Monday, October 31, 2011

Others have said... Believe in yourself.

Hi all! Before I go into the post proper, I just want to announce the winner of Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle. And the winner as chosen by is...

Angela Brown!



Sylvia Plath

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. 
Sylvia Plath

I recently rejoined a writers forum that I belonged to just before I started blogging. I don't do the public posting of my writing for critiques thing, though, so I usually dig through the threads looking for something that I can reply to.

One of the threads was created by a new writer who lamented her inexperience. She described how happy she was in outlining the plot for an idea she had and how excited she was about it. Then she had to do a project for school where she wrote about J.K. Rowling. When she got back to her own work, she was hit by a mountain of self-doubt. Nothing looked good enough. Why?

Because she convinced herself that her book will never become the next Harry Potter.

She found out the hard way why self doubt is creativity's worst enemy. It's like a weed that chokes out creativity with discouragement. Because lets face it. If the book isn't going to be as good as you want it to be, what's the point of starting?

This is such a destructive and unnecessary thinking pattern, because for all we know, that girl's book might just become something worth reading. She needs to give her idea a chance to survive.
All writers are hit by doubts, but we have to keep going, or else nothing would get written. Here's what I think once my self-doubt starts gunning for me.

  • J.K. Rowling probably had a ton of doubts too. She just cared enough for her idea to work through it.
  • Doubt does not go away because you constantly try to fix every single thing you've written. It goes away when you realize that what you've written is good enough. For now.
  • Self-doubt can make for one awesome editor if you starve it for long enough. Keep writing.
  • Maybe it's time to take a leap of faith. Maybe your idea isn't the next Harry Potter. Twilight wasn't either. Stop comparing and break some boundaries.
  • Last but not least: No matter how good you are, you can't fix what isn't written.

Anyone else got hit by self-doubt lately? If you're an old hand at writing, how do you get yourself out of the self-doubt rut? If you're new, are you dealing with it alright? How do you escape your doubts?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Amy Lunderman's Demonsoul

Hi all! Today we're doing something different again. Amy is going to share some tasters of her new Trilogy, The Misadventures of Daria Pigwidgeon. Hope you enjoy it!



The people I call family (and I use that term loosely by the way) aren’t the Walton’s by any means. For starters the whole lot of them are demons. Myself included. Who knew right? It’s so bizarre I don’t even believe it. Or want to believe it.

Except, I don’t have a choice.

And I haven’t since the day I was plucked from my mother’s loins. I remember everything as if it was yesterday, and I wish I didn’t. Let’s call it a gift of sorts, my memory, because it’s the only that has kept me alive all this time. Why you ask?

I have a soul.

That’s right, yours truly, Daria Pigwidgeon (a name I gave myself at an early age from a show on MTV my brothers used to watch. And it’s much preferred over scum, which was used often by my parents. Scum Pigwidgeon, not very catchy) is a proud member of her very own soul. And with that came many years of taking care of myself.

Unlike the filthy bottom feeders that are my family, I’m the first one born with a clean viable human soul. The first in generations really. You’d think it’d be a good thing, something to treasure even. Only it’s something that has left me cursed.

And very far from treasured.

 The first book in a young adult urban paranormal fantasy trilogy begins when Daria decides to flee her home in Bakersfield, California. With no clear plan she picks a random place, and heads for the cooler climate of upstate New York. Feeling like she finally has a fresh start she takes her life into her own hands, free of threats. Her first adventure, is in high school, as the new girl.

Making friends and vying for normalcy while staying true to herself to NOT use her demon gifted abilities, life is harder than ever. Just when she thinks she might be finding an unexpected love in the boy next door, new comers arrive in town.

Her family. The ones she ran away from in the first place.

Now she must face what it means to be what she is. A demon with a soul. Except, she's not the only one keeping secrets. And it'll shock her to her core when she finds out who and why. 


A voice calls out in the darkness.


It tugs at my consciousness, but I’m a little too busy to care. Can’t whoever it is see I’m trying to pass out? Why can’t they let me just have a good panic attack. I think it’s well deserved. But it doesn’t go away and neither does the warmth on my cheeks.

“Open your eyes rabbit. Don’t go passing out on me, you here. Come on, you can do it. Just breathe.”

Something clicks in my rattled head. Rabbit. I know that from somewhere. Chance has been calling me that. It would be rather annoying if it didn’t sound so endearing coming from him. Chance? Why is he talking to me like I’m freaking out? Oh right. I think I am.

My eyes open.

“Good girl. That wasn’t so hard right? Can you take a deep breath for me? Come on, I know you can do it.”

That’s when I realize that I’m somehow holding my breath. Like my body is on strike or something. But I can’t do it. Take a breath I mean. And not because I’m still freaking out. It’s because he’s so close to me. At some point between pulling up to the school and my panic, he got in the back with me. I don’t remember that. Or the part where he took my cheeks, in between his hands. That’s the warmth I feel. His warmth.

But why is he so hot? I mean the temperature. I couldn’t begin to understand why he’s so pretty. His blue eyes bore into me, and under different circumstances I might’ve blushed. But I don’t. He gives a hard but gentle squeeze to me cheeks, like he’s trying to tell me something, but what? Oh. Right. Stupid me. I have to breathe. So I do as he says. I suck in the biggest gulp of air and my lungs expand with a hiss. Tears prickle at my eyes. 

I can’t stop shivering suddenly. I’m so cold. 

“That’s better. See? I knew you had it in you rabbit.” Chance whispers with a hesitant smile tugging at his lips.

Honestly, I don’t think I actually had it in me. I almost welcomed the black spots trying to fill my vision. I don’t tell him this though. I don’t say anything. I’m content to just let him keep touching me. He’s so warm.

Opening Teaser


“I never thought too much about the effects my gift has on humans, that is until one of them had one at all.”

Book Trailer


Thanks so much for this sample of your writing, Amy. I know I'm intrigued. Amy also has a virtual book tour coming up in November, so keep an eye out for her.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Rule of Three Blogfest: Troublemaker Part 4

Welcome back to Renaissance. I must say, I'm sorry that this is my last moments with these characters. I really loved and enjoyed them, but the very reason why I chose this story was because it could be told in more or less 2000 words. 
Anyway, for this last installment, we're back with Laine Masterson.

If you missed the previous installments:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Prompt used:
Relationships mend/ are torn asunder.

Word count: 489


Everything jars me. Every breath drums against my chest. Air burns my lungs. My heart beats quake through my body. All I can think of is the ring lying in an evidence bag. In the morgue. Like a message from the dead.
  What are you going to do? 

What am I going to do? 

My merciful mind flings me back to an easier time. To the perfume of warmed chocolate and fresh cookies. Keith with doe eyes and crumbs on his chin. “No mom, I didn’t steal any cookies.” 

I never notice the bustle in the offices anymore. I notice it now that it stops in consternation and shock.  

Maybe I should have told the staff that Jack would be bringing Keith in. But then, this is Renaissance. News could have reached Keith before Jack did. 

Keith. My son. 

I got him arrested. 

Guilt slams into me like a bullet to the head.   

Keith frowns as Jack leads him into my office. “Mom?”
“Sit down. Jack? Please bring us some bagels.”
Jack doesn’t bat an eyelash as he leaves. 

He should have. I shouldn’t be here, drowning in a conflict-of-interest soup. 


Keith’s prodding settles me a little. He always does it when I space out on him. I glance his way, knowing that I’m at the edge of disaster. If he really did have something to do with this… Do I really want to know?  

I close my eyes, unable to face him as I drop the bad news on his head. “Your father’s class ring was found in Sean Drummond’s hand.” 

A deep gust of breath rushes out of him. I open my eyes in time to see him putting his facial expression back together. “Oh?” 

What do I do? How do I react? “I have evidence putting you at the crime scene and all you say is ‘oh’?” 

He shifts forward in his chair, his face greying. “What sort of evidence? Only the ring?” 

The homicide detective in me snaps back before I do. She pipes up before I know to stop her. “DNA.” 

Any remorse I might have felt for the lie vanishes as I watch his grey skin turn a waxy white. 

“Impossible what? Impossible you weren’t there or impossible you’re too slick to leave evidence?” Det. Masterson’s on a roll.
Keith rubs both his hands down his face. “Mom! Could you be my mother for just a second?” 

So helpless. Like the boy he once was, left at home when I got called. All that time that we could have spent together… The least I can do now is have his mother present too.

I kneel down in front of him, grasping his knees and looking up into his terrified eyes. 

“Tell me you didn’t kill Sean.”

I wish with all that I am I didn’t spot his convulsive swallow.  

“I didn’t kill him.” 

No mom, I didn’t steal any cookies.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Now I remember why I don't play well with others...


There is nothing as stupid as a human being with herd mentality.

I'm sorry, but it's true.

Usually, I fold away my annoyance and put it to the back of my mind, but now, I am tired and I am stressed.

My bullshit capacity is overtaxed. 

My inhibition - you know, the one that prevents me from turning into my dark, twisted, cynical bitch of an alter ego - is on its last legs.

And one of the few things that make me really happy has been soured (perhaps beyond salvage), because of the fact that people in the choir round on me without even bothering to see why I'm saying what I'm saying.

Hell, I even made sure I said it nicely. BUT oh no! In a crowd of over-forties, HOW DARE I HAVE AN OPINION? Moreover, how do I stick to it? Alone? Despite their attempts to steamroller me into their view.

One that is WRONG.

And this isn't one of those chicken or egg issues. It's music. Specifically the tempo. As indicated on the page and TAUGHT TO ME by the composer. I mean, I'd think that the music director would actually go through the trouble to READ what was written.


As frustrating as that is, it would not have bothered me if the three stooges sitting in front of me didn't target me all the way through the practice, with tacit consent from the music director.

So now I've made a decision.

I only have so much time. I am not willing to spend it with childish over-forty-year-olds who are more focused on how they look in front of choir-mates than how they're going to sound when they sing.

If this shit continues, I'll find something else to do.

Because heaven knows, I have learnt to stay out of situations that bring out my dark side.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Others have said... Inspiration takes work

Don't loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will none the less get something that looks remarkably like it. 

Jack London, Getting Into Print

As writers, we get ideas all the time. That much all of us know. But there's something that I've learned after a long time of writing: All ideas are not inspiration, but all inspirations are ideas.

Ideas bombard us.

In fact, we can sit on our desk an think up a hundred in a few hours. I think of them as thousands of puzzle pieces with no idea where they go or how they fit together.

Inspiration is the picture of a completed puzzle.

Unfortunately it's highly unlikely that the picture will be lying around the writer's writing space. It's out there.  Perhaps it's out there in a conversation you have with friends. Perhaps it's in a book. Perhaps it's in a single word graffiti'ed onto a bathroom wall (it has happened to me).

It will not come to you without you going out to get it.

I'm not saying that it will come to you just because you look for it. Most of the time, it will come to you when aren't looking. But keep that club handy just in case...

Where is the strangest place you ever found inspiration? Are you new to the hunt? Have you bumped into inspiration yet? How did it happen? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Are you an Amateur or a Professional?

bio picure.jpg
Professional writers write for money. Amateurs write for enjoyment. If you are writing with no expectation of being paid, you are an amateur.”

I read this somewhere, in a comment by an author someplace on the Internet. 

It set me thinking.

My approach to writing so far can be summarised as follows:

1.Write the stories in your head, write them the best way you can. Write daily, and try to improve your craft each day.

2.Submit your writing only if you think you have said what you want to say the best way you can say it.

3.If you get accepted, move on. If you get rejected, move on. Either way you would not stop writing, so there is no need to dance too wildly in your joy of acceptance and appreciation, and mope for days because a rejection kicked your butt.

4.Write because that is your place in the world. Writers write. If money and recognition come your way, that is a bonus.

But the statement, “If you are writing with no expectation of being paid, you are an amateur” gave me pause for thought.

So does placing money as my secondary goal, far below my primary goal of crafting the best story I can, make me an amateur?

A plumber is a professional, a lawyer is a professional, a doctor is a professional, and it is true: they all get paid to do their job. So if I’m not paid to write my stories, and write religiously despite the fact, does it reduce me to the status of an amateur?

I’ve published stories in print anthologies by established publishing houses, been mostly paid a pittance for my work, and in some cases not at all. Does that make me an amateur?

 If ten years from now, I continue to get paid next to nothing for my writing, (which is, after all, the case with most writers), will I remain an amateur?

This troubled me for a while.

 I wondered whether I should let go of the sort of stories I write, and go for the genres which sell better—try my hand at crime and romance, just to see if I could not make enough to make a living, and thus graduate to become a professional.

I looked around and figured that most genre authors do not manage to make a living out of their writing, even the bestselling ones.  So, the fact that they continue to write shows that they write because they want to, or because they have a passion for it.

I’m in good company, I realized.

I’ll continue to write articles to make money in order to support my career as a fiction author. It may not be the best-paid career in the world, but it is still a career.

And then, I thought of another thing: if I were a doctor, I would still treat patients for free if I thought that was the best for the patient.

Conclusion: I would have remained somewhat of an amateur in any profession. So if I’m an amateur at writing fiction, so be it. Writing is what I do. It is my place in this world, and being the best writer I can be is still my primary goal. If I do get paid to write fiction, that’s great. If I don’t, that’s great too.

So, are you an amateur or a professional? And how do you decide which is which?

Thanks, Misha, for letting me guest at your excellent blog, and thank you to everyone reading the post. Any questions and comments, I’m here to chat with you all.

az2b.JPGDamyanti lives more in her head than in this world, adores her husband, and loves her pet fish and plants. She is an established writer for magazines and journals. Her short fiction has been published in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Muse India and in print anthologies by Marshall Cavendish, Monsoon Books, and MPH publications. Her book, A to Z Stories of Life and Death, is available for download Kindle Smashwords Nook and Diesel.
Twitter: damyantig

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Elle Strauss on Clockwise

Hi all! As has become the norm, I'm knee deep in crap economics. Fortunately, I have Elle Strauss over for another interview. :-)

 1) Tell us more about yourself?
I write time travel and merfolk chic-lit, light SF and historical YA fiction. I'm a married mom of four, and live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, famous for beaches and vineyards. I'm fond of Lindt's sea salt dark chocolate and hiking in good weather.
2) What is your book about?
In short:

A teenage time traveler accidentally takes her secret crush back in time. Awkward.

3) How did you get the idea?

This is a harder question. Where do ideas come from? I wrote a time travel novel years ago, and though it wasn't publishable, I did learn a lot from writing it. Some of those early ideas made it to CLOCKWISE.

4) Plotter or Pantser?

I was a pantser when I wrote CLOCKWISE. I think plotting a little would've helped. Writing time travel is tricky in that you need to have two separate story arcs, one in the past and one in the present, that overlap into an overall story arc. I'm working on a companion novel and I'm plotting more for that one.

5) Character driven or plot driven?

CLOCKWISE is character and plot driven.
Casey, the main character has a definite character arc, as does her love interest Nate, but the plot keeps the pages turning!

6) Where can we find out more about you?
I blog at You can find out all about my writing journey. There's also a writing tips tab where I link to the writing posts I've done over the last couple years.

7) Where can we get your book?

So glad you asked. The e-version is available at Amazon, B & N, and ibookstore. Also on Smashwords and Kobe. The print version will be available in November.

Thanks for having me, Misha!

Thanks for the interview, Elle. :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Rule of Three Blogfest: Troublemaker Part 3

Welcome to Renaissance, where everyone has a secret.

Today we have Molly Parker, the girl who witnessed Ray Drummond's murder.

Prompts used:

The impending misfortune foreshadowed in Part 1 comes to pass, but one or more characters laugh at it.

Betrayal is in the air.

Relationships unravel.

Word count: 571

If you missed the previous installments:

Part 1
Part 2


Laine Masterson is a local legend. She might even be able to bring the jocks down.

Able. Yes.



She analyzes me from my black hair to the edge of the table between us. “Thank you for coming in, Molly.”

Her office is weird. Neat. No pictures. No belongings except for the bubbling percolator filling the air with a promise of coffee. “Please call me M. I’m not a Molly.”
“M, then.” She reaches for her legal pad, clicks her pen and pins the Masterson stare on me.

I will not flinch.

“You said that the jocks killed Ray. Did you see them?”
Here we go. Excuse fishing. “They wore masks.”
“Hear them?”

“Yeah, but their voices were muffled.” I lie back into my chair to get comfortable for the legal runaround. “But I know it was them.”
Laine’s brows deepen the one prominent line on her face. “How?”
“Since the Movement started, the jocks tried to get us in line.”

She doodles something. “Movement?”
“It’s what we call ourselves. Anyone else would call us punks.”
Her eyes turn back to me. “What do you mean ‘get us in line’?”
“They’d jump us. Harass us. Spread rumors.”
“Did you report it?”

How I hate those four words. “In the beginning.”
“Why not after?”
“The first few times I tried, I was told we provoke people. So it’s always our fault.”

The scratching of pen to paper puts me on edge. Come on insulation.

“Some of my deputies say you guys are troublemakers.”

Why the fuck am I even talking to her?

“No shit. We’re trying to land their football team in jail.”
“My son is the football captain.”
Ah. There it is. I pull the numbness on like a jacket. Now it doesn’t hurt as much to speak. “Well then. I see I’ve wasted your time.”

Laine shakes her head and pours me a cup of coffee. She pushes the mug across the table with a sugar pot. No milk. “So this attack on Ray was unprovoked?”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“The time before this, we fought back. We got them good.” I add an extra spoon of sugar to compensate for the lack of milk. “They got us better. Ray was our source of strength.”
“He told you to fight back?”
“The night he was killed, why didn’t he run?”
“He tried to reason with them. To get this madness to stop.”

If I was alone I’d cry. Because of loss. Because of anger. Because this is a game I’m going to lose.

I sip my coffee instead. It goes rancid in my mouth as memories of that night taunt me. The crack of Ray’s bones against wood. Ray’s blood speckling the killers with every hit he takes. Their howling shouts as they hit him some more. His pleads for mercy provoking them to lynch him.

Laine’s cell phone goes off yanking me back to now. She takes the call. “Describe it.”

Her rage rolls over me as she disconnects. She shoots out of her chair and hurls the phone across the room.  The shattered pieces tinkle to the floor as she draws her anger into herself.

It’s like watching the creation of a black hole.

“We identified one of the killers.”

So they’d done their job for once. So will the defence attorneys. Justice will miss the court date.

I will not cry.
So I laugh.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm still alive (for now).

Hi all! Just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive. Just a little busy.

Yesterday in particular, thanks to a water leak in my mom's wardrobe that resulted in her having to wash all her summer's clothed in hot water, a leak in the washing machine's piping that led to a flooded kitchen and finally a cold geyser that resulted in a half an hour dish washing task taking five times as long.

Long sentence.

Massively long day during which I did almost nothing productive.

I didn't even look at my economics.

So anyway. I'm far behind my study schedule, so I'll have to cut this short.

Remember to come check out my Rule of Three Blogfest entry tomorrow!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview with Michelle Davidson Argyle

Hi all! Today I welcome Michelle Davidson Argyle for another installment of GPF. However today is a bit different because I held an interview with her to market her forthcoming novel Monarch.

First things first: Who are you? 
I grew up in a little valley town in the Rocky Mountains called Heber City, and I’ve always loved to write. I wrote my first novel in high school and later graduated with an English and Creative Writing degree from Utah Valley University. I really wanted to “grow up and write novels for a living.” Slowly, I’m making that a reality!

Tell us a bit more about Monarch? 
Monarch is an adult spy thriller that takes place in Brazil and West Virginia. It’s different from your average thriller in the fact that it’s told from three points-of-view: Nick, a 50-year-old almost-retired spy for the CIA who’s been set up for murder; Lilian, a 50 year-old divorced woman who owns the secluded Monarch Inn and fears being alone for the rest of her life; and Devan, Lilian’s 26-year-old son who wants nothing more than to leave his mother’s inn and join the Air Force.

Monarch is like a family drama with spies, badass guys, guns, butterflies, and brownies. It’s a fun ride!

How did the idea behind Monarch come about?
I first had the idea from Monarch when I read a section in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She has a section in there about monarch butterflies, and it’s brilliant and beautiful and it really sparked something inside me to write a story about butterflies. The spy element came when I wrote a few other short stories that contained a mysterious spy-like character. I thought it would be fun to combine the two.

How long did it take you to write Monarch and to prepare it for publishing?
I started Monarch back in November of 2008 for National Novel Writing Month. I worked on it straight for a full year, then took a break to write my novella Cinders, and then got back to it for some more revisions until I submitted it to Rhemalda Publishing in the fall of 2010.

Plotter or pantser?
I used to be a pantster, but not anymore! I love to outline by writing a detailed synopsis for stories after I’ve written the first few chapters to get a feel for the characters and the story.

What came first: Plot or Characters? 
For Monarch, the idea of butterflies in a forest surrounding a lady who owns an inn came first. And then one day a spy walks into her life…yeah, I get odd ideas. Hah.

Any advice to new writers out there? 
Patience. If you want to make it as a writer, you need to read and write more than almost anything else in your life. Period. Keep at it! The only failed writer is the one who gives up and the only successful writers are ones who work very, very hard.

Any advice to old writers?
Pretty much the same as my advice to new writers, oddly enough. I have to remind myself a lot that patience is the name of the game in this business and that the only thing that sells more books is to write more books. That’s the whole point, after all! Keep writing and keep getting better at what you love.

Where can people get a hold of your book?
My book is available everywhere books are sold. You can order Monarch from your local bookstore – just have them look it up in Ingram or Baker & Taylor. Or it might even be on the shelves. Or you can order online from Amazon and any other major chain and small independent bookstores. You can find a list of places to purchase here

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone! One more thing: You can stand a chance to win a copy of Monarch. All you have to do is be a follower of my blog and leave a comment to this post. Winners will be announced on 26 October.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Time flies, whether I have fun or not.

Part of me is kind of freaked about this.

I remember when seconds lasted an eternity while doing things I don't particularly enjoy.

And yet, economics flew by.

Tomorrow will be my last course session. Monday will be my last class. It went by much faster than I thought it would.

Maybe it's because I didn't take classes until this semester. Or maybe it's because I've grudgingly started to enjoy it again.

So much so that I won't rule out coming back for Honors. Just. Not. Next year.

The thing is, as much as I enjoy it, I don't appreciate the way it is marked or handled. Nor do I or will I ever respect the way that the students are handled.

I'm truly hoping that this will be the last time I ever write a 3rd year economics exam.

Please think of me while I prepare for the home stretch. I'm writing on 31 October. Yep. Halloween. Not planning to dress up or anything, but who knows? Maybe I'll come back as a graduate. ;-)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Rule of Three Blogfest: Troublemaker Part 2

Welcome to Renaissance, where everyone has a secret.

Today I introduce you to Keith Masterson, Laine's son and captain of Rennaissance High's football team.

If you missed last week, here's Part 1.

Today's prompts:

A relationship becomes complicated
A character lies to another on an important issue

Word Count: 596


Where is it? Not under my unmade bed, not in any of my shoes lying around unused. I pick up my clothes and shake them.


No chain. No class ring. 

Wait… maybe it’s being washed with my clothes. Maybe it’s being sucked into the washing machine’s innards or to that place where socks go. 

Or maybe I lost it somewhere outside. My stomach turns at the ground that covers. I’d been everywhere this week and I can’t remember when the ring wasn’t hanging around my neck. 


Mom is so going to kill me. 

The front door slams shut, hitting me like a thunder clap. Of course she’d show up now. The ring has to wait. There’s no way I’m going to tell her I’d lost Dad’s class ring. What do I do? Go greet her? No. That will tip her off that something's up.

I fling myself onto my bed and grab some book next to it. It’s barely open before she appears by my door. I take one look at her tired eyes and muddy boots and my heart stutters.

“Who died?” Her frown makes me want to bite my tongue off. A hundred ways to introduce the topic and I fall into the worst one. Shit she makes me nervous when she stares.

“How did you know someone died?” 

Because I’d spoken to Brad minutes ago and news traveled fast in a shithole like Renaissance. Because she’d been out working since yesterday morning, adding the tally to about 50 hours. Because she looked like hell.

I put the book aside. “Murders always hit you hardest.” 

Maybe I should just dig my tongue out with a spoon.

She didn’t miss that mistake either. “How did you know it’s murder?”


“Do you know who did this?” 

Shit. Just what I was worried about. Do I or don’t I finger Brad and the boys? Damn it I have to keep cool. “Mom! This is Renaissance.” 

She blinks a few times. “Right.” Rubs the spot between her brows. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to go all cop on you.” 

Mom never goes cop. She is cop.

“It’s ok. Will you make it to the game?” 

Mom’s mouth turns down and her eyes go distant on me. What’s on her mind?


“I don’t know. I’m hoping to solve this thing fast. The last thing this town needs is another unsolved tragedy.”

A waste of space like Sean Drummond was hardly tragic, but I keep that thought very far from my face. 

“Had any friends over while I was gone?” 

Her eyes burn mine and my palms sweat. She isn’t asking for no reason. She’s asking for my alibi. This is my last chance. Either I finger my team or I cover for them. Whatever I decide, I have to stick with it no matter what. Not much of a choice. Captains watch out for their teams. 

Can Mom notice my heart drumming in my throat?

“Yeah, I had the guys over for pizza. Hope you don’t mind.”
“When was this?”
“Last night.”
Her face brightens a little. “What about I grill us some steaks?”
I want to throw up, but I summon a reply to her smile. “Sounds great. If you’re not too tired.” 

She shakes her head and kicks off her shoes before slipping away. 

When the banging of pans reaches me, I shut the door and pull my cell from my jeans.  
Come on man… we rattle some cages. Straighten them out. No biggie.  
Yeah. Right.
Oh. I remember where I lost the ring.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Maybe this is going to sound really sad, but I'm just going to come out and say  it.

I miss home.

Not the normal kind of home, though.

The one I've created in my mind.

A world where anything  is possible and where bravery and the guts to be different are qualities that are appreciated.

A place where my characters get to live all the time, but that I only get to visit when I have time. It hasn't been in a while and that makes me sad.

Sure, I love hanging with friends. I love being with my family. I love living my life.

But... it doesn't feel right when I can't visit my own world, the adopted country of my mind, once in a while.

Anyone else feel like this? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

A short update.

All things considered, today was a slow one. Nothing new to report, except that I've joined up with a study group in my last attempt at passing economics.

Writing-wise, nothing much, since I've been unable to wake up early for the past few weeks.

I did, however, read The Godfather by Mario Puzo. LOVED it. The guy was brilliant at getting me drawn into the story and involving me with the characters.

I was so sad to come to the end of the story, since there aren't really sequels. Sure, there are two more follow-ups, but it was written by someone else, so I'm not sure if I'd enjoy them as much.

As for other news, the concert apparently made a nice sum of money for the lady we held it for, so I'm pretty happy.

How are you doing?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Keeping Up with Story Ideas

These days, everything is a time suck. I’m editing my current WiP for the last time, I hope. The sequel is waiting for me to finish it, plus I have other projects lurking in various stages of incompleteness. To complicate matters, other characters keep popping up all over the place.

As a way of keeping up, I scribble story ideas on anything available in my handbag. Not a good thing to do. Intriguing thoughts get lost if I don’t remember to copy them off the napkin, bus ticket or fast food place mat I wrote on when inspiration hit. You’d think with the number of notebooks I own, I’d have one in my bag at all times. Not so.
Like a lot of writers, I’m addicted to buying doodads, including notebooks, pens, cute book markers, highlighters and itty-bitty sticky notes. You name it, I’ll buy it. Comes the time though, when I have to face the fact that I own a lot more ‘must haves’ than I need. 
Months ago, I also realized that I had too many blogs going, but I needed a place to stash the stories I didn’t plan to start working on right away. To avoid more paper, I made one blog private and started unloading my story ideas there.

I can access the blog anywhere to add new ideas. I’m no longer making up excuses to buy yet another note book, and I can keep track of how various plot lines are progressing, based on the blog entries over time.

In a crunch, I might use my phone to store shiny new projects, but that private blog has become a valued repository with pages dedicated to different projects. Research links go on the relevant story page, so when I’m ready to tackle a project, I can find related material readily. When it’s time to start writing the next story, the blog posts will be start-up material for a project bible. And I should add that I’m no longer losing time looking for inspiration I captured on a bill that somehow vanished into the maw of my handbag.

This approach might not be a viable idea for you, but what other ways do you use to save time and capture story ideas?

J.L. Campbell lives in sunny Jamaica and is the author of Contraband, Dissolution and Don’t Get Mad…Get Even. When she isn’t plotting and researching new projects, she enjoys lollygagging on her blog at Twitter link - @JL_Campbell

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

When I woke up this morning, the first news I got was about Steve Jobs passing away. It's so sad to me, that such a great mind and heart would go so soon, so I thought I'd post his 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech as a tribute.

I can't really say much more. How could I, when he says it so well?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rule of 3 Blogfest: Troublemaker Part 1


It's finally time for the Rule of 3 Blogfest!

Today I'm introducing you to Laine Masterson, Sheriff in Renaissance who quit the New York Police force after the death of her husband.

She's about to get a grim reminder of her previous job.

Prompt of the week: There is a fear of impending misfortune.


Blue… Red… Blue… Red… My SUV’s strobes bring a grim festivity to the scene. Smashed guitars lie next to upturned amplifiers buzzing the sky for help.

Too late for the victim. 

Bile rises to my mouth as I throw a glance at the corpse hanging in a nearby tree. This doesn’t happen in Renaissance. 

“Probably did it in a meth rage,” one of my deputies mumble on the way to the victim.
“Or a ritual,” another mutters. “You know how they are.”
“Looks like a piñata.” 

I rub my arms to settle my hackles and walk away. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, but the person hanging from the tree beaten beyond recognition is as far from a candy-stuffed paper animal as I could think. Except for the blood stained baseball bats strewn about. 

“See if you can get prints on those.” Is it wrong that my blood is buzzing? It’s been years since I quit the NYPD, came home… I shake it off and stare up at the mangled person. The remains of the green and blue mohawk marking the victim as one of them.

Blood drips down from his tight fist. What’s he holding?

“Laine?” Mr. Piñata - Jack Flynn - sounds hesitant now. “What can I do?”
“Find the caller yet?”
“Nope. I’ll go round up the rest of the punks and see if we can scare out a quick confession.”

I frown at Jack, hunting for a nice way to cut him down. Policing isn’t about taking anything for granted. It’s about finding truth and justice. If it existed.  

This isn’t New York. I forget that sometimes. I’ll see everyone at church tomorrow. 

A bitter bark of laughter draws us both around to where one deputy is sidling away from a girl about my son’s age. Dried tears and mascara warp her face. Smudged black lips jump from laughter to crying until sobs win out. “We’re different, so we’re evil?” 

Jack looks ready to speak, but I silence him with a single look. Shut up or be suspended without pay.

I choose to avoid the topic altogether. “Let’s move away from the scene.” 
The girl combs her fingers through her bright pink hair. “Ray was a good person.”

Jack snorts before sauntering to where the medical examiner is unloading his pick-up.  

“Ray?” I run my thoughts through the families I know in town. 
“Sean Drummond.”
Shit. His parents sit two rows in front of me. “Were you here when it happened?”
Her pink bob weaves as she nods. “We all were. It was supposed to be a concert.” She wipes her nose on the back of her mittened hand. “A fun night out.”
“What happened?”
“They came out of nowhere and started beating people. Most of us ran, but Ray…”
My heart contracts at that word. They. Would I know them? “They?”
The girl snarls as she stares up at the victim. “Yes. They. The jocks. The town’s little angels.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

A little glimpse into my mind today

This is so annoying.

On Friday I decided that it was time for a change, so I went hunting for a new background. (Hope you like it.) I was really excited.  Especially after my first concert went really well.

Then... this happened. To say the least, it's a setback of the first order. For one thing, nothing looks quite as shiny as before.

NaNo is starting to look... unlikely.

As does my chances of getting anything written or edited.

Because if I fail my exam, I'll have to go studying right through November. If I fail that, I have a deans exam in (I think) January.

If I fail that, I'm going to set fire to the text books and dance around it with glee.

Either way. Whether I pass this fucking subject or not, I'm done. There will be no more repeat performances.

My life will NOT be put on hold for another year.

Because fact is. I'm sick to my stomach of trying to understand what I'm supposed to write in tests when the text seems to be irrelavant.

I am sick of the fact that I have to sit down in my exam, wondering if I should write down what I know (i.e. what was written in the texts), or if I should guess what my lecturers want me to say.

I'm tired of being constantly reminded of the fact that this subject isn't about my knowledge. It isn't about how much work I put in. It isn't about fucking anything, because policy will change. The people who pass the course will go on to change it, making everything I learned mean pretty much nothing.

I'm tired of spending hour upon hour trying to prepare for the academic equivalent of Russian roulette. Where the scores you get on the essays are more dependant on who marks it than the actual quality of the work.

I'm sick and tired of fighting to save something that should have been euthanized in my first year already.

My heart breaks at the thought that a time of my life that should be remembered with fondness has become my prison.

That the night I should have celebrated my success has become the night where I celebrate my failure.

Needless to say, I'm now stuck in that place where, if I were a boxer, I'd be lying face down on the boards, waiting for the ref to count me out. If I wasn't so pissed off, I'd probably just stay there.

But oh no. I'm going to get up. And I am going to come back swinging. Starting today.

Because I did not sacrifice another year just to give up now.