The very first of Agatha Christie’s detective stories, Mysterious Affair at Styles was a breath of fresh air – air scented with ancient country mansions, rich but foolish old ladies, a rogues gallery of extended family, poison, wills, minute yet vital clues, and, of course, an intelligent detective to bring it all together. Continue reading
Beta-readers are the people who read your manuscript before it’s published to give you advice about how to make it better.
Sort of like “beta players” in the gaming industry are
the lucky dogs who get to see Destiny 2 before the rest of us players who test the game while it’s still in “beta” and not ready to be released for the masses.
So what have they taught me?
- I have a coy writing style, frequently sacrificing “communicative” for “cute”.
- When you tack a beginning onto the front of your book…people can tell that you just tacked a beginning onto the front of your book.
- Layman beta-reader: “I like it.”
Author beta-reader: *3 pages later…*
- Not everyone has lived in my pretend world for years the way I have.
- REWRITE REWRITE REWRITE and don’t stress it, ’cause you won’t please everyone.
- High-quality beta-readers = worth their weight in gold.
Thank you for reading this week’s stand-in blog post; now I’m off to rework that tacky beginning 😉
Stare at the Chicken
…And Your Soul Stares Back At You
He’s my favorite, though – partly because he’s the one I can usually identify with certainly.
Life isn’t all roses and Starter Feed for our flamingo-wannabe. Continue reading
The brutal truth: I procrastinated too much and didn’t get a post together for today.
The glossed-over story: Hooray! You get a special look at the first chapter of my latest release, Soldier (White Mesa Chronicles Book 1)!
(I checked, and the Amazon preview doesn’t go all the way to the end of the chapter, partly because of my little prologue thing.)
A Friend in Need
Tommy eased the motorcycle to a stop, his teeth clattering as they jolted over one last pothole.
He flicked a look over his shoulder, bracing as his “partner” jumped down and swung his rifle up and down the street.
“Clear,” called Ricco Dobson.
Tommy eased forward to be more in the lee of the torched cop car, and engaged the kickstand. Below the smashed roof lights and burned-out interior of the vehicle, the door still bore the peeling words Chicago Police. It had to be five decades since that had meant anything to anyone except history geeks like Tommy.
Creaking to a standing position, he also scanned their surroundings, tugging off his driving gloves. The road looked deserted except for the dog corpse they’d passed a dozen yards back, its mangey skin stretched tight over its skeleton. Three or four crows stared down at the two young men from tree branches or power poles, waiting ’til the coast was clear to return to their meal. Continue reading
The publication date of White Mesa Chronicles Book 1: Soldier is upon us! To celebrate, I’d like you to meet some of the principal players!
White Mesa has one of the largest casts I’ve written (necessarily, being a series) and it took me quite a few drafts to get all their personalities nailed down. It was fun getting to know them, though!
In the effort to refine the characters’ essence, and make them not identical to myself 😊, I’ve used a number of character types and writer tricks. See what you think!
Thomas “Tommy” Thaxton
- Family: General Michael Thaxton (member of the WM security council) and Dr. Joanna Thaxton (missing, presumed dead). No siblings.
- Glass is 🍵 half-full or half-empty?: Half a cup only comes to a quarter-cup of water for each of us, but you can have my share because…you know…that’s the right thing to do…
- Temperament: Melancholic
- Favorite book/movie/TV show: That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis; Columbo
- Destiny Class: Sun-singer Warlock (Knowledge) [New Monarchy]
- D&D/WoW Class: Paladin [DPS] Alignment: Lawful Good
- StarCraft race: Terran
- Strengths: Sniping, Charisma, Compassion; Fears: Heights, Failure
- Favorite means of transportation: truck or bicycle
Why should I celebrate my dad?
- I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him (!)
- He’s told me about God for as long as I can remember.
- I know I am a princess, because Daddy said so.
- He taught me everything I know (except for Home Ec., introvert-coping, and all the other things Mom taught me instead).
- What he doesn’t know that can’t be easily referenced from Wikipedia probably isn’t worth knowing.
- He makes me laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Oh, boy.
- If I need him, he will come…time and distance no object. Literally.
- So many computer games I would have never seen without him…
- Did I mention he’s wildly in love with my mother? My future husband has some expectations to live up to…
- Don’t tell Dad about the problem unless you want him to fix it – or buy you something. He loves to buy people things.
- We’ve never had a TV in our house, and we never missed it. Dad is the news, the sit-com, the reality show, the late night talk show, the skit team, and the weather channel – and for commercials we have youtube. (And, yes, he does have different accents for all those!)
- He is the self-declared “worst influence in my life”.
- I have a website designer, IT trouble-shooter, network technician, netiquette consultant, and device-whisperer in-house. He fixes my problems because I am his precious little princess.
- ALL MY STORY PROBLEMS GO AWAY WHEN I TALK TO HIM. Now, remembering the brilliant solutions he gave me when it comes time to write is another thing…
- One of the reasons I write about fathers is that not everybody could have my dad as a father, but they can have God as a father and that’s even better! But it’s hard for dads to be the superheroes they were built to be, and maybe having role models in fiction will help them, and their kids. (Maybe.)
Whatever the big, scary thing is, I know my daddy will protect me. That’s what daddies do. And if he can’t – because the thing is inside me – he’ll do the next best thing: take it to our Father in Heaven (who is even more big and awesome than anything you’ve ever seen!).
It’s a season of transition for many, as students graduate and prepare for the next stage of their lives. My cousin and brother have both graduated from high school. Many high school students will go on to college/university.
But this cultural edifice is not for me.
Be careful how you share this online, so my grandparents don’t see it (!) but in spite of their repeated entreaties, I don’t feel the need for more than my 4.0 Associate of Arts degree. In case some of my reasons resonate with you, I’m sharing them. Continue reading
Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about a story.
July 6, 2009, is the date I have recorded that the story first emerged as recognizably itself:
A human prince – Eris – is banished and branded, but accompanied on his wanderings by his elf and dwarf best friends.
As I usually do, I took the seed to my dad, who is an expert in taking my infantile premises and giving them plots. We began working with this prince (whose name comes from the dwarf planet at the edges of the solar system) and soon discovered why he was branded (to allow them to send him through a portal into regions unknown), what his supposed crime was, and a few other details.
I struggled and thrashed my way through a draft (at that immature stage of my author-hood, I was much more a “pantser” AKA making it up as I went along AKA begging Dad to get me unstuck after every scene) until the plot was complete, and the draft was about 85% complete. I had travel brochures for two of the fantasy worlds (that’s called procrastinating). I even had a cover idea!
Then I let it drop. Continue reading
I didn’t miss him as much as I had suspected, seeing how close we are. A little background: we are the only “real” siblings in our family. While we had several foster siblings off and on growing up (that we love in a different way) he and I have a special bond, especially as we’ve grown older and more mature. We still get on each other’s nerves, but we’d die for each other in a heartbeat… Continue reading