"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

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


At this point, I'm really pushing to finish writing A Christmas Dream by the end of October. That gives me about two weeks. The deadline for submission to my publisher is Nov. 20th, so I'll spend at least one week revising and editing. I don't want to wait until the last minute to submit it, since it is a seasonal story.

I'm a huge procrastinator, so working under a deadline--even a self-imposed one--is challenging for me. But I think I do better when I work under that kind of pressure. It gives me a goal, something to shoot for. Otherwise, my books just tend to drift along, until I feel like working on them.

Once I finish up A Christmas Dream, I'll be starting work on Royal Guard 2: Untitled. I've started kicking around a few ideas for that, though I haven't gotten far in the brainstorming process. It was going to be this year's NaNo project, but with my holiday story taking top priority, I just don't think I can really commit to NaNo this year. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Never underestimate the importance of research. I've learned to love doing research. It helps add realism to any story, plus you can find just about anything you want to know on the internet these days. Sometimes I get so side-tracked by research that I have to pull myself away.

I plan for A Christmas Dream to be somewhere in the 15,000 to 20,000 word range, which isn't a whole lot. For those unfamiliar with that unit of measurement, in comparison a full-length novel averages about 80,000 words. So this will be a short story. I've hit nearly 7,000 words, but I've already researched 'Sandman,' quotes, spiders, dreams, different words for dream, including 'dream' in other languages, Cayden's boots, and pics for Cayden and Noelle.

I originally wanted to name Cayden Dream, but Neil Gaiman's Sandman is already named Dream, so I wanted something different. I thought perhaps I'd choose something in a different language that still meant dream, but I didn't really like my choices, so I settled on Cayden, and I'm glad I did. I love the name.

Yesterday and today I spent some time learning about spiders. I absolutely hate spiders. Too many legs, too many eyes, blech! But I wanted to write: The spider's mandibles clicked together, so I wanted to make sure I got it right. Turns out that what I thought were mandibles are actually called chelicerae--something completely different. So I thought: what else am I mistaken about? I learned that most spiders have eight eyes and their sounds are usually inaudible to the human ear. Interesting stuff. I also had to suffer through lots of ugly spider pictures. *shudder* I might never be the same. Not a pleasant research experience, but necessary nonetheless.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Importance of POV

I'm working on Chapter 4 of A Christmas Dream now. Usually when I start working on a project, the first three chapters are a breeze, because the story is just starting out. It's still young, fresh, anxious to grow. As soon as I hit the fourth chapter, the struggle begins. Now, I am climbing uphill, fighting a difficult battle to reach the top and slide the rest of the way to the ending.

I started the book in Cayden's point-of-view. He's a unique character, and I always do well with those. I understand them better and their thoughts are very clear to me. He's somewhat of an outcast, or at least he feels that way. Alone and lonely. I relate well to him. He wants something he thinks he can never have.

Chapters 2 and 3 were told from Noelle's POV, to introduce the horror elements of the story. She has no idea what's going on around her, whereas Cayden does. But with the lack of understanding, it's easy to weave in the horror in her chapters.

I started writing Chapter 4 from her POV as well, but started struggling at the start of the very first paragraph. I was no longer feeling the story. I wanted to continue the horror elements where I left off in Ch 3, but it just wasn't meant to be. Noelle was no longer speaking to me and I couldn't force her to. I can always tell when I've started writing a bad scene -- one that I'm going to need to go back and rewrite, which seems wasteful to me. I'd rather get it right the first time. But then I thought, why not switch back to Cayden's POV and see what happens?

So I did, and the story started flowing easily once more. Cayden needs to tell this chapter, to share some of his insights with the reader.

I know I talk as if these characters are living, breathing people. I'm not crazy -- I know a lot of writers are like that. The good writers are. If you can't hear your characters speaking to you, then you're just not listening clearly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Building a Character Part 2

I was working on A Christmas Dream the other day, when I became stuck trying to describe the hero, Cayden. I wanted a description that would serve to bring him to life, but aside from describing the basics, hair/eye color, perhaps physique and height, it's hard for me to go in-depth. I hate descriptions involving lists of a character's physical attributes. What I really wanted was a way to describe the guy's profile (cheekbones, nose, that kind of thing). I've read descriptions of such things, without completely knowing what they meant. For instance, I like the sound of an aquiline nose, but wasn't completely sure what that meant. After looking it up, I decided that's not what I wanted at all.

So I decided to do something I haven't really done before. I hopped online (the internet is useful for so many things in my writing) and searched for an appropriate picture for the look I was going for. I just wanted a handsome face that would give me an idea of how to describe it. What I found instead was the whole character -- I even ended up changing Cayden's hair color to match the picture. Since I found the pic on a stock photo site, I won't post it here, but I can post the link if anyone wants to check it out:


I would love to somehow incorporate this picture, or at least this model, into the cover art, somehow. I don't know if that will be possible, but we'll see.

While I was at it, I also found a pic for Noelle:


I just thought it might be interesting to post some of my processes as I continue to work on this story.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Building a Character Part 1

I've started working on my first holiday novel, A Christmas Dream. At first, I was having trouble coming up with ideas for the plot, but I think I've figured out the problem. It was hard for me to connect with my characters until I actually sat down and forced myself to write the first chapter. All I knew about my hero, Cayden, is that he's a Sandman, charged with delivering dreams to people. Well, how was I supposed to take that and expand it into an entire story? How did he meet the heroine? What were his intentions, interests, and goals?

I know plenty of authors prefer to sit down and map out every aspect of each character's personality, but I've never been able to work that way. Often, that means inconsistencies pop up during the first draft that I have to alleviate during re-writes, but I've never found plotting things out to be successful. For me, writing is very fluid. Things change from one moment to the next. Even if I decide I want my character to behave a certain way, that's really up to him in the end.

So I sat down and hammered out the first chapter, focusing on what I wanted to introduce in the story. Cayden's character would fall into place, and it has. I can see him clearly now, when I couldn't before. The boots helped. I wanted a distinguishing look for him, something Noelle would notice right away, something that would make her think Who is this guy?

The boots are a bit much for my taste, but they're unique and set Cayden apart. They'll also serve to give Noelle pause. After all, any guy that wears spikes on his boots could be automatically classified as a bad boy. (His black clothes and leather jacket don't help.) Such things make it hard for Noelle to trust Cayden, which is fine with him, since it makes it easier to keep his distance.

Once I had Cayden figured out, it was much easier to come up with Noelle's characteristics. In the first chapter, we're in Cayden's viewpoint, so we see Noelle through his eyes, which might be a bit biased. In the second, which is almost finished, the story takes on a bit of a horror spin, with Noelle fighting for her life. Now I'm looking forward to working on the rest. While Demon's Torment had horror-themed elements to it, it wasn't really as scary as I wanted it to be, since I focused so much on the romance. Hopefully things will balance out nicely in A Christmas Dream.

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Contest

Life for me has been crazy busy lately, since my husband and I have been house-hunting. That still isn't resolved, so I'm not on the computer as much as I'd like to be. This makes writing a bit difficult, but hopefully things will be ironed out no later than the end of November. Fingers crossed.

I've signed on to be a part of LASR's Halloween Scavenger Hunt. The Hunt will last for two days, Oct. 30th & 31st, and one lucky winner will receive a free copy of Tied to a Demon. Visit their site for more details by clicking on the banner below:

I admit I'm struggling on writing anything right now. I'd like to get a Christmas story completed for my publisher by the end of November, but it's been hard for me to find the right motivation. I've never been a big fan of Christmas stories in the first place, and this could be a part of the problem, but as long as the story has strong paranormal elements to it, I should be able to cope. I've settled on telling the story of a Sandman, someone who travels the world, bringing people good dreams. He's become fixated on Noelle, a woman who literally doesn't even know he exists. He can tell she hasn't enjoyed an easy life, but he's determined to show her the meaning of Christmas, a holiday he's always enjoyed.