"You're too young to know what love is. You don't love me. You're infatuated with me." -- Sir Aric, The Prince's Knight

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blood Rage Excerpt

I just realized today that Tuesday came and went without me even realizing it. In my defense, my schedule at work has been crazy this last week, so I completely forgot about everything else, even when I meant to post a new entry. I really wanted to share an excerpt from Thief in the Night, which is the story I'm currently focusing most of my energy on. But the thing has taken on a life of its own, growing bigger than I'd originally envisioned, and there are more rewrites in store for it, this I know. So I thought I'd share the first half of Chapter 1 of Immortal Book One: Blood Rage, since I think the first chapter is sitting in a pretty good spot right now. This is an unedited excerpt, meaning only that it hasn't been touched by an actual editor, but I've proofed and revised so there shouldn't be any errors anyway. Enjoy and feel free to let me know what you think.

Immortal Book One
Blood Rage
Chapter 1

I knew my name long before I remembered who I was.

Elliot. My name is Elliot.

The thought circled in my head, but it refused to summon any more memories. Just that. A name. But who is Elliot? A featureless wall encircled my brain, locking away all traces of memory. Probing at it only drew frustration.

I am Elliot. My name is Elliot.

I was so thirsty. My throat screamed for liquid, until it was all I could think about. It felt like shards of glass embedded themselves in my throat. I needed something…

It was then I realized I wasn’t breathing. I hadn’t even noticed in my state of confusion and overwhelming thirst.

I am Elliot.

Breathing was important. I remembered that much.

Starting to panic, I drew in a great lungful of air. It burned going down and I choked on it, expelling it with a hacking cough that raised me from my prone position. The next breath hurt just as much, so I gave up, but my body didn’t protest. My lungs didn’t scream for air when I quit my labored attempt to breathe. My body no longer needed oxygen, though it had at some point. Some point in the not-too-distant past, I thought.

I stared down at myself, fascinated by the fact that my chest didn’t rise and fall. What had happened to me? Where was I? And the most troubling question of all. Was I dead?

I lay in an unfamiliar place—not a morgue as I half expected, but someplace much warmer. It was dark and no hint of light showed around the edges of the curtains, yet I found I could see everything. The draperies were a dark red, as were the pair of sofas in the middle of the room, but everything else was brown in varying shades—the carpeting, the other furnishings, the walls.

I swung my legs over the edge of the furniture I lay on. It took me a moment to come up with the words to describe it. A chaise lounge. Not sure if I’d ever seen one before. It wasn’t very comfortable, that was for sure. A stiff neck could attest to that fact, but within moments of noticing it, the stiffness disappeared as if it had never been.

My clothing was wrinkled, making me think I’d slept for far too long. Slept or been unconscious—I wasn’t sure which.

The label inside the suit jacket read Armani. High-end stuff. The white shirt felt like silk, but no tie hung around my neck and the first two buttons of the shirt were undone. Was this my idea of casual? Or my idea of dressing up? What had I been doing? Where was I? And most importantly: Why couldn’t I remember anything?

The slacks were gray to match the jacket, but interestingly enough I wore no socks or shoes. The plush carpeting felt good on my feet and I lingered for a moment, not sure what to expect in this dark place, knowing only my name and my taste for fashion.

Checking every pocket revealed no wallet, no ID of any kind. Just Elliot then. I couldn’t even remember my last name. I discovered a watch weighting down my left wrist, expensive, tasteful. It displayed the date in tiny black letters. November 3rd, 2009. The date meant nothing to me.

Blinking at the surroundings, I forced myself to my feet, trying to keep panic at bay. What good would it do me? I needed to take a look at the facts. First, I’d awoken in a strange place…


How did I know it was a strange place? Maybe I lived here. Taking a closer look at the room didn’t help. I didn’t know this place, even if it was mine.

Second, I had amnesia. I knew just enough about the disease to know my memory could gradually come back, or might never return. What did I do until then?

I’d found a cell phone in an inner pocket of the jacket I wore, but trying to turn it on met with no success. Dead battery. Completely useless. I couldn’t even call anyone I supposedly knew to get a better idea of what I’d gotten into.

The third, and most important, fact I forced myself to take a look at. I wasn’t breathing. That was, admittedly, bad. I’d already patted myself down. I felt solid enough, so I didn’t think I was a ghost, but then again, how could I be sure? Ghosts didn’t always know they were dead, did they?

God, did I even believe in ghosts? A hiccupping laugh escaped me. Without air it was difficult to even make the sound. I frowned. Also bad. People needed air to speak. I couldn’t speak without breathing. Another glance around showed I was alone though. Who was I going to speak to?

Good point. I forced myself to focus on finding something for my feet. A short hunt turned up shoes and socks. They fit and I felt a little better once properly clothed. Now I just needed to find out where I was. This room held no clues, and nothing jogged my memory. I needed to proceed with caution, in case I truly wasn’t dead. Waking up on a strange chaise with amnesia and an inability to breathe didn’t strike me as a good position to be in. I didn’t know if I’d brought this on myself, or if there might be a perfectly innocent explanation for my state.

But how did I explain the ability to see in the dark? Maybe I really was a ghost…

Then she entered the room and my thoughts ground to a halt.

“My little pet’s finally awake,” she purred.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Inspiration

Last weekend, one of my author friends, Anastasia Rabiyah hosted a chat at CoffeeTime Romance (this happens about once a month). Anyway, last weekend the main focus was inspiration. Where does it come from? What inspires us?

It's hard for me to come up with any one thing. I like reading, obviously. Lately I've been focusing a lot on paranormal books--anything and everything I can get my hands on. Vampires, demons, witches, shapeshifters. I don't care too much for witches and shapeshifters, and most demons, but I love vampires. Every time I sit down to read, it engages my imagination. I think that's my biggest inspiration--reading something and thinking about all the stories I'm currently working on and what I can do to make them better.

These days the best time for me to brainstorm occurs as I'm settling in for bed, just laying there and relaxing after a long day. This is my characters' favorite time to come out and tell me I've been neglecting them. They want their stories told now!

I also love this time of year. The days are getting a bit cooler, the nights a bit longer, the air is crisp. There's just something about fall that gets my creative juices flowing. I have always been a night person--I hate mornings, so more darkness also means more energy for me. I find that autumn is the best time for me to sit down and write, because the feeling in the air inspires me.

I also like listening to rock music while I'm writing. I used to need complete silence to write, but now I pop in the headphones, surrounding myself with ambiance, and I find it both easier to write and easier to concentrate. My husband usually has the TV on all the time, so I need something to drown that out. Music is both inspiring and relaxing.

I get random ideas everywhere. Some stories I don't even know where they come from. Demon's Torment was inspired by a contest I entered on www.writing.com. Avery and the Devil was inspired by something that I was going through at the time--a recently signed lease that we wanted out of so we could move. That made me think of contracts, which made me think of contracts with the devil. I know, it's strange how my mind works. I don't even know where I got the idea for Thief in the Night.

My current project--Blood Rage--started with the first couple paragraphs of the book:

I remembered my name longer before I remembered who I was.
Elliot. My name is Elliot.

These two lines haunted me for a couple weeks before I decided to sit down and start writing. Somehow I established that Elliot was a vampire (once again, I love vamps--obsessed with them), and that the change somehow stole his memories. Now I've got most of the first book written and the second one started. It's a planned trilogy, with a second trilogy to follow.

Within the next week or so I plan on posting the entire first chapter of Blood Rage. It will only be available to subscribers of my Yahoo! group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/racheldthompson/. But I will also be including a teaser here and on my website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Writing Process

Currently I'm concentrating on revising/rewriting Thief in the Night, so today I was thinking about my writing process and what I usually go through for each book. At times I can be a horribly slow writer, but there are plenty of reasons for that. For one, I have a full-time job and other interests to occupy my time. But other things slow me down too, so I thought I'd share how I write a book from beginning to end.

Step 1: I come up with a great new idea and can't wait to get started. I can usually pound out between one and three chapters (each between 2,000 and 4,000 words long) before I get stuck and realize I need to come up with a plan for how the characters get from Point A: The Beginning to Point B: The Ending.

Step 2: Now comes the planning stage. I use a pen and paper for this step because I'd rather plot stuff out that way. It's easier to jot down random notes. Most times I have an idea of how long I want the story to be before I sit down in front of the computer, but that figure can fluctuate, so I don't worry about how many chapters I'll need to reach my word count goal. But I do have to come up with a bare-bones plot in this step. The plot might eventually change depending on what my character encounters, but it's good to have a plan, and a goal to work towards.

Step 3: Back to the computer. Now comes the frustrating part of getting my characters to jump through these hoops I've created for them. The middle of a book is often the hardest for a writer. It's easy for me to envision the beginning and the end, but oftentimes I have no clue what the middle looks like. That's why Step 2 is so important. Now armed with an idea of what's going to happen in subsequent chapters, it's easier to sit down and write the book one chapter at a time.

Step 4: The Ending. Don't think that means that the book is done. Not by a long shot. Once I've written it from beginning to end, and usually gotten a few critiques to let me know what works and what doesn't, I usually go back and start to rewrite the whole dratted thing. This involves more planning. I take into consideration the reviews I've received and implement the suggestions I've gotten if they make sense in the story.

Step 5: Rewrites. I'm never happy with a first draft. I always know when something needs work and it drives me crazy if I don't follow all the steps to make something the best it can be. I go through a rewriting stage, where I rewrite most of the book, sometimes from scratch as is the case with Thief in the Night, since I originally wrote the first chapter from a secondary character's point-of-view. After rewrites, it seems much more natural to tell it from the main character's point-of-view. I'm also working on huge rewrites with both Avery and the Devil and Blood Rage. This part doesn't usually take as long as writing the book in the first place though, because let's face it, the book is written. I know how the plot is going to turn out and what happens in the middle. This process is basically just for rewording. Sometimes I'll insert extra scenes or chapters to make things make sense. This is also my favorite step because next comes:

Step 6: Submission. I'm really looking forward to finishing up Thief in the Night and submitting it to my publisher of choice. Thief was originally contracted with Forbidden Publications, and sure it was an okay story when I submitted it to them. But after the revision process it will be a whole lot better. That's the plan anyway. Originally only five chapters long, with 11,000 words, I think it's going to end up being longer than that. I've rewritten two chapters so far, and arrived at the same point it took me one chapter to get to before. Does this mean it's wordier? I guess so, but in a necessary way as I dig deeper in an attempt to get to know my characters. Can't wait to share them with the world!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm a winner!

Every week, Just Another Paranormal Monday chooses three paranormal book covers to showcase on its MySpace page. This week, Demon's Torment was a winner! Check it out here.

Also, Demon's Torment is still only $5.20 at All Romance E-books. Get it while it's on sale.