Monday, November 30, 2009


My brother, Mike, would have been 40 today. My birthday present to him is to finish Wintersland. The story is dedicated to him. Happy Birthday, Mike. I know you're in a place where age holds no meaning. One day I'll see you there.

NANO--Last Day

I didn't make 50,000 words. Far from it. I clocked in at 20,000, but that's good for me. I'll take it.

This snippet is from Chapter Five. Something is about to get in the way of Katie's plans to rescue her sister from Old Man Winter. First draft, and rough. Please don't quote or repost.


For awhile, Katie just skated and was pleased enough not to think about all the things that perplexed her. She was content to just be.

A woman screamed. Katie jerked and almost lost her footing. The man and woman down the lake stood, looking up at the sky.

The sun disappeared.

"What--?" Katie began, but Hulaf's grip on her arm tightened to the point of pain.

"Skate," he said in her ear, intense. "Skate like never before."

Katie obeyed. The world moved by in a dizzying whirl as Hulaf drew her on, faster and faster. As they skated, the day grew progressively darker. Katie wanted to look behind her, but Hulaf didn't give her enough time. He nearly threw her up on the bank when they arrived.

"Get those skates off!" he said. "Quickly!"

Katie fumbled with the straps. As she worked, snow whirled through the air and flung itself straight at them.

Hulaf gave a little sound that sounded like a groan. "Hurry!" he said.

The last of the straps gave way and he seized her hand, dragging her up the pathway toward the Hall. "Run, Katie Medina!"

And Katie ran. The fear she heard in his voice infected her as well. She thought she heard something large moving through the air behind them. In near panic, she fought to breathe in the sudden gale. Snow fell in sheets so thick that the Hall became invisible, although it had loomed large before.

Hulaf said something, but his words were lost in the gale.

"What?" Katie yelled.

He yanked her close and shouted, "I'm not sure we're going to make it! Don't let go of me, whatever happens."

Snow and wind became something that conspired to hold them back no matter how hard they struggled to move forward. Memory of the abandoned town she and Treyga had visited rose in her mind's eye. She could feel the malice in the wind that blew in their faces, nearly drowning her in snow.

Now she couldn't see Hulaf even though he held her arm. Nor could she hear him. The wind whistled and moaned like a live thing. The cold pierced and bit, savage and searing. It became conceivable that she and Hulaf would die out here, lost, within shouting distance of the Hall and its people. She reached into her pocket and her fingers closed around Mel's image.

"I'm sorry, Mel," Katie whimpered.

And, in the midst of the snow and the wind, something grabbed hold of her upper arm and pulled. It felt like a helping hand. Katie followed, pulling in turn at Hulaf. He did not resist. The tug at her arm persisted for several long moments, until she stumbed on the first steps of the Hall.

With a cry of relief that was immediately snatched from her lips, Katie hauled Hulaf onto the steps with her. She could barely see him even now, just a dark figure in the whiteness of the air.

Moving against a wind that tried to push them off the steps, Katie and Hulaf struggled up the steps, and searched for the doors with fumbling, frozen fingers. Eons later, Hulaf found a latch and the door fell inward, dumping them on the floor.

Attendants surrounded them at once. A couple of them forced the door shut against the wind, and the howl immediately reduced to a low rumble.

"Did we make it?" Hulaf said, confused and exhausted-sounding.

"We made it," Katie said in a hoarse voice.

She lay and let the attendants take her outerwear and wrap her in a blanket. Warmth began to steal over her, and her numb face and hands tingled awake. The attendants rubbed her hands, giving them much-needed warmth from the friction.

Katie blinked as the room resolved itself into the entry hall. The chandelier hung directly overhead. They had come in the front doors.

Hulaf reached out and touched her face. "Are you all right, Katie Medina?"

"I think so. What just happened?"

"You saved our lives," Hulaf said.

Katie turned her head and saw his dark eyes, blinking and serious.

"If you hadn't found those steps, we would still be within the frost drake's reach," he added.

"The frost drake is here?"

Hulaf stood and gave her a helping hand. "Yes."

Wind rattled the doors. When Katie listened, she thought she heard roaring behind the wind. She shivered. Memory surfaced and she clutched at Hulaf's arm. "The other two people. What happened to them? Where are they?"

"They might have made it," he said, but he didn't really believe it, she could tell. The look on his face said it all.

Katie gave a great, gasping sob. All the pain she'd felt when her father told her about Mel came flooding back and pooled in her chest. She felt like she couldn't catch her breath.

Friday, November 20, 2009

NANO Day 20--Snippet

My God, this is tiring work! It's like a full-time job. You don't "show up", you don't "get paid."

My snippet is from the current chapter I'm working on--Katie has come to ask the Winterlord for help.

First draft, with all its roughness; please do not quote or repost.


Just when she thought she had overloaded herself with the sights and sounds of the Winterlord's hall, Hulaf stopped in front of a set of double doors. The doors were wood, with high reliefs carved on them. The reliefs depicted an evergreen, its limbs laden with decorations, in the middle of a wooded area. Carved animals and people surrounded the tree.

Katie reached out a wondering hand and stroked the wood. "The Wishing Tree," she murmured.

Hulaf shot her a glance. "Very good."

He pushed on the doors, and the Wishing Tree split down the middle, right where the hidden seam of the doors were. A vast room opened up before her. Light, heat, and noise hit Katie in the face. Conversation and laughter rolled over her dazzled senses.

But just as she noted all the sensations, another took precedence. A cold wind rushed around her legs from behind, pushing into the room and visiting the conversing people and hissing against the fires burning in the multiple fireplaces. People cried out. The fires guttered in the fireplaces. The wind tugged at clothing, blew out candles, and caused tapestries and decorations to sway. Until the wind reached a richly-dressed, imposing man who sat on a dais along with six or seven other richly-dressed folk.

With an exclamation, the man reached for a staff made of wood and banged its end on the floor. The wind scattered into dozens of little breezes that harmlessly dissipated in the vast room.

"Who are you who brings death into my hall?" the man rumbled, his eyes fixed on Katie.

Katie felt light-headed under that gaze. The Winterlord's head might have reached her shoulder, but his own shoulders were nearly as wide as he was tall, and his arms were nearly as big around as her whole torso. He looked as if he could snap a sizable tree in two. His wild dark hair and beard, along with his glare from underneath busy eyebrows, suggested he would find snapping her in two no real challenge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nano Day 11 -- Snippet

I probably won't have 50,000 words done by November's end, btw. I'm clocking around a 1,000 words a day, and that seems the best I can do. I'll take it.

Rough draft, may change, please do not repost or quote anywhere else. Thanks!


Katie stood, her feet cold in the snow, and watched several people decorate a huge evergreen tree on the outskirts of a town, singing while they did it. At least thirty to forty people stood around the tree, dressed in warm fur coverings, leggings, and knee-high boots, wearing colorful scarves covered with intricate designs. Most of the people were older--older even than Katie's own parents.

Crunching snow to her left drew her gaze. A girl who looked about seventeen, red hair framing her face, freckles across her nose, approached her. The girl had an open, friendly expression.

“Hello!” the girl said. “I’ve not seen you here before. Have you come to make your wish?”

“Wish?” Katie repeated.

“Yes. This is the Wishing Tree. Did you bring your decoration?”

“I’m sorry, I have nothing,” Katie said.

“Oh!” the girl said. She reached inside her fur coat and brought out a tiny doll made of sticks and cloth. “Here. I brought her in case someone lost or broke their decoration. You can have her.”

Since the girl held out the doll with an expectant look on her face, Katie took it. She looked at the doll and marveled over the handiwork. The doll wore a cloth dress that seemed to be made of some pliant leather and decorated with the same kind of intricate designs she saw on the girl’s scarf. The doll’s face appeared to have been hand-painted in exquisite detail.

Katie looked up at the girl, lost. “What do I wish for?”

The girl cocked her head. “Surely you must have some desire in your heart.”

I only want one thing, Katie thought. I want my sister back.

The intensity of her expression must have caught the girl’s attention. She reached out and caught Katie’s sleeve in sympathy. "Are you in pain?"

“Just my heart,” Katie said.

The girl let go of her sleeve, and Katie walked forward. The people around the tree parted to let her through. She found a branch and hung the doll from it, smoothing the tiny dress with her fingers.

An expectant hush seemed to fall over everything. Katie felt the weight of it pressing down on her. She opened her mouth, and what came out was altered from what she had meant to say.

“I want to see my sister Mel again.”

The wind sprang from nowhere, gale-force, flinging snow in faces and tangling Katie’s hair. She heard people cry out. The wind circled the Wishing Tree, which remained untouched.

Snow whirled, coalesced into a visible shape. As Katie watched, Mel looked back at her, an agonized expression on her face.

Katie reached out.

“Don’t!” someone said.

Katie hesitated. The girl,again at her side, hung on to her arm.

“She is a Yule Ghost! Touch her, and you will share her agony!”

“How can I help her?” Katie asked in a trembling voice. Her sister’s visibly tortured features shredded her insides.

“I—I don’t know,” the girl admitted.

The wind slowed, subsided to a sigh. Mel lost form and being, dissipating on the last breeze.

“Mel!” Katie whispered.

Leave me, Katie. Save yourself.

From somewhere the anger boiled to the surface, and Katie screamed after her sister's shade, “How dare you leave me!”

Monday, November 2, 2009

NANO - Day Two

Just a shade under a 1,000 words. Blech. Phone calls can eat way into your time if you're not careful.

Probably won't post every day from here on out. I'll let the progress bar do the talking.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


And so it begins. 6,000 words.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Which is writing a novel of at least 50,000 words in the month of November. I'm going to try this. I'll either have a novel at the end, or a spectacular failure.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Some Progress

I've made some progress on "Dragon Crown."

Below is a brief snippet. First draft, please don't quote or repost.

His rooms seemed lonely without Tamli’s presence. Asher pulled off his boots and stretched across their large bed. He supposed he ought to undress, but he couldn’t find the energy. He lay and stared at the bed’s canopy before sliding into sleep.

In his dreams, he saw Tamli. She stood, tall and beautiful, and smiled at him. Light seemed to glow and cling to her.

“Asher,” she murmured.

He reached out to her but couldn’t hold her.

“I’m sorry that I can’t be with you anymore. I wanted to stay, but I didn’t have the strength.”

Asher dreamed he tried to say something, tried to tell her to stay, but he couldn’t speak.

She leaned forward and he felt the brush of ghostly fingers on his lips.

“Goodbye, my love.”

She started to fade. Asher reached out, trying to speak to her, ask her not to leave him. Her smile, sweetness and regret intermingled, faded away.

Asher woke with a shout of repudiation on his lips. He stared up at the canopy above him in confusion.

It was a dream. He wiped the sweat from his brow and tried to convince himself.

Somewhere, in the hollow of his heart, Asher knew the truth.

Tamli was gone.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I've dropped the snippet updates for the progress bar to the right. MarFisk of Forward Motion is the creator of that progress bar, and it works well.

Another change I've made is in the working title. Instead of "Soul Survivor", the WIP is now called "Dragon Crown."

Here's a brief snippet of what I've been working on.

First draft. Please don't quote or repost elsewhere. Thanks!

She could hear the aides talking. She’d worked out that they were nurse’s aides some time ago, during one of her lucid moments.

“….so I kicked him out and told him if he wanted that kind of relationship, he should pick somebody off the street.”

“Bet that made an impression. Sounds like a real moron to me. Help me turn her over. She might be developing a bed sore and Salizar wants her turned.”

She couldn’t see them and she couldn’t feel them touching or moving her. She tried to grunt or do anything to make them aware she heard, but nothing seemed to happen.

“I’ll be back in a second. I need to check on number 26,” the second voice said.

Footsteps, then a phone rang.

“Hello,” the first voice said. Then, “Tim, I told you not to call me at work.” Indeterminate sounds. “Yes, I am at work. I’m with the patient I told you about, you know, the basket case—the one who lost her son, then drove off the side of a cliff.”

Screaming inside, she tried to see, to get up, to do anything but listen to that voice. The voice faded and she drove the car, the highway sliding underneath, the white stripes blinking faster and faster through the wash of her tears….

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fifth Day - 269 words

I'll try to post a snippet on Friday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth Day -- 390 Words

Word count is rising. Cool. I'll be up to 500 words in no time. I hope.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Third Day - 250 words

Total: 750 words

Taking off the Fourth of July.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Second Day -- 250 Words

Moving at a snail's pace. But moving.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Opening Salvo - 250 words

Got my minimum the first day. I like what I got. I'll try to post a snippet in the next day or two.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Write a Book with Me"

Holly Lisle is writing a door-stopper of a novel. Not only that, she's doing it at, for her, a snail's pace. She has invited us to write small chunks with her, and in this way, finish a normal length novel (100k) at about the time she finishes hers.

I'm going to try this. What can I lose? Even if the novel sucks, at least I'll have one under my belt.

I've had a story circulating in my mind for several years now. I keep trying to write the story several different ways, and keep dropping it as unwritable. But it won't let me go. So I'm going to try, once again!, to write the thing.

I'll try to keep some kind of word count progress here. Working title is "Soul Survivor."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time in a Bottle

Where the heck does the time go?!?

I've been mostly dealing with my dog. She's had medical problems--growths on her mammary glands. I'd rather take a beating than have to put that poor little dog through these surgeries, but she's still a relatively young dog and I'm not ready to let her go yet.

My writing has slowed down considerably because of it, but I think things are beginning to settle down a bit. Please, God.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Truth Knows No Time Frame

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong
3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

These are words by William J. H. Boetcker, a Presbyterian minister who wrote a pamphlet in 1942 called "Lincoln on Limitations".

Truth knows no time frame.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday Snippet, May 29, 2009

I miss the Friday snippets. I felt like putting one up.

Please don't quote, repost, or otherwise take for yourself, first draft only.

My main character and her crew are in for a nasty surprise.

"Sail ho!"

The crew rushed to the rails, peering across the water to catch a glimpse.

Katya felt a rush of premonition. Dread weighted her muscles. She turned and sprinted for her spyglass. When she turned it to leeward, rear quarter, sails sprang to life in her vision. The sails were tattered--something no shipmaster worth his salt would ever allow. She searched the deck of the vessel under those sails, looking for any signs of life. There were none that she could see. The ship ran silent and dark. More important than that, she ran against the wind that filled the Dragon's sails.

She lowered the spyglass and squinted, then raised the glass again. Yes, she hadn't been mistaken. Dark clouds massed behind that ship. She turned. Rian, never far from her side, awaited orders.

"Bring her about and take in those sails!" Katya said. "Fetch the firearms!"

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eyes of the Stone Dragon

A snip from a S&S short story I finished:

Please don't quote or repost without permission.

Dara heard the intruder step on a loose board. She watched as the man froze at the noise he’d made. She did not move, curious to see what the man would do.

He paused for a long moment, then crept to the bed where she lay like a convincing lump. The flash of a knife, a quick plunge of the blade into her chest---

Dara sat up in bed, and instantly realized her mistake. A Moon sign flared to life on the intruder’s brow and the knife throbbed in her chest. This was no ordinary intruder and no ordinary blade.

She snatched the knife from the wound and threw it across the room, but the damage had been done. Stiffness entered her simulacrum, making movement difficult. Dara used a tiny bit of magic and flicked the room’s candles alight. The candles illuminated a short, stocky man dressed in ordinary desert garb, with deep-set eyes and a gently glowing crescent moon in the center of his brow. She could feel her own Sun sign on her forehead grow warm.

“What have you done?” she said.

“What I had to,” he responded. “My name is Morion, and I need your help, Sunmaster Dara.”

“You picked a strange way of asking, Moon Follower. Sneaking around in the middle of the night, stabbing me with a spellbreaker blade--”

Morion’s lips twisted. “Isn’t that what those who follow the Moon Path do? Sneak?”

“What do you want?”

“An exchange,” he said. “In a few moments, the spell that binds together your simulacrum will unwind. I can keep that from happening. In return, I need you to help me destroy Ranifir.”

Dara stared. “One does not easily destroy a stone dragon, Moon Follower. It’s a creature of the Ancient magic, and not subject to the lesser magics. What you want is well-nigh impossible.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Long Dry Spell

Blogging, that is. Well. At least I've been writing. I'll post a snippet here tomorrow to prove it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Husband is Still My Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart!

Creeping Back to Life

I'm beginning to thaw out and write again. I'm going through the Graduate Novel portion of Holly Lisle's "Think Sideways" course, and enjoying myself.