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Turning comments back on.

Dear readers,

I'm making attempt to get back into blogging a bit more.  Honestly, I missed a lot of you.  So I'm turning comments back on to a limited degree.  If you are on my friends list, your comments will post unmoderated.  Strangers' comments will be moderated.

Thanks for reading! 
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The home stretch

I'm in the home stretch of writing this novel, with less than three chapters to go.  I've taken a break from my forward momentum to go back and write scenes that plug holes. Some writers like to write their novel all out of order in chunks, but I prefer to write mine start to finish in one long line.

Spotting potential mistakes in storytelling  is something that I've learned with experience as a writer.  There are just certain things things that everyone has to learn on their own.  (Like never start a story with a character waking up in bed, because it's too much of a cliche).

 For this project, I've invented another character to add detail to the story that the protagonists wouldn't be aware of.  In the process, I added a couple thousand words worth of scenes that build the character, advance the plot and create tension.

Writing in scrivener makes it easy to add extra scenes like this.  I'm able to plug in virtual note cards to my timeline, then attach them to the new sections of text.  If I think those scenes should go elsewhere, I can just drag the note cards, and scrivener will move the scenes in the text for me.
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The path to a novel.

I crossed 30k words this morning.  The original plan for Daughters of Bridget Cleary was 30k, but as I plot it, I'm finding so much more to say.  The end result will probably be between 40-50k.

Building a story from scratch is very different from writing one based in established worlds.  For one thing, I have to plot out and write scenes to establish who my characters are, and what the rules are for the world they inhabit.   With Special projects, the assumption was there that everyone already knew some version of the characters that I played with.

At any rate, I plan to have my rough draft done by the end of the month.  Then I'll try to find a developmental editor (someone who can point out holes and dangling plot threads). While that's happening, I'll work on edits from a different novel.  Then rewrites, and a line edit for grammar (my biggest weak spot).

Given my background in photography and design, I may do my own cover (something that most self-published authors don't recommend, but I have a degree that says I can do it.) Which would leave more money for the edit.  I'm doing this on a shoestring, so I need to save where I can.

More on my progress as I have updates. 
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If you liked Special Projects, you might want to read this.

I didn't want to say anything until this was a thing, but. . .

I'm going to turn Special Projects into an original ebook series.  Since it's loosely based on fanfiction, I'm pretty sure the only way to go with it is self published (despite the success of 50 Shades of Grey). And even if I remove anything that remotely looks like it came from either of the two TV shows it's based on (we call that filing the serial numbers off of a story).  I'm just not sure that there is a publisher who would want to take a risk on it if they ever found out it was "loosely inspired by" fanfiction.

I'm about halfway through writing the first book, which will vaguely bear a passing resemblance to The Wild Hunt, with a subplot taken from plot points of Devil's Dance. The first book and the series as a whole will eventually be called The Daughters of Bridget Cleary.

Yes, I'm really going to write it and hire an editor and a cover artist.  This will be a thing that happens!

I'll post a bit of the first chapter below (Fair warning that it may not look like this by the time I'm done.)  I'm also going to put a sign-up form for my newsletter at the end of the post.  If you are interested in knowing when the first book is done (or when I publish any more original short fiction or novels) then you can sign up.  My newsletter is handled through mail chimp, so there is no selling of addresses, spam or other hinky shenanigans. Just an email once or twice a year.  And you can unsub anytime.

So here's a quick rough draft preview of what I hope ends up being a really great series.


“What are you doing?” a woman’s scream, half-angry, half-shocked split the quiet of the hallway.

Sarah Clancy halted mid-stride as she realized that the yell came from behind the doors of her own detective agency. She stared at her door, pulling at her sleeve as she wondered whether she should call for Mark.

As if summoned by her thoughts, Mark kicked the door open. His mask hung slightly askew as he tilted and dragged one of their rolling office chairs behind him. When he turned, Sarah saw what – or rather who – was making all the noise.

A petite woman with a disproportionately large voice sat in the chair, screaming her protests and gripping the handles to avoid falling out. “Let me go, you tool!” She screamed at Mark.

“That’s what I’m doing!” Mark snapped back. He slammed the chair forward, tipping her out and onto the ground. The woman sprang to her feet and got up in his personal space immediately. “Do you treat all potential clients this way?”

Mark pushed her back with one hand as he shoved the chair back through the doorway with the other. “We reserve the right to refuse our services to anyone,” he shot over his shoulder at her.

The deteriorating situation – and potential loss of a paying client – goaded Sarah into movement again. Refusing work didn’t pay the rent. And it wasn’t as if a couple of specialists like her and Mark had clients coming out of the woodwork to hire them.

“Hey!” She waved her arms to get the bickering duo’s attention. Both Mark and the strange woman looked over at her. His stance one of annoyance while she looked relieved.

Sarah crossed her arms and glared at the both of them. “What’s going on here?”

“That depends,” The woman said. “Are you with building security?”

“Not quite,” Sarah snorted. She pointed to the nameplate on the door that said Clancy and Clancy Investigations in gold foil lettering. “I’m Sarah Clancy.”

The woman’s face lit up with hope. “I’m Christina Kelly. I wanted to hire you. But this casting reject from V for Vendetta seems violently against the idea.”

Sarah lifted an eyebrow at that. Considering that they used her money to start the business, her name was the first Clancy on the door. So what right did Mark have to refuse a client?

“We require a retainer fee up front.” Sarah said.

“Do you take Visa?” Christina asked.

Especially a paying one. Sarah tilted her head as if to non-verbally ask Mark that very question. He ducked sheepishly.

“She’s a reporter,” he muttered.

Christina Kelly scoffed at that. “Yeah, genius. That’s why I want to hire you: To help me investigate a story.” She turned to Sarah. “Has your brother always been a complete and utter tool?”

“Hey!” Mark protested. “Watch who you’re calling a tool, lady”

“Buddy, you’re not just a tool, you’re an entire tool truck with a factory that supplies extra wrenches.”

Before he could counter, the door of the plumber’s office next to theirs swung open. And speaking of tools, Sarah thought. The plumber who worked there stuck his head out and glared at them.

“Why don’t we take this inside?” Sarah suggested.

Mark rolled his eyes, but backed up enough to let Mrs. Kelly and Sarah into their office. Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah watched him make a rude gesture at the plumber. She heard the door of the other office slam, and her brother laughed.

“Oh Mark,” she sighed in exasperation.

“What?” He threw his hands up. When Sarah waved in dismissal, he grabbed her hand. “She’s trouble.” He forced the words out through clenched teeth so Mrs. Kelly wouldn’t hear. Sarah made it a point not to look at the reporter as she settled into the chair that Mark had just dumped her out of. Their office consisted of two rooms: The waiting room where they now stood had three chairs and a small coffee table to make clients comfortable. Off to the right stood a closet-sized back room where Sarah did the paperwork and balanced the books on an ancient computer that ran on spit and duct tape.

“How so?” Sarah whispered back to her brother.

“Did you read The Daughters of Bridget Cleary?”

Sarah’s head whipped around so that she could stare at the reporter. Chris Kelly. Not apparently a man. And author of a book that had won a Pulitzer for investigative reporting.

“She wrote that book? I thought that she’d be taller,” Sarah said.

“The fairy reporter? That’s her.”

“Actually, my book was about people descended from changelings,” Christina suddenly turned to them with a knowing grin.

Sarah felt a flush creep up her neck. “Do you prefer Chris or Christina?”

“Chris is fine,” she said.

“Did you really travel with the army changeling unit during the last changeling war?”

“That’s where I got the nickname Chris.” Her gaze shifted to Mark. “I should be the starstruck one. You two have a reputation of your own: locating children taken by the Fair Folk, reversing curses, overturning pranks. If I’m the fairy reporter, you two are the fairy detectives.”

“That was all before the Changeling war. There hasn’t been a fairy sighting since the UN nuked Ireland. We’re not interested in a book about us,” Mark said.

“What do you have to hide, besides your face?” Chris gave him an impish look. “Is that the result of a Medusa curse?”

“Want to find out?” Mark straightened his mask.

“My brother and I like our privacy,” Sarah cut in.

“I can respect that,” Chris nodded. “I’m not interested in doing a book on you, anyway. Your brother didn’t give me the chance to tell him that. If you work for me, I’ll leave you two out of my writing.”

“What sort of work?” Mark sat in his usual chair and steepled his hands under his chin.

“Research mostly. With a little bit of legwork on the side.” Chris spread her hands. “I can’t be everywhere and you two are already familiar with the Fair Folk. It’s steady work and guaranteed pay.”

Sarah directed a questioning look at Mark. He met her gaze and nodded to the next room, a sign that he wanted to talk privately.

Chris seemed to interpret their hesitance. “Why don’t I let you talk it over?” She stood and handed Sarah a business card. “I’m flying out tomorrow for Holbrook Arizona. Give me a call if you’re interested.” She gave Mark a tight smile as if she’d won some kind of victory as she walked out the door.

Mark turned to Sarah as soon as Chris was gone. “No. Absolutely not.”

“It would pay the bills,” Sarah said. “We’ve had a couple of lean months.”

He passed his hand through his hair in agitation. “Sis, the entire unit she was embedded with is dead. Have you looked at her biography?”

“Obviously not if I thought she was a he.” Sarah muttered.

“She attracts the wrong kind of enemy.”

“There’s a right kind?”

Mark’s shoulders slumped. “Do we have to do this again?”

Sarah rested a comforting hand on his arm. “You heard her. We’re the fairy detectives. With a reputation like that, it’s just a matter of time until we attract the wrong kind of attention. We may as well make money while doing it.”

He crossed his arms in a ridiculous pout. “What’s in Holbrook, anyway?”

“There’s only one way to find out.” Sarah slid her phone out of her pocket and dialed the number on the card.


Note: Just enter your email in the first block (I have no idea why the second block is there.  It's not on the template.)

Yes! I want to know when you turn this into an original novel!

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Every Parent's Nightmare

About 45 minutes north of where I live, this little girl was kidnapped yesterday.  There was an amber alert, so I think the news spread nationwide.  The guy who did it grabbed her right in front of two people, and pulled her into his car (I don't think he saw them).  They chased after him as soon as they saw what was happening, but they couldn't stop him.  They were on the phone with 911 with a full description of the guy, his car and his licence plate as he was speeding off.

Within three hours, the police arrested him, but it was too late for the little girl.  I don't know the details, (and I don't want to know).  But if those two people hadn't been there, they probably wouldn't have caught this guy.  He was in the middle of trying to hide the body and clean himself up when they caught him.  He was a coach at an elementary school.  He worked with kids every day.

When I was a little girl, I used to think my mother was paranoid.  She wouldn't let me leave my yard without my sister.  (There's safety in numbers, she always said).

Now that I have a child of my own, I understand.  
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Cut-Rate Chocolate Day's Eve

Otherwise known as Valentine's day.

We celebrated last night, which was nice.  Hubby knocked it out of the park with his gift -- cooking lessons.  From a chef who studied at the Sorbonne.  We (along with 15 other people) made a 7 course French dinner. Including shrimp bisque, steak au povire and chocolate mousse. Then we got to eat it.

Since both of us like to cook, it was a very very good gift. 
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On being in fandom and writing for the Interwebs

My publisher finally joined the digital age by getting most of the press's back catalog of books up on Amazon.

This is pretty good news for all involved, since going to conventions to promote dead tree copies is proving to be increasingly less profitable. And writers who aren't big names with east coast publishing contracts seem increasingly unwelcome. Even at smaller regional conventions.

On one hand, going is still useful if you happen to be comfortable with networking. On the other, the demographic of fans going to conventions is changing.

Even at Literary conventions, there are more cosplayers, gamers and anime fans. They may go to see a big name writer, but then they earmark their discretionary funds for things other than books in the dealer's room.

So eBooks allow me to get my work into the hands of fans without worrying about if I'll break even on hotel, food, gas and other expenses.

What I have to figure out now is how to promote my work online, without being just another voice shouting in a crowd of shouters. There seems to be a lot of advice everywhere, some of it contradictory, and not all of it good.

On another subject, I'm kind of glad I'm not in Harry Potter fandom at the moment, since JK Rowling seems to be launching barrels of Greek fire into the shipping wars.

Given some of the epic fan wank and fan dumb I've seen in various fandoms I've been in, I think I enjoy a thing more if I stay away from the fandom. I'm sure I liked Buffy, Harry Potter and even MST3K more than I would have otherwise.

I've met some awesome people in fandom, and enjoyed my shows by doing my own thing. But I've also at one point been compared to a member of the Klan (for being a fan of Chloe Sullivan. Figure out the connection there when you're done WTF ing) and had a supposedly professional review of my work (on IO9, no less) torn apart based on the fact that I was the wrong sort of fan (not a true fan) of Supernatural.

I just think that when fans degenerate something meant for joy into something personal, political and nasty it takes the joy of it for me.

I suppose I feel the same about stupidity in religion and politics. But let's not go there.

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My week

Took hubby to the doctor's office yesterday. They're not sure what the problem is, so an MRI is the next step. I've actually gotten more done around the house with him here. I think it's the whole idea that I have to be more organized when tree is more to do.

I outlined and did character sketches in yet another novel idea. Can't write it though. I've got to write the Briget Cleary novel that evoked from special projects, and fix the rewrite on the epic novel of 2010. I'm liking scrivener for the ability to brainstorm, though.

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Two kids for the price of one.

I usually like to watch my nieces and nephews, because they'll play with the toddler and I get a break.

Today hubby is home from work with his knee swollen double. This is different, because not only does the toddler not get distracted by him or want to play, but I also get to help him out around the house. So more stress and less time to get a break for myself.

Thinking when I put the child down for her nap, I may sequester myself in the bathroom for a bit, just for a sanity break.

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Pregnancy, comics, writing

I always mean to blog more consistently. I suppose everyone knows about good intentions and the roads they pave.

I always feel disappointed in myself when I look at my body of writing. I feel like I should have more work out there. My output slowed quite a bit when Little Miss came along.

I had enough pro credits to qualify for SFWA. Then my co-writer had a stroke. I hope he can recover, not just so we can carry fourth our writing plans, mostly just for him.

Occasionally I branch out into science fiction to compete in the Jim Baen Memorial contest. I haven't won yet, but it gives me a wider range of stories to market.

I'm still working on the epic novel from 2010. I still want to get it out and find an agent. I committed to that plan before the eBook market took off, and I'm committed to stay the course on that.

I've thought about adapting Special Projects into an original series for eBooks. If I do, it won't look like Special Projects any more. In order to make it completely my own, I'll have to completely gut it and jettison anything that is recognizable from SPN or SV. The basic plot structure might remain.

I'm trying out scrivener, and so far I like it. More on that as I figure it out.

I started a new podcast with my best friend last year. I think we have about two listeners, but I'm enjoying it anyway. We've mostly just fangirled over YA books, complained about comics and squeed over movies.

And I blogged about Wonder Woman last week at writertracy while doing that, I found a picture of me with Wonder Woman face paint from when I was a kid. That was a trip.