This Side of Salvation Day One

Tomorrow one of my favorite authors has a new book hitting stores. In honor of that release, she’s playing an online game with her Street Team and fans promoting the book. This Side of Salvation is about a family who has suffered loss and whose parents look towards the end of the world to solve their problems. But the protagonist, David, isn’t so sure. What happens when he sneaks out on the day the Rush is supposed to come and returns after curfew?

Guess you’ll have to buy the book to find out.

TSOS card 1

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Writing Exercises WebPage

This seems like a fun site! It’s called Writing Exercises and has a whole grouping of different links. Prompts and games and all sorts of things.

I’ve looked at a couple of different links—the Random First Line and Random Dialogue along with the Anagram Game. Although the game doesn’t really have any directions, it didn’t take me long to figure out how to play (for the most part).

In addition to all the links, the site has an Android app which you can download (for free even!) but unfortunately not an iTunes compatible app. And even an ESL page.

Your Writing Brain

Dee Willis sent this article (The Best Time of Day for Creative Thinking) to me a couple of days ago and I didn’t read it immediately, but I finally did. It talks about how your brain works better in the morning and you should concentrate on writing then. Well, you couldn’t prove it by me. I tend to do my writing in the afternoon or evening or even late at night. On the other hand, I’m more app to get up in the morning and edit for people, but I think that’s because I want to get it done and finished, than anything else.

I also find when I’m sick or out of sorts that I just don’t write as much (for example I’ve had a cold for the last few days and I’ve been trying to write this and the next blog entry for three days and I just now got to it.)

So what is your opinion? Are you a morning writer? A night owl? Or do you drag it out and not want to sit down at the computer until the last minute? Let me know!

New Flash Fiction

The Long Ride Home 3-21

After a long day of chasing crooks and various other miscreants, Sybil looked forward to her ride home. Most of the other detectives on the squad had their own cars or used the company cars, but Sybil liked the clack-clack of the trains. She liked leaning back in the seat with her feet up on the back of the one in front of her and allowing case notes to float through her head.

If she’d finished a case that day, she’d go over the evidence she’d collected to make sure she had everything she needed for an air tight case. If she still had an open case, she’d mull over what she’d gathered so far to see if there was another string to pull to possibly solve the case. More than one case had percolated in her head on the ride home and a new idea had come to her.

The train ride home was the perfect place to think.

Word Count 160

This Side of Salvation promo

I’ve posted before that one of my favorite authors is Jeri Smith-Ready. She has a new book coming out on April 1st titled This Side of Salvation. Although I first started reading Jeri’s adult books, I have greatly enjoyed her YA books also. This is Jeri’s first contemporary novel, but the writing style hasn’t changed and the story is just as gripping from the first sentence.

The story of David, whose family has already suffered loss in the form of a sibling and brother and now his parents have disappeared. His parents have gotten caught up in the Rush, determined that they will be whisked off to Heaven with the other faithful. David isn’t so sure.

The first chapter has already dragged me in and I can’t wait for the book to be available so I can read the rest!

This Side of Salvation summary and reviews

Chapter One of This Side of Salvation

Some Writing Links

My friend and fellow writer, Dee Willis, has been sending me links and pictures about writing the last few days. I thought I would share some of them with you. I am not advocating that you have to use them, just that you might want to check them out as possible ideas for references.

First up is a Novel Writing Tip card. This is from the Marshall “Plan”. It’s an idea on how to pace a novel. You don’t have to follow this, but it’s a way to possibly keep your novel on pace or track when you’re writing. I like some of it but not all. It’s a cute, handy little bookmark sized print off though.

Novel Writing Tip card

Novel Writing Tip card

Next up from Writers Write is a Writing Children’s Books Cheat Sheet. They call it for “Dummies”, but I found it to appear to be a helpful guide. If nothing else, it’s a good jumping off place when starting to write or when editing a children’s book. It goes from board books through YA Novels and through the editing/promoting process.

Find the Link here.

And finally an article on how to write better metaphors and similes. It’s an interesting read, although not the reference I thought it was when I first opened it. Still interesting to at least look at.

Grammar Reference

As a writer, one of the things that is constantly tripping me up is grammar. You’d think after studying the English language for so long, I’d be confident in my ability to write (and speak) my native language. Even after all this time I still read grammar books, look for grammar tricks, and have someone double check my writing.

The other day I got this article from a fellow writer. Although it’s from Scholastic and is geared towards students, I think it’s a great quick reference for writers. They are common mistakes; common hang-ups that even the most veteran writer can get caught by.

The article touches on it’s vs its; the plural of books, the variations of there, all right vs alright, your vs you’re, me vs I, and a whole nother.

Like I said it’s just a quick reference; not an all-encompassing guide, but that actually makes it nicer to just grab and go. There’s even a printable version on the page for easier reference.

Flash Friday Entries (Post 5)

From March 8, 2013 until February 14, 2014
Most of the stories have the links back to the original entries, but some of them I apparently didn’t post in the book (on my writing.com portfolio) with the links. I apologize for that.

This entry has stories from 2/14 and just a short.

Exploring 2-14

Slowly, surely the sand crept into the room, finding cracks and crevices to work her way inside the room. She’d been waiting years to work her way into the building, patiently allowing the wind to blow her against the walls and windows until she worked her way inside.

Once inside, she swept from room to room; piling up in places and sneaking into corners. She wanted to see everything; fill up all the curves and hide in all the niches. The rooms were empty which let her spread out across the floors and mound across them, sweeping across the area until she covered everything.

Settling in, she realized that the wait had almost been worth it. Now she had the rooms to herself, but she would never know what the two-legged forms had done here for they had left nothing behind. Her patience had not been completely rewarded.

Attack of the Chicken
Not a Flash Friday Entry, but still a new short fic</b

“He should have known to never, ever, mess with a chicken.”

Tuggie, the dachshund, trotted across the barn yard, his tail held high as he surveyed his territory. He’d already run all the way out to the cow pasture, the farthest his little legs could carry him to visit the animals that could crush him easily. He didn’t go into the field, but ran alongside the fence; barking at the large animals.

He wandered over by the goat pen, watching the sheep dog round up the goats and kids so they could go up to the far pasture. In the past, he’d helped with this, but he was getting on in years and he couldn’t stay out from under the quickly moving feet. Now he set his front feet against the fence and watched with a critical eye, proud of the way the younger dog did his job. He hadn’t been the one training the larger dog, but he had helped show the other dog what to do.

Dropping back down, Tuggie headed towards the chicken coop, the last stop on his rounds before he headed back to the farm house. He squirmed under the gap in the fence that had been there as long as he’d been on the farm and into the coop.

The first couple of hens ignored his foray into their domain as they went about their business, scratching at the dirt and pecking for corn. As Tuggie made his way across the dirt, one of the chickens raised its head and started towards him. Tuggie stopped, eying the chicken as it matched his pace.

For a few minutes, they followed the same pace. When Tuggie moved, the chicken moved. When he stopped, the chicken stopped. When he started prancing towards the edge of the coop again, the chicken started moving. He raised one paw, flailing it at the chicken who rushed him, cawing in response.

Tuggie backpedaled as quickly as he could, suddenly worried as the rampaging chicken came at him. Before he could reach the fence, the chicken rose up slightly into the air; squawking at him. Tuggie barked back, but the chicken continued to flap at him.

Finally he had to give ground and squirmed under the fence. The chicken pursued him right to the fence, but once on the safety of the other side, Tuggie turned and barked in response. The chicken reached its head through the fence and pecked him on the back, causing the brave dachshund to yelp.

He should have known to never, ever, mess with a chicken.

Flash Friday Entries (Post 4)

From March 8, 2013 until February 14, 2014
Most of the stories have the links back to the original entries, but some of them I apparently didn’t post in the book (on my writing.com portfolio) with the links. I apologize for that.

This entry has stories from 9/6 and 11/8.

The Adventurer 9-6

Emmy padded up the wooden ramp, her too big sweatshirt swallowing her hands as she held her head up; looking towards the forest. So much adventure waited for her, just a few steps from where her parents and siblings were gathered for a picnic.

Twisting her head, she looked behind her, to see that no one had noticed her escape. Smiling secretly, she hurried her pace a little. She wanted a few moments to herself before someone decided to come looking for her.

Hopping down from the wood bridge, she crept into the deciduous forest, her body low as she pretended she was an intrepid explorer. She was on the hunt for the elusive timber mouse. Giggling softly, she tiptoed farther into the woods, searching and peeking for any sign.

She found a burrow where a rabbit or chipmunk lived, but didn’t peek inside since she didn’t want to disturb their home. A little farther and she discovered a bird’s nest, three little birds inside. She crouched down, watching them from a distance before heading off on her search again.

Emmy knew it would be difficult to find the elusive timber mouse. She turned, intending to go deeper into the forest when she heard the first call.

“Emmy. Emily? Where are you?”

It was followed a moment later by a second call, “Em-i-ly!”

She headed for the sound of the yells, her feet hurrying at first, and then running as the yells of her name got more frantic. As she burst out of the forest, her feet hitting the wooden ramp and pounding down it, her parents rushed to meet her.

Her father scooped her up. “Where have you been?”

“In the forest. I was perfectly safe.”

Her father sighed, but gathered her close, hugging her. There was no response to give to that.

Chase 11-8

Tatiana darted through the tunnel and out over the bridge, her wings flapping as she tried to keep ahead of her younger sister. “No fair, Tati!” Galina yelled as Tatiana soared up into the canyon above the bridge.

Galina stamped her foot as she watched her sister soar above her. Her wings weren’t strong enough to support her yet for sustained flight and she envied her sister.

Gliding down, Tatiana landed just out of reach. “Run, Galina, and I’ll chase you.

“But no flying. It’s not fair.”

“No flying,” Tatiana promised.

Galina studied her sister for a minute. Taking off with a hop and skip herself, she flew a few scant inches above the ground and towards the cave on the opposite side of the bridge. She didn’t get more than a few feet before she had to touch down again. “It’s not fair!”

“You’ll get there,” Tatiana assured her.

Flash Friday Entries (Post 3)

From March 8, 2013 until February 14, 2014
Most of the stories have the links back to the original entries, but some of them I apparently didn’t post in the book (on my writing.com portfolio) with the links. I apologize for that.

This entry has stories from 6/14, 6/28, and 8/30.

The White Queen 6-14

Tipping her head, Gwenhwyfar closed her eyes and opened her mouth, allowing praise for her goddess to pour from her soul. Praise first so her goddess would be more willing to listen to her entreaties when she asked. She allowed her boat to drift, trusting in the current.

Here she was closer to nature, closer to her goddess, and she could request assistance for the knights, for the squires, for them all to stay safe as they went into battle.

She knew her husband wouldn’t approve with his Christian ideals, but this was how she could help. So she sang.

The Ruins 6-28

“Are you sure it’s safe?” Abby asked as she stood at the edge of the water.

“Why wouldn’t it be safe? They’ve stood for hundreds of years, first as a castle and then…” Emily started.

“And then as ruins, Emily. Ruins! I don’t think it’s safe.”

Emily finished stripping off her socks and shoes and bent to roll up her pants. “Stay here then. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“Did you really have to say that?” Abby complained.

“Look I want to see what I can find. Salvage rights.” Emily finished adjusting her clothes and stepped into the water.

Abby paced back and forth on shore as Emily made her way out to the middle of the ruins, watching as her lover made it to the centermost column.

It was an impatient Abby who waited for a sound from Emily, but she didn’t expect the scream that echoed across the water. Frantically she kicked her shoes off and splashed into the water, yelling Emily’s name as she ran towards the column.

Leaping up, she pulled herself into the opening and looked around. Emily was standing just inside the doorway, grinning. “I knew I’d get you out here!”

“Not. Funny.”

The Petitioner 8-30

The mists rolled through the mountains, almost obscuring the waiting petitioner as she waited before the door. Her colorful wings were at rest as she trusted the carpet to hold her aloft, her friend and companion at her side. It had been a long trip to the door of the wise one and she still didn’t know if he would see her.

The door stood on the edge of the mountain, nothing around it, but she couldn’t see beyond it to where the wise one resided. There were no walls, but something prevented her from seeing anything but the door and a blank space.

“Shall I knock?” she asked as she eyed the door with trepidation.

You’ve come all this way, Shalaan, the companion replied. If you don’t knock, what was the point?

“It let me get away from the People. And out into the World.”

Then you made the journey, but you have nothing to prove from it. Knock on the door and come away with an answer.

“And how do I know I’ll receive an answer I want or like?”

You don’t. But that’s part of life and part of what you accepted when you decided to undertake this journey.

Shalaan considered the door for another minute, contemplating. She still wasn’t positive she should knock on the door.

It’s a decision only you can make.

Raising her hand, she knocked loudly on the door, watching as it swung slowly open, revealing a young man sitting behind a table, a long cone hat perched atop his head. “Yes?” he asked.

“I’ve come to see the wise one.”

“You’ve found him.”

“You’re the wise one?”

“Age does not denote wisdom. Step forward and ask your question.”

Shalaan stepped forward, knowing she had just one chance, and this was her only one. “Thank you, wise one.”