Monthly Archives: October 2008

1 Question Friday

What do you admire about your main characters?  Tell why if you want.



Filed under Kimberly, writing

The X Files and other strange things

X marks the spot, right?  At least it does on every pirate map I saw as a child.  But I wonder if Blackbeard buried gold and trinkets in a chest under a big red X. I doubt it.

I often feel like I am digging for buried treasure when I go into my X files. Those are my research files, places I store bits and pieces of information that randomly turn up in my manuscripts or will one day. Those are my gold and trinkets.

As I was skimming them tonight, the variety tickled me. As I have mentioned before, I genre hop. So I have stuff that is as diverse as a United Nations meeting. Gawd forbid there is really a governmental agencies tagging all the stuff I research on-line. I could be on some FBI/CIA watch list and never know it. *looks around in paranoid fashion*
And if you think my files are bad, you should see my book shelf. But let me not get ahead of myself, First the X files. I have correspondence with the following people:

  • two doctors
  • one criminal lawyer
  • one family law lawyer
  • one horse trainer
  • Poker players
  • one stripper
  • four polyamory group members
  • one hardwood lumber specialist
  • two radio station manager
  • five disc jockeys in three states
  • a plethora of other authors
  • a photographer/videographer
  • a zoologist (big cats specialty)
  • four police officers
  • one former secret service man
  • numerous 911 people
  • two district attorneys
  • one CPS worker
  • a midwife
  • a personal trainer
  • a minister
  • fire fighters from five states
  • EMTs/Paramedics in four states
  • two newspaper reporters
  • a prison guard
  • a veterinarian
  • many renfaire enthusiasts
  • musicians
  • and a few others that escape my mind right now

Now, I have not used all of this information yet, nor do I even have plans to use it in the near future but who knows what tale will pop into my head next.  When I meet a person with a different background, I make note of it and try and glean as much information as I can and open a line of dialogue that I may need to call on in the future. So far, I have been really really lucky in that very few people I have approached have turned me down. It happens and, okay, I can deal with that. I just look elsewhere for the information I want.

But if my computer files are bad, my bookshelf is worse.  Reading across just one shelf I have:

  • Meshach Browning: Tale of a Revoutionary Era Hunter
  • Grimm’s Fairytales
  • 1923 Book of Etiquette
  • A Look at 20 Worldviews on Faith and Religion
  • Satanism and Witchcraft
  • Sourcebook for Medieval History
  • The King James Bible
  • Costuming through the Ages
  • How They Fight: A Study of Warfare Tactics through History
  • The Complete Annotated Works of William Shakespeare
  • The Story of English
  • Festivals and Celebration Practices in Ancient Times
  • Eygypt: Pharoh’s Land
  • Neaderthal Man
  • four different dictionaries
  • two thesaurus
  • A case study compilation on mute children
  • Ghost Stories of the Potomac
  • Native American Legends for Readers
  • Little Brown Handbook of Grammar
  • Researching Your Geneology
  • First Aid handbook

Yeah, that is one shelf. Remember that post I made on Trivia? Here you go. I have read all of these books (not the dictionaries or the thesaurus, I skim those. Okay, I skim the Grammar book too. *ICK*).

I write fiction, but I don’t make up stuff. I love my research. Where else can I justify talking to a stripper one day and a surgeon the next? When I think of a cool plot twist, who better to go to than my former secret service dude (Hi Todd!) and ask him? Truth is stranger than fiction, they say and I do hope so. I may write fiction but it is all fact based. And I have the X to mark the spot where I found it.


Filed under bizarre analogies, Inez, writing

Inspiration…It’s Where You Find It

It’s been a rough month in my world, but it’s had its compensations.

The co-worker from hell was laid off at the day-job, but jubilation was short lived as my duties were expanded to include hers. Sigh. We were all assured that no further lay-offs were planned. Yeah. Right. Less than two weeks later we all had our hours slashed to 3/4 time. I repeat: Sigh.

In the midst of day-job madness, I received some encouragement from my writing. One of the agents I queried moved from query to partial to full. I’m trying to carry on as usual while I wait for her final decision…but it’s hard not to stare at my cell phone and will it to ring.

So, my day-job is in chaos and my writing career is in limbo. What joy! NaNoWriMo is approaching, but with grandbaby #3 due at Thanksgiving I’d decided not to participate. Until…

Yep. You guessed it…inspiration struck. (And you thought I’d forgotten about the title of this post *lol*)

I pried myself away from my computer on Sunday and DH and I took a drive to enjoy the fall colors. Trees filled my vision and sparked my imagination. Golden trees. Burnt-orange trees. Evergreen trees. Trees with leaves the size of dinner plates. What kind of story centers on trees?

Daphne and Apollo, of course! Dryads, nymphs, hamadryads…falling leaves sparkled in shafts of sunlight like visible fairy dust.

Daphne’s tale is Greek mythology. I prefer Celtic. Internet research provided the link. Contented sigh.

I now have the rough outline of a contemporary YA tale centering on Nimue Elaine Woodward. Nim is the daughter of wealthy industrialist Paul Woodward and a sidhe draoi (faery druid) named Rowan. Paul and Rowan met and fell in love (lust?) when Paul bought the land containing Rowan’s grove…and proceeded to try to turn it into an industrial complex. Rowan objected strenuously; Nim was the ultimate result. Now Nim has to find her place in this world. Is she faery, or is she mortal? Every teen faces a crisis of identity, but Nim’s choices are on a grander scale…and more than her own happiness hangs in the balance.

Okay, NaNo. My muse has sucked me into your whirlwind yet again. But this year, I need to finish before Thanksgiving when #3 will claim my time and attention. Good thing the day-job provided me with an extra ten hours a week!

Scary really. How everything has come together just in time for Samhain and the Celtic New Year…


Filed under writing

Some news at Tales from the Crit

AJ sold a story to Freya’s Bower. She didn’t mention it herself but I’m a blabber mouth and I’ll mention it for her.

Debbie has a new premise and she’s really excited about it.

Inez has a new (pretty) website. Add her to your links and visit her regularly.

Haven is vacationing over Halloween.

I’m trying to be less ERD, more me with an ERD side, so I have a new blog. That’s going to be a lot of random crap.

Kimberly let me bully her into signing up for NaNoWriMo and she’s plotting a novel. (it quickens, it thickens, you can’t put it down now…)

See ya’ll four days into NaNoWriMo. (There’s totally still time to join.)


Filed under Emily

Not in the Mood

So, I’m almost done with a novel length romantic suspense. And when I say almost done I mean three days if I really worked. I wanted to finish it before I started on my rom/com for NaNoWriMo. And if I really tried I probably still would. But I’m just not in the mood. I don’t think it’s going to get finished before November first rolls around.

That scares me just a little since I’m afraid that while I work on something else I will get off the subject or the train or the zone or whatever it is that gets me to the end. If I lose that I will have a hard time ever finishing. And it’s a story I want to finish though it’s going to need some heavy edits.

Are you guys capable of walking away from a story and coming back later with the intent to finish? (Well, and the ability to actually do that. Intent doesn’t necessarily mean much in AJ world.) I don’t usually do this. I might walk away near the beginning and pick it up again as much as years later but I can’t say as I’ve ever left at this point.

So I’m a little worried. But am excited about NaNo and love doing rom/com. It’s some of the most fun I have all year. Maybe I should just go to straight humor. Bah. Anyway, have you ever picked something up after taking a break when you were this close to the end?



Filed under AJ, writing

My, How They’ve Grown

I was carting my children from school one day this week and thinking about my current WIP. Mainly about my hero. In the original version of the story he’s just there for the heroine to react to, play off of. My reasoning at the time was that this was her story, not theirs. His purpose was to support her journey to self-discovery.  That’s it.

Now, I see my reasoning was flawed, very narrow and really limited the depth of chemistry between heroine and him. So I’m rewriting him. I’ve watered down his Alphaness with some playfulness. He teases her, instead of bullying her.  He carjacked her the day after meeting her.  Made him physically strong and capable, but not the fighting type.  The heroine can take him down without much effort.  And gave him a more grounded reason for being attracted to the heroine, who isn’t likeable.   She’s different than the others is kinda lame.  He has a hero complex now, which will be interesting to explore and exploit.  These changes to his personality have taken his interactions with the heroine to a level I wouldn’t have imagined back in the day.  Their exchanges are so much fun to write.

So how have your characters changed/grown over your writing journey?

Are you  writing the same type of characters you started out writing?


Filed under Kimberly, writing

Need Fuel not Gas

See this? (_!_)  This is where I am right now. At the very bottom (haha) of my creative pit. I have a ton of stories in my head but I just really dread the idea of sitting down and writing right now. I have self imposed deadlines and maybe that is the problem, who knows. I just know that I would rather sit and THINK about the stories than to actually put my fingers on a keyboard and write them.

I tried pushing through it. Sucked. Like cheap hooker with braces.

So how do I refuel not the creative well but the energy one?  I need fuel for the what, energy pit? Furnace? Not gas tank. If I want gas, I will make a soup pot of ham and beans. I just want the DRIVE to do something. I am idling here, not in drive and not in park.

I have been sleeping more the past few days, trying to see if that helps. meh. kinda. I took Emily and Debbie’s advice and gave myself permission to NOT write and read other people’s novels. That was good. I went through 4 novels in 2 days, in different genres. I read a western anthology, an Urban fantasy, a mystery and contemporary. Some were better than others, and only once did I growl at the pages for what I considered stupid characterization.

Still not ready to type.

*sigh* I know myself. I do this. I have mini burnouts. To prevent a larger burnout, I SHOULD walkaway for a bit. But I have this THING called guilt. I feel guilty when I am not writing. I mean, I quit my job to do this. I have just started having a smidgen of success with my first story being sold to Samhain (yay!), now is NOT the time to flake out.

I have no answers. But I have an idea.

I am going to deep clean my twins room today, purge toys and rearrange furniture. I am going to buy an artificial Christmas tree and do some shopping for Christmas. I am going to clean out my kitchen cabinets. I will get my laundry caught up, even mating that damn basket of socks I have been rifling through for months. Boring stuff. This is how I will refuel. By doing mundant crap that I dread but still needs done. I bet the keyboard starts looking better by the end of the week. I hope.

If not, I can try the bean soup method. Either way, it is going to stink.


Filed under Humor, Inez, misc., writing