Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Inspires Me...THE LEGEND

One question I hear whenever someone finds out I write is, "What inspires you?" That's a tricky question. It could be anything! A news story. A picture. A song title. My life. A love letter tucked away in my undies drawer for thirty-three years.

In the case of PHOENIX, I set out wanting to write a young adult paranormal romantic suspense. I wanted my hero to be a Phoenix in human form--one with the power of healing and immortality. I wanted a cool setting--just outside of Yosemite in California, and I wanted to combine it with a Native American legend from that area. So, I began my research into Native American folklore and stumbled upon The Lady and the Giant--a Paiute legend. The moment I saw "Giant", my mind immediately went to Genesis 6:4, where Nephelim (offspring of human women and angels) are introduced. I knew I had my nemesis, and PHOENIX: The Gathering was born.

Melding those three legends, I wrote what started off as my prologue, basing my entire novel on this. Eventually, the prologue turned into a large section of my fourth chapter. I'm now nearing 36,000 words and figure I have about another 30,000 to go.

Curious? If you'd like a peek at my original prologue, click HERE .

I'm also curious. If a book has a prologue, do you take the time to read it? The concensus among authors is that people DON'T like prologues. I happen to enjoy reading them. Do you?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Muse is Back! An Excerpt from PHOENIX...

Well, as I said in my last post, THE MUSE IS BACK! I've had a great time working on PHOENIX, a YA paranormal romantic suspense, and would like to share an excerpt from a recent chapter.


Six miles outside of Bishop, Dan Penemue pulled into a deserted rest stop. "Make it fast. We only have a couple hours before sunrise. All Hell's gonna break loose as soon as they discover the mess we left.  I wanna be sleeping in my own bed with my alibi when they do."

Lucy staggered over to the restroom, pulled the string to the overhead lightbulb, and locked the door. She fought the urge to retch as she yanked the blood-soaked hoodie over her head and threw it by the stool. Dan would get rid of it later with his own. Turning on the faucet, she plunged her hands into the stream of icy water, and watched as the color changed. A spiral of crimson swirled around the drain, and eventually faded back to plain water as she washed the last bit of the girl's blood from her hands.

My first kill, she thought bitterly. Dan considered it an honor, even if it was just taking care of a "loose end". Killing a suspected Fire-Child was one thing, but this girl was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. An innocent.  Even knowing that, it amazed her at how easily she did it. Her hand trembled only slightly. All she could think of as she slid that blade across the girl's throat was her birthright. Immortality.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


So...I've been trying to rev myself up for the last few months to write. I think my muse has been vacationing somewhere warm, and tropical, and secluded. She sure as heck hasn't been anywhere near Main Street in Slater, Iowa!  I believe, however, that she may be on her way least I'm hoping she is! She popped in for a visit the other day, which resulted in me making some headway on PHOENIX, after having been stuck at a crossroads all winter. It's a pivotal moment in the story where I'm introducing a new character, and I think I FINALLY figured out how to weave it all together.

In celebration of my muse's homecoming, I'm going to share an excerpt from THE HOUSE ON CARROLL STREET.  I wrote this particular piece quite awhile ago. I hope you enjoy it! (warning--it's a darker piece and some may find it disturbing)


I could hear them. Little voices. Little voices coming from the trashcan by the door of my brother’s bedroom closet. Little voices whispering so rapidly, so quietly, I couldn’t quite understand what they were saying.

Mom told me the last time I heard the voices that it was just my imagination. I imagined a lot of things at night. Shadows turned into spiders sliding across the wall. Thomas's fat, six-toed paws padding across the linoleum turned into the feet of wicked little gnomes running under my bed. Yes, I knew it was just my imagination, but knowing that didn't make any difference. The fear was too real--and it won. Always. I pulled the covers over my head, and squeezed my legs together tighter, praying that the feeling would pass--praying that I wouldn’t have to walk by that trashcan filled with those scary little people and their scary little voices.

I pissed myself only once before. It happened four years earlier in first grade when Tanya McDonald decided to take a nap in the class bathroom. I didn’t know I could ask Miss Mills to use the one in the hall--so I sat at my desk, crossed my legs, and waited. I waited until the butterfly wings began tickling the back of my throat. By the time I stood, it was too late. Hot pee raced down the inside of my pumpkin-colored cable tights and flooded my new, white, patent-leather Mary Janes. Across the hall, Billy Maynard leaned across his desk and watched me through the open doors with those big, black-rimmed glasses magnifying his chocolate brown eyes. I loved Billy--but he saw me. He saw me piss myself.

And now, the butterflies were back--but, so were the voices.


Mom’s warm body lay motionless behind mine, holding me close. On the other side of her was my sister, Ann, who was two years older than me. A second bed held my younger brother, Mark, and two of my older brothers, Steven and Matt.


“What is it, Jaynie?”


“I have to pee.”

Mom pulled the covers down and we climbed out of bed. I buried my face in the lavender warmth of her flannel nightgown and wrapped my arms around her hips as she walked me across the frigid linoleum floor, past the trashcan full of those scary little people with those scary little voices, to the door of the closet. She opened it, grabbed a flashlight off a side shelf, turned it on, and aimed it at the floor. Two startled cockroaches scuttled out of the light, disappearing into the darkness.

“There you go, honey,” she whispered. “Try to do it quietly.”

The light reflected off the metallic sides of the make-shift toilet.

You see, this is what happens when my drunken father passes out at the bottom of the stairwell. I have to piss in a coffee can.