Monday, January 31, 2011

Anybody Wanna Be a Beta?

The time is nearly here...I'm *this close* to being done with the rewrite of my paranormal romance, Faerie Fate, and I'm in need of competent beta readers.

What I need from a beta reader:

1. Someone who reads paranormal romance and/or writes romance in general, and has a firm understanding of the romance market.

2. You must be willing to read and comment on the entire manuscript. I don't expect line edits - one would hope I had accomplished all of those by the time I send it to beta readers - but I would appreciate answers to a few questions I'll send along with the manuscript.

3. Time is of the essence - I don't want this to drag out too long so you need to be able to read it and comment within a couple of weeks.

4. If you need a beta reader, I'll be happy to return the favor!

If you're interested and qualified, please let me know (either comment or e-mail at maranash66 (at) gmail (dot) com).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

No Fear Blogfest

As promised, albeit later than promised, here is my entry in Dominic's No Fear Blogfest.

It's another episode in the Happy Acres saga, a continuation from the Next Line Blogfest, wherein the main character (whose name is Mindy, btw), shows her own brand of bravery as she's forced to face the Zombie King.


With my hand in hers, I followed Tonja, a reluctant participant in this adventure. The empty cavernous halls of Happy Acres were lit at night by dimmed florescence, casting a ghastly glow.

I swallowed hard, “What does this Zombie King guy want, anyway? Why is he here?”

“He’s hungry.”

“Then give him some cupcakes,” I said, turning and heading for my room. “See? That was easy. Now let’s go back to bed.”

With a harsh jerk she pulled my arm, resuming our forward motion.

“He doesn’t eat cupcakes, he eats souls. He found Mia in the common room one night, sleeping on the couch, and he tried her soul first, but her zombies defended her, so the Zombie King made a deal with them. He wouldn’t take Mia’s soul, if they’d help him take everyone else’s.”

My stomach rolled over in protest, “So Mia’s zombies are the one’s who’ve been hurting me?”

Tonja nodded. “I’ve been defending you, but they’re determined to protect her, and I can’t hold them off forever. So you have to face the Zombie King or they’re going to start taking everyone else’s souls.”

I considered - only briefly - whether that was a bad thing, then decided that yes, it was. My Happy Acres family was the only family I had, and even though they’re a bunch of crazy nut jobs, I still love them. I just didn’t want to face the Zombie King.

“How do I defeat him?” I asked.

“You have to find his biggest weakness.”

We reached the common room where moonlight streamed through the windows, draping itself over the furniture as if it were white satin sheets.

It might have been poetic except for the Zombie King. He looked like a god, which is to say he was hot and built. This freaked me out more than if he’d been a stinky half-corpse.

I stayed in the hall, just outside the room, unwilling to commit. “You’re not what I expected at all,” I said.

“That’s what you said last night,” he replied, taking a step in my direction.

“You must be mistaken, this is the first time we’ve met,” I said. For a Zombie God King he wasn’t very bright.

“You say that every night, too,” he took another step closer.

“Where are Mia’s zombies?” I asked.

“Hunting,” he said, stepping closer still. “Because you clearly have defensive mechanisms, I’ll find someone who doesn’t.” He glared at Tonja and she shot him a smug smile in return.

“Leave my friends alone,” I said. It came out with a lot more bravado than I felt and when he smiled and took another step closer I wondered if I’d made a big mistake.

“Are you willing to sacrifice yourself in their place?” he asked, now close enough to reach out and touch me.

“No, because you’re just going to leave,” I said. “You’re not welcome here.”

He threw his head back and laughed. “Well,” he said, raising one tanned, perfectly manicured hand and placing it on my shoulder, “I guess you told me, didn’t you.”

I pulled back into the hall, his hand still on my shoulder, “Just go away! I banish you! Begone! You shall not pass!”

When the fluorescent light hit his fingertips, little tendrils of smoke erupted and his skin began to sizzle. He jerked his hand back quickly, blowing on it to cool the burn.

Who would have thought? I took a bold step into the common room, taking his unburned hand in mine, and wrapping my other arm around him, as if we were best buds. “Dude!” I said. “I have a great idea. There are some super tasty souls here. You don’t want mine! Blech! I probably taste like brussels sprouts or some other yucky thing. And Mia? Way too sweet. You’d be on a sugar high for days.”

The look on his face was priceless. I’d totally taken him by surprise, so much so that he didn’t notice that as I babbled about soul-flavor, I inched him toward his doom.

“So, you know, you’d be much better off with a tasty Scottish haggis, right?”

He turned out of my grip, his back now to the hallway, and planted his fists on his hips. “What on Earth are you yammering about?”

“Byeeee!” I said, then with all the force I could muster, I did my best football block, ramming my shoulder into his gut and shoving him backwards into the fatal fluorescence. He fell to the floor, writhing and screaming as his skin smoked and burned and melted away until he was nothing but a pile of zombie ash.

“See?” Tonja said as if I’d just squished a spider, “I knew you could face your fears.”

“Can I go back to bed now?”


So, what do you think? And don't forget to check out the other entries in the fest!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The 99th Page Blogfest

I really should be working, but crawling the blogosphere is so much more fun. Now, don't worry, I'm still going to participate in the No Fear Blogfest, but I just now ran across another blogfest for today called The 99th Page Blogfest hosted by Erinn, Holly, Pam and Quita, um, and Alicia. I've seen all of them attributed on several sites. Anyway, for this blogfest participants are to post page 99 of your WIP.

Pretty simple, huh? And since I already have page 99 written, it's as easy as copy, paste, post!

When reading this page, and all the others, you should focus on and answer the following 3 questions:

1. Would you turn to page 100?
2. Why or why not?
3. Based on what you read, how likely would you be to buy the book?

My submission to this blogfest is page 99 of my paranormal romance, Faerie Fate, which is currently in the revision/polishing stage before I start requerying (the short version of the story is that I queried once, realized the story needed rewriting, I've done the rewrite, now I'm preparing to requery).

Here it is:
“So you’re empathic to me just like I’m empathic to you?”

He nodded as he sliced a loaf of bread and placed a plate of it on the table in front of her. This close the details of his tattoos were more evident. Organic in design, the vines wrapped his arms and twisted across his chest, winding a pattern around symbols she didn’t recognize, but reminding her of graffiti. As if it had a life of its own her hand reached out to trace them. His skin was warm under her fingers, but pebbled with gooseflesh at her touch, followed by a much more obvious reaction further down.

“For instance,” he said, his voice husky, “I can sense how much you want to touch me.”

Her brows shot up and she felt a blush bloom on her cheeks as she pulled her hand back. “Your tattoos are beautiful,” she said, knowing it wouldn’t do any good to deny what he could clearly sense. She cleared her throat. “Don’t we have a lot to do today?”

“We’ve got plenty of time. Council doesn’t meet for several more hours,” he said, tracing her ear with his finger, sending shivers over her skin.

She closed her eyes and swallowed. “Shadow,” she said, opening her eyes to meet his. “There’s an obvious attraction between us. I know that. I can barely stop from throwing myself in your arms right now, but I’m not ready to make the kind of commitment that being soul mates implies, and I’m afraid that if we sleep together you’ll assume I’ve made that commitment.”

“Fate chose us for each other, Holly. The commitment’s already made whether you accept it or not.”

“What if I don’t believe in Fate?”

“Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”

“Well, I prefer to believe I have the free will to choose the person I’ll spend my life with.”

“And what if I’m that person?”

So, there you have it, page 99 of Faerie Fate.  What do you think?

*p.s. - I'll be back later this afternoon for the No Fear Blogfest. I promise!

No Fear Blogfest

I will be posting for the No Fear Blogfest, just so ya know, but I'm running behind today so the posting will be up a little later. Be sure to come back and read it! It'll be another installment of Happy Acres.

You may recall I left the MC at the end of the Write the Next Line blogfest having been told that she must defeat the Zombie King. Think she'll experience any fear over that?

Come back later to find out how she faces it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OMG, Awards!

I love getting awards! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like somebody really cares. *happy sigh*

So I have two new awards as follows:

The lovely Jodi Henry gave me the L'Aussie's Fair Dinkum Award which made me think, "awww, so sweet!" In Aussie-speak fair dinkum apparently means real or genuine. Thanks Jodi! I'm supposed to pass it on to 6 other bloggers.

The second award is the Stylish Blogger Award, given to me by Sarah at Glissades and Gabbles. Wow, nobody  has ever called me stylish before. *blush*

I'm supposed to thank the person who gave it to me, (Thanks Sarah!) and tell you 7 things about myself, then pass it on to bloggers I think are great!)

Because I'm a rebel and a cheater-pants of the highest order, I will tell you 7 things about myself, but I will combine the pass-it-on lists for both awards into one list. Hey, in my book, rules are made to be broken!

Seven Things about Mara:

1. Donuts and pancakes are my favorite foods. Oh, and homemade bread. There is no better scent on the planet than fresh-from-the-oven homemade bread. But since I'm trying to follow a low carb diet, I don't get to eat those things as much as I wish I could. *sniff*

2. If I could choose several historical people to hang with for a day, I might choose (but then again, I might choose other people):
         a. King Arthur
         b. Queen Elizabeth I
         e. Da Vinci
         f.  Ben Franklin
         g. Hatshepsut 

3. My biggest phobias are balloons and spiders.

4. My biggest vice is that I like to drive fast.

5. My favorite color combinations include greens, blacks, browns, and shades of purple.

6. I like winter better than summer, and consequently prefer mountains and prairies to beaches.

7. My favorite styles of art are: Art Nouveau and Impressionism.

My Pass-it-On list includes a total of 7.

For the L'Aussie Fair Dinkum award:

Cheryl de los Reyes Cruz
Bill "The Edge" Friskey
Falen at Falen Formulates Fiction
The Alliterative Allomorph

For the Stylish Blogger Award:

Tessa at Tessa's Blurb
Mia at My Literary Jam and Toast
February Grace

Thanks again, ladies, for the awards. They really made my day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pair O'Blogfests: Next Line and Top 10 Music

Today is the Write the Next Line Blogfest, hosted by Christine at Christine's Journey, and Alex J. Cavanaugh's Top 10 Music Countdown.

I made an attempt to combine them, but only managed to squeeze in about six songs. I'm not much of a music person anyway, only using it as a background while I write or work out. I don't think I actually have 10 favorite songs.

So this is another installment of the Happy Acres saga. I have the sense that this may become an ongoing serial, as I'm totally in love with the characters and concept. This episode is a lot darker, but there's a reason for that.

For Christine's blogfest, she gave us a prompt and we were supposed to write from that. Well, the prompt was kind of dark, so I went with it. And remember, Happy Acres is a mental institution, so that left me lots of room to play. I did tinker with the prompt itself, but not too much. It's still recognizable.

3:00 am. The numbers glowed green, staring at me, reminding me that I wasn't sleeping. How could I? Every night a dream consumes me, and often when I wake, my body is decorated with a new cut, bruise, burn, bite mark.

I stared at the ceiling. The fan squeaked and wobbled, trying to move the air, but failing miserably. I turned over, hugging my pillow. For the hundredth time I thought, maybe I should tell someone. But who? Nurse Cratchit? No way. A doctor? Nuh uh. Here at Happy Acres that kind of story meant a padded room, or worse.

So needless to say, I haven’t shared my little problem in group.

A branch scratched the window. I turned over again. 5:00 am. Spikes of adrenalin gushed through my heart, and I bolted upright in bed. Where did the last two hours go? My damp T-shirt clung to my back. I patted myself, and squinted in the dark at exposed skin, searching for new injuries.

Bang. Bang. Bang. I jumped. Who could be knocking on my door at this time of morning? For that matter, who ever knocked here? Happy Acres had an open door policy, nobody ever knocked.

The door squeaked on its hinges as it swung open a few inches and I saw the pale roundness of a face peeking in. This far away and in the dark, I didn’t recognize whose it was.

“You okay?” I heard the face whisper.

“I think so,” I said. “Who’s there?”

The door opened a bit more and a whole body appeared, moving into the room like an apparition, and I wondered if this specter had been responsible for hurting me. I swallowed hard, pushing my pounding heart back down where it belonged. But the closer the form got, the more it came into focus until, to my relief, I realized it was just Tonja.

But when I heard the plaintive strains of “Hotel California” drifting down the hall from the common room, I knew I was still dreaming. My dreams have distinctive soundtracks, you see. Sometimes it’s the Black Eyed Peas jamming, “Pump It,” and other times it’s Selena crooning, “Naturally,” but almost every dream has a Nickelback song playing somewhere or another.

“Your birthday’s coming up,” Tonja said.

“I know,” I answered. “Have you been hurting me while I sleep?” I blurted.

“I’d never hurt you,” she said, offended. “You’re my friend. We’re so much alike we could be two parts of a whole.”

“Then why are you here?” I asked. “I know this is a dream.”

“I’m here to protect you,” she said.

“From what?”

“Mia’s zombies.”

“But Mia’s zombies are harmless. She said so. They eat hotdogs and draw with crayons and love cupcakes. They’re gentle zombies. They wouldn’t hurt me,” I babbled.

“They don’t want to be bad, but they can’t help it. Someone’s forcing them.”

“Mia?!” I squealed. “But she’s the sweetest of them all!”

“Not Mia, silly. There’s a new zombie on the block. The Zombie King. He’s invisible even to Mia. And very, very dangerous.”

The music changed and the eerie Eagles tune was replaced by Linkin Park’s “Bleed It Out,” and suddenly Mia’s zombies didn’t seem so friendly after all.

I pulled knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around them, tight, rocking back and forth. “What do I do?” I asked.

“You must defeat the Zombie King,” Tonja said, “before he takes over Happy Acres.”

I gnawed my bottom lip, considering my options. The notes of, “White and Nerdy,” now drifted from the common room, making me wish I could beat down my distracting soundtrack. It only made it more difficult to concentrate.

“But how?” I asked.

Tonja held out her hand, “Come with me,” she said.

It was up to me to save myself and my friends, and free Mia’s zombies from the Zombie King’s evil clutches.

When “Man of Constant Sorrow,” began to play, I knew I was in for trouble as, clinging tight to her hand, I followed Tonja into the dark side of Happy Acres.

So, there you go. Hope you liked it. And yes, I did leave it totally open-ended, but that's only so I can write another episode!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Birthday Bash Blogfest

So here we are at Tessa's Birthday Bash Blogfest!  The idea is to write a scene that mentions any aspect of birthdays. I decided to write a scene that's another installment in the Happy Acres saga I started over on my other blog (where I blog under my real name and which I have badly neglected for months now) back in August for the Invasion of the Bloggy Snatchers blogfest.

Hope you enjoy!


Tessa!” I said, throwing sparkly confetti as I entered the Happy Acres common room early on the morning of January 21. The sun had yet to peek over the horizon and the glow of the moon between the bars on the window made a striped pattern on the brown linoleum floor. It never mattered how early I got up, though, Tessa was always up before me. Her clock was hours ahead of mine.

Throwing my arms around her, I hugged her as hard as I could, “Happy Birthday!”

“Uh huh,” she said, barely acknowledging my assault.

She sat at a table in the corner with a spiral notebook and a pack of colored sharpie markers, her work illuminated only by a tiny book light. Uh oh. She had another Idea, on her birthday of all days. My big party plans could be in danger.

Mia wandered into the room, stretching and yawning, wearing her favorite Hello Kitty jammies. “Why did you wake me up so early? You know this means the zombies will be cranky.”

I hurried over to her, wrapping my arm around her shoulder, “Shhh, she has a New Idea.”

Mia groaned. “But the zombies are looking forward to the party,” she paused, then waggled a finger at me. “Just not this early.” Then a thought occurred to her and she pinned me with a suspicious glare. “There will still be cupcakes, won’t there?”

“Yes, yes,” I said, distracted. “But first we have to get her away from the Idea.”

A snort and grumble from the other side of the room startled us, and we both shot a look in that direction.

“What’s that?” I said.

“It is most likely only Simon,” Mia said, dismissing him. “He was up all night fighting with Mercedes.”

“The new girl,” I said, nodding. “She’s sharp, all right. Keeps him on his toes.”

Mia rolled her eyes, “I am just glad he gave up that stupid letter-writing campaign. The zombies do not like writing letters. It gives them cramps. He is a bad influence, you know.”

I nodded knowingly. “But didn’t you hear?” I asked. “Scotland finally acknowledged him as king.”

“Hmph. I think someone just got tired of his stupid letters,” she said.

Really they just bribed him with a case of vodka.

“Oh look! The zombies are here,” Mia said and went to greet her invisible zombie friends, one of which turned out to be Bill. He’s not a morning person.

He glanced in Tessa’s direction, hesitating, but I got to him before he made a move. “She has a New Idea,” I said. “Better to leave her alone for now.”

“Birthdays are edgy,” he said, then lumbered over to Tessa, patted her on the shoulder and said, “So, yeah,” then settled into a deep, cushy armchair, leaving me to figure out how to deal with Tessa’s New Idea.

I’d put lots of effort into planning the perfect Happy Acres birthday for her, so I wasn’t about to let something like a New Idea get in the way. I marched over to the table, pulled up a chair close enough so she couldn’t ignore me, and flopped myself into it.

“Tessa,” I said. “Today’s your birthday. You should party til you’re purple. The New Idea can wait a day.”

She shook her head. “It’s time sensitive.”

I rolled my eyes. All her ideas were time sensitive. “What is it?” I asked, trying a different tack.

“I want to put on a birthday blogfest in honor of my birthday. You see, the Idea is that other bloggers will post birthday-related stories on their blogs on my birthday. It’ll be like a giant round-the-world birthday party, just for me!”

I had to admit, this Idea had merit. Because, who wouldn’t want a worldwide birthday party?

I sighed, “okay, what can I do to help?”

“Do what you do best. Distract Nurse Cratchit so I can sneak into her office and use her computer to post my blogfest.”

“Okay, will do,” I said, accepting my birthday blogfest mission. “Oh, and Tessa? Happy Birthday, Sweetie.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bookmark or Dog Ear?

I'm in the midst of preparing lesson plans for next week for my freshman composition class. Okay, actually I'm writing this instead of preparing lesson plans because I'm procrastinating, which is something I do well.

It's the beginning of the semester and I want to start them thinking about thinking, and thinking about seeing, and thinking about what things mean. And I don't know why, but my mind started wandering and I wondered what it says about a person if, when reading a book, they use a book mark versus dog earring the page to mark their place, and although it may sound kind of silly on the surface, I think it gets at a deeper philosophical question about how people view and value books.

Do book-markers have a deeper reverence or respect for books, or even property in general? Or are they just neatniks? Are they organized and uptight about having things just so? Are they squeamish about marring the perfection of art? Do they want to preserve the book in its like-new condition for as long as possible so they'll be able to enjoy it that much longer? Do book-markers also leave the dust jacket on the book as they read it and then organize their books in alphabetical order on perfectly dusted shelves? Are book-markers more considerate? Are they honoring and valuing books more by using book marks?

Are dog-earrers rebels who couldn't care less about the value of the book itself and so have no problem with vandalizing its pages? By folding the corners are they torturing the pages of books the way Sid tortures toys? Do they toss dust jackets carelessly aside and then shelve their books willy-nilly in no reasonable order? Maybe even leaving them in piles or boxes? (gasp!) Or by dog-earring are they getting down and dirty and showing their love for reading. Are books meant to be used and loved or revered and put on a pedestal?

I'll confess, I'm a dog-earrer. I do try not to dog-ear library books because they don't belong to me, and I do that not out of respect for the book itself but out of respect for the fact that I don't own it. My own books, though, I dog-ear like there's no tomorrow. Why?  Because bookmarks fall out. And because a dog-ear is a built-in bookmark. And because it's no big deal. I think, like a cozy blanket or your favorite jammies, books are meant to be loved and used and appreciated. Just like stuffed animals are meant to be snuggled and squeezed and loved, not collected on a shelf. To me, a book with lots of dog-ears and a ratty binding, and maybe fingerprints inside shows that it's adored, well-read, and loved. I write in my books, make notes, highlight my favorite stuff. I read them over and over. I don't shelve alphabetically, I toss aside dust covers, and I have piles of books everywhere. In my house, books are part of the family, not a collection that shouldn't be touched.

So I'm taking a poll. Where do you stand on the book mark vs dog-ear issue? You see over there on the right? There's a little poll. Click your preference. And maybe leave me a comment...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Conference Shout-Out

This is a shout out to all you writers out there: I'm looking for a good writing conference to attend this year before May!

Does anyone have any suggestions?

I've been thinking about:

The AWP Conference
Book Expo (can anyone who's been to this tell me more about it?)
Las Vegas Writer's Conference
Northern Colorado Writer's Conference

These all fall into my time frame and (sort of) budget, but I want to be sure I don't miss any good options and who better to ask than other writing people?!

So please, don't be shy, let me know what you know. Where are the best conferences between now and May?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Drafting and Revision Style

I'm deep into revisions (okay, partial rewrite/partial revision) of my paranormal romance so that I can resubmit it on query. I basically hacked off the first nine chapters and wrote new ones, and now I'm integrating the back half of the novel so that it coincides with the new stuff I wrote. The story is much better now, which is awesome, and I have a lot more confidence in it as a whole.

But that's neither here nor there.

What I was thinking about this morning (as I wasted time dilly-dallying instead of doing my day job) was how writers write. Lots of writers write fat in their first draft and then pare out the stuff they don't need when they revise and edit. I tend to do the opposite. I write lean in the first draft, just to get the bones of the story on the page, then in revision I go in and fatten up the line count, adding in more character development, description of setting, etc. I can't spend forever in the first draft trapped in each scene spewing loads of detail. I need to get in and get out and move on before I lose the urgency of the story.

There's not a lot of foreplay in my first drafts, they're kind of wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am.

So it interests me to know how other writers approach their drafts, since no two writers are the same, and there's no "right way" to write. Some people write it out longhand, which I can't even begin to fathom not only because I have wicked tendinitis, but it would take ages to get the words on the page and before I got to the end of the scene I'd forget what the hell I wanted to say in the first place. So I don't understand the appeal of actual pen on paper.

And lots of people are plotters, a subject I think I've discussed before. For me, whether or not to plot depends on the story. Most of the time I just wing it, although I actually plotted this paranormal romance and now I'm throwing out half of what I plotted and starting over, so clearly that plotting effort was worthless. But for a lot of writers it works. And I can see how for some of the projects on my "to write" list plotting is going to be necessary.

I often wonder how many rounds of revision most writers go through, too. I mean, this paranormal romance has gone through way too many, but it's my first novel, so I think that's to be expected as I find my writing way. I would assume that the more practice a writer has at writing, the easier it is to see the finish line and streamline the process so that it takes fewer rounds of editing. Of course, I could be totally wrong about that, but I can easily see how I could have cut several of my read-throughs and, in fact, as I've been writing the first draft of my second novel I'm consciously avoiding lots of the same kinds of errors I fixed in preliminary editing rounds of novel one, saving myself precious time.

As I head into the home stretch of this rewrite/revision, and as I try to find ways to avoid doing my day job (like blogging), writing is always in the back of my mind, lurking there, because it's what I'd rather be doing. And I wonder about other writers' processes.

What kind of drafter are you? Fat or lean? Do you go through excessive rounds of edits or have you written enough that you're able to limit the edits? I won't even ask the plotter vs pantser question because it's overasked.

Okay. I've wasted enough time. I need to go back to my day job, as unhappy as that makes me. Here's to the day (in the hopefully not too distant future) when my day job is writing....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Creations Blogfest

Summer over at My Inner Fairy is hosting the New Creations Blogfest today in celebration of her birthday.

Happy Birthday, Summer! *waves*

I wasn't initially planning on participating in this blogfest, but then I thought, what the heck, why not?

Here are the rules: Post your favorite last line from something you wrote last year, then post a brand new first sentence for something new you're working on. Easy peasy, right?

So here are mine:

1) The last sentence of my flash fiction piece, "Artist Statement."

Here on the canvas she’s immortal, her heartbeat captured forever in art, and I use the same blade that freed her, still warmed by her blood, to etch the truth of it in the now congealing medium: “art is life and life is art.”

2) The first sentence of the rewrite I'm working on for my paranormal romance novel, Faerie Fate:

Holly Reed slept curled in a tiny bundle, reminiscent of the fetus she'd been only a week before, unaware of the two women who stood over her, watching.

And there you have it! Hope you have a great birthday, Summer. And everyone else, go read the rest of the entries in the blogfest. You'll be sorry if you don't!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Show Me Yours Blogfest

So today is part three of the blogfest-a-palooza that started with the Eye Candy Blogfest on the 1st, continued with the No-Kiss Blogfest on the 2nd, and ends today with the Show Me Yours Blogfest.

This blogfest is hosted by the ever lovely Hannah Kincade at Musings of a Palindrome.  The idea of the blogfest is to share a scene from what you wrote during NaNoWriMo.  Although I didn't "win" NaNo this year, I came darn close, managing to write over 30,000 words, so there are plenty of scenes to choose from.

This scene is from the sci-fi novel I'm working on. As a matter of fact, it's a couple of chapters after yesterday's no kiss scene. To set it up: Red (Amie) and Jaska have stolen a map that a lot of other people are after, and are searching for the treasure that the map leads to, which just happens to be on Earth. They are deep in ancient tunnels under the Sahara. The scene is from Jaska's POV.


“Jaska,” Red says, startling me out of my thoughts.

“Yeah,” I say.

“I know you’re in a tight position with that thing in your neck,” it’s like she can read my mind and my skin pebbles at the coincidence that we’d be thinking the same things. “So I really appreciate what you’re doing.”

“How do you know what I’m doing?” I ask.

I hear her footsteps stop behind me and I turn, illuminating her face with my light. She clearly isn’t happy with what I said.

“So what are you doing?” she asks. I can’t tell if she’s going to cry or if she wants to hit me.

“Look, Red. Let’s not do this here. We’ve got a lot to get done and we don’t have time for a chat now.”

I turn to go but I don’t hear footsteps behind me, so again I turn and she hasn’t moved, other than to cross her arms in front of her.

“We’re going to have this conversation now because I’m not going one step further until I know exactly what you’re planning,” she says.

Great, just what I need right now. “Fine, stay here then. I’m going to keep going and find out what the hell this treasure is so we have some kind of bargaining chip,” I turn yet again and continue down the tunnel, grumbling at Red as I walk. “I’m not willing to give up my life over it. And maybe we can work some kind of deal with Gil or Magda or Hawk or whoever the hell else is after it. But we can’t make any deals of any kind if we don’t know what it is. And I have no chance of surviving this little adventure if I don’t keep going forward. So forgive me if I have more on my mind than saving your precious planet from discovery. Believe me, it’ll be discovered eventually one way or another anyway. So it’s no big deal to me if it’s discovered now.”

I’m satisfied to hear her footsteps behind me again, but after several minutes of walking in quiet again I feel her hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Jaska,” she says and I meet her eyes. “We’ll figure a way out of this for you and for Earth.”

I cock a brow at her. “Let’s hope so,” I say. “But if it comes down to a choice between my head and your planet, I’m choosing my head. We can always come back and do something to help here, but I only have one chance.”

“I just don’t want to be responsible for leading the forces of destruction to Earth.”

I pat her hand, still on my shoulder, then restart the trek down the tunnel. “Sometimes change is good, Red.”


Hope you like it! Now go read the rest of the scenes from the Show Me Yours Blogfest!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

No Kiss Blogfest

It's a blogfest-a-palooza! Yesterday was the Eye Candy Blogfest, today is the No Kiss Blogfest, and tomorrow is the Show Me Yours Blogfest.

Today's blogfest, the Second Annual No Kiss Blogfest, is hosted by the lovely Frankie Diane. I'm impressed that it's the second annual and as I recall I participated in the first this time last year. But today I've got a new near kiss entry from the sci-fi novel I'm working on.

Here's the setup: Jaska is somewhat of a rogue. He's a convicted intergalactic thief on a mission to win his freedom. He has met - and crossed - Amie, who is a research consultant from Earth. They've stolen a map and are on the run, but have taken a side trip to a tropical planet where Jaska has just made a very sensual show of flirting with an old flame. (Amie is a redhead, that's why Jaska calls her Red).

So here's the near kiss:

Red joins me on the porch. “Mmmmm,” she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath of the breeze. “This place is gorgeous. The air smells like ripe fruit! The ocean and the beaches and these cabins, it reminds me of Fiji on Earth.”

“I assume that’s a tropical paradise?”

She nods, then turns and focuses on me. “So, what’s with your friend?”

I smile to myself. She can’t help but ask. “Why? Jealous?” I ask.

She scoffs at me, “Are you kidding me? I still haven’t ruled out strangling you in your sleep. I’m just wondering if one of those is going to show up everywhere we go,” she says, playing at nonchalance.

This is too much fun. I take a step closer and notice she must have showered, too, because her hair's still damp in places. I breathe her in and she smells fresh like flowers.

“Smell something you like?” She asks, her head tipped up just a bit so she can see me, exposing a long expanse of tantalizing neck. I lean in to taste her skin, the heat of it warming my face as I get near, but the smirk on her lips stops me dead. I mean, she’s a beauty, that goes without saying, but she’s not like any woman I’ve met before. She’s not flirting back. And gods if she’s not the moodiest one I’ve ever met.

I pull back just a little and clear my throat. “What’s not to like?” I catch some of her hair between my fingers and take a whiff, casually. “You’re a woman, aren’t you?”

Anger darkens her gray eyes for just a moment, then they clear. “Is that all it takes? Just being female is enough to turn you on? Because for a moment there you looked pretty smitten.”

“Smitten? Pffft. I don’t think so, Red. I don’t get smitten. Don’t you think you’re giving yourself a bit too much credit?”

She grins and turns, “Methinks he doth protest too much...” she says over her shoulder as she heads back inside. What does that even mean? I have no idea how that conversation got away from me, but I follow her inside anyway. We need to focus. My time is running out quickly.


It's kind of on the non-traditional side, but still fun, no? Now go check out the rest of the near kisses at Frankie Writes!