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Monday, July 25, 2016

Some Cool Things

Dear Comic Con, thank you for filling my weekend with cool, fun, exciting things to look forward to, when the headlines lately are depressing as all hell. My favorite treatment for anxiety is kickass fiction.

Some cool things I'm looking forward to in no particular order:

Sherlock Season 4 (see above trailer)

Friday, July 22, 2016

#FicPromptFriday: 7/22/16 - Waterlogged

*It rained yesterday – yay! And for the moment, the grass is a little greener; maybe my crispy pastures can get some relief. So blame the weather on the background theme of today’s futuristic continuation. Happy Friday.*

7/22/16 – Waterlogged

It started to rain late in the afternoon. Thick storm clouds stacked up to the west and scudded in, too full to do more than sit and let the wind push them over Knoxville. They carried only rain, though, and nothing dangerous, and water fell in relentless sheets past the windows.

Friday, July 15, 2016

#FicPromptFriday - Girls' Day Out

Today's prompt came from Irene via Twitter. She wanted more Ben, so I hope this works.
Spoilers for my book Whatever Remains, which turns 3 years old in just a few days! Goodness. It's one of my personal faves, so if you haven't checked it out, here's the link. And if you have checked it out, I always appreciate Amazon reviews!

7/15/16 – Girls’ Day Out

The single saddest day of Ben Haley’s life was the day his oldest started calling him “Dad” instead of “Daddy.” Not that he would admit that. Homicide detectives should probably have sadder memories in the bank.

        “Dad,” Clara said, holding up the purple, black, and white-striped leadline she’d picked out. “I want this one.”

        He gave her The Eyebrow.        

        “May I please have it?” she amended.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Tango Aesthetic

Listening to this song and styling Tango.

The thing about Tango is that he's worn two hats that aren't his in his life: Loverboy from The Cuckoo's Nest, and Tango the Lean Dog. He hasn't had a whole lot of time to examine the Kev underneath, and that, well, it's coming to a head now.

He wishes desperately that he wasn't "pretty." He's convinced himself none of this would have happened if he'd been an unattractive kid. And he's self-conscious, still, hence all the piercings, and haircuts, and tats. Trying to cover up the kid who was taken and used for his physical appearance.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Workshop Wednesday - The Challenge

Today's WW advice is: don't do what I'm doing. Don't set out to write some complicated, convoluted book about damaged boys and their damaging relationships. Just don't. Save yourself the headache. Save yourself the hours of debating, deleting, and fingernail-biting. Seriously, don't write yourself a Loverboy. Just. Don't.

Okay, that's not really my advice. My advice is something that I hope, by the end of this, proves true, and not just something I keep telling myself. On the days when my internal monologue is one continuous strain of ugh, I stop and think to myself, This is frustrating because it's difficult. It's a challenge. And challenging work is probably worthwhile work. It's scary because it isn't a safe bet story. There's no guarantee anyone will connect with the characters' struggles. There's no guarantee the unreliable narrators will come across as sympathetic and sad, rather than just pathetic. This book is a minefield of quietly horrifying moments, and I spend a lot of time reading back through those scenes, wondering if they'll be read as intended, if they have the proper punch.

So on the flipside of all the ugh, I try to find some self-awareness and think about the fact that on the other side of this, when it's done, I'll know so much more about myself as a writer. Growth isn't easy and under the radar. Growth is awkward and painful and stressful.

So today's message is this: challenge yourself. Staying stagnant, doing the same thing over and over, using tested formulas again and again is comfortable, peaceful, and safe. It also prevents you from growing as an artist. I chafe beneath the MC tropes that keep getting slapped onto my stories, and with each book going forward, I try to push against them in a different way. From monsters with silver tongues and sweet sides, to heroines with conceal carry permits who don't need saving, I always want to push that envelope and bring something unique to each volume in the saga. This is my most challenging book ever, and it's frustrating, sure...but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it. Don't shy from the challenges just because they'll give you headaches and backaches. The artist in you wants to grow: let it.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Whitney Aesthetic

Currently listening to Sara Bareilles and styling for Whitney.

"No, no I don't want the next best thing."

Whitney is one of those characters with a gift for seeing past people's barriers and looking straight into who they really are on the inside. It would be easy to write her off as naïve - especially given her age - but her brother was killed by his dealers, so...she knows a few things about how dark the world is. That doesn't stop her from feeling things deeply, though. Far from numb, she maybe cares a little too much. And when it comes to Tango, she isn't blinded by his good deeds; she sees that under the biker façade, he is a desperate, scared, deeply damaged little boy in great need of unconditional love. She wants to be his crusader, and her relative innocence is a bright, warm source of comfort for Tango, who feels like he can trust her reactions, since she's never been made to put on a show.

She doesn't really fit into this Dartmoor world. A little too sweet, a little too preppy and genuine, maybe. She likes making breakfast, and she's a midnight painter, and she doesn't like her cubicle job, but likes spending time with her coworkers in the break room.

For some couples, shared experiences are so important. But in this case, Tango needs a lifeline. Whitney isn't thrilling, and not even all that complex, but she's good. And sometimes we need the reminder that there's nothing wrong with just being a good person.

Friday, July 8, 2016

#FicPromptFriday - 7/8/16 – Juliet

More of the future prompt nobody asked for! Largely unedited, so apologies for typos.

7/8/16 – Juliet

When she was a little girl, Lucy knew many things about her father. She knew that he liked to sit quietly and read books on Sunday afternoons; he would pull her up into his lap and she’d doze off in the sunshine, listening to his heart beat through his shirt, and the soft rustle of the pages turning. She knew that he thought Mama’s cooking was the best; his favorite was the lemon chicken, and he said that was the first thing Mama had ever cooked for him when they met. She knew he was a Lean Dog; she liked to trace the shape of the running dog on the back of his cut with her fingers. She knew he was really good at building things with Legos, and that he could make her a dollhouse without a starter kit, and that he always smelled like leather and nighttime when he kissed her good night, and tucked the blankets up under her chin.