Posted on 2 Comments


Dark and Early this morning, I accomplished the following:

  • went back and revised the last scene involving Tara and cut out the stuff that happened too early.  Rewrote the scene to fit with the day sheet.  NSR total word count down 266 words.
  • wrote next new section in Tara’s POV, 1199 words, the official “meet” of her thread with Quinn’s.  From now on, they’ll be working in conjunction.

Next scenes are the first sex scene of the first draft, and they’re pretty bad.  They’re going to need a ton of work.  Once I get past it, though, the next few scenes should fly.


[Ruin] muttered words [Jaid] didn’t understand and drew the blade across his left palm.

Fisting his hand, he dripped blood on the altar and then flung his hand hard, slinging blood out onto the waters below.

Breathlessly, she scanned the lake, waiting.  When her father had performed the ritual, he’d released an inland hurricane.  She glanced at Ruin as he put the knife away and then back at the lake.  “That’s it?”

His mouth quirked.  “When done correctly, yes.”  Stones clacked together.  He whipped his head around, staring down into the darkness of the plaza.  “They’re close.  We need to go.”

“Go where?”  Bewildered, she searched the still waters, the three volcanoes perfectly reflected.  Something tinged on the altar and chips of stone flew up, stinging her arm.

Ruin shoved her up the ramped stone, using his body to cover her.  “They’ve seen us.  Go!”

On the rock slab that hung out over the water, she felt her stomach pitch and her head whirled like a merry-go-round.  Shimmering waters beckoned, but it was quite a drop.  This lake was so deep that it’d never been sounded.  She remembered how her father had disappeared beneath the surface.  He hadn’t flailed or tried to swim; he’d sunk like a boulder. 

Shivering with fear, she reached back and clutched Ruin’s hand.  He wrapped his other arm around her, and together, they jumped.

Posted on 5 Comments


By word count alone, I ended up negative today in NSR.  I wrote the next new section in Quinn’s POV — braving Melville to do so — and then axed the only section in Dr. Charles Merritt’s POV in the second major draft, which was longer.  I also did some shuffling around of character placement.  A character needed to die a bit earlier than I planned.  Good work, even if the word count doesn’t reflect it.

Then tonight my Amazon order arrived containing The Complete I Ching.  I’d bought this book as research for my hero in 7Crows, and whoa, it’s so interesting!  I’ve been trying to plot it out, but couldn’t seem to get the pieces to fall into the right order in my mind.  So I decided to play out a toss of the coins and see if I could get a plot.  I got so many good ideas, it was freaky.  I ended up plotting the whole thing tonight.

For example:  Tian’s, the hero’s, static trait is that he always consults the coins.  The first scene shows him doing this.  So naturally, in his darkest moment of betrayal, he checks the coins, and rightfully gets the hexagram 36 – Ming Yi – Brilliance Injured or Darkening of the Light.  I was getting ready to move on to the Masquerade, when one line from the description caught my eye:  “Hunting in the south, captured the great chief.”

Hmmm.  Interesting, I thought.  I ended up adding a scene where they do just that — capture the Queen’s right hand man. 

This static trait comes back in the first climax, where he distracts someone who knows him well by doing the casting again before “making a decision” when he’s really just buying time.  There, he casts 18 – Gu – Worm or Decay.  I just love the whole idea of it.

I’m sure I’ll need to do more tweaking, but the outline of plot is here.  I still need to think of one crucial item that ties Morghan’s father to the theme, and I need to spend a bit more time making sure her dark moment is appropriately hopeless.  Anyway, here is the first draft of the block outline for 7Crows.

Section Title POV
001 Tea with the Stars Morghan
002 Dragon Hid in the Deep Tian
003 At the Captain’s Table Morghan
004 Sage Advice Morghan
005 Promenade Tian
006 Winged Dance Morghan
007 Scaled Mask Tian
008 Fallen Crow Morghan
009 Lost Morghan
010 The Crow Queen Tian
011 Flying in Darkness Morghan
012 Trap is Sprung Morghan
013 Dragon Flying Low Tian
014 Black Feathers Morghan
015 Bedraggled Crow Tian
016 Wing to Wing Morghan
017 Suspicion on the Wing Morghan
018 Darkening Light Tian
019 The Queen’s Right Hand Morghan
020 Masquerade Tian
021 Tower of Crow Morghan
022 Consult the Oracle Tian
023 As the Crow Flies Morghan
024 Seven Crows Morghan


My typical section averages around 1K, so this will be right in line for the size requirements.  Assuming it doesn’t grow too much in draft…

Posted on 3 Comments


I hope to have some news I can share in the next few days.  Stay tuned.

With the Superbowl tonight and basketball yesterday, I wasn’t sure if I’d even come close to my goals.

Last week’s goals:

  1. Character interview at Ginger Simpson’s blog for “Bring a Character to Blog Week” starting today.  My post (the interview with Ruin, The Rock) is set to post Tuesday morning.  DONE.
  2. Write up some kind of intriguing post for the first Drollerie Press blog tour on 1/31/2009.  DONE.
  3. Grow NSR by 13K to make up for shortfall last week.  So close:  12,758!  I’ll take it. 
  4. Plot 7Crows to position myself for a novella month in February.  FAIL.  I’ve got tons of good characterization done, but haven’t worked any more on the plot.

Goals for this week:

  1. Take a look at my NSR day sheet and decide if I’m going to keep Dr. Charles Merritt’s POV or not.  I can’t remember how many scenes of his I kept in the previous 200 pages or so.  I also have a timing problem with another character.  I planned to have him in Dallas for the final showdown, but events are spinning out faster than I anticipated in revision.  He might not make it out of Guatemala, and maybe that’s okay.  Dark & Early this morning, I reviewed my day sheet and looked at the revision draft.  I’ve only included one section in Charlie’s POV so far.  Easy to axe.  So for now, I won’t add any more in his POV.  If I get to a scene that is missing something because of that, I can always go back and add him later.  I may offer those Xibalba scenes later as “DVD extras” or something.  Now to figure out Rafe’s timing.  I have a feeling he’ll stay put in Guatemala and the story won’t care one way or the other.
  2. NSR:  at least another 10K in revision.
  3. Plot 7Crows.
  4. Begin first draft of 7Crows.

I’ll post February goals shortly.

Snippet:  Tonight, I edited the midpoint reversal.  In fact, my protagonist dies.  Sort of.  Almost.  :mrgreen:  :shock:

Warmth gushed down Jaid’s chest.  It took her a moment to realize it was blood.  Her blood.  There was no pain, just this fountain of red splashing against the black glassy rock.  She fought the weariness suffusing her limbs.  The knife came down again and she braced for pain, but with a tug, the leather strap of her carryall fell down.

Her notes.  He was taking her research, her life’s work. 

She struggled to chase him, but she couldn’t control her limbs.  Her arms and legs refused to move, as though the puppet strings had been sliced.  Madelyn fell to her knees beside her, but Jaid couldn’t make sense of her words.  She didn’t hear anything over the roaring in her ears.

Gone.  Her research was gone.  Too much blood.  Dad was trapped.  Demons were free because of her research, which was now in the hands of a deranged man willing to do anything to end his torment.  Darkness closed in.  She fought to keep her eyes open, her mind working, her heart beating.  She couldn’t go.  Not yet.  She still had too much to do.

Hands rolled her over.  She blinked hard, forcing her eyes to focus.  Ruin leaned over her, his eyes blazing.  His lips moved, but she couldn’t hear him.  She remembered his mouth, the taste of him, the solid press of his body against hers.  He would have rocked her world.  Devastated her resolve.  Ruined her careful attempts to protect her heart.

Ruin.  It almost made her smile.

Posted on 1 Comment

01/29/2009 Part 2

Most of the night was spent working on my Drollerie Press blog tour post.  I wanted to show why I call this blog “dreaming in rhyme” — but I wasn’t feeling particularly poetic. 

My favorite thing to do is parody.  Take a famous poem, song, even a Bible passage, and change it into something else (like Story Genesis, which I’m going to have to repost since it’s currently gone after the domain transfer last fall).  Yet tonight, I couldn’t find the RIGHT poem to warp.

I turned to Gregar, my wicked Shadowed Blood Muse, but he was no help at all.  Poetry, after all, is Conn’s area of expertise.  He reminded me of a particularly smoldering rendition of “She walks in beauty like the night,” and viola, I had my poem to warp into a “bio” or introduction.  It should go up 1/31/2009.  I’ll post a link here when it’s up.

I also typed in hardcopy edits in NSR through Chapter Six while watching Tivo’d Hell’s Kitchen and American Idol.  Not sure how many pages that is, exactly, since I printed it single-space to save paper.  Still have a good 40 pages or so to input.

I also revised the page navigation on the website slightly, consolidating the multiple “Series” pages into a single Bookshelf page.  I needed to make room!  Let’s see, I have the Connaghers (don’t know if that’s the “series” name, exactly, but it was a starting point).  As soon as I finish Revision Xibalba, I’ll have a Maya series.  Then there’s the new 7Crows world I’m building.  I can’t have a tab in the navigation for each or it’ll get too cluttered.  I hate putzing around with html tables, though.  I’m never happy with the end result, but the Bookshelf page will do for now.

I’m dreading the Evil Day Job tomorrow.   Loooooong phone meeting.  I’ll be taking Aleve beforehand to help mitigate the headache of straining to listen and track voices of a rather large group (some strangers, so I won’t be able to recognize their voices as easily) through up to six hours of discussion. 

Oh, and if possible, I have a COLD.  Yes, I just finished antibiotics for bronchitis, and now the right side of my nose is like concrete and I’m sneezing my ass off!  I tried Bethanie’s suggestion of Airborne, and promptly gave myself a mouthful of canker sores (not kidding, 5 on my bottom lip alone) from the high vitamin C dose.  Sigh.  I guess I’ll have to do it every other day or so until my body gets used to it.  Off to blow my nose and early bed to make up for staying up until after 1 AM last night.

Posted on Leave a comment


Sorry, I ended up getting absorbed in reading an old work last night, and stayed up waaaaay too late.  It’s a pleasure to read something from last year that I’ve written, and I have no desire to change yet.  Usually I want to grab the red pen and shift sentences around, eliminate words, etc. but I didn’t feel that urge.  I’m sure I’ll feel differently once the editor gets ahold of it.  :wink:


On the other hand, I did do some heavy editing earlier, both yesterday before work and early evening after dinner.  I printed out the 52+K version of NSR and made an entire hardcopy pass.  I’ve got half of those edits made back in the main file.  It was a good opportunity for me to put the threads all back in my head.  Sometimes, I can’t see the big picture like I need to.  I can’t see if I’m using too much green, or not enough orange, or if the red has been entirely forgotten for 50+ pages.  I’m very pleased with this revision so far.  It’s tight, the plots weave well, and I left myself itching to hurry up with the next scene already, which is a good thing.

I still need to write something for the Drollerie Press blog tour 1/31.  I haven’t been inspired yet.  Part of me thinks I should use the opportunity to “dream in rhyme” but the right poem hasn’t hit me yet.  I don’t know whether to do a parody, or a hidey-hidey-ho song, or what.  We’ll see what I come up with.  I’m running out of time!

Posted on 1 Comment


And great rejoicing was heard all across the land! 

At least here in the house when I *finally* finished the scene from Xibalba.  Gah.  I think those were the hardest 1,158 words in the entire story, and I still have no idea why.  Maybe it’s because this scene acts as a wheel hub.  It brings in one new sub-thread that wasn’t there before, and must spin it into something new with the old thread that’s still there.

In the end, it was like making gold from hay. 

Anyway, moving on, the next scene is existing and only required editing, with some shifting around of chess pieces on the board.  The last line in that scene is a killer, and new, so I’m rather pleased with it.

  1. A whopping 602 words to finish off that new scene.  FINALLY!
  2. Revisions to 1,230 words.  I’d better pick up the pace in a hurry–I’m waaay behind for the week.
  3. Still need to write up something for the blog tour on 1/31.  I wrote a poem but it was stupid.  Need more thinking.


“Where is [the White Dagger]?”

Ruin shook his head mutely. 

She cupped his cheek, her fingers gentle on his face, and she might as well have reached her hand into his chest and stroked his heart.  His gaze locked on her smooth, dark cacao eyes.  “You can trust me with this knowledge.”

Could he?  Staring into her eyes, he wanted to trust her.  Every bone in his body ached to believe in her. 

Jaid nibbled her lip in thought, her hand still on his face, and every muscle in his body tightened with longing, shocking him.  He had not felt such fierce desire for a woman since…

Since his brother had wed the woman he loved, forcing Ruin to watch her as the powerful but unloved Queen until she died in childbirth.

Jaid’s muscles tensed sharply, and then she relaxed so fully she leaned against him as though her knees couldn’t hold her weight.  Her eyes met his and he saw the knowledge gleaming in those depths.  Ah, what a delight this woman proved to be when she contemplated a puzzle.  Gently, he placed his finger across her lips and willed his eyes to speak.

Don’t say it.  Then I won’t have to silence you.

Posted on Leave a comment


Well, taking a sick day Thursday and generally feeling not so great really put a kink in my goals for last week.  I even got up fairly early Sat. (thanks to basketball and a math quiz bowl for Princess Monster) and wrote a while on a brand new scene for NSR, but it’s just not flowing.  I don’t have it clear in my mind, and so I’m “searching” for the right words.

Last week’s goals:

  1. Submit the short story to the antho, which requires a query and a “new” bio because I think I’ll be submitting this under a different pen name.   DONE.  Sent out the first query of 2009 last night.
  2. Revise another 10K of NSR.  SHORT.  Only grew the story by 7,711 words, including the new incomplete scene I’m struggling with. 
  3. FInalize characters for the SFR.  Specifically, name the hero and figure out his goals and background.  How is he in opposition to the heroine’s goal?  DONE.  Figured out the hero’s goal and he’s totally playing the heroine at the beginning.  I even moved on to plotting, but ran into some other issues.

Goals for this week:

  1. Character interview at Ginger Simpson’s blog for “Bring a Character to Blog Week” starting today.  My post (the interview with Ruin, The Rock) is set to post Tuesday morning.
  2. Write up some kind of intriguing post for the first Drollerie Press blog tour on 1/31/2009.
  3. Grow NSR by 13K to make up for shortfall last week.
  4. Plot 7Crows to position myself for a novella month in February.
Posted on 9 Comments

Firefly to the Rescue

I took a sick day and just bummed and rested.  At last, I watched discs 1-3 of Firefly.  I know, just a few years too late.  I have 1 more disc and then I’m going to watch Serenity the movie, which I’ve been saving until I watch all the episodes.

So far, my favorite is Out of Gas.  But War Stories is a close second.

Oh, I did think about writing, but I’ve got two major problems, one in each story.  Problems I haven’t plotted my way out of yet.  I think I may have to backtrack in NSR a little; I can’t figure out where the best place to start 7Crows is, neither.  So I doodled off and on today, thinking, stewing, and I still don’t know.  I guess I’ll just have to sleep on it. 

With NSR, the problem is:  I have a “dead” shapeshifter who’s recovering, locked in a cell with two women, one of whom has no idea what he is and can do.  The room is wired and heavily monitored by guards.  Now I’ve got to figure out how he “wakes up” without bringing all the guards down on them immediately.  I think I need to get Jaid out of the room first.  Hmm.

7Crows, I plotted out a bunch of stuff tonight, but my gut says it’s all backstory.  There’s no core conflict in it.  But I don’t know enough about what happens later to decide if there’s enough story AFTER a certain point, neither.  So I just keep plodding away through all this stuff I’m pretty sure happens, and trust that eventually I’ll know where I’m supposed to land.  Did come up with an interesting idea today.

Falling is just one flap away from flying.

Sounds like something I should remember in this writing gig, huh?

Posted on Leave a comment


Not as much accomplished today, but hopefully I’m on the road to recovery!

  • 1081 words in new NSR scene.
  • Long-winded “synopsis” of last half of the book to May for her opinion on “coincidence” or “believable.”  Tentatively, we think this all works, but boy oh boy is it complicated.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to backtrack to fix a time discrepancy!
  • 7Crows: Thought some more the heroine’s goals, fears, and masks, and I think she’s as solid as I can make her.  Did some brainstorming/clustering on her. 
  • 7Crows:  I also started jotting down key phrases and ideas for scenes as they came to me, very loose and brainstorm-ish too.  I have 21 “titles” in no particular order that may or may not end up as official sections.  e.g. Gathering Crows; At the Queen’s Right Hand; God Save the Queen; As the Crow Flies; Wings on Fire.  No, I have no idea what all these mean, exactly.  I just know they’re cool, intriguing, and mean something.  Next goal is to figure out what.

Snippet:  This is from the new section this morning where all the threads begin to converge–and tangle up into that big honking mess.  I like Quinn a lot, though.  Yeah, I know I say that about all my characters, but he’s really turning into an interesting character who’s NEW to this draft.  I’m glad I found him.  He’s on the phone with an old “buddy” from college, with his friend Iago of the Mexican Garza cartel and Dr. Tennant, professor of anthropology, SMU, Dallas, present.  They’re all getting ready to brainstorm what the heck is killing a path across Texas when Quinn’s phone rings.

At the sound of the smooth, good-old boy voice he recognized from college, Quinn suddenly regretted answering the phone.  “Davis!  Last I heard you were working for the Governor’s Office.”

“That’s exactly why I’m calling.  Governor Wyman has a very delicate request.”

“Look, I want to be totally honest with you,” as much as it pains me, he didn’t say out loud.  “I’m not exactly on good terms with the FBI right now.”

“What, you?”  Davis laughed.  “Everything-by-the-book Salazar?  I don’t believe it.”

Quinn fisted his right hand.  God help him, he’d love to punch the jerk just once on that perfect aristocratic nose and watch him wail and splutter like a little girl.  “Let’s just say I’m laying low right now.  If you have a special request from the Governor, I recommend you call SAIC Trudale.”

“Actually, I need you.  I was going to ask for a very specific favor because of our prior…”

Competition?  Silent hatred?

“Friendship.”  Davis paused, as if he, too, was remembering their on-and-off again camaraderie through the years at SMU.  They were both driven to succeed and from opposite sides of the track.  One of them, though, was more than willing to get his lily-white hands dirty if it meant he’d climb the ladder all the faster.  “I’m not making an official request.”

“I see.”  Quinn rubbed his eyes.  The last thing he needed in the middle of this bizarre serial killer case was to babysit some pet project for the Governor.  She had the reputation of a rabid pit bull once she set her mind–and teeth–on something.  As long as it’s not my ass she sinks her teeth into.  “What’s the problem?”

“Governor Wyman’s granddaughter is in trouble, but she wants it entirely kept out of the news and off the system.”

Of course she does.  Quinn barely repressed a long, heavy sigh.  If he were a betting man, he’d place a twenty that the spoiled little granddaughter had been arrested for drunk driving or something equally careless and foolhardy.  “What’s the charge?”

“Excuse me?  Oh, no, it’s not like that.  She’s not in trouble with the law.  At least, not in the States.  She went to Guatemala to help her father on an archeological dig earlier this week, and then sent an SOS text message to the Governor’s Office less than fifteen minutes ago.”

Quinn raised his gaze to his friend’s.  His heart beat heavy, slow, as though he could count to a million in between each thud.  “What’s her name?”

“Dr. Jaid Merritt.”

Quinn turned his attention to Dr. Tennant.  “Does the name Dr. Merritt mean anything to you?”

His old professor’s eyes lit up and he nodded frantically.  “She’s arguably the youngest and brightest epigrapher today and has translated hundreds if not thousands of Maya glyphs.  Tara asked me about some of those same translations this morning.”


Posted on 2 Comments


I do like Debra Dixon’s GCM method, but it’s not quite enough for me.  Tonight, I think I found the perfect mix.  Referring back to the Emotional Toolbox, I have a notebook page for each character that looks something like this:

Character Name

  • External Goal:
  • External Motivation:
  • External Conflict:
  • Internal Goal:
  • Internal Motivation:
  • Internal Conflict:
  • Fear, which ties directly to the internal GMC.
  • Mask, which is displayed in the external GCM.

I know how the heroine will answer the hero’s fear and force him to yank aside his mask, and vice versa.  Even better, the hero in Seven Crows will be forced to do that which he abhors the most in order to achieve his external goals, at least initially.  Morghan’s (still playing with her name:  Morgan, Morganna, and now Morghan, not sure what I’ll settle on yet) fear/goal, now that I look at it, isn’t quite as strong.  So I’ll think on it and see if I can make something even worse.

To give every supporting character his/her own story, I’ll also take a day or so and jot down GMC for at least two other characters, the Queen and the hero’s best friend.  Perhaps the heroine’s father, too.  Although he won’t be on page at all, he’s very instrumental in setting her goals for this story.

Next:  plotting.  I already have several pages of possibilities jotted as I brainstormed backgrounds.  I’m guessing I need about 20 sections, but I won’t have a good feel for individual section length until I begin writing.  A typical section for me is usually between 4-6 pages, so 20 sections is right for word count.  The POV may end up being first person.  Not sure yet, but I think the hero’s SECRETS will come out better if Morghan–and the reader–are both in the dark.

NSR:  2099 words, all brand spanking new except for maybe a paragraph or two pasted in from the first draft.  The new stuff is happening right at the midpoint of the novel, allowing me to not only worsen things for Jaid all around, but also giving me time to get the two new story threads in the States closer to convergence.  I also went back and dropped a few other little touches that needed supporting evidence earlier in the story (not included in today’s word count).

I’m really liking Jaid a lot.  She’s not the typical kickass sort of heroine so typical in contemporary/urban fantasy.  She’s smart and gutsy, but the worst physical violence she might do is throw a massive tome at a bad guy’s head.

Snippet:  truly first draft.  Knightley is a shady mercenary acting as a “guard” at the compound; Dr. Reyes is from the Popol Vuh Museum in Antigua; Jaid and Ruin I’ve already mentioned.  Some very bad things have happened in the peaceful little town of Santiago Atitlan, and Jaid finds herself trapped between very unhappy Guatemalan officials and the unknown “Venus Star” corporation.

“Sorry, Doc.” 

Still gulping air, Jaid raised her head and stared at Knightley.  He touched a Bluetooth headset at his ear and leveled his weapon at her.  “I’ve got orders to take over this interrogation.”

“You can’t do that!”  Reyes surged to his feet.  The weapon swung over at him and he froze.  “I’m here on behalf of the Guatemalan government.  If you refuse my authority, we will kick you out of our country faster than–”

Reyes’ eyes flared.  Jaid realized the comforting hand had left her back.  She jerked her head around, searching for Ruin.

Silent and swift, he rushed the guard.  Casually, Knightly whipped the gun toward him and fired.

She cried out, clamping her hands over ears, but there was no retort.  The barely audible pop sounded like a party favor.  Ruin went down like an elephant tagged by a high-powered rifle, though, instantly dropped in his tracks.  He crashed into a table that shattered beneath his weight, slinging glass, fresh-cut flowers, and splinters flying.

Crying, Jaid stood to go to him, but the gun pointed back at her.  Ruin gave one last twitch and went still.  He was obviously dead:  the back of his head had been blown away.  She didn’t try to stop the acid boiling up her throat; instead, she aimed it at the guard’s legs.

“Son of a bitch,” Knightley growled.  He cocked his arm back and the butt of his gun slammed into her head.