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19 Jun

I haven’t done one of these ‘currently’ post for awhile. Actually, I haven’t done any post for awhile. Truth be told, I’ve been busy moving and writing and then moving again. I’m done moving now. So let’s get back to blogging with one of these.


WRITING :: I’m finishing up my YA fantasy, Feed Me To the Wolves. It’s about a young Conchan girl (think gypsy meets viking) with a very big secret. You’re going to have to trust me on this one, but when you live with a clan of people who dedicate their lives to killing the shrev (think monster wolves), being able to communicate with canines is not a good thing. I’m hoping to wrap it up this weekend. I’ll share a teaser when I do.

READING :: The Wrath and the Dawn. So far, it is amazing. I want more books like it. Now.


LISTENING TO :: Famous guys read famous poems. This is what I do when washing dishes. Here is a goodie:

DRINKING :: Earl Grey each morning, french roast each afternoon. I’m in a rut. A beautiful, happy rut that I don’t care to come out of any time soon.

CONSIDERING :: Options in chicken feed and horse feed. Exciting? Oh yeah.

WANTING :: This fantastic little pillow from Shop Jeen:

11.24.14_0124_cry_here_grandeAnd, that’s all I have in my vat of ‘currently’ to pull from. The next time I post I will most likely be spewing joy and sonnets over completing the first draft of my novel. Sonnets? That may be pushing it. Haikus are more my style.

Until then!



notebook love

29 Sep

WIN_20140929_183406 (2)

I just gave this composition notebook a facelift for my fellow writer & father, Tom Demma.

SHHH! Don’t tell him about it. He’s making the long haul up to Minnesota from Florida right now. It’s a gift. My hope is that he won’t check my blog while on the road. He wouldn’t, right? I mean, who does that?

I love working in composition books and on legal pads and have quite a collection going. Getting away from the computer can really help un-stick my brain when it starts getting sticky. Which happens often. They’re also easy to take places. When I’m sitting in the car waiting for my hubs to get out of a store I can pull one out and jot down a scene or slew of ideas.

Anyway, I’m looking for another quote so I can make one of these for a certain writer in my life (you know who you are). Composition books for everyone!

Isn’t Adelveiss getting so big? She’s the cutest Itty-Bitty around 🙂


i hope you’re scared

24 Apr


Remember my post about doing things scared? You know – the one that talked about how when you’re doing something and you’re scared you need to just , well, do it scared?

I’ve been thinking about that post a lot lately.

Because writing can be scarey. And I can’t seem to stop myself from writing.

I’ve been back at it since Adelveiss arrived, sending out queries for CSSW and jumping into the next project because it helps to settle my nerves. The truth is, I love querying. I missed it while I worked on CSSW, and I’m happy to be back at it, even if it does freak me out. Sometimes it feels good to be freaked out! It feels… hopeful. Like anything could happen.

And my next project is ridiculously fun, though altogether different from CSSW.

Anyway, I wanted to assure you guys that I am scared.

And I wanted to tell you –

I hope you’re a little scared too. In the very best of ways.




pardon me while i celebrate – CSSW TEASER

26 Sep

Yesterday I finished the 1st draft of the book I’ve been writing all summer. And I was thrilled. And I still am.

This is my 5th novel, and my 1st that fits better into the middle grade (MG) age group instead of young adult (YA). I’m a bit frustrated about this because my main characters age doesn’t quite line up with MG, but that is a post for another day.

As soon as I finished the story I sat down with a blank word document and listed out everything that I know needs editing. I quickly filled a whole page. Now I’m going to put the story aside until after NaNoWriMo and let my mind move on to other things. Like fixing the 80,000 word mess I made with my previous book (which I am utterly in love with).

Anyway, for those of you who would like a little sampling, here is the teaser for the book I just finished, Crow and the Secrets of the Spirit Woods, plus the 1st chapter. Keep in mind that this is a 1st draft. I did not clean it up or fill it out for you (and it needs lots of filling out). But it’s a good start. For me. Enjoy!

There’s my girl, Crow!


No one ventures into the haunted forest north of the village. Not unless they’re an orphan girl taken in by Crow and her band of motherless misfits. Here they have made a home for themselves among the dancing trees, the horses made by the light of the moon, the mudmaids that come with the rain, and all of the secrets which the forest keeps safe from the outside world. But their home is threatened when the townspeople become more hostile towards their way of life and a group of boys invades the woods. A white bear is stalking their camp leaving behind eerie piles of teeth, and Crow has to question if their beloved home will keep them… or kill them.

Chapter One:

They were the children of the trees, and on the nights they were lucky, the moon would shine down on them.

And it had been many nights since they’d seen the moon.

Crow snapped twigs between her fingers. Last night’s fire had ceased to nothing more than smoldering logs, and she watched the grey smoke move through the camp. None of the other girls were up yet, and Crow wished she could say the same for herself. When her hand got to the end of the twig, she dropped the pieces and chewed her thumb nail.

A dog whined at her feet, reminding her that there were things she needed to do. Like finish packing the donkey for starters. She let out a ragged breath and looked up through the tops of the trees.

Clouds. Nothing but clouds. This was why she hated spring.

Crow set to wrapping up the rabbit furs. They’d managed a few dozen of them over the winter and she imagined they’d fetch a fair price. But it was the two deer hides and the fox fur that would bring in the most. Besides the skins, she packed the bundles of herbs, the healing salve Goss had made, bones they’d carved into beads on the days their hands could get warm, and three sacks of brec that had been roasted and ground.

Crow scold at the brec and looked back to the fire pit. On a decent day, she’d still be in bed like the other girls. Leelah would be up in two or three hours, and she would get the fire going again. By the time the sun was high past the trees and Crow was staggering out from her bed, a pot of brec would have been brewed and a cup delivered into her hands.

Not today. And she hadn’t seen the moon all week.

She grumbled to herself as loudly as she dared. There was no sense in waking the others, but still she felt someone ought to know about her suffering this morning. The donkey was the only one to hear her, and his ear only twitched.

“Come on, This.” She took hold of the donkey’s lead. “Let’s get Bell.”

The horse was back in the fields, well- field. One field, even a small one, was hard to come by in this forest. When Crow had found it it was barely more than a clearing, and it had taken her weeks to get it to what it was now, dull ax in hand. That was two years ago when she was 13.

Now she was 15, and her ax was sharp.

She saddled and bridled the horse, went over the list in her head one more time, and double-checked the sacks on the donkey. Then she stood and chewed her thumb nail. The donkey was content to stand, but Bell was an impatient horse. She fidgeted, made nervous by Crows own nerves, and her ears flicked back and forth.  When she stamped a hoof, Crow shook her head at herself and climbed into the saddle on Bell’s back. They turned away from the small huts nestled in the trees and headed south.

So, this was what the forest looked like in the morning. Crow tried to remember the last time she’d been up so early. Last summer, she supposed, on one of her trips to town. She’d picked up little Jovi that day. It seemed like longer ago than it was.

Crow smiled, remembering Jovi’s curiosity, how it’d gotten the better of her. It had gotten the better of all the girls Crow had brought out into the woods; if they didn’t have enough of it, they stayed at the Mission in town.

“But those woods are haunted,” Jovi had said.

Crow remembered smiling. “Yes, but she’ll take care of you.”


“The woods. She takes care of all the orphan girls. It’s the riff-raff she keeps out.” Crow had winked when she said that. She was sure of it.

“But the orphans are the riff-raff.”

Jovi had seemed so small huddled against the wood shed that used to be her fathers. Crow had knelt down. “Not in the woods they aren’t.”

She could still see the look on Jovi’s face. Fear, sadness, loss… curiosity.

No girl ever made it into the woods who wasn’t curious.

The woods were sleeping now, just like the girls back in their huts. One groggy oak seemed to notice Crow on her quiet trek towards town and its branches reached out, stroking the top of her head.

“Just me,” Crow said, lifting her fingers to meet the new leaves that had recently pressed though. “Back to sleep with you.”

In a little over an hour, she was at the forest’s edge. Staggering black spruce went up on all sides around her, a blunt fortress against the empty field she looked out across. She could just make out the dirt road from her spot atop Bell. After another long breath, she left the safety of the trees.

The donkey perked up at the sight of so much grass, and Crow had to fight to get him down the road. When she spied the smoke that rose up above a stand of trees further ahead, she smiled. It surprised her a little. But then, she’d made it to the cabin. That was reason to be glad. She’d forget what waited for her after that.

Past the stand of trees, she took the path back to the house. The black hound was outside stretched out on the porch, telling Crow that they must be awake. Of course they’d be awake; they weren’t like the girls.

The hound caught the sound of hooves and looked up from her post. In an instant, she was bawling, and yelping, and clamoring for her footing on the old wooden boards, leaping the stairs and sprinting for Crow and her animals. Crow cringed. Was their nothing noisier than a hound?

Moments later, the front door cracked and a head looked out across the yard.

“Gwen!” he cried. “Come and look!”

The door flung wide, and the man headed down the stairs. He clapped his hands together, and smiled broad at Crow.

“Well, well,” he said as he neared her. “You’ve made it another winter. Thank our lucky stars.”

An odd expression, Crow thought, since the stars seemed to do little good other than shed their dull light. Why did no one thank the moon? Crow didn’t exactly thank anything, but if she were going to start then she would start with the moon. But then, it’s easier to thank the moon when you live in the Sprit Woods.

“Alive and well,” she said.

“And the others?”

“All good. We even got two deer.”

“Two deer?”

“And a fox.”

“Well, now! Hides whole?”

“Is there another way?”

The man laughed and slapped Bell on the neck a few times. “Very well.” He turned back to the house. “Gwen! Stop fussing and get out here!” He winked at Crow. “I’m sure she’s cleaning the house for ya. As if you’d care, ha!”

“Do you mind if I let the animals graze? Thistle is aching for some decent grass.”

“Of course, of course. C’mon, I’ll help ya.”

When the animals were settled in a grassy corral, the man lead Crow into the little cabin. Gwen was stoking the fire in her wood stove to a roar, and her checks were flush with excitement.

“Corra,” she said. “Look at you. How you’ve grown!” She grabbed Crow by the arm and pulled her to her chest. Crow was not one for hugs, but fighting Gwen was hopeless. The women had maybe a hundred pounds on her, plus she was relentless.

“Crow,” she managed to say. She was being pressed too hard to fill her lungs properly. “You know I go by Crow.”

“Oh, nonsense.” Gwen pushed back and started fussing over Crow’s hair. “Your mother named ya Corra.”

Crow batted her hands away. “Yeah, but Dad called me Crow.”

Gwen gave a humph. “You’re skinny. I’ve already stared the batter for the cookies. John, milk the cow, will ya?”

Crow smiled. “The girls are as eager for them as ever.”

This was just was Gwen wanted to hear. “Good.”

Soon Crow was stuffed on Gwen’s hash, the best she’d ever had, and two mugs full of brec, her saving grace. The cookies were just emerging from the big cast iron oven, and dozens were set to cool on various counter tops. The girls would rip their guts with them later, that Crow was sure of.

“Now, don’t let the girls eat them too quickly,” Gwen said as she slid another tray in on the rack.

“ ‘Course,” Crow lied. Her fidgeting had returned. “I suppose I should get a move on before the morning gets away from me.”

John looked up from wood piece he was carving. “I suppose you should. Listen, Crow, I have to tell ya. The villagers aren’t happy with ya taking the little one out there.”

Crow nodded and watched the dregs of brec she swirled at the bottom of her mug. “Jovi.”

“That’s the one. They’re bound to give you a bad time.”

Crow gritted her teeth and thought about Kip. Kip was not even a full year older than Jovi, yet no one had cared a lick when she’d brought her out. She almost said something about it to John but fought it back. That was different, and she knew it. She kicked back the grounds in her mug and stood up. “So long as they buy my skins.”


an update and excerpt : Crow & the Secrets of the Spirit Woods

30 Aug

It appears I missed out on an opportunity to join a renegade pack of writers at they kicked August’s butt during their #WIPmarathon event. Think NaNoWriMo only more intimate and easier to tailor. That’s the vibe I’m getting.

Here is the post explaining it, although it’s over tomorrow. Sorry. They might do another in December.

Still, I loved the form they used to update their status on their blogs, and when I asked the founder, Ifeoma Dennis, if I could use it on my own blog, she kindly said yes.

So, here goes. An update on my Work In Progress (WIP):

Story : Crow and the Secrets of the Spirit Woods

Current Word Count & Chapter Count: 30,138 words and 20 chapters in

WIP Issues This Week : I had to push my way through the “soggy middle”, as they call it. I’m not sure if my feelings were related to the WIP so much, or if was more my tiredness from pregnancy and a few other things all coming down on me at once. Either way, after loving this story for 20,000+ words, I suddenly started to doubt it. I’m towards the end of the middle now, and feeling more on track. My ending is still a bit hazy to me, but I think things are falling into place. And I’m crazy about the story again.

What I Learned This Week In Writing : Here, let me pick one… I learned from Silvana De Mari that you can take a character that is really not even that likeable and throw in at the end a startling scene with them that has you crying your eyeballs out in all the best ways. (This refers to her book, The Last Dragon.)

What Distracted Me This Week While Writing : The faulty beginning to a book I’ve already written and have been querying agents with. Questions of how to make it better will not stop nagging at me.

Last 200 Words I Worked On :  (Tait is blind, by the way, and this is unedited!)

Tait was sitting up on the wooded board he’d been sleeping on. He rubbed his eyes and ran his fingers through his blonde hair, making it more a mess than it already had been.

“Morning,” Acel said. “You hungry?”

“Do pigs snort?” Tait was smiling and his blue eyes were pointed in Acel’s direction though they landed a bit over his shoulder to the left.

Acel had to laugh. To be an orphan out on the street was to be hungry. It practically made it into the definition of the word.

“Here.” He reached in his shirt and pulled out a small loaf of bread which he’d carefully wrapped in an old newspaper. Tearing it in half, he put a chunk into Tait’s open hands. “I snagged this this morning.”

It was still warm and it smelled like heaven. Tait took a deep whiff of it before ripping off a small chunk with his teeth and chewing it as slowly as he could. He always ate slowly. It was better for savoring, he would say. If I’m not gonna get hardly any food, I at least wanna taste what I do get.

Acel had always been a bit more impatient than that. His thinking said to eat his food as quickly as he could and get back out on the streets looking for more.

He ate slowly with Tait this morning. Since the fear of losing him when he was sick with the bone breaking fever, he’d eaten a number of his meals more slowly. Sometimes, he realized, there was no reason to rush and every good reason to savor.


Have I given any teasers for this story on my blog? I don’t think I have. I’ll have to do that in my next post 😉


here. let me do the cup song for you.

26 Aug

I haven’t blogged or vlogged in quite a while, but I’m going to remedy that now with The Cup Song. One of my many {useless, non-money-making} talents.


confession & quote

19 Jun

In retrospect, I may have been a bit dramatic in my vlog yesterday. Here’s one of my favorite writing quotes to make up for it:

There is no royal path to good writing, and such paths as do exist do not lead through neat critical gardens, but through the jungles of self, of the world, and of craft. – Jessamyn West