Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eek! No Flash

I'm traveling this weekend, so without the time to pimp a #FridayFlash post or read other people's work, I'm skipping a flash fiction post.

So, instead, I'm leaving you with a video. Last week, I introduced you to Ever, the heroine of my upcoming novella, Badlands. This song was one of many on my playlist for the story, and is one that fits the characters in the story in many ways. Plus, a little Winchester-brother-time is never a bad thing ;-)

Thanks to MillerQueen72 for the fabulous video :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friend or Follow?


There is a nifty thing (called Friend or Follow) where you can put in your Twitter handle in and it will tell you which of the people you follow don’t follow you back. But…that isn’t what this post is about.

I have been on Twitter in one form or another for about two years now. In that time, I’ve “met” a lot of people I consider friends. Some of them I’ve physically met, others I only know online. I don’t really differentiate between the two unless someone asks.

However, on one account I have over five hundred followers and close to two hundred fifty on the other. While I appreciate every one of those people and talk to many of them, I don’t consider them all friends. This isn’t a judgment on any of them. Given the opportunity, we might become besties for life, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

You see I don’t consider people friends unless I would confide in them to some degree. This doesn’t have to be deeply personal stuff, just stuff I wouldn’t post publicly on Twitter for all the world to see. These are the people I can text or call or instant message or email when I get bad news or awesome news or just need someone to talk to.

It’s come to my attention recently that other people don’t look at it that way. They see all their Twitter followers as friends. I’ll admit I’m tremendously confused by this. I’ve been told in the past that I’m very open on Twitter. That’s true. I figure if people are using Twitter to get to know me, they may as well get to know the real deal. However, I’m just not comfortable with the idea of treating Twitter like a conference call with a group of my girlfriends. There are just some things that don’t get aired publicly.

But the people I know who refer to all their followers as friends don’t do that. Their Twitteraction might be playful, but it isn’t an in-depth look into their life. It’s more like a tiny surface sample of their personality.

So is it me? Am I the one who has a skewed view of friendship? Are all your Twitter followers friends? Or do you differentiate between those you share more with and those who just get the “surface you” (however deep that surface goes)?

But hey, Nathan Fillion, if we’re friends, let’s get together for drinks when I’m in LA this April…

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Acceptance: Just a Man

This week marks the last in my series on grief. The timing on this is perfect for me, and oddly enough, the character I chose (weeks ago) for this installment is one whose general attitude about life is one I aspire to. She’s Ever, the heroine of my upcoming steampunk/alt-history romance novella Badlands.


Acceptance: Just a Man


Ever paced the length of her mother’s rooms, a faint cloud of dust from her clothes following in her wake. Her eyes flicked to the window, judging the length of the shadows outside, and she clenched her jaw. She had work to do. Whatever this was about, it had better be important.

At last, her mother swept into the room in a swirl of sheer skirts, her face a stoic mask. “Everette, your clothes. Could you not--"

“I was on duty, Mother.”

A sigh shuddered from her mother’s mouth and she laid her palms on her dresser and leaned against it. “Close the door, please.”

Ever sucked in a deep breath to hold back the irritated retort threatening to escape her lips as she strode over and sealed the room. “All right, Mother, what is it that requires such secrecy?”

“Not secrecy, dear,” she said, her voice tired and quiet. “Privacy.” She squared her shoulders and crossed the room to take Ever’s hands.

Ever stared at their entwined fingers, hers rough and callused from years hunting on the borders, her mothers soft…beautiful.

“It’s about your father.”

Jerking her hands back, Ever narrowed her eyes as rage bubbled up inside her. “He’s back?”

“Do not make that face. Your father is…was a good man.” Her mother raised a trembling hand to brush Ever’s long waves back from her face. “He’s dead.”

“Tell me what information we have on his murderer.” She strode toward the door. This at least made sense. She hunted criminals every day. One more would be no different. “I’ll get one of my squads on it immediately.”

Gentle pressure on her shoulder stopped her before she opened the heavy door. “Child, he was not murdered. His horse threw him. He hit his head on a rock and…” The words were strangled by a sob.

Ever shook her head, confused. “And you wish me to…kill the horse?”

Her mother stepped in front of her, blue eyes searching hers. For what, Ever didn’t know. “He died, Everette. I want you to stay with me. To mourn with me.”

“Men die in the Badlands every day, Mother. Many of them by my hand. Why should I mourn this one?”

“He was your father!”

“And still just a man. One I barely knew. He was never part of my life.” Not a complaint, merely a statement of fact. Like other men not residing within the confines of prison cells, her father had worked in the fields or the mines, or…somewhere. Ever didn’t care. She hadn’t wanted anything from him since he left.

Her mother’s hand caressed her cheek. “But he is part of you. Isn’t that reason enough to mourn his passing?”

Pain rose in Ever’s skull as she frowned and stepped toward the door. “You may do what you wish with his memory, Mother, but I am still here and whole. I have lost nothing with his passing.” Wood scraped on wood, protesting as she yanked the door open. “I have work to do.”

As she rode her horse over the rough, desert terrain, Ever’s mind drifted back to her childhood.

She was playing with a pair of wooden horses when a shadow darkened the doorway and drew her gaze. “Papa!

Her father opened his arms wide, and Ever raced to him, throwing herself against his broad chest. His arms wrapped around her, warm and strong as he kissed her hair. “I cannot stay anymore, child.”

Ever’s face scrunched. “What do you mean?”

His voice whispered like a breeze through her hair. “I told you one day I would have to leave, that I couldn’t stay with you and your mother forever. It is not the way things are done.”

Balling her hands into fists, Ever shoved against him. “No”

“I am sorry, Ever. I didn’t want to go without saying goodbye.” He leaned down to kiss her again.

“No!” She raced back into the room, certain if she didn’t say goodbye, he wouldn’t leave.

Sadness darkened his face as he backed out of the doorway.

Ever tried to shake off the memory, but her head began to throb. She pressed the heel of one hand against it; she needed her wits about her. One of the criminals sent across the border had been terrorizing a group of settlements. Her troops had been searching for him for two days, and he was far more likely to kill her than surrender. At last, a familiar shape caught her attention and she swung from the horse, urging it toward the others with a swat on its hindquarters.

The curvy brunette she had spotted stepped from between the boulders and strode forward. “Commander.”

Ever nodded at Catherine, her second-in-command. “Has he been captured?”

Catherine shook her head, tendrils of hair catching in the desert breeze. “No, but we are closing in on him. The women should have him flushed out of hiding by nightfall.”

“Good. We have wasted too much time on this one already.”

Before the last word had left her mouth, Ever caught movement out of the corner of her eye. Bulk, moving fast, with something raised overhead. Without thought, she pulled her pistol, whipped around and fired.

The man’s eyes were wide as the axe tumbled from his fingers and he fell backward, blood pouring from the hole in his face.

Ever crossed the ground between them and kicked at the fallen man’s body. “This is him?”

From the other side of the dead man, Catherine said, “He matches the description. I will fetch someone to confirm.” With that, the brunette was lost in a swirl of dust.

Her head throbbing, Ever examined the man. Perhaps fifty, with hair graying at the temples, tall, muscular build—much like her father would have had by now. He stared back at her with pale green eyes that mocked her darker ones.

Hands pressed to her temples, she backed away as something wet formed a path down her cheek. She glanced at the bright, clear sky, blinking against the sunshine.

Another wet trail blazed down her skin and she wiped the teardrop away, staring as it evaporated in the heat. The pain in her skull abated slightly as another tear fell. She glanced at the body lying in front of her, seeing not a criminal…just a man.

She squared her shoulders, the ache in her head abating. “Goodbye, Father.”

Then she turned to await Catherine’s return. Her heart at peace.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Sex Versus Real Sex

Advance warning that I'm going to talk about sex in this post. Should have been evident by the title, but in case you didn't get it...there will be sex. And at points there may be TMI involved. Feel free to read this paragraph, cover your eyes and go running for the hills (ie hit your back button or close the window or whatever). I promise not to be offended.

If you stick around, I hope you won't be offended.






Good, now that we've got that cleared up we can get down to business. Here's the thing. I've decided I need to write a contemporary romantic comedy.

I can see some of my friends staring at the screen and blinking really slowly before they scroll up to make sure they're at the right place. Yeah, it's still me, and I know both contemporary and rom com are totally outside my comfort zone for writing. Hear me out though. The sex I write in my spec fic? It isn't real. I'm not sure I've ever had sex like that. You know, the kind that goes perfectly right. No awkward embraces, every touch sets something on fire (and not in a bad way), everyone has a rock-my-world orgasm.

Yeah. Not that those things don't happen, but I can't say I've ever had them all happen at the same time. Where everything was perfect.

Real sex just isn't like that. Real sex involves things like leg cramps and dryness and too much saliva and one person being done way before the other one. Occasionally, real sex even involves accidentally kicking your partner in the head*, leaving you both laughing so much it's hard to get back to what you were trying to do in the first place. Real, honest to goodness sex is often funny. Someone tries to say something sexy and it comes out sounding ridiculous, or worse, they belch in the middle of it.

But that doesn't make for a sexy love scene.

So I've decided, just once, I want to write a story about real people and real sex.

You know...just to see if I can.

The real question is this: would you read it?




*No spouses were harmed in the making of this blog post**




**At least not permanently.




Addendum at the request of my husband: Just to clarify, I have actually had wonderful, mind-blowing sex. In fact, I was having some recently...until my mother-in-law knocked on the door. Yep. That's real sex.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Anger: Over You

Hi everyone! I'm back to my series on the stages of grief. This one passed with one of my awesome OWG Rebel friends, so I figured I should post it before I started second-guessing myself. Unlike the rest of the pieces, this one comes from a character in the YA urban fantasy novel (Pretty Souls) I have coming out soon under my other name. This story actually takes place right around the beginning of what would be book 4 in that series (and might even end up included in the manuscript when I get that far). I had to be really careful not to include stuff that would be spoilery for the novel. I hope you enjoy this taste of Elle, my favorite teenage werewolf :)

Anger: Over You

I clicked the phone off and threw it on my bed hard enough it bounced twice before landing.

“Still no answer?” my foster sister Cass asked from the desk as she poked at keys on the laptop.

“No. He isn’t picking up. Isn’t responding to texts. It’s been two weeks.” I stalked across the room, wanting to throw something else.

Cass lobbed a stuffed rabbit at me, and I snatched it out of the air. “I get that you miss him, Elle, but he warned you he’d be off the grid for a while.”

I wanted to rip the damn bunny’s ears off. Instead I chucked it at the wall with all my strength. It hit our striped wallpaper with an unsatisfying thump and slid to the floor, still grinning. Mocking me. “He’s been gone for almost two months, Cass. Two months! All that time I got vague phone calls and texts that said nothing. He’s fine. He’ll be back soon. Of course he misses me. Maybe it’d be different if we’d been in a great spot when he left, but he wasn’t exactly all here then either.”

“Stop it.” She shoved the chair back, legs rubbing against the carpet, like nails on a chalkboard to my werewolf hearing. The next thing I knew, five-foot-nothing of platinum blonde cheerleader was right in my face. “He’s loves you. He just needs time to deal with—”

Still wanting to lash out, I balled my hands into fists to keep from shoving her out of my way. “I gave him time, Cass. I gave him three months. And then he left. He walked out.”

She laughed and her lips twisted into a sneer. “His grandmother was dying. Of course he left. You need to stop this. You’re being stupid. He loves you.” Like it would do any good, she reached out and ran her hand up and down my arm.

My voice came out tight and quiet. “Then why doesn’t he say it?”


I bit my lip, trying to keep from crying. I didn’t want to cry over him anymore. I was done with that. “In all this time he’s been gone, not once, Cass. Not in a call, or a text, or an email. Hugs and kisses maybe. If I’m lucky. But love? I think he stopped loving me a long time ago. I’ve just been too blind to see it and holding onto him anyway.”

Cass dropped her hand and took a step back, tipping her head up like she needed to see me clearer. “Elle, what did you do?”

As I stared at the phone on my bed, all I could think was that people who said breaking up long-distance was easy were full of shit. Unless they’d never cared at all. Then maybe it wouldn’t hurt. “I decided to see again.”

Her fingers brushed my arm as I turned and headed out the door of our bedroom, but she didn’t try to stop me.

The beast inside me howled a mournful song as she guided me out of our neighborhood. I didn’t fight her; I was still too hurt to see straight. All this time I’d believed in him, believed in us. That we were strong enough to move past the stupid roadblock thrown our way. But he didn’t want to. He’d made that abundantly clear by taking off. For all I knew, he’d already moved on to someone else out west and was just waiting to come back and break it to me. Maybe making plans to go to college out there. I squeezed my eyes shut against the image of his face and crooked smile.

When I opened them, I found the beast had led me to the park. With a sigh, I sat down on one of the swings. The chains creaked overhead, the sound an angry screeching in the calm spring air.

“Need a push?”

I almost jumped at the voice behind me. Neither the beast nor I had heard him approach, but the guy I’d seen pounding up the court during basketball season stood right there, all sandy brown hair and green eyes. Cass had introduced us once, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember his name. Kane. Lane…

“Hello? Earth to Elle. We met after regionals? I’m Zane.”

That was it. “Hi, Zane. Sorry, you just spooked me.” I twisted the swing around to see him better, tugging long strands of hair from my face. Like me, he wore only a t-shirt and jeans, even though it was definitely chilly enough for a jacket, his muscles long and lean as they held the chains over my head. For some reason that made me shiver.

He smiled and it lit up his face. “Don’t get spooked often, do you?”

A laugh bubbled up inside me. “No, I don’t.” Then the wind shifted, and his scent hit the beast and me full force. My nostrils flared and eyes went wide as I met his unblinking gaze.

Rosemary. Grass. Trees. Dirt.


He leaned down, his face hovering an inch away from mine. “Got you again.”

And he had too. I was frozen under the weight of his twinkling eyes and the headiness of his scent.

I gave my now ex-boyfriend a fleeting thought but clenched my jaw tight against it. If he was moving on, then damn it so could I. Screw him. And screw the tears the tried to spring up in my eyes.

With the beast already straining toward his scent, I closed the distance separating me from Zane.