Busy Squirrell

My Writing Process!

Hello lovelies!

Bill Blume, a fellow author at Fable Press, has tagged me as part of a blog tour for various authors to talk about, you guessed it, Our Writing process. As part of the tour, I’ll answer four questions, and then tag three other authors I know to do the same.

What questions? I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3. Why do I write what I do?
4. How does my writing process work?
SO! Let’s get down to business!
1. What am I working on?
I’ve just turned in the Final-Final draft of book two of my Covencraft series, titled Counter-Hex. I’m currently plotting out book 3 in the series, which I tentatively have a title for but don’t know if I’m willing to share it yet! I’m also working on a Fanfic that’s a WIP – work in progress, meaning I’m posting it as I go. this has been a REAL change for me as I normally don’t post stuff until it’s finished. It’s a little scary putting stuff out there and having it just be… there – unable to change it as I go along! I also just finished a short story for Jade and Paris [from Covencraft] and am plotting out another short story, possibly set in the same world but about a different character, Yvonne. She can raise the dead. It’s not as cool as it sounds.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This one’s tough because I like a lot of works in my genre and I don’t want to sound like I’m speaking badly of them. I have noticed that in a lot of books in my genre [urban fantasy] there can be real division from the female lead from other female characters, as though the female protagonist has to bring herself up by putting other women down (she gets noted as not being like ‘other’ women, or is only surrounded by men). There also seems to be a lack of women in strong roles AROUND the heroine. I’m hoping that in my work, I bring a more balanced gender representation. Jade has friends of both sexes, and interacts with men and women. In my short story, about Jade meeting the Werewolves, I specifically made my Alpha werewolf a woman because I hadn’t personally read that before! I also hope that I bring my own quirky sense of humor to my work!
3. Why do I write what I do?
You know, writing can be a lonely business. I write what I do because I like it. I write the story I want to tell and I want to read. I try to please myself first. That way if everyone else hates it, at least I can guarantee one person is happy – ME! I also like playing around and making up new and interesting rules or mashing up genres. Urban Fantasy has a lot of leeway to play with and so I feel very free and open to bust in and have at it.
4. How does my writing process work?
I usually keep a notebook in my purse – just a small Moleskine thing that’s light and doesn’t add too much bulk. I make notes as I think of things – scenes, snippets of dialogue, that sort of thing. Then I actually found a 10 step outline that I really like and lately, I’ve been trying to stick to it! The outline is actually how to write a one page synopsis – I found it while trying to do exactly what the title says for Trial by Fire! I was pretty happy to find out, I’d followed the outline without knowing it. For book 2, Counter-Hex, I stuck to it and found it really kept me focused. Then, in my notebook, I journal things that I’m having a hard time with – Plot holes, character development, reasoning. I find if I just sit there and ‘think’ about it, I don’t really get it done. But if I write it out, journal style, I usually come up with a solution! I try to know how the book ends before I start. I may not know how I get there, but I at least know the destination. I also try to have one or two sentences be my ‘focus’ – my answer to “What is this book about?” and I also try to have a solid idea of where my characters are coming from emotionally. That may not always come across in the book, but I feel that knowing it helps me drive it. In Trial by Fire I knew the focus was Jade finding out about her power and wondering if she belonged. At the same time, Paris was learning more about his own past and his Coven [by finding out that someone wanted to steal Jade’s power]. So I saw their ‘arc’s as almost intersecting but opposite – She’s learning about the Coven and deciding if she should join. He’s learning about the Coven and not liking what he finds out. In book two, Counter-Hex, there will be a continuation of that. Jade continues to learn about the Coven and her feelings of belonging [or not] are being fleshed out. Paris is learning there’s more to being a witch than he thought.
And now! Some authors to tag!

First, I’m tagging Tereasa Maillie. Tereasa and I used to work together [some days, could we REALLY call it working, T? lol] and she has a real passion for history and writing! She’s written several plays, most notably an adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma that was put on by Gas and Light Production here in Calgary, and I believe she also did an adaptation of Lady Windermere’s Fan!

Gas and Light Productions

Gas and Light Productions


Next! I’m tagging Laurie Lyons, author of the Feather Trilogy.

Laurie Lyons

Laurie Lyons

Book 1 in the Feather Trilogy

Book 1 in the Feather Trilogy

Laurie and I have known each other since high-school [we won’t say how long ago that was!] and used to write longhand in scribblers/notebooks and swap stories. Now we meet up for coffee with our laptops and try to help each other push through the ugly bits of writing – usually edits! The last book of the Feather trilogy, Faith, was just released, so if you’re the type that likes to read all the books of a series all at once, you’re in luck!


And! I’m tagging Sarah Madison, author of numerous works, but most recently, The Boys of Summer.

Sarah Madison

Sarah Madison

The Boys of Summer

The Boys of Summer

Sarah and I met on some online forums and we’re fortunate enough to be able to get together with some of our other online friends about once a year and hole up in a room with our laptops and some wine. She just finished the sequel to Unspeakable Words [Dreamspinner] and I believe she’s working on a third installment in that series as well [Am I correct, Sarah?]. Perhaps she’ll talk about it in the follow up to this tag!



Draft 2 of Counter-Hex completed!

Phew! Draft 2 completed! Added another 7500 words bringing our total up to 94000ish.

And! The publishers liked it, which is always a big relief.

Now the final read through. Out loud.

I’m going to need like 12 pots of coffee, tea and some gatorade. And a puppy on my lap.

It should make me slow down enough to catch things that are wonky or don’t work. I also shifted some things during the edit [and added some stuff] so I need to make sure it all still flows.






Covencraft book 2 Udpate – First draft done!

OMG, guys! I just finished the first draft of Book 2 of Covencraft!

Let’s take a moment to CELEBRATE!

Carlton dancing

Now comes the next steps – EDITS!


I admit, I HATE editing. But I’ve promised Fable Press they will have the book by January 15, so there’s no time to waste if I want it to be read over by my beta readers in time!

So I’ll have a celebratory drink tonight (and by drink, I mean bottle of wine) and then tomorrow, I start editing from the beginning. I already have some notes on things that need tweaking, and I’ll be checking my SPAG as I go. Then it’s off to Donna, Chantal and Ash for review. Although, Donna already has a rough draft without the ending that she’s looking at right now. She’s doing the “Yo, does this have a plot?” read through.

I’m always so happy when I finish a draft! It makes all the really tough parts (the crying, the wailing, the despair, the teeth gnashing, the fingernail biting, DID I MENTION THE DESPAIR??) worth it!





This is what happens when I have 4 hours of sleep

Can you guess what song I’ve got stuck in my head? Here, read the story I wrote to go with it and see if you can guess:

Some say the object is magic, but others say the better word is cursed.

It brings inanimate objects alive, forcing life into their bits and pieces. Corrupting nature’s work, making things move and shift where before they were lifeless.

It brings to life a creature that cannot stand the sun – a lumbering, dripping thing that leaves bits and pieces of itself behind wherever it goes.

It likes children most of all.

As is often the way with children, they don’t realize they are in danger. They don’t see the beast for what it is. They see  a plaything – an exciting new toy that wants to jump and dance with them. They are happy. They don’t know any better. Its heavy footsteps fall on the ground – thump, thump, thump. The deep tone leaving a sick feeling in those nearby – rubbing at their chests as if they could purge the sensation.

On the wind comes its voice, ‘Come play with meeeeeeeeeee.’ And then later, ‘Catch me if you caaaaaa-aaaannnnnn.’

Until the sun rises. The glorious sun, burning away the effigy, the wrong-thing, the perversion until all that’s left is a soppy, sodden mess.

And the words, ‘Don’t cry, I’ll be back again some day.’


Points to all of you that recognized this as FROSTY THE SNOWMAN!!!


Status update – What’s happening on my keyboard ‘write’ now [Oh! so punny!]

So, my summer was not as productive as I would have hoped due to some circumstances that were partially in my control but that I let get away from me for a while.

but! I’m back on track! what’s going on? I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED:

I just finished reading “2K to 10K” about writing faster and I got some really good tips! If anyone out there is looking for some ideas on how to punch up their numbers, I recommend it. What does it boil down to? WORK – pre-planning, pre-plotting and knowing what you’re writing before you sit down so that you don’t waste your writing time staring at the keyboard wondering ‘What Happens Next?” I feel like I knew this but I needed to see it written out for me and explained and this book was excellent at that.

I’ve been working on Book 2 of my Covencraft series [working title Counter-Hex] and while I know how it ends, I didn’t have it all fleshed out. To be clear, I don’t like to overplot because I like my characters to have room to do what they may feel is necessary and I won’t always know what that is until I start writing. But I do like to have certain beats to hit and I didn’t have all those set in my head. After reading the 2K book, I sat myself down and started ‘plotting’… and realized I kind of didn’t have a system for it, officially. My first step was to find “the System”

When I submitted Trial by Fire to Fable Press, I had to give a one-page synopsis and I found a great site that helped me do that. So I thought – dayammmmm I should do that for book 2 BEFORE i write it and then poof! I will know what I’m doing. This me be surprising to people who aren’t writers. Like, how did you write a book without knowing what you were doing? Like I said, I know how stuff ends, I just don’t always know how I’m going to get there. It’s worked out for me in the past but it’s been painful at times. I want to write less painfully! so I’m taking steps to make it happen.

I’ve also been playing with another story. I want to put it on Wattpad, but I just don’t know if it’s going to be a YA or if it’s going to be New Adult, or maybe neither? It feels like a YA [when I get the character voice I’m looking for] but then the plot I had in mind for it [which legitimately came from a dream I had] doesn’t work for a YA book, so I’m sort of torn. But I think on Wattpad you can put stuff up and ask for help? IDK, I’m not sure how that all works.

And of course, my other love, fanfic. Yes, lovelies, I’m still writing it. No, you can’t have my fandom name. But if you’re in the fandoms I’m in, you might be able to guess who I am based on my writing/posts.

So that’s what’s happening – 3 WIPs [works in progress] with the possibility of me re-working an existing work.

And that’s all the shrimp there is



Blog Tour Schedule!

I’m going on tour!

From July 29 to Aug 26, I will be ‘On Tour’ with Bewitching Book Tours promoting my book, Trial by Fire!

bewitching_author Trial by Fire Button 300 x 225

The tour runs on Weekdays, links below so you can stop by and check stuff out. I’ll be updating this post as I create guest blog posts so you’ll know what I’ll be discussing.

What will happen on the book tour? I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED:

Guest Blog – A post written by me – I’m still looking for the perfect place to write my post on “The Importance of Being Miss Piggy”, but for this tour, I’ll probably stick to writing, elements of writing, supernatural stuff and/or items feature my book.

Spotlight – Will feature excerpts from Trial by Fire

Interviews – will feature my responses to interview questions. I was very excited to do my first “Character Interview” for July 29, featuring answers by Jade!

Review – Will feature a book review of Trial by Fire [Gotta admit, this one has me biting my nails a bit]

Le Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
July 29
Character Interview [Jade]
Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
Author Interview
The Official Blog of A.C. James
July 30
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
July 31
Author Interview
A Writer’s Mind
August 1 – Day off! August 2
Guest blog – Genre World Building
Mythical Books
August 5
Guest blog – Character Interview [Paris]
Christina McKnight Blog
August 6
Spotlight – Excerpt 1
Kelly P’s Blog
Spotlight – Excerpt 2
Reviewing in Chaos
August 7
Guest blog – Where do your ideas come from
Buffy’s Ramblings
Review of Trial by Fire
Escape Into A Book
August 8
Spotlight – Excerpt 3
Share My Destiny
August 9
Spotlight – Excerpt 1
Krystal’s Enchanting Reads …
Spotlight and review of Trial by Fire [excerpt 2]
wicca witch 4 book blog
August 12
Review of Trial By Fire
Ella Gray
August 13
Guest blog – Begin with the End in Mind
Itara @My midnight fantasies
August 14
Zombiegirl Shambling
August 15
Guest blog – Deleted Scene from Trial by Fire
Bookworm Bridgette’s World
August 16
Author Interview
Fang-tastic Books
August 19
Author Interview
Roxanne’s Realm
Review of Trial by Fire
Nicky Peacock author
August 20
Reading In Twilight
Aug 21
Books & Tales
August 22
Elfie Books
August 23
Spotlight and Review of Trial by Fire
Faerie Tale Books
August 26
Author Interview
Pembroke Sinclair
Jodie Pierce

I’m super excited and a little nervous! I think August will be a busy month for me!


It’s tough to have swan arms when you’re a rhino

Look. I’m not graceful. Anyone who’s seen me do … well… anything can attest to that. I also have a MESS of scars on my body from times when I was in the middle of doing something and then POOF. No longer upright. The reason your mum tells you not to run with scissors? *jerks thumbs at self* Right here, y’all. Right here. I did it. got the scars to prove it.

Actually, I wasn’t even running, I was going up STAIRS, like an EVERYDAY occurrence and BLAMO.

but I digress!

I do like to try different things for exercise though, especially since I started having this sciatic nerve thing about a year ago. What it boils down to is NO TREADMILL FOR ME. Which was kind of a bummer since getting on and just checking out mentally had been my go to workout for forever.

I hate the stationary bike. and the stairclimber and the rower. Pretty much the only machine I could stand was the treadmill and that was no longer an option.

But I like to dance.

Hey, I’m not very good at it, but I like it. And as long as I don’t have to do it in front of other people? SCORE.

So I got some dance videos. and dance type videos. So far my faves are:

Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis (Hipcentric) – it’s like 30 min of good, old fashioned cardio aerobics. WEAR GOOD SHOES, for the love of god. It took two months for my shins and calves to get used to the bouncing and jumping but they finally adjusted. but it’s fun! and I’m not really good with coordination so I have to concentrate while I work out and that makes it go by faster.

Ballet Beautiful Body Blasts – SWAN ARMS MY GOD HOW CAN YOU BE SO HARD?? I just like to watch Mary Helen [the instructor] move. She’s so…fluid. and calm. And just exactly like a ballerina should be. I try not to catch site of my own shadow or limbs as I do this. Best not to ruin the moment. Even though I know I’m not very good at it, I really like it AND MAN! do I feel the burn. I did the butt#1 work out the other day and I felt the good burn. the one that lets you know, you did good work!

So that’s what I’m into right now. I like to work out at home. With the blinds pulled and the door shut. Then I pretend I’m a dancing SUPERSTAR. It’s actually WAY MORE FUN than the treadmill ever was!


Office Makeover!

I wish I could tell you that I do most of my writing from an old mahogany desk in a library with a huge bay window where I can look out upon the grounds of my English Manor Maze Garden.

The truth is, I write from my bed. It’s the WORST for my back and legs. It’s also bad for my sleep habits.

I have an office type room in my house and I used to use it for some working from home when I worked at my last job. I also used to be really into scrapbooking and cardmaking. I currently only use it for cello practice. I thought if I tossed a coat of paint and finally hung up some of the art I had, I could make it into a writer-type place.

It’s getting there! Although I’m still writing this from my bed, lol.

So! with me starting Camp NaNoWriMo tomorrow, I hope to put this space to good use! Click here for my novel profile at camp!


Trial by Fire Book Party!


Pics from my party! We’ve been in a little bit of a pickle here in Calgary with some flooding. Luckily for my friends and family, we are mostly unaffected. SO PARTY IT WAS! There was TONS of yummy food and CAKE with my book cover screened on the to icing. I got a JUMBO SIZED poster of my book cover and signed books for friends and family.

And of course my latest obsession, Apothic Red Wine. YUM.


My sister, Ann, did the theme in colors of fire – Red, Orange and Yellow. there were some GORGEOUS flowers and you’re all getting pic spammed. [IDK what she’ll do for book two, which is tentatively titled ‘Counter Hex’ – what color is a hex?]. She put on QUITE a show and graciously offered up her house. Jennifer, my other sister, assisted with planning food I think. Darren, my bro in law, stepped in to arrange a cake when our original cake place was flooded out due to the flood situation in southern Alberta.

It was a GREAT time! I admit, I get nervous around a lot of people, even when they’re all people I know! I was a little scared and slightly anxious before the party so I made a beeline for the wine as soon as I arrived. Once I got chatting, I relaxed. Signing books was a bit nerve-wracking and I made two or three spelling errors. ONE ON THE WORD ‘AUNTIE’ [for my fam – omg, I’m SUCH A DORK]

I was so touched and honored to have all my friends and family celebrate with me! the only thing that would have made it more perfect would have been the addition of those that have passed on. I know they were there in spirit.



From Zero to Hero – a speedy beauty timeline

6:02 pm – Leave Bootcamp a sweaty, tomato face disaster.

6:29pm – park car in garage. Walk in door. say hi to puppies.

6:30pm – make messy ponytail more messy so it looks “On Purpose” messy and not just “WTF” messy.

6:31 – 6:35 – shower. Get all make up off so I can put new makeup on.

6:35 – put feather and rhinestone clip on top of ponytail. Adjust.

6:36 – concealer and powder

6:37 – eyeshadow and mascara

6:38 – tinted chapstick

6:39 – put on clothes, spritz perfume. Search for earrings. Screw earrings, can’t find matching pair, go with jumbo ring.Go back downstairs.

6:40 – And  I still have time to update Twitter AND my blog AND check my facebook AND email before it’s time to leave.

It can be done my beauties. I even have a glitter shirt on and a peacock feather on my hair clip.