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



Beginning with the End in Mind

Originally posted at  as part of my blog tour!

As part of my day job, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take the workshop, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People [created by Stephen Covey]. It’s really about how to make the most out of what’s important to you. It’s not about being successful, or rich or famous, although if those things matter to you, I guess it could be. The habits are about how to structure your life and your time so that you use it to the best of your abilities and you get what you want – what you consider important. One of the habits talked about was “Beginning with the End in Mind.”  Basically, it’s about knowing what you want to get out of something before you start. Whenever I learn something new in any avenue of my life, I try to sit back and think about how I can apply it to my entire life – work, hobbies, family. In this case, Beginning with the End in Mind, has helped me with structuring and writing my book. Here’s how:

The early stages of developing a story are very exciting! Characters, plots, scenes, dialogue snippets – they’re all swirling and percolating in your mind and your fingers are just ITCHING to start typing. The beginning sometimes seems to just pour out of you – your writing is fast paced, voluminous and you’re happy-happy-happy.

But, do you know where you’re going? If not, you’ll probably be like me and all of a sudden it grinds to a halt and you’re not really sure why. It was going so well! You had a rhythm! There was a flow! And now? NADA.

It could be because you don’t know where you’re going. I don’t necessarily mean you need to have every plot point of your story mapped out in the early stages, but knowing generally what your book is about and how it ends can be a real game-changer for your writing.

So, how do I do that? I try to write the synopsis of my book BEFORE I start the book, or while I’m still working on the first pages – while I’m still in that super-exciting stage. The synopsis is your book jacket or your book’s teaser – it’s what your book is about. It generally doesn’t contain any real spoilers or a step by step plot outline, but it does tell you what to expect.

But, “it’s complicated”, you say, “I’ve a lot going on! This happens and this happens and there’s this woman from the past and we don’t know what her motives are and she’s got connections to the protagonist. It’s all tangled and complex”.

I’m sure it is! That makes for a great book!

But at it’s core, what’s your story about? Who is your story about? What is the essential struggle? Everything else is the ‘dressing’ or the ‘extras.’ If your book is an ice cream sundae, the synopsis is the ice cream. You can add whipped cream, cherries, nuts, sauces and anything else you want to make it as fantastic as possible. But you gotta have the ice cream first! At the risk of mixing my metaphors, I’m going to go so far as to say if your ice cream is NOT readily viewable or noticeable to the reader, they’re going to wonder what all these extra toppings are for.

Also, knowing what your book is about will really help you when you get stuck. I keep my synopsis on a doc that I can see while I write. When I get stuck, I read over it and think, “Is this scene telling that story? Does this moment propel the narrative toward this goal? If not, is that why I’m stuck? Am I telling the same story now that I started out with? What would need to happen next to get me to where I’m going?”

Sometimes, I get really excited about a new set of characters or a scene I want to write and I think, “I’ll just start and the ending will come!” That RARELY works for me. If you can do it, I envy you. I usually end up with some great writing that I’m excited about and then it just peters out and stops at some point and I’m never able to get it going again. Mostly because I don’t know where I’m going with it.

Additionally, if YOU don’t know where you’re story is going, how will the reader? Will they feel the same sense of wandering and disjointedness while reading it that you felt writing it? Probably.

So, while it’s hard and it can be it’s own trial, writing the synopsis of your story before you start can be a great anchor for your work. It lets you know that you know where you’re going. You don’t have to know how to get there, but you do need to have the destination in mind!


Trial by Fire – Fun with Wordle!

Wordle is a Java Web app that creates a mosaic of any text you enter.

An it’s AWESOME.

You can paste a bunch of text or a link to a web page and then you hit GENERATE and the magic happens. You can mess around with FONT, LAYOUT, COLORS, SHAPE – basically, you can have your Sunday sucked away by playing around.

As a writer, I’m FASCINATED by this visual representation of my work. I LOVE IT. I put the entire text of Trial by Fire in there and played around. You can’t save the images, (something about it being a Java app – I read the deets, it made sense, so my brain accepted the logic and then tossed out the reasoning – it’s how my brain works) but you CAN screenshot your results.




Trial By Fire [Covencraft Book 1] Available now!

I’m super excited that today is the release day of my book, Trial By Fire [Covencraft #1]!


Trial By Fire [Book 1]  – Available NOW @, [TBA], Barnes and Noble
[published through Fable Press]

Read the first chapter free on wattpad!

Jade leads a structured life:

  • Routine job
  • Caffeine addiction
  • No serious relationships.

And now, she can spontaneously set things on fire with her mind.

Well… perhaps “normal” was never in the cards for her. As she questions her own sanity and spirals out of control, a man appears on her doorstep and tells her that, like him, she’s a witch.

Pulled in all directions, her unbridled magic draws dangerous attention and Jade wonders if she’s made the worst mistake of her life by joining a coven, or if she’ll even live long enough to regret it.

If you like it, remember to feed the author. I eat reviews on Goodreads and Amazon 😉

You can also enter the giveaway on goodreads!


Interpreting Fiction, songs and other creative works

I’ve a friend in a really awesome band. Her name’s Chantal and she’s in a group called the Lovebullies. She has this one song called Here Comes the Boy. This is a replica of a conversation we had once:

Me: Hey, you know that song? Here Comes the boy? What’s it about?
Chantal [pauses]: What do you think it’s about?
Me: well, I think it’s about this girl that’s in love with her best friend but her best friend is in love with this guy who treats her badly. But the first girl, the one that’s in love is like, he’ll never treat you as well as me.
Chantal: [silence]
Me: soooo, is that what it’s about?
Chantal: it’s whatever you feel it’s about.

I immediately was confused. I argued with her, “BUT WHAT’S IT ABOUT???” and she just kept saying that it was about whatever I thought it was about.

This FLOORED me. I was so befuddled. How could Chantal make this song, this art, and not want to tell me what it meant? It made me think a lot about my own writing and how when someone asks what my book is about, I want to go on and on and on and tell them EVERYTHING that EVER crossed my mind while writing.

That conversation really stuck with me. I think about it a lot when I read reviews/interpretations of songs, writing and other art. I makes me wonder what the original artist thinks of their own work.

I’ve read some essays on Jane Eyre [previously noted as my fave book ever] and how the character of Bertha Mason has MANY interpretations – she’s society’s view on sexuality in women, she’s Charlotte Bronte’s psyche trapped in the attack, she’s the representation of all women persecuted for their lifestyle.

But it makes me wonder if maybe she’s just a crazy lady in the attic. Or maybe she’s all of those things above and more including a crazy lady in the attic because Charlotte Bronte would say, like Chantal did, she’s whatever you think she is.

This also leads me to a post a saw on Tumblr and I wish I saved the link. If I recall correctly, an art class had been charged with art for the Great Gatsby. One of the pieces done showed Gatsby with no hands and the art teacher commented how this was so symbolic of him reaching for things that he lacks the tools to even grasp or touch. However, the artists in the class leaned over to one of his classmates and said something like, “Actually, I just can’t draw hands.”

So again, I wodner, when we interpret art, how much of ourselves are we projecting on the piece. Is that the function of art? To be what the interpreter wants or sees?

Joss Whedon reportedly said “All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.” I find I think about that statement a lot. With my book coming out [June 25! Another SHAMELESS PLUG!] it makes me wonder what people will think about it and how they may interpret scenes, dialogue and characterization. Or if they’ll just read it for fun and not look any deeper. How will I react?

Obviously, I don’t have any answers, but it all makes me think about music, writing, art and how we view those things and what we attribute to them.


Jane Eyre

To be frank, I can’t articulate many absolute favorites. If you ask me for my favorite movie, or song or ice cream flavor, I’m HARD PRESSED to name just one. I can give you a list of favorites NOW or favorites THEN or “This is my favorite eye shadow for 4 am because it makes me look NOT DEAD but this is my favorite for going out at night because it has sparkles.”

The exception to my rule is Favorite Book = Jane Eyre.

It’s been my favorite since I read it. I don’t even remember when that was, to tell you the truth. Sometime in University I think. it’s got EVERYTHING:

Romance! Mystery! Spooky happenings! Strong heroine! Snappy dialogue! Brooding atmosphere! Creepy Castle!

Did I mention the strong heroine? Jane Eyre is probably one of the strongest heroines, if not THE strongest heroine I’ve ever read. And she was written in 1847.

If you’ve never read Jane Eyre, here are some quotes from our dear heroine, Jane, to motivate you to pick it up:

  • “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
  • I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
  • “I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.”

And from Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester

  • “You have saved my life: I have a pleasure in owing you so immense a debt. I cannot say more. Nothing else that has being would have been tolerable to me in the character of creditor for such an obligation: but you; it is different ;- I feel your benefits no burden, Jane.”

And the quote that has FOREVER RUINED ME:

  • “Because,” he said, “I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you — especially when you are near to me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land, come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapped; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.”

He. Should take. To bleeding. Inwardly.


This truly is my desert island book, my “You can only save one book and must leave the rest” book, my “I’m feeling low and sick and need something to curl up with” book.

I think I need to clear my weekend to read this again.