Thursday, December 1, 2011

Last Hurrah from Wintersland....

The last snippet from Wintersland.

Rough draft--please don't quote or repost.


The staff rested on her forehead.  A spike of intense cold radiating from the staff wrung a cry of agony from Katie.

"You will say it," Old Man Winter said.

"Get away from her!" Mel screamed.

Old Man Winter whirled.  Katie gave a sobbing gasp of relief as the spike of torture was removed from her forehead.  Her eyes re-focused, and she saw that Mel stood by the Wishing Tree, and that the Pretender swung from one of its branches.  Mel looked magnificent, and Katie had never been more proud of her sister.

"You dare!" Old Man Winter said to Mel.  His power hit her until she staggered, but the ornament remained untouched

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

done, Done, DONE!

Finished! Finished! (Dancing in the street) I have finished Wintersland, the novel I began writing two years ago, this very month. It came in at around 33,000 words, so, technically, not a novel, but I can already see that, with revision, it will top 40,000, which is novel-length. I was all set to beat myself up for taking two years to write 33,000 words, but when I considered that I had major medical problems, a job change, and a massive re-write sandwiched in there, I think I did alright. The story is rough, and will definitely need revision, but I'm just happy it's done. I dedicated it to my brother, Michael. He would have been 42 today if he was still alive.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Technology - Catching the Expressway

It probably doesn't come as a surprise that I'd like to sell what I write. Who wouldn't? You put hours and hours of work into writing a story, you'd kinda like to show it off. And get paid for all that work.

These days, breaking into the print industry is like standing in the middle of Death Valley hoping to catch a ride before your water and food run out. Good luck with that.

So I'm reading about all these writers who've quit the print industry and are going the self-publishing route. I can see that if you invite enough people to get into your car that are interested in the kind of stuff you write, you could find your audience.

How to do that? I'm not even sure how to tweet yet. Sigh.

I've got to start interacting with technology instead of letting technology pass me by. What the heck happened to that wiz kid who taught herself how to use the internet back when browsers were nearly unheard of and only a few pages were out there to look at? While I was buzzing along in my fast lane, they built the expressway to one side, and I just now noticed all the traffic whizzing by me.

I need to overhaul my car and catch the expressway.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It was a long and hot summer....

How hot is it? Not as hot as Texas, but nearly a month of a heat index in the triple digits gets to you. That kind of heat is enervating. When you start praying and dreaming for temps in the eighties, something is wrong. LOL! That's why I posted this snippet. It made me feel cold just to write it.

First draft, please don't quote or repost. Thanks!


The area was not empty this time around, nor was it even an enclosed room. The area stood open to the sky, ceiling long gone. The floor looked like one sheet of solid ice, feet thick. Cold rushed over her--cold so deep and so thick that she felt as if she could cut through it like something solid. Her breath pushed out of her in visible clouds. As she looked into the depths of the ice, she sucked in her breath in one great rush. Staring back at her were faces in the ice. Some weren't even what she would even call human. Their eyes stared up at the sky with no knowledge or life in them.

Katie's gaze swept ahead, and she saw a dark heap of something marring the shining pool of ice. She hurried toward it as quickly as she could, slipping and sliding with the treacherous footing. The nearer she came, the more the dark heap resolved itself to a figure lying on the ice.
Katie's feet slipped out from underneath her and dumped her on her backside. She got up on her hands and knees and crawled the rest of the way to the huddled figure.

The person lay facing the opposite direction, but a lock of red hair spilled out from the hooded cloak. Katie moaned in despair, and reached her hand to touch Treyga. She pulled down the hood to reveal Treyga's face, blue and still. The other girl was so cold that Katie felt it even through her gloves.

"Treyga!" she said. "Treyga, wake up! You've got to get up!"

She tugged at an arm. She could not move Treyga at all. Katie saw with a sense of horror that Treyga was in the ice itself, partially swallowed by it, as if it had melted then refroze around her.

"Oh my God!" Katie cried. Her teeth were chattering so badly she could barely speak. "This is all my fault, I should never have let you come with me!"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July Already?

Slow progress recently. Working sometimes more than ten hours a day. When I get home, I just want to vegetate rather than write. Hope this slows down or I'm going to go insane.

One of my friends is coming to stay with us for awhile to look for a job. I had to shovel out the bedroom I was using as a large walk-in closet (when you only have 3 bedrooms, stuff like that happens), but at least the time I'm taking off from work to do this is a welcome break. Have to work pretty hard when I go back to work, but what else is new? At least I have a job to go to; I know many people don't.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I've finally turned over 25,000 words on Wintersland. I don't think the story is going to end up being 60,000 words---more like 45,000 or 50,000---but we'll see.

Here's my Friday snippet early. First draft, please don't quote or repost, thanks!

She must have nodded off, because the fire had burned down when she woke. Katie looked for Hulaf and Treyga, and found them curled up on either side of her, lending their warmth to hers. Both breathed evenly and deeply in sleep. Katie sat up, careful not to disturb them. When she looked at the fire again, she saw Mel standing on the other side of it.

Katie stared at her sister in open-mouthed astonishment. Mel wore a fur-lined red dress with elaborate designs picked out with something that glittered. Jewels? Her hair lay like a swath of darkness against the fur color and the red of the dress. Her lips stood out redly against her skin's pallor, and her eyes were like twin pools of darkness with no glimmer of life in them.

"Mel?" Katie whispered.

Mel tilted her head as if trying to hear a distant, only half-remembered sound.

You shouldn't have stayed. You should go away now while you still can.

"Even if I wanted to, I can't," Katie said in a low voice. "I don't have a choice anymore."

I can't help you any longer.

"Mel, what is the cold place? Where is it?"

At last, a tiny bit of life shone in Mel's eyes. She regarded Katie, and Katie shivered.

I remember. You were always stubborn. Don't forget that I did try to warn you.

Mel turned and walked away. Katie tried to reach out for her, but she felt as drained as if she'd ran a marathon. It was difficult just to hold up her head. Her limbs tingled as if all the blood had rushed to her heart. She lay down between Hulaf and Treyga, heartsick and weary, not even sure she would wake up again if she went to sleep. Mel had become someone she didn't know anymore.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Something New.....

On the weekends, I'm working on something new. I think it's going to be an urban fantasy. Think, you say? Don't you know? Heh. It started out to be a straight fantasy, but it morphed into this. The dialogue was too modern, for starters...and Mia just feels right in the here and now.

As always, first draft, please don't quote or repost.


The man had been beaten to a bloody pulp and left to die in the middle of the road.

Mia Jacob switched off her motorcycle. The rumble of the engine faded to nothing. After a few seconds, the sound of summer cicadas took up the refrain, almost as noisy as the machine.

The trees lining this part of the road brought early darkness, and she couldn't make out his features. Human? Or some clever facsimile meant to make her let down her guard?

Only one way to find out.

She carefully let down her shield, testing for any sign of magic. Dark shadows with glowing red eyes slid into her field of vision. Revulsion biled her throat.

Ilsatch. He was human, then.

Mia engaged the kickstand and dismounted. She grabbed a flashlight from her saddlebag and waded through the shadows to the man's side, fighting her revulsion, knowing the Ilsatch would feed off that emotion just as readily as murder lust. The sooner they were gone, the better.

The flashlight illuminated more than she wanted to see. Someone had beaten the man, then carved on him with a very big knife. She leaned over and placed careful fingers on his neck, looking for the pulse she knew she wouldn't find.

"Useless vermin," Colin said in a dispassionate voice.

Mia gave a grunt and jerked, adrenaline coursing unpleasantly through her body. "Damn it, Colin!"

"Sorry, love. Didn't mean to scare you."

She looked around to see the wizard's shade hovering nearby, faintly glowing in the darkness. He looked as he had looked to her the moment of his death, five years before, and as he looked every time he appeared to her---eyes dark holes in a white face, black hair pulled back in a casual ponytail, hole in his chest big enough to put a fist through.

Attracted by the strength of her sudden emotion, an Ilsatch floated closer. Mia tamped a lid on her feelings.

"Is he dead, then?" Colin asked.

"You know, coming from a dead man, that question's pretty ironic," Mia said.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wintersland Take Two

I'm reaching the point in this story where I had to stop before. In a few days, I'll gallop past this point and head for the finish line. Looking forward to it.

Katie and Treyga are caught out in a snow storm. First draft, please don't quote or repost. Thanks!


Snow and wind became something that conspired to hold her back no matter how hard she 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.

The wind whistled and moaned like a live thing. The cold pierced and bit, savage and searing. It became conceivable that she and Treyga and the dogs would die out here, lost, within shouting distance of the Winterlord's Hall.

"Oh, God, somebody please help me," Katie whimpered.

And, in the midst of the snow and the wind, someone grabbed hold of her upper arm and pulled. Katie could see nothing except the snow coating her eyelashes. Katie followed, pulling in turn at the dogs. The tug at her arm persisted for several long moments, until she stumbled onto a set of steps that led upwards into white nothingness.

With a cry of relief that was immediately snatched from her lips, Katie wiped the snow from her face and eyes. When she could see again, she saw a young boy, unmoved by the storm. His eyes were the pale blue of frozen water. As she watched, two tears coursed down his cheeks. The boy stretched out a hand and touched Katie's parka just above her heart. A fragrant odor wafted to her nostrils. Startled, Katie realized his hand touched the sprig of holly in her inner pocket. Without words, Katie somehow knew that she had been given something that would save the life of the little girl that lay near death in the Hall behind her. The boy nodded and faded away.

Katie turned to see Treyga and the dogs nearby. Treyga said something, but the wind snatched her words.

"Steps!" Katie screamed at Treyga.

Treyga nodded her head. She reached down and unharnessed the dogs, moving slowly and stiffly. The dogs stood, heads down, tails tucked, waiting on her signal. She waved them upward, and they sprang up the steps, quickly out of sight.

Moving against a wind that tried to push them off the steps, Katie and Treyga struggled up to the top of the steps, where the dogs waited, and searched for the doors with fumbling, frozen fingers. Eons later, Treyga found a latch and the doors fell inward, dumping them on the floor. The dogs crowded in around them, shaking snow from their fur in a fine spray.

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

"Did we make it?" Treyga asked, confused and exhausted-sounding.

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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wintersland Snippet

A snippet from my current work in progress. First draft, please don't quote or repost. Thanks!


Katie stood, her feet cold in the snow, astonished at the sight. At least thirty to forty people stood around the tree, dressed in warm fur coverings, leggings, and knee-high boots, and with 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’s expression was open and friendly.

“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 --,” Katie began, when her hand closed around Mel's decoration in her pocket. She pulled it out and stared at it.

“Oh!” the girl said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. Will you hang it from the tree and make your wish? I have yet to hang mine..”

Since the girl had an expectant look on her face, Katie followed. She looked at the decoration in the girl’s hand--a doll--and marveled over the handiwork. The doll wore cloth 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, that of a young man, was hand-painted and very detailed. Mel’s decoration seemed very crude and primitive by contrast.

The girl hung the doll from a branch, saying, “I wish ---” The girl hesitated. “You go first, if you don’t mind.”

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

She hung Mel’s ornament on the tree.

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

“I wish 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 grabbed her arm.

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

“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.

Let me go, Katie. Save yourself.

From somewhere the anger boiled to the surface, and Katie screamed at her sister. “How dare you leave me!”

Nothing answered her. No voice, no whisper of wind. She stared at the blank white snow, and the merest drift of snow crystals in the air.