Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's here!

Tuesday night, over a glass of Bailey's and soy milk, I uploaded my book to Kindle. Unchanged is now available to buy, and it's only $0.99! You can get it here. I'm very pleased with the story and I'm confident at least a few people will enjoy it (probably family and friends at this point, heh). It turns out I really have no idea how to promote it without being annoying or spammy. I think I'll head on over to one of those Goodreads groups that allows authors to talk about their own books.

Just for fun, here's a little doodle of the main characters I made one time (it's the closest I ever got to getting them right, and one of my tools was a highlighter, for crying out loud):

Ahaziel and Lilly

Anyway, there's that. Today, between taking care of my child and painting my dining room table, I'm going to try to reread The Hunger Games. I'm supposed to go see the movie with my sister-in-law Friday night, and I'm so excited! The trailer alone has the power to give me goosebumps and make me all emotional. Hopefully I don't break down in the theater. That would be embarrassing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coming Soon . . .

Today I found out my copyright has gone through, so I'm hoping to have time to re-re-re-infinity-read the manuscript and publish it! (On Kindle, since the agents I queried don't seem to be inclined to pick me up.) I'm really excited.

I just now decided to post the prologue. It's short. Here it is!


He was born in the forest, from a shifting of wind and leaves. An indistinct but solid form, he was made with a detailed knowledge of his environment, a knowledge that grew every day he spent in existence. His name came to him from a whispering among the trees. He knew his place in the world and how to stay alive. He did not possess much self-awareness, only a sense of self-preservation.
Ahaziel did not feel guilt over the people he lured and pushed into the river. He inhaled their souls because doing so was his role in nature.
"You have begun to take on a human aspect," Merko told him one day. Merko was from the water, a being who pulled his victims into the ocean. He enjoyed the drowning in way that went beyond survival. A salty haze clung to him wherever he went. "That means you are taking plenty of souls. Soon you will look fully human, as I do. That will make you all the more dangerous."
"I do not take particular pleasure from stealing lives," Ahaziel said.
"One day you will. It is inevitable." Merko smiled fondly and pointed at a group of humans fishing off rocks. "Do you not adore them? Do you not thrill at how fragile they are, how unwittingly they put themselves at our mercy?"
"I do not find interest in their vulnerability. Have you ever considered they may seek us out one day? If we anger them, they may try to kill us."
Merko laughed, delighting in his role as mentor. "They can try, Ahaziel, but humans cannot kill us. Nor can we kill each other. We are here, sure as the earth and sky. We may look human, but we do not have a place among them, nor they with us."
"It seems unfortunate."
"Do not fool yourself into thinking humans matter. They will die and be reborn, but you and I and others like us will live and live. We will never leave. We will never change."
As Ahaziel watched the fishing humans with curious detachment, he thought that was the saddest thing he had ever heard.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Unchanged Excerpt

Because I'm so generous, I give you an excerpt from the upcoming book! Traditionally or on the Kindle, one day soon it will be published. Hope you enjoy.

On Friday I was exhausted, having spent half the night awakened by inexplicable terror. I'd never had a nightmare before in my life, so the sudden appearance of them was unsettling. I sat numbly through the critique in art class, not contributing my opinions of my classmates' artwork and barely listening to the opinions of others. I hated crit days. It pained me to talk about my work in front of everyone.
"Lilly?" Miss Bell prompted when it was my turn, much too soon.
I squirmed on my stool and tried to remember the words I had rehearsed in my head before class, but I couldn't make them come out properly. "Um . . ." I began lamely. "I used technical pens . . . on bristol paper . . . Instead of a mirror I used a window, and that's how my reflection looked." I drew a deep breath. That had been unpleasant.
"Hmm," Miss Bell said, contemplating my drawing. "Do you think it's missing something?"
"No," I replied immediately.
"What does everyone else think?"
"It doesn't really look like you," one boy commented.
I could feel my face burning. He meant I hadn't included my birthmark in the drawing, and everyone knew it.
"It doesn't capture your essence," someone else said.
I nodded silently, pretending to agree. Usually when someone attempted to defend their own drawing, they ended up sounding upset about the criticism.
"I think it's kind of nice," one girl said. I turned to look at her. She had shoulder-length brown hair and green eyes. I couldn't remember her name. "It's very spare," she continued, "and the lines are sophisticated. If you get up close, you can see how delicate the line work really is."
"Thank you, Mirain," Miss Bell said. "Lilly, this is a very good effort. In the future, however, I would like to see some emotion in your work. I would like for us to see you in your drawings."
I stewed about that until the end of class, which couldn't have come soon enough. I barely kept from dozing off in English, revived myself for lunch, then zoned out in government. After I'd successfully made it through the day without slipping into a coma, all I wanted to do was go home and nap, dreaming about not having class again until January. However, I found my brother, Chris, Austin, and Joy waiting for me in the parking lot. They wanted to go to the Blue Shrimp, a sleepy diner downtown where we occasionally convened. I decided to go along despite my lethargic state, thinking a cup of hot tea sounded nice on such a cold day.
"Lilly's coming!" Chris cheered. She placed a hand on my shoulder, perhaps in an attempt to make up for the time we'd lost as friends the past few weeks.
"Austin's the only one who wanted to wait for you," Joy informed me snarkily as we crowded into the Oldsmobile. So much for our newfound friendship.
The Blue Shrimp didn't seem like the kind of place that would ever attract high school students, which explained why we hardly ever saw anyone we knew there. A small cafe soaked in muddy mustard light, it looked like it might appeal to people who wanted to avoid drawing attention. Like me. The booths were ugly chocolate brown, the walls a dense red ochre. The speakers whispered indistinct, boring music, but the food was good so no one really minded. How the place had ever come by its name was a mystery to everyone.
We took our usual booth in the corner by the window. I occupied the innermost seat and leaned against the glass, letting the cold seep inside me. No one had commented on the lavender sweeps beneath my eyes. They probably figured I was putting in extra hours studying or something. As if I'd ever lost any sleep over schoolwork.
Austin sat beside me, close but not touching. We barely looked at each other. It was almost as if his invitation to the dance hadn't happened. I guessed he was still coming over to my house tonight before the dance, since I hadn't heard anything different. I tried to think of something to say to him.
"Thanks for waiting," I offered lamely.
"Yeah," he returned, his eyes darting to me and away.
I slumped in my seat. He didn't seem interested in me at all. Which was okay, since I didn't think of him romantically. Still, I couldn't think why he had asked me to the dance in the first place.
As we perused our greasy plastic menus, Chris and Joy started talking about their college applications, a subject which held no importance for me. Or Brandt, for that matter. Neither of us did well enough in school to earn scholarships, like Austin with his athletics, and there was no way my mom could pay for both of us. But I didn't care. I just didn't know what I wanted to do instead.
"What'll ya have?" the red-haired server asked as she approached our table. She stared at her pad, pen at the ready. The Blue Shrimp wasn't known for its prompt or friendly service, which was probably why nobody we knew ever came here.
"The sundae, please," Chris ordered. "No nuts."
"There's only one kind of nuts Chris likes," Brandt announced slyly.
Brandt and Austin laughed, Chris looking back and forth between them in confusion. Joy just rolled her eyes and ordered coffee.
"Hot tea," I muttered. I had a couple of dollars to cover that, at least.
"Grilled cheese," Austin said. My brother decided to have the same, barely getting in his order before the server slunk away.
My gaze strayed outside and I thought longingly of my bed. I stirred my tea when it arrived, letting the mug warm my bloodless hands. I inhaled the steam and pretended I was alone. In a stylish café in some distant city. Waiting. Waiting for . . .
A figure in black across the street caught my eye. I squinted, focusing my gaze, until I recognized, with some surprise, Ahaziel. He just stood there in front of an antiques store, staring in the windows of the Blue Shrimp, watching me. Oh god. Was he stalking me? No, he was probably looking at something else. He was just out for a stroll through town . . . But why wasn't he moving? I could feel the dark weight of his eyes upon me even from across the street, even through glass. Was he angry I hadn't gone to meet him yesterday as I'd said I would?
The food arrived, distracting me for only a moment. Brandt handed me half of his grilled cheese. I held it poised awkwardly in front of my mouth, not able to bring myself to take a bite, knowing Ahaziel was watching me. I couldn't put it down, either, because then I would have to find something else to do with my hands. I tried concentrating on the conversation, but I couldn't help obsessing over the way I looked in profile to Ahaziel. Like Lee Miller, Miss Bell had once told me. I'd looked at the portrait she'd indicated in one of her art books, studying the woman's long nose, pretty mouth, serene eyes, and dainty chin. But my face wasn't like hers because mine was wary, resentful, and paranoid, my expressions mirroring my feelings no matter how hard I tried to hide them. My face had two sides, one plain and honey-pale, the other stained with that gigantic splash of pale berry-red.
I let my gaze slide cautiously back in Ahaziel's direction. He hadn't moved. Not one inch.
Doesn't anyone else see him? I wondered. Does he even exist?
I willed myself to act natural even if it was the last thing I felt. I turned back to the group and summoned a weak smile. "Any plans after the dance?"
"That's when we're going to Austin's to celebrate your birthday," Joy said. "Haven't you been listening?"
"Um, not really."
I glared at her as Brandt and Austin began discussing pranks they might perform at the dance, but Joy didn't notice. I bit into my grilled cheese half and chewed determinedly.
I couldn't help but glance out the window again. Ahaziel had gone.

Dun dun dun!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Me and My Books

I got this from Nafiza at Bibliophilic Monologues.

1) What do you like to do besides read/blog?
Write, of course! I have so many unfinished projects.
Although I haven't done art in FOREVER (shamefully, since I graduated), I also love drawing and painting with watercolor. One of these days (i.e. when my toddler isn't so grabby) I'd like to improve/practice my oil technique.
When I have money, I enjoy buying books, browsing Target and whatever other stores suit my desires, going to the library, and hanging out with my husband and son. (We have been known to indulge in more than one Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family.)
2) Print or e-book? Any particular reason?
Print. I don't care what anyone says, there is no way to get the feel of reading an actual book with an e-reader, fancy "page-turning" capabilities or not. I appreciate the convenience of an e-reader and I even have one on my wishlist for those free/cheap Kindle books and NetGalley reads, but for me print books are the way to go.
3) Paperback or hardcover?
Paperback for the price. But if I can find a hardcover for cheap, I go for hardcover. I have a healthy mix of both on my shelves and it looks so awesome.

You can't see the books too well, but here's a picture of the G-Z + misc. side of my little office:

4) Do you have a favorite bookstore?  If so, can we see a pic?
I miss Borders. And Bookstar. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a used bookstore that interests me much (I don't think there are any indie bookstores in my city, but I'll have to look into it). A friend of mine used to live in Utah and she took me to a couple cool bookstores in Salt Lake City. I don't remember their names but they were great. I get most of my book online because I'm poor, or from the library. Here's my library:

5) Why did you decide to start your blog?

I'd blogged before, but I always got bored of it after realizing no one cared what I had to say. Recently, I finally finished a book called Unchanged. I thought blogging would be a decent way to promote it without being spammy. But I may have been hasty in starting this blog up because I'm still waiting for my copyright. Whoops!
6) How long does it take you to finish a book on average? 

1-2 days for YA, maybe 4-5 days if I'm not really into the book.
7) Look at your bookshelf (not GoodReads, but your physical bookshelf) and quickly pick your top five.

This normally requires a lot of careful thinking, but here we go:

The Passion - Donna Boyd
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
The Vampire Diaries series - L.J. Smith (I'm counting the original four as one)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

8) Favorite places on the internet?

Goodreads (duh). Also the Clark County library website, for Dear Prudence, iTunes movie trailers, and Amazon. And anywhere else I can waste time.
9) Coffee, tea, juice, or soda?

Coffee in the morning. Tea when I'm cold. Soda with certain meals, but no more than one a day. Juice only occasionally. Water every other time, although I don't drink as much as I should.
10) What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

The ability to say things I want to say which would otherwise have no place to go.
11) Favorite of your past 5 books read, plus the next 5 you plan to read.

Er, I don't have a favorite of the last five I've read. So my most recent favorite would probably be Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan.

And the next five I will probably read (after the ones I'm currently reading) are:

The Piper's Son - Melina Marchetta
Torn - Stephanie Guerra
Catch & Release - Blythe Woolston
Lightning Tree - Sarah Dunster
Angel Eyes - Shannon Dittemore

So . . . thanks for reading! Hope it was interesting.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I don't practice religion, but for some reason I like to observe Lent. My mother raised us Episcopalian (sort of, I guess. It didn't really take). Like a New Year's resolution, only somehow more doable, I look at it as a chance to make myself healthier, since what I give up is usually a food item of some sort. The problem is, I can never remember when it starts since I never look at calendars that tell me when Ash Wednesday occurs. Even if I did, I only figured out today that Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. Also I never know when it ends (April 5th this year, I think). Some Lenter I am. Anyway, this year is no different, since apparently Lent started on February 22nd. So here's what I decided to give up:

1) ice cream. Okay, yes, I'll finish the tub already in the freezer. But no more buying it after that! For forty days, anyway.
2) fast food. Not really a problem. We only eat it about once a week as it is. I've done this before with success. I even give up what I consider the non-fast fast foods (sorry, Roberto's. This means you).
3) coffee. I can do it. I know I can. I'm not addicted, I swear. It's just a morning ritual, nothing more!
4) Just for the record, I will never give up popcorn. That would be cruel and unusual.

So that's that. We'll see. Forty days isn't so long and I'll probably lose track anyway since the days of the week and dates mean nothing to me these days (except in the case of coupon expiration dates, heh heh). The time shall fly right by and I'll be eating mocha cheesecake ice cream again in no time!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do.

My friend is in this local band called The Clydesdale. They play what I think is termed alt country. And this is their first (I'm pretty sure) video! It also happens to be one of my favorite songs of theirs. Go Paige!