Sunday, July 29, 2012

My obsession...

I love to write.  Sometimes I forget or find myself distracted but in the end the exhilaration and subsequent peace I feel when writing re-emerges.  It's one of those things that animates me and keeps me talking.  I cannot help it.  However, that also means I disappear for periods of time, participate in family activities half-heartedly on occasion, and even miss some conversations because I am jotting notes or typing on my netbook/laptop/phone as necessary.  It's a sickness really, at the very least it has to be classified as an obsession.  Are there groups for such things?   Hello, my name is Tracy and I am addicted to writing.  It affects my "real" life in so much as the writing does not yet pay enough to be classified as my "real" life.  Someday it will be.  I know it.

My kids ask me how I know.  Well, my daughter more than my son.  It is as if he believes in me as much as I believe in myself.  My son never questions when I say I will be an author.  He says, "Mommy, you ARE an author."  My daughter corrects him and says "Not yet, Mommy will not be a real author until she pays her bills with her books."  I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  But maybe that is me just trying to validate both children.  It says a lot about their personalities, I think.  My daughter is very grounded and logical with a VERY solid head on her shoulders - not that she doesn't dream or enjoy writing and creative outlets, she just looks at the reality of our situation and keeps us all well-grounded.  My son on the other hand will always be my dreamer.  However, he is the more intuitive of the two.  He sees things as they are and as they should be all at once.  I believe it is a gift, a wonderful, glorius gift that he has such insight at such a young age.  Yes, yes, I brag on my kiddos.  What mother does not?  They amaze me and inspire me.  I write as much for them as for myself.  This summer has seen me taking many risks in this leap of faith and I hope it teaches them to do what they love - what they obsess over - rather than live life halfway in an empty, lackluster job.  Yes, I have to work ever so much harder but how much work is it when I find it this enjoyable?  In my aging mind I understand more than I did at 16 or 19 or even 24.  As my birthday approaches (at the end of next month), I understand that life is too short and without fighting for our dreams and obsessions we watch our life pass by.   Days pass and memories are tainted with regret and "what could have beens" innumerable. 

So, I ask you all now, do you sit in your office or your shop or your factory and watch life pass you by, watch your dreams fade into dust?  I hope not.  Your dreams may be nothing like mine.  You may like your office job but don't you want to travel?  Own a convertible?  See an NFL game in every NFL stadium?  I hope you all find your obsession and see it through.  Big or small, it can change your life and make it exponentially better.  Good luck and obsess away!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


After much deliberation, a lot of re-writing, editing, and more re-writing I have decided to break the last Emerald Seer book into two books.  I will be releasing the first half of my current manuscript under the title LOVE HER MADLY and the second half will continue as END OF THE NIGHT which will be the final Emerald Seer installment as originally planned.  I finally figured out, after a long discussion (mostly with myself) that what isn't working is me trying to cram too much into one book.  As I have been writing and editing and re-working it has become painfully clear that the book was becoming WAY too long and something needed to be changed.  I have always loved the song "Love Her Madly" and it was one of the potential titles for a while so I am thrilled to be able to use it.  To, that end, LOVE HER MADLY is nearly complete, just needs a final scene and one more edit.

*SPOILERS for those who cannot wait*

I have elected to disclose some key story details for those who have been eagerly awaiting END OF THE NIGHT.  LOVE HER MADLY will include:

1) The real story of Olivia's (Angeline's sister) purpose
2) The vampires officially sign on to Team Emerald
3) Storm will give birth at the close of this book

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Excerpt - End of the Night

It has not gone through final edits so forgive any typos/grammar but this is still set to be the opening chapter of End of the Night:


A rough, damp tongue flicked across her cheek.  Opening one eye, Storm found Pac Man staring at her, tongue hanging out in a soft pant.  His tail started thudding against the floor.  Storm groaned.  Her stomach rumbled in response to the glorious scent of breakfast.  Pac Man licked her again.

“Okay, boy, okay.  I am coming.”  Storm rolled to her back and stretched, her body protesting to the movements as the babes gave a light roll through her core.  Now she could feel them it seemed more real, more magical than she ever imagined.   Storm rolled up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed.  Pac Man plopped his head on her knee.  “I said I’m coming, what more do you want?” 

Pac Man snorted and bounded out of the room.  Storm stretched her arms overhead and arched her back.  As she pulled on a pair of sweats, the outer alarm sounded, blaring through the house and causing her to jump.  Storm met Sophia, the Phoenix, and Lucian in the hall.

“It is the front gate.  Soph, go with Storm back to her room.” Lucian kissed his wife lightly on the cheek and took off down the stairs, two at a time.

“I hate it when he does that.”  Sophia Bedeaux inclined her head as the Phoenix leapt onto her back.  “We are not helpless to be banished to hiding.”

“I know.  I have more power in a hand than they have between the pair of them.  It doesn’t matter, they really need to stop overreacting, it is just Frederick.”  Storm rolled her eyes.  She reached out and petted The Phoenix.  “You would not let anything hurt either of us would you?”  The creature whipped her tail around Sophia’s waist and licked at Storm’s hand, her soft humming filling the hall.  “She is lovely, isn’t she, Sophia?  Have you made any progress with a name yet?”

“Well, I - wait, how do you know it is just Frederick?”  Sophia frowned.

Linking her arm in Sophia’s, Storm led her new friend toward the staircase.  “Easy, he called last night to say he would be over first thing.  I told him to join us for breakfast.  Ryder forgot to give him the new code and I would recognize the sound of his motorcycle anywhere.  He still needs to get it into a mechanic.  Honestly, if the men would just try to use their other senses once in a while…” Storm trailed off as they reached the foyer.  Frederick leaned against Ryder, his face covered in blood and dirt, barefoot and clothing hanging from him in shreds. “What the hell?  Ryder, take him upstairs.  Lucian, re-seal the gate and change the code again.  Sophia, could you please grab one of the first aid kits from my bathroom?”

Frederick groaned and tried to speak as Ryder dragged him toward the stairs.  Storm hurried to the study to collect one of the many healing potions she crafted with Sophia over the past few weeks.  Good thing she had so much time on her hands lately.  Two weeks, four days, and thirteen or so hours to be exact.  Storm had not left the security of Willow Wood since they decimated Elba.  She would not have minded so much if Roane turned up.  Damarra, Angeline, and the Scots had been searching for her grandfather since that night and it unnerved her to be left behind.  Storm shook off the warmth from her hands and forced the frustration away.  She needed to focus her energy on Frederick right now.  Storm grabbed a salve and vial of her homemade morphine. 

By the time she made it back upstairs, Ryder was waiting for her outside the guest bedroom beside the nursery.  “Sophia is cleaning him up.  He will only speak to you, Storm.”

“I think we should wait for Lucian.  I will help Sophia and make him more comfortable.  Would you bring some breakfast up for us?  It smells delightful, Ry.”  Storm pushed up on her tiptoes and kissed her man, gently at first but with growing intensity until he withdrew.

“My love, you know what happens when you kiss me like that.”  Ryder’s eyes flashed silver in the low light of the hall. 

“Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself either, you know, hormones and all.”  Storm pulled back and ducked into the guest room.  The Phoenix curled into herself at the foot of the bed while Sophia wiped at his wounds with a rag.  She looked up when Storm entered, a deep frown etched on her face.

“Poison.  He’s been poisoned, Storm.”  Sophia went back to cleaning Frederick’s face.  Storm walked to the opposite side of the bed and looked for herself.  Sure enough, the gashes across his chest were bubbling with an iridescent liquid.  Storm leaned in and sniffed, withdrawing quickly. 

“Hemlock acid.  Gross.”  Storm opened vial of salve and handed it to Sophia.  “This will work on his lesser wounds at least.  Good thing we made the morphine, he is going to need it.  What do you think did this?  I would say banshee judging by the gouges but the brutality reeks of weres or goblins.  Either way, why use hemlock acid?  The shifter in him will burn it out in a day or so.”  Sophia shrugged and kept working.  Storm fell silent as well, tossing the possibilities over in her mind.  Too many unknown variables and Frederick would not be able to speak until the hemlock acid wore off.  Dammit.  “He knows something Soph.  Whoever attacked him just wanted to silence him for a while.”

“Then we need to get him talking.”  Storm turned to see Lucian filling the doorway, a satchel in his hand.   He crossed the room in two strides and cast it on the bed.  “This was the only thing on his bike.  There is nobody around the perimeter so either Frederick lost the attackers or coming here was never their endgame.”

Sophia continued cleaning Frederick’s wounds.  Storm marveled at how many he’d sustained yet still managed to stay alive long enough to make it to Willow Wood.  The hemlock acid continued to bubble and sizzle in the wounds across his chest.  She popped the vial of morphine open and knelt on the bed next to him. 

“Do not give him that.”  Ryder stayed her hand and deftly recapped the vial.  “Do not dull his senses yet.  I have an idea.  Sophia, can you and the Phoenix direct the flame to the poison and help him burn through it faster?”

Sophia looked skeptical.  She did the strange silent communication thing with the Phoenix who nodded her scaly white head and slithered up the bed toward Frederick.  Storm was continually struck by the beauty of the creature though it sometimes reminded her of a dragon.  Yes, the Phoenix looked more like a bird but something about its movements and tail brought the comparison.  Her.  Her movements.  Her tail.  Storm still found it difficult to think of the Phoenix as a female.  Regardless, Storm slipped off the bed and stood beside Ryder, taking his hand in hers to watch as Sophia and the Phoenix worked on Frederick.  A white flame rippled across his skin but Frederick did not move.  The poison hissed and returned to liquid form, dribbling down his abdomen.  Sophia wiped it up, careful not to let it touch her skin.  A few minutes later, the Phoenix withdrew and curled up beside Frederick.  Sophia wiped the last bit of hemlock acid from Frederick’s chest and deposited the rag in the basin.  “He is clean but weak.”  Frederick remained limp, his head lolled to the side, eyes still closed.

“Storm, why not do your glow thing over him?  That should help, like a little jolt to wake him.”  Lucian did not take his eyes from the Phoenix as he spoke, his face a strange mask of curiosity and repulsion.  Storm wondered if he would ever accept the connection between his wife and the Phoenix he carried as a burden for five centuries.  The last few weeks had seen an uneasy truce between man and beast but a truce nonetheless.  Ryder squeezed her fingers.

“I suppose that could work.”  Storm knelt on the bed again, allowing power to well in her fingertips when Frederick’s eyes opened.  He registered her face and offered a weak smile.

“I made it.  Emerald, you must help them.”  Frederick grasped her hand, his eyes more pleading than his whisper.  “It is a trap.  They think they have found him but it is an illusion.  You must call them here; summon them, whatever you need to do to turn them away from their course.”

Storm forced the power out of her hands, watched the glow recede, and settled back on her heels.  “Who Frederick?  Who is close?”

“All of them.  Ang, the Scottish Immortals, the Goddess.  They all have been given false leads.  It is a massive plot to trap them all.”  Fear flickered in Frederick’s eyes, “You have so many enemies, I did not realize, I was just trying to help.  I tried to help but they caught me.  I am sorry.”

“Frederick, we need more information.  Who did this to you?”  Ryder spoke up from behind her. 

Frederick looked over her shoulder at Ryder. “Call them back.  They do not know what they are up against, it is so big.  We have all been betrayed.”  His eyes flared once and then the familiar passed out.

“Shock him, Storm, we need more than that to go on.”  Lucian’s voice sounded eerily cold.

“I can’t, Lucian.  He is too weak now.   Look at him.”  Storm noted how suddenly Frederick paled, his breathing shallow and erratic.  Too much blood lost, he needed rest.  “Frederick needs sleep.  We can call the others back and give him some time to recuperate.”

“She’s right, Luc.  Look at him.  I will finish patching him up while you guys call everyone else back.  If he says anything else, I’ll call you.”  Sophia had taken to petting the Phoenix whose gentle hum seemed to be soothing Frederick.  Ryder handed the morphine vial to Sophia.

Storm nodded to Sophia and backed off the bed pulling Ryder after her.  Lucian grudgingly followed, silent until they reached the study.

“This is foolish.  We needed more information.”  Lucian headed straight for the liquor cabinet.  He had cut back so much since being free of the Phoenix.  Now he poured a tall glass of scotch, muttering to himself while Storm prepared to summon her grandmother.

“You can shut up any time now, Lucian.  It does not help my concentration and it does not change our plan.  Go call the Scots back.”  Ryder already appeared to be on the phone with Angeline.  For the hundredth time since they left, Storm wish they had decided against splitting up.  Now it seemed pointless but what if the Scots were out of range of a cell tower again.  What if they didn’t reach them soon enough?  Storm’s hands glowed brightly, she turned her focus to Damarra, picturing her face, dancing eyes, flowing gowns, long unruly hair.  And it came, completely unbidden, the room went white.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Forcing the story and other injustices to a tale...

I can't help it.  I cannot apologize enough for the gross delays in End of the Night but I cannot bring myself to rush the story.  It has been a rough 2012 on a personal level with a lot of challenges and while I have tried to write I remain unsatisfied with End of the Night - so much so that I have considered taking a hiatus more than once.  The most I have managed is a day or two here and there but even that has not helped me correct the problems I face with the culmination of my Emerald Seer Series.  It just is not working the way I want it to, just not flowing readily like the others have.  It is not writer's block though - strangely enough - it is more of an inability to control the tale.  This last installment must accomplish so much and I am finding it difficult to reign them all in - as if the disorganization of my personal life is bleeding into my characters.  Is this possible?  Yes, I suppose it must be since it is happening.  The worst part?  I have dozens of other story concepts flittering around my brain including the sequel to my YA epic fantasy - Estelan - that is pushing VERY hard to get out of my head.  Even as I read this blog post I see the lack of focus and it makes me cringe but then again, it offers a glimpse into the reality of my writing at this juncture. 

Perhaps, as has been suggested by one of my beta readers, that I am smashing too much into one book.  Perhaps I should take the advice and split Damarra and Roane's tale into another Emerald Seer novella.  I have considered it more seriously lately and wonder if it isn't the solution I have been looking for.  Decisions, decisions. 

In the end I will not rush this story, I will be true to my characters, and I will force them into submission - even the ever unruly and headstrong, Storm Sullivan.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

End of the Night and some housekeeping

First things first, End of the Night is coming along, I promise I have been working hard on it which has unfortunately met a lag in blogging, tweeting, promoting, etc.  I am still working up some merchandise when I need breaks, but the re-writing is going well.

On to other info - I have expanded Ryder on the Storm into extended distribution through Createspace so it can now be purchased in paperback through B&N (available for nook too!), it is int he premium catalog for Smashwords, and should be available in some local libraries and coming soon to some local bookstores so yippee!

Once I complete End of the Night I am going to finish paperback reviews for Whiskey, Mystics, and Men and then do a re-release of the Emerald Seer Novella which will include adding it to Smashwords, B&N, etc since it will be out of the KDP Select program as of 7/19.  I cannot wait!

Beyond that, I am looking at a few book expos and other appearances to get my name out there some more - if anybody has suggestions I am all ears!!

Happy summer - don't melt in this ridiculous heat!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

KDP Select and why I left

Yes, formatting for Smashwords is a pain in the rear and Barnes&Noble's PubIt is not particularly indie friendly but Select has more than lost its edge.  I found myself increasingly disappointed with sales/numbers/outcome over the last few months.  It is unfortunate that I am losing the five freebie days as a promo option but after taking a serious look at my numbers, I realized that the freebie promos and borrows were not enough to justify alienating the potential sales via B&N and Smashwords.  Why would somebody waste a once/month borrow on a 99 cent or $2.99 title when they could use it on a ridiculously overpriced ebook from a trad publisher?  It is pure economics, I would do the same thing.  $14.99 for an ebook is outrageous but if you borrow it for free then there's no big, right?  You then can purchase several ebooks by lesser known authors if you so choose.  Not that I didn't have my share of borrows or successes with the freebie days, I just found that after the first one or two freebies the benefits tend to dwindle.  Yes, I got wonderful exposure that I otherwise would not have but the time has come for my Emerald Seer Series to sink or swim on its own - and believe me, I hope it swims.  I am very thankful for the opportunity KDP offered but that chapter has come to an end and I am ready to start the next one.

PS - Re-writing parts of End of the Night to smooth things out and it is going to be longer than anticipated!!