Saturday, August 21, 2010


I have an agent!

I am so very excited to announce that yesterday I accepted representation from Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency! She loves the story and the characters and is very excited about it, which makes me ecstatic. She does want me to do another rewrite, but I can handle that.

Oh my gods, oh my gods, oh my gods!!!

*pinches self*

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I know I've been quiet lately, but that's because I'm so busy and stressed out right now I can barely think. My husband and I are buying a new house and that is taking up most of my time and energy. On the advice of one of the agents, I have set the book aside and am not thinking about it at all for a month. In the meantime, I am busy working on a few fun projects, several of which will never see the light of day because they are simply for my own personal amusement.

I should have some good news to share shortly, but until then, there's not much to say. 

Friday, July 9, 2010


And the doubts have set in with a vengeance...

I finished the revisions and sent them off to the agent who requested them. Now I'm worried that I didn't take them far enough. That I didn't do enough to make it good enough for her. I'm so worried about this my stomach is tied up in knots.

The three people who read it over for me before I sent it out all raved about it, but I just can't help but doubt.

Too many awesome things have been happening for me and I can't help but think that something has to give. I've NEVER had so many good things happen to me all at once and I'm a little wary.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Link Stew

I'm exhausted from a summer solstice party yesterday that turned into a surprise wedding! So, instead of actual content, please enjoy this selection of links:

Hannah Moskowitz on Professionalism ~

A contest!

Another contest!

Cat Valente on why The Ending is not a satisfying end ~

Sherrilyn Kenyon's story of how she got published ~

Saturday, June 26, 2010


On Tuesday I had my conversation with the second agent. It was a much quicker call than the one with the first agent. The second agent gave me a few revision suggestions (far fewer than the first one), then told me a little bit about herself and her agency. I explained to her that I was doing revisions for another agent and asked if she wanted me to send her the new version when I was done with it.

She said she would love to take a look at it, but her offer of rep would still stand!!!

I have an official offer of representation from an agent!

I'm going to finish my revisions for agent #1 and see what she says before making my decision. However, no matter how this plays out, I'm going to have an agent!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When No Means Maybe

Persistence really does pay off. I found that out first hand this week.

After emailing back and forth with the agent who rejected my revisions, she asked for a phone conversation to talk about further revisions. We spent an hour and a half talking on Monday afternoon. She offered me a LOT of very detailed crits about what she did and didn't like. After thinking about them for a bit, I agree with most of them.

I'm going to spend some time doing these revisions for her and then she wants to give it a third read-through. A THIRD read-through!!! So many writers don't even get a first read-through and here I am getting THREE! From an agent with one of THE top agencies.

Hear that, subconscious? If an agent of that caliber likes the novel, then you are not allowed to bad-mouth it any longer!

Also, I have another agent who is nearly done reading the full and wants to talk and offer suggestions.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Rejected Again

The agent decided to pass on my book. She doesn't think I took her revision suggestions far enough and she still doesn't connect with the main character. She said the story is adequate, but not good enough to compete in today's market and, based on my past revisions, she doesn't think I'm up for the amount of rewriting required to make it better. She's the second agent to tell me that my book just isn't up to competing in today's market, yet all of my beta's have pretty much loved it. 

I am so discouraged right now and have no idea what to do. Should I have another person read it and tear it apart for me? Should I keep querying with what I've got and *hope* somebody will love it as much as I do? Should I just give up and start something new? 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Magic Bleeds - Ilona Andrews

I've been an Ilona fan since the very first book, Magic Bites. Ilona (comprised of the writing duo Ilona and Gordon Andrews) has the ability to create very real, very colorful characters and infuse them with life.

Magic Bleeds is book four in the series and just as fabulous as the first three. The storyline built up in the first three books moves along quite nicely here. We find out more about Kate's past, more about her family, and more about the mythology of the world.

Aside from a few editing nit-picks (there are a few places where it shifts into present tense) and a nowhere near long enough Kate and Curran scene, there is nothing about this book I didn't like.

Kate grows as a person, she accepts things for what they are and forges ahead with what she wants anyway. Her relationship with Curran and the Pack is taken to a whole other level. And her job within the Order changes as well. As with the rest of the series, nobody gets a free pass. People die, relationships are broken, trust is shattered.

The snippets from book five that have been posted on the blog are enough to make me salivate for the next one. I guess I'll just have to be content with Bayou Moon, book two in her Edge series, which comes out later this year.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Poem ~ Mother

Golden luminous light
Trickling down
Into my soul
Into my Self
You scream into being
Back arched and fingers splayed
Soul of my Self
Wrapping me in translucent power
Give of your Self
That which is infinite
Take it and string it
Like pearls
Around the necks of
Your children
Your lovers
Your Self

Thursday, June 3, 2010


My life has finally returned to some semblance of normalcy. After a couple of days de-stressing and getting some much needed sleep, I should be ready and raring to go again.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the agent who requested revisions. She said she'd get back to me in two weeks and it's now been almost four. I'm going to give her until Sunday and then give her a gentle nudge on Monday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where Demons Fear to Tread ~ Chapter 1

Chapter 1

People appearing in my office without an appointment are always a sign of bad things to come. Today was no exception.

A useless morale-boosting meeting had eaten the better part of my morning. Useless because people who work in blood and death on a daily basis aren’t much for the “Rah rah rah!” speeches used to raise morale. Those of us who work in the Violent Crimes Division are more subdued, and none of us chose this line of work for the kudos. We did it because it needed doing. Because we possessed the abilities to get the job done.

But what did I know? I didn’t have the title of doctor or a string of fancy letters after my name. Just a gun, some ass-kicking skills, and a nasty demonic heritage few people cared to mess around with.

Back in my office, I was writing up a report for my supervisor, Tommy. Outside my open door, Stella and Paolo Dante were wrestling their latest capture, a homicidal troll, to the common room floor as a group of agents rooted them on. Stella’s long arms wrapped around its throat in a chokehold, while Paolo quickly bound a silver chain around its thrashing legs.

Encouraging cheers from the watching agents strove to outmatch the creature’s deafening bellows. I couldn’t help the smile that tugged the corners of my lips upward. The Dante twins, hard-nosed Italian fata, were the best violent crime agents in the New England Vamyraset Agency. It was always a pleasure to watch them in action.

A break would be a welcome relief, but I needed to hand this report in before the end of the day. Without my partner to take some of the load, I was rapidly becoming overworked and turning into a very grumpy girl because of it.

I looked over at Luka's empty desk. If he weren't out on disability he would have been out there cheering the twins on with everyone else. But I wasn't Luka and I needed to get some work done.

I tapped out a tuneless beat on the arm of my chair, trying to ignore the cacophony. An echoing bellow rattled my window and set my teeth on edge. I tossed the file onto a teetering stack of paperwork with a sigh. I’d never be able to concentrate in this din.

Just as I rose to close my door against the noise, the temperature in my office plummeted. Rows of goosebumps pebbled my bare arms. I couldn't contain an involuntary shiver.

Ripping pressure stabbed at my fingertips as diamond hard claws replaced my once perfectly manicured nails. My gun was in my hand and pointed at the door before the first twinges of alarm had fully registered. The claws hampered my grip, but not enough to throw off my aim.

A grey-cloaked figure towered just inside my doorway. I could still see the two fata struggling to get the belligerent troll under control, but could no longer hear anything outside my office.

Damned silencing spell. Am I supposed to be impressed?

It took a moment for me to realize that yes, I should be impressed. We were on the fifth floor of the Vamyraset Building. Dampening spells built into the foundation suppressed the magical abilities of non-agents.
From the very first moments, I had been gathering information and using it to build a mental profile of him. Whoever this was, he had access to major power and wasn't to be trifled with.

Stillness cloaked by movement was my overall impression; a core of inner immobility surrounded by flowing folds of cloth that rustled and stirred as if by an inner wind. The cloak hood was pulled low over his face, hiding his features in black shadows, but I caught a hint of sunken cheeks and bony chin. Possibly a lesser member of the High Sidhe; one with an affinity for Winter, judging by the cold rolling off him in almost visible waves.

So far he’d made no threatening move or gesture; I couldn’t continue to hold a gun on him without justified provocation. Scaring the hell out of me and being as powerful as he was didn’t count. There were no laws against silencing spells being used in the building; they were used by agents all the time to protect victim confidentiality. That he was powerful enough to override the dampening spells couldn’t be held against him.

Anyway, I was a fully-trained agent, if I couldn't hold my own against one person, I deserved whatever beating I received. There was nothing to be done except make the best of the situation. Holstering my gun and pasting a smile on my face, I walked to the front of my desk, hand extended in greeting.

“My apologies. You startled me. I'm Agent Alexis Powers. How can I help you?”

A black-gloved hand emerged from the folds of cloak and gripped mine, taking care to avoid my razor-sharp claws. I gave no outward sign that I noticed the chill seeping through the leather glove. Definitely not human.
Politely dropping the icy hand, I clenched and unclenched mine, attempting to return some warmth to it.

“I am looking for something.” The sound emanating from beneath the cloak was more the howling of an Arctic wind than an actual voice. Lances of sub-zero cold swept over my body, stealing all warmth and moisture from my flesh. I grit my teeth to keep from whimpering.

“I'm sorry, you've got the wrong department.” I briskly rubbed my arms and stepped further around the desk to guide him out. “This is the Violent Crimes Division. Ryuu Inoue on the third floor is the best Finder in the Agency. Just tell him Agent Powers sent you down and he’ll be more than happy to assist you.”

If he’s not still pissed at me over that Atlantean Ring of Power debacle, I thought, ruefully. Just thinking about that case again raised my hackles. It wasn’t my fault the thief had gotten himself murdered, which transferred the case to me. Ryuu had no right to interfere and snatch the dwarf and ring from my custody.

Pushing the incident, only one of many such encounters between the two of us, from my mind, I flashed my visitor a bright smile and extended my arm to direct him back out into the common area of the department.
Ashen fabric blocked my way. There had been no movement on his part, but there he was standing in front me, cutting off my route to the door. He loomed taller than my five-foot-ten frame, forcing me to crane my neck to look in the direction of his concealed face.

“You are the one I have chosen to help me find what I am looking for.”

His words were a physical force beating down on me, willing me to obey him. With a focused application of my own will, I ignored the not-so-subtle compulsion. I had gone head-to-head with the toughest of Mom’s demonic friends. How much worse could this be?

The temperature in the room continued to drop. A thin layer of ice had formed on top of a glass of water and my lucky bamboo was drooping and turning brown.

“Why me?” I demanded. “I don’t know anything about being a Finder. I deal with violence and death, not lost trinkets.” I couldn't believe I was standing there arguing with this guy. He was really starting to piss me off.

Sinister chuckles raised the hair on the back of my neck. “I am not looking for a mere trinket.”

I shook my head. I had too many other cases on my plate. I wasn't going to take on a case meant for another department.

“I'm sorry.” My voice was hard, my words final. “You're going to have to speak with Agent Inoue. I cannot help you.”

“Alexis Rachelle Powers, you will help me find what has been lost.” The ice-laden threat hissed out from the lightless depths of the hood.

An almost palpable sense of menace pervaded the room, raising new goosebumps on my arms. The temperature dropped another ten degrees and the breath whooshing from my lungs came out as a fine white mist in the freezing air.

Without warning, blackness tinted with red overwhelmed my sight, leaving me blind. Anger and adrenaline rushed through my system as my body tensed for an expected attack. Seconds later, my vision returned. I knew I needed to destroy this creature standing before me. He posed a danger to me and I couldn’t let that threat continue.

My teeth had sharpened into points that scratched shallow furrows into my tongue as I licked my lips. The sweet, coppery taste of blood filled my mouth. The anticipation of the battle to come was overpowering. I wanted to tear his limbs from his body and paint my office with his blood.

An instant before I would have attacked, some small, sane voice in the back of my head held me in check. Why was I in such a high state of blood rage?

Anger, violence, destruction, death – they were food for my soul. Or at least half of it. I had spent my entire life building my defenses up to be nigh indestructible. They had stood up to concerted attacks by high-level demons intent upon making me lose control. They shouldn't be failing now.

The grey hood cocked to the side.

“Impulse control issues?” He knew what was happening to me.

“Stop it. Whatever you're doing to me, just stop it.” I gasped as a choking wave of anger flashed through me again. “I am an agent of the Vamyraset and this is an unwarranted attack.”

He chuckled again. “What is happening is not deliberate, I assure you. Your fragile human life withers in my presence.”

Recognition fluttered at the edge of my consciousness. I grasped at it and, as realization dawned, my heart sank. There was no way I was getting out of this case.

Missing items might not have been my department, but if Death was searching for something, I'd be forced to make an exception.

“All right, then.” I swallowed the lump of fear in my throat. I had to get away from him before I completely lost my hold on my humanity.

Demons feed off chaos and destruction, and death was a type of destruction. As my human life-force slowly died away from Death’s inexorable pull, my demonic side would grow in power until it consumed me. I had spent far too many years learning how to control my demonic impulses to have it all come crashing down now.

Take a deep breath. Hold it for a count of five. Slowly exhale.

My carefully maintained fa├žade of civility was beginning to crack. I had to hurry this meeting up or my co-workers were going to have a long-repressed half-demon rampaging through the office.

Not that I was overly concerned for the safety of my fellow agents. They were more than capable of defending themselves. My concern was for myself. The Vamyraset’s zero-tolerance policy against violence in the workplace meant if I fucked up and lost control, I was toast. They would not hesitate to kill me.

“What are you searching for?”

I rubbed irritably at the tattoos on my neck. They were starting to burn even though my office was fast becoming intolerably cold. The skin around the base of my claws was a deep purplish blue and my lips had cracked and bled. Wispy strands of neon-pink hair floated around my face, crackling with static in the cold, dry air.

I sank into my chair and pulled out a pad of paper and a pen. I was going to jot down some notes, hoping the familiar act would help calm my nerves, but the claws made writing a challenge.

I snapped the pen between my fingers in frustration. Black ink splattered across my desk and files. Curses streamed from my mouth as I wiped at the stains with my sleeve.

“I am searching for a soul.”

I whipped my head up and stared at Death, gaping in astonishment. My first thought, well, you can’t have mine, was suppressed as soon as it popped into my head.

“A-a soul?” How on earth could Death lose a soul? “Where did you lose it?”

Death did not answer right away. The silence stretched so long it seemed he was loath to answer the question.

“I did not lose the soul. It was stolen.”

This time, it wasn’t Death’s voice that knocked the wind out of me. I couldn’t conceive of how somebody could steal a soul from Death. Death was the Harvester of Breath, the proverbial shepherd leading spirits to their next destination. To steal a soul from Death and hide it away would take an extraordinary amount of talent. Not to mention quite a bit of chutzpah.

A pulsing beat started to creep up my spine and down my legs. My skin throbbed and itched as it hardened into scales. Gritting my teeth again, I loosened the fists I had unknowingly made. Blood streamed down my left hand. I had inadvertently slashed my palm open with my claws.

I pulled every last shred of self-preservation I had left around me and forced my instincts down as far as they'd go. They were still there, a low thrumming in my blood and bones. My entire body ached to let go and give in to my more destructive urges.

“Whose soul was it?”

Did I even want to know? Not really.

I was tempted to pass this off to one of the other agents once Death left. Even if I had the balls to do something so phenomenally stupid, the entire Agency was short-staffed. Nobody had the time to devote to a case as important as this one.

With Luka out, I didn't either, but what was I going to do? Tommy had better have some answers, because I surely didn’t.

Death spoke again, drawing my attention back to him.

“The soul belongs to Father Rupert Callahan of Sacred Heart Cathedral.”

A spasm of pain wracked my body.

Holy words and objects are anathema to demons. My humanity had given me some measure of defense against the pain they caused. Or at least it had. With my human life slipping away, that protection was diminishing as well.

I was so screwed.

Of course. It had to be the soul of a Catholic priest. Nobody would steal the soul of some regular old joe-schmo. Oh no, they really had to up the ante with this one.

“Let me get this straight. The soul of a man of the cloth was stolen and you don’t know where it is, so you need me to find it for you?”

Death’s slow, silent nod sent shivers down my spine. I closed my eyes for a moment to regain my equilibrium. When I opened them again, Death was gone.

“Dammit! Why me?”

I screamed in frustration at my empty office. My voice had roughened to a rumbling growl – not a good sign.
A few of my co-workers gave me curious looks through my open door. Only then did I notice that the normal sounds of the office had returned.

I got up to close the door, thankful for the small bit of privacy. I flipped off the lights and sprawled out on the floor, closing my eyes and breathing deeply. It was a calming exercise Mom had taught me. It wouldn’t give me complete control over myself, but it would keep me from ripping the head off the next person to look at me funny.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Official Magic Bleeds Contest Over

I did not win any signed copies. :(

However, my very good friend, Donna, did! So WOOT and congrats go out to her.

Also, if you haven't read these books and want to win the first three (and an adorable little tote bag) go to Auntie Em's blog and enter.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Magic Bleeds ~ Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is giving away ten signed copies of MAGIC BLEEDS on her blog.

Contest is open until 10AM PST Thursday, May 13, 2010

Also, along with their absolutely spectacular review, Lurve A la Mode is giving away a copy as well.

That contest is open until Saturday, May 15 at midnight, Eastern U.S. time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Am Not My Characters

I have come across a number of professional writers who claim their characters are either their imaginary friends, their children, or actually them.

This idea that a writer's characters are them, or their friends, or their children is one that vaguely disturbs me because I don't see it as healthy. If somebody doesn't like a writer's characters, then, on some level, it would mean they don't like the writer. Or at least parts of them. How can anybody with even the best self-esteem deal with negative reviews and rejections when they're rejections of YOU?

For any artist, there needs to be some level of disconnect between them and their work if they want to last for any length of time with their sanity intact. How can you add the necessary amount of danger and terror by killing/maiming characters if they're your friends/children?

My characters are not my friends, my children nor are they me. They are my characters. They are simply ideas I've thought up and given written form to. Whatever part of me might find its way into them is so minute and removed from me that it makes no difference.

I'm not going to spare them from pain, death, or torture. When somebody says something negative about them, I don't take it as a slam against me. A slam against my writing ability maybe, but not me as a person.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fanfiction and Respecting Your Fans Part II

There are a number of people out there, both in the fanfiction community and professional author community who have weighed in on this issue. Some of them in a much better fashion than myself.

And the Smart Bitches have also been talking about it.

Fanfiction and Respecting Your Fans

As most everyone has probably seen already, author Diana Gabaldon really stuck her foot in her mouth the other day by declaring that all fan-fiction writers are akin to rapist, husband-stealers, and other nefarious criminals. Today she has softened her words a bit, but the fact still remains that she opened her mouth and spewed forth against fans of her work.

I don't know Ms. Gabaldon nor have I ever finished one of her books, but I can tell you straight out that unless she issues an apology to ALL fan-fiction writers, I will never buy another one of her books nor will I ever recommend her to anyone. I understand not wanting people to write fan-fiction about your work. Okay, that's a bit of a lie. As a writer of both fan-fiction and original fiction myself, I don't understand why somebody would be so against something done out of love for the work and characters. If Ms. Gabaldon had simply come out and said, "I don't like fan-fiction. Please do not write it about my work or my characters." I would not have an issue at all. It is perfectly acceptable for somebody to want to keep their toys all to themselves.

My biggest issue is the blatant disrespect and attack on fellow writers -- yes, fan-fiction writers are still writers. I've read fan-fiction that outshone the work it was based on in both the technical writing and the creative world-building.

So, Ms. Gabaldon, I would just like to say -- please think before you type next time because alienating any portion of your fan-base through insults is never a good idea.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Kill Your Career Before It Even Starts

There's been a lot of talk lately about The Rejection Queen.

This is a prime example of what NOT to do. Ever.

For one thing, it's rude and unprofessional to talk shit about agents and publishers. They're just people doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. A job that is completely subjective when it comes to taste. It is absolutely impossible to write something that everybody is going to love. So getting upset about a rejection is simply unproductive.

For another thing, the literary world is a very small pond and people talk. You talk smack about agent A and writer Q is going to tell them about it. And then agent A is going to tell every other agent he or she knows about what an unprofessional dumbass you are.

Even if you use a pseudonym, very little on the internet is completely private. With just a little bit of Google-power, several people were able to uncover The Rejection Queen's true identity. One wrong comment, one slip-up and the people you're bashing are going to find out who you are.

If that form rejection you just received on a full submission really bugs you to the point where you can't not say anything, then for Gods' sakes don't post your glorious nine-page screed against all things agently on the internet. Call a friend and rant about it to them, write it in a paper journal.

Monday, April 26, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough, Keep on Going

Life has just gotten quite a bit more complicated.

A family member has called for help and I can't say no even though it means more work and stress for me and my husband. Especially considering that it involves the health and well-being of children.

This means I'll have to put the revisions on the back burner until this mess is straightened out. Not something I'm looking forward to doing, but what can ya do?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I think I'm done with my revisions. I've sent it out to three people, two of whom have never seen it before, to get their opinions. I'm hoping they give it the okay because I am so done with looking at this thing for a while. I want to get back to working on book two.

I've read and re-read book one so many times, I could probably recite pages of it from memory. For now, I'm going to stick it in the back of my mind and forget about it until I hear back from them.

Book two, here I come!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting Published *Is* A Real Job, TYVM

My husband and I went out to dinner last night with a friend we don't get to see very often. As we were eating our ice cream, she looked at me and asked if I were searching for a job -- right after I just got done telling her about the revisions I'm doing for a prospective agent. And to make it worse, my husband is sitting next to me shaking his head no.

Don't get me wrong, but last I checked, attempting to do something for which you will ultimately get paid IS looking for a job, no?

Unfortunately, this mindset is all too prevalent. Doing what we love, even if we get paid for it, isn't a real job. It's just a hobby. A side project.

Sure, getting published is something to be lauded and applauded, but now it's time to go out and get a real job. Because unless you're at a 9-5 job that you hate, you're not working. If you sit at home on the computer all day, you're not working. If you spend hours staring off into space (even if you're trying to puzzle out a plot twist or characterization), you're not working.

As so many writers before me have said, writing is not easy. It's not simply a matter of spewing words onto a screen. Or jotting them down in a notebook. I can spend hours staring at a blank page trying to find the right words to describe what I'm seeing in my head. If I'm seeing anything there at all. Then there's the research and the rewrites and even more rewrites.

And this is all before even finding an agent. And then there might be rewrites for the agent before they start trying to find a publisher. Then there are rewrites for the publisher. And you better believe that writing isn't all a writer is going to have to do. I know of very few writers who don't do at least a little bit of self-marketing.

So please, before you ask a writer when or if they're ever going to get a real job, stop and think about how insulting that question is. And then keep your mouth shut.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Revision Hell

A couple weeks ago, I received a revise and resubmit from an agent. She loved my world and my premise, but she didn't love the main character and her interactions with one of her fellow Vamyraset Agents. That same week, I found a beta partner on the Absolute Write Water Cooler Forum (BTW, if you're a writer and haven't checked out the AW forum, it would probably be in your best interest to do so. It is a great forum with a lot of knowledgeable and helpful members including quite a few published authors and other industry professionals,)

Both the agent and the beta partner have brought up similar concerns, so I'm knee deep in revisions. My beta partner has also pointed out flaws the agent never even mentioned, which I'm grateful for and also annoyed with. Not at the beta, god no! She's been fabulous. I'm more annoyed that these flaws have lasted through countless rewrites and nobody else caught them. And I'm including myself in there. Thankfully, I don't have to do a complete rewrite. The changes are minor enough for just a few tweaks here and there.

This is an aspect of publishing I was not looking forward to. But I'm gonna put on my big girl panties and slog through it because I WILL be published one day and if this is what I have to do to get there, then so be it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


It's late and I haven't had a chance to write a blog post for today, so I'm just going to post a little bit of fun backstory for my series.

Everybody expected the Apocalypse to descend upon us in a fiery torrent. Nobody ever imagined it would be a largely silent rending of reality.

On November 6, 2012, at roughly a quarter past three Eastern Standard Time, the Veil between our world and Faerie fell.

Virtually overnight, both worlds were near seamlessly melded with one another.Humans found themselves face to face with beings they had long thought simply fairy tales.
The inevitable war between the races favored the Fey. For how could even the most well-armed human stand up to something that can make the very land rise up and fight alongside them. And so a group of well-meaning Fey created the Vamyraset Agency to end the war and forge peace between humans and Fey.

Because the Fey know, even if humans have forgotten that without one, the other would cease to exist. Humans and Fey co-exist in a symbiotic relationship of dreams and fantasies.

Sixteen years later, humans are still trying to come to terms with this new world. And it is becoming readily apparent that the Vamyraset might not be the goodwill neighbor it advertised itself to be.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Beauty Beneath The Trash

I'm going to tell you about what I did today and also use it as a metaphor. But! But there's a twist -- I'm not going to tell you what the metaphor is about. I won't do this because if I tell you what the metaphor is about, then that's all that it will be about. I want you to be able to apply it to whatever you think it fits. Going back to my very first post -- I don't want to limit my metaphor to just a single story. ;-)

Today I worked outside in the yard. Not exactly a surprising thing to do considering the time of year and all, but I wasn't planting or weeding or doing anything with a garden.

No, today I was out in my yard picking up trash.

A little backstory -- my husband and I rent a beautiful house with an enormous back yard. There's also a sweet little brook flowing along the edge of the property. At some point, somebody used the far left edge of the yard as a dumpster.

No, I'm not being hyperbolic. The area was literally used to dump trash. And then it was covered with brush and fallen limbs. I've spent the last six years attempting to clean it up. Again, I am not exaggerating when I say that I've barely scratched the surface. Every spring after all of the snow melts, I go out there and there's a whole new layer of trash revealed. I think I've thrown away more than a hundred pounds of trash already.

Now, I could let the landlord handle this. He could have a cleanup crew in to clean it up within a matter of days, but I like doing this myself. I like having the time to reflect and think which is what I did today and came up with this post.

Despite all of the trash, the soil is still healthy. Not as healthy as it could be, but it just needs a little bit of care. And love. It needs a whole lot of loving care to reach its full potential. But, when you sift away the trash and the roots, the ground is soft and dark and ready to be made great.

It's just the getting there that's hard. I've got this whole mound of potential that I have to dig through in order to work with. It's hard work and some days I just want to give up and forget about that corner of the yard.

But I don't. I don't because of days like today when I find little bits of treasure buried amidst the dreck. Today's find was an old glass Coca-Cola bottle. At least I assume it's a Coke bottle since that's what the twist cap says. Most of the glass I find is broken or cracked, but this bottle is in near-perfect condition. It's something that I'll clean up just a bit and set aside for later use.

Someday, that section of the yard will be full of green, growing things. It probably won't happen before we move, but it WILL happen. Of that I have faith.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Selkie's Song

Back in January, I participated in the Help_Haiti auction on Livejournal. I offered up an original 1000 word urban fantasy ficlet. The winner was allowed to choose prompt/setting/character. The winning bidder wanted a story about selkies, so I wrote Selkie's Song for her.

The sea – it spread out before us in a thundering, foam-laced line of bluish gray. Where it met the clear-blue sky in the distance, it shimmered. I could almost see ghostly shapes dancing on the waves.

"Let's find a good place to set up our blankets." My sister, Robbie, trudged down the shell-speckled sand dunes, scattering a flock of seagulls before her. The beach was nearly empty, the upper-sixties temperature was keeping most people away. We had our pick of the beach, but it would do no good to argue with her. Robbie was a force to be reckoned with, and I had learned a long time ago not to even try.

"Wait up." I drank in one last view before scrambling down after her.

It was the first time either of us had been to the ocean. Well, technically it was at least my second, but I didn't remember the first. I was a baby when they found me crawling along the seaweed encrusted shoreline of Oregon's Neskowin beach, my sole possession a battered and filthy seal pelt wrapped around my waist.

I chased after Robbie, my mind firmly fixed on the lapping water. It drew me in, called to me. Sang me a hauntingly sweet lullaby that was both familiar and utterly foreign.

My chest ached with longing. I sped up the pace, passing Robbie as she fastidiously smoothed the wrinkles out of her blanket. I merely dropped my bundle in a heap without slowing. I needed to feel the water cascade over my face and dive deep into the cold black depths.

A restraining hand pulled me short.

"Cara, are you crazy?" Robbie stood beside me, grinning like a fool. "You've still got your shorts and shoes on."

She was right. Steadying myself on her shoulder, I stripped off my sneakers and socks. My shorts landed on top of them and I was again moving toward the water. Robbie laughed with amusement.

"Fine, fine. I'll pick up your stuff. Don't worry about it."

I didn't answer, couldn't answer. The sea's siren song was too strong for me to resist. I was at the edge, the cool, damp sand worked itself between my toes. It was glorious.

The first wave lapped over my feet. Electricity flashed upward through my legs, sparking a torrent of images in my mind. They zipped through my brain too fast for me to understand any of them. All I got were impressions of fur and fish and warmth, then they were gone as the wave was pulled back out.

I took a step forward into the sea proper and it was as if I had attached myself to an electric generator. I was enervated and alive in ways I never knew were possible. The hair on my arms was standing at attention.

Robbie’s voice called to me, but it was a long way off and easy to ignore. I waded in deeper – up to my calves, then my thighs. Heedless of the cold that skittered goosebumps across my arms and chest, I took a breath and dove beneath the churning waves.

I was home. This was where I belonged, where I was truly myself. I had never felt this sort of connection on land. I was outcast there. Too strange and odd for everybody except Robbie.

Robbie. My link to my adoptive sister pulled me back to reality.

I surfaced – the shoreline was a long ways away. I could barely see the small figure of my sister splashing through the waves, trying to reach me, the sister who never learned how to swim.

I was at least half a mile out and being pulled further by the second. The siren song was gone, drowned out by the slap-slap of the water.

Fear, raw and primitive, stole my senses. I thrashed and kicked, frantic to get back to shore. A wave slapped me in the face and I swallowed a mouthful of salt.

Spluttering and choking, I sank beneath the waves. Freezing darkness enveloped me as I descended down into the shadowy depths. My lungs urged me to take a breath, while my chest convulsed with the effort to keep from doing just that.

With arms that were fast becoming numb, I clawed my way to the surface only to be rolled under again by a massive wave. As I sank, wretched with fear, the soft croon of the sea returned. Under the water, it was louder, more insistent. Hailing me with love and joy.

Daughter…Welcome home…You’ve come back to us… It was a medley of inhuman voices whispering through the water. They drew me further down into the dark, despite the insistence of my body to swim upwards to the light and air.

Embrace your true self and join us.

What did that mean? What was my true self?

Images again flooded my brain of wet and warmth, fish and fin. I grasped at them and pulled them close, feeling their rightness. I wrapped them around me, suffused them into my being.

The tightness in my chest eased, I didn’t need to take a breath. Or surface. I dove deep, scattering a school of fish. My new, sleeker body torpedoed through the water. I angled my body upwards, rocketing to the surface. For a moment, I was arcing through the air before splashing back down.

“Cara!” A human voice. A human name. Vestiges of my former self, too powerful for me to continue to ignore. I swam to the slight figure struggling against the increasingly choppy waves. She backpedaled as my nose broke the plane of water.

“Cara?” My beautiful, intuitive sister still knew me, even as a seal. “What happened to you?”

She stroked my head, fear and anguish puckering her lips and furrowing her brow. I nudged my head beneath her arm and towed her back into shallower waters where she could tread water with ease.

Her arms wrapped around my neck, squeezing tight.

“Don’t go,” she whispered into my damp fur. “I love you, sister.”

I’ll be back. My short bark rippled through the air. Robbie lifted her hand in farewell, her tears mingling with the salt of the sea.

She mouthed just one word – goodbye – before turning and swimming back to shore where a crowd of anxious bystanders had gathered. I watched as she trudged out of the water and collapsed onto the sand.

A distant sense of melancholy needled at me, but I pushed it away and dove back into the sea. For eighteen years I had been human, now it was time for me to live as my other half for a while.

The Danger of a Single Story

My first blog post was going to be a self-indulgent ramble about my journey to becoming a writer. And then I saw this linked by Kaigou on Livejournal. It is beautiful, poignant, and really made me stop and think about all of the things that I've created a single story for and how I'm going to change that. Hopefully, it will make you think as well.