Okay, I know it's not Christmas Eve, but I needed the end to rhyme with sleeves and nothing else fit the meter of the line, so bite me. Not really, that hurts.
THE POINT IS: I finished the first draft of Book Five!!! At 4 AM (morning before last) and I could not feel more relieved! Book Five was H.A.R.D. And also, in some respects, the easiest yet. (If you're just now learning how fickle my emotional state is when talking about my books, that's your own fault.)
It was so...I better not say. No, I can't. No, REALLY, I can't. Even talking about how it made me feel might give things away. But, I will say this, it turned out exactly like (possibly better than) I wanted it to. And it's all been planned from the beginning. So, I feel good about it.
Oh yeah, and I can tell you this, too, it's the longest book so far. By nearly a hundred pages. Who knew it would take that long to tell this part of the story? I sure as heck didn't. But, there you have it.
And now, on the threshold of Book Six, at the precipice of the plot points therein, to which I have been looking most forward for a year and a half now, I announce that I am taking a small reprieve from my literary excursions. Why, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. Because I want to consume for a while. I want to delight in the fancies of art, which, I indeed do concurrently with writing, but now I want to do so exclusively, in order to cleanse my mental palate and prepare for what comes next. It's so exciting--the list of books/films/albums/essays/speeches/tv shows/artists' portfolios I have wanted to explore and study for decades (literally plural--God, am I that old?) is finally being compiled in the physical world and not just my brain juice. I am making the most awesome Excel spreadsheet of art study you've ever seen! But, probably you haven't seen one at all, because I am the only (huge) dork who has ever made such a thing. I don't care. I'm so excited. And I'm not just allowing myself the time, but I'm obligating myself to do this. I finally get to finish reading the Brontes and Poe and Virginia Woolf and...we could be here a while. So I don't know how long this will take, I may take a month off, which doesn't seem like much to any of you, since I'm technically still 4 books up on you, but that's a really long time for me to not be writing. (I don't know if I can do it, honestly, and that's why I'm not setting a time frame.) Usually--actually, with every other book before this, I finish a first draft, then the NEXT day, I start the first draft of the next one. I can't help it, I'm always so excited. But, not this time.
Book Six is already so incredibly close to my heart that I want to make sure I do it justice. There is a very distinct and real possibility that Book Five marked a turning point in the series, the likes of which cannot be undone, diluted, or hidden. What's more, I want Book Six to be different, to stand out, to carry its own weight, if you will. Its themes will be autonomous and at least partly self-containing. Meaning Book Six will stand out even amongst subsequent installments. There's no way around it. Every book is going to be different and this one especially. I think every writer thinks about the Harry Potter Factor to some degree (the flow of the series, the common themes, the proverbial nature of a well-developed world with fully-dimensional characters) but as far as keeping every book in this series on the same time measure, I confess it's not going to happen. Perhaps with other series I write. There is one series I'm writing that will definitely have that common, proverbial, rhythmic nature throughout. It's just not Lone March. So, while each book will continue to maintain the overall arc of March's story, they will also be quite individualistically styled.
So, this break could be two weeks or a month or maybe a couple of months (doubtful I can hold out that long) but whatever it ends up being, I want you all to know it's for the good of the writing, so that I can give March the story she deserves...Especially after Book Five.
WHOA!!!! Did I just totally and completely drop a hint about a book you won't read for at least another year and a half??!! That's mean of me.
Anyway, I'm off to finish my Art Studies List. If any of you would like to offer a recommendation for a book/film/band/basically anything that inspires you, feel free to leave a comment with your faves:)
P.S. Even though it's not Christmas Eve, we can still do that jig thing if you want.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Had my hairs dyed a whole different color. Never ventured outside of the blonde realm. Bleached it three times and highlighted it once, but always been a blonde since the day I was born. Finally found my balls and did what I've wanted to for a long time now. Result: Perfection and Happiness. You can't really tell till you get right up on it, but it is red, like red-red. I just love it.
So, as I said, I've always been blonde, and I left my fiance that morning and was going to return in the afternoon with red hair. Well, you can imagine what I did. Naturally, with my current border-line obsession with Twin Peaks, I just had to walk through the door and say, "Hi, Trav, it's me...Maddy." I've been walking around with the creepy Maddy smile, occasionally slipping on my big nerdy glasses, that really do look just like Maddy's, and sneaking up behind him to say hello. It is proper fun. He keeps telling me to stop. I think he's just double-creeped out because he says I look scarily like my sister now (who has dark hair and had bangs for a long time). Either way, I'm having all kinds of fun with this.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Boy oh boy, what a day. Spent part of the day (which was dressed in a lovely, dreamy, steady, slow rain) dancing between reading HP:7 The Deathly Hallows, and working on the final chapter of Book Five of The Lone March Series. After that, the epilogue (which, incidentally, was the very first scene I envisioned for this book) and then the first draft is d.o.n.e. So much excitement--ooh, for those who've been reading my blog from the beginning, let us say so much folperlacion;)
Anywho, I spent an unfortunate amount of time this afternoon/evening running errands and doing necessary tasks for financial sustentation, so sadly, I have not been able to finish the book today and complete my goal of starting this blog with, "It seems rather fitting and auspicious that I am uploading the final installment of Chapter One, Book Two on the very day I have completed the first draft of Book Five." Oh well. Technically, the statement is in the blog now, so I did get to say it, even if it's not true.
So I am intending to copy and paste the last section of the chapter straight out of my Amazing-Colossal-Man-sized Word document right into this here blog, but first, I wanted to get real with you guys for a sec. I don't know if that's the right term, but it felt good, so I typed it. Here's the thing that I want to say: These books I'm writing about this March chick are literally, 100%, genuinely getting better and better with each new installment. I know you're thinking, "Biased much?" but really, I know it to be true. It's based on many international statistical analyses. That's not really true. But it is a conclusive fact. Yes, I realize no one can dispute me, seeing as I'm the only one who has actually read every bloody word of every bloody book (and knows the plot for the next three bloody books) but I cross my heart and hope to die--when you all have read them too, I know you'll agree. So much excitement--oops! folperlacion.
Probably I didn't need to put all that in a blog, but I did need to get it off my chest for some reason and I'm not gonna erase it. So there.
And now, for the final installment of Chapter One from the Upcoming Moon-Ache, Book Two in The Lone March Series...
Da-du...um, how do you do a drum-roll in text? How do you type a drum-roll?
Chapter One, Part Three:
As I stared at my soup, I pictured Mr. Harper running into the kitchen to assemble a pouch of ice for me, and also making me soup just a few minutes before. His kindness and concern for my safety were not exactly in keeping with the way the pack made the ravens out to be. Sure, when I first met him and he’d been all intimidating—and even threatened me—I had the same attitude about him. But then, he’d basically saved my life by telling me what I was and getting me to the people who could help me through my change. Hell, there was no ‘basically’ about it—he did save my life. And now, here he was doing it again.
Despite my gratitude, I couldn’t help wondering why. Why was he putting himself through this for me? Some girl he didn’t know. Some girl who was just his son’s debate partner. Some girl who had no connection to him other than being were. But I wasn’t even a raven, like him—I was a wolf. According to the wolves, we were supposed to be enemies. Weren’t we?
I recalled what Quinn had said about not calling them by their names because they didn’t warrant that much respect. And I remembered when the pack had come to get me, Elliot had said that thing about Mr. Harper wanting to be absolved (although, he had derogatorily called him ‘the bird’).
What did they mean? What did Mr. Harper need to be absolved from? Why did the ravens not deserve the respect of the wolves?
I could only assume that there was some kind of miscommunication going on. Mr. Harper was taking care of me the same way Quinn would be, if he was here. Regardless of what the men think, I had to take that into account.
Still, their opinion couldn’t be completely unfounded—it had to have been borne out of something. So what did Mr. Harper need absolving from?
I had just decided to talk to him about it, when he returned with a zip-lock bag full of ice and directed me to stretch out on the couch. But, after he gently lifted my ankle and propped it up on a pillow, laying the bag of ice on it carefully and sitting back down in the chair in front of me, I completely lost my nerve. It wasn’t the time to try to get all in his business with personal questions. He was being really attentive of me and I needed to appreciate that more. So I just went back to concentrating on my soup.
He watched me eat for a while before finally speaking slowly. “What do you know about what has been happening the last few days?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, gulping down a swig of water.
“There have been…incidents.”
I suddenly remembered Elliot’s confrontation with Quinn while we were still locked in the Cage. He was bragging about taking control of the pack and letting them loose during the changes to run wild. “They didn’t observe lock-down.” I knew what that meant. “How many?” I asked flatly.
He picked up my even tone and applied it to his own words. “Twenty deaths.”
“Oh my God.”
“Mostly in the Tyler area.”
With that I wasn’t hungry anymore, so I put the near-empty bowl on the end table next to me. I ignored the aberrant weirdness of Mr. Harper putting his hand on my knee when I saw his expression. I had never seen him so benign. It almost seemed out of place with his dark, angular features.
“March,” he said.
“What?” I asked, confused.
He pursed his lips and shifted his eyes between mine. When he spoke, he spoke each word slowly and carefully. “I need you to remember that your being here must remain hidden. So when I tell you this, try not to be too…vociferous.”
“What is it?”
“It’s your parents.”
“What?—What about them? What’s wrong?”
I shook my head in disbelief. Such a brief statement—only two words—and yet filled with so much weight.
“They got them,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
I fixed my vision on the pattern of the Oriental rug beneath my toes, feeling instantly vacant and fuzzy. It had a burgundy background swirled in gold strands around the edges with drops of emerald at each end.
“They…they can’t be gone,” I strained, but my voice sounded far away, even to me. He didn’t respond so I looked up at him. “They can’t be,” I repeated.
“I wish I was.”
“No. There’s been a mistake. They’re not gone. Just missing. We have to find them,” I said, throwing myself into a standing position, but he stopped me and pushed me back down.
“They were found in the front room of your house three days ago.”
He caught me as I began to slide off the couch and onto the floor, and moved, from his chair opposite me, to sit next to me on the couch, pulling my body backward into him and putting his arms around me while I felt myself being pulled away, till I knew I was completely absent—present in the room only in the physical sense.
Something about the pattern of that rug—about the shape of those gold swirls—seemed abrasive and made me feel assaulted, so I turned my gaze onto the banal print of a sailboat on a grey bed of water, framed and hanging on the wall, which, I thought abstractly, seemed out of place with the rest of the décor and was, admittedly, less than consoling.
Why? Why them? Why now?
I felt like I was falling through the air at a thousand miles an hour and everything in me screamed and begged me to stop, but I knew I was sitting as still as could be.
What do I do? What can I do? I’m a nobody. I’m an orphan. In the last three days I’ve learned that I’ve lost two sets of parents. How many people have had to lose two sets of parents in the span of seventy-two hours? What are the odds?
But I knew I didn’t care about the odds. I was just delaying the act of grieving because I knew once it started, that would mean it was real. Acknowledging the pain makes it real, and I didn’t want it to be real.
But they’re gone.
Then, suddenly, my tears made their grand entrance in one massive gesture and I heaved and sobbed silently after that.
I was crying so hard I could barely take a breath before I was blowing it back out in soft wails, so I stopped inhaling altogether for a while and just felt the pressure building up in my chest. Somehow, it was soothing.
Seeing the uncharacteristic redness of my face, Mr. Harper said, “Breathe.”
But I couldn’t. I didn’t want to breathe anymore. I didn’t want to breathe ever again.
The End (for now)...(of Chapter One)...(Stay Tuned for Updates on Release and Other Info!)
PS. Probably I could have just typed D's for that drum-roll, huh? Eh...
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Ready for the next exciting excerpt of Chapter One from the upcoming Moon-Ache, Book Two in The Lone March Series?
So...I guess I'll just be posting it now then...eh?
I mean, why not? Right?
Yeah, I should post it.
Who's gonna stop me, ya know?
No one, that's who.
Because I have all the effing power. So here it is...
Chapter One, Part Two:
It was a short trip to the Harper house, though it felt a lot longer for all the silence, which was inevitable due to three simple facts: 1. Avery Harper and I didn’t know each other very well, so everyday conversation was reaching, at best. 2. Mr. Harper was holding off on telling me what I wanted to know—how he knew anything that had been happening with the wolves. I was impatient, but thankful for his rescue, and respectful enough to honor his request to wait for the answers. 3. Despite being within the safe confines of a large, automatic-locking SUV, I was still worried about being caught by Elliot, or whichever of the wolves was apparently so close behind me. This fact kept me most silent of all.
Avery pulled into the driveway and killed the engine. I hopped out of the big SUV, checked my coattails to ensure they were covering my bare back side, and followed Mr. Harper to the door.
“Wait here,” he said, cautiously opening the door and entering.
Feeling exposed, I looked behind me and all around to make sure I was alone. The trees bristled and swayed lazily in the night breeze—the loudest sound in the whole neighborhood. Though the street was lit with lamps, the houses lining either side were utterly dark and a bubble of still calm was draped around in every direction. It was a bubble I knew would be easily punctured if they picked up on my scent.
The door opened abruptly and a hand came out and pulled me in by the shoulder. Mr. Harper led me, with one hand on my back, directly into the front sitting room and quickly closed the door behind us.
The rich reds in the wallpaper and rug immediately engulfed me as I entered the room and almost seemed to brush me with warmth. Whether from the wallpaper, or the suddenly still air (when I’d been used to the breeze during my escape) I felt my face flush in response and immediately my head started swimming with blood as it began to pump slower and slower through me to accommodate my now resting state.
Without an offer extended, I collapsed on the small, square loveseat, uninviting as it was in its under-stuffed austerity.
“Stay here. I’ll find you something to wear,” he said.
“I can stand this a little longer. First things first: find me something to eat. I’m starving.”
He nodded and left me alone in the room.
I completely wanted to disobey him and go skipping up the stairs to see Ethyn because I smelled his amazing scent as soon as I walked through the door, but I couldn’t. I was so tired and hungry. And, now that I was through running and felt safe, my adrenaline was wearing off and fatigue and pain were starting to set in. So I just laid there feeling the weight of my heavy lids as they fell, and I had to manually lift them open. It was an arduous task and, finally, I gave up on it and left them shut only to have them open involuntarily when Mr. Harper gently nudged my shoulder some minutes later.
He had a bowl of steaming vegetable soup and a tall glass of iced water. I took the bowl first and almost spilled it on myself in my hunger-crazed frenzy to bring it closer to my mouth. The small thought crossed my mind that there was no meat in this meal, but I didn’t care—I just wanted food. Besides, it would probably be best to go easy on my stomach for a few days, after having it empty for so long. I scooped a spoonful and shoved it into my mouth without hesitation.
“Ahh!” I exclaimed and let the scalding, chunky liquid fall out of my mouth and back into the bowl.
“I warned you.”
“Not soon enough,” I retorted.
“Well, you didn’t expect cold soup, did you?” he asked, pulling a chair over to sit in front of me.
“Ugh! This is torture! I finally have food in front of me for the first time in three days and I can’t eat it!”
“You haven’t eaten in three days?”
“Duh, prisoner,” I said, pointing at myself. “I thought you knew that.”
“I didn’t think they were starving you. One would think they’d want to keep the last female were-wolf on earth in good health.”
“Yeah, well, I think Elliot’s plan involved me being as weak as possible without actually perishing. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t gotten outta there.” I shuddered and blew on my soup.
“I’m sorry I handed you over to those criminals. I thought I was doing the best thing for you. Had I known they were such an awful pack, I wouldn’t have—”
“It’s okay,” I assured him. “You did do the best thing for me. If I hadn’t been heralded through my first change I would’ve died. They’re the nearest pack around. There’s nothing else you could have done. And they’re not all bad. Just most.”
Once I'd blown on it enough to keep from scorching my tongue, I slurped my soup. (After spitting it out in front of him I figured why bother with manners?) The warmth made it seem filling, but as time cooled it and the heat in my stomach subsided, I felt less and less full.
“What happened to your nose?” he asked, studying it with new concern.
For a minute, I had completely forgotten about my self-inflicted accident. During my escape, I tripped and fell, banging my head, specifically my nose, straight into the ground.
“Your nose is bloody,” he said.
I instinctively reached up and touched the under part of my nose to feel the blood, but it must have dried in the wind.
“They weren’t beating you, were they?” he asked incredulously.
“No, I tripped over a big log in the woods by the hospital while I was running away,” I explained.
He took my chin in his long fingers and tilted my face to have a better look at my nose. “Does it hurt?”
“To be honest, I’m pretty numb all over right now. Ask me again in ten minutes,” I said.
“So you’re okay then, generally speaking?”
“I’m okay,” I replied. “My ankle is probably hurt pretty bad, though. I think it got twisted in the fall. Like I said, I can’t really feel anything, but running on it can’t have been good.”
“Let me see.”
I lifted my foot up to him and he put his palm underneath so I rested my weight on it.
“Well, I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t seem broken. I’ll get you an ice pack. You probably just sprained it,” he said, bounding up and out of the room before I could tell him not to worry about it.
Stay tuned for the final installment of Chapter One!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
...Because March is totally going to BRING THE THUNDER in Book Two!
As I'm sure everyone reading this knows, I'm currently working on Book Five of my Lone March series--a mere four chapters away from finishing the first draft--while contemplating a third draft of Book Four. Yet, only the first one, Moon-Linked, has been published. Why, you may ask? Because of a measly little thing called the cover. Getting real, legit, profesh, covers is an expensive venture, but, I feel, totally worth it. You're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but, inevitably, people do. I, myself, have been guilty of doing so in the past. So, we (me and Travis, my fiance) have been waiting till we had the scratch. That time is coming (thank Gaia!) and I wanted to do a little teaser for Book Two. Obviously, I can't reveal the cover or even the photo of the lovely model we've chosen to represent March for the series...even though I have said photo...hehe...you can't see. Yes, I am evil. But also I'm not evil at all and here's why: Though I can't reveal the actual cover yet, I'm going to announce the color scheme and title...right...NOW!
So, you get the basic idea. Dark purple with golden-yellow lettering. I thought about putting in the moon as it will appear on the actual cover, but decided nope, I'm gonna be stingy about that. To make up for this, I thought I would post an excerpt of Book Two. Now, here's the catch, first, I'm just going to put up the same excerpt that's found at the back of Book One, which, obviously, most of you readers have read, but, I wanted to give those who haven't read Moon-Linked, or, for some strange reason, didn't see the Book Two teaser, a chance to get properly teased. Then, some time very soon, I will post the next little bit of Book Two, then another bit, and another, till eventually I have revealed the whole first chapter. Yes, I could post it all at once, but what's the fun in that? I rather like the idea of dangling it just out of reach;)
So, for those who haven't read this excerpt, enjoy; for those who have, read it again and get excited like the rest of us (c'mon, don't be a spoil sport).
A Sneak-Peak at
My name is March Howe. And I’m a were-wolf. Until four days ago, I didn’t really know what that meant for me and the life I’ve had for the last fifteen years. But now, on the night after my first complete full moon cycle, as I’m running home, in an attempt to flee my captors, I know what it means. And I know my whole life has just begun to change forever.
All I could hear was the sound of my bare feet padding damply against the ground beneath me as I pushed myself to run faster. I guess it was a good sign that was all I could hear—it meant I had eluded them thus far.
But Graham’s voice was playing ever louder in my head: “March…you can’t…go home. That’ll be…the first place they’ll go.”
His words were adorned with spatterings of blood that pitched forth from his mouth and were lost against the bloody backdrop of his upper body.
I knew I shouldn’t be going home. But at this time of night, where else could I really go?
I peered down the street as I passed the first house of my neighborhood on the right. There was my house down the way, sitting silently in the darkness. I wanted to hasten my step, but I was already going as fast as I could.
Before I’d cleared another house, lights sprayed the ground in front of me, growing brighter and sharper as their range contracted and they moved closer to me. Headlights.
My first inclination was to dart off the road, in fear, but then I realized Elliot and the rest of the betrayers would be in wolf form to catch me, not a car.
I didn’t even have time to make the conscious decision to look before it was beside me and someone was saying, “Get in.”
I recognized the smell before the voice or even the sleek, black Escalade. It was Mr. Harper. I hopped in, almost forgetting I was naked, until the cold AC hit my chest and I shivered uncontrollably and popped my legs up in the seat to shield myself from both the cold and being seen.
“Here, you can have my jacket,” he said, throwing his left arm in my direction and implying I should pull the sleeve of his blazer off him.
I tried to do so with my elbow still tucked in to my body—I didn’t want to reveal any more of myself to him—but I couldn’t quite get it.
“I’m not looking,” he said, “go ahead.”
I tugged it fast and once his arm was free he pulled the other sleeve off and handed it to me. I gladly wrapped up inside it and fidgeted with the buttons to do them up as he spoke.
“I know you want to go home, but you can’t. They’ll be there any minute.”
“Are they really that close behind me?—Wait, how do you know anything about this?”
He didn’t answer me. Instead, he said, “For now, you’ll come to my house. For now. Then, we’ll figure out what to do next. But listen, Ethyn doesn’t know anything about this and I don’t want him to find out, so he can’t know you’re there. Alright?” I nodded. “Now what exactly were you thinking going back to your house? You had to know that would be the first place they’d look.”
“I did know. But all I could think was I needed to recharge and see my parents and talk to them about all this.” He looked at me, confused. “Besides,” I continued, “I didn’t know where else to go this late at night anyway—hey, wait a minute—I’m not gonna explain myself anymore till you do some explaining of your own. Tell me how you knew I was in trouble. Why were you in my neighborhood waiting on me?”
He stared blankly ahead. “It’s not the time, March. Let’s just get you hidden and safe right now.”
Stay tuned for the next exciting excerpt of Moon-Ache, Book Two of The Lone March Series!