Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weekly Update: 5-31-14 Cover

I have a cover for The Changelings.

Five covers to be exact.

Kaleo Welborn, a talented illustrator and a member of the Brea Library Writer's Group, was kind enough to sketch some "roughs," samples of the cover based on my descriptions. As I have no great sense of graphic art, it was a huge relief to brainstorm with someone who could take my ideas and sketch them into something solid.

Today I got them back.

It was so amazing, it was almost like a shock. The Changelings had been real to me as a story, but now I could suddenly see it as a book. Something I could put on Amazon and perhaps sell and have other people read. It filled me with excitement, but also with fear. This was really happening. I had to get my act together and become a book publisher. Oh God. Soon perfect strangers might be reading and judging my book.

It was quite a big step.

The whole month of May has been taking steps to go from merely being a writer to being an author/ publisher. I didn't expect it to happen. It wasn't in my spring schedule. In addition to cover art,I'm giving The Changelings one last edit for brevity and clarity and trying to get it to an editor. I've even set a rough date for publication: January 2015. Right in time for my dreaded 30th birthday.

I've made progress, but there's still more to come.

Oh, did you want to see the cover?

Don't worry. It will get its own post soon enough. 

But for now, I just want to sit and take in this moment.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Books Like Chocolate

A chain-blog post seems to be making the rounds on the Internet comparing favorite books to fine chocolates. Recently Debra at wrote her take on vampire chocolate love and tagged  me to continue the trend. Thus, I've decided to throw my rather unexotic tastebuds into the mix.  

Let's begin.

Aria of the Sea by Dia Calhoun (YA/ Fantasy)
Symphony Toffee Bar
 The first time I got a Symphony bar in my Christmas stocking, I thought it was just a stock chocolate bar.  But the more I ate the more I thought it was subtly elevated, smooth and delicious, with the surprising crunch of toffee.

Aria of the Sea seemed straight-forward to me as well.  Thirteen year old Cerinthe leaves her small town and family to compete for a rare position at the Royal Dance Company. I thought I knew where the story was going. I was wrong. The story grew more complex and delicious the more I read. Nuggets of wisdom provided sweetness and texture and made the story all the more memorable

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (Mystery)
See's Raspberry Truffle

Picking up an Agatha Christie mystery is a lot like choosing a truffle out of a See's Candies sampler. I might not know what I'm going to get, but I know it will be good.  Reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was like biting into a raspberry truffle--the absolute best of the lot, in my own humble opinion.

When industrialist Roger Ackroyd is stabbed in the neck right before learning the name of his wife's blackmailer, it's up to Hercule Poirot, detective extraordinaire, to solve the case. Sweet, tart, and perfectly balanced, it's a classic that needs no extra fuss or unnecessary complication.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Literary)
Andes Chocolate Mints

When I go to restaurant and see an Andes mint on my bill (instead of the usual hard candy), I instantly warm. The green wrapped chocolate is small, but it packs a tremendous punch before melting beautifully in my mouth.  It's perfect end to a meal.

The Remains of the Day also deals with endings. Stevens, an aging butler, takes a trip across the English countryside to reunite with an old friend and evaluates the course of his life along the way.  A simple yet intense story that will melt your heart.

* * *

I'm going to tag LJ at and Christy at and challenge them to compare chocolates to books.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekly Update: 5-24-14

Happy Memorial Day!

Now I'm no girly-girl.  In fact, I'm probably one of the few females who actively hate shopping for clothes, shoes, and jewelry.  Nonetheless, I was forced to put my fashion sense to the test today in order to find clothes for my cousin's upcoming wedding.  In a grueling 3-hour session, I got a crochet shrug, a necklace and earring set, a bow pin, a hair barette, and some pretty flats. I was fairly pleased with the finished ensamble... and by how much stuff I got for sale.

Not much exciting happened this week.  Only one subbing job, so I caught up on my writing. I finished revising Chapter 7 and 8 of The Changelings, cutting around ten pages out of each.  I also finished Chapter 32 of the Three Floating Coffins and worked on the ending chapters. I did some cleaning. I spent time with my dad. I put flowers on my grandma's grave. That's all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ode to All My Murdered Trees

How many times I choose to write
Of forests pure with rapt delight:
Of pale-limbed birch and maple rich
In crimson hues in autumn's pitch,

Of scent of cedar, scent of pine,
Pink-crowned cherry in spring's prime,
Acorn, willow, oak, and spruce:
Nesting grounds where songbirds roost.

And all the pomp and majesty
Of tall and stately redwood tree.
You might have lived a thousand years
But for my angst and ghostly fears.

Emotions won't stay in my head,
So your fair life is snuffed instead.
Your corpse cut up ten thousand times,
Tattooed with ink in dull black lines.

All this I do in foolish hope
That these words I use to cope
And the advice I sometimes scrawl
Onto your corpse may someday fall

Upon the ears of those in need,
Upon the lost whom I might lead,
To share the comfort that I know,
To show them ways that they might grow.

But life is not a graceful dance.
We bump and fall and hurt by chance
And hope that somehow by God's grace
We leave the world a better place.

I ponder all the sacrifice,
Unknown to me, to bear this life.
If my words can no one seize,
What have I done but murder trees?

* * *


All the while half-edited chapters flopped all over the living room floor, I moaned and groaned to my aunt about my guilt in not spending the last hour and a half of my evening pushing myself to write more. 

You write plenty, she said, exasperated. Youre killing enough trees.

That little comment stuck in my head and wriggled out into my notebook in the shape of a poem, rhymes and all. It reminded me of old-timey poets and I kind of liked that.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Weekly Update: 5-17-14

Wednesday.  11:30 AM.

Five minures before the bell, and I've just finished writing up the teacher's note. The students silently read The Catcher in the Rye.  The air conditioner hums.  All seems peaceful, when suddenly--

Wham! The lights go out.


Another pleasant consequence of the stifling heat.  Fortunately, with only 5 minutes left in class, I just waited for the bell. The next period, I opened the blinds and let the sunshine in.  For an hour, we were deprived of electricity.

It was the most exciting thing that happened thus far this week.

I worked four days this week. I finished another chapter of Three Floating Coffins.  I did some revision.  I wrote a poem.  As the week ends, though, I've been feeling stressed out, because I know that more work is coming.  May and June will be filled with activity. Starting with the weekend.  I have a writer's club get together, volunteering for the library, and a dance rehersal for my cousin's wedding.

Sometimes I wish I could just Blackout my schedule.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekly Update: 5-11-14

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom is the ultimate mother, the most nuturing and caring person I know. This Friday she swung by to take me to my cousin's graduation.  I bought her a bouquet of flowers and her favorite snacks at Trader Joe's. It was nice just seeing her and talking to her again.  She really is the glue that holds the family together.

That same Friday, I saw my cool cousin Alydaughter who is going straight to work on a summer job mission trip that will take her to Pennsylvania and Niagra Falls. I remember that time in my own life when schooling ends but you're not yet worried about rent and food and building a career.  That tantalizing moment of freedom! Right now I'm at a different stage in my life--the settling down stage.  It's depressing moving from young adulthood to middle adulthood, but thewre's good and bad at each stage. It just takes time to recognize it.

Writing wise, I've been on an editing blitz, re-reading The Changelings and slashing through it with a red (or blue or black or purple or green) pen. You'd think this would be depressing but actually I find it addicting.  Editing taps into the same obsessive part of my brain as watching YouTube or browsing TV Tropes.  Or possibly eating butterscotch cookies. You just can't stop! There is something oh-so-liberating in cutting out all the mistakes, all the imperfections, all the misphrasings. Real life is rarely so easy.  There's no delete button.  You spit your stuff out there and hope you create more good than bad. You do your best and then move on.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekly Update: 5-2-14

The days had been getting warmer, but this week, the weather annouced, "It's summer!"

Monday, I woke to the roar of the Santa Ana winds. The wind brought in the dry heat. By Wednesday the hills were on fire. Ash blew in, and the air tasted like cigarettes.  I was working at an elementry school at the time, and the poor air quality forced us onto rainy day schedule. I've been coping with the heat by eating copious amounts of ice cream. Sadly, this is just the beginning. It will grow worse.

Last week I decided to "move the goalposts" on my Nanowrimo, which turned out to be a mistake when I got subbing gig on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and had to complete a short story for my Brea Library Writer's Club.  Sadly, Nanowrimo would not let me move the goalpost. I decided to accept my loss and clocked in at 59,000 words (their word count knocked out 1,000 of my words). Better just to focus on my Coffin story.

As the weather transtions, so does my writing, and I've moved from The Originals to Three Floating Coffins. I've completed Chapter 30: "The Lady of the Stars." I'm excited because I got to reveal secrets I've been holding onto for a year now. The story is racing toward the climax, which means I have to weave together all the separate storylines and pump up the action and drama. It's a lot of work, but lots of fun!