Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Heavens to Mrgatroyd, killer gummy bears

Howling! Tears coming out of my eyes! COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING.
Going to forward this and maybe blog it. OMGosh! Thanks to my proofreader for the link. Awesome!
Subject: Heavens to Murgatroyd, indeed!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Smashwords stuff

Experimenting with the Smashwords pre-release option. Unfortunately, I'm a bit fuzzy with a stomach bug and nervous about posting an unedited manuscript, even for a short time. What if I forgot to update it, or died and it was stuck up there, ragged and horrible, forever?

At least I'm getting some of the set up work done. Wouldn't hurt to do that on B&N and Amazon, too. It'll be less to do (and potentially mess up) on release day.

Will get edits back in a couple of days, review, and send to beta. Hi, beta! I know what you're doing this weekend ;)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dracula, lunch, date

Going to take a nap so I can watch the Dracula premier on NBC. Found a safe restaurant to dine at by the river called Central Food. The chef is gluten free, and that gives me a lot of confidence dining.

Going to get some work done before having some quality time with my husband. Date time!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Snippet: Scorched Earth

Scorched Earth

One will find a love that shakes the earth itself.

Super-duper book blurb here.

Chapter 1

He was used to the weightlessness by now, but even 800 years couldn’t dull his body’s scream for the touch of earth. Trapped in a cave but cocooned in a cell of air, he could never touch the stone that remained forever tantalizingly out of reach. He was hungry, starved, and he was not alone. Two others shared his hell, though their cells reflected their nature.
Fire sat on a bare patch of floating earth surrounded by a sphere of water. Black as night and skeletal, he stared unseeing at the water.
Water’s cell was bone dry. Severely dehydrated, he looked like a sad old man and rarely spoke, unwilling to force the words past his parched throat. Once blue as the ocean, he’d faded to a sickly gray.
They’d long ago tried everything they could think of to break free. Over the years hope had dwindled, leaving them empty, despairing. If they could have ended it, they’d have welcomed death.
The earthquake was the first harbinger of change. Earth’s eyes snapped open as he sensed the earth shake. Though he couldn’t physically touch the ground, it gave him a brief burst of hope. Maybe…
As days went by, hope became depression…until, abruptly, he sensed the woman.

Cara wiggled her way through the crack in the earth, calling herself a fool. Something tugged at her, a music barely felt, a longing unfulfilled. Using her pen light, she navigated the fissure, turning sideways once to ease through. She’d planned a simple walk this morning to contemplate her twenty second birthday and exploring a cave wasn’t on the agenda.
She knew there was a cave at the end of the tunnel, and it bothered her that she was so certain. She was equally certain the quake that formed this crack had left it stable, but couldn’t have said how any more than she could ignore the urge to explore it.
The day had been so ordinary. Her parents had gone to Mexico to visit family, leaving her to watch the house. She’d made coffee, read the news online and checked the mail. The plain brown box inside intrigued her. Lacking a return postmark, it had been filled with popcorn packing and jewelry. The earrings were gold with a green stone that twinkled when she admired them in mirror. Delighted, she’d slipped the matching gold cuff on her left wrist and admired the way the “emeralds” sparkled in the early morning sun. It was when she’d tried to slip the cuff off that she discovered it wouldn’t budge. For all intents, it seemed welded to her wrist, and the clasp she’d sworn was there had melted away.
She’d assumed the gifts were from her parents, but now she suspected someone had pranked her. She wondered which of her friends was behind it, and who she’d have to skin.
Cara grimaced as she shimmied past a skinny place, strangely unconcerned about what would normally be a claustrophobic press of earth. She wondered now what would happen if she tried to remove the earrings. She’d been so distracted by the cuff she hadn’t tried.
The tunnel ahead began to brighten, and it had nothing to do with her penlight. She clicked it off, thinking she was approaching daylight…and stepped into a dream.
The cave was lit, but not by the sun. A glow illuminated three pitiful looking men in the oddest “cells” she could imagine. At least, she sensed they were cells, though only one resembled one in the traditional sense. She glanced at the one encased in a bubble of water, noting his intent stare, but it was the one floating before her that stole her attention. Pale and chalky, he appeared cracked like a weathered statue, a ragged cloth wrapped around his hips. His hair was white and sparse, but his eyes were very alive. Bronze with copper chasing, they focused on her with a single-minded intensity.
“What are you?” she whispered. Her instincts would normally caution her about releasing him, would make her question why he was locked up, but today everything in her cried out with the need to help. She looked around, but there was no obvious way to free him. She looked at the huddled figure in the cell to her left and winced at his obvious dehydration. That was something she could do. Taking her water bottle from her pack, she loosened the top and reached past the bars to set it on the floor.
The man stared at her and slowly unfolded his limbs. Moving painfully, he crawled like an arthritic old man across the stone floor, and it was all she could do not to try to move the water closer. Apparently she still had some shreds of caution, for she kept a respectable distance.
He reached the bottle and feebly undid the cap, inhaling like a junkie snuffing his latest hit. Astonishingly, the water rose out of the bottle as if he really were inhaling it, flowing into his mouth in a steady stream. He shuddered and bowed his head with a dry sob, clutching the empty bottle.
Cara swallowed her astonishment and looked around with wide eyes. She flushed as she met the intense stare of the chalky prisoner, glancing quickly to the water surrounding the withered black man. Moving to him, she cautiously undid her belt and flicked it at the water sphere, braced to let it go quickly if it tried to suck her in. Instead, the belt flicked the water and came away wet, dribbling water on the floor.
“Okay.” She slicked the water off her belt, put it back on and went back to the shriveled gray man. Did his color look a little better? That was assuming blue was his natural color, of course. “If you give me back the bottle, I can get you more water.”
He quickly pushed it through the bars.
Cara began to trek from the water to his cell, water dripping down her arm and forming a trail along the floor between cells. As soon as she got close, the withered man sucked the water to him. He was looking better all the time, and she glanced between the other two, wondering what she could do for them.
“Throw him a rock,” the blue man suggested, following her gaze to Chalky.
She started at his rough croak, but after a moment’s hesitation, set down the bottle and searched the cave until she found some loose stones. Lugging them to the floating man, she set them down and considered while he watched her with heart pounding intensity. Taking a breath, she lobbed the rock underhand, arching to his left.
He grabbed it like a lightning strike and held it to his chest, protecting it like a precious child. A green glow surrounded his hands, and when his hands fell away, the rock was gone.
Cara blinked, astonished, but quickly tossed him the rest. One by one, they were absorbed, and he began to look better, less corroded. Pleased, she turned back to fetch more, only to stop dead. A trickle of water was flowing from the water sphere along the trail of drips, slowly building as it went to the blue man. A glance showed the sphere seemed to be thinning around the black man.
The hair on her neck prickled in warning. She may have felt the need to help these guys, but she didn’t know them, didn’t even know what they were or why they were here. Not only were there three of them, but they had abilities she didn’t. It was time to leave, because from all appearances, they had things under control.
Acting like she was going for more rocks, she calmly stepped over the small stream and headed to the far wall. She passed the rock pile and kept on walking, hurrying through the tunnel.

Parents are gone

Parents are gone. Big, gusty sigh. Decompressed yesterday.

As a book is made, multiple versions exist. Today I had to search the computer for ten minutes to find the most recent, since it saved in an odd place. Whew! Saved it under a new name and took the time to (carefully) delete old copies. I don't want to rewrite a scene.

Honestly, it's worse than misplacing your car keys.

Wind Burn is scheduled for early November.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Why write books out of order?

I wrote Fire, Stone and Water out of order because that's how they came to me. I began Scorched Earth with good intentions, but had to set it aside when I realized that's not the one that flowed best at the time. Wind Burn came to me before Scorched Earth, so that had to be completed, too. Now I feel as if I know Tremor and Cara enough to complete their book. After all, their world and relationships are already in place.

I'm making a stronger effort to complete a series before moving on. It's nice to have a break between long books, and I always have ideas, but there are worlds I want to complete. Besides, my books have been shorter lately; I have that freedom since I'm not working to please a publisher.

I won't be writing a 20 book series of anything. Do it once, do it right, and move on. I like fresh stuff, unique, different. Much as I like Feehan, after a zillion books, there's always a waterfall with a hot springs, extra gross vampires, silly spells (really??) and stuff that gets repeated. And yet, I keep reading about Carpathians. What's wrong with me?

I think it's the Alpha male, marriage that lasts forever, no Dukes of Slut that appeals. The men are nice to the women, protective, concerned for their safety and happiness. Except for Zachariah, I think his name was. Abusive much? Not a favorite.

Have a stomach bug and rambling today. Think I'll go do something about it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Next up, Scorched Earth

While I wait on edits, decided to work on Scorched Earth. Was tempted to work on something else, but I have the elemental world on tap, so it was logical. I was worried I'd be burned out because it took so long to get the other stories done, but hopefully there won't be an major life distractions to slow this one. I'll post a snippet soon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wrote the blog, gotta send to get proofed, status report

We're weeks away from the release of Wind Burn. My proof reader is backed up (you go, girl!) so it'll take a couple of weeks, plus my beta still has to look at it. I can't wait!

My parents are still camped in the 35 ft RV in the back yard. Surprisingly, I'm still getting work done. Yay, gluten free! So much energy makes things a lot smoother, plus I've learned to make eggrolls and pie crust this week (had to throw out first crust; tasted like dog food, and dogs loved it). The eggrolls are a thin, papery crepe made with cornstarch, egg and water. Insert filling, roll and shallow fry. Yummy, crisp, light.

We also feasted on chili verde, salmon, steak, Chinese delicacies, apple crepes and assorted green stuff this week. Full bellies, good times.

Anyway, getting to work right away lets me get stuff done and still spend time with my parents. Win-win.

Wind Burn

She will make the north wind howl.

Tech Sergeant Gale Adam’s final flight over the North Pole is supposed to be routine; instead it changes her destiny. Transformed by the Fates, tossed out of her KC-135, Gale is alone in the desolate artic wilderness. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves, can she prevent elemental Nitro from extinguishing her home, her family and their future?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Put The End on Wind Burn. Have to format, send to proof reader, then beta, then it's all yours, ladies.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Early Arival

My parents arrived yesterday, surprising me. John was in on it, the rat :) We went to Green Bluff and picked plums, and my parents were thrilled to eat a plum straight from the tree for once. They were amazed at the flavor of a perfectly ripe fruit, and it was fun.

Anyway, I'm using the morning to write. Very close to the end. Yippe!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Snippet: the family needs to know

Volunteered for 2nd Harvest food distribution yesterday. The work is fine, it's getting started on a Saturday morning that's rough. I'm not a morning person.

Successfully passed on some monster zucchini, so that was good. Mom can deal with the mass of squash and remaining tomatoes when she arrives.

So, snippet? I think so, too.

Frost didn’t rush her. He floated in front of her as if he had all the time in the world.
Gale finally stirred. “I want to see them.” She felt numb as Frost continued on. She dimly realized she was in shock, and as the landscape began to blur, she realized she was silently weeping.
Her parent’s cars were in the driveway. Frost found a tiny crack under the door where the weather stripping had peeled away and flowed into the house, pulling her with him. She shivered at the sensation of becoming wind, but forgot it as she saw her parents grieving on the couch. “Mom! Dad! I’m okay,” she cried, then checked as she realized they couldn’t hear her. Grief stricken, she fell to her knees beside them and hugged their knees. “Mom…” she choked, unable to go on.
Frost remained silently supportive a she vented her grief, telling her parents she loved them, that she was okay. Their grief finally calmed, and she thought for a moment they sensed her.
“We need to call her grandparents,” her mom finally said. “The family needs to know.”
Her dad gulped, swallowing a fresh wave of tears. “Our baby. My little girl.”
Gale hugged her knees, resting her face on them. “I’m still here, Dad. I love you.”
Her dad took a shuddering breath and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed. “Hello, Dad? I have bad news.”
Gale stood up and hugged her belly, unable to bear it, but unable to leave them in their grief. She stayed as relatives arrived full of tears and questions. She took no joy as the ripples of grief spread. She’d known she was loved, and the family was close. Her parents wouldn’t be alone.
But she was. She was an outsider burning from the inside. The pain wanted to bury her, and she finally retreated to her apartment over the family’s company air freight office. Being alone helped (she chose to ignore Frost), but as she looked around at the things she could no longer touch, she felt hollow. The contents of her kitchen, her clothes, her things, were no longer relevant. She couldn’t take a hot bath or eat ice cream. She couldn’t surf the net or watch her favorite DVDs. Her usual coping mechanisms were denied her. Her home, her old life was gone as surely as if a hurricane had ripped it away.
“I wish I could at least take the pictures,” she said, looking forlornly at the framed photos on the wall and trailing her fingers over the photo albums and scrapbooks. Her computer had hundreds of photos, too.
“That I can do,” Frost said firmly. “I’ll have my staff make copies and return the originals. We can even duplicate the electronic files.”
“You can?” she whispered, overcome. At least that was something. She sat on her bed, exhausted. Out of habit she reached for her teddy bear. The fur rippled as she touched it, but she couldn’t pick it up.
Her cat chose that moment to stir. Stretching, she hopped down from the back of the couch and headed for her litter box. Unaware of Gale’s presence, Huntress groomed and jumped onto the bed, leaping through Gale to settle on the bed in a contented heap.
Gale choked, “Huntress?” Her touch ruffled the cat’s fur. Annoyed, the cat jumped on the wide windowsill to watch the planes take off.
That was it. Gale fled, instinctively taking her cloud form and flowing under the door. She had to escape.
“Easy!” Frost said as he caught her shoulders, releasing her immediately when she twisted away. He opened a portal to Nitro’s house and stood aside, waiting.
Gale shot through the portal, grateful to escape. She shook with grief, raging at the Fates who’d stole her future and her family. The cold, clean air helped. She looked back as Frost emerged behind her.
He let her take a last look at her old home. “Your family will still be here,” he soothed. “You need a break.”
She looked away, and he closed the portal.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cruising along

Turns out my parents will arrive Monday or Tuesday. I've got the ending and epilogue, just have to figure out how to fill in the gap that comes before. Odd when plot goes abc, zy, m on me. Shrug. Progress is progress.

Nice thing is I've already got a cover, so once I'm done, I can ship it to the proof reader and shorty, to my readers. The only question is whether I work on something else to take a break before Scorched Earth. I have a gargoyle idea...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Canada, snippets

My parents are in Canada and should arrive Saturday or Sunday. Thankfully, John's on furlong since the govt. has helpfully shut down. Excuse me, "slimmed down". Anyway, he's helping and I'm writing.

The story is coming in pieces, so I'm writing scenes as I get them rather than trying to find the whole plot. Whatever advances the book.

Snippets are about to get painful. You're moving into a tough stretch for Gale and might need tissues. I'll try to keep the emotional scenes together so you can get the whole feel, but be advised you're going to be want me to hurry up so that you can see some silver lining. I'm not going to rush, so keep it in mind if you think these will make you antsy.

I've got the final scene of the book done, but I have to connect a lot of dots before it's finished. Speaking of, back to work.

Snippet: she was a ghost

“The first thing you must learn is to draw upon the wind. It's easy and it should be instinctive,” Frost explained as they left the building and stepped outside onto the snowy plain. He demonstrated how to draw on the wind currents, pulling specific elements to her. “Helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, radon, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon are some the elements we command. There are others of course, and all of them have different value to us. Some are for feeding and others are for shaping. Also the different gases that we can eat have different nutritional value. For instance it would be a bad idea to try to live on nitrogen alone.” He smiled as if that were an understatement.
 If it was a joke, it went over Gale’s head. She didn't find it funny when he levitated them without warning either. She stiffened and her eyes went wide as he swiftly rose above the mansion.
“Easy,” Frost advised. “This is as natural as breathing.”
“I'm going to fall!”
“If you did, you would simply drift to the ground. Remember, you're no longer as dense as a human. Gravity does not affect you the same way.” His tone was sympathetic, but she sensed he was enjoying himself.
“You don't like me, do you?” Gale search frantically for way down. She imagined herself slowly drifting to earth and sighed with relief as her body obliged.
Frost watched with approval as her feet gently touched the snow. “I've never had a mother-in-law to torment before. It's fun.”
She glared at him. “I refuse to be your mother in law; you’re centuries older than I am.”
“Don't let my seniority upset you. I promise not to comment on your age…much.” He alighted next to her. “Ready to return to Fairbanks? I'll open a portal.”
She took a step back in surprise as an oval portal opened in the middle of downtown Fairbanks. “How did you do that? I thought we were going to fly!”
He shook his head. “A KC 135 has a top speed of 530 mph (853 km) at 30,000 feet. A category five hurricane, on the other hand, is a storm wind exceeding 156 mph ( or 136 knots/ 251 km). Even if you traveled at hurricane velocity, which I doubt you can do for long, it would take you a while to get back home.
“Fortunately, you have an old elemental at your disposal that can open portals.” He bowed.
She looked at him suspiciously. “Can all air elementals rattle off numbers like that?”
He shrugged. “I bet you can tell me how many miles you can travel in your car on a gallon of gas, average road speeds, and the general mileage on your vehicle. We remember numbers we use often, like anyone else.”
She studied the familiar landmarks, noting that it was later than she’d realized. Her parents must have been notified about her “death” by now. She couldn’t imagine what they were feeling. Had they called the family?
Realizing she was stalling, Gale stepped through the portal. Relieved to arrive in one piece, she looked around. They were in a busy Sam’s Club parking lot, but no one glanced at them. “Can they see us?” she asked uneasily.
“No. It takes an effort to become visible to the human eye. You have to learn to bend light rays, and it’s not easy. Which way?” He levitated both of them, looking at her for directions.
She gave him instructions, then asked, “But my family will see me, right? You can help, can’t you?”
 He took a long time to answer. “I know the theory, but I’ve never wished to make myself known to a human. My father can, of course, but he’s far older than I.”
Her shoulders slumped. She’d never imagined it would be this difficult. “I wanted to give my parents a hug, tell them I’m fine. They’ve got to be worried.”
Frost halted their forward motion, hovering as he stared at her sympathetically. “You won’t be able to touch them, Gale. Even if I manage to make you visible, your touch will feel like a gentle breeze, your voice that of the wind, very soft…if they can make it out.”

Gale held very still as she absorbed the news. As far as humans were concerned, she was a ghost.

Moving horror stories

When we were first married I had to clean the most disgusting bathroom in the universe. We were house sitting for my aunt’s ex, and Mom helped me clean. She had to coat the shower with toilet bowl cleaner and leave it for a bit to soften the sludge. Worked great, but the urine stench was horrible around the toilet; the fools had tiled it. I had to clean, put down baking soda, clean, etc. for days to remove the stench.

The worst was the master bedroom toilet. It wasn’t hooked to water, but they were using it anyway. It looked like someone had barfed and it was molding. I tossed a five gallon bucket of water on it to flush and the smell was so horrible, I nearly puked. I ran out of there like my tail was on fire. Grandpa had helped haul my stuff over, and Mom said he was jerking the winter plastic sheeting off the windows, muttering, “She doesn't have to live here.”

The kitchen took an entire day to clean. The formerly white curtains were brown and stiff with dirt. The floor was yellow and took hours to scrub (thank God, Mom helped). The fridge looked like a bloody bomb had gone off, there were bugs in the pantry, and the dishes in sink had been there so long some of the pans had been eaten through. There were several truckloads of garbage, and when a bag broke in the truck, maggots spilled out.

The only clean thing was the oven, because they only used it to reheat pizza.

I unzipped and washed the couch cushions, cringing at the brown stuff in the washing machine.
Mom drew the line at cleaning the boy’s room, bringing the boys from my aunt’s house. She made them collect a wheelbarrow worth of dog crap from from the small yard, too.

Mind you, John was in basic training. He came home to a sparkling trailer. Hmph. It did help us save up enough to buy our first place, so it was worth it.