Inspiration Meme

Hiya folks! Yes, I'm alive and well, thank you for asking. I've been hunkering down in my bat writing cave, furiously working on my WIP everyday to meet my goal. As of today, I'm 88% done with my first draft. Yippee! And while I'm internally cringing at some of my paragraphs, I have to squelch my inner editor and save it for the editing round.

Of course it's not all roses and sunshine. My ever fickle MUSE a.k.a. the BRAIN has decided to wrestle with me, writing down scenes WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED IN MY PLOT OUTLINE WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!? Needless to say, it has slowed down my writing momentum and I'm spending more time thinking than actual writing. GAH! Has this ever happened to you?

So. I apologize for not blogging, not reading your awesome blogs, not commenting (though this is partially BLOGGER'S FAULT--my comments kept getting eaten by the great cyberspace monster CHOMP CHOMP), not tweeting much or of being virtually MIA (Missing in Action) these past few days. My WIP will have to thank you for your patience. :D

This Inspiration Meme is long overdue, and since I'm taking a teensy break from the world of HIDDEN to take a breather, I thought this was perfect timing. What better way to pin down the muse, right? Give her doses of inspiration and maybe she'll start cranking the brain gears again.

The beautiful Ashley Nixon (she's such a sweetheart! If you don't know her yet, go check her blog out. This chicka always makes me smile!) tagged me in this meme of her own creation.

Here are the rules:

1. Acknowledge who tagged you on your blog.
2. List 5 things that inspire you. It can be pictures, a video, anything! :D
3. I'm thinking the limit can range from 1-10. So tag within this range, anyone who inspires you! We want to spread this creativity and inspiration, don't we? YES!!!
4. And of course, tell those wonderful inspiring people who they are!

So, here we go:

1. My family. All of them inspire me everyday. My hubby is wonderfully supportive and loving. He balances me out and keeps me grounded when life overwhelms me. My two beautiful kids fill my heart with unbounding joy. Even when they resemble Wild Things at certain moments. Their warm hugs and sloppy kisses never fail to make everything right again.

My mother lives thousands of miles away from me, but our connection has gotten stronger through the years, especially when I had my kids. She's a strong, resilient woman, who'd raised us to be good people. I'll always be grateful for her love and example.

2. Books. I'm a reader too, and reading was my first love before I started penning down my own stories. I can't give you ONE BOOK that has inspired me the most because the reality is, I'm constantly finding new books to love. I do have to mention a couple:

Brooklyn, Burning
Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff is one of my latest reads, and I was simply in awe of the beauty of the story and the writing itself.

The Book Thief
Who doesn't love The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, right? I bawled like a baby after reading this book, to the surprise and concerned look of my hubby who didn't know why I was suddenly dripping like a leaky water pipe. "It's just this book...it made me cry. It's so so...WAAAHHH!" :D

3. Art. Yes, I love ART. I love the calm and peace it brings to me. Sometimes it's other people's brilliant works. Sometimes, I make my own--nothing spectacular, just mostly plain pencil sketches. It's the process and focus of making lines resemble something that brings about this inner peace. There's just me and the paper and my drawing tool. And in a way, it's similar to writing, only we are drawing with words instead of making pictures.

4. Nature. I grew up in a tropical country with beautiful views of untouched beaches, glorious sleeping volcanoes, and an exotic selection of flora and fauna. Later, I would come to live in Hawai'i, and running by the beach early in the morning with the sound of waves lapping on the shore, before people would overtake the endless strip of bleached, golden sand...it's serenity.

Photo by Dee Q8

Now I live in a valley, surrounded by majestic mountains. No oceans here, but I am in love with the changing of the seasons. Fall is my favorite time of the year when the leaves turn into wondrous colors of yellows, oranges, and reds, fluttering in the breeze and falling like golden raindrops. 

5. People. This means YOU. You guys are amazing, wonderful people. You wake up each day with hope brimming in your hearts and ideas stewing in your noggins, and you walk the tightrope of life. Balancing your dreams with real life. Finding time to read, write, learn, love, and reach out to others. So THANK YOU for inspiring me.

I won't tag because I don't have time to check out who hasn't done the meme yet. If you feel like this is something you'd like to talk about in your blog, go ahead and do the meme. Tell us what inspires you. We would love to know!

Have a great weekend, everyone! <3  

Green Looks Good on Me (I Think!)

The best thing about having nice blogger friends is getting awards from them. Who needs an Oscar or an Emmy when you can have the ever green Versatile Blogger Award?

Yep, the lovely Charissa Weaks of A Day in the Life of an Aspiring Author graciously handed me this award. Thank you, Charissa! You rock, girl!

Since I've done this before, I won't bore you with another 7 random things about me. Instead, I'm going to give you a list of 7 bloggers I'm tagging and the reasons why I think they're great. :D

1. Suzanne Payne. She's an Elementay Music teacher, a mother, wife, friend, hottie (in my book, hehe! It's our secret code of sorts), Twitter buddy, and a writer. This lady has heart, and I love her sincerity.

2. Anna Banks. This chicka is hilarious! If you follow her on Twitter, you'll know what I mean. Plus, Anna's debut novel OF POSEIDON is coming out soon. And it is lovely. And I can't wait to read it. ;)

3. J. Lea Lopez. Because she's crazy-fun, loves Jell-O, she's a #goatposse member, and she's an AQer (Agent Query member). J.Lea writes sexy stories too. Woot!

4. Kimberly Krey. She's a Utahn mom-writer-reader like me. And she likes doughnuts. ;D

5. Michelle Simkins. Fellow #goatposse member, AQer, Greenwoman (as in she's all earthy and green and fae-like. No, she's not actually green, she just embodies it. Hehe.), feminist, knitter, gardener, tea drinker, reader, mother, wife, friend, writer (not in that order, btw). Versatile, indeed.

6. Leigh T. Moore. She's fun, she's cool, and she's super nice! Follow her blog and you'll see what I mean. :)

7. Masako Moonshade. (How cool is that name?) She's a fellow AQer and Twitter buddy. I'm only getting to know her but  I think she's FAB. ;)

Have a great week, everyone! <3


Boy, do I have a treat for you this weekend!

My lovely and talented friend A.M. Supinger of Inner Owlet has a new series on her blog called FUSION, where she writes short stories for her followers based on what THEY want their story to be about. How awesome is that?!? I was lucky to be her first Fusion participant. When A.M. asked me for a prompt, I gave her the vague answer of "someone coming from a foreign land". And, being the awesome writer she is, this is the story she made for me.


Story and Artwork copyrighted by A.M. Supinger
(Used with permission)

               Cherie stared around her grandfather’s home. The dark wood and musty chandeliers created a formal atmosphere that was familiar and comforting.
               “Do not touch any of the clocks in this house, Cherie. You know that they are my domain…anyone else, even family, that touches them are forfeit to their power. I wouldn’t know you were in trouble until it was too late.”
               “Yes, Grandfather.”
               “Alright, then.” His long mustache and matching beard twitched as he smiled. “I’m glad you’re here for a visit. If you go check your room, you’ll find a special present waiting for you.”
               “Thank you!” Cherie bounced into his arms for a hug and then turned and raced away. The narrow passageways leading through her grandfather’s castle were familiar, and she skipped up steps and past creaking suits of armor with no fear. But her feet skidded to a halt just outside the bedroom always reserved for her.
               A new clock hung next to her door, but it didn’t look like any of the other time pieces cluttering the rest of the house. It was oval and imperfect, bulging and curving over large gemstones set deep into the golden frame. The clock’s face was lost amidst hundreds of zigzagging swirls and clock-hands.
               It was…mesmerizing.  
               Cherie leaned forward and stared at the unique design. Who would make such a ridiculous contraption? It made no sense. She reached a finger forward and poked the golden frame.
               Screaming did her no good. She’d touched the clock! How could she have been so stupid? Pain warped her thoughts as her body twisted and writhed. The space between her Grandfather’s house and the clock’s dimension was vast and dark and horrible. She screamed endlessly.
               Father had once explained that time was tied to dimensions, and that no two dimensions ever had exactly the same time. Time was literally endless that way. By touching a clock she had been sucked into its dimension…just as Grandfather had warned her she would be.
               Light exploded around her as she materialized. The darkness retreated and Cherie stared up from the ground at a blue sky. Blue. Why was the sky blue? Her body screamed in continuing pain while her mind whirled with realization.
               She’d never see her parents or her grandfather again. She’d never go home.
               Standing took some effort. She hoisted herself upwards and reeled at how heavy her body felt. Brown sticks shot upward all around her and green frills at the top of each brushed the blue sky. How odd. Her clothes were the same as when she’d arrived at Grandfather’s castle – pink, yellow, red, orange and blue all competing for attention – but each thread seemed muted. Her skin wasn’t a vibrant yellow anymore, either. She looked sickly…more golden than anything.
               Disgust and fear clenched her stomach.
               Voices called out to her left, and Cherie turned just in time to see three men emerge from between the tall brown sticks. They all stopped and stared at her.
               “Uh…are you lost?”
               Cherie heard the words, the strange syllables clinging to and then sliding past the man’s lips, and was surprised that she could understand him. She nodded, unsure if she could speak the odd language.
               “How on Earth did you get here? You’re three miles outside of town.”
               Cherie gulped. Earth…? Grandfather had often told stories about the many dimensions of Earth. It was a strange and scary place in his tales.
               “I guess it doesn’t matter. We’ll walk you back. I’m a Ranger Dave,” he pointed to a badge on his plain brown shirt, “and these two are both trainees.” The man pointed to the two men flanking him. Dave’s gaze curiously traveled down her gown. “What the heck are you wearing?”
               Cherie looked down. “A dress.”
               “I can see that.” Dave’s voice was low and playful, like he was teasing her. “What’s your name, darlin’?”
               “Well, Cherie, it looks like you have a lot to learn about hiking.”
               “More than you know, Ranger Dave. More than you know.”
If you want to be immortalized in a story, head on over to Inner Owlet and follow this amazing gal, whose brilliant, creative mind never ceases to amaze me. ;)
Thanks, A.M.! <3


Whew. Tallying is such a pain and Math is not my strongest subject (don't worry, I still got A's and sometimes B's, but I'd never failed Math so rest assured I know what I was doing counting up points. :D ), but we finally have WINNERS!

Woohoo! THANK YOU to all who participated in my first ARCs GIVEAWAY! I didn't know those books would be so sought after. LOL!

Thank you for tweeting and spreading the LOVE. Also, a big thanks to my new followers--HELLO! I hope we'll have fun getting to know each other.

Anyway, I did the drawing as random as I possibly could, via Random.org. (I assigned each one of you letters & numbers accdg. to points, and then I picked a random number for the winner. Random.org did the scrambling thingy.)

What's that? I'm stalling? Oh my! Let's get on with it then.


Winner of CROSSED by Ally Condie is:

A.M. Supinger


Winner of THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler is:


(throws confetti)
Photo By ADoseofShipBoy

Email me your mailing address at: writercherie AT gmail DOT com.

On another winning note, I won Krista's The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest over at her blog I Take the Pen. So I got this badge to show for my mighty, fancy writing pen powers.

Her prompt last week was this:

The soft melody of the song drifted up through the window. The gentle notes floated on the same breeze that stirred the curtains...

And here was my creation:

I put down the book I was reading and reached for the latch.
"Stupid Antonio. I can't take this anymore," I muttered. There he was two floors down, strumming his guitar, his voice cracking on the high notes. He looked up and smiled.

"My answer is still NO," I said, slamming the window shut. For two weeks, Antonio had serenaded me with his made-up songs of love and broken hearts. And all for a night in the town. One dinner date.

I shook my head. It was impossible.

The sun's last rays melded with the darkening horizon. I took off my clothes, peeling the layers one by one until I had only my skin wrapping me together. But not for long. Fangs extended, limbs shortened and disappeared, my skin turning leathery and black. I extended my arms, now encased with the thin film of my wings, and flapped them.
I shrieked. A moth's location echoed back to me, my sonar senses heightened at the promise of food. Time to hunt.
Krista has them on every Thursday, so head on over there for a fun writing challenge.

Happy Thursday, folks! <3

Digging for Character Goals

I've been participating in an online workshop over at WSE (Write Stuff Extreme) and one of the topics we're focusing on at the moment is about CHARACTER GOALS. Doesn't sound too hard, does it? Actually, it is.

We know to ask the obvious questions:

-Who is your character?
-What do they want?
-What's (or who's) standing in the way of your character's goal?
-Is this goal feasible?

The problem, I've discovered, is that in a course of a story, your character will have MANY goals. What your character wants in the beginning of the story may be different from what they want as you near the end. So how do we answer the big GOAL question? 'Cause ultimately, we gotta have ONE GOAL that'll encompass all of these mini-goals.

TIP: By the way, if you can answer those questions above, you've got the beginning of a query letter right there.

Check out this video by the Plot Whisperer aka Martha Alderson for great plotting tips.

Also, my lovely friend Mary Frame talks about goals and flaws that you should absolutely read because it's great.

Aannnddd, my equally lovely friend Mary Baader Kaley (yes, I have a lot of friends named Mary and they're all wonderful), who introduced me to WSE, has a lot of critiquerly advice over at her blog Not an Editor.

So tell me, how do you assess your character's goal/s? Is it so clear-cut that you know exactly what your character wants and how they're going to get there? Or are you floundering in the dark, like me, trying to dig into the core of the story? 

Review: Playing with Fire--Anthology of Horror

Last month, I participated in Kate Evangelista's Review Request series, where authors provide copies of their books (or in this case, an anthology) to bloggers interested in reviewing them.

Playing with Fire caught my eye because I've always liked reading horror/thrillers, and this one is a compilation of several horror short stories. Score! Thanks to Ms. Coral Russell for giving me this opportunity.

Click on image to visit their website.

My Thoughts

Best Served by Susan Evelyn
Widows of the Night by Robynn Gabel
Bitten by Nomar Knight
Playing with Fire by CAV Laster
Devil of a Ghost Tour by Coral Russell
Key to a Haunting by Coral Russell
Amador Lockdown (excerpt) by Coral Russell
Flawed by Brian Fatah Steele
The Stuff Dreams Aren't Made Of by Brian Fatah Steele
This Dark Magic by Chryse Wymer
Living with Murder (excerpt) by Chryse Wymer

Let me just preface by saying that rating horror stories is akin to rating how spicy your food is. Everyone has different spice thresholds. What might be spicy for me, might be too tame for you. What might be horrific to me, might be so-so to you. And vice versa.

When I think of Horror, I'm immediately looking for the chill-in-your-spine, goose-bump-tickling kind that makes me look over my shoulder when I'm turning off the lights in my house for the night. While gore and graphic-ness is okay with me, I usually tend to favor the kind of psychological horror to scare me silly. Atmosphere, good tense writing, pacing, and appropriate descriptions can all contribute to a good scare.

Best Served is like a paranormal appetizer to whet your craving for more. I did not find this horrific by my standard, but nevertheless it was a pleasant read. You have a young mage playing detective in hopes of catching the man who killed her friend. A tiny bit suspenseful, but the outcome is predictable.

Widows of the Night is slightly disturbing, and is probably my favorite out of all the stories simply because of the emotions it invoked in me. The protagonist is a young girl who suffers neglect and abuse from her mother. Her punishment for the smallest mistakes entails spending the night in a closet crawling with Black Widow spiders (and she's an arachnophobe). Being one myself--an arachnophobe, not a spider! Sheesh--I had a lot of sympathy for this girl. The descriptions of her stay in the closet made me shudder. And that's a good thing. ;)

Bitten would appeal to zombie lovers anywhere. The protagonist lends an air of comic relief, even after he got bitten. So I enjoyed this, though I was mostly smirking while reading. Meeaattt!

Playing with Fire is a military experiment gone awry. Or is it? I got drawn into the story right from the start, and even while I kinda knew where it was heading, I read it anyway. I actually sympathized with the protagonist, who was suddenly abandoned by his father and hunted down by weird, evil-looking creatures. He didn't see it coming. Poor guy--all he wanted was a Hummer and he got the you-have-to-save-the-world kind of a deal instead. Lesson: Be wary of secretive military fathers who dabble in strange experiments.

Devil of a Ghost Tour is your typical ghost/demon possession story. A married couple goes on a ghost tour hosted by paranormal investigators Hector and Marcos. The story goes back and forth between the past and the present: the history of the haunted hotel and the young couple's experience while touring the hotel. While this is fairly solid and well-written, I felt like there was unnecessary verbiage, like Hector and Marcos' light bickering or dialogue lines that had nothing to do whatsoever with the story line. Aside from that, it was a nice, pleasant read. Didn't scare me out of my seat, but that's alright.

Key to a Haunting had a lot of beautiful potential. The love story aspect between the factory worker girl and the boss' son had me sighing after them. Like the story before this, it goes back and forth between the past and the present: (past) the forbidden love between worker girl and boss' son; and (present) a man struggling to succeed financially and to keep his marriage from crumbling apart. I kept expecting a sort of parallel between the two stories, and at least a resolution with the haunting, but I was shocked when it ended quite abruptly. Also, Hector and Marcos appear in this segment as paranormal investigators.

By the way, I love the historical aspects of Ms. Russell's stories. They bring so much dimension to the plot themselves.

Amador Lockdown (an excerpt) is such a tease...well, considering it's an excerpt so yeah. Here we have the Paranormal Posse back again with Hector and Marcos and a few others of their group hosting a cemetery tour. I loved this and it creeped me out, so kudos to the author for the creep factor!

Flawed is a perfect, horrific family drama. What happens when our darkest, flawed traits are magnified? For the protagonist, it means chaos and death. This is a story that makes one think.

The Stuff Dreams Aren't Made Of is another brilliant piece by the author who wrote Flawed (Brian Fatah Steele). It is melancholic, rather than horrific, but I really like the concept here of Dreams and Hell. Very original.

This Dark Magic has a great, easy-to-read voice. It follows the story of a Gazette reporter who gets thrown into the ugly world of Dark Magic and necromancy. I was drawn in immediately because of the voice, but the plot itself needed to tie some of its loose ends together, even for a short story. There were creepy, intriguing parts, but in the end, I was left more confused with the relationships between characters, instead of finding that "aha" moment.

Living with Murder (an excerpt) has a sci-fi feel to it, with the technology that this world possesses (such as the Oracle which lets you go through someone else's memories. As this is an excerpt, there is no resolution, but I thought it raised a lot of conflict and thought-provoking questions. The writing is well done--excellent descriptions and voice.

I really did enjoy reading this anthology. I'd give this 3.5/5 stars.

If you're interested, here are the links:




GIVEAWAY! ARCs of CROSSED (Ally Condie) and THE FUTURE OF US (Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler)

This is my 100th post! And in celebration of how far this blog has progressed since I started it last April 1st, 2011, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY!

(Yes, I thought I was fooling myself too on April Fool's Day by starting this blog, but with the help of WONDERFUL friends, I fortunately did NOT have to chuck this down blog-o-wasteland.)

More things to celebrate:

--10,000+ pageviews
--1300+ comments (including mine)
--aaannnd, this baby is 6 months old! Awww! I bet we can feed it solids now.

So what am I giving away, you ask? No, you can't have my Blu-Ray DVD, sorry. Or my sparkly tiara.


Crossed (Matched (Hardcover - Trilogy))
Click on picture for my review.


The Future of Us
Click on picture for my review.

Now for the rules... Rules? What rules? As long as you're a follower (since this is a celebration of YOU, for being a loyal, wonderful friend), you're in. Just leave me a comment telling me which one you must absolutely have.

There are going to be 2 WINNERS (one for each book, obviously. D'oh.) If you feel like you want to increase your chances of winning--and this is not mandatory at all--you can spread the news via Twitter, and I'll give you an extra point for every tweet or retweet. Just make sure you tag my Twitter handle so I won't miss it: @writercherie. If you're not on Twitter, you can clean my house and I'll give you extra 150 points! Nah, just kidding! Blogging about this giveaway will earn you an extra 5. Is that fair? I really don't want people to have to go through hoops and rings of fire, but at the same time I know those who don't tweet are at a disadvantage.

EDITED TO ADD: You can tweet and RT as many times as you want. I will total so no need to comment after every tweet. Thanks!

Contest ends next Wednesday, Sept. 21st at midnight, Mountain time.

That's it. Easy peasy. I've always believed that books are meant to be shared. Thanks to Jenny Phresh, for I won these books from her giveaway. I've enjoyed reading them, and now it's time for someone else to discover these wonderful novels. 

Good luck! And THANK YOU for being a part of my experience. <3

Chapter 15 of the Skeleton Key blogvel (blog novel)

For those of you new here, the Skeleton Key blogvel was started by my ever talented friend, Michelle Simkins, who's always full of good ideas. With a few pleas and much bribery (hehe! Not really), she got us to sign up for a chapter each week. And now it's my turn. You can check out the list of chapters here to follow this blogvel's progress.

Chapter 14 was brought to us by Kellie M. of Tighty Writie, and Chapter 16 will be up next Monday at Riley Redgate's blog In the Jungle

Happy reading and I hope you enjoy my chapter! <3

Chapter 15

            The greenish sludge coats my throat and I resist the urge to vomit. I turn to my guide, or should I say, clown, and ask, “How do I get back to the world of the living?”

            Greg guffaws and slaps his knees with his big, meaty hands. The gatekeeper smirks at me.

“What?” I run my tongue over my teeth, checking for stuck remnants of the nasty drink. These two may be dead and not the kind of guys I want to impress, but still. I haven’t lived down the spinach-on-teeth episode last year at Dex’s family Christmas party. “What’s so funny?”

“See, hon, once you get to the Underworld, there’s no elevator to take you back up.” Greg points to the ceiling. “The fastest way outta here is through the Rebirth center. Sure you’ll have to spend years growing up all over again, but hey, maybe you’ll get lucky the second time around. Maybe you won’t get acne through your teen years, or maybe you’ll get born to Paris Hilton. Who knows? Either way, it’s better than hanging around Starbucks forever.”

My hand goes to the zit under my chin. I think of my college loans and how I’ve always wanted to pursue an Art degree instead. A nice art studio, all quiet and zen-like, sounds really appealing right now. Or maybe I could be born in a supermodel body. I’ve been running for half a year and the scale hasn’t budged in my favor. Damn chocolate cupcakes with their yummy pink frosting! Well, I suppose it is partly Genevieve’s fault…

The door opens and my stomach drops.

 I squeak, “Genevieve?”

There’s no mistaking those bright green eyes. Genevieve frowns and wrings her hands as she approaches. “Rebecca, I thought you’d gone back to life by now. What are you still doing here?”

“Me? What are you doing here? Did you take the meta essence too?”

Greg slicks back his hair with his palm. “Who’s the hottie?”

Genevieve ignores my guide and shakes her head at me. “Rebecca, you need to get back up there now! If you stay here too long, you’ll mimic death until you’re truly dead.”

“What?” Oh shit. This is so not cool. “Seriously, next time you guys send me on a mission to the Underworld, would you please give me an instruction manual?”

Genevieve’s frown turns into a grimace. She grabs me by the elbow and steers me into the ladies room.

“We’ll be here when you get back, love,” says Greg, wolf-whistling after us.

Genevieve locks the bathroom door. “Listen Rebecca, things are getting really bad. Right after you left, I had the vision again—the one of you and the killer—only this time, the mist had cleared and I could see his face. But then I died.”

“You’re dead?” The air seems to get sucked out of my lungs and I stagger toward the sink. The mirror shows my skin turning paler, and it’s not because of Genevieve’s news. “H-how?”

“I’m not sure. I think Mr. Harvey did it. It happened so fast…I saw the vision and the next thing I knew, I was riding some Ankou’s golf cart. I’m so sorry, Rebecca. I’m not going to be of much help to you anymore.”

It seems absurd to cry about death while in the Underworld but I hug Genevieve anyway and sob on her shoulder. “Bossman’s so going to pay for this.” I can’t believe he lost control of his needs like the others did, and turned on Genevieve like that. What was he anyway? A cat man? Do they eat people?

She pats my back. “Don’t worry about me. I’m hoping to get reborn somewhere nice and peaceful.” I let go of her. Genevieve smiles. “But you…you have a mission to finish, a world to save. Be careful, Rebecca. Mr. Harvey is not what he seems.”

I blow my nose on a two-ply sheet. “How do I get out of here?”

“Do you still have the Hummer? It’s not only a tracker but it can act as a guide. If you concentrate really hard, you’ll be able to find Hadriax’s signal. The Hummer will lead you back to him.”

Great. I remember my burnt hands and the metal sticking to my skin while tracking Ax in Tokyo. As if reading my thoughts, Genevieve says, “Not too hard. Just enough to connect you to his essence.”

His essence. Riiiight. The tips of my ears warm up.

“Good luck, Rebecca. I’m so glad to be your friend, if only for a short time. I must go now. The Rebirth Center closes at six.”

After Genevieve leaves, I hold the Hummer up and think of Ax. Of the way steam issued out of his ears the first time we met. I smile. His beautiful amber eyes used to regard me with indifference, as if I was a puny human he didn’t want to waste his time with. Oh-ho, I proved him wrong, didn’t I?

The Hummer’s not working. I shut my eyes. Concentrate! I remember the feel of Ax’s broad shoulders under my fingertips, his warm lips on mine…. I remember the gentle way his arms held me after Angelica took my sister; how mate or not, I’d always be painfully aware of his presence because now I care. My chest constricts. I do care! I’m falling for the dragon man.

I gasp. The Hummer thrums, vibrating in my hands. It glows red, like an iron poker left lying in the hearth. Oh shit! I may have overdone this essence thing. Ax’s gonna kill me when I come back with Hummer ashes. But there’s no buzzing this time and my hands do not burn. The glow transforms into blinding white light until I can no longer look at it. I turn my face away and squeeze my eyes tight.

I have this weird sensation of whirling around and being grounded at the same time. My stomach churns, and just when I think I’m about to spew out the green sludge I drank at the bar, the motion stops. My arms rendered weak from the effort, the Hummer falls with a dull clank on the stony floor. Where am I?

The cavernous room is dimly lit by torches held in brackets. Very Medieval, and yet, there’s a computer desk pushed against the stone wall. There’s even an iPod charging on a docking station. A massive bookcase spans the length of another wall, with titles written in strange characters and rune-like symbols next to Marketing Strategies manuals and Violin for Dummies. Violin?

 In another corner, there’s a loveseat, a mini-bar, and a huge plasma TV mounted on the wall. The most curious thing, however, is the middle of the room where there’s…nothing. Just a great, oval rug that’s probably more expensive than my life and my college loans put together.

The ceiling rumbles above me. Bits of rock dislodge and clatter on the floor. Another rumble, this time coming from the heavy wooden door. I pick up the Hummer and back away from the source of the noise. My knees tremble.

Ax bursts in through the door, half of him encased in dragon scales, the other half still human. His golden eyes have red slits now, and they look about him wildly.

“Ax!” I run to him, but stop midway when he growls at me. “Ax, it’s me. Rebecca.”

At the sound of my name he shakes his head like a wet dog. I take a step closer and hold out a hand. Finally he says, “Rebecca?”

He winces as I throw my arms around his neck but he doesn’t hesitate when I tilt my face upwards. His kiss is hard, demanding. Hungry. As if it’s all we can afford at the moment. Or maybe it’s all we have left for the room begins to shake violently.

“Ax, what’s happening?”

He cups my face with his human hand. “Rebecca, I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. Angelica…the visions…” He grimaces. “She’s gotten a lot stronger through the years. I saw you dead in my mind. And it felt so…real.”

“It’s okay. I’m here.” I touch his face. “But what’s going on? Genevieve’s dead and I saw her in the Underworld. She said…she said Mr. Harvey killed her.”

Ax swears under his breath. “I should have known. Damn traitor! But I was too busy fending off Angelica and her brother Damien. They’re here and we’ve been fighting them since you left.” He rummages through the desk. “You need to get out of here, Rebecca. They’ll be coming after you next.”

“No! I’m staying with you.”

Don’t argue with me. I’m trying to keep you safe.

Get out of my brain, Ax!

He turns around. “You can do that? In your human form?”

I shrug.

The door breaks into a million splintery pieces. Ax saves me from being turned into shish-kebab by shielding me with his body. I feel him shudder as his human part gets jabbed with wooden spikes. Greenish-blue blood drips from his arm. “Shit,” he whispers. “I thought the magical reinforcement I placed around this room was going to hold for a while. A long while.”

Mr. Harvey strolls in through the doorway.

Ax stiffens and growls. “What do you want, Gene? Why are you doing this?”

The bossman grins, his teeth elongating.

Ax’s human half begins sprouting scales until he’s covered with them, though he doesn’t resume his full dragon shape. Mr. Harvey claps his hands, his cat-like eyes beaming as if this were a regular circus show.

“My turn.” Mr. Harvey rears back his head. His smooth scalp bubbles, its surface first shifting into ridges then a series of peaks. Two black horns sprout, breaking the skin around his temples. His torso contorts and writhes. Mr. Harvey’s expensive suit breaks apart at the seams. A pair of bat-like wings unfurl behind him. His shoulders grow, expand, his obsidian skin stretched taut against bones and muscles. Mr. Harveys’s face elongates until it resembles a mash-up between a horse and a bat. 

“Ohshitohshitohshitohshit,” I mutter, cowering behind Ax.   
“Ba’al Azabub.” Ax’s voice quakes with anger.

Mr. Harvey, or Ba’al whats-it, roars. “I’m more popular as Beelzebub.” He points a talon at me. “Give me the key, human. Your time on Earth is over. I’ve been building the portal to Hell for decades while gathering strength. Once all of the portals are closed, Hell will open its doors for me. My children will aid me.”

Angelica enters the room, followed by her brother Damien whose mouth is clamped around the HR lady’s neck. He tosses her body away.

 Ax hisses at me. “Get back, Rebecca.” I scramble away as Ax transforms into his dragon form. He opens his mouth, jetting out fire at the demon.

Beelzebub doesn’t flinch. He laughs, the sound akin to an avalanche. “You should have completed the mating ritual, then you’d be at your full strength.”

Angelica steps forward. Ax’s body writhes on the ground. His scales retract and grow again, as if he can’t keep his shape. I stare at him.

Rebecca! Ax’s thoughts enter mine. I feel his pain, each wracking spasm of his unstable body. My eyes blur with tears. I didn’t sign up for this.

Damien grabs my arm and drags me into the center of the room. He shoves me down in front of his father. Beelzebub grins at me and flicks a finger. A ring of fire encircles us, just like in Genevieve’s vision.

“You killed Margeurite,” I say.

Yes, and I will kill your boyfriend too, if you don’t give me the skeleton key.” He sweeps his arm and the floor crumbles, widening into a chasm between us. “Look at all those souls yearning for a better kingdom.”

I gasp. Demons, monsters, and skinless things crawl along the sides of the pit, but an invisible barrier is keeping them from reaching the top. Hell’s doors.

“Give me the key.”

Ax’s voice drifts in my mind. Rebecca, no! I flinch as an image of Ax convulsing on the floor appears before me.

“He will die,” says Beelzebub. “But you can save him. Give me the key.”

My fingers curl around the skeleton key in my pocket.   

Say What Now?

People. Be careful of what you say or post online. The Internet is forever.

You've probably heard this piece of advice before, or even read some horror stories of social media woes. You probably paid attention and made a promise to yourself to NEVER EVER be the nincompoop who trash-talked her co-worker online, only to find out a day later than even without naming names, said co-worker knew she'd become the water cooler topic of the week, thanks to you. Or be the idiot who whines about the agents he'd submitted his mss to. Whatever may be the scenario, when you feel that itch coming upon you to rant/rave/raise hell/complain online--whether through your blog or Facebook or Twitter--STOP!



It's all too easy to forget that what we say online can be viewed by MILLIONS of people from around the world. The thought doesn't even cross our mind when we press the Publish or Send button. Not when we're happily enclosed in our little writing shell, the four walls of our world literally the four walls of our house. 

Even when we don't name names. Even when we think we're so clever that no one's ever going to guess we're talking about our neighbor's spying problem, always assume that your readers are SMART, INTELLIGENT people, and someone somewhere will eventually figure it out.

So. Be cautious. STOP, THINK, and THINK AGAIN. You just might end up being the conduit to someone's misfortune just because of the things you carelessly let slip online. Or, instead of being the conduit, you become the victim. Whatever the outcome, someone's bound to get hurt.

Don't let that shiny screen in front of your computer fool you. There are people--real, live ones with feelings like yours--behind them.

So you're probably wondering if something happened to me. Nope, thank goodness no. (ahem) This is just a public service reminder.

Have a great weekend, everyone! <3

Business and Busy-ness

First order of business today goes to the link for Chapter 14 of the Skeleton Key blogvel by Kellie M. of Tighty Writie. I'm up next Monday with Chapter 15, so I'm biting my nails here. :-0

Next up, the lovely and generous Krista of I Take the Pen has awarded me with the yummy looking Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Thank you, Krista! You are too sweet!

There are rules with this baby, but since I've already done the 7 Random Things post here and here, I thought that should suffice. But I still would like to pass this on to other sweeeet bloggers, because I like spreading the love.

So my dear friends, I award this strawberry shortcake to the following people (and guys, no pressure. You don't have to take it if you don't want to, or you don't have to follow all the rules AND still take the cake because I'm cool with that.)

1. Charlotte of Charlotte-on-the-Web. She's one of my newest followers, and her blog looks sweet! Plus, she's not a spider so double yay!

2.Isis Rushdan. Another sparkly new follower!  ;)

3.Lola Sharp of Sharp Pen/Dull Sword. Yes, she's got a spiffy, sharp-looking blog.

4.Shallee McArthur, because she loves Africa and I've got a soft spot for Africa. Oh yeah!

5.Len Lambert of Conversations with Self. Her blog is so flowery. Pretty!

So go check 'em out (and not in a creepy, pervy way) and show 'em some love.

Hmm...am I forgetting anything else?

Oh, yes. I'm participating in #WIPFTW (that's Twitter-speak for Work-In-Progress For The Win), which basically means I have a deadline to finish my goal by November 1st. A lot of my friends are participating, and we just sorta created this to help motivate us to finish our WIPs rough drafts, editing/revisions, or whatever goal we've set for ourselves. It's great because it's nice to get support and public shaming (if necessary) in our pursuit of our goals.

My goal is simply this: To finish the first draft of my YA Paranormal/Fantasy WIP Hidden. Summer waylaid me with its too many tempting distractions of sun, family vacations, and all around FUN. But now that FALL is here, it's time to get back to work. Sad, I know, but it's LIFE. So I've updated my word meter and placed it higher up on my blog so YOU can also shame me if that meter doesn't move.

The downside is, I have less time to visit all the blogs I follow and less time to goof around. BUT I WILL TRY MY VERY BEST to keep in touch with all of you because you guys are simply WONDERFUL and SMART and AWESOME. And I truly enjoy visiting and reading what you have to say.

So please bear with me at this time. Happy writing, everyone! And may the MUSE be with you. ;)

Harvey's tête-à-tête with Mary Kaley

If you're ever on Twitter and you follow a bunch of us crazy writers who call ourselves the #goatposse, you're probably nodding your head by now and thinking, "Ah, yes. Those nut jobs are at it again." :)

This is Harvey. He'll be asking the questions around here.

Well, we are proud to say we managed to rope reel pressure convince a totally respectable and upstanding writer friend to join our silliness and do the EVIL Panty Meme (originated by the nefariously clever Michelle Simkins) in exchange for the #goatposse badge/blog bling and LOTS of goatly love. <3

So let's give a warm applause to our new member: Mary Baader Kaley of Not An Editor. By the way, you guys should totally check out her blog and follow her for critiquing tips and excellent interviews with authors.

Harvey volunteered to hunt down Mary and force feed her rutabaga if she refuses to answer the meme questions. Let's see what Harvey's got for us.

Me: (taps on ear piece) Are we on? Hello? Harvey, can you hear me?

Harvey: Baaaa!

Me: Were you able to do the interview?

Harvey: Baaaa!

Me: Oh good. Alright, then. Take it away, Harvey m'boy!

What do you call your panties/underwear/undergarments? Do you have any commonly used nicknames for them?

I’d have to go with underwear, plain and simple. Somewhat boring, but the odd thing is? I don’t recall anyone of my friends or family members calling them anything different (must be a Midwestern thing). Except Grandpa, who on occasion could be heard referring to his skivvies.

Come to think of it, though, I do have to remind myself (every so often) that I wear Big Girl Panties, and can therefore do anything I put my mind to. Like writing a WiP. Thank heavens for big girl panties.

Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?

No. It’s always a dream about being stark nekkid. But I get those bizzaro wardrobe malfuntion elements, like I look down and I have nothing on, I panic and try to hide, and then I look down again, and voila! I have clothes. Ugly ones. But still—whew! Not naked. Until the next time I look down.

What is the worst thing you can think of to make panties out of?

Porcupine quills.

If you were a pair of panties, what color would you be, and WHY?

Skin colored. Because  then? If I have the naked nightmare, I can change the butt-nakedness into skin-colored skivvies. Sigh. I feel better already.

Have you ever thrown your panties/underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) WOULD you throw your panties/underwear at, given the opportunity?

Haven’t, and don’t know if I would. However, if it were a full moon and someone forced me to do it, I might consider Alcide from HBO’s True Blood. Because I’d be his werewolf bride, and werewolves do not need skivvies. Word. 

You’re out of clean panties. What do you do?

Wear my husband’s boxers. But I would NOT scratch my…self.

If you could have any message printed on your panties, what would it be?



How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

Duh. One. I’d just explain to the goat that they’d stop having the nekkid in public nightmares if they put on panties.

Image Detail 

Tag Four People and tell them why you are being so cruel to them.

Jeepers schmeepers. I’m so unskilled at the whole peer pressure thing. Hmm. Only if they want to—yanno—b e cool, like the rest of us in the goat posse. (How’s that?)

1.       Sophia Martin, because she was supposed to send me her WiP a while back and I’m still waiting. Ho. And hum.
2.       KD Sarge, because she knew the title to a charming children’s book that I couldn’t quite remember.
3.       Mary Frame because I have no idea how she got out of this one but still has the goat posse thing on her blog. #momlovesherbetter
4.   Jen Bennett because she's a new #goatposse member too.

5. Kellie M., since one of the #goatposse people told me to tag her. So Kellie, yeah, you're tagged. Don't shoot me, I'm only the messenger.   

I’m no good at math. Sigh.

Me: Thank you, Mary! Now you won't have to eat the rutabaga, thank goodness, since Harvey already ate it. Bad goat, Harvey, bad goat...

The Stages of Writing a Novel: A Video

I just had to share this. It's too funny to keep it all to myself.

For all you writers out there, this one's for you. Enjoy!

A Guest Post and a Blog Award

I just wanted to spotlight this amazing blogger real quick. Rachna Chhabria of Rachna's Scriptorium posts interviews and wonderfully helpful writing tips. Plus, she's always nice to me, leaving comments that make me smile. So to you, Rachna, I award the Cool Blogger Award. No rules with this one. Just claim it and enjoy. And you're free to pay it forward if you choose to do so.

Thank you, Rachna, for being a bright spot of sunshine in the blogosphere!

A few days ago I got an email request from a blogger wishing to guest post on my blog. Of course I said yes! It's always fun meeting new people and getting to know them.

Anmol Gupta from The Impact of Thoughts created this poem for us to enjoy. Thanks for sharing, Anmol!

A World beyond Boundaries
Yes! I dare to wish it
A Utopia you can say but
Hope is the word for me..
A world where exist no boundaries…

Where A girl is as equal to her counterpart
A black is as good as a white
Where nothing other than love
Can even think to reside.

Where A Poet is free to express
And there exists nothing to suppress
Where freedom becomes the utmost priority
And there exists nothing such as “HUMAN CALAMITY”.

Where I can be your friend
And asking everybody’s surname is not a trend
Where peace is not the gap between wars
And we care for earth more than mars.

Where there exists no species like HYPOCRITE
And doing things is considered more artistic
Than learning a quotation to write…

Yes! I dare to wish
A Utopia you can say but
Hope is the word for me..
A world where exist no boundaries…

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 »