Vampires v. Zombies


Yep, you heard me. Crap.

Every time I go on line to write this blog, I wind up kvetching about how crappy my synopsis is (and it is, but I hope it’s getting better), or how I now have to revise again to take out semicolons. Or how my son managed to get his tiny rear end kicked out of preschool.

So, because I’m sick of bitching, I’m bringing up a topic: Vampires vs. Zombies. Discuss.

Girls like the vamps because it’s all about sex.

Yes, girls really do like sex. Just look at the sales of romance novels and tell me we don’t.

Think about it: Pulling in the girl to bite her on the neck (if you’re going to be less basely sexual, you’d just bite her wrist and be done with it, but no, they almost always go for the neck). The penetration of the bite. The exchange of body fluids. The seduction of  the whole thing. And then there’s the bad boy aspect.

The soulless bad boy we all want to tame or redeem, however you want to look at it. The solitary hunter who belongs solely to you, because you were the one who tamed the untameable, who stole his heart. One could think of it as falling for James Dean (or the attractive, bad-boy loner of your choice) over and over, only this bad boy has fangs (but, the bright side, while he may kill you and/or steal your soul, he won’t get you pregnant). Indeed, most vampires are attractive (I’ll give you that Nosferatu wasn’t, but most of them are–more seductive in their hunting than simply vile). And while I have always stayed away from the bad boys, I can’t deny they’ve got a certain allure, which is probably why I like the vamps. The only thing off-putting about them is the whole dead thing, but hey, we’ve all got our failings.

So now I will shake myself out of my vampire-induced reverie and move on to zombies.

Now, I will fully admit to a certain lack of objectivity on this subject. I’m not a big fan of the zombies. They’re mindless, kinda moany (but not in a good way), herdlike creatures, and Night of the Living Dead gave me nightmares for weeks. But the husband loves them. For him, it’s all about the mayhem and the carnage and guilt-free killing (I think). I admit I liked World War Z and the idea of the new show on AMC. But I think that’s because it’s less about the zombies and the horror than it is about the human trials and the relationships between the characters. I could care less about whether every character does the smart thing, as long as you feel for them. I like a certain element of seduction in my horror movies, and I’m not just talking about sex (though I’m not opposed to that). I want to be seduced into liking (or disliking) these characters, I want to sympathize with them, I want to feel their pain. I want human relationships developed, because I’d like to think, if the world did devolve into chaos and the dead rose from the grave, we humans would band together and help one another, forming deep, meaningful relationships with one another in the face of such madness. 

I’d like to think that’s what mankind would do, anyway. In case of zombiegeddon (or zombiepocalypse, whichever term you prefer), my plan is to be dead, so y’all have fun with that.

In any case, I can see how it would be harder to fight against vampires, especially if they’re beautiful–they’re intelligent and they can talk to you, and being attractive never hurt. Zombies give us a common enemy to fight against; if vampires came about, I’m sure there would be more than a few humans who would side with them, just because they’re pretty. Because, let’s face it, people are weird.

Hm. I almost want to write about zombies now, just to write about the human element.


Because I still love the vamps.


Ode to a semicolon

Yeah, yeah, it’s not Ode to a Grecian Urn or Ode to Joy, but really, what do you expect? I’m waxing philosophical (ish) about a punctuation mark, for pete’s sake. And because I don’t do poetry, you’ll just have to settle for an homage to the semicolon written in prose. Sorry. The title is about as close to the romantic poets (oh, and how I love those romantic poets) as you’re going to get. I’m not that awesome.

I love the semicolon.

Actually, I really do love the semicolon.

I can’t explain my affection for one small punctuation mark–all I know is that I have loved the semicolon since high school. It makes sentences beautiful, longer, fuller. I think, more exciting.

Sadly, people don’t seem to agree with me.

It’s like my love of the prologue. I LOVE prologues. Something about them sucks me in, gives me a little more information. A taste for what comes later, if you will. I like reading them, and I enjoy writing them, and then I went to a conference where the first words out of the speaker’s mouth–I kid you not–were, “Prologues are for the weak writer who isn’t skilled enough to show that same information later in the story.”

What?! And oh, OW!

I guess I can see her point. And then she went on to berate my friend, the semicolon, saying, “It just makes for run on sentences. Just get it out. Use a period.”

But I like long sentences. I don’t necessarily want to read a story that’s all periods and commas. I love the dash, the colon, the semicolon. Sure, I don’t want to write like Tolstoy (no offense to Tolstoy, whom I love, but he’s just not a read I’d take to the beach… not that this desert-dwelling super-white girl ever makes it to the beach), but I don’t want to write like I’m talking in motherese, either. (“Oh, what a cute book you are! A cute, big book too!”)

In truth, I have learned that all of my favorite things to use in writing (semicolons, prologues, adverbs) are frowned upon, and, the more I espouse the merits of such, the more it sounds like a justification for why I write run-ons and resort to the hallmarks of a weak writer. It’s sad to say it probably is. Maybe I’m a hack. Maybe I should pack up my toys and go home. After all, I make a terrific speech pathologist.

No way.

Every time I get hit with a proverbial smack down, something else comes up that serves to reinvigorate me. Sure, I’m adverby and my sentences are too long, but I can still final in contests. Haven’t published anything yet (except for my master’s thesis, and I’m not sure that counts–but it was a rock solid thesis, if I do say so myself. I still can’t believe I wrote it), but that doesn’t mean I won’t. I’m new at this. I only decided I would write a novel exactly fourteen months ago. In the mean time, I have finished two, and I’m nearly done with number three. Two of them have finaled in contests, and one I never submitted to anything. 

So, my friend the semicolon, I am off to take you out of Revision V of my draft before I send it off. Prologue, because I can’t bear to take you out completely, you will merely be hacked down… Four pages, max. Oh, and I need to fix J. Edgar, because he still sucks. But maybe, just maybe, if I can make the J. Edgar better, cut down on my use of semicolons, and hack down my prologue from 6 1/4 pages to a mere four, maybe I can get myself published. And we can be friends once again.


The Real World

I’m often asked, “Why can’t you write anything from the real world? Something contemporary that people will want to read?” (Actual question, I swear)

The simple answer is: I don’t necessarily like the real world.

I mean, it’s like the reverse of a vacation to say, Branson, Missouri (no offense to Branson, of course). Ok to visit, not that great to live there. Well, in my world, the real world is Ok to live in, but if I’m going to spend $7, I’d rather visit someplace else.

In the made up places in my head, the stakes are high, the world is in danger, love lasts a lifetime, but good will always triumph. I have no such guarantees in real life. First, the stakes are never really that high in my real life. After all, no one will die if I choose the store brand over Tide with Bleach, and society won’t collapse if I just can’t fix that kid’s /r/. The choices I make are… relatively mundane.

As for the second point, while the world might be in danger, I work in preschool, so I’m thinking that I’m not going to be the one to fix it. No one’s ever heard of an overweight preschool based speech pathologist saving the world, and I’m pretty sure there’s a reason for that. I’m squishy and I’m cuddly, and little kids love me. But take down some terrorist cell, yeah, not so much. I’ll leave that to the professionals. The most badass I get is when I go to the rodeo and pretend to be some barfly named Dixie to help my friends pick up guys while drinking my one Texas Punch. Sorry gents, this hot piece of extra-large ass is taken. I know, I’m wild and crazy.

And love lasting a lifetime? I suppose it can happen. It’s gone well for me so far, but every day I’m surprised by the people in my life who are getting divorced. People I would never in a million years expect to divorce because they seemed so blissfully happy are suddenly calling it quits. These are couples that I would point to and say, “Hey, M, why can’t we be more like them?” I guess that means I’m glad M and I are the way we are, because however dysfunctional we may be (and sometimes we are), it seems to work for us. But in Meggan’s playground of pretend, my couples will be together forever, crazy in love and having magnificent sex. No taking one for the team or squeezing in a quickie between dishes and collapsing into bed exhausted. Every encounter is fabulous, and you’ll just have to believe me when I say that every encounter will continue to be fabulous forever.

Could I write a contemporary romance? Sure, I think I could (I have a couple of ideas swimming in my head). More likely, I’d do a romantic suspense, because I like the danger and the high stakes stuff. Again, I have at least one of those floating around in my head. If I ever get around to writing that book, it might be pretty good. But there are other people who are completely brilliant with the contemporary romance, and I’m not sure I’m one of them.

Creating worlds? I can do that. Supernatural powers? I can do that too. I can torture my characters to no end, and have a good time doing it. In a contemporary romance, these are supposed to be like real people with real reactions, and I think I’d actually start to feel bad for my fake people if I tortured them to the extent I do my supernaturals. My supernaturals are… well, special. They can take it. Granted, in my first historical, I guess I tortured poor Claire, so maybe I need to take that back.

So, why can’t I write contemporary? Well, for right now, because I like my worlds dark and broody, my characters a little tortured. I like to visit the dark places in my head and see what comes out. And even though in person, I’m pretty funny, other people do light and humorous contemporary way better than I do. Waaay better. Because if I tried to write a something with a little heat and a little humor right now, it would probably come out like a post WWII Germanic novella: the hero fails in some way, and while everyone starves, there’s a single loaf of bread sitting on a table in an flat in Lübeck, uneaten and growing stale. (Yeah, even I don’t know where that came from, but that Gruppe 47 literature stuff was pretty stinking depressing… but I’m sure you get my point.)



I freaking hate daycare.

Hate them.

I get they have a responsibility to all the children who are there, and I get that’s it’s not acceptable that my son bit his sister (granted, given where she was bitten, I’m sure she was clothes-lining him, so she may have deserved it). But to say, “All the parents are concerned about having C in class with their children” goes too far. It goes right along with, “He’s a liability” and “It’s your fault for not bringing in the “I am working for” boards and the smiley face charts.”

I take issue with this. First, the one chance I got to make these boards–today–is the day they called me to come and pick him up. I explained to C’s teacher yesterday that I would be working on the boards today. Second, it’s not like making these boards takes ten minutes: it’s closer to ten hours to make all the things they said they wanted. When I explained this to them, the director said, “It’s been three weeks. You have to make your son a priority. He can’t return until we have the boards in place.”

The fact that it took them over a week to get me a schedule they already had printed apparently isn’t an issue. That’s OK. My not making a bunch of stuff for my son so that they have an easier time dealing with his behaviors (crap we really don’t see at home) is apparently cause for a lynching.

They want the smiley face charts, the schedule, the “I am working for boards” printed, laminated and velcroed (at my expense, of course, despite the fact that I pay them quite a pretty penny to watch him) before he can come back, and I’m supposed to drag a sick three year old around with me while I do it? The problem is, I’ll go through all of this work to make things happen for C and they’ll kick him out all the same. Because, as the director told me, “We have to give him three weeks with the new system before we can take any additional steps against him.” I could say, “Neener, neener” and take everything I made with me but that just seems childish. 

I know he has a bad streak in him (though I never got one–not one–complaint of him hitting or biting at his old school), but he’s not a criminal. Additional steps against him? Are we going forth with legal proceedings against my three year old? And what, I’m guilty of neglect because I didn’t make a bunch of boards I said I would because my life got in the way? Is that the way of it? The kid is fed, loved, read to every night, and comes to school clean every day. I could spend all of my free time with him making story boards and crap for him to take to school and basically ignoring him, or I could spend it with him BEING HIS MOM. Weird, I chose to be his mom rather than a speech pathologist working on behaviors. I chose to spend time with my kids, at the expense of effort on daycare’s behalf.

I want to quit my job and stay home. I’d do just that, but I somehow have to pay bills, and we can’t do that if I’m unemployed. Until I make my fortune as a novelist, I’m thinking staying home is not an option.

My poor boy.

The thing is, he’s good at home. Easy to get along with, happy. The occasional temper tantrum, but then, he’s three, and I don’t think they’re bad ones (after all, I cut my teeth on his sister’s tantrums). I very rarely have had to do the walk of shame out of the Home Depot (or supermarket or Costco) with him. That’s not to say I haven’t, but it’s less often than I had to when his sister was that age, and now, her teachers label her as pretty much perfect.

I realize that this, too, shall pass. Really. It passed with his sister, after all.


Getting Ready

Well, I’m supposed to be getting ready to send my manuscript(s) in to the agents who requested them.

But I’m not.

Because I’m a chicken (bock bock).

Actually, I amend the previous comment. While I am still a chicken, I am actually getting prepared to send in my manuscripts. The unfortunate problem: my synopsis sucks.

I mean, it sucks so bad I’ve actually named it J. Edgar (Hoover).

My writing can range from ho hum to really pretty awesome, but J. Edgar is so awful I’m ashamed of it. And it’s long: while other people are talking about their 900 word synopses, I’m looking at 2800 words (eight pages)… Eight pages of something clearly not my best work.

And I get that everyone hates her synopsis. After all, it must be a common enough problem since every time I go to one of my meetings (“Hi, my name is Meggan and I write romance novels”), the published authors complain about what one dubbed the “POSS” (piece of shit synopsis). I think those words are pretty adequate in summing up precisely how I feel about mine. It’s wretched. And boring. And not half so fascinating as the book I’ve actually written.

Because the book, in my humble opinion, is pretty good. It’s placed in a couple of contests, and since then, it’s only improved. I’m actually doing fairly well in my contest entries: I’ve finaled in 66% of the contests I’ve entered (though I think that number is actually 50%, but I haven’t heard official word about one, but it was one we had to include the synopsis for, and, as previously mentioned, my synopsis is horrid), and in the one I didn’t final in, I actually got pretty decent scores. High nineties, so it must have been close to finaling. Granted, I haven’t always finaled with the same story (shocking!), but I guess my finaling at least demonstrates I have some capacity to write… Someone seems to think I show some promise, anyway.

But back to J. Edgar. How does one go about summarizing a four hundred page novel in less than 10 pages, including the end? I built an entire world, and now you want me to sum it up–including plot points–in less than ten pages, and let you know how it ends? Impossible. Well, not impossible, but hard to do well. And all the advice I’ve gotten in regard to writing the synopsis (well, all the advice I’ve read) seems to indicate I should figure out a sentence that best describes every chapter, and then use that. But so much happens in my book that I’m finding that a very difficult thing to do.


The hard part isn’t writing the book (though that’s no easy task, either)… The hard part is everything that comes after: the query letter, the pitch, the synopsis, the endless edits. And then there’s the waiting.

I want this so much I can taste it, but I’m terrified, too. Afraid someone will take one look at J. Edgar and say: “Holy cow, this is the worst piece of crap I’ve ever read.” Because, really, it kind of is.

So I will revise, and edit, and edit some more, and hopefully, come back with a synopsis at least vaguely worthy of the book it represents…


MCC and the Seven Deadly Sins

My sins, my sins, why have you forsaken me?

I love the seven deadly sins. I mean, what’s a good life without gluttony and sloth and a little envy?

Except, right now, the seven big ones don’t love me. Sad, but true.

7.  Wrath.

I’m not opposed to wrath, I’m just not really pissed off at anyone, and, as I get older, I’m finding it harder and harder to hold a grudge. I guess I’m just not as determined as I used to be. Now, when someone really ticks me off, I’m mad for maybe a day or two (if that), before I just simply… lose interest. Maybe my attention span is not what it used to be–I’ll blame modern media. Hey, everyone else does.

6. Envy

I’d like more money, and a house not on a major thorough fare, but if I never get those things, I’ll survive just fine. Again, I’ve got so much going on, I’ve kind of lost interest in envy. Sometimes I’m jealous of what other people have; for instance, I’d like to have the money to be able to stay home (not that I would, because, well, I like to work. That, and if I did stay home, my husband would actually expect the house to be clean, and of all the things I’m good at, housekeeping is NOT one of them… Just ask the ginormous pile of laundry on the landing just waiting to be washed… It’s calling my name, and I am pointedly ignoring it).

5. Greed

I think you have to have money for this one. Also, I’m pretty generous–when I feel like it. Actually, I think I suffer from Envy more than I do from Greed.

4. Pride

I’m chunky. I’ve got scars all over my belly (keg-style that it is). And the wrinkle between my brows just won’t go away. I’d Botox it away, but that would take effort on my part–and if I did Botox myself, the way my luck has been running, I’d come out looking like the joker… or, I’d randomly grow a set of testicles. It would be something bizarre, where the doctor would say, “Gee, we don’t know why that happened.” So much for vanity, right? I mean, I suppose you could make an argument that I do have some degree of vanity because Miss Clairol and I are very well acquainted, and I do wax the unibrow so now I actually have two brows… I’ll have to think about that.

3. Sloth

Oh, sloth, how I love you. In my younger years, I could stay in bed all day (though is it sloth if there’s also lust involved? Hmmm). Now, there’s kids and dogs and soccer practice, the church newsletter to write, the book and the blog, not to mention the full-time job. Yes, my house looks like a bomb went off in it (so does the car, filled as it is with kid artwork, empty water bottles, and some unknown substance that randomly makes my car stinky… I think I’ve got a science experiment back there).

Thirteen years ago, when I got married, my current pace would have killed me. Not now. Now I can make it with less than five hours of sleep… I’m not happy about it, but I can make it. So, sloth, in my quest to become a writer, I have now forsaken you. Sorry. But know, you are sorely missed.

2. Gluttony.

I don’t look this way because I spent years eating nothing but rabbit food. Cake and pie and ice cream. A medium-rare filet mignon. Pizza. Oh, how I love these things.

Unfortunately, I can no longer eat these things.

After years of eating eggs, I am now officially allergic to them. Goodbye cake and ice cream, so long sweet creme brulee and delicate chocolate mousse. I am also allergic to beef. Goodbye, tender filet, adios greasy bleu cheese burger. And, in their quest to fix my stomach, my doctors have now managed to make it so that all things delicious (e.g., containing fat) now make me so wretchedly sick that there’s no point in eating them anymore. And what things don’t make me sick, you may ask. Well, here it is: broccoli, a plain potato, plain chicken. Brussel sprouts. I actually like brussel sprouts, but not as much as I adored a nice filet and creme brulee.

Oh, and gluttony, you bastard, the only vice I had remaining–alcohol–has now been removed also. Like everything else, it makes me sick before I can even get a decent buzz on.

I miss gluttony so much I would find a way to smoke it, drink it and/or eat it if I ran into it on the road. Unfortunately, I would then have to throw up.

1. Lust

Kids. Book. Blog. Work. Enough said.

However, lust, you are still, by far, my favorite. After all, you are a central theme in my books. I love lust (and your other name: fornication). As with my other forays into sin, you and I were better acquainted in my younger days (see: Sloth). However, I’ve learned that I can actually go longer without food than I can without sex. Hey, there’s a reason I’ve been with the same man for fourteen years.


It’s Not Quite as Crazy as it Sounds

So, as I was discussing my ideas for future novels with a friend of mine today, she asked how it is that I come up with my characters. And I told her how some of them have come together. For my first book, I just sat down at the computer and the story just kind of… told itself. For another, someone had suggested that I try writing for Harlequin, but I had no idea what to write. At the time, I was deeply involved in my present manuscript, which is somewhat… dark. I wanted something light and fun, and as the husband prattled on about the World Series of Poker, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be fun to see what happened if a guy won a girl in a poker game?” And that’s how The Marker came to life. Plot came first, the characters came second.

And then I let loose with this gem: “And for The Queen Killer, I was sitting on my couch and I heard Alek talking to me.”

It sounded completely insane, and, let me tell you, the expression on my friend’s face said pretty clearly, “Holy shit, I need to get out of here before this bitch blows her top and kills me.” She nodded faintly, as if she understood, but I could see that she didn’t. After all, I think she might have been in fear for her life, and I was, unfortunately, between her and the door.

“Do you hear these voices often?” she asked, her face carefully neutral.

I tried gracefully to back out of this. I really do know that the people in my head aren’t real, but, as was the case with Alek, sometimes my characters just show up on my doorstep. When he came to me, I didn’t know his name or his hair color or even when he lived, but I knew his voice, carrying a faint European accent and a whisper of menace, and I knew he had wings and fangs but was not a vampire, not really. Or, at least, that he was neither dead nor soulless.

But that still sounds like I’m a little unstable, and I swear, I am one of the most stable people I know. I just have a very active imagination. And trying to explain how sometimes a character speaks to me is hard to do, especially when I’m talking to someone who loves to read but doesn’t write. Because even I know it sounds nuts.

“Yeah, I know he’s not real, but yes, he does talk to me.”

Do I have conversations with him? No.  He’s not perched on my shoulder and chatting me up all day, and no, he does not tell me to kill the dog over my protests that I don’t have a dog. But maybe that’s because I actually do have a dog, and have no plans to kill him unless he eats another pair of my shoes or continues in his quest to eat the walls of my house. I always wanted a larger bathroom downstairs, but I’m not sure that the way to take out that wall is one nibble at a time.

But I digress.

Maybe it’s not normal to hear voices in your head, to have people just kind of… show up there. But I’m not sure that it’s entirely crazy either. It’s not that I don’t know the difference between fiction and reality, between the world I’ve created in my head and the one I actually live in.

I just prefer the one I’ve made up.


Top 10 Reasons Why a Werewolf Shouldn’t be Manscaped

Ok, I couldn’t handle it, so here we go. But before we begin, I will reiterate that I still love Alcide…

10. He would have to buy stock in shaving cream. And razors.

9. Think chinese crested chihuahua. Now imagine that haircut on a wolf. Enough said.

8. He’s part dog, dude. If he were a cat, I could totally see it, but my dog steps in poo and totally doesn’t give a crap. And he smells like a dog, even after he’s had a bath.

7. Speaking of, I can’t get close to said German Shepherd (who looks a lot like the wolves on True Blood, incidentally) with a brush, let alone with wax.

6. While on the topic of waxing, can you imagine? I mean, really? Think of the scene with Steve Carrell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and then multiply it by a factor of 10. I’m a big fan of the waxing (hairy girls, unite!), but even that didn’t look like a good time to me. A line must be drawn, my friends.

5. Would a guy who’s actually a dog part of the time really care if he’s hairy or not? I suppose he might if it were really hot outside or something, but don’t you think he’s got bigger fish to fry than if his ass looks awesome hairless? I think he’d be totally following lunar cycles. Or trying to find out what that awesome smell is behind my refrigerator.

4. Winter. It’s not like you can just go get yourself a parka if it gets cold out. Last I checked, while they make life vests and shoes for dogs, I haven’t seen a parka.

3. And before you go all “I have a Yorkie who wears a sweater in winter” on me, seriously. How sissy is that?

2. Shape-shifters everywhere would make fun of you. Hell, I know I would.

1. While in wolf form, there’s no excuse to lick your balls if you’re hairless down there. It just doesn’t fly, man. It’s like cutting holes in the pockets of your sweatpants–everyone knows what you’re actually doing, so there’s no point in doing it.

Hairy guys are hot, werewolves! Remember that and embrace your hairiness! (Ok, maybe I’m just saying that because I wouldn’t want to date a guy who has less body hair than I do–and with that statement alone, I have narrowed down the dating pool significantly. Lucky for me, I don’t have to worry about dating anymore)


What I’m ACTUALLY thinking about

I spent a good deal of time today considering what I would be blogging about tonight. Would I be expounding on my theories on why girls like vampires and boys like zombies? Would I enthrall everyone with my opinions on whether or not a werewolf should be manscaped (the answer, my friends, is no–what’s the point of being a werewolf if you can’t be hairy? He’d be shaving more often than I have to, and let me tell you, that’s a lot. I think Alcide on True Blood is as hot as the next girl, but honestly, manscaping? I would imagine that a manscaped werewolf would just look like the hairless chihuahua of the paranormal kingdom… And don’t even get me started on the point of being hairy from the chin up but bare from the neck down. Then, they would be larger versions of the chinese crested chihuahua, and that’s just weird, because let’s face it, those dogs are kind of creepy looking. Give me a hairy werewolf–and a hairy guy–any day). I even had a debate with myself over whether I should be blogging at all with a *self-imposed* deadline looming over my head.

But instead of these things (though the hairless werewolf thing is still preying on my mind), I was actually thinking of how surprisingly sad I am to see the saga of Alek and Maggie come to an end. I know that they will be showing up in the next books, but not as main characters again for some time. And over the last 10 months that they’ve been in my head, I’ve grown to love them. Let’s face it, I liked Maggie from the start, but I loved Alek from the moment I heard his voice in my head, before I put a single word on paper.

I remember those words very clearly. It was January, and I was sitting on the couch, contemplating what I was doing with The Silver Cord, my first book (a historical western), when an accented voice said in my head:

“Vampire. Incubus. Angel. Demon. I am all of these and none of these. I am Nephilim.”

Yeah, yeah, melodramatic–Maggie thinks so too. But no, he’s not a fallen angel–he’s an alien. Or at least half. He is, in fact, the product of the union between a son of heaven and  a daughter of man.

I am strangely sad to see their story end. As I finished my final edits today (on paper, I still have to make the changes in the manuscript), I felt oddly… weepy.  Still do, in fact.

Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love Simon, the hero of Mystic, the next in the series. In fact, in the original concept of this story arc, Simon didn’t even get his own story, but I liked him so much that I decided his tale needs to be told too  (as do the tales of Cash, Finn and Nikolai).  But let’s face it: though I love Simon, I could not have conceived of a character so completely different from Alek. Simon’s not as broody as Alek, but in his own way, he is significantly darker. It will be fun for me to write his story. But I think a part of me will always miss Alek–even though I, as the author, know precisely what’s in store for both he and Maggie in the coming books. While their story is the second book I’ve finished, it’s the first I’ve ever pitched, the first I entered into a contest, the first to final in said contest, and the first I’ll send off to agents. I’m sure that it won’t be picked up by the first place I submit it to (though here’s hoping!), meaning it will be the first story I’ve written to be rejected. Hopefully, it will be the first story to be published.

It seems like a major milestone, like graduation. You’re happy that you’re done with school, but you’re sad to see this thing that has been such an enormous part of your life for so long end. And I get it that 10 months isn’t that long–certainly not akin to the amount of time I spent in college, that’s for certain–but in a way, I’ve known Alek and Maggie their entire lives. I know the traumas that shaped them, the desires they harbor in the secret spaces of their hearts; I know things about them that they don’t know themselves.

As I move on to Simon’s story, I will miss them.

I miss them already.


Hello Everyone,

So, I’m still fairly new to this whole “blogging” business, but I’m working on it. Trying to get myself out there, I suppose (although there are many who would argue that I was pretty far out there to start).

I recently returned from the Emerald City Writer’s Conference (ECWC), and it was wonderful, amazing… and intense. I met some great people while I was there, and I hope to stay in touch with them–it was so nice to connect with other writers! Everyone was so kind and supportive. At my very first event, I met Norma, who, when she pitched her story to me, sounded so confident that I was immediately convinced her manuscript must be awesome… and when she asked me about mine, I conveniently vapor-locked. I sat there, thinking desperately, “Oh crap, oh crap, someone wants to know what my book’s about and I… don’t know.” All of this after I’d spent almost five hours practicing my pitch in the car. And writing it out. And making the husband listen to it over and over and over again…

Speaking of, in typical fashion, every woman I talked to thought my husband was the best thing since sliced bread. I sometimes forget how charming that man can be… Could it be that he’s like poison: after enough exposure, you’re (relatively) immune? I wonder. In any case, it was more than once that some woman would ask: “Or, you’re married to him. Yeah, if you don’t want him, someone here will have him!” And I had to laugh, because, by the time we were getting ready to leave on Sunday, I think he was fairly well convinced that he’s the hero of a romance novel. If we had stayed longer, would he have been tossing his hair like Fabio, some buxom woman in a half torn bodice clutching at his shoulders while the sea churns behind them and the wind tussles his flowing locks?

Sad thing is, I think I gave him the idea. I’m  the one who told him that he’s the perfect hero: charming, aggressive, and a cop… What more could a writer of romance novels ask for? It would be so much more convenient if I wrote romantic suspense, but no, I harbor fantasies of vampires and demons… and the occasional cowboy (but not so big on the cowboys in real life; after all, they deal with cows, and anyone who knows me knows I don’t like cows. Moo).

In any case, I’ve completely gone off topic. That last Sunday of the conference, my husband–as part of the package he got for me to attend the conference–had arranged for me to have coffee with Brenda Novak, which turned into breakfast with all three of us. She was gracious and kind, politely listened to me (and the husband) ramble on about what was intensely exciting for us, but probably old hat for her. I think I held my own–I didn’t throw up (shocking!),  managed to string more than two words together in a few relatively coherent sentences, and didn’t spend the entire time obsessing about the giant zit that had appeared on the end of my nose the first day of the conference. And I’m telling you, this thing was HUGE. Not only that, but my entire nose had flamed up to a shade only slightly more subtle than crimson and was a little swollen. Sitting on the tip of all that beauty, like a large, white light bulb, was this immense pimple that no amount of coaxing could get to pop (it was probably all of the attempts that had turned my nose scarlet in the first place). I was Rudolph. The day that I pitched my book to the editors and agents, I must have reapplied my make-up five times. Strangely, said pimple was almost entirely gone by the time I  got off the airplane three hours later. Hmm. I wonder if I was stressed?

Overall, the conference was great. I had the opportunity to meet up with an old friend, make new ones, learned a thing or two, and got a couple of requests for my manuscript. And had coffee with a woman who has achieved what I one day hope to: to be a successful, published author. I can only hope that, if I make it that far, I’m as gracious and warm as she is.


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