Of course the year I decide I’m going to keep this blog updated—goddammit—I head off and live in a cabin in Alaska for six months with 150+ dogs.

Okay, so I mean it this time.


I’m in limbo with a job in Russia and after two weeks and still no updates on my visa paperwork, I’ve put my hat back in the ring for greenhouse jobs in Indiana. So, we’ll see. I may be jetting off to a fun new place, or I might be hanging out in the States a bit longer playing with plants. It’s a fight to the finish at this point.

I will post pictures of the dogs I lived with because they’re too cute not to, but for now let’s get reacquainted.

Hello, I like to write. I haven’t written anything in…well, several months because every time I think about opening a word file and making coherent sentences I get really tired and it doesn’t make me happy like it used to. So this is me working through it. Writing does make me happy, I just have to remember why.

My favorite project, Rebel Love Song, I’ve set off the back burner and put on a warming pad because I just can’t keep up with how quickly we’re spiraling into a dystopia more frightening than anything I’ve written. I still like the story, but it falls flat compared to current events so I’ve put it in the backup hard drive and put the notebooks on a shelf. Maybe in a few years things will level out again and I can delve back into it.

I have other projects that could use some attention, like the urban fantasy Mage story that doesn’t even have a working title. There’s the cryptozoologist story and Fae Café and Charlatans, but I’ve opened every one of those files at least twice a week and I just stare at the words for an hour and then close it.

That’s been my writing life since October. I still have my fanfictions that I usually work on when I get into a rut with the original stuff, but even that is more of the same. I open the file, re-read what’s there, decide I don’t like it and I need to restart the chapter and then…nothing.

Writing is hard.

But it’s never been this hard and I don’t like it. Reading and writing are the two things I’ve always been able to do. And now it’s like fighting through quicksand just to get a character from the garage to the kitchen. I keep thinking if I read some more books that whatever it is will shake loose, or if I watch enough movies something will spark. But I don’t even want to do that. I want to sleep, but I don’t, because I should be writing, but I open the file and a whole lotta nothin’ happens. So I close the file and open another and tell myself to just start writing and…nothing. Still nothing. So I close everything down and turn off my computer and pick up a book and that lasts for about ten minutes before I can’t focus on that any more. I pace and try to read and turn the computer back on and open a blank page to start something completely new. And nothing. Then I turn the computer off and repeat the whole goddamn process.

So maybe I’m going to Siberia and maybe a dramatic change in scenery will…I dunno, do something. Maybe I’ll finish some of the books in my TBR pile, at least.



Alaskan Adventures/Writing Updates

Alaskan Adventures/Writing Updates

Well, here we are, Day 6 of Alaska Adventures. I’m down in the main house sitting in the delightful heated kitchen with wifi and electricity and indoor plumbing only a room away. It’s been…a character building experience so far. The cabin I’m in is waaaaay more rustic than I originally thought. I’m actually in a dry cabin the generator powered electricity and water are in the common kitchen and bathroom. That’s fine and all, but the water pump is currently frozen so the camp does not have any running water. Good news, a quarter mile from the cabins are the outhouses guests use when tours start up.

Lemme tell you, walking a quarter mile through cold drizzle and old growth forest at 2am to pee is an experience. I have never in my life believed more in Bigfoot than I did during that long cold walk through the pitch black darkness with nothing but a headlamp.

The cabin is unfinished. There’s no insulation whatsoever and that tiny woodstove doesn’t do much. So lots of character building has happened the last 6 days.

But the dogs are cute. All 180 of them. I know about 30 of their names right now and routinely forget my 6 coworkers’ names. So I’m still on brand. We did some test runs yesterday with the teams and those dogs can haul. It was so much fun. Tours start Monday and Sunday is dedicated to more test runs and I’m really looking forward to that.

But, right now in the kitchen one of the dock managers and drivers are regaling us with some incredible tales of ship shenanigans. I’m loving being here. Also, these two are amazing cooks. They made scratch three cheese macaroni with ham a couple nights ago and tonight they’re doing a company dinner that is either going to be prime rib or roast.

So I’m having fun. Nights are a little rough still. I’ve bought three more blankets since I got here and the stove doesn’t hold enough wood to get through the night so unless you wake at 1am and toss three more logs on you’re going to wake up cold.

There’s also a pack of wolves somewhere on this island and there’s a bear that creeps around the main house down here. I’m looking forward to the tours starting because we get comp’d or do a straight switch with some companies. Most of my writing is going to be longhand because I’m not sure the generator will be able to efficiently charge my computer, but we’re going to see how it goes. I know at least once a week I’ll be able to get down here to the main house and do laundry and shower and get online.

Updates will be sporadic, but I’ll start getting pictures up on the next post.


As for writing! I haven’t done any of that in six days. But I have a plan sketched out for Constellations and plenty of jelly beans. If I get this chapter knocked out today then I should be able to get it posted next week after I get it proofed. By firelight no less. I’m really getting into method writing for this story. Here’s hoping I can avoid supernatural night monsters and life threatening dehydration.

Also!! Yes, this does call for double exclamation points, I have an idea for a Soundwave/Shockwave story. I’ll be writing that by firelight as well. But I’m sticking to my two WIP limit so until either Spark or Constellations is finished you won’t be seeing that one. But now you know it’s there.

I still want to post my Shiro angst but that can wait. I’m still trying to find my footing here so writing has been nonexistent. But hopefully once tours start and I have a better idea of routine and schedule it’ll be easier to get the words out. I need to make a writing nook in my cabin, preferably near the fire.

Things I’ve made headway on since the last update: Decepticon Ratchet story hesitantly titled One Sun in the Sky, a Prowl/Red Alert story with the working title of Midnight, a William Lennox story—gasp!—with the working title of Will because I’m practical like that, and a Blaster/Ratchet—fight me—story with the working title Blaster, because again, practical.

As far as writing goes, things are moving slow, but they’re still happening. So if I don’t get eaten by a bear or run over by a dog team, updates will be forthcoming in the next two weeks!

March Updates for Writing and Life

March Updates for Writing and Life

Holy hells, March already? I have no idea where February went and now we’re halfway through March.

But since we’re halfway through March, it’s time for an update! Life updates first, then writing.

I’m leaving for Alaska in…36 days as of writing this. Well, I’m going to Seattle for a couple days first to see some friends (Huzzah!) and scope out the city to see if it’s somewhere I want to move.

I’m starting to get excited for Alaska. April still seems a long way off, but in two weeks I’ll be double checking my packing list. I’m taking my nice camera with me and looking forward to getting some photos of wildlife and the city itself because really, how often does anyone picture what Juneau looks like?

I’ll post some pictures here, but I’m also expanding my etsy shop—Photogenic Flowers—to include pictures from my travels. I’m sifting through my SE Asia photos right now and will have a dozen or so posted around Easter. I add a couple new photos every month, so check back frequently! Also, I have a coupon going right now, use the code FLOWERSHOP on purchases of $10 or more and get $5 off.


Writing Updates!

March has not been kind to my writing. As of now, I haven’t written any words for the month. I’ve opened blank documents and stared at them for an hour but I haven’t gotten any words out. I haven’t gotten anything with long hand writing either. I stare at the notebook page and there’s just…nothing. I don’t know what’s up. I’m torn between backing off and letting inspiration come or chasing it down with a club.

I’m holding out hope that I can break the dam and get an update for Constellations up before I leave for Alaska since I still don’t know the exact internet situation. If it’s really sketchy I don’t want to go five months with that little cliffhanger. That’s a little mean, even for me.

Last month I decided to permanently shelve my first queried manuscript Tiger, Tiger. If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you’ll recognize that as Adventures with Aria. I realized as I read through it that it uses a lot of cultural appropriation from Inuit culture. I don’t really know a lot about Inuit culture, I just cherry picked the things I wanted to learn to round out the culture/mythos of the Tiger, Tiger universe. So, for the foreseeable future there will be no more adventures with Aria. At least, not as she is now. I still like the core concept of the story and maybe I’ll find somewhere else to put her, but for now, I’ve killed my darling.

Up until my words dried up, I was working on making a serial book for the blog, like the old penny magazines. I haven’t decided on any clever titles for it but keep an eye out for that this year. The earliest you’ll see it will be May. I want to see how the internet is in Juneau before I start posting it. It will be original content; fanfiction will stay on my fanfiction account.

But, I think that’s a wrap for everything that’s happening. Next update will be coming from Alaska!

December Writing Updates

December Writing Updates

Well Hells boys and girls, it’s December! I missed my writing update last month as I was wrapped up in NaNo so let’s get back into the swing of things!

I had many a lofty goals in November to work on original fiction and that went straight out the window. So original fiction is in pretty much the same shape it was in…August? Whenever the last update happened. *sigh*

I actually talked to my side thug, Maye, about why I’ve been doing so much fanfic writing and less original stuff. She’s been doing more poetry than long form. And we’ve both come to the conclusion that writing stories we want to submit to agents exerts a ton of artistic pressure. Every line you’re thinking, is this a cliché? Does this make sense? Is there too much exposition?

And certainly, I want the fanfics I post to be good, but we’re all here for fun. No one’s paycheck is in jeopardy if I only get six reviews on a story. The only person I’m in competition with is myself, not the hundreds and hundreds—thousands even—of other writers in a slush pile.

I’m trying to find a way to shift this fanfic mindset back to my original writing, but it’s hard. Although, with the way my fanfic has been evolving I told Maye by this time next year I might be able to change some of the details and submit it as original, lol.

Hey man, if Fifty Shades of Grey can do it, I sure as hell can.


Anyway, fanfic updates!

I have scrapped my previous posting timeline.

Let me explain before you grab torches and pitchforks.

I had a reader suggest a story over on Archive of Our Own called Iacon Prophecy by ntldr. It’s set in the Barbarian AU. It’s not a humanformer fic, which is why I’d skipped over it previously. It’s a great story and just wrapped up not long ago. I absolutely loved the idea of a more primitive take on Transformers and I started writing a story with that in mind.

And so, I now have about 100K words written for a Ratchet-centric piece set in what I’m calling the Primitive AU because I’ve left out all modern devices. Of course when I started this it was just going to be a one story deal and going to be kind of short. And then I kept writing…and writing…and thinking and writing. And now this first story is probably going to another 100K before it’s done and I have already outlined the second and third stories in the series. Series is tentatively being called Constellations.

I’m still going to do the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam and get up Tracks’ story for the Street True AU, but the priority has shifted a bit. I really like this Ratchet series. So I want to get at least this first look at Ratchet done and posted and then I’ll start on the others.


I also started an open ended series of unconnected stories under the title Of Gods and Mortals. They’re mythological stories because I loooooove mythology and I want to write a story for each major culture on Cybertron and then move into subcultures. So far I have a Polyhexian myth and an Iaconian one. I think next I’ll do Vos or Praxus. These are all with OCs but as another reader, Vela13, commented, these stories do relate to the universes I’ve written already and others that haven’t been written yet.

They don’t give away any major plot points or anything like that, but it adds some new textures and perspectives to characters if you really want to nerd out with me.


Make Believe I want to have wrapped up this month because January and February are going to be hectic. Also, my focus is drifting more and more to this Ratchet series so I need to get this Red Alert/Jazz thing wrapped up before my attention drifts too far.

I have four chapters left to write, next chapter will be up this week after I fine tune it a bit more.


That’s all I’ve got for you this month! I’ll check in again in February!


August Writing Updates!

August Writing Updates!

Hey, I’m getting pretty good at this bi-monthly update. I mean, this one is juuuuust under the wire but, fuck it. We’ll call that progress either for how organized I am or for blogging practices.

But, let’s get on to the updates!


Last Rites: Starting with original content! If I can stick to my schedule, which I was doing really well with until I up and went to Vietnam, but oh well. Still hoping if I have enough coffee and snacks tomorrow I can finish the middle portion of this. It’s really close to being done. I have most of the major scenes written, not it’s just down to the details.

Next month is slotted for redoing the ending and having the whole thing coherent enough I stop picking at it. So by the end of September I hope to have Last Rites complete so it can sit for a minute.


Starting in October, I’m getting back into my middle grade story Charlatans. I still love this concept and I’ve reworked the character and her motivations and fixed the storyboarding. The biggest challenge for this story is the word limit which I’m stalwartly ignoring until I have it finished. October I’m looking at getting from the beginning to the mid-point.

If things go smoothly, I might finish it. But all that will depend on my work schedule and whatever else comes up in life. Also, this is the youngest I’ve ever written so making the situations believable as well as reasoning chains and choices are a challenge to me. But I haven’t done much with Charlatans in three or so years and I’ve re-storyboarded the beginning so maybe it will be easier now that I have a better idea of what I’m doing.


November kicks off NaNoWriMo so I’ll be coming up with another idea to work on during this month as well, which should be fun.

This month is jam packed with writing. If I don’t finish Charlatans I’ll be doing it this month, I also have a fanfic writing schedule and one of those stories should also be completed this month. Honestly, I’m looking at writing 150,000+ words this month if I stay on task and get done what needs to be done.


December is an Editing month, I’m going back and editing Last Rites and will hopefully like it enough to send off to my betas for critique. This is also the month I’ll be working on my synopsis and query for Last Rites. If I can stay on schedule and get edits done and back my goal is to start querying agents when I get back to the States sometime in April.

January is another editing month. I’m looking at getting Charlatans edited enough I like it to send off to my other betas. And if both stories come back and I get edits and rewrites done during this month, I’ll swap betas and resend.


February I’m diving headfirst into a story I started for NaNo a couple years ago about Death and his bounty hunters. It doesn’t even have a working title yet, but the story’s climax is right here in China so I figure my last month of teaching here would be a good time to get started on that.

If I like whatever I come up with for NaNo I’ll also be pecking away at that during February as well. But who knows. Last two NaNos I haven’t been really thrilled with the concepts and they’re just sitting in a file.


And for those of you here about the fanfics!

August I’m looking to get another chapter done, like, this week. I wanted three chapters done this month, but I think two is a good start. Like I said last update, the story is starting to get kinda heavy and I’ve been dragging my feet getting it done. There are eight chapters left with what I currently have outlined so September I’m looking to wrap up Monster.

And then I think I’ll find a fluffy story to write because sometimes I even depress myself with the shit I write.

Has anyone ever written Ratchet/Prowl? I don’t think I’ve seen that. Maybe I’ll write that.


Anyway! October, I will be devoting time to Breach and hopefully get about 50,000 words written for that which should put us right at a good cliffhanger. I’m hoping to finish Breach in November, but again, that will depend on my work schedule, how far I get in my original writing, and what my NaNo project look like. In my writing hierarchy, fanfic comes second to original content. So it could well be December before I finish it.

I’ve gotten myself out of the quagmire though and I really like how Red Alert’s character works in this one. The ending for this one is probably the most nail biting one I’ve ever written so I’m really excited for you guys to see it.


If I do finish Breach in November, the next story is coming from the Street True AU and we’re going to learn more about Tracks! Tentative title is Nightmare and, as it’s storyboarded now, it won’t be as long as Master’s Apprentice so I should be able to finish it in a month if my work schedule isn’t weird.

This story should start to answer some questions about how the war started and who/what Helios and the Prowler crew are. Also, it will give more clarity to the first couple of chapters of Master’s Apprentice and Ratchet’s odd reflection on his choices and why he goes to hunt down Blaster. This one is definitely more political than Master’s Apprentice and gets deeper into how the war was fought, how it is fought, and what happens to the soldiers that fight in it. It’s pretty heavy, but Tracks’ story is a keystone storyline.


And *drum roll* January, I will be starting the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam. Still not sure what the title will be but I am certain there will be plenty of angst and H/C. I have a couple of key scenes written and already love this one more than WtLOR. I’m so excited for you guys to read it. This one is definitely going to be long so I’ll be working on this through February and March.



After February, updates are going to be slow for everything as that’s the end of my contract here in China and I’ll be traveling around both here and a couple other countries as I make my way back to the States. I refuse to do another 18 hour flight so writing time will be limited to…whenever I stop taking pictures and write I suppose.

Writing Update: May/June

Writing Update: May/June

All right, time for another writing update! Let’s see if I can keep up with doing these bi-monthly.

No, I have not started earnestly writing the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam. I have a few scenes written but I don’t know if any of them will even make it into the final draft. As I said before, I don’t think I’ll post anything until the end of this year. Although, the tentative title is Spark which is also the title of a Digital Daggers song like “Where the Lonely Ones Roam”.

I think I said in my last update I was looking at fleshing out Cybertronian culture and religion and I really do want to make this coherent and sensible, not just a bunch of strange things cobbled together. And, I’m looking at taking a weeklong trip to Zhangjiajie next year after my teaching contract is up. This is really significant because these are the mountain ranges that inspired me to write Prowl as he is in this story.

So the sequel might not be up until after I take that trip because I know that’ll change probably everything I’ve written thus far.

Long story short: Sequel will be up eventually, but not any time soon.


Breach! Oh, this has turned into a delightful quagmire. I am still looking at turning this little thing into multiple chapters, but a wonderful review got me thinking I want to try and write this from Red Alert’s POV. Aside from that brief chapter in WtLOR, I’ve never tried to write Red Alert and it’s actually harder than I thought it would be. His paranoia is his most obvious trait, but I’m finding other subtle layers that I think deserve more spotlight.

I also think it would work really well with a One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest vibe and I’ve never written anything like that before either. This little oneshot is turning into a pretty extensive writing exercise.

So, like I said, quagmire. But, think once Master’s Apprentice is concluded this will be easier. I need to stick with having no more than two WIPs at one time.


And what a great segue, Master’s Apprentice has one chapter left! And I’m so glad everyone has enjoyed reading it so much. I’ve had a lot of fun writing Ratchet and little First Aid. And I saw quite a few people enjoyed Red Alert and Prowl at their most sociopathic; excellent.

Master’s Apprentice is the first in an AU called Street True, so there will be more stories with the crew as they appear in this story. All major characters are getting backstories: Blaster, Red Alert, Prowl, Tracks, Helios, Wheeljack, Ratchet, etc. I’m even going to try my hand at writing an Optimus Prime story because he needs to have a voice in this. Ironhide is a possibility, but I might weave his narrative in throughout the Prime’s. Annnnnd, someone asked if Jazz will make an appearance. Uhhh, maybe. Currently, I don’t have a background story for him that’s really significant. For this AU Jazz is going to be more like a background specter; spooky XOps prowling around at weird hours that no one ever really sees.

I think the next story will be how Trailbreaker met Blaster, Red Alert, Prowl. Or, I might decide to go with the tragedy and we’ll find out why Tracks is so very messed up.


Monster! Boy-howdy, has this story taken a turn since I first started writing it. Ah well, all the better for it. If you’ve not noticed, it has been changed to a DeathFic and that is for Major Character Death.

It’s brutal.

I already wrote the last scene and I’m pretty sure y’all will set your computers on fire and I’m really excited to get there. Because much like George R.R. Martin, I thrive on my readers’ tears. But, if you want to stop reading before things take a turn you’ve got…one more chapter. I have some characters I’ve never written before coming up in the next chapter and one of them is going to really throw Jazz for a loop. And then shit is gettin’ real.

I admit, I did almost write this in a way to avoid the major character death, but we have so many “Jazz/Prowl is a Decepticon sleeper agent that slowly changes because the power of friendship/love!” Be real now, this isn’t MLP, you know you don’t want another happy ending.


I am still trying to work out a good Soundwave story. I really, really, like Soundwave but I just can’t come up with a story where he fits. No matter what I think of he falls flat or doesn’t mesh with the setting or other characters. I don’t think I can write a feel good story with Soundwave. I think anything I write with him is going to be tragedy in every aspect. Which is cool for me, not for people who want a “Soundwave is such a great mech!” story. You see how dark I’ve got the Autobots, you really think I can write Decepticons as being sweet and altruistic deep down inside?


Next ambitious project! Uh, Pre-War merging into War possibly going into Post-War following Prowl, Red Alert, Jazz, and Bluestreak.

Oh yeah.

And I mean from how Jazz met Prowl and Red Alert to how they went from frontliners to officers to how they meet Bluestreak all the way to what they wind up doing after the war ends.

Unlike the Street True AU where Master’s Apprentice is set, this one will be in chronological order and all the better for it. It will either be magnificent or a screaming train wreck that will make me trash my computer and never write again.


Miscellaneous: Have fully storyboarded the Extended Universe snippet from WtLOR where we find out how Prowl met the Twins. It’s a really short story, no more than four chapters, but adds some good texture to all the characters.

Also, expect more oneshots like Fear and Broken Pieces, Game Change, etc. I find on Sunday nights when I’m too tired to pick up where I left off if a multi-chapter story oneshots are the perfect way to write without falling asleep on the keyboard.

And, when speaking with a reader, they mentioned a Starscream/Skyfire story. That’s not a pairing I’ve ever really considered because I always thought Starscream’s personality was too unstable for anything less than a Trine bond. But. That short conversation got me thinking and now I think I might start storyboarding a story that explains how and why Starscream became a Decepticon.


And way down here at the bottom: Original Content!

I have the first section of Last Rites—formerly Rebel Love Song—written. I have the Brothers and Maidens section storyboarded and need to write it. From there, I’ve opted to change the ending quite a bit which is really going to up the stakes for her in the next book.

And she shall remain nameless. I’ve weighed the pros and cons a few times and I’ve made the executive decision to stick with what I set out with. She does have a name, and readers will learn it, but how they learn it is more important than what it is. Unless they know what the literal translation is, then that shit is going to Blow Minds.

And that’s about the only original writing I’ve done.

Writing Updates!

Writing Updates!

Like the title says, this has nothing to do with my traveling, so if you’re following for adventures you’ll have to wait a little longer. But, if you’re following because of my various stories I have scattered about cyberspace, you’re in luck!

I realized last night when I opened the newest document for Master’s Apprentice that it’s been like three months since I updated that and I don’t want you all thinking I’ve abandoned it. It’s alive; I just haven’t had the time or energy to tackle it.

I have Master’s Apprentice storyboarded pretty much to the last chapter. At this point it’s just a matter of having the time and headspace to sit down and crank it out. I really like this one, it’s really evolved from where I had the idea initially and I’m pretty happy with how the characters are evolving as I write.

MA is priority #1. Any writing I do will be focused on that one so it will be updated as soon as I get it written.


Next! Monster I have about three more chapters storyboarded. I still have no idea how long this one will be but the settings in the upcoming chapters are heavily influenced by my time in Cambodia so I’m really excited to get them out there because I’m pretty sure you guys are going to love it. I also really like this incarnation of Jazz. His character evolution is really challenging which makes him a lot of fun to write.

I’m also adding in other characters that I haven’t written before and don’t see much of so that’s taking time too. I don’t want to Dr. Frankenstein these characters together and wind up with a mech or femme that’s not somewhat true to their G1 origins.

Annnd, since writing Ratchet in this storyverse I’m about 99% certain he’s going to have his own story because he’s just too damn awesome to not have an extensive background. But that’s way in the future, I haven’t even come up with a plot. I just know it will be him in Ahnkmor.

Oh, and someone asked if Monster is the same storyverse as Where the Lonely Ones Roam, it is Not. These stories are their own entities.


Other updates! I have tentatively started storyboarding the first chapter for the sequel to Sparkling. No idea what it will be called but so far it’s less cute and fluffy than Sparkling. OCs are getting better characterization and I’m really working hard on making the antagonist a three dimensional character and not just a convenient bad guy.

I’m guessing I’ll start getting this written after Monster and Master’s Apprentice are wrapped up. I don’t know if it will directly after those two are finished because who knows what wild plot bunny will bite me. I didn’t know I was going to write Monster until I had the first page written and decided I really liked the character.


Second: I have a couple of scenes written for the sequel to Where the Lonely Ones Roam. This one will be several months in the works. I’m really delving more into Cybertronian culture and working out the mythology for both Prowl’s and Ratchet’s respective cultures.

Really, I just want you to know that I am working on a sequel, but honestly, I can’t see any of it being posted until closer to the end of the year.

I also have a spin-off, for lack of a better word, for the WtLOR storyverse. That might be up before the sequel. It’s about the Twins and how Prowl found them and I really like it.


Miscellaneous: I have a couple chapters written for a “How Prowl and Jazz met” story that I’ve been picking away at for a couple months. That one might go up after Master’s Apprentice is finished.

I also have a TFP storyverse for which I have five chapters written. It’s centered on Breakdown, Knockout, and a human OC. I think the reason I haven’t put it up is because there are so many human OCs I just can’t bring myself to add to the numbers.

That and I keep changing how I want Knockout and Breakdown’s relationship. Are they BreakOut or are they companions-not-quite-friends? I don’t know and it really screws with how I write certain scenes if I can’t pin these things down. That one might be awhile coming.

And lastly, I have a few starts for Soundwave centered stories, one of them is hella depressing so it’s probably the one I’ll work on the most because I live for character angst. I also have an idea for a post-war Starscream story that I’m certain will make you hate me. Honestly, I could probably have it written already, I doubt it’ll be more than two chapters but really, I don’t know if I can be that terrible to Starscream.

I have also started a hesitant foray into Star Wars VII stories. They only peripherally involve the main characters; primarily they’re focused on the Stormtrooper ranks. And by hesitantly, I mean I have one page written and I haven’t touched it since December. So that may never see the light of day but we shall see. The characters haven’t faded, I think they just need a different plot.


Annnnnd for those of you who have been and want to read my original content…

I haven’t done a damn thing.

Not. One. Thing.

I haven’t even opened the files. Maybe once I’m settled in China and have a kitchen where I can make tea and popcorn I might hazard opening something but that won’t be for a month or so. I’ve been thinking about it though. I’ve been thinking long and hard about settings, characters, and really fleshing out the cities and people who live in them.

If there’s one story I’ll get into immediately it’ll be my little assassin that I started to write back in July. Or I might start one about an ESL teacher who’s actually a cryptobiologist. I haven’t thought that one all the way through. Who knows.

I want to write a story based in Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville but right now the experiences haven’t had time to really settle and shape. I keep trying to force characters out and they always come off as stilted and two dimensional. I know when I get to China I’ll have the same feeling. Hopefully after a couple months I’ll be able to at least craft a setting and find a character that fits.

What Happens in Muncie, IN…

Hello citizens!

Man, has it been a rough month for anyone else? Camp NaNoWriMo just wrapped up and Goddess above, I have never had to fight for a word count like I did last month. I made it, barely, but I’ll recap that later once I catch my breath.

The really exciting thing that happened in July was just last weekend. The all mighty Midwest Writers Workshop was last weekend and it was Glorious. I’m not the first to blog about it, I’m usually two steps behind in this. So, to see a play by play of what all went down over the weekend check out Mo’s Media Minute and subscribe. She’s really a much better blogger than me and has one hell of a life story. You should pester her to get her memoir written. Get on that. Another great recount of MWW13 comes from the always fabulously fizzy Fizzygrrl. Follow her too, because you just can’t have enough exuberant swearing in your life.

What I’m saying, is there are a lot of great bloggers who have already covered this.

My favorite session came from Colleen Coble – Award Winning Author of Tidewater Inn where we discussed the layers of a story. We turned the class into a think tank and for an hour helped those brave souls willing to tell the 20+ people in the room about their book add depth to their characters, their settings, and plot line. And no, I was not one of those brave souls.

While the faculty was amazing and informative, Author Hank Phillippi Ryan had a wonderfully inspiring closing speech, my highlight happened to come from a fellow attendee. I’m very shy, socially awkward, and woefully lacking in confidence. I’ve been told that I often come across as aloof, cold, and angry because I don’t talk to people and am hesitant to initiate conversation. It’s agonizing because I really would like to talk to you, I just don’t know how to do it. I’m in awe of people like Fizzygrrl who can just burst into a room like the Kool-Aid man and make friends. It’s like a superpower. So when an attendee stopped to tell me I would make an incredible protagonist because of my style and confidence I almost fell over.



Madam, I am a fraud. I’m selling snake oil, cheap health insurance, a bridge in New York, and ocean front property in Nebraska. You must have me confused for someone else. The coffee must have been laced with LSD.

I can’t remember what I said. I’m certain I stumbled through some kind of thank you because I’m Midwest Polite right down to my chromosomes, but holy hell. Me?

It’s just one more story from MWW. I swear, for three days in July Muncie, IN turns into Vegas. Anything can happen.

But you can talk about it later.

The Sound of Madness: We All Fall Down

“Everybody feels these moments of sadness and moments of loss. And sometimes I think everybody can relate to sitting alone and feeling like crap and a friend of yours comes up and starts, you know, “Come on, feel happy!” And you don’t want that. Sometimes it’s all right to let yourself live in a moment and let yourself be upset about something and so that you can show yourself that, regardless of how low you feel, you can always rise out of it; but not at that moment. And so the song ends with the lyric I believe we all fall down but I don’t say, “But we get back up.” It’s just, sometimes you fall down and sometimes you feel low, and that’s okay.” ~ Andy Biersack, (Video)

I was one of many who saw Black Veil Brides’ Legion of the Black back in January and I knew as soon as this song started it was going to be one of my favorites. It was back in January that the only thing I was looking forward to in my life was the release of Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones album and the concert in Cleveland on the 22nd. My first manuscript, Tiger, Tiger was sitting untouched on my hard drive, I hadn’t read anything in weeks—which as a self-professed bibliophile is unheard of—and I was having a hard time even getting up in the morning.

Then, in March, I quit my job. And I was happy for a couple weeks. I finished Tiger, Tiger and started getting serious about querying and started writing again and started looking for a part time job I would be happier doing. The rainbows and sunshine didn’t last long. I hadn’t really intended to quit my job until the first weekend in May and didn’t have the money saved up that I needed/wanted.

Be absolutely honest, my mindset the last two weeks has been no better than it was when I was slogging my way through a dead end job I hated. I’m angry, I’m depressed, my moods are in flux. I wake up in the morning and I want to scratch my skin off and start somewhere new. I need a job and I know I can get hired on in a restaurant no problem. But I don’t want to go back to something that pushed me so close to the abyss of No Return I almost fell in. But if nothing else pans out here in the next two weeks I’ll have to go back to the thing that almost killed me.

            “Lost it All” gets me on a damn near spiritual level.

I ruled the world. With these hands I shook the heavens to the ground.

I laid the gods to rest. I held the key to the kingdom, lions guarding castle walls.

Hail the king, of death.


Then I lost it all.

I’m dead and broken.

My back’s against the wall. Cut me open.

I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.

Because I built these walls just to watch them crumbling down.

I said then I Lost it All.

And who can save me now?


I stood above

another war, another jewel upon the crown.

I was the fear of men.

But I was blind, I couldn’t see the world there right in front of me.

But now…I can.


‘Cause I Lost it All

Dead and broken.

My back’s against the wall.

Cut me open.

I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.

Because I built these walls to watch them crumbling down.

I said then I Lost it All

and who can save me now?


I believe that we all fall down, sometimes.

Can’t you see that we all fall down?

I believe that we all fall down sometimes.


            Here’s a Link to the song.

This is the song that sits with me when I feel overwhelmed by everything and when it all seems out of reach. This song tells me to take a breath, stop scrambling, stop panicking. Just breathe. This song is my safe place.

It’s also the song my character in Rebel Love Song is modeled after. She falls a little more every day. Without the plucky “but we’ll try it again tomorrow” sentiment at the end of the song it leaves her open for a gauntlet of decisions. She’s low, slipping deeper inside herself, and there’s the question of whether or not she’s going to give this song a hopeful ending or if she’s going to lose herself. Who can save me now?

Adventures of Aria: Culture Shock

            I recently read an absolutely amazing YA supernatural book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes called Raised by Wolves. It’s on the younger end of the YA spectrum—the main character Bryn is fifteen—but she was complex, witty, and smart. I finished this four hundred page book in only a couple hours. I couldn’t put it down long enough to even get coffee. I was completely absorbed in Bryn’s struggle, both emotional and circumstantial. I cried and laughed and cheered at the end. In other words, read this book.

            A few hours later—after coffee, shower, food, etc—I picked up an anthology of YA short stories centered on the theme of “warriors”. I picked up this particular anthology from the library to see how my character Aria stacks up against other “warrior” types. I got three pages in and I haven’t picked it up since.

            So soon after reading Ms. Barnes’ book I couldn’t get into the flat character of the first story. I can’t even remember his name. He was so…simple. His thoughts are shallow “warrior” thoughts about fame and glory and marrying a beautiful girl in the noble class. As a prolific reader of fiction, this is so genre standard it was boring to the point of anger.

            The thing that really pricked me about this is that it is genre standard. Every book I’ve ever picked up that involves a tribal or non-Caucasian culture has this flat character. The sentences and vocabulary is simple, short and they lack variety. It’s almost like these characters are written for grade school children not teens or even adults. The catch is, once these simple characters come into contact with the dominant, primarily Caucasian, culture they suddenly gain depth and more complex emotions. Suddenly, the syntax is more elegant and the vocabulary elevated.

            My character, Aria, sprang from Inuit/Nordic cultures. She lives in a clan society, but she isn’t simple. Her emotions are complicated when it comes to who and what she is and how she interacts with her clan. If I were to change her setting to the modern world, certainly she would have trouble describing modern technologies, but that wouldn’t make her any less intelligent.

            This sub-conscious ethnocentric assumption needs to stop. So you’ve chosen to write a character with more melatonin than you? That doesn’t mean they are stupid and slow witted children who need a more dominant culture to hold their hand and “educate” them.