Category Archives: Writing

Back in the saddle again…

(Ha ha… my title just makes me picture the opening to an episode of Supernatural…)

Well, hello, all…  It’s me… I’ve been gone for far too long… my energy is returning — it was all I could do (out of curiosity, I googled this idiom) to keep my eyes open, being pregnant while caring for a 3-year old — and, with it, my creativity and inspiration… so, my writing has FINALLY resumed!

Yay! I even made my husband smile in the car the other day on the way to dinner… I was sitting quietly, listening to the playlist he had made me (music helps, don’t ya’ know) and thinking about my work-in-progress, when an idea occurred to me and I had to write it down. I grabbed the notebook/journal out of my purse but couldn’t find a pen, so I fumbled (quite frantically, in fact) around in the console area between the seats, dropping his iPods (yes, he has two — he loves music). When he asked me what I needed, I just said, “Pen,” (because I was afraid if I said more, I’d lose my train of thought) and finally held up the pen that was supposed to be in my purse to begin with. As I began writing, my husband said it was like watching a painter get inspired… 🙂  He was happy for me. And the whole thing felt great.

In related news, I have finally managed to write the final scene for CREEPING SLOWLY & EVAPORATING. Yay! I now have a complete first draft!

Now, I just need to keep it up. And that is the plan… I also hope to keep the blog a little more up-to-date. We’ll see how that goes.

Until next time…

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Wow… Where Did I Go?

Oh! Here I am! 🙂  Yeah…  I kinda disappeared from the whole world for a while there…  I found out in late September that I’m expecting baby #2 and just dropped off the face of the planet after that… we’ll blame hormones… Ugh… Anyway… I promise I will do my utmost best to update more often from now on… at least until the end of May… 😀

So… what I’ve been up to since you last heard from me… really not much… I know, I know. Bad writer! Not writing and whatnot…  I did decide to use NaNoWriMo for motivation to finish up my NaNo 2011 story. So I was a rebel – Oh no! And I really did a great job the first week or so… then, much as I did in late September, I just stopped. I’ll keep my excuses to myself… I am very close to finishing the story. It’s just that… the end is always the most difficult part for me to write… I still can’t figure it out. I am really hoping to have it finished and somewhat edited in time for ABNA this coming year… At least that way I can choose between two stories instead of only having one option for entry.

We’ll see, I suppose…

Anyway… I hope everyone’s Autumn has been going well!  Happy Holidays and all that jazz!

Oh, Wow… My First Blog Award!

A sincere thank you to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet at A Nest of Words for presenting me with the Leibster Blog Award!  That’s so awesome!

Rules:
-Answer the presenter’s 11 questions
-Choose 11 lucky recipients (who have fewer than 200 followers)
-Formulate 11 questions for them to answer
-Plaster the award on your blog

Now, please bear with me… I’m not very good at any of this… answering questions, choosing people to do the same (especially), or creating my own questions…

Here are Rhiann’s questions to me: 

1. If you were to choose a Nom de Plume, what would it be?  I already have! While my real name is Heather, Riffle is my maiden name… 😉

2. What is your favorite flower?  Oh, tough one… Um, I would have to say the day lily – it’s the flower that keeps on giving!

3. If you had to live prior to 1900, what century would you choose, and why?  Hm, another tough one… I think the 18th century… the Age of Enlightenment… We could definitely use another one of those right about now… 🙂

4. What is your motto?  Do I even have a motto? …Okay. Never judge, because you never know the circumstances that lead to a person’s actions… at least wait until you’ve heard all the facts…  I know, I know – easier said than done… even for me sometimes. 🙂

5. Lake or ocean, and why?  Ocean… there’s nothing that compares to the sound of the waves crashing against sand and rock, the salty-fresh air, the wind blowing in your hair, and the look of a storm brewing on the horizon…

6. Tell us three things about a favorite character you’ve created.   I have a few… so I’ll go with someone only I have “met.”  Trudy hates when people call her Gertrude.  She inherited three things from her grandfather: a set of skeleton keys, a 200-year old book, and an old candle. She is determined to do the right thing, no matter what.

7. You’re in a car and this song comes on the radio – you can’t change the station fast enough.  When it comes to music, my tastes are pretty (very) eclectic… so I’m really not sure about this… can’t think of anything specific right now, but some rap and some pop songs make me change the station… but not always immediately.

8. Which author influences you most as a writer, and in what way?  Currently, I’m not sure… but I have been influenced by many. One past writer by whom I have felt influenced is Louisa May Alcott. I don’t write anything like her (genre or style) but felt she was an inspiring influence because of her determination and passion.  Most of the time, I feel I’m more inspired by the writer indirectly through the characters they create.  Jo March, for instance, Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables), etc. Oh! And, completely at the other end of the spectrum (if he’s even on this spectrum at all) Edgar Allan Poe… I loved his writing almost my entire life.  This is such a difficult question for me to answer… sorry if it’s all over the place and/or seems contrived… or something.  Eh.

9. When you get writer’s block, doing this helps. (If you never get writer’s block I’m blowing raspberries at you).  Sometimes, just pushing through helps, but music helps a lot too… I’ll listen to it in the shower and, sometimes, that block just disintegrates, like it’s being washed down the drain.

10. What movie scared you (and maybe scarred you)?  This might sound ridiculous, but I watched A Watership Down (just because it’s animated, people, doesn’t mean it’s for kids!) when I was VERY young… it scared me to death, gave me nightmares… all those rabbits (particularly once battered and dying) and blood and death and running.  I finally made myself watch it again as an adult… but still shudder when I think of my original viewing.

11. What’s your favorite Halloween candy?  Oh, man, I love Halloween (and lots of different kinds of candy) and don’t know if I can choose just one… Hm… I just like getting the mini versions of all the regular candy, like Baby Ruth, Snickers, and Nerds… to name a few.

Here are the next Lucky Eleven (well, Six, in my case…):

1. Diana

2. Virginia – though I’m not sure how many followers she has…

3. Kristen & Julie

4. Liz

5. Mary

6. Shiela

– P.S. You are all welcome to ignore this, if you wish… I’m just trying to do my part. 😉

And here are my 11 Questions:

1. Does music ever inspire your writing?

2. What is your favorite season?

3. What is your favorite holiday?

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?  And why?

5. Cats or dogs? Why?

6. Favorite color?  What do you think it says about your personality?

7. Favorite movie? Why?

8. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why?

9. If you could time-travel, would you? Where/When would you go? And for what reason?

10. Favorite food?

11. Who/what is your favorite character (movie, book, TV) of all time?

Meet and Greet…

Well… hello, all!

So, I just came across something very awesome – GUTGAA (Gearing Up to Get an Agent) hosted by Deana Barnhart.  I was pretty nervous to sign up (which I just did yesterday) but thought, “Hm.  Well, I do want an agent… And I do want to meet other writers like me… So, what do I have to lose?”  So, I signed up!

I’m so glad (excited and nervous still) to participate in the bloghop.  Go here to see everyone who is participating.  This is going to be so much fun! 🙂

So, a little about me…

I am 29-years old (often mistaken for 18) and the mother of a fearless (except for bees), acrobatic 2-year old girl. I write fantasy (mostly YA paranormal romance) and am currently querying my novel TERRA INCOGNITA to agents… not going so well yet.  I studied art (with a mix of art history and creative writing) in college and love drawing scenes and characters from my own stories.  I’m a progressively worsening klutz and always hurting myself… and I like baking, storms, rainbows, and photography.

 

And now, to answer the “Meet and Greet” questions:

Where do you write?  Wherever I can… I always carry a notebook (various sizes) with me.  At home, I have two main places.  If I really need quiet and solitude to focus, I lock myself in the little office I have set up in my bedroom.  But, mostly, I sit in the living room, on the couch, while my 2-year old watches Nick, Jr.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?  There is a cat on my kitchen table.  A very large, sleeping cat.  If he gets any larger, he will have to diet. I know, very unsanitary… but it beats the times when there are two cats sleeping on said table.

Favorite time to write? First thing in the morning (because it’s often the first thing I think about) after feeding my daughter, my animal friends, and myself… OR late at night, when I feel more creative.

Drink of choice while writing? Definitely water… which, most of the time, I forget is even there.  If it’s cold out, I might drink hot cocoa or tea… Mmm… I’m ready for cold weather.

When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?  I do better with silence when writing (can only listen to music when working on visual art) though I am getting much better at writing with Nick, Jr. on the TV.  🙂  Music, however, is a must for inspiration before I write.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?  My dreams are most often my inspiration, as with my first manuscript… but music has recently been inspiring my work… My latest idea (I’m only just beginning the research phase) was partially inspired by a song called “I Believe in You” by Don Williams, specifically by the line “I believe in magic.”  It made me think of romance, magic, and cowboys (since the song is an older country song)… and the rest is top secret, for now.  🙂

What’s your most valuable writing tip?  Well, there are so many great writing tips out there… so I’ll stick with the most basic.  Make time to write when/wherever you can.  Keep pen and paper with you at all times.  That way you’re always ready.  When inspiration (or boredom) strikes, write!  Eh, it’s obvious but valuable… I think.

There you have it!  Now hop on over to another blog on the list!
Thanks for stopping by!

So, I’ve done it…

I have officially edited Terra Incognita and made it a Young Adult fantasy.  I know, I know… can we say “sell out!”?  😉  Heh, not really…  It turned out it didn’t change as much as I thought it would… I changed her age from twenty-three to seventeen (almost eighteen) and since it already had the feel of a YA book, I didn’t need to change how she talked or the way I told the story.  (I did keep a copy of the original file, just in case.)  And I have decided that I like it (and it’s chances) better as a Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy…  so yeah.  It’s my genre/category of choice anyway (most of my other stories are YA), so it makes sense.  The character remains unchanged (which was my main concern) and the story still reads the same way, with only some minor age-appropriate changes (not for the reader but for the character).  Below is my rewritten pitch… hopefully it’s better than the others anyway… 🙂

TERRA INCOGNITA

Seventeen-year old Haylee Wells thought her mother pressuring her to choose a college was her only problem.  But between her aunt’s death and a wraithlike creature attacking, she suddenly has much more to handle.  When she finds herself in a post-apocalyptic future where these creatures reign and can kill with a single touch, she takes refuge with a group of humans who have their own special abilities.  She needs to find her way home.  But the connection she shares with Derik – the duty-bound protector of the group – and her own developing abilities complicate things further.  If she fails to realize the power within herself, she risks becoming a slave to the “Pale Ones” and never returning home.  

Eh, not too bad… but we’ll see.

As always, thanks for reading…  Until next time….

Meeting (ever so briefly) a Favorite Author…

Hello All!  Long time, no write?  Sorry about that…  I assure you, I am as sporadic as my blog posts… 😉  Ha ha, just kidding… mostly.

Late last week, I saw that Charlaine Harris would be discussing and signing her latest Sookie Stackhouse book at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY on Saturday, May 5th.  “Wait.  What?  Why didn’t I know about this sooner?” I asked myself… probably out loud, as I’m prone to talking to myself… aren’t we all?  In any case, I forced it to the back of my mind for a couple of days, got all excited about seeing The Avengers at the Bourbon Drive-in (it was awesome, by the way!) and slept in on Saturday morning.  While I was in the shower, I decided I’d just get ready as if I was going somewhere and (on a second’s notice) left a little after 4pm.  The signing was supposed to start at 7pm… and Lexington is about 2 hours away from where I live…  So…  Off I went.

I bought the book and was granted a ticket with the letter “Q” on it… After the discussion, they would begin calling letters to line up for signings…  The discussion was fun and interesting… of course, mostly about the book and upcoming projects.  There will be only one more Sookie novel, and Ms. Harris is starting a new series.  Oh, and big news for fans of the Harper Connelly series… it’s set to be a TV show on SyFy!  I love those books!

Anyway, after the discussion, I figured it would be a while before my letter was called, so I got a bite to eat and sat down in a quiet corner and started a new story myself (more on that later).  Finally, a little before 10:30pm, they announced for those holding tickets lettered “Q” to line up…. Yay, great!

The closer to the front of the line I got, the more nervous I became…  Okay, breathe… (alright, I know some of you are probably saying, “Oh, come on… you’re not another one of those people, are you?  Nervous to meet someone because they’re famous or whatnot…” No.  It has absolutely nothing to do with who she is… but that fact that she is a human being at all.  I get so scared when I have to talk to other people.  I’m shy, alright.  It can’t be helped… Anyway….)  So, I get up there and ask my one question I’ve been wanting to ask, “Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?”  (Ha!  I actually managed to ask my question!  Yes!)

She smiles at me.  “Yes.  I do!”

I smile back… though for the life of me can’t remember if I reply beyond that.  Maybe I said, “Great!”  … but I’m not sure.

“Read everything you can get your hands on.  Then sit your butt down in a chair and write,” she says (as close to her exact words as possible).

I left, taking a few more calming breaths and asking myself, “What did I say?”  I really couldn’t remember anything beyond my question, her answer, and smiles.  But, like I said, that’s about how nervous I get around most people… Okay, okay… Maybe I got a little more nervous in her presence.  But it was also very exciting… the whole experience but, especially, meeting an author I (as both a reader and a writer) admire.  And I got some much-needed writing time out of it!  So, yay me!

In any case, her advice is what you will get from a lot of writers, agents, and the like:  Read read read, write write write!  And repeat!  Good advice, all around.

So, yeah… that was my weekend.  How was yours?

The Cat’s (Last) Meow

As all artists know, our lives influence what we create… whether we create visual, auditory, or literary art, life fuels creativity.  Today, my life was altered by the passing of my dear feline friend… Gidget.  For those of you who hate the word “pet” because it does not properly encompass all that they are to us, you will understand this the most.  For those of you who don’t get that the connection can be just as strong as with a human being, and sometimes more so… this probably isn’t the post for you… and that’s okay.  Carry on… I’m sure the next post will be  less pet-centric.  Now, on with my tale….

Gidget came into our lives almost exactly eight years ago…  I’ve always loved cats and was living with my boyfriend (now my husband) who also had an affinity for feline kind.  Anyway, my aunt’s cat had recently had kittens, and she had promised me one… when I arrived to look at them, two remained, and I couldn’t choose between them… So I took them both home with me.  One, all white but a grey spot atop his head, I named Ghost.  The other, grey and white, my aunt had been calling Gidget because she liked the name… and I didn’t want to change it.

So, I returned to our pre-/mid-renovation home, two kittens in hand…  and I haven’t looked back since.  (He-he… sorry, I had to throw that in.)   In the next two years, we picked up two more cats (one was adopted, the other we found on our back porch in the middle of the night with a broken tail) but these two were what started it all.  Our first “pets” away from home, in a new home, on our own… no one else’s.  Of course, they were automatically family but quickly became our friends.

Gidget was the fearless one… and Ghost only went where she went.  She was unafraid to love us from the start and unafraid of us loving her… Ghost had to be coaxed… but eventually came around.  They spent every moment together as they became adult cats, spending the first few months climbing up everything, including us.  As we renovated our house, they had countless adventures.

When we brought our third cat (the adopted one… Little Bit) into the house, Gidget disliked him immediately.  He was flashy and flirty… and obnoxious… and a bit of a bully…  But I truly believe she was happy, as long as she was with us.  Of course, she couldn’t have been too excited about the fourth cat (Joey, the baby), especially since she was now outnumbered three-to-one.  But she soldiered on….

All of our cats grew to be quite large, but Gidget was a smaller cat with a very large, round belly… something we have blamed on spaying… and the vet that performed the surgery… she was never quite right physically after that.  But we did what we could to make sure our feline friends were healthy, from spaying/neutering to regular vaccinations and check-ups.   In any case, that was often the first thing people noticed about Gidget — her size.  But it didn’t take long for them to realize she was the sweetest, most lovable cat pretty much on the whole entire planet (you get the idea…).  🙂

And, oh!  Have I mentioned how smart Gidget was?!  This cat could get out of just about any situation.  At first, we couldn’t figure out how she was getting into or out of certain rooms… Then, one day, we saw her jump up and hit at a doorknob (over and over again, if necessary) until the door opened…  Yeah.

But late last year, we noticed a lump on her shoulders… and when we took her to the vet, cancer was the diagnosis.  We were shell-shocked but had hope… until just before we planned on starting radiation and a chest x-ray showed the cancer had spread to her lungs.  With feelings of guilt (for not catching it soon enough), anger (at the universe and the vaccinations that seemed to cause it — Vaccination-induced Sarcoma — we now suggest to any cat-owner reconsider vaccinating their indoor cats unless absolutely necessary), and a great deal of sadness, we took her home with the sole purpose of keeping her comfortable until the time came…  Well, today what that day.  It was quick — almost too quick, even with all the time we had since her prognosis — and we’re still a bit shocked by it all…  But aren’t we all when we lose someone we love?  We can never be truly prepared… even when it is “just a cat”…  Of course, we all know she was more than that.

Sure, she could be pushy when it came to lovins… but she was quiet and bright and strong (mentally and physically)… and stubborn and perceptive… and so many things.  She will be missed in all her kitty simplicity and complexity.

When it comes to our animal friends (especially when we’ve lost one) we sometimes might wonder if the short amount of time we have with them is worth the loss we suffer through in the end… It is.  Every moment we experience in their presence is a gift.  Their lives may be short but their love can have as much impact as that of any person.

For such a small creature, Gidget came with much impact…  And, though I am hurting, I am grateful for that.  So, I have written this post (and wow, you’ve read so far now — thank you!) not only to help me deal and begin to heal, but to honor the memory of my friend and companion.

GIDGET  (2004 – 2012)  We love and miss you… Thank you for sharing your life with us.