Sexism in Survival Situations

When snow falls in the Southern U.S., everything closes. It’s something that the northern part of the country complains about, but then they close when temperatures dip over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So I guess it’s not terribly different.

My work closed today when we got about 2-3″ of snow outside. A section of the interstate was also shut down earlier this morning. You can imagine how glad I was to avoid that! So instead I curled up with kitties by the fireplace and wrote for a while. It had been a few days since I found the time to write anyway. Once again this story didn’t disappoint.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Current Word Count: 38,933

Progress:
What do you do when your safe house isn’t really that safe? Find ways to escape, even if at first it seems dangerous as hell.

Next Up:
Escape plans. Ludicrous? Maybe, but possibly better than the alternative.

Commentary:
One of the scenes I absolutely loved writing in this was having my protagonist’s girlfriend explain in detail what the ramifications were of staying put. Let me just say that it isn’t pretty, and I don’t think I’ve seen that kind of discussion ever take place in a novel like this.

Bisa is a woman who speaks her mind, even when it makes other people uncomfortable. Unlike some folks, she’s very comfortable in her skin and she has no qualms about telling shit like it is. I do love her, and I think it’s important to have characters like her shown in solid, happy relationships too. Normally when topics like this are brought up, it’s as a joke, like when Dr. Hammond turns to Dr. Sattler in Jurassic Park and says he ought to be the one to go risk his life cause he’s a male and she’s female. Which of course she replies with “We can discuss ‘sexism in survival situations’ when I get back.” She’s affirming that she should be seen as more than her reproductive capabilities. When you drop two women who are in a loving relationship into a similar situation, especially with someone like Bisa, you can be certain she’ll tell you exactly what’s wrong with your perspective.

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Story Unlocked: Against Our Better Judgment

I’m pleased to announce that my Instagram followers have just unlocked a new story!

Against Our Better Judgment

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A vampire and a werewolf meet in a New Orleans graveyard to settle an old score. Then things go horribly wrong. When their scuffle is interrupted, the two are forced to put aside their differences and try working together for once. The results are a mixed bag of action, deception, and a sprinkle of humor.

Read the new Story Unlock: Against Our Better Judgment

Story Unlocks

Congrats to my Instagram followers for unlocking the first story in my Story Unlocked series! Check out the link in my Profile page to read it. 💖

What happens to stories that are lost or forgotten? Sometimes they can be picked up in a reprint anthology, but most writers will tell you that unless you are a huge name, that is not common. For those quirky stories that don’t fit cleanly into those anthologies, they get lost to time. Out of print means that the book isn’t even printed on demand any longer, and the only sellers are the ones who have copies of their own to sell. So the price goes up, and the chance to read those stories goes down.

I don’t like that. I want my work to be accessible to as many as possible. Even my older stories which may not be as refined, but are just as fun. What about if I mixed it with new stories, ones that are homeless and don’t quite fit what editors are looking for? That’s when my Story Unlocked series was born. The more milestones I hit in Facebook and Instagram (my main hunting grounds), the more stories I’ll post. What are those milestones? That part is a secret. You’ll know once they get hit. 😉

Part game, part unearthing, part sparkly and new, I hope this series is as fun for my readers as it is to put together. Eventually I’ll probably collect them into an anthology, but who wants to wait for that?

In Real Life, You Get No Warnings

I hadn’t intended to do the #5amwritersclub this morning on Twitter. It’s my day to sleep in a little, and I planned to make use of it. Then I ended up waking up around 6:00 and crawled out of bed at 6:30, so it sort of happened anyway. I can’t complain, this book is moving along nicely so far, and I don’t want to interrupt its flow.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Current Word Count: 37,696

Progress:
An action scene inspired by one of my favorite horror stories. I won’t say what though. 😉

Next Up:
Safety is one thing, but being captured is another.

Commentary:
It’s interesting how the feeling of a building or of a room or just about anything can be changed with just context. A building isolated out in the snow can be seen as a wonderful safety from the cold of the night. If it’s a romance flick, you know that cozy building is probably going to be how our two love birds will meet. But when you realize you’re watching a horror flick, you expect that house to be the hunting ground for some killer. Everything about it changes. Suddenly the shadows are darker, the candles look a little too cozy, and that fireplace is too big, something bad is going to happen with it. The relief you felt dissipates into the need to escape.

Horror plays on these feelings often, luring you into a feeling of relief for the characters, and then turning those feelings upside-down. Of course usually you know when you’re going to watch a horror film, so you know that the cozy house must have something wrong with it. You’re waiting to see what is wrong with the serene premise. In real life, you don’t get that luxury. You get no warning of what to expect. That cozy house in the snowy woods could be a Romance or a Horror, you just don’t know. Even though I’ve labeled this book as a YA Horror novel, I try to go against expectations at times. I try to capture that feeling of the unknown, of whether to trust things or not, because let’s face it – that’s what’s truly scary.

Nothing Can Fix This

Sometimes people let you down. Sometimes they disappoint you in the worst way possible. This is kind of part of life, but at the same time it’s something that can have enormous consequences. Dahlia is having to come to terms with what someone did, and she’s not handling it very well. She wrongly assumes that everyone can stand up to her standards. She also assumes everyone prepares as well as she does, and that everyone understands the consequences too. They don’t.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Current Word Count: 36,607

Progress:
A nasty fight, many tears are shed, and then a very dangerous distraction.

Next Up:
Perhaps the place isn’t as safe as they thought.

Commentary:
Some mistakes you can’t make up or undo. Some mistakes take more than just an apology to make right. Sometimes somebody screws up so bad that everybody has to deal with the fallout, and it’s never a pretty sight. It’s downright terrifying. That’s pretty much where Dahlia is now, dealing with the fallout. Sure, you can be angry and scream and yell, but that doesn’t fix it. That doesn’t solve it. You’ve got to sit down and figure out a plan, even if you want to strangle the person you have to work with. When it gets bad enough, even enemies have to become friends to survive.

Man, it’s tough getting up at 5AM every morning to knock out some writing, but it’s so rewarding! I’m happy to see the progress this book is making, and I’m regularly hitting the 1k-1.5k marks each day. Keep going, little book, don’t let me down! ❤

You Simply Cannot Live on Adrenaline Alone

Poor Dahlia just came off a heck of a long adrenaline run. It’s strange how in action movies, you’ll see a character keep an adrenaline high for almost the entire film. It’s quite enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but it just isn’t very realistic. You have to come down at some point. Your body just can’t exist in that state for a prolonged period of time (at least it isn’t healthy to do it). So what is it that pulls Dahlia back to reality? That pulls her out of that kick-all-the-ass mode? Well, love of course.

I try to emphasize the fact that people who are traumatized need love and affection to be able to survive it. And let me tell you, there’s a hell of a lot of things to be traumatized about in this book. I spent a while this morning describing a gruesome murder scene. (You know, normal writer things.) I also think showing the see-sawing of emotions that Dahlia is going through lets the reader experience just how world-shattering this all is. If I can make them experience it the way she does, they’ll understand why she’s a little untrusting, a little stand-offish, a little damaged.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Current Word Count: 35,105

Progress:
Survival takes a lot out of a person, and now it’s time to come down. At least for a little while of course. This is not really a time to fully relax.

Next Up:
Safety is great, while it lasts. These folks need to make plans and fast. More importantly they need to figure out what the move is for all of this.

Commentary:
Outrage and blame is going to explode here coming up. Dahlia is going to have to come to terms with the fact that mistakes can be made and be forgiven, no matter how grudgingly. She struggles with that though. She holds herself up to high standards and expects everyone else to do the same, but that’s simply unrealistic as she’ll find out.

I’ve about reached the halfway point of this book which is lining up very well with the wordcount so far. I’m anxious because there’s a lot of gaps to fill in as I go, but I’m super happy with how this is coming along. Oh and the #5amwritersclub gives me so much life and motivation. It’s rough to keep up with, but so worth it to get the wordcount flowing regularly for this book!