Monthly Archives: November 2013

Ack, Four More Days!

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Today’s blog is brought to you by the letters: O, M, G and the number 4  as in Oh My God there are only 4 days of NaNoWriMo left and I’ve got 13,962 words to go and I’m working every day this week except tomorrow!

It will be a struggle, but I think I can still make it. It’s been several years since I didn’t “win” and I don’t want to break my streak, therefore, this post is short, sweet and now over. I have to get back to my story!

NaNo Sneak Peek – Chapter 3

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Sneak peeks of the NaNoWriMo project in progress continues!  Chapter three of Errand Girl of the Undead: The Trouble with Zombies (remember, no editing done yet, blah blah)

Chapter One can be found here: Click me!

Chapter Two right here: Yup, here

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Chapter Three

Shock coursed through me and the paper slipped from my fingers.  I noticed out the corner of my eye that Tyler was quick to snatch it up before it hit the floor, sliding it into his pocket before others could see it.

“Ellie, you okay? You’re white as a ghost,” he said under his breath, evident concern in his voice.  I could do nothing but swallow hard and give a curt nod.  I could feel his eyes on me, questioning, before he turned away.

“Okay ladies, I’ve got to get going. My ride needs to get to work.”  The girls protested, most of them offering to give him a lift, but he graciously denied them all before giving them his back and closing my locker.  Looping an arm through mine, he led me out of the building and towards my car.

With robotic motions, I unlocked the car and got in, sitting in the driver’s seat with my hand poised to put the key in the ignition, but not following through.  Tyler fished the note out of his pocket before sitting down and buckling his seat belt.  He didn’t read it, but twisted in his seat and held the piece of paper out to me, questioning with his eyes.

I tipped my head towards him, silently giving him the go ahead to read the note. It didn’t take more than a moment.  He put the paper in my cup holder and put a hand on my thigh.

“Whoever wrote this, you know it’s not Tomas.  You and Samson finished him.”

I nodded.  “I know, but then who else could it be and why are they choosing to come forward now? Why didn’t they give me more information? Tell me how to get in touch with them?”

“Maybe they’re just playing with you,” Tyler said, anger flashing briefly in his eyes.  He’s very protective of me.

“Maybe,” I agreed, my tone skeptical. I closed my eyes and rubbed them with the heels of my hands. Amazing how a just a couple of random words strung together into a sentence could send your world into a tailspin.

Tyler squeezed my thigh reassuringly.  “I’ll help you figure it out if you want me to.” Hands dropping into my lap, I give him a small smile. It’s nice to know I’ve got someone on my side.

“Thanks T.  For now, I better get to work. Lots to do today. I’ll drop you off on the way.”  He looked like he was going to protest but then thought better of it.  After he nodded his agreement, I started the car and headed towards home.

***

Something about my office was calming to me.  I’m not sure if it was the organization of it all–the everything has a place and everything is in its place kind of deal–but it almost always put me at ease.

I looked both ways to make sure no one was watching me as I unlocked the door “normal” people couldn’t see, and entered the space, flipping on the florescent lights as I went.  The plaza where my office was located was rundown and almost always empty, which meant there were never a lot of people around to wonder why some preppy blonde girl was disappearing into walls.  The ones who are around and might see are typically the kind of folks under the influence of something.

Checking my machine, I saw I had 4 messages waiting. Next to the phone was my stack of pink slips of jobs that needed to be done.  It was going to be a long afternoon.  My stomach let out a lion-like roar, reminding me that I skimped on lunch. Hey, I barely had time to eat breakfast, never mind pack a lunch.  Putting work on hold, I strolled out the door and down to the end of the strip mall where there was still a Chinese take-out place in business.  They knew my order by heart and placed it as soon as I walked in.  I sat in one of the metal chairs with its shiny red cracked cushion.  There was a young couple seated at a table near me. Both were fidgeting with their phones while waiting for their order to be up.

“Hey, did you hear that they found another mangled body?” I overheard the guy say to his brunette companion.

She wrinkled her nose in disgust. “No. Do we really have to talk about it before eating?”  I was with her. My stomach may be strong but I’d prefer not to have to hear about bloody body parts right before I eat.

“It was right by our house!” he exclaimed as if that meant he had license to discuss it even though she had nixed the discussion. She sighed and gave in, gesturing for him to continue with his gruesome tale. Unable to help myself, I leaned in a little closer too.

“The body was found in that old playground by the elementary school.”

“Oh no,” the girl said, concern on her face. “I hope one of the kids didn’t come across it. Poor things will have nightmares for life…”

Her guy was quick to shake his head. “No, the cops found it thanks to some anonymous tip.”

My eyebrows rose.  Anonymous tip means they either knew it was happening or came upon it but didn’t want to be known because they may have had a hand in it…or some kind of criminal record.

The guy continued, “The body was under that big metal slide, ya know, the one that we’d burn the backs of our legs on going down it in the summer while wearing shorts?”  The girl rolled her eyes at his unnecessary description but nodded that she remembered. “Turned out to be some business-type guy. He was all decked out in an expensive suit. They said he had bite marks all over his body.”

My ears perked up at his words and my thoughts immediately drifted to Tyler. No, I shook my head, thanks to his training with Hunter, he’s got the curse under control.  And after what Tomas had been making him do, I’m sure Tyler wouldn’t hurt anyone else, not even by gun point.  Was there another rogue werewolf around? Had Tomas made a second and had them in hiding before he died? I knew the answer to that was most likely no.

The brunette said something I missed and her companion replied, “No! That’s the crazy thing; they said they are most definitely human bites! Isn’t that insane?”

“Some other human bit this guy to death?” She was turning an unattractive shade of green.

“Yeah! Not just bites either. They said pieces of flesh had been torn off the guy’s body and–get this–his head had been bashed open and part of the brain was eaten!”  His eyes gleamed with a sick excitement as he relayed the story to his distressed girlfriend.

“I think I’m going to be sick,” she said, before slapping a hand over her mouth.  He just laughed and got up to grab their food which had been placed on the counter.

“It’s probably just some addict, ya know, like that guy on bath salts that attacked a guy in Florida. Come on, I’ll protect you on the walk home,” he said, throwing an arm around her shoulder.  I didn’t think she looked too assured by his words, but left with him all the same

I had heard that story and always felt there was something off about it. Sure drugs can make you do crazy things, but turn you into a cannibal? I wasn’t not so sure.  The guy’s words swam around in my brain as I tried to make sense of the story, to come up with a logical explanation. Although, was anything about murder and violence really logical? They’re often considered crimes of passion for a reason.

In the distance I heard the cashier call me over. I got up and moved like a zombie towards the register. Arm out to grab the bag, I froze. No.  It couldn’t be…could it? I blinked a couple times, coming out of my trans-like state. I tossed a couple of bucks on the counter and told them to keep the change as I raced out of the restaurant and back to my store front. I had some research to do before running my errands.

This could be a big deal.

Brain eating zombies normally were.

NaNoWriMo Week 3 – Where Are You At?

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Three weeks in already! Where has the time gone?  How is your story treating you? Flowing like a proper river? Or fighting you tooth and nail, like a bitch?

Are you ahead of the game? (If so, huzzah for you!) Or are you lagging behind?  I’m currently slightly behind, but there’s still time to catch up!

I’m here to give you a kick in the ass, if needed.  You’ve got these last two weeks and you can get it done!  If thinking in terms of the  50,000 words is daunting, change your thought patterns. Give yourself credit and a big pat on the back for writing as much as you have. For writing once a week. For writing once a day. For planning, intending and putting something down on paper (aka screen) which is so much more than many others have done.

Give yourself smaller goals and reward yourself if need be.  If you can get 500 words down, you can watch 30 min of TV or eat your favorite snack.

Don’t forget to participate in Word Wars and Sprints (@nanowordsprints on Twitter) which are, in my opinion, great motivators.  You’ve  come this far already, don’t give up before getting to the end of the month.

Let me know and how you’re doing with your NaNoWriMo journey. If you need some motivation, leave me a Twitter name or FB name and I’ll help keep you going!

Nano Sneak Peek – Chapter 2

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Time is limited therefore I decided Thursdays in November will be for teasers. 1) it’s quick and easy 2) it keeps me writing so I have stuff to share 3) why not?

In case you missed last week, here’s Chapter One in the 2nd installment of Errand Girl of the Undead.  Remember, as per Nanowrimo rules, no editing has been done so excuse any typos or other general weirdness!

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Chapter Two

After scrambling to eat food and get out the door in time, I breathed a huge sigh of relief to make it to school before the bell.  Tyler, grinning at my melodramatic reaction, grabbed the strap on his backpack before opening the car door.  When he smiled like that, I had to resist the urge to scratch him behind the ear.

Tyler started at my school a couple weeks after I brought him home with me.  He had been forcefully turned into a werewolf by an old vamp, Tomas, who had something against Josiah. He had used Tyler to get him meals, a.k.a. fresh blood, and tried to get him to kill me to get back at my guardian.  To his credit, Tyler resisted eating me, even though he had been starved for a whole month before being let loose on the full moon and pointed in my direction.  I took it as a sign that he wasn’t just a mindless monster and that he could be saved. Not to mention I had always wanted a pet. Tyler was as close as I could get to having a puppy.

I couldn’t help but smile as I watched him lope off towards the building, excited to meet up with the new friends he was making and generally enjoying life for a change.  He had told us he came from an abusive home and was living on the streets when Tomas found him.  I was glad, if for no other reason, that he was happy and living the life of a “normal” teen, at least for 29 days out of the month.

Heading towards my locker, I couldn’t help but think about the situation that led me to Tyler in the first place.  When I had figured out what was going on, Josiah had hired me to stake Tomas for his crimes.  Before I could drive the pointed piece of wood home, Tomas taunted me with claims of knowing about my origin and how I had come to be with Josiah.  Samson assured me that Tomas was just trying to stall, looking for a way out of his impending final death, but I couldn’t help but be curious about what he said.  Thoughts of it kept me up at night, tossing and turning, trying to screw up the courage to question Josiah about it.

Until Tomas had mentioned it, I didn’t realize how much it bothered me not to know where I came from.  Josiah had always been my father-figure and I was happy enough to be well cared for and loved in the  best way he knew how, but now…now I can’t help but wonder who my mother and father were and why I wasn’t still with them.

“Earth to Ellie. Hellllllo.”

A hand waving in front of my face snapped me out of my thoughts.  Quick reflexes kept me from grabbing the arm connected to the hand and wrenching it up behind their back.  Good thing too because I think that totally would have ruined my chances of ever dating the cute guy attached to that arm.

“Oh, hey Jon,” I replied, hoping I wasn’t blushing.  When you’re as pale as me, the slightest hint of color makes you look like a tomato.

“Hi,” he said, smiling, which I admit made my knees a little weak.  Big scary vampires threatening to kill me don’t make my knees knock but give me a cute boy throwing his 100 watt smile my way? I’m a goner. “You looked like you were a million miles away.”

I ducked my head in embarrassment at being caught, lost in thought. “Yeah, I suppose I was…”

“Happens to the best of us at times,” he said patting my shoulder.  I gave him what I hoped was a cute smile and not a manic “OMG he’s touching me!” smile.

Jon reached around and opened the door to our homeroom, sweeping his arm in a grand gesture to allow me to enter first. I nodded my thanks and hurried in, hoping my ass didn’t look too big in this skirt.

The rest of the school day was uneventful.  I had another couple of bouts of “head in the clouds” during class, but thankfully I’m a good student and was able to answer when the teachers called on me.

Tyler was waiting at my locker, his usual gaggle of girls surround him.  I tried not to roll my eyes at their excessive fawning and giggling.  Tyler is super cute, especially now that he’s put some weight back on and got a decent haircut.  I can tell he likes the attention, but I also know he won’t let any of them get too close.  We share the burden of not being able to really get involved with someone for fear of them finding out about our “other” lives.

I noticed a few  evil eyes looked my way as Tyler waved at me with excitement. I guess they thought we were a couple or something.  That’ll never happen.  Don’t get me wrong, Tyler’s a great guy and like I said, not hard on the eyes, but he’s more like a brother to me and I think the feeling is mutual.  It’s actually a good thing because if there were romantic feelings, living together would be difficult.

Originally, Josiah was going to get Tyler into a pack, so he could learn more about being a Were, but because the local pack had something to do with his turning, Tyler had no desire to join them.  Instead, Josiah called in an old friend, a lone wolf who roams the country doing odd jobs, to come help Tyler learn to deal with his curse.  They seem to get along well and everyone is content with the current situation.

Ty crushed me in a tight hug when I got within range.  If looks could kill, I’m sure I’d be dead. Those girls were not happy with that action. I, on the other hand, loved it.  For as great a father as Josiah was, he was never big on a lot of touching. I don’t know if it was just unnatural to him and his kind or if he was concerned he might hurt me in some way.  Siobhan was good for hugs, but she’s so tiny she can’t even get her arms all the way around my waist.  Tyler’s hugs were like a big blanket, enveloping me in warmth and security.  We may not have known each other long, but circumstances have made us grown close in a very short period of time. I would miss him something fierce if he were to go away.

“How was your day?” he asked, stepping back so I could open my locker.

“Ooh same ole same ole.  Yours?”  I glanced over my shoulder at him, turning my lock by memory.

“Not too shabby.”  He grinned, tipping his head towards to the catty pack of girls.

I rolled my eyes and swung the locker door open. A small piece of paper came fluttering out, turning end over end before it landed at my feet.

“Oooh, a love letter?” one of the girls asked before reaching around me to make a grab for it.  I hip checked her out of the way. No way was I letting someone else read whatever it was before I did.   She stumbled back with an “oof”, practically landing in Tyler’s arms.  It was amazing to watch the murderous rage slide off her face as he smiled down at her, helping to put her up right.  Tearing my eyes away from the sickeningly sweet exchange, I reached down and plucked the piece of paper off the speckled cement floor.

Nerves fluttered a bit in my stomach as I turned the paper over.  The neat black print stood out offensively on the stark white paper.  The nerves settled into a heavy lump in my stomach, my throat suddenly tight.

“I know who you are and where you come from.”

BIG News!

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Some of you may remember a story  I wrote called Heavyweight. I’ve posted a couple of teasers over the past year.  It was the first thing I wrote where I felt I really wanted to shop it around for traditional publishing. I had several agents ask for fulls and they all came back the same “Thank you, but it’s not for us.”  I was all set to self publish when my writing bud, Patricia Lynne, suggested I submit to the publishing house, Dreamspinner Press.

I knew of Dreamspinner, thanks to meeting several of their authors (and getting books signed!) at BEA earlier this year, but I had no idea they had a separate young adult division called Harmony Ink Press.  I checked their requirements and was excited to see they accepted unagented work. I wrote a query and sent out my stuff.  The waiting game started, but it didn’t last very long.

I’m very happy to announce that late last week I signed a contract with them and Heavyweight  will be published in early 2014.

I’m beyond excited to be working with them and to know that this story I love so much will finally make its way to the masses!

This blog will allow me to share the process with you, as it’s something new I haven’t talked about , since I didn’t have the personal experience. I hope sharing my journey will help others gain the courage to submit and then know what to expect as the process moves along.