Sunday, July 31, 2011

And the award goes to...

Thank you so much to Aimee Renee  for this wonderful award! I'm so honored, and excited to spread around the blog love :)

The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

So, as I pass along this award, here are my top 5 picks:

The Write Time - Dean has an amazing blog on writing from a time management angle. 
Cindy Thomas - A fellow aspiring YA author who has an awesome blog!
My Personal Fairytale - Stephanie has also put together an lovely, amazing blog
Crossing the Helix- Gorgeous blog put together by fellow YA writer RC Lewis
Angelic Muse - for an awesome, fun blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best July Read!

This Week's Topic:
What was the best book you read in July?

I have to say, most of my reading lately was done in May and June.  But this month, I did listen to the audiobook for the second--or maybe third--time of Beth Revis' Across the Universe. It's an amazing story of a girl who chooses to be cryogenically frozen along with her parents so that she can go with them on a mission to inhabit another earthlike world. When she's awakened fifty years early, she finds herself trapped on a ship where things aren't as they seem--and someone is trying to kill the other frozens.

Check out the gorgeous cover:

Can't wait to see what everyone else chose for their best July read!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


(This is a short story originally written for a time travel contest, edited to add a little bit more today for Michelle's Greenwoman blog and her First Sunday Short Fiction.  It's set in the world of The MirrorMasters, with a scene not shown in the novel. Enjoy!)

I’m running through the woods as fast as my legs can carry me. My heart pounds frantically in my chest, and my lungs are already screaming for air. Undergrowth tears at my dress and wrecks my boots. A branch tugs the bun from my hair, making it spill down my back in long golden waves. The hair framing my face is shorter, damp and sweaty with the heat, and it clings to my skin. Tears stream down my face, blurring my vision. I choke back a sob. I have to be quiet, or they’ll find me. They’ve already killed my sister. If they find me, they’ll kill me, too.

Along with the sound of crunching twigs and leaves beneath my feet, I hear footsteps behind me.  I spare a quick glance backward and catch sight of the boy my age--sixteen, or perhaps seventeen--who couldn’t stop his father from killing Lisa. He’s found me!

“Stay back!” I shout. But he doesn’t.

“Wait! We never meant...”

I don’t care what they meant. Lisa is dead, and nothing can bring her back. Desperately, I search the overgrowth along the path for a way through, a place to hide, but there’s nothing.  Finally I can’t run anymore. A wave of dizziness overwhelms me, and I know that I will faint. I cling to a tree for support, and only then do I see that I am at the edge of a cliff. I catch a glimpse of the sunlight sparkling on the ocean below. I will fall into that water and join my sister. At least I will be with her again, I think before the darkness takes me.

“Janice, wake up!”

My eyes flutter open, and I’m looking into the boy’s ice blue eyes. He saved me? He’s set me down on a bed in a building I recognize. It used to be the parsonage for my church. Any grogginess I felt upon awakening doesn’t last long because my fury chases it away, leaving my mind clear. I spring to my feet, glaring at them both.

The father watches me closely, on alert to keep me from escaping again. “We need your help.”

“Help? After everything you’ve done?”

“For that, I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am. When your sister struggled with me, the weapon discharged and struck her.”

The boy crosses his arms and scowls. “I told you we shouldn’t have brought it, Dad! Leah warned us what would happen.” As he looks at me, his expression softens. Yet lines of worry still remain around his eyes. "You look so much like her."

“Brian, we had no choice. We couldn’t take the risk that something would prevent her from coming with us.” The man shifts his gaze to me, piercing me with an intensity that takes my breath away. Whatever they’ve done, they both appear aggrieved, as though they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Perhaps they do.

I narrow my gaze at them, crossing my arms. “Coming with you where?”

“To the future,” Brian answers, “and to another world.”

“That’s not possible.” I run toward the door, away from this madness. Unfortunately, the father is quicker than I am and blocks my escape.

Brian grabs me by the shoulders and fixes me with a piercing gaze. “We need you! A descendant of yours unleashed disasters that will tear my planet apart. Her sister Leah is the only one who can activate the device that can stop it. But if it doesn’t work, we need to evacuate everyone offworld. We need every available MirrorMaster, and we don’t have enough in my time. You are a MirrorMaster, with the ability to use mirrors to travel to other places and times. You can save lives by helping the evacuation effort.”

A thrill of hope rises within me. "You mean, I could save Lisa right now, before we go?"

Brian's expression crumples. He shakes his head slowly. "I'm so sorry, but whatever happens can't be changed. Even if you go back, you can't save someone who has already died, no matter what you try to change things."

Stunned and devastated, I don’t resist when Brian leads me to a cheval mirror in the corner of the room and places a palm to the glass. I gasp when the image ripples and shows a desert city that looks like it had been devastated by a tornado, a frozen land that once held palm trees, and finally a crystal castle high above a shimmering golden sea. I see a blond girl in a glass coffin in a mirrored room, then what appears to be a conference room of sorts. On the wall, there’s a portrait of a girl who looks like me standing with a handsome blond king.

“How far in the future are we going?” I ask, knowing now that I can’t refuse this.

“Over a hundred years. Now, focus on that room and make the glass disappear.”

I look into his eyes and see he’s telling the truth about everything. “All right.” When I try it, I’m shocked to find that it actually works. He guides me through the mirror. I have no idea what awaits me on this world, in this time, but it will be an adventure. I only wish that of all the lives I will save, Lisa’s could be one of them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writing & Publishing Mistakes. What's Yours?

This Week's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday question:

What's the biggest writing / querying / publishing mistake you've made?

Awesome question!  I'm not at the point of querying yet, though I have been working on the query to get a head start. My goal is to get everything for The MirrorMasters ready for submission by next February or March.  I've had some success so far in publishing, with a short story published online at Flash Paranormal Fiction, one being considered for an anthology, and another for a different anthology in the works. So I have no funny stories to tell yet. I'll share them when I do!

The writing? I've made lots of mistakes there. I am guilty of the dreaded infodump first chapter. I had a two-paragraph introduction to set the scene and was told that some of it used passive voice. That introduction is gone now, but it would be nice to edit and somehow find a way to work it back in. I had too many dialogue tags. There are pesky adverbs to prune from the ms, as you can tell by even a quick scan of my MirrorMasters excerpt.  In an earlier draft of that first chapter, I was once guilty of way too many exclamation points.  For all I know, there could be a thousand other mistakes littered throughout the manuscript. Once that first draft is done, I'll revise until the prose shines and is free of major--and hopefully minor--mistakes.

Thank goodness for the opportunity to find a critique partner when the time is right!

At least with practice, you learn and get better, right? I've hopefully come a long, long way since I started this journey.

I can't wait to read everyone else's writing, publishing, and querying stories!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words....

...or a whole novel. Today's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday writing prompt asks:

Share some images that inspire your WIP(s).

These images from Avatar gave a bit of inspiration to The MirrorMasters. I'd always envisioned Leah's homeworld as being a moon of a large ringed gas giant planet, and I love the first image as a visual of how it might look to have a large planet loom so prominently in the night sky. The second one is an image of the bioluminescent jungle that inspired my imagination in creating the jungle area of her homeworld, Jantyr.

Can't wait to see the images everyone chose!