Happy Holidays & U Got the Look Meme

Neve_em_folhas_de_Chamaecyparis_pisifera_01Winter break is here just in time for the first snow! My kids woke up bright and early, and were out sledding at 7 a.m. The wind made it colder, so we didn’t stay out long, but we had a blast.

I’m taking a break from social media and will return with a regular post on January 10, 2013.

For today, I’m participating in Elise Fallson’s “U Got The Look” meme in which Melissa Maygrove inadvertently tagged me.

The rules are simple: Track down the word “look” in your current Work-In-Progress (WIP) and post the surrounding paragraphs, and then tag 5 other people with the meme.

WIP titleBlink
Genre: Paranormal
Category: Young Adult
Orientation:  This is the point where Lexi’s world begins to spin out of control. One minute, she’s at a client’s house preparing to walk their dogs; the next, she wakes up in the hospital and something’s different.

“I’ve been here for two days?” There went Lexi’s perfect attendance record. Worse, two days were plenty of time for rumors to ruin what little social status she had. “How did I end up here?”

Mom tightened her hold on Lexi’s hand. “Mrs. Anderson said soon after she answered the door you blanched. Before she had a chance to offer you a seat, you passed out. Peanut cushioned your fall.”

“She okay?” If Lexi had hurt the Great Dane, she’d never forgive herself.

“She’s fine, it’s you we’re concerned about.” When Dad gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze, his fingertips curled around to her back.

The touch stung, like a fresh sunburn. She shifted away and the heat subsided. As Dad studied her, his lips twitched to the side the way they did whenever something bothered him, and he was strategizing the best way to broach the topic.

Oh, no. What if she was sick? “Is it skin cancer? A tumor?”

“Carolyn, will you get Lexi a cup of ice?” he asked Mom.

Must be something terminal. Her eyes blurred again.

“Sure. I’ll find the doctor, too.” Mom squeezed her hand before she left.

“What do you remember?” Dad whispered in an urgent tone.

“Peanut and Blue meeting me at the front door.” She balanced the lavender towel on the bedrail.

“What else?” The bed dipped where he sat.

“Why are you whispering?”

“Just answer the question.”

“I had this stabbing pain in my temples.” She touched the left one. “Made me nauseous and dizzy. After a blinding white light, everything turned cold. Freezing cold. Then, I woke up here.” Struggling to recall more brought a rush of pressure to her eyes and made them feel like they were about to pop out of her head. Her heart monitor beeped a fast pace, until Dad clicked mute again. “Am I sick?”

He shook his head. “This can’t be right.”

“What’s going on?”

“I hope I’m wrong. For your sake.”

“You’re freaking me out!”

He glanced at the open door where footsteps clacked up and down the hall. “Let me see your right shoulder.”

The IV catheter pulled when she reached out. She winced and tugged the gown to the side. Dad leaned forward. She knew the exact moment he spotted what he was looking for. His eyes bulged and his face paled.

“What is it?” She angled her head, struggling to see. Her fingertips probed at her shoulder. She jerked her hand back when she brushed an area where it felt like someone had snuffed a cigarette. “What the hell?”

“Oh God, Lexi. This isn’t supposed to happen to you.”

“What’s not supposed to happen to me?”

Footsteps in the hall grew closer.

“Don’t let Mom see.” He straightened the material and stood before he whispered, “I’ll explain everything later.”

“Why can’t you just explain now?”


As for the tagging of five people, I’m feeling generous. If you took the time to stop by my blog and want to participate in this meme, please considered yourself tagged!

Are you planning to join the party? Please let me know in the comments below so I can stop by and read a sample of your WiP.

Thanks, once again, for visiting. I wish you all happy holidays!

Halloween Anthology Coming Out Soon!

Cover art by Robyn Miley

My writer’s group, Novel Clique, and I have finally finished editing October Nightmares and Dreams for the Midwest Children’s Authors Guild. It features 14 children’s/YA short stories and 2 poems. My YA short story Blink, about the only female werewolf Huntress, will appear in the anthology.

Here’s a sneak peek at the back cover blurb:

Beware, Halloween is upon us. Soon, handkerchiefs may come to life and ghosts may appear to hinder or help. You may hear the eerie quiet of an orange grove and the rustling and moaning of a cornfield. Watch for stingy tricksters on the prowl and double-crossing siblings and friends who scatter at the first sign of trouble. Meet monsters that lurk on bedroom doors, hide inside closets, perch on porches, and linger in the mountains. If you’re brave enough, face your worst nightmare in a dark forest.

 Then, tell yourself it’s only Halloween. October Nightmares and Dreams presents a collection of stories and poems for children and young adults. Within these pages, you take a spooky journey through the stories and poems by authors of the Midwest Children’s Authors Guild.

For a sneak peek at Blink click here and scroll down.

Progress on Blink

It feels like it took forever to make it through Chapter 3 of the You Can Write A Novel Kit , but I made writing progress in other areas. I’ve completed two short stories, one is scheduled for release in the October Nightmares and Dreams anthology written by members of the Midwest Children’s Authors Guild and the other has been submitted to Pill Hill Press for consideration.

In Chapter 3: Build A Framework for Your Novel’s Pieces, I created an outline from start to finished. Smith offers step by step guidance to help writers draft strong beginnings, middles and ends. I like how he explains what each section needs and then gives two to three examples to demonstrate it. Using his method, I have identified scenes that directly impact the climax as well as major scenes that move the story line, complicate the problem, develop characters and/or set up other scenes.

This process worked so well that I was tempted to stray from the book and jump straight to writing. I’m glad I didn’t and it appears I’m not the only one who gets bitten by the writing bug at this phase. Smith warns writers not to write major scenes at this point, because they may fizzle later. So, I was thrilled when I saw the title for the next chapter.

Chapter 4: Writer Your Novel: Putting Together The Pieces. I’m so ready for this chapter and as always will post my progress.

Using Different Tools

I must admit, in Chapter 3: Build A Framework for Your Novel’s Pieces, when Smith recommended writing the climax first, I felt skeptical. I’ve always been a “write in the order the voices tell you ” kind of writer. Writing the climax first sounded daunting. How on earth was I going to come up with a climax when I haven’t written a single page of manuscript? But like always, Smith provided guidance, including Ten Elements for A Climatic Scene.  

A scene came to mind and I filled out the Scene Development sheet that comes with the You Can Write A Novel Kit. I checked my scene against the Ten Elements and found #7  (No new material introduced into the climax) and #8 (Lack of Explanation [exposition]) particularly hard for BLINK. There are things that will happen that Lexi (Master Character) won’t understand, that will be contrary to every thing she believed. Smith recommends foreshadowing to avoid introducing new material during the climax and action/dialogue to avoid slowing the pace of the climax with exposition.  

In Step 4 of Chapter 3, I created the opening scene. Again, Smith has a list of things an opening should include. I tore off another Scene Development and completed it as much as I could and much to my surprise, the opening scene and climax have a direct impact on each other just as they should (and despite creating them in opposite order). In the opening scene, Lexi makes a major mistake and in the climax, she has an opportunity to rectify it, but it will costs her. I’m now on Step 6: Write Your Central Story in “Headlines”. This section will help me connect the dots from the opening scene to the climax.