Fever Dreams

I’m a very vivid dreamer.  It’s like watching a movie in my head that stems from my own imagination.  This actually works incredibly well in my favor.  Because not only do I have good sleep because of the dreams, I also see scenes from what I’m writing.

It’s in that time while I’m falling asleep that I do some of my best thinking and plotting.  And if it’s a particularly good “session,” then I dream of my characters and see what they are up to.  When I wake up, I can usually recall exactly what I dreamed and can write it down.  Maybe it makes it into my story and maybe it doesn’t, but the characters are never far from my brain.  I’m never far from the story.

Yesterday, I did not feel well at all.  Stomach bug.  Which I hate.  But I spent most of the day sleeping and the dreams I had?  They were kind of amazing. I attribute that to the sickness.  And they really helped with the sticking plot point I’ve been having with the story I’ll start writing on Friday for NaNoWriMo.  It’s shaping up to be a sweet, very low angst story.  Two boys meeting and falling in love, working through the process toward their happily ever after.

That is, of course, if I’m able to translate my dreams and put them on the page just like I saw them.



Second Submission and NaNoWriMo

Shortly after I learned that Worth It was accepted and would be a part of Dreamspinner Press’s 2013 Advent Calendar Anthology Heartwarming, I submitted a second short story for consideration for inclusion in another anthology.  I had written it during the summer and my awesome beta readers gave me their feed back.  I tweaked and polished it.  And even though I knew that DSP had accepted Worth It, I was still all sorts of nervous about submitting the second one.  When I started panicking and freaking out while I was waiting to hear, my dear friends talked me down.  I’ll tell you this, it wasn’t any easier the second time around.  I’m thinking it will always be like that.  I’m actually okay with that.

But the good news is that it was accepted as well!  It will be one of the stories in the Dr. Feelgood Anthology released in February by Dreamspinner Press.  I’ll give more details as to what and when and how when I have them.  But for now, I’m just excited that Matt and Alex’s story will be out there.  I love these guys.  And I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of their tale.

November is National Novel Writing Month.  50,000 words in 30 days.  I’m an official participant.  I’ve never written anything that large that fast, but I’m up for the challenge.  Yes, I’m having trouble with my WIP.  But it’s still in the plotting stages and I have three more days to figure out the sticky points and starting writing.  Or maybe I will write any one of the other dozen ideas in my head.  At any rate, by November I intend to have a novel completed and ready for my betas.  I know there will be tweaking and polishing and editing after they tell me what works and what doesn’t.  I’m going to put a progress bar on the side so you, if you want, you can see how far I’ve gotten.  Hopefully, it will be the first of many.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**By Request…sorta**

It was pitch black and raining.  The clouds obscured the moon and stars.  Any light that could have leaked through was masked by the dense trees.  Crouched low to the ground, I moved quickly as I could.  My heart was in my throat and I struggled to control my breathing.  Had to keep moving, had to keep going.  If I stopped, I’d be caught.  And then it would be all over.

The trees thinned out and I stood up and ran.  Silent as possible, I made a break for the edge of the forest.  If I could make it out, I would be free.  Frantic, panicked, I did my best to not to make a sound.  Slipping on the wet leaves, I bit my lip to keep from crying out as I went down hard.  I pressed my hand to my mouth and listened hard.  Somewhere to the left, I heard my pursuer moving through the detritus.  It was muffled, faint, so I knew he wasn’t too close.  I still had a chance.

Slowly, carefully, I stood.  Listening hard, I could hear him approaching.  My blood pounded, rushing through my veins.  I took a chance and slipped my cell from my pocket.  I was still in the dead zone, not even a half bar of service.  It would be no help.  I tucked it back in my pocked and began to move.

My pursuer was moving faster now and I had to get going or else he’d catch me.  I couldn’t allow that to happen.  My heart tripped into double time and I ran.  I didn’t care if I was making noise, alerting him to my presence.  I needed to get free.  It was my only thought.

His pace picked up to match mine.  The distance between us was closing rapidly.  But I could see the break in the trees now, knew I was almost free.  I put on a burst of speed.  But just as I reached the tree line, arms closed around me.  I screamed, fought against the constricting arms across my chest.  I kicked.  I clawed.  I arched my body and fought to free myself.  But there was no breaking free.  He had me.  I was at his mercy.

His breath was hot on my face when he put his lips to my ear.  “Gotcha.  You can’t get away from me.  You’re mine.”

I whimpered.  He pulled me tight against him and I felt his erection against my backside.  I fought not to react, not to let him know how that affected me.  But he knew.  He always knew.

“You’re mine,” he repeated.  I knew what he wanted but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.  One hand came up and cupped my throat while the other moved down grab hold of my semi-hard cock.  His fingers squeezed and I went limp in his hold.

“Yours,” I agreed.

He let me go, turned me around, and his grin was blinding in the dark.  I felt the answering grin stretch my own lips.  Leaning forward, I kissed him quickly.

“Next time, let’s not do this when it’s raining.  I’m soaked through.”

He gave a soft laugh.  “Then let’s get you home and out of those clothes,” he said, complete with a suggestive eyebrow waggle.  Like I didn’t already know exactly what he wanted.

I nodded fast and took his hand in mine.  Together we ran toward where we had parked the car.  Indulging him in his “chase” fantasy was easy.  I loved him.


Writer’s Dilemma

I spend most of my time lost in thought.  I think that that’s a safe assumption about most authors.  There’s always a story going on in my head.  The littlest thing can trigger a scene.  A conversation, or just a phrase, can spark a plot bunny.  For me this happens all the time.  But then the tricky part, the hard part, is figuring out what can be used and what is complete and utter shit.

Admittedly, I have a hard time with this.  When something strikes in my brain, I’m off and running and I’ve often built a whole world/story/plot around one little thing.  But then, the problem surfaces when I try to get it on the page.  Nothing works out like I wanted it to and I have to scrap it.  Fortunately, for me, this usually happens early on.  When I’m in the plotting stage, mostly.

I like to hand write notes.  I have atrocious handwriting, to be sure.  And honestly, about a quarter of the time, I have no idea what I’ve actually written down.  Then it becomes a bit of a game to try and figure out what I meant to say.  Most of the time, I do figure it out.  But not always.  And sometimes, it becomes better when I can’t read my notes and have to figure it out all over again.

I’m having trouble with my current work in progress.  No matter how many times I look at it, it all comes out the wrong way.  And I’m not sure if I just haven’t found the solution yet or if I need to scrap it and start again with a different premise.  I’m over thinking, second guessing, wondering if the fact that it’s a contemporary is the problem.  Should I write it third person instead of first?  Should I jump into the paranormal?  How about Sci Fi or Fantasy?  Should I build a new world?  Or should I just stop fretting so hard and go with the flow?  What’s the problem and what’s the fix?

It’s not normally such a challenge for me.  I can usually just write, and maybe it’s crap and it’ll never see the light of day, but I don’t usually hang on to something so tight when it’s not working.

At any rate, the little progress bar over there on the left is taunting me.  It’s been where it is for quite a long time.  I’ve cut things and reworded and changed things around, and its still only 7% done.  No matter what I do.  And I still can’t decide if that means this story was no meant to be told, or if I just haven’t found the right angle.

I write because I must.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.



All right, ladies and gents!

The 2013 Advent Calendar Anthology–Heartwarming is up for pre-sale on the Dreamspinner Press website.  You can order it here.  If you click expand, you can read all of the blurbs for the included stories.  It looks to be quite an awesome collection.  My contribution is Worth It.  You can also purchase any of the titles as individual titles starting December 1st.  Worth It is the story of Jack and Ryan–and how they went their separate ways but came back together again.

Also?  I’ve just learned that I will be included in the Dr. Feelgood anthology, to be released by Dreamspinner Press in February!  I nearly burst at the seams when I received word that the story would be accepted.  To say I was excited is probably an understatement.  This one was inspired solely by reading the open call for submission.  And then out of the blue, bam! the first scene in the story came into my brain and I just had to explore what happened next.  I’m so thrilled that these two boys, Alex and Matt, are going to be out there for public consumption.  They have a really special place in my heart and I just adore them.  I hope you all do too.

Now, if only I can get my work in progress to fall in line.  I’m still looking for that one elusive plot point.

Flash Fic Friday

Flah Fic Friday

I should have stayed in bed.

Sometime during the night, the power went out.  So, instead of my alarm clock waking me at the usual time with its usual klaxon blare, it was blinking 12:00.  I only woke up because I was freezing.  Apparently, along with the lack of power, there was a lack of heat.  Fumbling for my cell phone, I squinted until the numbers came into focus.  Then gave a few choice curses while I scrambled from the bed.  I was already an hour late for work.

The water in the shower was warm enough to tolerate, and I soaped quickly.  Just about the time I realized that, due to the power outage, I wouldn’t have a pot of hot coffee waiting for me, was when the water went ice cold.  I startled and jerked out of the spray, slipping on the wet porcelain of the tub and nearly crashing to the floor.  I managed to save myself by grabbing the towel rack.  Of course, in the process, I wrenched my elbow and pulled half of the towel rack away from the wall.  Grumbling, I turned off the water, stepped carefully from the tub, and dried off as quickly as humanly possible.  There was no way I was shaving with freezing cold water, so the stubble would have to stay.  Teeth brushed, I made my way back across the hall to the bedroom so I could dress.

Where I promptly stepped on the cat.  He gave a screech and hiss, taking off to hide under the bed.   I was only aware of this on the periphery as I was falling unheeded toward the hard wood floor.  Knees hit first, then the sore elbow, and it was a close call to keep my face from smacking hard.  I laid there for a moment, catching my breath, and wondering if I shouldn’t just crawl back under the covers.  I made myself get up, get dressed, and head outside.

Of course, as soon as I was in the parking lot, I saw that my car had a flat tire.  At that point, I was ready to admit defeat and hide until the day was over.  But there was a big project due at work and I knew I needed to go in.  I changed the tire, thankfully the spare in the trunk was in good condition, headed back inside to change into clean clothes and finally, only two and half hours after I should have already been sitting at my desk, I was on my way.

But the universe wasn’t done playing with me.  There was a fender bender on the on ramp to the highway which meant that I had to take the long way to work.  It added fifteen minutes onto my journey.  At this point, I knew I’d never make it without a healthy dose of caffeine and pulled into a coffee shop.  I was already late; a few more minutes wouldn’t make a difference either way.  The line was only four people deep, but the person at the front was apparently ordering enough to feed an army.  I tried not to act impatient.  If the occasional sigh escaped, I couldn’t be blamed.

Finally, I made it to the front of the line and ordered my extra large double shot espresso.  When the smiling girl gave me my total, I reached into my wallet to pay her.  I stared in shock at the two singles and the lack of bank card.  God, could this day get any worse?

I smiled in what I hoped was an apologetic way and opened my mouth to tell her to forget it, when the man behind me stepped up to the counter and handed her his card.  He smiled and for a moment I was arrested by just how pretty he was.

I blinked.  “Thank you,” I managed to stutter.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said softly.  “You look like you’re having a hell of a morning.  I’m happy to help.”

“You have no idea what kind of morning I’ve had.  But I really appreciate this.  It’s an incredibly kind thing for you to do.”

He cocked his head to the side and studied me for a moment.  Then his smile grew wider and he gestured with his head toward one of the empty tables.  “Want to sit down with me and tell me about your horrific morning?”

I grinned.  I couldn’t help it.  I was late already, might as well make the most of it.


It’s a Process

Being a new author, I had no idea what to expect from the whole getting published process.

There was an August first deadline for the Advent Calendar Anthology.  When I submitted my story for consideration, it was April.  I had four months to worry and wonder, to be anxious and nervous.  It definitely took it’s toll.  I was still writing, still creating during that time, but there was a part of my mind that was always thinking about Worth It and wondering if it would be accepted or not.  The deadline came and went and I knew contracts would be offered by August 20th.  It was the weekend before, on the 17th at about 11 o’clock at night when I got the email.  I had literally just shut down my computer and was settling into bed.  I reached over to shut off the light and there it was; the ding from my phone indicating that I had received and email.  Now, at this point, I didn’t expect it at all.  So when I clicked the icon and the email popped up, I screamed. The excitement just bubbled up and spilled over.  My first submission, and it was accepted.

After that, it was more waiting.  Waiting until I finally got the contract.  Signing it and returning it was one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve had to date.  Because it was physical proof that my dream of being a published author was coming true.  Waiting again until I got the first round of edits.  I was actually a bit scared to open that, because I was nervous about exactly what kind of edits my story would receive.  (It turned out I wasn’t as good at commas and conjunctions as i thought I was)  But it was a fairly painless process, mostly because it’s a short story and there wasn’t much to change content wise.  Waiting again for the second round of edits.  In the middle of that there were forms to fill out regarding the blurb for my story, and the author bio, All of it overwhelming in it’s own right.

On top of that, I had written a second story and submitted it for consideration.  So I was waiting to hear about that as well.

This is what I’ve learned: it’s a process.  Every little thing has a purpose.  I’ve tried to learn from each stage.  So that next time i’ll know what to expect.  or at least, have a better idea of what is going to happen.

But the other thing I learned is this: waiting for the answer , getting that acceptance email, it’s not any less nerve wracking nor any less exciting the second time around.  And I sure as hell hope that it never loses it’s power.    I never want to become complacent, to be less effected by the whole process.  I always want to be a bundle of nerves when I’m waiting to hear…and I always want to feel that thrill of excitement if my story gets accepted.


The Muse

Some authors, I hear, get a story idea and painstakingly plot out the whole story arc so they know exactly what to write.  Others say their method is to just start writing and see where the characters take them.  Me?  I lean more towards the latter group, though I do a bit of the first.  But the thing that really dictates what I write is my muse.

I give her way too much leeway.  I work when she’s in the mood to cooperate.  When I’ve got writers block, I make myself write anyway, but that doesn’t mean I get anything usable.  And my muse is a fickle bitch.  I can get a story idea and think it’s great and start writing…and then part of the way through, my muse will cut me off at the knees and while I’m lying there on the floor bleeding, she says, “Too bad, so sad baby girl.  I have this whole other thing in mind that we’re going to try.”  And I listen to her!  I let her move me to something else instead of fighting for whatever I’m working on at the moment.  She’s got too much power.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d be lost without my muse.  I’d be in a world of trouble in fact.  I really would be.  But lately, she’s been particularly idea jumpy.  She’s in my head with an idea and characters and the whole works and the minute I actually start putting words on the page, she jumps to something else.  In the last three weeks, there have been three different plots.  I haven’t written anything substantial in a while now.  And I’m feeling the loss.  So, I need to take her in hand and ask her, politely of course, to help me stick with one thing until we see it through to it’s conclusion. I think she’s giddy at having something published and something else out there waiting for consideration.  (That’s probably actually me)

Dear Muse, we need to write.  Can we try to settle on one thing, please?  It would make us both very happy if we could write a complete tale.  Sincerely, yours, Kris.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

     His job had transferred him out of state and I had been heartbroken.  After eight months of building a solid relationship, he was moving to the other side of the country.  How could fate be so cruel?  But he had sworn to me that he didn’t want to give me up, that what we had was worth it, worth everything, and we would make long distance work where so many couples before us had failed.
     At first, it had been wonderful.  Every evening, we’d skype and it was almost as good as being together.  I couldn’t touch him, smell him, taste him, but it was almost and it was what he had.  We’d carry our laptops with us as we went about cooking dinner, watching TV, life in general, talking about our days and our lives.
     But then, after six months of that, he’d started to pull away.  He’d make excuses; say he had to work late or that he’d had to meet a client for dinner.  I’d tried to talk to him about it, suggest that we should maybe take a break, but he was adamant that was not what he wanted.  It was a rough patch, we would get through it.  But lately, our skype dates were coming fewer and farther between.  And as I sat there in the corner, staring at the laptop and waiting for him to call, my heart was breaking.  Because this was the fifth time he’d simply not called when he said he would.  Afterwards he sent emails and texts, swearing it was unforeseen and he was so, so sorry.  And I kept falling for it.
     “So what’s his excuse this time?” my roommate’s voice startled me.  I jumped but didn’t look at him.  “Or did he just blow you off again?”
     I didn’t respond.  There was nothing I could say.  Quickly, Julian was across the room, kneeling before my chair.  I couldn’t look at him.  He was beautiful and kind and loving, but he was my best friend.  And I was committed to someone else.
     Julian’s warm hands gripped my calves.  “Forget him, Henry.  He’s not worth it.  Never was.”
     I couldn’t respond.  Didn’t know how.  Julian’s sentiment echoed my own, mostly.  There had been a time when…the chime from the laptop interrupted my thoughts.  I was receiving a call.  Three hours late, but there he was.
     Before I could react, Julian reached over and snapped the laptop shut.  He shoved it off the bed and it landed with a thump on the plush carpet.  I opened my mouth to protest, to say something, anything.  But Julian was quicker, rising up on his knees, and pressing his soft lips to mine. I couldn’t believe it, didn’t even know how to react, but Julian was not dissuaded.  He kissed me gently, coaxingly, until I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him back with equal fervor.
     He pulled back, both of us panting for air, and gave me a soft smile.  His big hands framed my face and forced me to look at him.  “You’re mine, baby.  Always have been.  So you’re done with that jerk.  And you are never going to hurt again.”

Where Reality and Fiction Meet

Let me preface this by saying that this is my own personal opinion.  Feel free to disagree…

I know that fiction, by it’s very definition, means the story that I’m reading has been made up.  But there has to be some reality in it, something for me to identify with, in order for me to relate with it.  I think most people feel this way.  Even if it’s a fantasy or science fiction novel, where the world can be created to the author’s liking, there still has to be a hint of reality, something recognizable.  If the novel I’m reading falls into that category, then I’ll definitely give it leeway.  They can bend the rules of reality as much as they like…as long as there is something that rings true.

But if I’m reading a contemporary novel, romance or not, then it needs to be based in fact.  Yes, the characters and situations are completely fictional.  But I need there to be recognizable rules.  Things have to make sense.  And this is where research comes in handy.  You can’t move the location of a city or town just because it suits your needs.  If you need a town to be in that particular spot, make one up.  I’m fine if you move a street or a landmark, but don’t just change the real world to suit your fancy.  Not in a contemporary.  Science, nature, biology–they all work in a certain, established way.  You can’t just change it to make your story line work.  If you do, then it becomes unbelievable, in the bad way, and will make me put the book down.

In this era, with the glorious thing called the internet, anything you need to know can be discovered.  Whether by searching for the information on your preferred search engine or by actually discussing things with a person that lives there or is an expert in a certain field, you can find anything you need to know.  I’ve scrapped several story lines because what I wanted to happen couldn’t actually happen…not unless I was willing to completely change the order of the universe.

This may sound a bit ranty, but the truth is, I’ve read several books lately where things I know to be fact were disregarded or changed completely just to suit the authors needs.  And I could think of at least three different solutions where the author could have used a real life solution that would make perfect sense and be more accurate.  When things like this catch my attention, it pulls me out of the story.

I’m certainly not perfect and I’m sure that I’ve made mistakes in my own writing.  But I try very hard not to write anything that is false; at least where reality is concerned.  If it’s a known fact, I’m not going to change it.  There can be a bit of bending, a little bit of stretching…but go too  far and you’ll lose me as a reader.

Do the research.  It’s not always fun, and sometimes it’s incredibly tedious, but it’ll be worth it in the end.  When you have all the pieces together, it makes for a better story.  It’s something that I strive for each and every time I put words on the page.  I’m certain I don’t always succeed.  I’m sure that there are times when I get it wrong.  But I do my research, I talk to people and ask questions, and I try very hard to make that place where reality and fiction meet as seamless as possible.