Category Archives: Beta Readers

Back and Hitting Overdrive

Wow, is it February already? A lot of work and news has happened. The Gothic Blue Book with Antidote for the Soul has been out for public consumption for months. I have even signed a few copies people have brought me. No matter who you are, when someone asks you to sign something you’ve published, a little voice inside you goes “SQUEEEE”. And mine certainly did.

Still Available in print or Kindle. SQUEE

Adding to that, I have also guest lectured classes on the writing process and creating worlds and characters for two separate classes. These were both outstanding experiences that I was much honored to be a part of these young writers’ journeys. Hearing their ideas and answering their questions allowed them to bring new ideas to my writing at the same time that I was trying to help them.  The most fun was hearing all the little details that they’d caught that I didn’t think anyone but me would get. Easter Eggs are fun for everyone.

In other news, I got word back from my wonderful and talented Beta Readers, and as of yesterday, I have applied the notes and finished the last draft of Black Sun. I’m really excited about these changes, and they couldn’t have happened without outstanding Beta Readers. I owe each and every one of them a drink of their choice.

Beyond that, I am gearing up to polish up an eye-catching query letter and synopsis for agents to peruse and, hopefully, fall in love with. In this pursuit, yesterday I was given an outstanding exercise. An agent was holding a contest for people to win a chance for him to go over their query letter. In order to win that opportunity, writers had to post a 100 word scene from the POV of their villain/antagonist. This was an outstanding exercise that I would recommend to every writer. I put an added challenge in mine, and made sure that my villain/anatagonist’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict were identifiable in those short 100 words. Whew, never knew 100 words could go by so fast. I’m already about four times that in this blog post alone. So it was daunting to get a coherent, engaging snippet from my darling villain and also convey his true goals with his reasonable motivation and the thwart to his overall plan. The funny thing is, he ended up sounding in his own POV like he was a hero. But then again, shouldn’t many villains seem themselves in the right? I was so intrigued by this that I’m going to write more on it in my next post.

For now, I am moving forward in as quick a pace as my day job will allow me. Time to get this bad boy packaged up for others in this world to see and l enjoy.


Mother Nature: Poet, Artist, Author?

This week is owned by Mother Nature. She is showing us we can’t get too comfortable in our “hurricane free” or “earthquake free” areas. With the earthquake from the Northeast starting in Virginia (it was fun teaching a class and missing a step as everything fell about a foot from where it was) and Hurricane Irene heading toward the Jersey Shore, people are having to adapt and learn new ways to prepare to survive.

Beautiful, but what if you added some lightning, crashing waves and a fire?

Right now, Mother Nature is the author of our current story. As authors, we create new circumstances, hardships and disasters for our characters to grow and learn from. A common critique note to young authors is “you made this too easy for your characters”. An easy story is often one that bores the reader and the hero/heroine doesn’t grow to his/her full potential. So, in order to love our characters and make them the people we know they can be, we have to throw horrible, horrible situations at them and let them learn on their own, or with a mentor and crew, what they have buried deep within. They have to learn what they can accomplish when pushed to the worst place they can possibly imagine, often a hairs breath from death. That’s why the Dark/Black Moment of the book is so important. It must be dire, because our hero/heroine must learn, the world be damned. He/she is stronger and better than this and will find a way to survive.

And to survive, they rarely ever have to be a “superman” with “deus ex superpower” that comes from nowhere. Often even with superpowers in play, in order for characters to grow, the ability to move beyond the Black Moment into Victory comes from a very mundane place. That way the readers can identify and grow from it with the characters.

So make those journeys tough and deadly. Let your characters fall down and feel pain. We as humans adapt and grow and learn. That’s what makes a compelling story. The growth. The learning. The survival of things that are out of the ordinary, but happen anyway.

As Mother Nature writes our story this week, I am continuing my work on Black Moon, as well as sending Black Sun to two more Beta Readers. Black Moon is almost a chapter in now, and Mother Nature has inspired some new hardships for my characters. *grin*

Happy Puppy Dance!

Everybody join in!

Jumping for joy with your head up in the air. Eyes closed in contentment as your feet tap out a happy jig. That’s what I’m doing today.

Got the report from the first of my Beta Readers. She stayed up until 4am finishing it because she couldn’t put it down. There is almost no higher praise than that.  As this is not her normal genre, it also lets me know Black Sun has the ability to reach beyond the normal “sci-fi” “horror” crowd. She gave me about six lines needing work, but out of 436 pages and 90k works, not too shabby and already fixed. This is exciting, and I can’t wait to hear from my other readers. Come on, big money, no whammys. (Does anyone get that reference anymore? Oh well, back to happy dance.)

On other fronts, the first few lines of Black Moon are written. They came to me with a great image, even if that image involved pain and panic. Being able to write again is making me so happy. Editing and polishing is fun, but I missed this creation part. I shared the first two lines with JP and his reaction was “Starting with a bang, huh?” Absolutely. Black Moon is shaping nicely in character and scene sheets. Now the words are allowed a license of their own to show me where all these well laid plans of humans and vampires are actually going to lead us this time. Plus, there will be the introduction of another entire paranormal group in this book. I can’t wait. *smile*

I look at how twisted and complicated my characters lives become when left in my hands. Murphy’s Law happens, but doesn’t cover half the messes that find them. Then I remember a favorite quote by alien buff Duane Alan Hahn:

“We’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law. There should also be Rube Goldberg’s Law (a result is often caused by a complicated chain reaction of seemingly unrelated events). Both of those laws seem to be best buddies and they’ll often knock Occam’s Razor to the floor and kick its whiny little [butt].”

Until then, I will have to wait and write those complications into existence until the other readers get back to me on Black Sun.

Celebration Time! Come On!

Huzzah!   Hurrah!   Booyah!   Oh Yay!

Not only is Black Sun as done as I can make it, it is off to the waiting hands of my first round Beta Readers. My dark story about vampires in the blackness of deep space stations and the people they “interact” with is out there to entertain others. Exciting and terrifying at the same time. But after two years of work on this project, I have to let it go. So, until I get feedback, Black Sun is officially going into the drawer. I am going to force myself to leave it alone, until I hear what others have to say.

Next weekend I’ll continue working on Black Moon, but this weekend is for me and celebrating getting this far in the process. Drinks all around. Tonight is date night for me and my husband. I think playing pool and Greek sauces are in order. Just the thought makes me smile. And to continue with the good vibes weekend of rest, J.P. is sending me to the spa tomorrow.

Thus I should return relaxed, refreshed and ready to get back to dangers of the paranormal world in deep space.


Until then, let’s raise a glass. Sláinte!