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Showing posts from 2016

Embracing Hope

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Writing has finished.  Editing has ceased.  Physical and digital manifestations of my words now appear in book form (at least in pre-order until Nov 22nd).  Hope (The World In-between, 5) is a reality.
Hope sees the worlds on both sides of the portal through different eyes.  Yes, Berty is still a major player in the book, but I decided to take the lens away from him.  The reader gets to know him better through his niece, Hope.  Who, in turn, gets a bigger piece of the adventure, whether she wants it or not.
Ten years after others fought the Battle of Fairyland, seventeen-year-old Hope struggles to find her place in the world.  Which side of the portal should she be spending her time?  Can she suffer through the rest of high school without detention?  What about college?  Neither magic nor archery are majors.  What exactly does a wood listener do with the rest of her life?  An unknown enemy shatters all her aspirations while attempting to subvert who she is and who she will become.
The…

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

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A shrouded moon cast no shadows while he skulked from house to house.  The cool breeze carried a crisp aroma of decaying dried leaves.  Thunder rumbled overhead.  He hurried past flickering jack-o-lanterns.  A heavy deluge erupted from the laden clouds, washing red and yellow leaves into the gutters.  Lighting forked to the earth.  A loud clap made him race under the portico.  Shaking water off his coat, he pressed a doorbell.  A man with an eye patch answered the door.  He entered then removed his soaked coat and hat.  The door closed behind him with a bang.  Clutching an offered cup of blood red liquid, he joined the throng of ghosts, witches, vampires, monsters, and celebrity masks.
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This time of year sparks the macabre imagination.  The combination of cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and ever earlier sunsets feeds into the concept of Halloween and its forebears.  Personally, I’ve never been one for the grotesque.  However, I do harbor a belief in versions of the supernatur…

September Update—Editing

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The writing stage of Hope (The World In-between, 5) finished earlier this month.  As I type this blog post, the first editing stage is nearing completion.  I usually go through three or four edits before I hand it off to my editor.
Since I handwrite my manuscripts (still), typing it into a workable manuscript format becomes my first edit.  First drafts are messy.  Mine are no exception.  Many pages include scratch-outs, arrows, and words scrunched here and there.  The main goal of a first draft is to extract the story from your head.  I happen to find the pen a more useful tool than the keyboard for this process.  As I type, I change things.
Writing isn’t always fluid.  You stop and start, sometimes multiple times a day.  You may forget bits and pieces of what you wrote previously.  A certain word may get stuck in your head, and you end up writing it over and over.  Or, you simply don’t vary the sentence structure.
When I type the second draft, I tend to go deeper.  With every line, …

Channeling the Inner Teen

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It may be a month behind schedule, but Hope is almost finished.  Only one major scene to go.  I’ve had the final scene for this book in my head for years.  It taunts me.  However, getting to the end has been the challenge.
I’ve had a few bumps when I started this book in the World In-between Series.  One, I needed a plot that gave a reason for the characters to be “there.”  Two, I needed a place to start.  Three, I had to change the tone to reflect the change in the point of view.
To overcome these, I looked more closely at the story I wove in the previous four books.  The plot came together nicely.  I started at the beginning, of course.  I set up the new point of view and the plot in chapter one.

“Miss Chase?  Are you with us today, Miss Chase?” Tearing her eyes from the wooden ring resembling a flower on her pinky, Hope raised her head to look at her teacher who leaned against the metal desk left over from another decade. “Good,” the teacher said with a patronizing smile.  Mrs. Kurlo…

Chocolate Fix

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I am a lover of all things yummy in my tummy.  Savory and sweet.  The kitchen makeover took longer than expected.  Finally getting fully back into the kitchen, I have been feeding my passion for cooking by trying new foods and recipes.  With this recent heat wave, the air conditioning is on.  That means warming up both me and my kitchen with baking.
Lately, I have tried two new cake recipes—a sour cream bunt cake and a Jewish coffee cake.  Instead of using sour cream for both cakes, I used yogurt.  Both turned out scrumptious.  Also, tried a lemon meltaway cookie recipe of which I was not too fond.  Back to the cookie drawing board for something else.
In addition to new finds, I enjoy baking old standards.  One cake that my mom and I have been making since I was very little is Chocolate Pudding Cake.  And, my grandmother used to make this when my mom was a little girl.  This family favorite is simple and delicious.  Chocolate cake essentially floats on a lake of chocolate sauce.  I p…

A Little Bit of Hope with a Side of Griffin

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Epic fantasy has become my sole writing style this year.  My focus: The fifth book of the World In-between Series, Hope.  
Beginning ten years after the end of Whispers (Book 4), the story centers around the magical struggles of Berty’s seventeen-year-old niece.  Since she first crossed the portal ten years ago, Hope straddled two worlds—the mundane modern world and the magical world between the portals.  As a Wood Listener, she struggles to find her place in life.  Unbeknownst to her uncle, her parents, and her innocent friend trailing her, Hope stoles into the other side only to find her place fraught with danger.
For your reading pleasure: a sneak peek of Chapter 2.

Hope climbed the stairs of the quiet outpost.  She figured that not many guards occupied a peacetime outpost, especially one out in the middle of nowhere.  The second door on the left sat open.  She knocked. “Yes?” came from behind a curtain of blond.  The hair hid a face buried in papers. “Lieutenant, I have a questio…

I Am the Machine

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One of questions I get asked most often is how much of me is in my writing.  Let’s ignore the obvious answer of everything is me since it’s a product of my imagination.
We’ll start with the house in The World In-between where Berty first meets Silvia.  The magical Victorian at 727 Oak Street is nowhere near an exact replica of any house in which I have lived or currently live.  Instead, it encompasses all my favorite old house details.  The back stairs, stained glass door, and deep porch are similar to the old house in which I live.  The wood paneling, the beveled glass inner doors, and intact gaslights are additions that give that house its own character.  The best thing about 727 Oak Street, though, has to be the magic.
In the series, Berty has an affinity with coffee.  Okay, perhaps it might be more than a simple affinity.  He may need it to start his day most days.  This love of two mugs of morning coffee is something Berty taught me.  However, I have always loved freshly ground …

April Showers and Kitchen Re-do

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Slowly and surely, this tired, old kitchen is getting a long overdue makeover.  The light wood cabinets with large chrome knobs and chrome trimmed laminate counters were all part of a modern kitchen of the 50s.  At some point in the 90s, someone replaced the gas cooktop and wallpapered the walls, which are now a lovely shade of green.
The cabinets had this shabby-ness to them with the varnish on the doors coming off and the oversized chrome knobs rusting.  After a long deliberation about color, the cabinets finally have been painted an off white.  The doors and drawers came off and out for sanding and painting.  Hardware was removed.  Upon first moving in, new knobs matched the newly installed brushed faucet.  The faucet has since ceased operating properly.  The new one is now polished chrome.  The knobs no longer match.
At first, chrome pulls and knobs were bought.  They just didn’t do it for the kitchen despite matching the new faucet.  Besides, off white and chrome seems so boring…

Spring to Mind

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Spring marches swiftly.  Robins poke at the grass outside my office window.  I spend mornings writing with the window open.  Chirping and increasing road traffic reverberate around my writing nook.  Although Hope (The World In-between, 5) takes place in the spring, the outside becomes background noise.
This one scene sequence constantly plays in my mind.  It doesn’t care if I’m not at that point in the story yet.  My main goal has been to get my characters there.  The scene is a major turning point in the story and in Hope’s character development.  I want to say that I didn’t plan that scene when I first started, but somewhere in my mind, I think I did.  Why else would I have dropped the breadcrumbs?
It’s funny.  In my literature classes, we were expected to deconstruct stories, look for meaning, what the author intended, et cetera.  When I walked across that stage and received my degree holder, writing had well taken hold of me, yet, becoming a novelist wasn’t in the plans then.  Fi…

For the Love of Reading

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Love is in the air and the love of books and reading is no exception.
Laurel Highlands Publishing reduced prices on all their ebooks for the entire month of February.  This love of reading promotion includes my novels and books with my short stories.
As the temperatures drop, curling up with an e-reader or phone under a blanket is time well spent cozy and warm.  Discover some place new to love in one of my books at prices everyone can love.


The World In-between Series: The Dragonlands
This short story prequel takes us back to the creation of the Empire during the Age of Dragons.  Learn how the Dragons escaped this world to live in the world in-between the portals.
FreeBarnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords Price Match at Amazon

The World In-between
Book 1 introduces Berty Chase, a newspaper reporter on the verge of nothing special until he meets Silvia.  She brings him into her world—one full of magic and those who wish to harness that magic.
$2.99Amazon, Barnes & No…

New Year No Plans

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Last year, around this time, I tried something new—made plans.  They say that things don’t always go as planned.  Maybe, it could be that I find that life is more interesting when I don’t follow any plan.  Plans, to me, are like outlines for my novels.  I write outlines, then never actually follow them.  I place that sheet or two of paper in my folder and never look at it again.  It always works out better that way.  Since I never looked at last year’s plans after making them, this year, like every other year, I’m not going to bother with plans.
What I do have are lists.  Here is a list of my lists:
Current Writing Projects Future Writing Projects Editing Jobs Books to Read Games to Play Around the House Projects
I’m already about 15,000 words into Hope, Book 5 of the World In-between Series.  For a series where most of the books run about 100,000 words, 15 is a drop in the bucket, but it is shaping up well.  Once I get back into a post-holiday writing regimen, the words will be pili…