewrote the ending and the last two chapters in addition to the first half of the book. I worked until my eyes started bleeding, and I couldn’t see straight… and I swear to god there’s something here now. Something A-MAZING.

It’s a great setup for book 2, I think.

In other news, Fairy Tale will be released in Monday 2/23. You should be able to get both Kindle and paperback right out the gate.

The Pursuit ebook is scheduled for March 23, but you can buy the paperback version now. Don’t tell anyone.

Under Wraps

Firstly, Kill It With Magic is on sale for $.99. Why? To celebrate the release of Fairy Tale on Wednesday!

Abby Banks is with the beta reader now, and I’m really hoping she likes it. It’s my first foray into non-supernatural hijinks. You’d think after writing 4 other books I’d stop being nervous sending things to the beta reader… but no, I’m always nervous.

And what does someone do when they finish a book? They start working on the next one. (After listening to 13 audio book chapters for typos.)

There I was, minding my own business working on the outline for Lillim 5, Hard Boiled, when partway through comes along an idea for a spin-off.

See, I had this idea that I could contain all my books in the same world because why the hell not? So the outline for Lillim 5 was supposed to help me tie in a separate series, Revelations. I was working on the two outlines in concert because revelations 1-3 will take place during the same time period as Lillim 5-6.

Still, there was this scene I outlined for Hard Boiled with a mummy girl named Aziza (Ziza for short) and the more I thought about it, the more it appeared like it would necessitate a lot of Lillim 5 to work out satisfactorily. That doesn’t work for a character who is supposed to be in 2 chapters.

And, because I’m lame, I started outlining this new idea more thoroughly. Now… I have an outline for a whole other trilogy. I’ve tentatively titled them: Under Wraps, All Wrapped Up, and Unwrapped. Because, well, it’s about mummies… well a mummy.

I just need more time in the day to write. Then I could fill Amazon with a zillion horrible books about vampires, werewolves, and mummies.

Fairy Tale – Chapter 1

Hello again. It’s me, though I don’t know who else it could be. I’d like to let you all know that I got Fairy Tale back from the editor yesterday (it’s at the formatter now) , and in honor of that and as per usual, I’m going to post the first chapter below.  Be forewarned, Fairy Tale is the first book I experimented with longer chapters. Enjoy!

**

Chapter 1

The “No Accidents Since 1908” sign crashed into my front door, narrowly missing me as I leapt to the side and slammed haphazardly into the remains of my blackened husk of a couch. I tucked my body into a roll that left me covered in ash and debris and came up on my feet, fists raised in a fighting stance. The only thing that greeted me was the burned out shell of my apartment.

The beam the sign had been attached to creaked and groaned. I grimaced as it broke free of the ceiling and smashed into what was left of the bathroom wall, tearing a sky-light-sized hole in the ceiling.

“That’s it,” I growled. “It’s time to punch the Fairy Queen in the face.”

Just because she was like four inches tall and all sparkly, didn’t mean she could ignore a job she agreed to do. Since I’d contacted the pint-sized pixie to rebuild my apartment three weeks ago, I’ve been randomly dropping in to see what progress they’ve made. The short answer? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I glanced at the safety sign impaled in my front door. “Well, they’ve hung a sign, that’s progress right?” I asked no one in particular because the place was empty, again.

So far, I hadn’t managed to catch them working even once. Every single time I called, the line just rang and rang or went straight to a voicemail that was full. How voicemail boxes even got full nowadays was completely beyond me.

I sighed and tapped at the device on my wrist. It glowed with soft white light, humming like one of those portable, electric fans people carry around on hot days. Just like that the scene around me melted away.

Sunlight streamed through the window to my left, hitting me square in the face. I glared at the window and flopped onto my borrowed bed, annoyed. Originally, I’d thought I’d chosen a poor place for my bed, but all of the beds were arranged so that sunlight always streamed into your face after first light which was at some stupid hour like before noon. I firmly believed that the sun did not come out until well after mid-day.

I grumbled and rolled onto my bed, stripping off my clothes in the process. It was like trying to get comfortable on cement. I bunched my pillow around my head and tried to ignore the relentless rays of sunlight determined to keep me awake, despite the fact I was out fighting monsters all night.

This was part of the reason I was so angry at the damn fairies. Since my apartment had been thoroughly destroyed when Grollshanks threw a car through my front door three weeks ago, I was staying with my mother. This sounded worse than it was.

For starters, I was only seventeen years old. Most seventeen year olds lived at home so I was fairly sure that this reduced my coolness factor to about normal. Secondly, my mother ran a supernatural army known as the Dioscuri, and I was only borrowing a bed in one of the barracks. This was a big deal for me, personally, however. I couldn’t remember the last time I stayed for even a few minutes in the Dioscuri headquarters in the floating city of Lot.

I was mostly a run away from home and hide type of girl. If you grew up like I did, you would understand why. Part of it was that I still hadn’t quite come to terms with being the reincarnation of one of the most powerful Dioscuri the world has ever seen.

But, more importantly, I was used to having my own space and stuff. I was not used to sharing a dormitory with a bunch of other girls. Granted, there was only one other girl in this particular barracks, and since a good two-thirds of the city was badly damaged from a fight with a clan of orcs, non-destroyed space was in especially high demand.

Most of the other barracks were so packed to the brim with people it was common for girls and boys to share. The thought of being stuffed into a thirty bed room with a bunch of smelly male teens made my stomach twitch. The thought that they might be trying to sneak peeks or, worse yet, watch me sleep, made the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight.

I wouldn’t be in this position if those little fairies got their stupid butts in gear and rebuilt my apartment. I hadn’t even seen one damn fairy since I commissioned them. And now that I thought about it, the fairies have been doing a pretty shoddy job for a while now. The two months prior to the event with the giant, car-flinging orc, were so bad that I actually did a load or two of laundry myself, and if you knew me even a little bit, that was saying something. Cleaning was something Lillim Callina did not do. It was right there with cooking and homework.

I sat up in my way too hard little bed and nearly smacked my forehead on the underside of the bed above me. I managed to stop myself only inches from the solid iron bed frame and swallowed with relief. That would have hurt.

I scrambled out of the bed and nearly tripped over my nest of blankets. I took three rather awkward steps trying to right myself before a hand grabbed me by the shoulder and steadied me.

“What’s got you all in a rush, Lillim?” Kishi, the girl I was sharing the barracks with, asked in her songbird voice. She was one of those ancient beauty types. The kind that were frequently sequestered inside castles waiting to be saved by princes.

Her long, dark hair flowed down her back in a silken wave, and her bright green eyes sparked like jewels in the noontime sun. It made her look radiant even though she was dressed in a red, hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I stood next to her, it made me a little jealous. Being around her when a group of guys walked by reminded me of one of those movies. You know the kind where everyone else fades from view and the hero can only see the heroine? I was one of the fade-away girls, and there were times when I hated her for it.

“The fairies are in trouble. I have to go see what’s wrong,” I gasped, already throwing off her hand and rushing toward the door.

“Maybe you want to put some pants on first.” She laughed, a cute little sound that reminded me of puppies and sunshine.

I grumbled at her as a blush spread across my face. “Fine!” I snapped because well… she was right and I wasn’t about to go adventuring in my underwear. I rummaged through my duffel bag for something to wear as Kishi sat on her bunk watching me, which was a little odd because I was half-dressed.

A few minutes later I was clad in jeans and a forest green t-shirt, and as I moved to walk past her out the door she got up to follow me.

“I don’t really like fairies very much,” Kishi said. “They get everything all dusty. Sometimes, after they clean, you have to go behind them with a vacuum. I always wind up re-cleaning the whole place anyway.” Kishi shook her head as she followed me toward what was left of the transportation center.

“That must be a profitable side business. I heard that stuff is more valuable than gold,” I said with a smirk. Just imagining someone following after the fairy cleaners with a dirt devil trying to clean-up the nearly non-existent amount of fairy dust left behind made me smile. I would never, not in a million years, be able to even notice the dust, let alone be bothered to clean it up.

“I wouldn’t know. I turn it straight into R and D,” she said with a smile before covering her mouth and leaning toward me conspiratorially. “Have you ever tried it?”

“Tried what? Fairy dust?” I asked, glancing at her. This was a side of Kishi I’ve never seen before. Well, to be honest, being that she was a councilman’s daughter meant that I’d have little contact with her anyway. I didn’t know any side of her, so maybe this was the normal side of her.

I was the daughter of Diana Cortez, the Sagalie Tyee of the Dioscuri, and Sabastin Callina, the leader of the judges, and still I wasn’t really good enough to “mix” with the councilmen’s children. Us fighting types weren’t exactly encouraged to mix with the “nobility.” Then again, that may have been more to do with me being Dirge Meilan reborn. Who was to say?

Anyway, for all I knew the councilmen stood around snorting fairy dust or doing whatever it was you did with the stuff.

“What is it you do with fairy dust anyway?” I asked, glancing sidelong at Kishi. “And why are you following me?”

“You eat it. It tastes divine. You’ve eaten a candy swizzle right? It makes those things taste like dog poo.” She smiled at me. It was like watching the sunrise for the first time. I shook my head and looked away.

Of course I’ve tasted a candy swizzle. In my former life, I dated the guy who created them. Hiro Hideko created a synthetic “candy” that tasted exactly like whatever you wanted most. People were known to draw blood over the things when supplies ran low. It was why they weren’t made anymore. If fairy dust tasted better than that, I couldn’t even imagine what people would do for the stuff.

A shiver ran down my back at the thought. Maybe someone following them with a hoover wasn’t quite as unreasonable as I initially thought.

“You still didn’t tell me why you’re following me,” I said.

“It took you three tries to get out of the barracks fully clothed. If I hadn’t stopped you, you’d have run out here in just your bra and panties. If something was so important that you, the queen of prudes, would forget to put on a pair of pants, I thought I should keep an eye on you,” she said before leaning close to me and whispering into my ear. “Besides, I’ve heard about your adventures. They seem like fun.”

“Fun? They weren’t fun. They were scary and terrifying and I thought I was going to die like a thousand times over.” My stomach tensed as images of being crushed by a giant dragon clashed with those of the Blue Prince flinging me from the top of a building. And that was only the tip of the iceberg. “You seriously need a new definition of the word fun.”

Kishi’s body stiffened a little at the comment, and I nearly stumbled over her. Note to self: when someone is leaning close to you and stops suddenly, be ready to avoid her if you don’t want to end up in a heap on the floor.

“You know how many times I’ve seen real battle?” Her eyes were hard, and her voice made me look around for somewhere to hide. It was like the gunshot that scatters all the wildlife.

Very slowly, she raised one hand and held up a single finger. “Once when the orcs attacked a few weeks ago.” She held up a second finger. “When Manaka sieged the city.”

I waited for her to continue, but she did not. Maybe that was the point. Maybe that was her entire point. I was going to try to argue with her, to say something along the lines of “she should be happy she didn’t have machine gun toting maniacs kicking down her door.” I probably should have told her to be glad that no one threw a car through her front door.

I did not do those things because a thought struck me. Warthor Ein, my old master, was incredibly powerful. So powerful that dragons were scared of him. Like Kishi, he was a member of one of the noble houses.

Perhaps… perhaps he wasn’t the exception to the rule. Maybe, just maybe he was the rule because now that I thought about it, Manaka was a noble too… All of the people I could think of with noble blood were really damn strong.

I couldn’t imagine having that kind of power and not being able to use it because people didn’t want me to get hurt. That would drive me crazy. I also knew that no one was likely to take Kishi seriously if her parents didn’t want it to happen. No one really wants to wind up on the wrong side of council members.

To go on an adventure, she would have to get in with someone who didn’t care about rules and had just enough juice to make punishment not really stick. In short, I was her only hope of getting out there into the real world.

“Kishi, I’m going to let you tag along. If you’re incredibly lucky all you’ll get out of it is going to be a few scars.”

Spying The End

I wanted to make this post before it got too far away. I finished Abby Banks on Friday! Woo. Now I just need to finish my edit and send it to the beta reader. She’s supposed to get it tomorrow… gulp.

I also listened to the first 2 chapters of the audio book looking for errors, which is pretty neat. I have like 9 available and they’re like 15 minutes each so you do the math…

It’s really fun to listen to them though.

Finally, I’m supposed to get Fairy Tale back tomorrow, and I’ll have to hustle to get it edited and formatted so its release can coincide with the promotions for Kill it With Magic on Feb 16-20.

May Contain Spies

I’ve been relatively busy the last few days with stuff. I think I may have come up with a title for Abby Banks. Originally I was going to go with something like Broken Out or Seized… but you know what the problem is with those titles? They aren’t me.

That’s when I came up with May Contain Spies, and I’m reasonably pleased with it. I had tossed around the idea of The Accidental Spy but, apparently, that’s a Jackie Chan movie. Who knew?

The book needs to go to the beta reader in exactly one week, and the cover artist is, I assume, hard at work! Look for the book in April.

I’m also scheduling a $.99 promotion for Kill It with Magic on 2/16-2/21, and I’m excited because I was able to get some pretty heavy hitters to list my promotion.

Those dates, interestingly enough, coincide with the approximate release of Fairy Tale.

Finally, I listened to the first fifteen minutes of the audio version of Kill it with Magic. It’s partway through production now, and you should expect to see it in March. That will be approximately when Pursuit releases.

Then you can listen to Lillim Callina in all her, um, glory? I don’t know.

Now I just need to finish Abby Banks. It’s been three chapters from done for over a week now. I keep writing chapters, and the book keeps getting longer. I’m at the part where Stephen is slowly being lowered into a tank filled with sharks, so how much longer could it possibly be? (Wouldn’t you like to know if I’m joking?)

Also, Sheena is a punk rocker.

Review – Indomitable

I’ve decided to do another book review. Why? Because I wanted to read the book based on the blurb and offered to do it in exchange for a free book. The book in question is Indomitable, and it is the first in a series called The Push Chronicles. It is written by J.B. Garner. His webpage is here. A link to the book on Amazon is here.

Okay, first off, I have to say Indomitable is, by far, one of the coolest words in the English language. After reading the title, I wanted to read this book. Then I saw the cover. It’s friggen awesome! I have to say, the cover made me want to read the book. All that said, I’m going to try not to spoil the story for you, but tread lightly.

Irene Roman never wanted to be a hero, but when a strange betrayal literally changes all of reality, she may not have a choice. Now the Earth is filled with superhumans, both good and evil, and Irene is one of the only people on the planet who knows why and may be the only person in the world who can set things right. What price will Irene pay to be the hero she never wanted to be?

The good:

Indomitable has an interesting idea to start off the whole “people with superpowers” thing. I found the idea immediately plausible, and well, highly entertaining. It was a clever way to introduce info dump and suspension of belief idea into the plot one teaspoon at a time.

I liked the whole explanation as to why Irene (the main character) could be all “I am Batman” and take on Epic (Superman/Green Lantern) or any other superhero even though she had no discernible super powers.

I really enjoyed the various characters J.B. came up with and the struggle between good and evil.

Most of the action scenes are well written, and the whole do or die nature of the conflicts combined with Irene’s concern over innocents made me smile. You never think about the normal guy when super heroes collide.

The Bad:

Indomitable suffers from not having been line edited. There was a point when I gave up counting typos very early on in the manuscript. Several of the sentences are completely bogged down by excessive prose. I found myself dreading each sentence until about halfway through the book.

The Ugly:

This is a good book. Unfortunately, the beginning of the book is so bogged down in excessive writing  that I nearly put it down several times. Once I got about 25% of the way into the book, I was hooked, but honestly, I wouldn’t normally give a book that long. The author could stand to cut down on excessive prose.

Also, even though the main character is a female named Irene, I almost couldn’t tell what her gender was. In fact, the only reason I clearly identified her as female (other than her name) was because the main antagonist was her boyfriend and was clearly male.

Verdict:

Three (3) stars.

To be fair, unless you’re writing Fault in our Stars you’re not getting 5 stars from me. I’d say this was a solid 4 star book… if it wasn’t for the editing. I knocked off a star for editing. So this book gets three stars. I sincerely hope the author finds the money for line editing because it will vastly improve the quality of his book.

All that said, I’d totally read the next one.