Wednesday, August 17, 2022

WEP & Human Song

Humans were exhausting. Loud, obnoxious, destructive. The world would be a much better place without them but Liaka’s powers didn’t extend to genocide, even if the species deserved it. She fluttered over the trash scattered on the edge of her pond. Along their roads and everywhere they visited.


Did the species have a single redeeming quality? She hadn’t encountered one yet. Not that she’d encountered an actual human yet, either. The elders forbade it.


But Laika wanted to see them for herself. Wanted to see if the horrors she’d conjured in her imagination were close to their physical forms. Any being who created such destruction must be terrifying.


A shiver ruffled her body and her wings. She corrected her flight automatically and decided that even if these humans were terrifying, she needed a glance. The elders didn’t do anything to stop them. Once she saw them, maybe she could come up with a plan. A way to make them change.


If she could find proof they had no redeeming qualities, the elders could vanquish them. The shudder that shook her this time was more severe. Causing death was forbidden as it should be. While she wanted the humans gone, she didn’t want to be the force behind their destruction.


Could they change? Could they be redeemed? The elders were always trying to eliminate negative behaviours in the young like her. Maybe if she saw the humans, she could find a way to help them eliminate the bad behaviours.


Laika peeked over her shoulder but didn’t see any elders. Or anyone to tattle on her. The sun was high so she flew from the pond and to the edge of the forbidden territory.


The trees thinned and she spotted a human road through the trees. Her limbs trembled, but she flew on, darting from tree to tree and keeping to the shadows.


A sound reached her. A sound she’d never heard. Not a voice. Not an animal or a bird. Not one creature. A pleasant combination of sounds. Some reached high, others reached low. Fast then slow.


A series of sounds repeated and then repeated at a different level. Other sounds mixed in.


Laika settled on a tree branch and closed her eyes to listen. The sounds were beautiful. Like birdsong but different. Human song?


Did humans make song? How could a species make something so beautiful and be so destructive at the same time?


Laika’s wings fluttered with the song and tears slipped from her eyes from the beauty. The human song continued, building up and slowing down. Up and down like bird song. But different in a way she couldn’t explain.


When the human song ended, it took Laika a few moments to open her eyes. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and realized she wasn’t alone.


Jokila the elder sat on the tree branch beside her. Smiling.


“I’m sorry I broke the rules. I wanted to see the humans, to find out if they had any redeeming qualities, to find out if we could help them alter their behaviour to stop hurting our world.”


Jokila nodded, her own eyes shimmering with tears. “What do you think now?”


The sounds started again. Laika’s voice was hushed when she spoke. “Is that human song?”


Jokila nodded. “It is. They have many different human songs. This one is my favourite. They call it Moonlight Sonata.”


Moonlight Sonata. Even the name was beautiful. She didn’t know the word sonata but she would never forget it.


Laika nodded at Jokila. “Human song is beautiful. They are not all evil.”


Jokila nodded. “No, they’re not.”


“Can we help them? Do we have a plan?”


“Not yet. But with your help, maybe we will. It is getting late, we must return soon.”


Laika nodded. “After the Moonlight Sonata is finished?”


Jokila smiled and they listened to the human song while Laika worked on her plan.


***

Tagline: Does the species have any redeeming qualities?


***




I hope you'll click on the link to check out the other contributions to our challenge. Please join in - we love to have new people!


The above is my odd-ball contribution to the August WEP Challenge Moonlight Sonata.


Life has been a little wacky-busy here and this was not my original thought for the sonata, but it's what flew out of my fingers 😊


I do believe the ability to create music is one of species' most redeeming qualities. Imagination is vital to being human and I love the various ways that imagination can showcase itself.


How about you? Any other music fans out there? Any one else hoping we humans can start fixing the messes we make?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

IWSG & Audience Awareness

 The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

August 3 question - When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I consider myself a baby author - I'm working on my 2nd series and I'm trying to incorporate more "audience awareness" into my planning.

I've read Zoe York's Romance Your Brand and loved it. In it, she talks about "planning" your series in advance to appeal to readers. This is (for me anyway) a broad strokes plan. I think of the setting, the MCs, and the tropes I want to include. Maybe a tagline or mini-blurb.

I'm NOT a plotter/outliner, but I do like thinking about several linked books at once. This is a great strategy for me because it just gives my bouncy brain more of a focus.

I did think of a lot of the series at once with Bloo Moose but I was very sketchy on details like tropes and how to connect each book/MC as I went along. My bouncy brain still makes tweaks/changes but the overall plan for Small Town Heroes is more focused - I hope!

I'd suggest Zoe's book to anyone who likes to write series in genre fiction (not just romance).

How about you? Are you including more or less audience awareness as you're progressing in your writing career/development? If you're a reader, do you prefer series or stand-alones? I love sinking into a series myself!


In order to try to fix the commenting issue, I've changed the comment style to pop up. It looks a mess with comments out of order, but I'm hoping it helps!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

IWSG & Bloo Moose

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

July 6 question - If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

So many options! 

If I weren't an author, I might be tempted to say PERN from Anne McCaffrey's series - such a fabulous world! Although I would choose my position (Dragonrider) and time in the world with great care.

Or maybe the Shire or Gondor after Frodo's journey. PEI with Anne of Green Gables. The Enterprise, Firefly...

Because I am an author, I'd love to choose one of the worlds I've created!

Bloo Moose is a quirky little town in Vermont (which is in a climate very similar to my own). I love the people of the world and the ways they take care of each other. It's an upbeat, fun place, with lots of things to do.


Bloo Moose relies on tourists coming to town (fishing, camping, winter sports, leaf-peeping...). I'd love to go to Fortini's for Antonia's lasagna, visit Noah's alpacas, take the tour at Bloo Moose Maple Syrup, have a tea at The Lucky, rent a kayak from LaChance Lodge, and play a tennis set at Kami's Kamp. I'd stay in Darby's B&B and pick up a few Bloo Moose themed t-shirts at Moose Prints. I might even get a chance to brainstorm writing with Max. The best time to visit would be a week before Christmas to join in the fun of Merry MooseMas Days!

My kind of vacation - my kind of life!

How about you? Would you go for the adventures or AFTER the adventures (like me!)? Would you like a medieval, contemporary, or future setting for your world? Which of your own worlds would you choose?

On another note, Reaching For Normal, Bloo Moose #1 is one of the choices for the IWSG Book Club this month! If you like romance and romantic suspense, you might enjoy this one - it's free at all retailers. 

I'm currently reading Ronel's book and it's a fun read too!



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

WEP & Schrodinger's Letter

Like Schrodinger’s cat, the envelope rested on Ty’s kitchen island. Propped against the pepper mill.

It had been the first thing he’d spotted after the worst shift in his time as store manager.


Five shoplifters today. One had stormed out with an entire cart of groceries. She’d shoved it out the doors like she was a race car circuit. But it had been a hard right turn into the parking lot and she’d dumped the entire cart in the roadway. Then she’d run off calling him names he’d never heard before.


Two more tried to walk away with chocolate bars. Grown adults risking a charge over a hunk of chocolate.


One had played the, “Oh, I forgot I didn’t pay. I didn’t realize I almost broke the turnstile by going out the in,” routine. But he’d paid, so they hadn’t charged him.


The fifth had been a woman who shoved a frozen turkey under her sweater and into the top of her pants, pretending to be pregnant.


A frozen turkey.


And she hadn’t been smart enough to not have the tag sticking out the front of her sweater.


Then the debit machines had shut down bringing out tears and the angry idiots of the world.


A pallet of soda had been tipped over. And, no, the store wasn't going to pay the dry cleaning bill for the dingbat who'd tried bodysurfing through the orange goo.


All in all, a hell of a shift.


And now a letter bearing his name in Sadie’s handwriting on his island.


He couldn’t move past it. Couldn’t go forward or back. He was stuck in limbo exactly like Schrodinger’s cat.


If he didn’t open the letter, it could be both good and bad news at the same time. Once he opened it, he’d know.


Who wrote letters anymore?


Sadie had never written him a letter before.


Things were going well. Really well. He’d been thinking about shopping for a ring.


What was in the letter?


He finally unglued his feet and picked up the envelope. Not a business envelope, not a Christmas-card-sized one either. Smaller.


Stomach churning, Ty turned the white envelope over but there were no clues on the other side.


Closing his eyes, he blew out a deep breath and imagined a box. He opened the flaps of the imaginary box and a healthy cat popped out to grin at him.


His big hands fumbled with the flap of the envelope, but he didn’t want to tear the paper. Once it was open, he peeked inside to see a folded piece of paper.


No writing on the outside. He was still in the box.


Ty slid out the paper and blew out another breath.


He unfolded the paper.


A cartoon filled it. On the left, Sadie had drawn Ty conked out on a recliner with ZZZZZ printed above his head.


On the right, she’d drawn herself carrying a pizza box and a six-pack.


Heard about the shift. Take a snooze. I’ll see you in an hour. Love Sadie.


Love Sadie.


Schrodinger’s cat was alive and well.


Carrying the letter, Ty headed to the recliner and pulled out his phone. The weariness of the shift was gone. Time to find the perfect ring.

***

Tagline: A letter propped on a pepper mill and an empty house. Good or bad?


The above is part of the WEP Challenge for June: Please Read The Letter.

This is another song I didn't know before the challenge. I listened to it a few times, but I just wasn't in the mood for a heartbreak story, so I focused on the title itself rather than the song.

Please check the links below to find more flash prompted by the song or the title!



Wednesday, June 1, 2022

IWSG & Crisis Scenes

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!    

June 1 question - When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

I'm one of those people who knows the ending before I start. I write romance and I know my characters are going to work their butts off to get to that happy ever after. I know the emotions I want and how the characters have to fix themselves to get there.

My biggest struggles come when I have to write the big dark crisis moments. *sigh*

It can take me a few days to work up to writing scenes where my characters are scared and being hurt. When I was little, my parents banned my from watching Little House On The Prairie because it was often too traumatic for me.

Yup.

So, I'm basically a big ball of emotions tied together with enough grit to not fall apart in public.

To get through those difficult scenes, I let my subconscious play around with different variations until I'm ready. Then I write the scenes as quickly as I can. Once I've seen them save themselves and each other, I'm good and I can go back to revise and edit.

If I'm stuck (which doesn't happen often), I delete the last chapter and start again. I'm usually stuck because I haven't followed my gut and haven't listened to my characters.

How about you? Any other balls of emotion out there? Anyone else still devastated by the scene when Mary thought she was getting her sight back, but had been tricked by the clicks...? Anyone else need to let their characters take the lead?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Built Of Secrets

Release Day!

Built Of Secrets is the first book in my new Small Town Heroes series. I'm so excited about this series.


She’s got a secret… 

Okay, she’s got several… 

But only one could get her killed. 

Humiliated after being duped by her ex, Tansy chooses flight over fight. An inherited fishing lodge she can pull off the grid while working on her tech is the perfect hideout. Burned-out FBI agent, Sam is worried about his best friend’s little sister. After a devastating case, he heads to Vermont to check on her. And if he happens to get her to fall in love with him? Even better. When the ex refuses to stay in the past, Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her safe. Will it be enough?


Early readers are enjoying the book - I hope you will too!

Loved it. It was great from start to finish. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait for the next one!!!! ~ gcgirl7

This is the first book in this series, and I cannot wait to read more from it and this author. ~ Niki T

The author has given us a heart pounding story that pulls us into the lives of Tansy and Sam and does not let go. ~ CJ

I loved them as a couple and was so happy that they found each other. I also enjoyed the strong family and friendship bonds and it was a delight meeting this tight knit group ~ Floral J

Build of Secrets is the first book in a new series, and was a fast moving romantic suspense. I could not put it down, Jemi Fraser can suck you in with her writing. ~ JOLeary

Grab your copy today!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

IWSG & The Best of Times

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!    

May 4 question - It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

So many good times!!

  • drafting - love the first draft!
  • "planning" out a new series and getting to create a whole new world
  • getting to know characters and their stories
  • connecting the new books to older characters and stories
  • writing those scenes that make me smile all the way through
  • epilogues - where there's no stress and all the warm fuzzies I want
  • 5 star reviews 😊
  • happy repeat readers & reviewers
  • emails from readers who love the books

And a few bad times to keep it real

  • writing those crisis scenes - it sometimes takes me days to work up to it. I don't like when things are scary and stressful for my characters
  • feeling like I should be doing more in the marketing department (to be clear, this is likely never going to happen)
  • um...I think that's it???

Overall, the scale tips hard toward the good side. Otherwise, I would be doing something else!

I love writing and creating. I love interacting with other writers. I love learning more about the craft. I even enjoy most of the business side of things (I do love my spreadsheets and learning new things!). I think my bouncy brain is an asset for this indie author business.

How about you? What do you love about writing?

May the Fourth be with you today and always!

Speaking of the best of times...

The release day for Built Of Secrets is sneaking up. May 16th!

This is the 1st book in a new series - Small Town Heroes. The books are small-town romantic suspense with all the feels!



She’s got a secret… Okay, she’s got several… But only one could get her killed. 

Humiliated after being duped by her ex, Tansy chooses flight over fight. An inherited fishing lodge she can pull off the grid while working on her tech is the perfect hideout. 

Burned-out FBI agent, Sam is worried about his best friend’s little sister. After a devastating case, he heads to Vermont to check on her. And if he happens to get her to fall in love with him? Even better. 

When the ex refuses to stay in the past, Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her safe. Will it be enough?

Preorder your copy today!