Short Story Feature: "Beach Walk" by Suzanne Payne

As promised, here is the next installment of the Short Story Feature. If you had tuned in to Wednesday's post, you'd have seen and enjoyed my friend A.M. Supinger's short story "Savages", created from the same image prompt posted below.

Now I am glad to have my dear friend Suzanne Payne show us her own interpretation of this picture:


Beach Walk
by Suzanne Payne

Three days. It’s been three days since it happened. Kortney’s mind still swirled with the same memories plaguing her mind. The phone call, the disbelief, his body washing up on the shore kept replaying over and over and she felt powerless to stop them. How could this have happened? Why did this happen? He was so young and an excellent swimmer. We were going to get married in the fall. She glanced down at her engagement ring knowing she’d never see him at the altar waiting for her.

Leaving the house for a while became a necessity. There were too many phone calls from well-meaning friends who were worried about her and what she might do. What do they think I’m going to do? Kill myself? With little sleep and a sore throat and pounding head from crying, she pushed open the screen door. “I’m going down to the beach, Mom. I need some quiet.”

“Todd’ll go with you,” her mom insisted. Sending her brother as a bodyguard didn’t sound appealing. Her family being in her house had been a comfort, but now it felt more like an invasion.

“No, I need to be by myself for a while,” Kortney said, hoping to keep her mom from worrying.

“Take your cell phone,” her mom suggested. The circles under her mom’s eyes showed she was tired from fielding all the phone calls Kortney didn’t want to take and from watching her daughter suffer. With the cell phone shoved into the air for her mother to see, Kortney walked out. Even after celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday, Kortney’s mother still treated her like a kid most of the time.

As she walked through the neighborhood down to the beach, the wind caressed her skin. Today’s sky was cloudy and it would probably rain later, but Kortney didn’t care if she was wet from rain or from the ocean. In this moment she didn’t care about anything. Sitting on the edge of an overturned boat she wrapped her arms around her middle and rested her head on her knee. “I don’t understand this. We were planning a life together.” She was surprised when her sandpapery eyes produced more tears. The salty mist off the ocean burned them because they were so irritated. While she used the hem of her old t-shirt and wiped her eyes out, she suddenly felt like she wasn’t alone. When she raised her head off her knee, she saw a boy walking up the rise of the sand. Clad in a long-sleeved swim shirt and longer swim pants, the navy blue suit made his blond hair look even more shocking. He carried his surfboard under his arm and approached her.

“DJ?” she said. Was this him? This guy looked like him, but she wasn’t sure. Days of mourning had muddled her brain.

“I’m Cole. Mind if I sit with you? You look like you could use some company,” he said, and his gaze held a touch of empathy. “You’re Kortney, right?” A small tentative smile played around his mouth as he shoved the end of his board in the soft sand and sat next to her.

He looked a lot like DJ. Tanned skin, muscular build, blond hair from the sun. She nodded, turning her eyes downward not wanting to hear another apology for her loss.

“I know you don’t know me and this is going to sound really weird, but I had a dream about your boyfriend last night.” Kortney stared at him as rage boiled up inside her. His eyes widened and his words rushed out, “Before you get mad, you need to listen first.” Kortney knew the glare she was giving him wasn’t helping his courage, but she didn’t care. Cole waited before he spoke, looking as if he might jump up and run away at any moment. She turned away from him again, but didn’t move off the sand. His body seemed to relax, but he chewed on his bottom lip. “He came to me and told me to find you. He said he wanted to tell you some things he never got to say.”

“Why are you telling me this? It’s not funny!” Kortney stood up and brushed the sand off her legs. She thought about slapping him, but decided to just walk away. Cole stood up to follow her.

“Look, I know this sounds crazy! But this is what I dreamed and I thought it was important enough to tell you.” Cole paused again, “Please, just listen and then I’ll leave you alone.” Kortney turned to face him with her arms across her chest.

“You’ve got one minute,” she said, still glaring at him. Cole swallowed and gave her a short nod. Taking a few steps toward her, he stopped just out of her reach.

“He told me to tell you he loves you and it was his fault he died.” Cole looked up as if he were trying to remember everything. “He said he knew the rips were up, and he said he was stupid to go in the water and he should’ve waited, but he was too arrogant. He lost respect for the waves and it cost him his life.” Kortney’s stare softened as she listened. This guy didn’t know DJ, but she knew DJ’s arrogance when it came to surfing.

“He never thought there was a wave he couldn’t ride,” Kortney said, gazing out into the ocean and rubbing her arms against the misty wind off the surf.

“It wasn’t the wave that got him—it was the rip,” Cole said, as if the details of DJ’s death were public, which they weren’t. “He also knew if I didn’t find you, that you would try to join him. He said he couldn’t deal with it if you killed yourself. He told me to stop you.” Taking a few more steps, Cole timidly stood next to her now.

Kortney knew contemplating suicide crossed her mind more than once since DJ’s death, but she’d pushed the thought down, until today. Today she had decided she would do it. Just walk into the water and take a big gulp and it would all be over. No more hurt, no more pain, no more feeling lonely.

“He thought I was going to kill myself?” Kortney tried to sound as if it were the furthest thing from her mind.

“He knew you were. He told me to stay on the beach today because he thought today would be the day, since his funeral’s tomorrow,” Cole stood by her without touching her. She could feel the warmth off his body when the breeze didn’t carry it away.

“I don’t believe you.” He sounds legit, but there’s just no way. She argued with herself because she wanted to believe him, but her fear stood between them. “Why did you do this for a stranger? You don’t know me and you didn’t know him…why?” Kortney didn’t mean to sound angry, but the thought of DJ, her fiancĂ© coming to a stranger instead of her, made her a little jealous.

“Look, I didn’t ask for this. I asked him the same thing and he said you were too clouded and upset. You’d just think it was a dream instead of reality and you might still do it.” Kortney stood still looking at the ocean. The rhythm of the waves had always given her comfort. Now they seemed dangerous.

“I think I know why he chose me,” Cole said, not looking at her but out into the gray horizon. His voice had turned softer. Kortney turned around to face him to hear his theory. “Because, a year ago, I was you.” His eyes dropped to focus on her. “My fiancĂ© died in a car wreck. She was hit by a drunk driver…and all I wanted to do was die.” Kortney’s chest tightened and for the first time since losing DJ, she thought of someone else’s pain.

Her eyes widened at his words. “I am so sorry.”

Cole nodded. “Thanks.”

They stood in silence for a minute, listening to the waves crashing against the sand. “That’s why he picked me, I think.” Cole’s voice rose over the sound of the waves rolling into the shore. “I’ve been down this road already.”

Kortney nodded. “I want to believe you, but how do I know you’re not just making all this up?” It all seemed too convenient for him to show up on the beach when she was readying herself to end her life.

“Your choice.” He shrugged. “Whether you believe it is entirely up to you. I did what he wanted. I told you everything he said.” Cole should’ve been offended at her suspicions, but he seemed unfazed by them. He turned away from her and walked over to his board yanking it out of the sand and heading back down the beach.

Kortney’s chest tightened with the thought of him leaving. “Cole, wait!” She called, craving his steadying presence. When he turned around, it was DJ’s face she saw. He waved and blew her a kiss.

“I love you, Kort.” DJ’s voice moved over her as soft as the breeze. “But if you choose me, you choose death. Stay with Cole and choose life. I promise I’ll watch over you, but you have to let me go, Kort—please.” Kortney couldn’t believe it. DJ’s face returned to Cole’s when she blinked again.

“Cole!” Kortney called again. Warmth shot through her as if she’d been hit with a wave of warm Gulf water. This time it was Cole’s face she saw. He smiled, one hand leaning against his board. Fear tore through her as she glanced down at her engagement ring with her hand in a fist.

“Baby steps,” she heard him say. She nodded, taking in a huge breath of ocean air. It felt like the first time she’d actually breathed since receiving the phone call that stopped her world from spinning.

She breathed in and out again. Tasting the salty air in her mouth and feeling it travel down her throat reminded her she was still alive. She worked her ring off her hand and examined how it sparkled even under the cloudy sky. Cole stood in the same spot watching and encouraging her with his smile, but he never made a move toward her. She bit her lip and kissed the diamond before throwing it as hard as she could into the waves. “I love you,” she whispered to the churning ocean. Regret seeped into her gut as she second-guessed her decision to throw away her engagement ring.

Cole smiled at her and nodded. “That was brave.”

“I feel like I’ve betrayed him already,” Kortney said, shaking her head. Tears were flowing down her cheeks again, burning her eyes and tightening her throat.

Cole shook his head at her. “No, you haven’t. I’m not sure you can feel it, but I can feel…” He stopped and began waving his hands upward in circles searching for words. “His light…um…like a lightness…like a peaceful feeling.” He smiled, nodding his head. “I think you made him happy just now.” His smile held a great deal of comfort for her. More than she realized until this moment. Maybe Cole’s right, she thought. All she could feel was pain and loss. There was no peace in her heart. The process would take a long time, but she felt like DJ sent Cole to help her move through it.

“Walk with me?” Cole asked. Kortney nodded and took a step toward Cole and then another. Baby steps.

“Choosing life will be a choice you have to make every day,” he said as they started down the beach. “But I did it and I know you can too.” As they continued down the beach and their sets of footprints were beside each other, a third set walked behind them.


Suzanne Payne writes YA Paranormal/Fantasy when she's not teaching Elementary Music. She blogs at Suzanne Payne and tweets: @suzannefpayne. She's a lady with heart and soul and I've truly enjoyed her friendship.

Thanks, Suzanne, for sharing your story with us. <3

Short Story Feature: "Savages" by A.M. Supinger

Today I'm excited to have my cute and talented friend, A.M. Supinger, present a short story for our reading pleasure. Before I get to that, however, I'd like to point out that I'm doing a sort of theme this week. My goal: to illustrate how every writer has their own unique voice. 

I asked two of my friends to come up with a short story using the same pic prompt:    
Photo By Kr. B.

It has been a real pleasure getting to read their stories and seeing how different they are from each other.

And now, without further ado, I present to you:

By A.M. Supinger

Falling off the tower hurt, but then, it was supposed to. That was the whole point of exiling someone: to punish them.
Kimber didn’t try to move. Her legs might be broken, or her back. Rock scraped against her whole body, but she barely noticed. Even when rock-bugs emerged from crevices near her she didn’t care. She hadn’t screamed as she’d dropped twenty feet because she’d known it wouldn’t do her any good. She could have died and it wouldn’t have mattered.
The savages would get her if the rock-bugs left anything for them to find. They’d savor her flesh like the disgusting creatures munching on her now, if the stories were true. Running wouldn’t save her, even if her legs worked. Pleading was out of the question.
She’d never beg for anything ever again.
A flame appeared on the parapet above her, and then grew larger. It hit the rock and bounced, sparks flinging out over her prone body. The heat sent the bugs back into their holes, but she didn’t relish it. All she wanted was peace, and if that came from the pinchers of vermin – well, better that than her alternatives.
The crunch of rock beneath a foot made her flinch. They were coming. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply but her skin still rippled with fear-bumps as hands gripped her arms and yanked, pulling her upward. She felt the savage hoist her over its shoulder and she let herself hang limply while she was carried away from her home.
The forest swallowed them in minutes, and Castle Kingdom was truly gone. She’d never see it again. The savage carrying her walked smoothly, pacing through the underbrush like it didn’t exist. Kimber let her eyes close and hardly felt her bruised and aching limbs begin to sway more naturally around her.
Her thoughts swirled. She saw Den’s face, his kind eyes and smiling mouth, as though he was right before her; but Auges pushed Den aside and sneered at her, like he had since she’d become a woman. His eyes held lust and hatred, for she’d chosen Den over him. Her father stood in the background, his pleased smile sending hurt and pain spiraling through her. She’d told him that Auges was cruel, and that he hit her when no one else was around to see, but no one believed her…except Den.
She was falling again. A grunt rushed out of her as hard ground met her already bruised body. She blinked groggily, but grit and pain kept her eyes mostly closed. Guttural voices talked above her, and she listened for any words she recognized, but the savages grunted more than spoke, and she gave up.
When she was hoisted back on a brutes shoulder, she closed her eyes again. This time they barely moved. In just a few short steps she was deposited back on the ground.
Past caring, Kimber let Den’s face swim back into her mind. Soft hands prodded her, but sweet brown eyes let her ignore her fear and the fingers crawling over every bruise she’d accumulated. Drums thrummed somewhere, and their rhythmic pace helped her embrace darkness.
The last thing – the absolute last thing – that she expected to wake up to was a warm bed and the smell of bacon.  Her ribs ached as she sat up, but her stomach growled and she looked hesitantly around for food. She kept her movements quiet, lest some savage burst in and find her awake.
A plate of bacon and eggs was steaming on a tray near the foot of her bed, and she snatched quick bites. One of her hands overflowed with eggs, the other with bacon, when a woman walked in.
“I see you’ve found the food.” A smiled creased her face. “I’m Urona. I was exiled from Castle Kingdom too, long ago.”
“But…you’re alive.” Kimber clenched the food she was holding tightly in disbelief and gooey eggs squelched free to plop back onto the plate.
“Indeed.” Urona eyed the eggs and then reached into her apron, and pulled out a napkin. “Here. Clean your hands. This isn’t your last meal, though I can guess that’s what you thought.”
Kimber took the clean square of cloth and mumbled her thanks. “I don’t understand.”
“It’s simple, really. The people in the forest aren’t savages.”
That truth was hard to accept. Kimber talked with Urona for hours, and was led through the small village where she’d been brought. The people didn’t live in a castle, but they didn’t live in squalor either. Small huts and houses were bunched together around communal buildings, where market stalls and a council convened.
It was astonishing, this place. She’d never seen so many people living together peacefully. In Castle kingdom, feud-fighting was a daily event.
She was allowed to roam the village, but had promised not to go back to Castle Kingdom. Not that she wanted to. But seeing so many happy people was hard – it went against everything she believed in and she took long walks in the forest to clear her thoughts. She found the tall trees peaceful, though her father had long told her that such monstrosities should be burned to keep forest sprites from fouling the world. Not once did a sprite show itself.
Paths crisscrossed the forest, and Kimber aimlessly followed one after another, never afraid of becoming lost. Villagers traveled the forest continually and would help her if she needed it. Moisture clung to the air on one path, and curiosity led her down it. Sand soon covered the dirt, and the trees thinned. A roaring sound blanketed all the other forest noises, and Kimber hurried to discover where she was going.
It was a beach. She’d read about them, but she’d never thought that Castle Kingdom was so close to one! Never had she expected or hoped to see one for herself!
Gray-blue waves rushed onto the shore and sunlight burned into the sand. Three boats were tipped upside down near the forest’s edge, and she sank down next to one, her back pressed to its peeling paint.
Unexpectedly, tears assaulted her eyes. She hadn’t cried once since being shoved off Castle Kingdom’s wall – by her own father’s order – but now she couldn’t stop. Great sobs kept her lungs heaving and air only made her heart hurt worse. Nothing seemed to ease her pain but the salt dribbling down her face to mingle in the sand. Her arms coiled around her stomach and her throat burned with loud cries.
“Stop it!” She clutched herself tighter and felt her heart break. That was Den’s voice – but Den was back home. Her father had thrown Den into a mine, to slave at chipping coal from the caves. Her mind was cruel to play such tricks.
“Why are you crying, love?” The voice sounded real. “Tell me, what can I do? How can I help?”
Kimber let her tired eyes flutter open, and her lashes flicked off salt and sand. “You aren’t real. You can’t be.” A fresh sob left her breathless. “My father…he vowed to make you work until you were old and crippled.”
“He tried.” This vision, her mind’s trick, pulled up his shirt to reveal welts and wounds interlacing all across his torso. “But I refused to work after the news that you had been exiled filtered into the mines. I thought I was slaving to spare you punishment.” He let the shirt drop back down. “Refusing to work got me exiled too.”
“They were going to give me to Auges. I couldn’t live with that, not after what we’d had.” The words were stones in her mouth. She had loved him so much.
“We can have that again, Kimber. We can have it here.”
“But you’re not real.”
“I am very real.” He reached out and gripped her fingers. His skin was warm and rough, and she gasped.
“I can’t believe it…this is…”
No other words found their way out of her. His lips made sure of that.

A.M. Supinger keeps a wonderfully dreamy blog at Inner Owlet, where she writes about stories based on her dreams. (Yes, her dreams.) Follow her for your fill of fantastical and magical realms of mermaids, selkies, and sea monsters. (Occasionally, she has stories that doesn't involve the ocean, but I do believe she was a mermaid in her past life. :-D ) She can also be found on Twitter: @AMSupinger.   

Come back this Friday for the next short story feature by Suzanne Payne.

If you want your short story featured here on my blog, email me at writercherie AT gmail DOT com.

My Short Story Has Been Published!

Hello Monday! {I know this is late, but it's still technically Monday, so there you go.}

I am sorry I don't have a funny for you today, but I have better news: My short story "The Stone House" is now up at Hogglepot.com! And it's going to stay up there for a whole ENTIRE week (July 24th-July 30th). SQUEE!!!

Hogglepot is a weekly fantasy journal that features short fiction with magical or fantastical elements. The best thing about Hogglepot is the fact that they will donate all proceeds from purchases of their quarterly issues to Reading is Fundamental, a literacy charity that supplies books to underprivileged children in the US. How awesome is that!

You can follow Hogglepot on Twitter: @thehogglepotpig
Like them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/HogglepotJournal

I'm always all for supporting anyone who is an advocate of literacy and providing books for children to foster their love of reading.

On a different note, Chapter 8 of the Skeleton Key blogvel is up at Jennifer Merritt's The Demeter Diaries. Check it out!

Beware the Bunny: My Contest Entry

Photo by Michelle Simkins
Today I'm shaking things up. I don't normally blog on Sundays but I needed to post my entry for Michelle Simkins' Give Me Your Cute Evil Longing to Eat Brains contest. The prize: a rather scary but adorable zombunny named Ryan that she knitted herself.

The competition is VERY fierce, and I know a few participants who would be more than willing to bonk me and others in the head just to win the yarn zombunny. *coughJustincough* I wasn't going to participate, but alas, the brain had a lightbulb moment last Saturday, and I spent the afternoon sketching and concocting a short story to go with the drawings. So here ya go, and if you like it enough (and if I get to be a finalist), don't forget to vote for me. ;)

Warning: Something cute and evil is afoot. Proceed with caution.

She was the girl who used to laugh. Nose crinkling, eyes squinting, the laughter bubbling inside her throat. He loved the sound of her voice, even back then when they would play tag, running around long grass and rocky stones, their feet bare and filthy. He remembered her hair, black as midnight and cropped short like a boy, catching sunlight and sticky burrs in the field behind his house. He remembered because there is nothing left of the friend he once knew, but her shell. Alabaster skin, the curves of a sixteen-year-old, and the face of a stranger. Her hair had gone silver in places, as if it was a dye job gone awry.

He watched her from his bedroom window, his fingers gripping the folds of the curtain, afraid she would look up and see him. He'd known what to expect; it was clockwork this unusual habit of hers, wandering down the street until she'd reach the bench near the cemetery. There she would sit as if waiting for someone. Her back rigid against the chapel wall, her fingers would touch the scarf on her neck intermittently. Once or twice, he'd thought of coming down the stairs and out the door to...do what? Sit with her out in the evening cold? Talk as if years of silence had never separated them?

The moon came out of hiding, illuminating her face. He caught his breath.

A creature stirred from the shadows, its coat of snowy fur glistening in the moonlight. He squinted through the glass pane, trying to get a better look. The thing hopped into the girl's arms and nestled its head against her neck.

Ache and longing twisted in his gut. He wanted to reach her, touch her. He craved the smell of her skin, the scent of childhood and innocent love. To bring back what they had before.

The stairway seemed endless, and the halls were quiet except for the gentle snores of his father who had fallen asleep in the living room couch. The door did not creak as he pulled it open. He crossed the street in hurried strides.

The creature started at his approach. It jumped down from her lap and onto the muddy ground, peering at him with large, soft eyes. A bunny. He stifled a laugh at his silliness, at his envy.

"You must leave us," she whispered, her voice brittle with fear. Her eyes widened, and now that he was near her, he could see how red and puffy they were, as if she'd spent hours crying. "Go now."

"Selene, I...I'm sorry. I just wanted to see you."

The bunny wiggled its nose and hopped an inch closer toward his feet. He smiled and crouched down, reaching out a hand to pet the animal. "Hey, little guy. You're cute. Whatcha up to? Are you hungry?"

"No! Stay away from him," she yelled, though she didn't move from the bench.

"I won't hurt him. Look, I'm harmless. Really. Do you remember when we used to feed the goats at the petting zoo? We used to have so much fun together."

She pressed her palm to the side of her neck, as if making sure her woolen scarf was staying put. "The past is gone, Ryan. You don't understand. You must leave now."

He stood up, hurt coursing through his veins. "Okay, I get the message." She turned her head away and sighed. A drop of blood slithered down her shoulder.

"What--" he began to say, but the bunny hopped around his legs, begging for attention. "Not now, little guy." He gave it a gentle kick.

"You shouldn't have done that. You shouldn't have--" Selene stopped, her trembling hand covering her mouth. Behind her, a shadow grew and loomed, stretching, taking shape.

"The hell," he said, his legs frozen in place.

"I was keeping you safe, Ryan. You and everyone else." Tears trailed down her pale cheeks. "You should have listened to me. When I first saw it, I thought it was adorable and I couldn't stay away. I had to come see it, night after night, to gaze upon its beauty.  But it's a monster, a demon, and I was letting it feed off me so it wouldn't hurt anyone...especially the people I love."

Her last words barely registered in his mind, though he did remember the word love. As cruel, sharp nails slashed his skin, he lay on the ground with eyes turned to the girl. Her face glowed in the night. Such beauty and sadness and pain.

"Selene," he whispered, as the monster clamped its jaws over the wound on his neck and began to suck. "Help me."

The girl bit her lips until blood oozed from the tear her teeth made. She pulled a short, silver dagger from her pocket. "I was going to end it tonight...but I couldn't...couldn't hurt it."

"Selene..." Drop by drop, he was wasting away. "You can...do it."

Her eyes widened--dark beautiful eyes--and with a swipe of the dagger, warm sticky blood spurted out, the fountain of life. He exhaled, feeling the monster loosen its bite on him. He gasped. "You did it."

There was no answer. He turned his head an inch, slowly, slowly, toward the sight of the limp body lying prone on the bench, an ugly red gash smiling over where the throat should have been. The monster, lured by this fresh offering, left him. When it had its fill, it shrank back and resumed its former appearance.

His fingers clawed the dirt until he found the dagger. The bunny sniffed the air, and with timid steps approached him. It stood on its hind legs and regarded him through round, soft eyes. He raised the dagger and dropped it.

"Come here, little guy. It's okay. I'll take care of you."



Friday Musing: Guest Post by Dean C. Rich

One of the best things about blogging is finding new friends and eventually roping them into guest posting for me. Hehe.  =)

Last week I had the pleasure of being a guest over at Dean C. Rich's blog The Write Time. Today, we get the honor of having him as our guest blogger. Dean is your classic nice guy. He hangs out at AQConnect where he is constantly helping out writers in distress. ;) His blog, The Write Time, touches on writing and time management tips. Which is awesome. 'Cause seriously, we all need to learn how to manage time, right? And with us writers, time is always slipping through our fingers. (For instance, I thought it would only take me less than 5 minutes to write this paragraph. Ah, no. It's taken me 10 because I kept scrolling down my Twitter feed. *headsmack*) So go pay him a visit when you have a chance. ;)

I've said this before and I'll say it again: Writing is no longer a solitary endeavor. True you still need to write the whole darn thing by YOURSELF, but the journey can be taken in a double-decker ala Harry Potter's Knight Bus with fellow writers there to virtually pat you on the back when you're feeling slightly greenish. Anyway, Dean's here to share his own writing experience. I'm shunting myself off to a corner now.... Enjoy! ;)

The end of February I had a rare free day.  So I went back to the agent query to see if I could narrow down a list of agents that would represent my genre.  Then I saw a link for writers.  I clicked on the link and that changed everything.

The link took me to Agent Query Connect.  I joined and posted.  I got some great replies to my posts.  Friendly folks.  I joined some online Wednesday night chats and learned a ton of things. 

Suddenly I was no longer a lone writer doing research at the library and asking family and friends to help me.  I became a member of a community of writers willing to share and help each other.  As I participated in the forums, I’ve learned so much.  They introduced me to blogging and twitter.  Again my friends at AQC helped get me off the ground.

Now I find myself in a larger community.  I’ve made friends that I wouldn’t have known.  My manuscript is so much better now than it was.  I’ve a query letter that I am willing to send out.  I have a confidence to do more with my writing now. 

You cannot write in a vacuum and be successful.  There is so much going on in the writing community right now.  There are more choices for a writer now that weren’t even around a few years ago.  I learned all of this just by clicking on that link a few months ago.  I just wish I would have found the link years ago.


Thank you, Dean! By the way, you can also follow him on twitter: @DeanCRich.


It's easy to feel we're never good enough. It's easier to beat ourselves up instead of patting ourselves in the back. For all of you going through hard times in your life--whether it's with your writing, your personal life, your career, whatever--I want you to know that we all have individual worth. We all have something special inside of us, something that no one else can own because it is ours and ours alone.

When life kicks you down in the gutters, when you think no one cares, look inside you. You care. We all do.

 My writer friend Jen was going through a writing funk yesterday and I just really, really wanted her to know that she is NOT inadequate. So I promised her a song, and here it is. For her, for me, for you...

song and lyrics by Anna Nalick

Oh the night, makes you a star
And it holds you cold in its arms
You're the one to whom nobody verses I love you
Unless you say it first

So you lie there, holding your breath
And it's strange how soon you forget
That you're like STARS
They only show up when it's dark
'Cause they don't know their worth.

And I think you need to stop following misery's lead
Shine away, shine away, shine away
Isn't it time you got over how fragile you are
We're all wait--
Waiting on your SUPERNOVA
'Cause that's who you are
And you've only BEGUN TO SHINE.

There are times when the poets and porn stars align and
You won't know who to believe in
Well that's a good time to be leavin'
And the past knocks on your door
And throws stones at your window at 4 in the morning
Well, maybe he thinks it's romantic
He's crazy but you knew that before

And I think you need to stop following misery's lead
Shine away, shine away, shine away
Isn't it time you got over how fragile you are
We're all waiting,
Waiting on your SUPERNOVA
'Cause that's who you are
And you've only begun to shine...

...Won't you shine, shine, shine, SHINE OVER SHADOW...

Perspective: Writers vs. Readers

As a writer, we all know it's our job to untangle words, re-invent them, and string them together to create a story. But the story started in our heads first, a lovely vision of painted scenes, heroic characters, and emotions. Much like an artist takes out his easel and paintbrush to capture the image before him, we take out our pen and paper (or our trusty Word doc) to transfer the story from our brains into paragraphs so that others may read of our brilliant inventions.

Most of the time we succeed, and it's a glorious feeling to have someone read our work and say, "Yes, I understand completely what is going on, or what you're saying here." Bravo! Pat yourself on the back. That is all very well, and if you find yourself having this kind of success in your writing career, you can stop reading here.

But for us struggling few, perceptions vary between ourselves and the audience we aim to please--our readers. The story is fresh and vibrant in our minds, so real we could almost touch it, taste it. However, when we deliver it to our readers--say, our crit pals, or crit groups--questions begin to rise: Why is Character Schmuck saying that to Character Schmick? What do you mean by this line? Where are we supposed to be? Whose crummy head are we in? What's for dinner?...oh wait, sorry, that last one was from my little boy. And we find ourselves EXPLAINING our story away.

I always say: when I have to explain something in my work, it means I didn't do my job as a writer. The writing should explain for itself. Always. If something isn't clear and is confusing my readers, then it means I need to look at that particular passage and consider rewriting.

Our vision may be grand and beautiful, but if we can't properly paint it for the masses then we're not utilizing our full potential...or at least the potential of the story. I know perception can vary from one reader to another, but the context of your novel should be coherent enough that it doesn't stop a reader cold in the middle of the plot.

As a writer, your job is to build that bridge between your pretty vision (the one dancing in your head) and the reader's eyes. Let it connect. Patch up plot holes. Give your characters backbone. Tighten your prose. And edit, edit, edit.

You don't want your readers to tread on this, do you?


Monday Funnies and Chapter 7 of "Skeleton Key" blogvel

Hello Monday!

Chapter 7 of the Round Robin Blogvel is up at Kacimari's Hey Now. If you want to follow along, check out the other chapters in the Table of Contents section.

I found the (worst most brilliant funniest) analogies written in a high school essay while surfing the net last week. I'm posting a few of my personal favorites. To see the rest, check out When Bad Writing Becomes Funny compiled by Macarray.


"She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again."
--Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station

"McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup."
--Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring

"Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze."
--Chuck Smith, Woodbridge

Have a great day, everyone!

Poetry Schmoetry Link, Blog Challenge Update, and Snape!

If by chance you wandered here looking for Shelly Brown's POETRY SCHMOETRY BLOGFEST, you can find my poem entry here.

Now for an UPDATE on my Blogger challenge (and the state of my brain after reading 200+ blogs):

I'm happy to say that I did it! Finished, done, with minimal damage and no throwing up. =) I'm fairly positive I got all of you. I went through every blog showing up on my Google Reader and I even used the iPhone app Byline (an RSS feeder) to keep track when I wasn't using my desktop (which was 85% of the time).

So you ask, And what are we supposed to learn from this madness? Are we to think you are fond of inflicting pain upon yourself?

Heavens, no. First off, it was done in fun and to show that I do read the blogs I follow, even if I don't get to all of them every day. Secondly, I learned that captcha/word verifications can be really annoying sometimes. Especially when the made-up word is hard to read. And third, mobile blog versions suck, because as soon as I push Post Comment or Publish, it takes me to the Web version and my comment is MIA and I have to do the darn thing all over again.

I also found a few "dead" blogs--I couldn't see their RSS feed, or sometimes, Google Reader would tell me that they can't open the URL (meaning, it has been deleted or discontinued).

The best part of the challenge was getting to read your wonderful posts and seeing familiar faces. It was like meeting an old friend in a cafe by accident, and thinking, "Hey, I remember you. It's been a while, but it's good to see you."

So, that is that. I don't think I'll be doing any crazy challenges anytime soon. But I'll be sure to keep up with you fellow bloggers every once in a while.

On another, entirely different note, I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 yesterday. I'm telling you it is EPIC. Really well done. Go see it if you haven't yet.

Have a great weekend, everyone! In honor of HP, I leave you with this video (my kids' favorite, and the song is catchy, so check it out!):

Just a Quick Hello!

If you're looking for my poetry entry for Shelly Brown's Poetry Schmoetry blogfest, click here.

Today, I am a guest blogger at Dean C. Rich's The Write Time, where I babble about finding time to write in between household chores, calls for apple juice drinks and sweet snacks, and why the heck do I subject myself to the lunacy of being a "writer mom". Please come by and visit!

I know I haven't been online much these past few days, but I gave myself a challenge today (since I AM a lunatic) to visit and comment on all of your blogs (the ones that are in my Google Reader, not every blog in the blogosphere!). I give myself 24 hours to do this (*crazy lady alert*), so if I'm following you that means you're getting a comment from me between right now and tomorrow by the same time. If I don't make it...well, let's hope I make it.

Have a great day, my wonderful friends! Thank you for the all the comments you guys have left me here. Know that I've read them all and I truly appreciate them with all my heart. <3

New Author Crush: Brenna Yovanoff and her debut novel "The Replacement"

I was at the library three weeks ago when I realized I had room for two more books to borrow (the kiddos always grab their books first, and get this: They don't borrow just 3 or 4 books, they hog our reading list and always go for an insane number of books, say 15 or 20. If I'm not quick enough, I don't get a book for myself. It's like Battle of the Library Books, or something.) So I quickly sent out an SOS signal to my twitter friends, and let me just say they delivered with a deluge of book recommendations. (Warning: Don't do this if you're holding a book bag that weighs a ton, and keeping track of your wandering toddler at the same time)

While the recommends all sounded drool-worthy, my local library is small (and cozy!) and has a limited array of books. Most of the time I have to put books on hold or transfer requests, but at that moment, I needed a book right out of the shelf. Hail Michelle Simkins for telling me to pick up Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement (hail the libray YA Section for having it.)

First off, the cover is just freakin' fabulous! Don't you agree? Ok, so my tastes are a little bit on the dark, morbid side, but it IS an attention-getter. C'mon, look at it!

The Replacement

I love cool covers! They make me excited about  reading the book. Before I gush some more, here's the blurb from Goodreads:

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.


About the Author:

Brenna Yovanoff is a YA author who's good at soccer, violent video games, and making flaky pie crusts. The Replacement was her bestselling debut novel, and her second novel The Space Between is coming out this November! Check out her website here and blog here.

Why I Recommend:

Yovanoff's writing has a haunting feel to it, which I absolutely adore. Yes, I'm all for strange tales that leave me feeling otherworldly. The setting, the atmosphere, and the characters all contribute to this gothic world of deadly town secrets and raw hidden power.

Mackie Doyle is a sort of anti-hero--he doesn't belong in the human world and yet, he must go after his own kind to protect those who would readily persecute him for being different (a changeling). He is a Replacement who survived and thrived through his sister's loving care. I love this angle of a sibling relationship: Emma, Mackie's older sister, truly loves him as her own brother, despite the fact that it was Emma who first knew and saw him for what he was.

The town Gentry is steeped in fear and an age-old secret: the townfolks are willing to look away as their babies are swapped for 'others' and unnatural deaths happen every seven years, in exchange for a thriving economy. But even so, Mackie knows not to stand out--a town walking on a fragile tightrope could easily use him as a scapegoat to vent their distrust and frustration.

So when a young girl dies, Tate's little sister, Mackie becomes even more vigilant, though not vigilant enough when he forgots about the blood drive at school. Blood=iron=definitely no-no. And when Tate starts bugging him to talk to her, that is, talk about how he's different, Mackie refuses to discuss it. But that's exactly how Gentry is, everyone refuses to talk about such things...except Tate. Fiery, no-nonsense Tate who wants answers right now. (She bugged me at first, but I have a lot of respect for Tate and her courage to speak up when no one else would. So I ended up liking her a lot.)

The House of Mayhem and the descriptions of the Slag Heaps and their inhabitants are downright spooky-scary. Although Yovanoff doesn't give these creatures a name, you can tell they are from the dark side of the Fae--"dark side" meaning not your regular, pretty Tinkerbell-like faeries. What I love about Yovanoff's portrayal of these creatures is that in their ugliness, there is beauty. Despite their seemingly cruel nature, there lies an intricate need for love and acceptance. It is a precarious balance.

I truly enjoyed The Replacement for its intrigue, its complex protagonist, and for its wonderfully haunting and eerie atmosphere. As always, I leave you with my recommendation disclaimer: Taste in books are subjective, as are opinions. If you, like me, are into dark fantasy or horror books, you will most likely enjoy this as much as I did. If this is not your thing, check out my other Book Recommendations. I can't guarantee you'll find something you'll like since at the moment, it is rather bare, but I will be posting more in the future with hopefully, a more varied selection.

Thanks for reading! If there's a book you'd like to share and recommend to me, please do so. I love finding new books to read. Up next will be Ally Condie's CROSSED, the sequel to her debut novel, MATCHED.

Poetry Schmoetry And Chapter 6 of "Skeleton Key" Blogvel

Hello Monday!

First order of business we have today: the Round Robin Blogvel (blog novel) Skeleton Key Chapter 6 by the infamous Jenny Phresh of The Party Pony is up! If you want to follow the progress of this blogvel making its rounds among notable bloggers (who were crazy enough to sign up, and amazing enough to make it work), go to the Table of Contents to read the previous chapters.

Up next is the Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest hosted by the beautiful Shelly Brown of Writing with Shelly. All I'm supposed to do is post a poem of my own making, though Shelly is flexible as to what constitutes a poem (no poem snubbing here!). So if your inner poet is dying to come out, join the fun! There are also fabulous prizes and whatnot.

Here is my offering for the blogfest. Disclaimer: I'm not a poet. But I try anyway. ;)

Hello is not enough.
A heart unwoven,
its stitches torn asunder.
Tiny daggers driven into its core.
Unheard weeping,
Quiet sighing,
secrets folding in,
tucked out of sight.

Hello is not enough.

By Kr. B.

Check out the other participants by clicking on the picture. Enjoy and have a great day, my lovely peeps!

The Goat Says "Me-Me"

I've been tagged! So many times I feel like a fish hooked, reeled in, released to the waves, only to be hooked again. But the taggers are my best buds so I don't complain...though I came close to listing their names under the meme Q: If you could push a person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

Okay, I tease. I'm not capable of pushing anybody off cliffs 'cause heights make my hands clammy.

I've been procrastinating doing these memes (there are THREE versions! Holy Batman goodness! I'm glad the rookieriter and marewolf did not tag me for their own wacky versions. I might have a seizure.) I mean, who comes up with these questions? Seriously. It reminds me of those little *autograph notebooks they used to pass around my class in grade school. No? You've never heard of those? Ahhh, I feel for your deprivation of puberty-induced-maniacal-QandA's. It's like that Confidential Sex Questionnaire in Sixteen Candles, only for younger minds and less sexual. (Yes! I watched Sixteen Candles. Finally. After much jabbing and threats to be booty-kicked off SOMEONE'S underpaid fan club.)

Anyway, I thought I'd be fine, ya know. I mean, how hard can it be to answer a few kooky questions, right? WRONG! 'Cause the PARTY PONY decided to shake things up and invent her own just-as-maniacal meme.

So now, here I am, wilting under the heat and PRESSURE to come up with answers. Do you really, REALLY want to know when was the last time I ate CHICKEN MEAT? (That was one of the meme Q's.) If you do, well, it was last night. I marinated some chicken breasts, grilled them, dashed teriyaki sauce and served it alongside white rice, cucumber salad, and creamy spicy cole slaw.

Oh, pfftshaw! Look what you made me do! Hooked again.

Okay, I better get started on this or else I'll never see tomorrow. Warning: Mishmash of memes coming right up.

1. Are you a HOT rutabaga? Describe yourself in two words.

Yes! HOT Rutabaga. (FYI, in my past life, I was once a lowly salamander. Then I got an upgrade!)

2. When was the last time you ate lion meat?

Um, during the last full moon. You may have seen me dashed past your house since I sparkle in the moonlight.You thought you were dreaming, but no. Oh no. *licks lips*


3. Upload a heartwarming picture that makes you smile.

4. What songs would be playing when you go back in time to beat the crap out of someone, and who, may I ask, would be this someone unfortunate enough to be in your time traveling dimensional line?

Don't know if there's such a thing as a time-travel dimensional line, but I would totally kick Jujyfruit Assbat for harassing Jenny Phresh, and Brendan Tankersly for calling Mary Frame "four-eyes". Also, I think I would hunt down the klepto who stole my weekly allowance in high school, depriving me of the opportunity to indulge in Snickers bars while cramming for my exams. You know who you are! (You better know who you are, 'cause I don't.) And the songs playing would be:

"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves (just the chorus line for when I get hold of them)
"Rock On" by Def Leppard (for when I'm kicking their sorry butts)
"Thank You" by Dido (for when I'm wiping my hands on my jeans and walking away)
*fade music as I exit*

5. Name one habit you want to change in yourself because it makes people plot your demise.

Wha..?!? Don't you know I'm perfect? [ <---That. Right. There. LOL!]

6. How many goats, stacked atop one another like Yertle's Turtles, would it take to reach the moon?

Only one. If you have Mr. Tumnus pictured above, you'll be soaring toward the moon.

7. Describe the people who tagged you in obscure Latin words.

Carissa Elg = Lorem Ipsum Rockeruslady
Anita Howard = Lorem Ipsum Sweetascakey
Michelle Simkins = Lorem Ipsum Queenushashtagus
A.M. Supinger = Lorem Ipsum Dreamusgal
Dean C. Rich = Lorem Ipsum Coolesdude
Jenny Phresh = Lorem Ipsum Insanitus Manicgoatnum

8. Where da muffin top at?

I gave it to this woman: (the one in blue with the pretty eyes and arched eyebrow.)

9. Do you have nicknames?

After this post, I think I would garner a few more. To date, I've been dubbed the following:

Sneaky McSparklyPants or was it Sparkly McSneakyPants
Goat Girl
Goddess of Bumpits
Sparkly Vegetarian Vampire

This is Twitter's fault, my friend. I assure you I'm quite sane in real life. Sometimes. Mwahahaha!

10. What the fudge were you thinking as you were doing this?

My mother reads my blog.

Tag as many people as you want. (Oh, yeah, so I can pass on the craziness.)

#1 Mandie Baxter
#2 Eli Ashpence
#3 Jennie Bennett
#4 Sean Thomas Fisher
#5 Kalen O'Donnell

Pick a funky nickname for #1: Er...SheWhoRocksTheGlasses?? Yeah, Mandie, you do look cute in your glasses. I think my brain is spent and I can't think of a funky appropriate nickname. Be glad for it. :D

Write a rhyme for #2: Eli Ashpence, you
                                 Rock the world, too.
                                 I don't know what would
                                 Rhyme with Ashpence, could
                                 you say that I stink,
                                 and not waste more ink?

Leave a lovey-dovey message for #3: Jennie, you wonderful girl, you! My heart thrums with anticipation whenever I see in my Google Reader that you have a blogpost up. ;)

Where would #4 hide in the event of an apocalypse? Um, I think you'll find Sean out in the cornfields armed with Woolite as he waits for the zombies to show up.

#5 dreams about... dancing in the moonlight. He is sparkly, like me. ;)

Owowow...my brain hurts. That was one seriously loooong meme. If you my lovely taggees want the semi-sane version of these memes, click here. Otherwise, go crazy!

*autograph notebooks: No, they're not like those ones at DisneyWorld where you try to track down the elusive Disney characters and have them sign their names on a notebook that costs half-a-day wage for the lowly worker. And when did chipmunks learn how to write? Is there chipmunk school for critters (who are bigger and taller than yourself, may I ask?) I digress. These autograh notebooks smell like week-old car air fresheners, with flowery stationery paper, and have scintillating questions such as: Who is your crush? Who is your best friend? Leave a message for the notebook owner. Attach a photo of yourself if you're so inclined. Blah, blah, blah.


Did you miss me? Teehee. =D

The vacay was absolutely FUN and relaxing. Zero writing done, of course, but the break gave me a chance to recharge my writerly batteries and now I'm happy to be home and get back into the nitty-gritty work of word-pumping.

But before I can hunker down in my cave and dive into my WIP, I have some business to attend to, namely: A blog award, and an opportunity to brag (yes, BRAG as in, I WON something and I'm so excited and though I don't usually toot my own horn, just this once I will and you are allowed to be sick of me for one day. That is all.)

So. Here we go. Apparently, someone thought I was cute enough to win an award. Christine Tyler of The Writer Coaster is a new blogger friend, and she was nice enough to hand me the Seriously Cute Blogger Award.

Seriously. Cute. Puppy!

Thanks, Christine! It's great to meet you through the blogosphere.

You all should pay Christine a visit because she's one cute gal herself, and her blog is witty and funny!

I'm supposed to list down 5 books/films/TV shows I've read or watched in the last 12 months. I'm good with sharing so here's my list:

1. TV

Chopped! No, really. I love Food Network's CHOPPED. (The fact that my fave TV program is in the FOOD channel, what does that say about me? Haha!) It is brilliant. And the suspense! Can the chefs come up with a delectable appetizer in under 20 minutes using strange ingredients from their basket? Last night it was quahogs, napoli (Mexican cactus), kettle chips, red miso, and persimmons. Whoa, you say. Yes, indeedy. This show is like a bloody battle done in so little time. They start off with 4 chefs, and after each course, one gets chopped and sent packing. The winner gets $10,000.


#1:   I've watched too many movies during our vacation. But let me rewind to last month when I saw SUPER 8. I went in not knowing what it was about. There was much hype, the trailers didn't reveal anything, and I kept bugging the hubster to tell me what it was about (like he would know or something. Haha, no he didn't. We were both clueless.) I won't tell you either, in case you haven't seen it. Let's just say I enjoyed it. It was like Goonies meets E.T. meets Sandlot. The kids in this movie are so cute I could've adopted them all. ;)

X-Men First Class - poster

#2:   X-Men: First Class. Um, yeaahh. Hubs and I were keeping in with *tradition. So we sat through it. Entertaining, yes. But the whole X-Men-save-the-Cuban-missile-crisis is a bit farfetched, even for this Fantasy writer.


#1:   The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. You'll just have to wait for my review coming up soon. ;) (Thanks to the lovely Michelle Simkins who recommended this to me when I was in the library looking for something to read.)

The Replacement

#2:   Crossed by Ally Condie. This is the sequel to Matched by the same author. I'm currently reading it and once I'm done, I'll post a review too. Shout-out to Jenny Phresh whose hand picked my name out of her sparkly fez and mailed me this prize. Thanks, Jenny! I'm lovin' it.

I would LOVE to tag all of you, so if you absolutely and really, really, really want that cute puppy in your sidebar, go get it! It's yours. Still, I'm going to tag these people so I can FORCE them to take the award ('cause if I don't, they won't take it.)

1. Bethany C. of RookieRiter. She is my lovely Shakira soul sistah (did you see her hair? I'm crushing on her hair.) And better yet, she just got herself an agent! Yes, she's cool like that.

2. A.M. Supinger of Inner Owlet. Go look at her Twitter pic. She's seriously CUTE. And this gal CAN write.

3. Suzanne F. Payne. From one hottie to another, right Suzanne? {it's an inside joke we share.}

4. T.S. Welti. This rockin' chick is superwoman in my book. I adore her. And you should too. Her MG book, The Fifth Specter, is out! I can't wait to read it. ;)

5. Mary Frame of It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets An Agent (wow, what a mouthful!). I love this gal. She is smart and funny and pretty. Check out her blog for great writing tips.

6. Jenny Phresh of The Party Pony. I worship her sneakers (even when they've stepped on goat poo). This chica is lovely in green. When she writes, she makes me laugh or cry or both. Seriously. You're missing out if you're not following her.

7. Michelle Simkins of Greenwoman. How could I not tag my lovely queen? Yes, I'm her minion and proud of it.

8. Anita Howard of A Still and Quiet Madness. My lovely, sparkly, talented friend. She's what I aspire to be.

Okay, lovely ladies, grab the award and spread the cuteness.

And now. I present to you my bragging rights on Michelle Simkins' Stone House Writing Prompt contest. Click here to read my winning short fiction piece.

I wish you all a good day! If you have any news to share, please. Go ahead and let us know. We'll celebrate with you! ;) 

I forgot to add this:
*tradition: I loved the X-Men comics as a kid. So everytime an X-Men movie comes out, my hubster takes me to see it (even though he doesn't care for the X-Men; that's how awesome he is!).

Monday Funnies and Fireworks!

Hello Monday!

Before I forget, check out Chapter 5 of the Skeleton Key Round Robin Blogvel, brought to you by Creativity Rebellion.

And now...fireworks!

Photo By bayasaa
Aren't they pretty? They look like flowers. Happy Fourth of July, everyone! May you enjoy this day with your family, friends, and fellow Americans.

Here's the funny for today:

By Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Research: It Can Be Fun If You Know Where To Look

As a writer, we are constantly told to "write what we know". I have a habit of tossing out such advices because if I were to write ONLY what I KNOW, then in the grand scheme of the universe (which is very GRAND indeed), the extent of my knowledge would be smaller than a quark.

And what the heck is Google for anyway?

So. RESEARCH. A writer's semi-bestfriend. Or maybe it's our frenemy, I'm not sure. Anyway, here we are, flushed from the adrenaline of a new sparkling and uber-shiny IDEA, and we let our thumbs and fingers fly on the keyboard...tap, tap, tap. We're practically bouncing off our seats--this is going to be the best book ever! Eat your heart out, JK Rowling--when suddenly. SUDDENLY. We realize we have NO idea how to kill off a manticore-dragon hybrid. Okay, maybe no one does except JK Rowling if we let her.

Let's try that again. So, you're writing, writing, then WHACK! The next scene calls for medical expertise, and though you were very handy with the scalpel and the dead frog in high school, you have no idea what your teenage vampire-werewolf hybrid/superhero should do when his human girlfriend suffers from a heat stroke in the middle of the desert because she tried to follow him even when he said to stay away from him since he's mega-dangerous during the new moon. But oh, she just couldn't. Teen angst and all that jazz, ya know.

So you lug down your dusty medical encyclopedia your mom bought for you as a hint, er, gift back when you were still trying to decide what to do with your life (college applications spread out on table next to you). And the adrenaline plummets down. Next thing you know, you are staring at the white screen, and oh, ice cream sounds really good right now.... Click Save, turn power OFF. Goodbye.

Hey, don't go. I'm not done here. Research may get a bad rep because it stops us cold from our euphoric writing high, but it can be fun too. Medical mumbo-jumbo twisting your brain in knots? Check out Lydia Kang's blog The Word Is My Oyster. This chick is a bona fide doctor and an excellent writer. You can even ask her your own medical questions and she will answer them! Yeah, 'cause she's cool like that.

Writing a psychological thriller? Sarah Fine is a practicing child psychologist and talented writer who blogs at The Strangest Situation.  And she's also super awesome because you can ask her your own questions too!

Want to find out about animal behavior? Lisa Ann is your girl--she's a writer, an animal trainer, a zookeeper, an environmental educator. She blogs at Kicked, Cornered, Bitten and Chased. Man, I have the coolest friends. ;)

I've said this before (I think) that GOOGLE is my BFF. When in doubt, Google it. Or else you will find yourself at the end of a reader's rant like this one about faulty research. And yes, Michelle Simkins is called Greenwoman for a reason. She knows her herbs and her plants, so if you're venturing into botanical fields in your ms, go check her blog out!

Here are some other golden finds:

Cosmic Log by MSNBC.com Science Editor Alan Boyle. This one is a mishmash of anything cosmic--from science to space and society. Even Mars and dinosaurs. What I like about this blog is that you see all these articles and they can spark your writerly imagination (New species of sea slugs found? Whoa, that's a story right there. Kraken hybrid, anyone?).

Cocktail Party Physics. Yeah, the blog name alone delivers, doesn't it?

Symmetry Breaking. More on Physics but a whole lot serious than the one above. So this is for you nerds out there. I'm not nerdy enough for this blog. (Plus, I hated Physics in high school. Gahhh!)

Mythical Realm for all things mythical such as magical creatures and legends. Yes, this one's a handy resource for Fantasy writers.

Monstrous.com for the not-so-pretty side of Fantasy.

Sacred Texts An archive of religion, mythology, folklore, and the esoteric.

Going prehistoric? DinoDictionary.com

Ghosts, Aliens, and UFOs. Visit Unknown Explorers.

Is there a site or a blog that you go to in times of writerly needs? Please share with us! We'd love to get educated.

Precy Larkins's books on Goodreads
Winter's Regret: What Might Have Been Winter's Regret: What Might Have Been
reviews: 2
ratings: 4 (avg rating 5.00)



2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Precy has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

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Precy's bookshelf: read

Whispering Minds
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Night of Cake & Puppets
The Fault in Our Stars
The Return of the King
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Last Olympian
The Hundred: Fall of the Wents
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Hunger Games
The Founders' Code
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Two Towers
The Book Thief
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Lost Hero
The Battle of the Labyrinth

Precy Larkins's favorite books »