Monday, April 7, 2014


I have something for you today.

Myself and a couple of my writer friends, including best selling author Wendy Knight, have done a book of short stories--very short.

It's called Flash Fiction. Some people set the boundary as low as 200 words (since a story of 100 words is a Drabble, I suppose they don't want to get things mixed up) but we set the boundary at 1000 words.

Every story in Transformation is under 1000 words.

From fantasy to contemporary, from tragedy to comedy, there's something for everyone here.

And it's free!

Find it at BN
Find it at Smashwords
Find it at Scribd

Smashwords also has Kindle (mobi) available, as well as other formats.

When you've downloaded your copy, come visit us.

Wendy Knight
Laura Bastian
Rebecca Blevins
Lauren Ritz

Laura has recently published her first novel, Eye on Orion.

Wendy's next book, Warrior Everlasting, will be coming out on May 6th.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Declaration of Me

I'm in a dangerous mood today. Since I don't have anyplace suitable (i.e., private enough) for dancing like a lunatic and screaming at the top of my lungs...

I’m alone here
in this room
with the music
in my head
and my feet
move silent
to the beat
of the drum
that I hear
in my head
in my room
while I’m alone.

I've always been alone. I remember in seventh grade, my English teacher gave me a compliment--or at least, I interpreted it as a complement at the time. I wrote a half page story and she said it contained a novel's worth of buried fury. So I decided then that I was going to be a writer. Thirty years later I find myself with an obsession that has me by the throat and won't let go.

It echoes in the lonely silences
an endless twisting rhyme that rules my world.
Not only sound, but color, rhythm, light,
it dances through my day and dreams my night.

I wake and free the rhythm and the rhyme
to twist the dance into a human form.
The story shapes itself--I have no part--
and dreams escape the boundaries of time.

I sleep and shape the color and the light,
then form a dream into reality.
The painting moves my hand--it is not planned--
a lonely dance of medium and life.

The art creates itself with paint or ink,
with quiet promises it leads me on.
The end of life, the last of this creation
shall be my final epitaph in stone.

The obsession has never moderated, nor do I want it to. I've always been a writer. But sometimes there's an edge, a hint of something else beyond "just" a writer. Possibility. And I have to dance, or sing, or just sit and fidget because the joy of being fills me to overflowing and I just...can't...

Living consists of
a constant awareness
of the simple things--
breath, sunlight, wind, blood

But then there are the quiet moments, when I sit and listen. I was taught (not told, taught) to be inconspicuous, not to put myself forward or speak my thoughts. And so we have at the last a declaration of me. Take it as you will, because once these things are out of my mind they're out of my hands as well.

Duck and hide,
Don't draw attention
To the beauty you
See inside yourself.

That's boasting.

Duck and cringe,
Waiting to be attacked
For daring to change
The unchangeable.

That's rebellion.

Stand and wait,
Because boasting
Is the beginning
Of rebellion, and
Rebellion has
its own ends.

That's a given.

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Single Standard

Quite often I hear "The writing is bad" or "It's a stupid book," usually in reference to books that have been very popular and have a lot of devoted readers. If the book is stupid, give me a reason. If the writing is bad, how is it bad? If someone doesn't give me a reason, or simply quotes or links to a parody that makes fun of the book, I'll just assume that the individual doesn't know what s/he's talking about. It just makes them look stupid.

If you can't give me an articulate reason for your position, don't bother. I'm not listening.

I hear people say that a book glamorizes this or that, or makes light of a sensitive subject, but in nearly every case I can come up with other equally popular examples that do exactly the same thing and the people who argued against a particular book say "OH, but that's different," as if they can't think for themselves but can only parrot what they've heard or read.

It is NOT different. If a book has an objectionable theme and another book also has an objectionable theme, they should be judged on the SAME standard. If one book has adult content and is inappropriate for children, another book which discusses that same adult content should be judged by the same standard. Sorry, but saying that THIS book is OK because you like it but THAT book is objectionable doesn't fly. Saying "It's crap" as an explanation for why NO ONE in their right mind would EVER like that book is just ridiculous.

They need to give me reasons.

"I didn't like it" is a perfectly acceptable reason, but they can't expect me to change my opinions on that basis. If the only reason for not liking something is that a favored book didn't do as well, these people need to get over themselves, get a life and move on.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm dreaming of white grape vines

And if you hear that to the tune of "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas," you're just as cracked as I am.

I'm serious, though. I woke up from a dream of replanting grape vines. And yes, this has something to do with writing.

I'm a gardening fanatic, pretty much. I love digging in the dirt, planting, changing, harvesting, and using what I plant. The thing with this particular white grape (aside from the fact that my neighbor has grown it in this climate for upwards of 30 years) is that it's seedless. Raisins!!! There's just something about a raisin with seeds in it that turns my stomach and cracks my teeth. Bleh.

So last year I helped her prune her grapevines and started a couple for myself. This spring, six of those I planted came back up, but they can't just be left where they are because we need that space for other things.

I have hundreds of unused stories. Maybe thousands. Most of them will never see the light of day (I hope!) because they're one sentence to one page bits and pieces that I've been keeping since I was in third grade. But they can be helpful.

One story that I initially wrote when I was about fifteen or sixteen became my Demons Bay world. It was initially about a group of semi-aquatic refugees who created their own world because they couldn't find one that fit their requirements--terraformed it and planted it with their native plants, etc, then humans found it and when they woke up after millions of years they found their world occupied.

They may yet show up in other stories, but this particular story turned into the Demons Bay world. All it needed was a change of scene to come to life. When the Norn appear, it will be in a place where they can thrive rather than being tossed aside and having no part in the world they created.

Same with hundreds of others. A story doesn't usually stand alone. It's a conglomeration of thousands of experiences and curiosities and wonderings that all come together in the right place and the right time to make something new.

If the right thing is planted at the right time and in the right place, something wonderful may come of it. Otherwise it'll sit on the computer until I decide where it should go.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Is it International or Irrational WSG?

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means IWSG, or Insecure Writers Support Group. This is when a bunch of writers moan and gripe and complain (or cheer, chortle and giggle) all over the internet.

Today isn't a moan, gripe and complain day. Today I want to go outside and sit in the sun, but if I try I'll end up with a sunburn.

I have problems with bright sun. I much prefer cloudy days as long as they're not too cold. I burn up in the sun. I feel like a lizard, sliding out into the sun to warm up and then sliding back into the shade because I get too hot. My computer also doesn't like the sun. Its screen isn't bright enough to compete, so I sit inside and gaze longingly out the window.

I'm up to the climax on the fourth book in my Spirit Cycle. The first two books are out, the third is in editing. Trying to balance a climax with six people is difficult, so I find myself staring longingly out the window.

Maybe I need to do original research and get all my nessies (that's nieces and nephews) for a free-for-all.

On the other hand, editing proceeds for Guardian and Heart of the Castle. I'm working on figuring out marketing and trying to keep up with life on the side.

Or something. And for some unknown reason I can never remember what the first letter of IWSG stands for. I keep having to look it up...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spark of a Feudling, by Wendy Knight

In November of 2012, my friend Wendy was stressing over her first book--Feudlings. It almost immediately hit the top of the Amazon charts, and I got to watch (and laugh) as she stressed over that as well, watching her baby climb through the lists.

She proceeded to write two more Fate on Fire novels and a bunch of novellas/short stories about this same group of characters, and I love every one of them!

Now she's stressing over her newest book in the Fate on Fire series, Spark of a Feudling, which comes out today. So I get to laugh some more. This one is about Ada, the ancestor who started the three hundred year feud that Ari ended.

Hate can start a war, but a shattered heart can fuel it for centuries.

Everything Ada does is wrong. She’s the daughter of a Duke but she isn’t proper or formal. She prefers the company of her servants—particularly Christian, the boy she’s loved since she was six years old, and his sister, Charity, Ada’s very best friend in the entire world.

Ada isn’t just the daughter of a Duke. No, she’s the daughter of one of the most powerful Edren sorcerers alive, and no matter how strong she is, it isn’t strong enough. Ada will give up almost everything to earn her father’s pride.

Christian has loved Ada since the day his mother became her governess. But two societies are determined to keep them apart—the aristocracy who say a groom will never be good enough for a Duke’s beautiful daughter, and the sorcerers who say a Carules and an Edren can never be together. Christian will do anything to make Ada his—even drive himself to madness.

When Ada suspects her father of hurting Charity and Christian in his quest for knowledge, she is torn between loyalty to him, and a fierce determination to protect them. The division tears her soul and breaks her heart.

The pieces of her broken heart will start a war that can only be stopped by the death of the most powerful warrior alive by the hand of the boy who loves her.

Spark of a Feudling includes a bonus story, Feudlings in Peace. Join Ari, Shane, Ada, Christian and everyone they love as they chase their happily ever after.


Excerpt of Spark of a Feudling:

He sprinted down the path, into the forest, leaping over huge rocks and tree roots and through streams he couldn’t see but his magic told him were there. He had no idea where he was going, but there seemed to be a tether from his heart to hers — he always knew where Ada was. He ran straight to them, nearly colliding with her father’s guards as he raced through the thick trees.

“What happened to her?” he bellowed, jerking Ada out of Davis’s bloodstained arms.

“She was hit, saving me,” Harrison answered. “Can you help her?”

If there had been time, any time at all, Christian would have paused at that. How exactly had his tiny little Ada saved the giant Harrison? But there wasn’t time. He laid her on the thick grass, searching for the wound. But there was so much blood.

“There!” Davis snapped, jabbing the air above her stomach.

Flames roiled across Christian’s hands and he held them above her, letting the flames soothe the skin before he tried to touch it. They swirled through the air, seeping and mending the broken, charred skin.

“Does she breathe?” Harrison asked, crouching close to put his face next to her mouth.

Christian ignored him. He didn’t care if she breathed or not.

She would breathe, or he would die with her.

“She does.” Harrison sat back, relieved.

“Can you not heal at all? Stop the blood flow from her shoulder!” Christian snapped.

Harrison gaped at him. “We’re Edren. We don’t heal.”

“I’m Carules and I can throw a lirik if need be,” Christian muttered under his breath, but he couldn’t argue with them now.

She moaned.

They all froze in shock, and then redoubled their efforts. Davis jerked his shirt off and held it to her shoulder while Christian’s blue flames leaped and danced from his hands, fighting the poison eating through her body.

“Christian. I knew—” she whispered as her skin healed, leaving only pink burns behind.

“Shhh. Don’t speak. You’re still very weak.” He moved from her stomach to her shoulder, pushing Davis’ shirt out of the way. It was stiff with dried blood and she shrieked when he ripped it from the wound. “Forgive me, dear one,” he whispered, his mouth near her temple, kissing the pain away. “Forgive me.”

“I knew… you would come. I knew you… could heal me.” Her eyes fluttered open, dazed with pain, dark orbs barely reflecting the moonlight.

“Always, Ada. Forever.”

Wendy Knight is the bestselling author of the young adult series' Fate on Fire and Riders of Paradesos. She was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, no touching the knives…you get the idea). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big—her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.

You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Pruning and the Author's Backlog

We started pruning the grapevines last week, and I'm considering what to do with the trimmings.

Normally I'd say compost them (we use everything that comes out of the ground, short of a few truly noxious weeds) but a few years ago we tried that. We cut the vines up into little tiny pieces and buried them in compost. A year later we had green, green, green!

The vines apparently didn't care that they weren't supposed to grow, or from such tiny pieces. This spring a handful of them came back after the winter and I ruthlessly yanked them out, since no one wanted them. And yes, we did ask.

The thing is, I have 450 mg + on my computer of stories I've never done anything with. Well over 1500 files of individual tales that have a page or less, sometimes only a single line. It comes from never throwing anything away. Since I was 8 years old, I've never deliberately thrown away the start of a story. I have a thick file in my drawer that I've never taken the time to transcribe.

I could bury them in compost and hope a few grow, but I'm afraid that won't work for anything with less vitality than a Concord grape. I could go back and look through them, hope something takes root, but I have new ideas, new fun ideas that I don't want to put aside for yesterday's attempts.

I honestly don't think I'll ever go back to most. I've pruned the vines away and they're out of mind. But from time to time when I start a new story I find the seed of something I started years ago is ready to come out.

I guess the grapevines were practicing, and if one out of 100 comes up, that's pretty good odds.

Unless no one wants my stories, in which case I will chortle madly and enjoy them myself.