Thursday, June 16, 2011

Exit Lines: A Short Story

Now available for the Nook on Barnes & Noble.com and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, Exit Lines: A Short Story. About serial killers. And love. Kidding!

Sort of.

Here's an excerpt:


Out Of State Plates

Shawn’s family never took a vacation before. Why did they have to wait until she turned 15?

“Why do I have to spend my entire summer in the backseat with you!?” she says, glaring at Katie.

“It’s only two weeks,” her mother says without turning around. “Not the entire summer.”

“But I was supposed to go to the fair with Joanne! I made plans!”

“We’ve all heard about your plans, Shawn,” her father says. “Enough already. We’re going to Sea World tomorrow. That’s better than that piece-of-shit state fair.”

Shawn leans back and shoves her knees harder into the back of her mother’s seat. Her mother shifts a little bit but doesn’t say anything.

“Grow up!” Katie whispers, then turns away, looking out the window. She has a pencil and a pad of paper on her lap. She is trying to spot a license plate from all 48 contiguous states.

Shawn is only two years older than Kate but she can’t remember ever being that sincere. “What does contiguous mean, anyway?”

“Touching,” Katie says. “You know, connected.”

“Oh. Me and Todd are contiguous too. I wish we were contiguous right now.”

“Bullcrap,” Katie says, and rolls her eyes. “What you and Todd are is stupid. I have to sleep in the same bed in the hotel with you tonight. I hope you guys use condoms, because I don’t want to catch anything.”

“Of course we do.” Shawn laughs. “Blue ones that glow in the dark. Wanna see? I kept the one we used last night as a souvenir.”

Her mother finally turns around but Shawn pretends not to notice. She can see her sister’s smile reflected in the window.

It’s like looking over her own shoulder.


Fishing

He watches the bodies flash by. Shoulders and legs, necks and arms, in smooth creamy shades of beige and brown. It is late in the day and the last show at the dolphin tank is halfway through. He rode the conveyor belt through the Shark Experience earlier but it only annoyed him.

He’s tired of waiting.

The girl walks by again. She has short blonde hair and a triangular face. She is wearing blue and white polk-a-dot shorts and a white sleeveless blouse. Tan leather sandals embrace her slim feet. He has seen her go by twice, trailing behind a tall blonde man and a small thin woman with light brown hair cut bluntly at her sharp jawline. There is a younger girl, too, with hair just like the older one’s.

The older girl’s face, as she walks slowly along, is a sullen mask of disinterest. She reaches out and plucks at things along the way without looking. Stuffed killer whales clipped to a string like a fisherman’s catch. Dolphin golf caps with fake bottlenoses sewn obscenely to the front.

The man and woman stop in front of the schedule posted outside the dolphin tank. They are arguing. The two girls look at each other and shake their heads.

Finally the woman takes a few steps away, then turns to see if her brood is following. The man throws his hands in the air and walks over to join her. The younger girl goes too, but the older girl stands her ground. Her hands move like mating fish at her waist, flirting with the belt loops.

The woman shakes her head no and the girl looks away, refusing to see.

The man touches the woman on the shoulder and says something. Finally the woman sticks out her skinny arm and points at her gold watch, jabbing at the crystal with a pointed peach-colored nail, then she points at the ground under her feet.

The girl nods and the other three walk away.

The younger girl turns and waves goodbye. When the older girl waves back, he is standing behind her.

He can tell from the curve of her cheek that she is smiling.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nooked!

Took a while, for one reason and another, but Blood and Guilt is now available on Barnes and Noble as well.

In other news, my Contest Initiative continues apace, and I'm thisclose to posting a new short story to both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Now that I know how, it's going up on both at the same time.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In Process

Lots of updatery here, to wit, I've finallyFINALLY formatted "Blood & Guilt" for the Nook. It's in process with BN right now. I don't have a Nook, myself, so I'll have to wait until Monday when I can look at it on my good friend Michelle's new Nook. Can't wait. And speaking of the fabulous author Michelle Monkou, she's also in process to become a fitness instructor. She has to memorize—and learn to cue—10 routines by the end of June.

I fear and admire her.

Since 9:00 this morning I've been at Panera's (in an undisclosed location) working on my stuff.

I formatted the next short story that I'm planning to publish—Serial killers! In love! (Kidding! Sort of.)—next step there is to finalize the cover. So that's in process, too.

And I've begun a Contest Initiative. Which, roughly translated, means I've entered two books in one RWA chapter contest so far, with seven more in mind between now and the end of August. I only enter the ones with desirable agents and editors at the end of them, so that list may get shorter as the final list of judges is revealed. But aim high, right?

And if all goes well, I'll be posting my full-length paranormal YA book to Amazon & BN on June 14th. That's a significant day for reasons I won't divulge. But take my word. Significant.

In the meantime, I continue to work on the two contemporary fiction books I mentioned in my previous post. And I'm planning to be in NYC for RWA the last week in June.

See? Everything's a process.

But bottom line? I'm busy. I've been busy, I am busy, and I plan to be busy in the immediate future. So I'll leave you with this little piece of eye candy. Because hey, it's my blog and I want it to be pretty!





Anybody else smell Old Spice?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Soundtracks

I'm taking a class with Lucy March of StoryWonk. Actually, it's two classes: Discovery Writing and Making Magic. They both started on Sunday, and one of the assignments is to create a soundtrack for our current project.

I've done this before, created a playlist in iTunes and added appropriate songs to it. But there are two kinds of playlists.

There's the playlist of music that I can play in the background while I write. Those songs have to either be wordless or songs that I know so well I'm no longer listening to the lyrics.

Then there's the playlist that puts me in the mood of the story. Songs and music that illustrate something about a character or a relationship or a scene.

It's the second kind I'm working on for the class (for more info you can check out the StoryWonk podcast about soundtracks), and I'm having real trouble with it because I'm not 100% committed to A Project. See, I've got several percolating.

And this is good! It's good to have lots of ideas to work on (so many books, so little time), because working on this is already helping me narrow things down.

For instance, I'm not quite ready to commit to the "Hope in Hell" book I've got started.  Even though I already have a playlist for it.  A playlist that includes as much Italian rap music as I could scrounge up.

And I'm not quite ready to commit to the second YA book I've got started. Though I have a playlist for that one, too.

I think I've got it narrowed down to two projects, one very women's fiction-y (with paranormal touches), and the other much more single title contemporary romance.  Right now, tonight, I'm leaning toward the latter, tentatively titled "A New Kind of Crazy." But tomorrow I might be leaning toward the other one (as yet untitled, but I've been calling it The Deer Book).

Not being able to commit makes me feel so at sea! Like I'm spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.

At the same time, because this is me we're talking about here, it makes me feel like Scrooge McDuck--with a big ol' safe full of potential projects.

I love all of my stories and I can't wait to finish them all.

In the mean time, I'm going to link to A Little Ray of Sunshine. It's by Lani Diane Rich (aka Lucy March) and it's my favorite book ever by her. It's funny and touching and it made me cry my eyes out (and does on every re-read) without making me feel like my emotions are being manipulated. That's a very tough thing to do, but this book does it beautifully.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Which We Are Reviewed

"I don't like vampire books. I don't like short stories, but I loved loved loved the vampire short story written by Evie Owens. Short stories usually leave me clamoring for more detail and back stories; vampire books leave me shrieking "Why?" But it was easy to accept the premise hereespecially as I could think of it as a metaphorand the writing was gorgeous."

"Haunting narrative. If it's possible to write a literary vampire story Evie Owens did it with Blood and Guilt."
—Excerpted from my very first Amazon review, by Kathleen Baldwin


Yes, that's right.  Blood and Guilt got two—count them TWO—unsolicited reviews in one day! And that's just the beginning of the coolness.

Kathleen Gilles Seidel! One of my favorite authors! My favorite of her books (so far) is Again. And they just recently brought out the Kindle edition of Summer's End.  As you can imagine, I love my Kindle, so that's big news! 

And Kathleen Baldwin, who just won my local RWA chapter writing contest, The Marlene, with her young adult manuscript, "Stranje House." I had the honor of being a judge in that contest and I LOVED it! I remember telling my critique group how much I loved one of the entries and how much I wanted it to win.  And it did!


So, just to sum up: My First Ever Review on Amazon + Unsolicited! + A rave review from one of my idols + Unsolicited! = One Very Happy Writer.

It was a good day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

This baby goes all the way to Eleven!

I posted my short story on Amazon on April 24th and so far I've sold 11 copies.  That's a small number.  Not nearly large enough to justify how much fun I've had doing this!  :-)  I loved wrangling with my cover and my lack of Scrivener knowledge, and the formatting, and the whole beautiful process, and I don't have the words to say how much I adore going to Amazon and seeing the cover I made on the official "page" for my little short story.

I haven't done any promotion for it, other than adding a signature block to my emails, getting my family, friends, and critique group to "tag" it on Amazon (a mysterious process that I don't know very much about but which I've been told is Very Important) and putting together a basket for the big raffle at my local RWA chapter's annual retreat.

Our retreat was this weekend and again, I'm not sure I have the words to describe what it did for me.  Not a great thing for a writer to admit to, but there you have it.

If you read between the lines of this blog--or just peek under the pretty pretty cover of my recent actions--you know that I've been an aspiring author for a long time now and have lately been foundering in the Shallows of Disappointment. I have eaten of the Cake of Unfulfilled Dreams. It was thin and bitter and I lost the taste for trying.

But this weekend washed that bitterness out of my mouth.  The words of the speakers and the company of my friends reminded me what I'm here for. My dream is to see my writing published.  And that dream isn't dead or done until I am.  I may be among the rocks right now, but all I have to do is turn around, dive in, and get back out there.

The raffle is the last event of the retreat. People contribute baskets and other things to be raffled off. I contributed a vampire-themed basket. (Including the crazylovely poster to the left! And customizable fangs. And fake blood. And, of course, an Amazon Kindle gift card!) It was the first basket I ever pulled together and I worried that it would be the only basket there that wouldn't get any tickets.  So every once in a while I would cruise by the room where the raffle baskets were on display and I would check the ticket bag.  To my great relief it did get tickets.  But even better, on Sunday when my basket came up in the drawing, I heard the woman behind me say she'd put tickets in and she really hoped she would win. :-) And then she did! And she was so excited.

Carol, if you see this, thank you for being so happy to win my basket. You made my day!


And now, thanks to my time at the retreat, I have thoughts and plans and more hope than I've had in a long, long time.

I'm not ready to get out of the water yet.

I'm still swimming . . .

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's alive!

My paranormal short story, Blood and Guilt, is now available on Amazon.com.

Of course, the second I saw that it was "live" I downloaded a copy and figured out things I wanted to change.  Not text-wise, but format-wise.  LOL.  Live and learn--and man oh man, this whole process has been a learning experience.

For instance, I'm rapidly realizing that all the puzzling it out, all the figuring out how to do it, was really the fun part for me.  It kept me occupied.  Kept me from thinking about other things.  Like what I should be working on now.

Truth be told, now that the getting there part is over, I'm feeling a little lost . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So Close

My first self-published short story, Blood and Guilt, is so close to being available on Amazon.com. I had no idea how many steps were involved.  Seriously, y'all. Create a cover (like it?), put the file together (including front matter, which slowed me down a little),  format the file (Thank you, Scrivener!), and on and on and ON.

Right now, right this very second, Blood and Guilt is on my "bookshelf" awaiting review by Amazon.

I never would have thought it.  In all my years of feverish writer dreams (walking into Borders and pulling my book off the shelf, holding it in my hands), I never would have thought I'd be so excited about self-publishing.

But I am.

In fact, I can't w-a-i-t . . .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Took me a while to get here . . .

It took me a while to get here.  I've been following the success of indie publishing -- thinking about trying it out myself -- for months.  But now, finally, I think I'm getting close to actually trying it.

I've got a short story, about a vampire, that I think will make a good first step.

But there are a few things, just a few eensy-beensy little things, that I need to nail down first.

Like a cover.  And the formatting.  And figuring it all out.

I've been doing a lot of reading, but not about the concrete details.  So now I'm looking into that and I'm posting here to mark the occasion!  

Did you hear that, Occasion?  You are officially marked . . .