A Day to Celebrate

Sorry folks I know it’s been a while. I haven’t been lollygagging around or chilling on the beach. Sadly, no. I’ve been juggling hot irons anxious to remove a couple of them from the fire. My goal is to reduce the number of irons, simplify and streamline to become an efficient writing machine!

As most of you know, November is NANOWRIMO Month. It’s a guilty pleasure that I along with numerous others giddily or insanely commit  to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  * insert cackles of laughter here* We’re all mad here!

I am behind.  My word count is lagging. The fear monster is threatening  to overtake my rational mind, but I’m determined to keep the hound at bay.

Why is my word count lagging?

  1. My contract with Eclectic Bard Books ends today! WOOHOO!  Red Wine & Roses is no longer available through Amazon or Walmart. However, I still have an even dozen print copies left over from Penned Con. that I will ship to you! Don’t you deserve a romantic interlude for the holidays? For $8.00 US, plus shipping (2.00 US, outside US varies) These are limited! Get yours now!  What about that special woman in your life that loves romance? Get one for her!  Contact me on Facebook through pm or email me: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com 
  2. I have been working on revisions on this so that I can republish it! You’re going to like the improvements!  I was pushing real hard to get this ready to go up today, but then reason number three grabbed me by the throat and body slammed me.
  3. Sickness –  yes it’s that time of year. The creeping crud, the phlegmy phantasmagorical nasty, – I’ve had a bout of pneumonia and laryngitis that has literally kicked my arse.
  4. My deadline on the last edit job was this week also,  paid jobs get first priority!

While the decision to set aside my NANO novel was a difficult one,  It had to be done. I think in the long run it will pan out but that means that for the next two weeks I have to be an insane writing machine to the tune of about 5000 words per day in order to hit my mark.

Also, be looking for announcements in the next few days for the 2nd edition release, with a brand spanking new cover and extended scenes for Red Wine & Roses. I’m still working on the revisions. One of the complaints from a reviewer was that it seemed rushed. Well, yes. In the initial edits,  several scenes were cut that lead up to  a crucial scene and a couple afterwards.  I am rewriting those now. I think it flows a lot smoother and tells a complete story instead of having small vignettes with pieces missing.  But that’s just me.

Today I will wrap up the revisions  and be ready to share my brand new cover-  I’m stoked! It’s gorgeous!

Be looking for the cover reveal soon, and a couple of guests coming up! After I get this off of my desk, I have a new master plan to share! Be patient young padawans, all good things will come in time. Like a release schedule! How cool is that?

Have a great Friday! Get out there and spread some happiness to your fellow man, woman or child! Share some love! Buy someone a coffee  or open a door.

My Holiday  giving plan starts now –  at least one act of kindness every day!

Write on my friends, write on!




NANO Prep or Panic?

November is National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to write a 50,000 word book in 30 days.

30 days and nights of literary abandon. 

The date is rapidly approaching. Are you preparing or are you panicking?

I have been planning. A story idea that I have been mulling over in my mind for some time now is the project that I’m going to tackle.  I’ve been itching to get started on this one.  While the muse is jumping up and down over in the corner to get my attention with this story,  I have been trying  to discipline myself to focus on ONE thing while working out some things towards this story.

Does anyone fully grasp the  difficulty of that? ME? focus on just one thing? I’m like the queen of ADHD, iron in the fire juggling, and new shinies!

The list of projects keeps growing. There are times that I feel like throwing my hands up and conceding defeat but  I keep going. I’ve been really trying to focus my efforts on one project at a time. Of course,  the fates have decided that  practical jokes in my life are to be the thing right now. Irony and Chaos have teamed up to make my plans seem unimportant.

Each of us has to manage our time  and prioritize what we spend our 24 hours on. Then fate comes along and decides – nope!   It’s a good thing that I have been working from home and that I’m not on the clock for anyone else because my schedule is currently thrown out of the window. Yes, the one that I toiled over for three day to make sure I fit in my workout time,  meals that I often are prone to skip and then overeat later, writing time, editing time, our home business,  all disrupted because  a good portion of my time is now spent as a taxi driver.  NO,  not for checkered cab company but for my children.

We are currently down to one car between three adults. Instead of  being stuck her without a car,  I have opted to drive my kids to their school/jobs so that I can have a car when I need it.  Call it the privilege of ownership. OF course,  doing that means that a good chunk of my day is then spent driving. *SIGH*

Back to NANO prep. In order to maximize my time that is available for writing,  I am preparing.  I make outlines, but this time I am trying a new method that learned. I’ve spent the last week and a half in developing my characters and laying out the plot and subplots. I have never spent this much time on my characters before, so I really hope that it pays off.

When the stroke of midnight hits,  I will be sound asleep. I hope. Anyway, when I can write I will.  One of the things I really like about NANO  is the challenge of hitting the daily word count goal. There are days when that is easy peasy,  then there are days when 100 words seems  unattainable. It’s an exciting, stressful, demanding, insane time –  but I love it!

Of course I want to win. I don’t enter  things like this planning to fail.  That competitive part of me  is cued and  ready to go.  The practical part of me is saying what are you thinking? Yeah, it’s crazy in there. I accept it and move on. What else am I going to do? Live, laugh, have some wine!

NANO  is an opportunity to push yourself. NANO is a time to embrace the creative ideas that flood my brain. The goal is to WRITE! No editing, no revising,  no research – just WRITE! It’s kind of freeing but it’s kind of scary as well.

I have a plan. I have broken my scenes/chapters into 30 day segments. This is  a modified version of Lazette’s when she shared on my blog before. When you see a method that someone shares that is different from your own, examine it, scrutinize it,  dissect it. Take the parts that work for you and disregard the rest. Eventually you come up with a  method that is uniquely yours that fits you.  I think I’ve found that method for myself and I’m excited to  give it  a test run. That’s also part of what NANO is for me.

Do you NANO? Which side are you on,  prep or panic?

I’m prepped and ready to go. Just a case of pre-race jitters at the moment!

Write on my friends, write on!




Another ‘Nother New Thing

I have writing friends who focus on one story at a time.  I wish I could. I really, really wish I could.

I have good intentions, set goals for myself,  knuckle down to a project and then  inevitably. . . it happens.

“Hey, over here!”                                                    “Look at me!”                

                                       “No, look at me.”                                                     “Ignore them, it’s me you want.” 

So many  characters vying for my attention!

The first is Bran, my dragon lord’s brother. (Touch of the Dragon, 2nd book in Dragon series) He hates being second born,  wants the power for himself but doesn’t yet have the where with all to manage his own life much less a kingdom.  Yeah, I really need to get back to that one.

The second, A Viking warrior locked in time for centuries anxious to  avenge  his brothers and win the  beautiful Valkyrie maiden that set him free. (Valkyrie’s Curse: The Trial of Aegir; book 2 in Valkyrie’s series) Book 1 is in revisions right now,  I’ve written about a third of book 2.

Thirdly, the ghosts. OY! The ghosts, they never shut up.  Did you know that ghosts don’t sleep? So they have all the time in the world to  think of ways to annoy you. (new project – Ocean Whispers)

Fourthly, mystery writer Alex McCarthy.  And I thought my head was scrambled with ideas!

The line continues,  but I have to admit Alex has gained my attention.  I’ve spent a few days working on a new genre,   and a detailed outline. This is the story that I am going to tackle during Camp Nano in July while I do revisions on Valkyrie’s Curse.  I  received some feedback from my beta readers so I must make some adjustments. So far the feedback is really great!  A few technical difficulties,  but the overall impression is that it’s good. I can’t even begin to tell you how elated that makes me feel.

On another note, I’ve been recovering from a car accident. I’m still waiting to hear back from the insurance company on whether my car is totalled or will be repaired.  If they total it,  then I am getting a bigger car, one that isn’t cramped.  I will miss my little red sports car, though. Meanwhile,  a year’s worth of  chiropractic visits have been undone, leaving me  wishing that I still had a prescription for painkillers.

Where was I?  Oh yes, the writing projects.  My current project is  about Alex McCarthy.  I took an online course about  outlining your whodunnit.  I couldn’t help myself,  I had to give it a whirl.  Alex has been trying to bend my ear for months now.  Little whispers here and there,  dropping hints that  pique my curiosity,  and finally  parading the super sexy detective  across my vision. THAT got my attention. Oh wow,  did that ever get my attention!

I’m considering adding back in my Sunday snippets as I work through this story. What do you think,  anyone interested in a sneak peek?

Between editing, the home based business, and writing I’ve been meeting myself coming and going.  Anything worth having is worth working for though, right?

I’m working the plan, even if I’m the only one that sees how the dots are connected.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,



June Lit Blitz

I am not guaranteeing that I am going to do this every Wednesday, but a few authors have agreed to participate.

I have some of my past guests as well as new ones.  I’ve sent each one their interview questions and hopefully they will get back quickly. Last year I tried to do something like this, but then I got a contract with Eclectic Bard Books and worked fast and furious on my own manuscript.

I think that you’ll like the variety of reading choices. It will give options to choose from for your summer reading pleasure! I’m making a point to read  the books of my guest so that I can leave a review and of course so that I can read enjoyable books. I’ve gotten way behind on my reading. Maybe if I fit chapters of that nonfiction Boundaries book in between theses books . . . . hmmm. I might actually get to mark that off of my list!


For me, it’s always interesting to talk shop with other authors and see how they do it.  I just finished  rereading a book that I had purchased the e-book version a while back and  recently purchased the signed print copy from the author. This book and the sequel which I am currently reading are  special to me. The author used me as her inspiration for her evil queen. I am thrilled! Even more thrilled after reading the entire story. Evil queen Ellie –  who falls for a shrimp  – an actual prawn, not a short guy –  before burning him to death.

If you’re looking for a quick read that is lighthearted humor, you should check out Veneri Verebum by Zanzibar Schwarznegger.

One of my favorite lines from this book is in the first chapter:

“Your writing is several layers of crap, topped with a drizzle of pretentiousness.” – Veneri Veribum by Zanzibar.

Totally made my day. I’d forgotten how gloriously sarcastic her humor is!

Come on, you know you need a good laugh.  Don’t take life so seriously.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,




Put A LIttle Love in Your Heart

Warmest Wishes to everyone!

THIS is how I feel this morning.
I was greeted this morning on Facebook to find out that I was reported for posting an offensive picture of Santa’s little helper.

Santa's little helper

Santa’s little helper – I do not own the rights to this image,  I borrowed it from Cherry Adair!

I am over 21 – by  a long shot.  I sometimes have  thoughts that are of a sexual nature.  I appreciate the finer qualities of the human body. You know, like rippling abs and bulging biceps as opposed to gaseous emissions and under arm body odor.  My apologies to those that are offended by such talk. I’m tempted to say ‘grow up’ but as I refuse to. . . . to each his or her own.
It’s obvious that there are many, many people in the world that need some good cheer during this Holiday Season – whether it’s Christmas, Chanukah, Yule, Kwanzaa or whatever else you celebrate.
For me it’s Christmas. I’m not going to preach, but give me just a second of your time. When the angels appeared to the shepherds in the field (found in the book of Luke in the Bible) their message was “Peace on Earth, good will to men.” With the announcement of the birth of Christ.
That’s my Christmas wish to everyone – PEACE AND GOOD WILL TO ALL!
I don’t expect you to have the same faith as me, the same opinions as me, or the same values as I do. Diversity is a many splendoured thing – our differences help us to make this wonderful recipe known as mankind. Now wouldn’t it be sad if everyone was just like me? Or just like you?

I think that there is room enough on this big green ball of terra firma that we can all exist with our differences without condemning someone else simply because they are different. If we are to be warmongers, existing on hatred towards everyone that is different from us then we would have to kill our loved ones as well because they are –  different. Your spouse is different from you, your children are different with different personalities. Your parents are different from you!

You are a lone crusader for the YOU cause!

Is that really how we want to be? So caught up in our own egocentric existence that we can’t extend a little grace and humanity towards others? Why not be agents for change? I personally would rather be known for being one that cares and helping instead of griping about how things are. I can’t help everyone,  but I will help those that I can.

Years ago Rodney King said it: Why can’t we all just get along?










(Yes, my playlist this morning is retro 80’s but Annie Lennox is timeless!)

I realize that I am not everyone’s cup of tea.  I get that and I am perfectly ok with that because some of you,   you aren’t exactly my cup of tea either.  Like for instance, there are some people out there that eat beets. There are even some people out there that eat liver – willingly! I know right?

During this time of year, more people are prone to warm wishes than any other time of year. I wish that it was the case throughout the year but it isn’t.

So, for a few moments I want you to think outside of yourself. Fill an old purse with a few snacks, some wet wipes, some tissues, perhaps a pair of gloves and give it to the next panhandling female you see. Fill an old backpack  with similar items for a man. Stuff some peanut butter crackers in there, some beef jerky, perhaps a small package of cookies and a fresh apple.  Bless that homeless man who hangs out around the intersection that you drive through.

Extend a little compassion to the elderly man who walks with a painful limp as he enters the grocery store. He could have been a World War II vet that fought for your freedom but he’ll never demand your respect.

That elderly woman who can’t see over the dashboard, that nearly plows into your car may have recently been widowed.

The young man at the checkout counter that has been railed on for not being fast enough could have just lost his dad.

You don’t know what the other person is going through,  is it really too difficult for us as part of the human race to extend a little compassion to those around us?  Is it too much to be kind to the people who you meet on the street and in the stores?  Is it  so difficult to smile at someone? anyone?

I wish that every person would  get the gift of love this season. Not  just romantic love,  but the love for your fellow man.  The love of a brother, a sister, a child, a parent, that comforts your soul to the very depths of your being. I wish that love fills you to overflowing so that it spills out onto those around you!  I wish that laughter and joy are part of your holiday and the coming year.  I wish that love becomes not just a word to you but that it becomes a reality in your innermost being.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Put a little love in your heart today and let it infect those around you! For the person that reported me –  I hope a humongous bolt of love and compassion wallops you upside the head and  infectious laughter overtakes you to the point that you embarrass yourself in public!

NO, seriously –  a good healthy dose of joy and laughter to them so maybe they won’t be so uptight.

Warmest wishes to everyone!

Write on my friends, write on!

With lots of love and laughter ~



Snippet Sunday

Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

The ladies in my writing group have  been doing this through November during NANO.  I’m a little late on the uptake but never the less, I’ve decided to join in.  I’ll be sharing just a snippet of the current work in progress which is the next to be released  Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening.

This is from Chapter 1: The Viking

The beginning of page 2 of my draft copy. (Formatted will be different.)

The ship slowed as it found the soft sand. Jorvic gave the forward motion. Two men steadied the ship as the others slipped into the surf. It was only knee-deep, the men sloshed forward. By the stealth of moonlight, they slipped silently through the secret door on the outer wall.

Surprisingly, there were no guards stationed on the other side. Sixteen men moved into the tunnels. There were no torches lit nor were there any guardsmen. Once inside the village, the men spread out, killing the pale usurpers.

Olaf and Sven ran to their father’s house while Aella ran to the Temple. His assignment was to get the key. Aella easily slew the two men at the Temple door, they were slow and unprepared. Ahead Aella saw a shadow move beyond the curtain. He took the sword from the hand of the second guard he had killed. Now armed with two swords he moved forward cautiously. Aella moved behind the altar and found the secret compartment in the back opened. The key was gone.

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a movement. He had to get that key! Aella moved to follow the thief. Swiftly he thrust his sword forward spun around and struck again with both swords, removing the thief’s arm. As the arm fell to the ground, the key dropped free. For a split second, his eyes followed the key, enough time for the man to raise his broad axe, but Aella was faster and thrust again. One sword found its mark in the enemy’s chest, the other slashed across the man’s throat.

Ivan Thorskill, Jorvic’s younger brother fell to his knees, blood flowing from his neck and chest, spurting from the shoulder. Aella watched as if in slow motion. The full weight of his actions bore down with sudden clarity. This wasn’t right.

Does that wet your appetite for more? Does it sound interesting? Share your thoughts on this excerpt in the comments.

Go check out my friend’s snippets as well:

Cathy Brockman

V.L. Locey

Oh! By the way,  this is NOT a romance.  It does have  a romantic interest however.  I can’t wait to introduce you to Scott and Helena.  

Till nex time,

write on my friends, write on!




What Now NaNo?



We have spent 30 days of literary abandon, or 30 days of writing in some form. Whether you hit the magic mark or fell short,   if you have more words than you began the month win, then you are still a winner!

So what now? What do you do with “the book”?

There are some that dive right in but I suggest a different approach.  Let it sit a while. In cooking,  whether it’s a roast or a turkey it’s best to let it sit and rest for a bit before carving it up.  The same holds true for your novel.

But I’ve built up this momentum in writing, shouldn’t I jump right in and keep writing? 

Momentum is good. In the case of my novel,  it’s not complete so I will continue to write. I estimate the final word count to be between 75 and 85K, so I have a way to go still. When that is complete however I will set that one aside fora couple of weeks and write on something else.  Whether it’s blog posts (you may have noticed while I was head down writing there weren’t very many posts) or  tackling the next book in the series,  or revisions to a previous work you can bet I’ll still be writing.

My efforts will be divided between blogging and revising Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening; which was my nano novel from last year. The finished first draft of that one  ended at 89,954 words. In October I began revisions on it and will get  back to that one now.

Courtesy of Stokpic

Courtesy of Stokpic

Here are 5 suggestions that you can do in December to maintain the momentum while letting  your baby rest. Just a note here,  the reason you want to let it rest is so your eyes are fresh when you begin your revisions.

  1. Plan your next novel: brainstorm for a new idea. 
  2. Keep the momentum by doing story prompts, fan fiction, flash fiction, journaling or blogging. Whatever it takes to keep you in the habit of writing. 
  3. Work on revisions of a previous novel. I will be going back to the book that I was editing/revising before November 1st. 
  4. Do a series of short stories, keeping your daily word count up.
  5. Writing Lessons: take an online course that gives you writing assignments daily.  I’ve taken courses through Udemy that stretched me past what I am comfortable with.  For some, it was writing the sex scene. For me,  it was writing  those tender moments, you know  the dialog where they express their true feelings and emotions. 

After you get your words in, relax. Spend some time enjoying the holiday season. Make out your Christmas cards, wrap presents, decorate your house, have some cocoa!!  Breathe!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time




Literary Abandon – That’s a Wrap!

Today is the last day of NANO. I have been  extremely focused, er mostly. It’s that last-minute push to deadline, 90 to nothing, write like the wind, all systems GO!  It hasn’t been a great month writing wise. Two weeks ago I got the creeping crud, that had me down for days. My weekends are already off-limits for writing, and the past few days, well with Thanksgiving and my daughter being home from college . . . there hasn’t been much wordage accomplished.

I did however manage a fair amount of handwriting the story in my trusty spiral notebook. Have pen will travel!  While football was on . . writing or crocheting.  While the bird cooked . . . writing.  While the rolls were rising. . . writing.  OH! Then there was a great inspirational  burst of eighteen pages of handwritten glory.  I spent the morning dictating my  massive amount of wordage to my Dragon,  and then came up 7500 words short.  GAH!

The race was on.  Write like you’re on fire from 6 a.m. until my fingers are bloody stumps or I reach my goal. Whichever comes first.

It was a close call, but I have done it.



My 50000th word that sealed the deal – Versailles. But, that wasn’t enough for a performance oriented overachiever. NOOOOOO.  My final count is at 53, 611. The story isn’t complete, but  at least I hit my goal.  So . . . I’ve decided to go ahead and join the ranks of my writing buddies and participate in Snippet Sunday.   I’ll be sharing  just that – little snippets of Valkyrie’s Curse with you but you have to promise that you’ll leave feedback on it! If it sucks then I expect you to tell me it sucks, OK? Do we have a deal?

Much has transpired in the last few months, just in case you were wondering why I haven’t been posting.  I’ve gone from the ranks of the dual employed down to singularly employed, now I am officially unemployed.   I can’t file for unemployment however, because  the company I worked for was located out-of-state, and has not payed in Missouri taxes for the 5 years that I worked for them.  Yeah,  it was a bear at tax time.  I’m back to filling out job applications and pounding the pavement. OH the joy!

As much as I love doing this blog,  a paying job always comes first. At least until everyone buys my books and I can earn a living from the sales. OOH! That reminds me, about my book Red Wine & Roses;  I’ve been nominated on the Best of the Best for 2015 for five categories! The  categories close today for the next round, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I  will still be in it for at least one of the categories.  The categories that I was nominated for are:

  • Favorite Book of 2015
  • Favorite Contemporary Romance 2015
  • Favorite Romance Author 
  • Favorite Debut Book
  • Favorite Contemporary Romance Author

I am thrilled and excited to be nominated even if I don’t make the top ten to go into the next round.  Also, I was invited as honored guest at the Library Book Club, and they chose my book for their December read – YAY!!!    I dare say, I may have to let it slip that I was nominated.  SQUEEEEEE!   Just a moment of excitement there, I promise not to get  egomaniacal on you!

With this writing abandonment this month, it has  had me reflecting on my past NANO projects. My first NANO in 2011 I wrote Kiss of the Dragon. Some of you may remember the excerpts I shared from that one. It is definitely a paranormal fantasy. I edited, revised and tweaked that one multiple time, having submitted it to three different publishers where it was rejected. I shelved it.  Then there was my Pirate tale, Cabin Fever which I did not win at NANO, then shelved it, incomplete out of frustration. I’m not sure what  I can do with that one because one of my former associates took my idea and ran with it, publishing  his version as an erotica. Do I trash it,  try to revise it?  I don’t know.  Last year’s NANO winner was the first Valkyrie’s Curse, which started as a short serial installment on the group blog I formerly managed, Storytime Trysts.  It was supposed to be scary, which it failed.  It was supposed to be romantic/erotic, which it failed. What it  is though, is an action adventure with  the best antagonist that I have ever come up with.  If Hannibal Lechter gave you the creeps,  then  Dr. Sheffield will set your teeth on edge.

What to do with my drawer full of projects?  I am pursuing publication of Valkyrie’s as a series because  it has grown from the feeble serial posted on Storytime to  a full-blown novel, and  now a  whole series of seven books.  NaNoWriMo has been a great catalyst for me to get the first draft down.  I would in no way feel that  any of my NANO drafts were publishable, but as a great writer once said “You can’t edit what isn’t written. Although this year has been a trial for me,   with this final push I did it.

What this tells me is that each of us,  me, you . . . ALL of us can do more than we think we can.


We CAN achieve our goals.  

We can accomplish our dreams. 

The new year is coming up fast which is the perfect time for goal setting. I’ve accomplished a few things on my list,  but not as many as I would have liked to. Start thinking now as to what  you want to accomplish in the coming year.  Take ten minutes today to evaluate this year and what you would like to change in your life for next year. Aren’t you worth ten minutes?  YOU BET YOU ARE!

Write on my friends,  write on!

Till next time ~~~~~



NANO Novelists

It happened. A nonwriter asked the question “What’s the point of NaNoWriMO anyway?”

“30 days of literary abandon, 50000 words in a month. OR in other words to write a book in a month.”

“Pffft. Right. Like anyone can actually write a book in a month.” She rolled her eyes discounting the efforts of some 30000 people. I was mildly annoyed.

“It’s getting the first draft down.  I’m not saying that it is publishable by the end of 30 days, but that it is written. Any good writer knows they need to edit their work.”  I add a note to my character pages, an expendible character that will die in the next chapter that bears a striking resemblance . . . 

She sipped her coffee with her jaw in a stern line before asking.”Do you actually know anyone that has finished  and published a book from NaNo?”

“Why yes I do!”


Foul is Fair (Book I in the Fair Folk Chronicles) is a Young Adult contemporary fantasy novel.


Lots of girls play Fairy Princess when they’re little. Megan O’Reilly had no idea the real thing was like playing chess, guitar, and hockey all at once.

Megan had known for a long time that she wasn’t an entirely typical girl. But living with ADHD—and her mother’s obsessions—was a very different thing from finding out she wasn’t entirely human. Somewhere out there, in a completely different world, her father needs help. There’s a conflict, revolving around Faerie seasonal rituals, that could have consequences for humanity—and if Megan’s getting the terminology straight, it sounds like her family aren’t even supposed to be the good guys. As she’s further and further swept up in trying to save her father, Megan may be getting too good at not being human.

Buy Link:


Excerpt (PG):

“So…” Megan asked, finishing a bite of the sandwich Lani made her and occasionally wincing at the disinfectant being applied to her arm. “My dad is what, ’80s David Bowie? Glammed up, stealing babies, turning into owls?”

Lani frowned. “Sort of, but don’t get me started on owls.”

“What is your problem with owls?”

“I’m not scared of them, to be clear. I’m a big girl. I just think they’re up to something”

“Okay, okay, forget the owls.”


“So aside from something about attachment issues with the father I’ve never met, exactly what’s going on? Why would someone want to kill me?”

“I’ll take this one,” Cassia said. “Faerie is all about politics and schemes. Bad blood can last a lot of centuries, and your dad is one of the major players. He’s done a hell of a job hiding you all these years, particularly after he managed to spend four years with your mom. The people who knew were either actual allies, or weren’t willing to cross him. Now that he’s missing, somebody also leaked word on who you are and where you are. As word gets out, plenty of people want to meet you—and at least a few others are just as interested in making sure you’re not around to meet. The redcap may just be the start.”

Despite the threat to her life, Megan fixated on another part of the explanation. “My dad is missing? Like, missing from, uhm, Faerie, missing?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” Lani said. “I got some advance notice from Ashling, but not much. I knew it wouldn’t take long for more people to find out.”

“How did Ashling find out?”

“After the thing with her wings,” Cassia said, “Riocard took her in. She’s been his hunting guide for a while, when he’s not sending her to keep an eye on you.”

Megan scratched her head. “I’m having trouble keeping track of who is on what team here.”

Lani applied a little more disinfectant and started bandaging Megan’s arm. “It’s not always about teams. My dad might disagree with him a lot of the time, but it’s absolutely critical that we find your dad before Halloween and get him back where he’s supposed to be.”

“So he’s … he’s not even on your team. You’re just worried because he’s my dad?”

“Not just. I want you in on this because it’s important, and you deserve to know. But just because we’re not affiliated with the Unseelie doesn’t mean they’re not important. If I’ve learned anything from Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s that without Autumn, we’d all freeze to death.”

“How are you trying to use science geek stuff to explain to me that… that we’re faeries?”

“Well, we’re only half.”


Jeffrey Cook

Jeffrey Cook

About the Authors:

Jeffrey Cook lives in Maple Valley, Washington, with his wife and three large dogs. He was born in Boulder, Colorado, but has lived all over the United States. He’s the author of the Dawn of Steam trilogy of alternate-history/emergent Steampunk epistolary novels and of the YA Sci-fi thriller Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets. He’s a founding contributing author of Writerpunk Press and has also contributed to a number of role-playing game books for Deep7 Press out of Seattle. When not reading, researching, or writing, Jeffrey enjoys role-playing games and watching football.

katepicKatherine Perkins lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her husband and one extremely skittish cat. She was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, and will defend its cuisine on any field of honor. She is the editor of the Dawn of Steam series and serves as Jeff’s co-author of various short stories, including those for the charity anthologies of Writerpunk Press. When not reading, researching, writing, or editing, she tries to remember what she was supposed to be doing.








Pirate Princess by Catherine Banks (written NaNoWriMo 2014, published 11/2/15)

Pirate Princess was written during NaNoWriMo 2014. I had challenged myself to write 100,000 words in November instead of the normal 50,000 word goal. I exceeded 100,000 words on Day 14 and ended on Day 22 with 122,964 words.

Pirate Princess’ Blurb: As the daughter of the Pirate King, Tilia Swanson has an unusual upbringing learning skills that aren’t often available to women. As the heir apparent for the Kingdom of Crilan, her skills set her apart as she is trained by the best in the land and taught to harness her magic. However, piracy is in her blood, and draws danger to Tilia in the way that treasure draws pirates. Some treasures are more valuable than others. Will this lesson be learned in time or will the betrayal of those around her be her undoing?

NaNoWriMo can seem daunting and unobtainable when you first look at it, but even if you don’t finish, at least you tried! I recommend anyone who has ever considered writing to join in this free challenge. You may surprise yourself like I did and write more than your original goal. If you just write 1,667 words a day for 30 days you’ll end up with a 50,000 word novel! Try to find your writing style, I’m a pantser so I can’t plan things out or I end up not writing as much as I would have without planning. Just give it a try and try to think positively. Fifty words in a novel is more than the person who decides not to participate just because they “might” fail. So join NaNoWriMo and if you’d like to add me as a buddy, my username is cbanks. Happy writing!

Website: http://www.CatherineBanks.com

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B0161N1SM8

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pirate-princess-catherine-banks/1122739258?ean=2940152384222

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pirate-princess/id1045891895?mt=11

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/576493

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/pirate-princess

Createspace (paperback): https://www.createspace.com/5672005

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26296361-pirate-princess



Christopher Cullum is living at home. He works fast food. His mom does his laundry, but she’s ready to move on. If he doesn’t accomplish something notable soon, she may invoke some tough love. He may even have to clean his own room.

If he can write a novel in a month and get it published, maybe he can continue living at home. Unfortunately, Christopher is more in love with his main character, Elsa, than he is with writing. His book won’t get finished by itself—and neither will his laundry.

When he falls through a plot hole into the pre-published world, he finds character Figments who aren’t very happy with the Writers who’ve made their lives a literal hell just to finish a story. To top it all off, that plot hole he fell through is eating up the very fabric of space-time-space. Can he survive parody flux, plot bunnies, and Nana Romo to get back to his own world before he destroys the written one?



The night lead them too a throne room, oh penned the door, and mow shunned them inn sighed.

As soon as the door closed behind them, something clicked back into place and they gave a collective sigh of relief.

“You didn’t think I’d let that continue in my throne room, did you?” Ellie was human again and sitting on the throne. “How annoying.”

“Why would you do it at all?” Christopher asked. “That’s…”

“Evil?” The queen laughed. “Exactly the point. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like my crown back. In exchange, I’ll give you a free pass to your destination.”

“If you’re evil, why would you do that?” Elsa asked archly.

“Boredom, my dear. Besides,” she fingered the necklace around her pale white throat, “I like being the most evil being here. If he stays, who knows what kind of evil would show up.”

Eric looked at the crown in his hands, then at Elsa and Christopher. He sighed. “Just when I get something nice.” Dragging every step, he walked up to the throne and returned the crown.

“That’s better.” Ellie settled the crown on her head. Her elaborate hairdo immediately styled itself around the crown. “Time to die.”

“But you said…”

“I’m sorry. Did you miss the part about being evil?” The queen clicked her tongue. “Honestly, I cannot understand why anyone trusts me. It’s like you’ve never read a book before.”

Christopher blushed. “I read books. Sometimes. I have to read for classes.”

The queen waved a hand airily. “Not my concern. Time to die. If you could scream a bit, I do like that part.”

zanzibar zAuthor Bio:

Zanzibar 7. Schwarznegger is a fictional Figment-Writer who escaped through a plot hole into the real world. He resides somewhere on the west coast of the United States and moves frequently under the Character Witness Relocation Program. He has spawned a number of plot bunnies, tribbles, and squirrels. His hobbies include oxymoronic acrostics, weekend adverbial warfare, and braving the terrors of parody flux on a dare. He occasionally remembers to update his website.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zanzibar7Schwarznegger/

Twitter: @Zanzibar7Writer

Blog: http://www.zanzibar7.com/

Three very different stories by three very different authors. Hail NaNo-ers! (Oh and did you notice that Zanzibar named her evil queen after me????  I do love that part!)  Support your NaNo authors!

Now it’s time for another character to die in my newest NaNo novel.

Write on my friends, write on!


A String of 30 Lights

book art

book art

Over on my friend’s blog, she’s talking about NaNoWriMo. I left her a comment at Cathy Brockman’s blog. You’ll find my comment below,  only expanded because sometimes, I have a lot to say about a specific thing.

This is what Cathy asked: When you are choosing a book, how important is the title to you?

I know that was the main point of her post,  but my mind went in a different direction because you know, one idea leads to another, then another, then you have a chain and pretty soon  it’s like a string of Christmas lights. She started off her post by discussing the difference  between a plotter and a pantser. This is what fueled the ignition, that started the  train moving.

I am a plotanser. I’ve used both methods in the past. The first time I did NANO in 2011, I totally pantsed it. Just off the top of my head, all I had to work with was an initial scene that a conversation with my eldest daughter had sparked about a dragon complex, hoarding gold. The light bulb went off, the writing frenzy began, and I exceeded the word count by a LOT. I mean a LOT. The goal is 50000 words,  I hit somewhere in the 90000 range.  However, I had to throw out a bulk portion of that wordage because it didn’t progress the story. It helped me to get to know my characters, it helped to understand their world, and it helped me in the practice of writing. It is painful to cut out large chunks of what you ‘have written’. It was discouraging. The next time, I plotted. I plotted to the nth detail. No deviations. I had a map and I had a destination but somewhere along the line, the thrill of writing the story, letting it unfold was lost in completely planning it and that story still sits unfinished.

Now, I use a skeletal structure plot with key points, which allows me to be creative. That’s what works for me. Let me expound for a moment.

I try to  think through my story using the 3 Act method. Of course, I can’t just follow that so I end up with a four act  method.

Act 1 – Establish the character, show the MC in their before life. This is how they are now.  There is something missing that they need to change. At the end of the first act is the inciting incident that launches the story.

Act 2 A – the MC tries to deal with inciting incident in their old ways and fail, something has to change. they fumble, meet with failure, get frustrated, angry,  and  by midpoint – MC has a false sense of comfort because they  think they can handle it but can’t. This is the point that they come face to face with the fact that change must happen.

Act 2B – things get worse. Consequences to the not changing are happening. They feel the squeeze. The only thing that makes us change is force. How is the MC handling that force? Emotional overload, stress overload. Change is forced.

Act 3 – They are either resolved to change or fight it every step of the way then reluctantly changing. If they have made the change then they overcome.  If they have not then they ultimately fail. Happy ending? OR Noir?

Think about it. Next time you sit down and watch a movie,  or  a tv show, test  it against the above.

From this I develop my skeletal outline breaking out into chapters.  Each chapter is a point that progresses the story.  Within a chapter may be multiple scenes that occur. On the current WIP I had 18 chapters. I broke these chapters down to 30 points, following Lazette’s method  for her 30 points of light! My points aren’t as laser focused as hers. I’ve made it my own.

For Valkyrie’s Curse: Trial of Aegir, the second book in my Valkyrie’s series, here’s a brief look at Act 1.

Act 1

  • Chapter 1
  1. Glowing Amber
  2. Super Hero Dreams
  • Chapter 2
  1. Playing Catch Up
  2. Discovering the gifts
  • Chapter 3
  1. Recurring dreams of paradise/Giant snake
  • Chapter 4
  1. Relationships
  2. Aella’s map
  • Chapter 5
  1. Atlantis

Keypoints that give me  a prompt for the day,  that keep me on track for the story, and  point in the general direction of the end. For the most part,  it works. But  sometimes I end up spending more time on one point than simply covering that point. For November 2nd, I wrote a volume of words to open the scene and set the stage, before I ever got to point one. Stage setting is important as well.

And in all of that,  I never did get to the point that Cathy asked about covers.  As to purchasing books –  I’ll buy a book if I like the title and conversely won’t buy a book if the title sounds lame.  As to my own books,  sometimes the title comes easily, other times I toil over them.  While revising my next to be released book Valkyrie’s Curse, I was inspired to expand it. It has now blossomed into a  7 part series. I’m using nano to get the first draft down for book 2 of that series. I toiled over the titles for quite some time on this, aggravating my close circle of friends until they were sick of me. While I was lamenting, trying to be oh so clever with titles one of those friends made a suggestion that was absolutely Brilliant.

I latched on to that puppy with both hands!

By the way,  the recipes will continue tomorrow.  I’m feeling rather ill today, and the idea of food pictures is . . .  even writing it made my stomach lurch.

Write on my friends, write on!