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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review of Mastiff, by Tamora Pierce

Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviews that start with, "First, let me say how much I love this author and this series..." are never good for a reader to see. Unfortunately, a lot of Beka and Tamora fans are going to be saying that.

As a standalone book this is amazing. A sort of Medieval Without A Trace. This is not a disappointing book, it is a different book.

First of all, do yourself a favor and read Terrier and Bloodhound first. They are wonderful stories and you will never be able to enjoy them the same once you've read Mastiff.

Beka is back and she is the same amazingly good, shy, loyal and incredibly intelligent young woman we all love and remember. Her surroundings have changed considerably though. She's pulled from the Lower City of Corus and thrust into the Northern wilds of Tortall in order to find the crown prince, a four year old who has been kidnapped in order to destroy and replace the monarchy.

Along comes trusty* Tunstall, her partner who is a wonderful sort of father/brother figure. Pounce and Achoo are along as well, providing much of the lightheartedness. Lady Sabine, who keeps a leash on Tunstall's moodiness. And a new character, Farmer Cape, a kennel mage from Blue Harbor who is either a complete fool, or the smartest one of all.

The good first:

Farmer Cape: A wonderful character! So well developed, so well thought out...he had me guessing in the first 50 or so pages, but once I got him I instantly loved him. He's a rascal that one, but a really good guy at the core. I think this is possibly the best character that Tamora has ever written, replacing Nawat and Nealan in my affections.

Gershom: The main father figure for Beka, and a great man he is. We don't see a lot of him, as per usual, but everytime you see him he's so in character that you love him. It was because he vouched for Farmer that I could trust a new mage.

The bad guys: They are seriously bad. I mean really. I was impressed and sickened by the zeal with which they killed things. Younger audiences will likely need supervision reading this, because if their imaginations are good this could induce nightmares. Holes blown in castles, people being melted, eaten by bugs and flies, strangled and left for dead wherever they are killed. Bloody I tell you.

I liked the pacing in this book too. I have read that some felt it too slow, others too fast, but I'm happily in the middle. It felt realistic in length, and I'm glad there's over 500 pages. The Hunt was vvery real, and quite frustrating at times, but that is what makes Tamora so good. That and how compelling her characters are.

The Epilogue is genius and totally makes me want to read Song of the Lioness again, even though I recently finished it (for the sixth time).

The Bads:

I was firmly in Camp Rosto and have been terribly disappointed in this respect during the last two books. I really wish he had been more in the mix. That being said, I think Farmer was a much better choice for Beka. They are highly complimentary personalities and it will not try her honor to be with him as it would with Rosto, King of Thieves.

Tunstall: Heart=broken. I love, love LOVE Tunstall and the twist just shattered me. I was really hoping that Beka was wrong about a traitor among the four of them, but I should have realized that couldn't be so. I would have been more comfortable with it being Sabine whom I never liked much. I think the fact that this twist has inspired such passionate reactions is likely the work of genius, but I am too close to the event to see clearly. All I know is how much I love Tunstall and how completely out of character his actions were in this book. I also think Beka should have been even more broken up, but realize perhaps she did not wish to dwell on that in her writing.

I do not believe that I will be able to read Terrier and Bloodhound again for some time though, as I will constantly be looking at Tunstall with disbelief and shock.

This book was much different from Tamora's other writings, but the Beka Cooper books have been different from the beginning, having a much more police-show orient than medieval lords and ladies feel. I reallly did love it, but I am still trying to get over Tunstall.

I think the hallmark of a good series is this though: I wish there was another book coming!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Extra Special Birthday Surprise! (Is Here!)

Welcome to the ESBS, and thanks so much for joining me on this auspicious occasion!

You would think that just the fact that there is an Extra Special Birthday Surprise would be enough, but NO! I love my readers so much that I have made this into a two-part special!

2-parter for double the awesomeness!

Part 1: How I Met Cameo
Part 2: Prologue of Shadows On The Wall

Now that the requests have started coming in for the next Immortal World book, I am going to reassure you that the third book (#2 in the series) IS in the making! For those of you who cannot simply take my word for it, I have formed the ESBS. What better way to convince you than to introduce you to the main character?

People like to ask how I come up with the ideas for my books. Well, here's the secret: I don't. The characters find me. They are the ones telling the story. I am a vessel for their words.

In the case of Submerged In Darkness, Alex found me when I was just a fledgling writer. She convinced me that I was wasting my time trying to write about characters I created. She told me that she had a story for me to write, and then introduced me to Liam. But much like the time in Tears You Apart, when Aubri meets Angela and Connor, I could only see Damon once he was in my eye-line.

When I first finished writing Submerged In Darkness, it was just after Christmas and I was absolutely heart-broken. How could Damon be dead? You see, I had done what any good author will; I had fallen in love with my character. I wasn't sure I could write again. I know now that I was being a bit melo-dramatic, but the experience was incredibly tramatic. It was the first time I had killed a character that I was absolutely, soul-wrenchingly in love with.

The nights I had formerly spent plugging away at the keyboard were now spent staring up at the stars on my ceiling wondering, what now?

I got the answer one night. Here is the story of how I met the main character of Shadows On The Wall.

Part 1: How I Met Cameo

I lay in bed, contemplating the last pages of my latest book. Incredible, I was already wondering what I would write next. I had a few ideas of course, but nothing concrete yet. I was dressed comfortable in my favorite writing clothes: sleep pants, t-shirt, fuzzy socks. I had removed my roomy sweatshirt a few minutes before.

As I lay atop the covers on my bed, I wondered when I would see Damon again…It was something I couldn’t stop my mind from dwelling on. My decision to go back in time for my writing had been made by now. I was sure it was the right way to go. I might see him again…if not in the flesh, then at least through the memories of my characters. It was more than I had thought to hope for since finishing Submerged In Darkness.

His death nearly broke me in that first book. What would it be like to see him again? Even from afar….my heart beat unevenly for a few seconds. I missed him so. I missed his sweet laughter in my ear as I fell asleep, the teasing smile he sometimes turned on me. More than those things though, more than anything; I missed the sound of his voice. I had grown so used to it in those six months of writing…I barely knew what to do without him. It felt as though I couldn’t function properly without him.

How could I have let this happen? How could I have written his death?

An unfamiliar knock in the vicinity of my bedroom door caught me off guard. I jumped and, as I am wont to do when startled, gave a strange half-screech. My hand flew to my throat and I sat full-up.

Standing just inside my bedroom door (though it had never opened, I knew, because it squeaked terribly) was a woman I had never seen before in my life. She had shoulder-length dark red hair. In the bad light I thought her eyes were dark, but couldn’t be certain. She was only about five feet, four inches and was dressed in green cargo pants and a white spaghetti strap camisole.

I was about to scream, but she held up a hand.

“Wait.” Her voice was deep, catching me off guard, “Are you Shannon A Hiner?”

My eyes flew back and forth wondering if this was a trap. What answer would keep me alive?

“The truth, please. I was told that Shannon A Hiner could help me.”

“Who are you?” I said quickly.

“My name is Cameo.”

I repeated the name under my breath, trying to figure if I had ever heard it before. I didn’t believe I had. I looked at her afresh…she looked different. Not like a normal human. But who would send an immortal to me?

“Look,” the woman sounded exasperated, “If you’re not her that’s fine. I’ll just leave. I don’t have time to waste.”

I made a snap decision, “I am Shannon. Who sent you?”

She had been turning to leave, but when I spoke she turned back, “Someone who knows about your last project.”

“Who?” I repeated, feeling slightly testy at her evasion.

“I am not at liberty to say.”

I sighed, lying back against my pillows. The Immortal World could be such a pain in the ass.

She took a step toward me and, albeit hesitantly, sat down on the end of the bed. “I was told you could…tell stories.”

“Write. I can write stories.” I motioned to the new manuscript on my desk across the room, “If you’d like to read it I only ask that you wait until I’m done proofing it.”

The woman closed her eyes briefly and then shook her head, “No.”

My jaw clenched. I should have been used to rejection by then, but still her refusal hurt me. “That’s fine. You don’t have to. Whatever.”

“You misunderstand me, human.” She looked at her hands briefly before raising her face to meet my eyes defiantly, “I want you to tell my story. Write my story.”

“Your story…” I stared at her. Never had I imagined the characters would come to me. “I-who are you?”

She smiled bitterly, “I am not surprised you have not heard of me. I am something the vampires would like to keep quiet--a black mark on their history. Will you help me? I want the correct story to be told, not the propaganda.”

I was taken aback by the quiet fury that seethed under her calm exterior. Here was a story worth telling for sure. I had a feeling it would be harder to tell than any of the ones that had come before it. Cameo was already incredible to me, and I didn’t even know her yet.

“I will write your story to the best of my ability.”

“It’s not a happy story.” She said it as if she was apologizing.

I smiled at her, “I’ve a feeling it’s a good one though.”

“Thank you.” She stood up, “I will return tomorrow night at eight, if that is acceptable to you.”

“That sounds great.” I watched as she walked back to the door. She opened it, sure enough it squeaked, and left.

Perhaps I would be able to see Damon sooner than I had hoped.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goodreads Review: Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me approximately 3 1/2 hours, reading straight through, to finish this book. That is including the time my cat would jump on the book and force me to lose my place.)

Becca Fitzpatrick is a good writer, she has a good feel for suspense and she knows how to keep the reader guessing. Unfortunately, this is becoming a tired storyline very fast.

Beware, spoilers lie ahead.

We all know the story, right? Teenage girl gets thrown together with hot, standoffish boy who makes her sincerely uncomfortable. It develops into romance, there is a lot of danger associated with possibly loving him..someone dies in the end. These are pretty much givens.

While the overall plot was comfortable (or highly predictable, rather) Ms. Fitzpatrick's own unique style did add some truly good moments. Interactions with Patch are, appropriately, very uncomfortable at first. But towards the end when he starts relaxing around Nora he develops into a more likeable character.

There are some unrealistic acts where disbelief can be suspended by the reader based on the beings performing them: angels (ie. An angel becomes the new psychologist for the high school with no problem).
On the otherhand, there are times when the humans commit these unbelievable acts as well. While Nora's mother comes across as a nice, caring woman, she somehow finds it okay to leave her 16 year old daughter home alone in a rural setting for days on end. Forget the elderly housekeeper, this kid is ALONE at night. Had the mother been put forth as absent minded and apathetic this would be acceptable, but she genuinely seems to be a loving mother.

Vee, Nora's supposed soul sister and best friend constantly disregards Nora's feelings. Now I know there are many people who behave this way to their friends, but she honestly did not have enough lovable moments to justify the hell she puts Nora through towards the end. If my own best friend acted in such a way, she would nolonger be my best friend.
Coach, the biology teacher (yeah, try THAT one on for size) doesn't find it odd or put a stop to the fact that Patch is behaving completely inappropriately for a classroom setting. And was it a biology class or sex-ed? Because I'm still really confused by that turn of events. I understand that Fitzpatrick was using it as a plot mover to get Patch hitting on Nora, but honestly it felt really really weird.

I like the fact that Patch becomes the anti-hero. He's not meant to be the hero in the beginning, he's supposed to be the bad guy. But over a short time he shifts, believably, and becomes the protector and good guy...good thing because it's his enemies out to kill Nora.
The good news is that I'm definitely interested in seeing where Fitzpatrick takes this in the sequels. I just hope that she gets more original in her plotline, because she has the talent to carry a good tale.
View all my reviews

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The ESBS (aka: essbus)

Curtesy Google Images

In just over a week I will be celebrating a wonderful anniversary.

On November the 9th, 1989, a very wonderful thing happened to me. At the time I wasn't too pleased, but I have since grown to appreciate the event. On that very special evening I was separated (physically) from my mother, and became a part of this world.

For those of you not already following, that was my day of birth.

Now, I love receiving presents on my birthday. Actually, I just love receiving presents. And while I recognize that presents are a symbol that my friends and family love, appreciate me and are essentially glad that I was born, I also realize that I am not necessarily easy to love.

I am pretty much obnoxious. In an already loud family, I'm probably the loudest. I'm really really bossy, and prone to pouting when I don't get my way. I don't feel a need to change these things, they are what make me-me.

On the other hand, I do understand that I am not easy to live with. Therefore, it has been my decision that birthdays should also be a day to convince people why they really should celebrate my birth.

Thus! The ESBS was created! That is, the-

Extra Special Birthday Surprise!

Naturally, I cannot tell you what it is, but if you check this blog on my birthday, you'll see it.

I do have a plan though, a very awesome one. I even checked with my editor and she gave it a go. Stick around to see!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Signings & Promotional Gear

Well if you're local you can now see me (or my books rather) on display in downtown Oroville, at Discount Books. A gorgeous 13x18in poster boasts of the new book as well as reminding you of the first book.

I have ordered business cards! The cards will feature the cover of Only The Stars Know and all the information on my websites. They should arrive in a couple weeks, at which point I will paper the town! If you want a couple just let me know. Any and all help spreading the word will be hugely appreciated.

Last and best: When I dropped off the books at the stor the nice owner asked what I thought about doing a book signing. You may imagine my reaction. I'm actually pretty impressed with myself that I didn't gleefully scream in his poor ear. I was able to control myself and say (quite happily) "That would be terrific!"

Sooo, I am now in charge of getting the word out. I'm contacting the local book reviewer, Dan Barnett, in the hopes that he will once again review for me. My marketing manager is also contacting all of the local newspapers with the story of me. If all goes well, we would like to set something up for the last weekend in November, which is historically a very very busy shopping time for America.

Even if you already have a signed copy, I hope you will come down and show your support. I'll look into doing a reading, and I'll even give hints as to the next book!

My Central Valley Representative has contacted me about possibilities at the Barnes & Noble in my old hometown, Modesto. Apparently there is a nice lady there who has a soft spot for local authors. Seeing as I spent 10 years of my life there, and started writing when I lived there, I consider myself to be a local author of their's as well.

As you see, we are busy busy busy here at Shanco! Updates will be coming with progress, and progress is being made!

If you have read the book already, I would love to hear what you thought of it! Please comment or email me:

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Note & The Last Bit of Sweet Innocence

Well the first batch of books is disappearing faster than I can replace it. More people put bids in on the books than I ordered if you haven't tossed some money my way then you'll probably have to wait for the second batch. Sorry loves, but it's first-come-first-served.

I'm heading over to Discount Books, on Meyers in Oroville, tomorrow to drop off some books. Hopefully the nice owner will also let me put up a poster. He really is very nice though, so I can't imagine why not. I'm taking some of Submerged In Darkness as well as Only The Stars Know.

Payday is tomorrow! I'll order some new books ASAP and hopefully they will get here a bunch faster this time.

If you pick up a book from an online retailer or the bookstore and you want it signed, no problem! Just email me:
And we'll figure something out!

Because I love my readers SO much, I'm posting the final tiny bit of Sweet Innocence.

(If you haven't been following::
Sweet Innocence Pt I
Sweet Innocence Pt II )

Sweet Innocence (the end of PT I)

When his eyes opened again, Adrian's sight was different. He couldn't figure out what was wrong. His prey was kneeling next to him. The human's eyes were filled with merry pleasure as he patted Adrian's shoulder.

"Not to worry young one, this state of being is not permanent. If you find your light again, you will find yourself again. You need this chance. I thank you for helping me, I do not care what caused you to do so. Your keepers cannot find you as long as you are in this form." The human stood, "I must be going now. Best of luck!" He tipped his hat and began to walk off into the forest.

Adrian tried to speak but couldn't find the words or ability. He felt strange, and completely different. Hastily, he stood. He pushed himself up on his forelegs and walked a few steps before he realized what was wrong.


He frowned and turned his head to look down at himself.

Hooves?! What is going on?!

His tail switched in annoyance and he shook out his mane.

Tail?! Mane?! What am I?!

Adrian trotted over to the river and broke a hole in the ice with his front hooves. He almost collapsed as he saw his reflection. He was a horse. And then something sparkly caught his attention. Examining his reflection closer, he amended his first theory. He was not a horse. He had the body of a horse, but the legs of a stag, a lion's tail, and a very flashy horn coming straight out of his forehead. He was a unicorn.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sweet Innocence Pt II

Image Curtesy of Google Images
I realized tonight that I never remembered to post the second part of Sweet Innocence after that interesting beginning back in May. Whoops. Someone should have smacked me for that. Well I have it for you now, and just to refresh your memory you might want to go check out PT I again.

Click Here to view Sweet Innocence Pt I

And so, on with the scrap...

A prison. That’s what this place was. It was obvious in its task. There were no luxurious surroundings to fool oneself into believing otherwise. A plain cot was in the corner with a hard mattress and scratchy sheets. No blankets or quilts even now, in the middle of winter. A small privy was stuck in a corner, no privacy. The walls and floor were stone and cold even in mid summer. There was one window. The dark one had not bothered to put bars over it, it was too high to jump and live. The prisoner had briefly entertained the idea of growing her hair long enough to make a rope, but she figured that, alike with many of Madda’s stories, it was unrealistic in real life.

Real life. The poor girl prisoner had no idea what real life was. She had been in this tower for as long as she could remember…which actually wasn’t very far back. Her memory only went back a few days. She had to hear something or see someone many times before they would stick in her memory. But the tower was familiar, so it must have been a very long time.

She remembered the stories that Madda told her about other girls in towers. She remembered the dark one. His was the only face she could picture perfectly when he wasn’t right in front of her. Others drifted in and out of focus, without names or memories, but he was always clear. An ever present whisper.

From her window the forest was visible. There was only a small clearing around the tower. There were no other buildings, no people. Madda lived below this room. There was a secret place in the floor from which she came twice every day. The girl could not remember where it was. Madda always made her turn away when she came. The girl had been bad a few times and peeked, but she could never remember the next day. She could not even remember her own name. No one had spoken it in a time she could remember. She wasn’t even sure she had a name. Madda just called her Rose. The girl didn’t know what it meant, but she liked it well enough.

Just then, there was the sound of steps below. There was a heavy knocking somewhere under the floor boards. The girl couldn’t place where exactly it came from, which briefly frustrated her until her brain moved onto the voice.

“Rose!” The way Madda talked was different from what the girl new. There was a different sound to it. There was a word for it, but she could not remember. When she said ‘Rose’ it sound more like ‘Rosa’. The girl liked the way Madda talked, it was a pretty sound.

“Face the window Rose.”

The girl did as she was bade and was distracted by the beauty of the forest during the sunset. She couldn’t see where the sun went down from here, but the sky this was ablaze with dark blues, purples and reds. She smiled at the beauty there and let her attention shift to a large bird soaring above the forest. She imagined what it would be like to soar like that, no cares, no worries, no-

“Rose! Look at me!”

She frowned and turned around. Her attention slowly shifting to Madda. When had Madda entered? And why was her tone so much sharper than usual. Such a change was vaguely familiar in her mind, like it had happened before…but she couldn’t quite place it.

Madda slapped her, “Pay attention girl!”

Her cheek stung badly and she touched it lightly, wondering why it hurt so much.

Madda grabbed her chin, forcing her eyes down to look at the shorter woman, “Rosa, listen to me, he is coming tonight.”

Immediately the dark one’s face appeared clear in her mind’s eye. She shrank back from Madda with a whimper. Her eyes filled with tears.

Madda nodded sympathetically, “I know girl, you have been looking well lately. That is not good for you. We must make you look poorly, he will not hurt you as much then.” Madda pulled her forward, giving a hug.

The girl could almost always remember Madda’s face hazily. She was a short woman with rich brown skin, eyes, and black hair. Her clothes were always rich colors; reds, purples, greens and yellows. She was always kind except when she was afraid. She seemed afraid now, but not for herself…for the girl instead.

“Do you know what a birthday is Rosa?”

The girl frowned and tried to think of such a thing. She could not remember.

“Never mind, I can see you don’t. It happens only once a year.”

The girl didn’t know what a year was either. She didn’t not bother to say so.

“Today is your eighteenth birthday Rosa, you are a woman today.”

The girl didn’t know what any of this meant either, but it seemed important. She frowned and looked toward the window. Her attention was almost caught and swayed by the shining of a star, she wrenched it back to Madda.

Madda was pursing her lips, “I can tell you don’t understand, but it is very important that you do not look well today Rosa. You are a pretty girl, we cannot let him see just how pretty. Will you let me help you?”

Of the two people the girl could remember, Madda had always been the more trustworthy. She couldn’t put into words her feelings toward the woman, but they must have bordered along love. Without understanding what she was agreeing to, she nodded.

An interminable time later, the girl had already forgotten many times why Madda was paying so much attention to her. Madda had patiently explained it many times and it was starting to stick in her brain. Something about a birthday was bad, the dark one was coming, and she must not look well.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My First Review For Goodreads!

New Moon Extra - Miscalculation (Twilight, # 2.2)New Moon Extra - Miscalculation by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last sentence makes it. Rose spends the entire scene making excuses for her selfishness, being mesmerized by her own looks and generally disregarding both Bella and Edward's feelings.

But that last sentence, when she calls for Emmett suddenly, that is where a crack finally surfaes in the Rosalie we all love to hate. Suddenly she is realizing just how much she screwed up, and if she's wrong about one thing; what else is she wrong about?

And the fact that she calls for Emmett, the big lovable brother that everyone is fond of, makes her even more likable. Here is this big teddy bear that she is in love with and who (somehow) loves her in return.

This piece is humanizing for Rosalie. It doesn't bring much in the way of surprise, but it adds depth.

In a side note, I think that Meyer's style is instantly recognizable to fans and that she would have lost that bet.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 10, 2011

Project Code Name: Emerald Eyes (SCRAP!)

In the depths of Sam's memory lies the project we call, (dun dun dunn) Emerald Eyes.

In my newly posted About The Author page, you will read about the time before Submerged In Darkness. In that time I wasn't writing about vampires, I was writing about elemental beings. Well what my autobio doesn't mention is that there was actually another time set between both of these stages.

Project Code Name: Jewel Trilogy
Part 2: Emerald Eyes

This was an odd time for me, somewhere between the time of elements and bloodsuckers...I had a little bit of everything in store. It was during this time that I entered The Immortal World. Just a couple toes in the water at first, it wasn't until I met Damon Reine that I was submerged.

It was at this time that Emerald Eyes was born. A wonderful commentary on my then current state of mind. While I will not be sharing Emerald Eyes with you, I would like to share a the introduction that I wrote.

The end has something that those of you who read Submerged In Darkness will recognize from one of Damon's lines.

Do you remember that part where Alexandra asks Damon,

"What exactly are you?"
He leaned forward as his eyes glittered eerily, "An immortal being of night." He paused, clearly for effect, then straightened, "At least, that's how one of my favorite authors describes my kind."

It was from Emerald Eyes that Damon drew his quote. Don't ask me why I let him read it, I never say 'no' to Damon.

Well, enough of fun facts, onto the now scrapped introduction!
Ahh, humans...An interesting topic always. Such complex creatures with such simple minds. The only way to truly understand odd creatures like them is to study their history. By far the history of Earth was one of the more fascinating things in the Universe. Humans constantly fought amongst each other for no reason. They had plenty of resources where they were, yet always, they wanted more. They know stealing, lying, and killing is wrong (no matter their religion) but they do it anyway!
Humans are weak, simple-minded creatures that have no chance of ever becoming a truly superior race. Don’t tell them that though. Humans have never had any idea that there’s someone smarter than them. They, quite simply, can’t imagine it. Well, rather, handle it. Many of them have imagined other beings...most of which have been unpleasant, but all humans would rather these beings not be real. They would do anything to keep their superior status-even if that means denying the obvious. The evidence is there.
The other beings make mistakes, show up at the wrong time, kill the wrong person...
So who are these ‘other’ beings? We are what make up your nightmares. We are what you fear, walking down that dark alley. We are the ones who can send shivers down youR spine just by passing you on the street. We take many forms. Some of us rule elements, others grace the skies. Some of us have stolen away from the underworld, while others furnish sharp teeth.
We hide from the human race for one reason, and one reason alone. True, we are ten times as strong, twice as smart, and thrice their agility...but we have a distinct disadvantage. Numbers. The humans are stupid, but there are billions more of them than us. If they realized their own inferiority they would stamp us out...leaving no trace. Without us, the human race would finally own the world, and all the creatures in it.
Until we are more than them, we are content to use their strays to multiply. Content to puppet them around the truth until we take our own. So, who are we?
We are the demons.
We are the shapeshifters.
We are the vampires.
We are the faeries.
We, are the immortal beings of night.

Fun! Huh? I love this scrap... It was also from here that I draw all inspiration for describing The Immortal World to people.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Scrapped Piece of Tears You Apart

I stumbled across this the other day whilst reading deleted scenes (yes, I have deleted scenes saved from ALL my books). It's a wee little piece from Tears You Apart, in the beginning before Aubri and Hadrian meet.

At the time, I was writing the book with an entirely different meeting in mind for them. Well, almost entirely. She was always upset and driving (and of course in a fatal accident), but the particulars were much different at first.

You see, normally when I write I'm simply copying down the story as the characters tell it to me. Well, we had had the initial meeting to establish that I knew the jist and would work well with them, but then the two had left me to my own devices for a few days. I was desperate to get some of their story down, so I didn't wait for them to come back and whisper the story in my ears.

It was a stupid thing to do, I admit that. My own attempt, without the particulars was stilted and a bit odd. I am still a pretty good writer though, and there are some interesting scraps left over as a result. It's just, that's not how the story really happened.

Tears You Apart was actually my first attempt at writing a full length book from the point of view of two main characters. When I was finished I felt so good about the attempt that when I revised Only The Stars Know I stuck with that feature. Blood's Faith, the original form of Only The Stars Know had switched back and forth between Zane and Ally, but everything had been done in first person and was confusing. It works much better now.

Anywho, now that I've rambled on so long you've forgotten what this post was about in the first place...I shall share with you, a dream!

The swirl of faces. Blackness, yet so much color. Disorientation and the feeling that nothing is real, but everything is. Who am I? Whomever I want to be. Who are you? Whomever I want you to be. What are we doing? Whatever I want us to be doing. Laughter, fun, excitement. The swirl begins again. And suddenly, a nightmare enters. Everything has gone wrong. People are dying, wolves are chasing, the light switch doesn’t work. The inner conscious takes over, emoting deepest fears and screaming deeper truths.

This is a dream. My dream. I am dreaming.

Figures that I have never met, known, or dared imagine, dance in my head. Faces, voices, memories I don’t yet own. The future is uncertain. I close my eyes against the bright glare. I feel a hand touch mine. I shiver, knowing that this too, is not real. My eyes open, already knowing who I will see. I have never met him. I have never seen him, but for here, in my dreams.

Golden hair, that of an angel surely. Piercing green-gold eyes. An angular face. That of a young man, but his eyes show years, centuries, of learning. Inexplicably, there is a certain darkness to this light man. A feeling of despair. Strange, these things I dream.

He smiles wearily. I swallow, feeling sad beyond explanation. He shakes his head, motioning with his hand for me to be silent. He does not speak, there is no sound in my dream. Only the silence. He mouths words to me. I can’t understand what he’s saying. He is smiling and then disappearing.

I close my eyes.

That's it!

See, I had to cut it because it's odd...but I couldn't get rid of it because it is also pretty cool.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Point Arena & Point Reyes Trip

First of all, a quick note: Only The Stars Know now shows up on Amazon! Huzzah! Unfortunately, in order to make it available through Amazon I had to raise the price to $17. I was very annoyed by this, but it is so that they get a cut of the action. Otherwise, what is the incentive for them to carry it?

I am trying to think of a less expensive way to distribute the book, and might even decide to ship them out myself. I'm not sure yet, but if that's the case I might be able to get the price as low as $14 after shipping. Updates shall be forthcoming.

In other news, I just got back from my trip to the ocean last night! What a whirlwind trip! I left at 6am Monday, after a sleepless night and drove until 12:30 when I reached Point Arena. I ended up on some very interesting roads, and not altogether fun ones. I am very glad that I learned to drive in the Sierra Nevadas, because the Coastal Range sucks but still can't quite compete with Eastern Cali. Pangur Ban was not happy with being stuck in her carrier, but she probably would have ended up plastered to the front window otherwise.

When I finally arrived at Point Arena lighthouse I climbed all the way to the top, which happens to be the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast. 115 feet later I was feeling suspiciously light headed and overheated. I'm chalking it up to altitude rather than wussy out-of-shape-ness.

Afterwards I drove to my hotel in Petaluma, then Pangur and I went on to Point Reyes. The beach was beautiful, and my mind is still reeling from the glorious smell of ocean brine and the roar of the waves.

My editor in chief says that when I finally make money off writing I can move to the ocean...I said as long as I didn't live on Highway 1. That road is very frustrating. It didn't help that I was in a moment I was going 60mph and then the next there was a sign in front of me that said 15mph turn! Oy!

When the sun set I was tucked safe in my hotel where I collapsed and fell asleep in seconds. In the morning I hit Jamba Juice (much <3) and then drove to visit my sister in Napa. After that it was a straight shot home. After feeding Pangur and I collapsed and took a 3 hour nap. I think I need to practice this crazy two day driving trip stuff...

I guess after Pangur and I are well rested we'll be planning a new trip. Of course, I have to write Selkie Dance first.

(Pictures curtesy of Victor, my camcorder, hopefully more will be coming soon...I have to put some new batteries in :P)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SID Scary Bookcover?

I brought the paperback of Only The Stars Know along with me to show some people today. They loved it, of course. Whilst fawning over the beauty that is Zane they commented that they liked it so much better than the cover of Submerged In Darkness. I was struck by these comments, and not entirely pleased.

The cover of Submerged In Darkness, which features a hybrid between Alexandra and Elizabeth is one of my great prides. McKenzie captured perfectly the face which had haunted the pages of my mind. She was, to me, realistic, beautiful, striking, mysterious, intriguing and conversation worthy.

What these two people I showed the book to told me was, "the first book looked scary!"

...What? No, seriously, what?

Disclaimer: I brought the book to show out of pride and happiness, not respect for these people's opinions.

Disclaimer 2: These people do not really read this genre and are older, therefore disqualifying my respect in their opinions.

Still, I was stunned. Alex, scary? No way. She's just 'Lex, good ole shop girl in a small town who happens to be carrying the very soul of a faerie princess. Whatev.

Well, I decided to share this rant disguised as an anecdote in case anyone else though the SID cover was scary too. Perhaps I can put your fears to rest by a simple explanation.

The person on the cover of Submerged In Darkness is a human, carrying a faerie within her. Naturally that would show through her eyes the most. Also, being that the title refers to be thrown into the Immortal World, it would need to be dark.

I think that Only The Stars Know manages to convey hope, while Submerged In Darkness is closer to despair.

Maybe that's the real difference.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

OSK Available in Paperback

See? I told you! Only The Stars Know is finally available in Paperback from CreateSpace.

Super Special Preview available....

Where to Buy the book

Also, for those of you local to me, I will soon be placing copies in

Discount Books, Oroville CA
& Lyon Books, Chico CA

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where's My Credibility Gone?

I wouldn't be surprised if you no longer believed that Only The Stars Know is actually going to ever reach a paperback form...It has been much longer than I ever wanted us to wait.

My poor explanation is that I now fully understand what I paid Author House for, when they created the paperback version of Submerged In Darkness. They made it easy on me, I just wrote the book and told them what I wanted it to look like. This time around, using CreateSpace, is worlds apart. Since I do not have to pay them to do the work, I must do it.

The end result is something I am so incredibly proud of. Every page, every letter, every single piece of formatting is ME. The only thing that's not is the barcode on the back. I am not exaggerating.

I tried to make Only The Stars Know as similar to Submerged In Darkness as I could. I think I succeeded right to the perfect point. They look like the same series, but different books, perfect.

My hope is to approve the book for distribution tomorrow, but it may not happen until Wednesday. I am waiting for the files to be reviewed and approved, which I have no doubt they will, but it takes up to 48hrs. Cross your fingers and pray they get back to me in only 24.

I apologize heartily for the delay, but I hope you beautiful readers can understand that you are getting a much better product for your wait.

It has been through this process that I have discovered a passion for book design. If the writing gig doesn't work out I could always get a job at a publishing house in design. :)

Thank you for your patience (or at least for not voicing your impatience) and feel safe in the reality that you will only have to wait a couple more days.

Monday, August 22, 2011

So...what now?

Only The Stars Know is now available for only $0.99 as an Amazon ebook. You can even download Kindle for PC for free! (and it's pretty dang fast too)...I mean, what could be better? Plus, the paperback version will soon be available from CreateSpace and then you (and I) can hold it, smell it, reread it and place it on our treasured bookshelves.
So, what's next for the Shanco team?
Here's the plan:
1. Find book reviewers to tackle OSK and (hopefully) tell me they love it!
2. Travel to the ocean to do some much needed research on my next project, tentatively titled Selkie Dance.
3. Finish Selkie Dance so that I can actually concentrate on The Immortal World again.
4. Start work revising Shadows On The Wall. This is going to be the biggest task, because it needs so much work.
By far, Shadows On The Wall was always the fan favorite. Don't ask me why, it was my least favorite. But, I think the revision is going to be fantastic. I just have to get disciplined enough to sit down and do it.
I will leave it up on Fiction Press for jut a little longer, so you can refresh your memories. But be warned, it is going to change almost as completely as Blood's Faith did when it became Only The Stars Know.
Check out for some personal life updates!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Only The Stars Know Available as An Ebook!

Only The Stars Know is now available as an ebook through! Even if you don't have a Kindle, I know from experience that downloading the Kindle for PC is a piece of cake! (Delicious, booklike cake!)
It will only cost you $0.99 and it's so instantaneous it brings on a whole new level of instant gratification!
I'm still working with CreateSpace to make some nice paperbacks for you, we're in the review process now so hopefully it won't be long.
Don't forget! Interview with Romancing-The-Book in less than 2 weeks! (8/20/11)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Excerpt from Only The Stars Know

I'm giving you a Sneak Peek at Only The Stars Know until you are able to get your own copy to read! This will have to tide you over until you sit down to read the whole thing!
Without further ado, from one of my favorite scenes, I present you,
Only The Stars Know

The animals were moving about the woods freely, that was a good sign. A herd of deer were a ways off. She could hear them chewing the leaves from surrounding trees. It didn’t calm her like normal. The air around her was tainted with her fuming rage. The animals gave her a wide berth. She wanted to scream that she was not a predator to them, but it seemed too much like a lie. Another lie.

No, given the chance she would change into a giant cat of prey and tear through the forest. The very thought made her muscles twitch. Her fingers flexed, trying to ease the itch in her palms. Her eyes burned and her vision shifted. The forest was more than just shapes in the darkness now. Everything had a color now. The trees were swirls of brown and green, the ground was gray. The creatures she had heard with such clarity before were now spots of red on the edges of her vision.

Her stomach rolled and she fell to her knees. The earth felt warm beneath her palms. The animals sensed the change. Each squirrel, jackrabbit and deer fell utterly still. They turned in her direction as one.


The word was a command in the darkness. She wasn’t sure if it came from them, or her…or both. They didn’t wait. Every beast bolted.

Prey. Her muscles twitched all together and she fell on her back.

“No!” She screamed, the agony was ripping through her in waves. She had to fight it. Not again. Please God, not again. Kali fought herself. When her muscles tried to make her rise, she threw herself back to the ground. It was long minutes before she could breathe the cool air again. Her eyes finally shifted back.

The forest was utterly silent. The animals would not return here for days.
Kali curled into herself on the ground as the sobs took over. She could not get angry...She could never allow herself to revel in that emotion. Because it would happen again.

When she could finally control herself, Kali lifted herself from the ground. She wiped the dirt from her arms and shook it from her hair. The bottom of her shirt would do for wiping away the tears. When she felt relatively whole again, she starting walking back down the road. As if nothing had happened? No. She could never pretend it away. The monster inside would never go away. She would never be truly alone.

Kali folded her arms around herself and walked faster. Up ahead the forest ended and Rowan came into view. The town was built in what used to be a large meadow. The buildings lined the outer circle, and in the middle was the Rowan tree. The path to Grandma Ivana’s was almost directly across the town from the Verbotsch’s.

As Kali entered the town she again had the feeling of being watched. She slowed down and glanced around cautiously. The town had gone to sleep for the night. Most of the houses were dark, but the windows that shone light had curtains drawn down as well. There was absolutely no one in sight. She raised her nose and sniffed warily.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

She walked faster again, keeping her head down and her ears peeled. As she approached the Rowan tree, the feeling of being watched grew. Her shoulders were tense and she was ready to run at a moment’s notice. When she was directly underneath the Rowan tree she could suddenly smell cotton and soap. She stopped moving.

A twig snapped just before something hurled itself out of the Rowan tree and at her. The man landed gracefully about three feet away and stared down at her. In the dark she could not make out his features, only that he was tall, imposing, and angry. She could also smell something else on him, something strange that she had never in her life smelled before. It reminded her of the predator smell that the dangerous animals always carried. It was sharper though, and more sweet.

Kali took a step back.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?” His voice was soft and dangerous, but somehow she recognized it.

The blinding hatred that drove him was vaguely familiar, but Zane wasn’t in the mood for placing it. At the moment he was doing all he could not to strangle Kali before she explained herself. Her scent carried something new with it this time, forest and predator. If he hadn’t been so angry he might have questioned what she must have run into in the forest. That would be later, after he killed her.

“Zane?!” She whispered in surprise and fright.

He stalked toward her, cutting the distance between them in half. Her fear seemed to be converting to anger. Good, he detested the smell of fear. “What are you doing with my family?” He tried to keep his voice low, he wanted to shout very badly. If he shouted though, the rest of his anger might release. He would not kill her before he knew what game she thought she was playing.

“You’ve been spying on me!” She exclaimed, “Instead of going into that house and telling your family you’re alive you hid outside and spied on me!”

He growled, a barely controlled sound that seemed to rip from the back of his throat, “I wasn’t spying on you. I was looking in on my family. You should not have been there!”

“Hah! I shouldn’t have been there?!” She crossed her arms again, “They think you are dead!”

“I am dead!” He yelled finally. He could not hold the fury anymore. Grabbing her shoulders he lifted and shook her, “I died twelve years ago! I am never coming back!"

Check in tomorrow and the next day for details on where to find Only The Stars Know published!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Only The Stars Know Pub Update

Monday the 8th!!! (Of this month, of course)
The cover is done, and I am sitting down to a very long night of final edits.
On Monday I will spending the whole day online (no, seriously) to put my book up as an ebook.
As for it paperback date, I'm not positive yet.
Many more details will be coming!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Few Comments And A Scrap

The lingering question kept me up. 2 am. Who do you love? I wonder till I'm wide awake. --Taylor Swift "Enchanted" (I don't care what anyone says, Taylor is wonderfully talented and her lyrics echo many driftings of my soul.

Hello dearies! I realize I haven't posted any scraps lately and I apologize. I have been struggling wondrously with a new storyline. It is taking up all my energies currently. As I know it is annoying not to see updates from writers you love (allow me to flatter myself, if you will) I am going to give you a little taste of this new storyline. Just a taste! I cannot allow full access until I am sure it is quite firm.

As Yet Untitled

“What exactly are you wanting from me?” She fingered her keys while watching him carefully. Her confusion was starting to give way to suspicion. Why tell her all of this? It couldn’t just be random. He couldn’t trust a total stranger so much, could he?

“I am asking for your assistance.”

Oh, shit. That’s what she had been afraid of. And it probably just got better and better. “In what way?”

His stone cold black eyes never left hers, making her feel trapped and more vulnerable than was comfortable. “I am, at present time, stuck here-”

“On land.” She said with the pretense of clarification, but in reality was testing how solidly he would stick to his story.

“Yes.” His sharp eyes missed nothing and she felt as though all her thoughts were exposed.

She shifted uneasily and managed to tear her eyes from his entrapment. “Go on.”

“As I was saying, I am stuck here until my skin is returned to me. You may imagine that leaves me in a rather bleak position.”

She frowned up at him, “How so?”

His eyes bore into her and she felt as though her intelligence was being undermined, “I am without shelter, food, and proper clothing, and I have no idea of how long I may be stuck here. I do not know any humans in these parts that may help me.”

“Oh dear.” She bit her bottom lip, “But why did you pick me?”

“You are the first human I came across after discovering the theft of my skin.”

She wasn’t sure what she had expected to hear, either that she was special or that he liked her for some reason, but what she got wasn’t anywhere close. It could have been anyone as far as he was concerned. Male or female, young or old, pretty or not…there was nothing special in his selection of her.

Illusions firmly shattered, she singled out her car key on the chain and unlocked the driver’s side.

“Well, I’m certain the second human you come across will be more helpful to you. Sorry and have a good night.” She opened the car door and tossed her towel in.

His open palms hit the roof of the car from the other side. “You will not help me?”

She hesitated and then made the mistake of meeting his eyes again. They burned with some fiery light she could not quite identify. It wasn’t desperation or hurt or betrayal. They just burned, deep into her own mind and she could almost swear she felt the effects in her very soul.

“Or is it that you don’t believe me?” He said quietly. He didn’t move, but as his voice lowered she felt strangely as though he had moved closer, as if he were crowding her.

And in that moment she discovered something rather horrifying. She did believe him. She did not know how or for what reason, but she did believe.

She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing would come out. It was like being a fish out of water, knowing what she had to do, what she needed to do, but being unable to do more than flop about in confusion.

She cursed suddenly and threw herself down into the car. She reached across the passenger seat to unlock and open the adjacent door. “Get in.”

He slid in next to her and dragged the door closed.

“What is your name, anyways?”

“My name?”

She started the engine and adjust the air dials for something a little warmer, “Yeah. You know, what does your family call you?”

He shook his head briefly, “That would not be easily pronounced with a human tongue.”

“Well what do they call you on land?” She put the car in reverse and the slid of the parking space.

He looked at her steadily and said without emotion, “We do not speak much on land.”

She frowned, “What do you do on land?”

“Sing, frolic, dance.” The last word seemed layered with meaning as they stared at one another.

All she could think of was her own dance on the beach. How that could compare to the dancing of magical creatures she didn’t want to imagine.

“Well,” she said slowly, “What would you like me to call you?”

He shrugged, an unnatural lift of his shoulders that he didn’t seem entirely comfortable with,

“Whatever you wish. It matters not to me.”

She sighed, “Not going to make this easy on me, are you?”

“I am being difficult?” He frowned.

“Not at all.” She sighed again.

“I am unfamiliar with your tone, but it does not sound as if you mean what you say.”

“It’s called sarcasm.” She kept her eyes trained on the road, glad for a reason not to meet his gaze, “What, seals don’t practice it?”

“No, we are a very straightforward lot.”

“I’m noticing.” She commented dryly.


So, you see, these characters are very interesting and have about %60 of my life's attention, (Another %20 is for my actual job, %10 on eating and sleeping, %5 on not going to jail for homicide and the last %5 is taken up on keeping track of the rest).

I am afraid it really leaves no room for idle scraps. But I will try to share more of this project in the next few weeks.

Commentary appreciated!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Journal Entry

I've been keeping a journal of things that inspire me and little ideas I get. Well, the other night was so beautiful that my journal entry almost captured the incredible feeling.

Day: …I’ve lost count

Last night I drove up to the dam. I walked out on it, feeling stupid. Why was I tempting the fates? It was somewhere between eleven and midnight, just tempting the fates. There were a few other cars up there, hardly a person to be seen.

Despite my valid fears of rape, abduction and/or death, as soon as I was in the wind I could no longer question my motives. My sanity, perhaps, but not my motives.

What is it about that place that calls to me? Sings to me…so deeply. Just standing there with the wind stinging my eyes, whipping my carefully styled hair into a frenzy. I have never felt so calm, so right with the world.

Only a little way below, the waters of the lake lapped at the dam, begging for release. The dam stood solid and firm though, no mere waters could bring it down. The pride that was evident in its tall, strong structure was echoed in the view from the other side. The valley stretched out. It’s night time magnificence outshone any beauty that could be found within during the day.

I stood still, yet wavering. How could I keep my eyes open when they were assaulted with such wicked perfection? But worse, how could I possibly close them?

The wind was speaking to me and I strained to understand the words. It tossed my hair in frustration when I did not understand immediately. I listened harder and when I felt that I understood, such peace flowed throughout me. I felt that I must collapse, so I leaned against a light pillar.

It was all that I could do to suck in deep breaths of the lake air. The stars were glorious overhead. Their peace was in the extravagant normalcy of their being. Yes, I could see them from my apartment if I chose. But who could appreciate them more from there, than I did from atop the dam?

It was long minutes before I could convince myself to leave. Already I am full of foolish ideas of returning, though hopefully at a slightly less dangerous hour.


It is was this night that I had an inkling for a new book. And in the days since it has blossomed.

Now Hiring @ Shanco: Snarky Assistant

It has recently been brought to my attention that, as a writer, I should have an Assistant to help organize my projects and obligations as well as buck me up and give advice. After reading an interview of fellow author and witnessing the actions of her own assistant, I know that my assistant cannot be just any random person off the street. I must have a, what I call, Snarky Assistant.

This is not a position easily filled, and I do not expect to do so quickly. Therefore this job posting will be open until filled, without a 'fill-by' date. I will not settle for less than what I want and need. If that means I am my own Snarky Assistant for a time, then I will live (rather unorganized, but I will live.)

If you do not feel that you can fill the post, but know someone who may, I urge you to inform me.

Thank you for your time and reading,

Shannon A Hiner

Position Key: Snarky Assistant

Job Duties:

  • Preview & Critique all written works of S.A. Hiner.
  • Schedule and execute all necessary appointments, interviews, and promotions.
  • Make unplanned trips to the cafĂ© for tea and/or coffee.
  • Keep the same odd hours as the writer, or not mind being woken at odd hours.
  • Have a store of original, uplifting speeches of varying degrees ready at will.
  • Unplanned trips to inspirational sites, such as the river, the dam, the woods, etc.
  • The ability to quote poetry appropriately and accurately.
  • You must understand the writer to a degree that is uncanny, knowing what advice is needed, even if the writer does not want to hear it.

Experience & Education:

  • Experience critiquing writing.
  • A wide interest and knowledge base in random facts.
  • A tested IQ of 120 or better.
  • Uncommon sense
  • Some college preferred, though life-experience is valued more highly.

Necessary Interests:

  • Must love reading, especially of the fantasy and light romance genres.
  • An interest in Astrology is a plus.
  • Knowledge of plot and character archetypes.

Attitudal Features:

  • Trustworthiness is a key requirement for this position. You are likely to see and hear many things that are neither meant, nor appropriate for public knowledge.
  • You should be a witty, slightly sarcastic person who is not offended by biting cynicism.
  • Must be highly intelligent with the sense to apply that intelligence to life in a meaningful way.
  • Stubbornness, not to an extreme, will help you.
  • You should be a generally positive person, not prone to depression.
  • Slobs, personally and physically, need not apply (the writer is a clean-freak).


  • This position may be best filled by a live-in Snarky Assistant, your willingness in this aspect will be weighed for or against you.
  • This is not a paid position until the writer actually starts getting paid.

Benefits Include (but may not be limited to):

  • Prescreening of all of the writer’s books.
  • Trips to the movies/bookstore when inspiration is slow.
  • Homemade cake & cookies (and candy at Christmas!)
  • Homey-care when you are sick or hurt.
  • Optional Sunday dinners at the Hiner Compound. (other option being that this is your one guaranteed day off)
  • One other day off during the week is negotiable.

To Apply: Email, or Facebook message me. You should include prior experience as well as a response to all of the above statements.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Apartment 12- Carmen's Magical Llama

A new portion of Apartment 12 for your enjoyment!

Carmen’s Magical Llama

The sun was still high and the forest wasn't too thick at this point…we couldn't be too far from civilization, could we? I turned round and round, staring at the manzanita and oak trees.

"Let's face it guys, we're lost. There's no way we're going to find our way out of here anytime soon." I sighed and leaned against one of the trees.

The group of people behind me visibly sagged, they all believed I could lead them out. Why? How the hell was I supposed to know? When we went the wrong way they all just turned to me and expected me to magically find a way through the fricken forest. If anyone had asked me, I would have said it was damned annoying. Unfortunately, no one was asking me.

Someone I didn't recognize stood suddenly, gasped and pointed somewhere behind me. The others began to perk up. I turned around slowly. At first, I had no idea what they were so excited about, but then my eyes beheld the wonder. Standing very still, almost hiding behind one of the Manzanita, was a creamy white llama. Not just any llama though, he was the-

"The Magical Llama!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me and cocked his head to the side. Without notice he bounced a little, just a small jump to the side. I walked slowly toward him, it would not do to scare away the Magical Llama.

Again he bounced, but this time it was away from me. The crowd behind me seemed to hold their breath, afraid that I was scaring him, but I knew better…he was going to lead us out of the forest.

I grinned and started following him at a quicker pace. He was fast, that little hopping monster, but he never got too far away. Before I knew it we were standing in someone's backyard, between the swimming pool and the trampoline. I turned to the Magical Llama, he winked at me and I felt so happy.

"Thank you so much your Mysticalness, you've been such a help."

He walked toward me, slowly bending his neck…He would give me a gift. I knew the legends of the Llama. The next moment was worth waiting lifetimes for. I closed my eyes, afraid to meet his and then-

"Carma! Wake UP! NOW! That's the fifth time I've called you this afternoon!"

"Aghhhh! Vega! Didn't I tell you never to wake me up? How am I supposed to know what the

Magical Llama's eternal gift is if I'm not there to see it?!" I rolled over, diving under the pillows to hide from my roommate.

There was a pause in Vega's tirade, "You dreamed about the damn llama again?"

"Yes! And this time he was going to give me a gift and now I'll NEVER know what it was!"

I heard her take a deep breath, "Oh my God, Carma. Oh my God. You're late for work dumbass. Get up! I won't pay your half of the rent."

Thank you for reading! Your comments are welcome and appreciated!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Scrap Set! "Apartment 12"

Lately I have a new source of inspiration, and it's giving me some hilarious ideas! I also have some interesting older scraps on my computer with characters who I still connect with, I want them to have a longer time to shine.

I have decided to roll the ideas into one Scrap-Set. There will be a few continuing themes, but most of the scraps will be cute little blurbs. While many of these stories will probably be inspired by real events, names will be changed as well as places.

The stories take place around and between two roommates and a few of their friends at Pine St Place, an apartment building.

Without out (much) further ado, I introduce,

Apartment 12

Carmen leaned against the washing machine, engaged in a stare down with the timer. She had arrived on time, perfectly so. Well, she was one minute early at the most. Maybe two. Whatever. She was most certainly not five minutes early!

When a timer promised the load would only take 24 minutes, it had better mean it! She ran her tongue over her teeth. She was quite aware of how intimidating she appeared when she did that. Halfway across her pearly whites she grimaced suddenly. She needed to brush her teeth.

Four minutes left on the timer. Carmen took a deep breath and considered. Could she make it back to her apartment, up the stairs, brush her teeth and be back before the timer ran out? Unlikely. Would she try?

Sadly, yes.

She grinned suddenly and deserted the laundry room. Jogging over the gravel path, she listened as always to the sounds from other apartments. Most people were at work at one in the afternoon, but the ones who worked the night shift were just waking. Voices seeped through the walls. If you passed at the right times you could learn some very interesting details.

Apartment 9 had their air conditioner running which muddled the conversation taking place within. She could hear a man and a woman, but their words were indecipherable. Apartment 11 was still empty after the neighbors had moved out. Thank goodness they had, their animals had constantly been allowed to run amuck (emphasis on ‘muck’ please). The carpet cleaners had just left the day before, it had taken them hours to clean the place out. The smell of pine floor cleaner was so strong it had been wafting into Carmen and Vega’s apartment just up the stairs. Across from 11, she could hear the couple in 13 chatting about his new work schedule.

Carmen carefully mounted the stairs. The concrete steps were steep enough and she was clumsy enough she had no desire to take chances. Apartment 12 emitted no sounds, Vega said the two guys who lived there worked across town at a tire store during the day.

Opening the door to the apartment she closed it quickly and sprinted across to the bathroom. She wrenched open the top drawer while picking up her toothbrush with the other hand. In one fluid movement she had the cap open on the toothpaste and was squeezing a small amount on the brush. Turning the faucet on to cold she splashed some water on the brush and paste then jammed it into her mouth so hard she winced.

Ignoring the taste of blood, she brushed like a dancing marionette. After about one minute the fluoride was starting to burn a little. She spat out a wad of toothpaste and rinsed the brush. Grabbing the water bottle she kept on the counter she gulped to much and almost choked. The water shot up her nasal passages, and possibly all the way to her tear ducts as she felt them water. She spat it back out just as quickly and then proceeded to hack up her left lung.

When she was done she stood with her hands clutching the sides of the counter, heaving in air to her remaining lung. She wiped her face with the soft lavender towel that had seen too many of these episodes. Luckily, only a little of her makeup had been mussed. She wiped judiciously at the corner of her eyes, ridding them of the smeared liner.

After another ten seconds she was on her way back down the stairs. Jogging again, she made it back to the laundry room and slid to a halt in front of the washer. The timer mockingly displayed ‘0’. Carmen’s fists clenched and her eyes narrowed. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and glanced down at the time. She had only been gone for four minutes.

Yes, the washer was definitely messing with her.

“Grr!” She said loudly and hauled the door open. Reaching across to the dryer she opened its door as well. The transfer of clothes was longer and probably much more awkward than it had to be. Multiple times socks dropped to the dirty floor, further pleasing Carmen. She thought she finally had all of the clothes in the dryer when she turned around to see a pair of underwear also on the ground. Bright purple and covered in leopard print, they were unmistakably hers.

“Shit!” She hissed and snatched them up in an instant. She threw them in the dryer and slammed the door shut, looking around with embarrassment. Had anyone witnessed her display?

The apartments right next to the laundry room, 9 and 10 had their blinds closed. No one seemed to be out and about either. She sighed in relief and started popping the quarters into the machine. One dollar and a delicate button later, she was leaving the laundry room.

Without knowing why, she glanced up at apartment 10. The stair landing was littered with potted plants, wind chimes and a doormat that Carmen couldn’t read from below. The door had a beaded curtain and the whole landing was wrapped in mosquito netting.
The blinds in the front window were shaking slightly, as if something had tapped them. Or as if someone had been staring out.
Carmen's eyes narrowed and she walked back to her apartment even faster.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Complaint Unto The Cursor

Written yesterday, on my bed, staring at Sam's screen...
WARNING: Completely Random Material!)

Where does the will to write come from? Why does the dreaded Block occur?

As I sit, staring at the blinking cursor I ponder why I cannot write. I feel the draw to my computer screen…I have spent the last few hours pouring over notes and ideas. I have felt the keyboard whispering my name, pulling me closer. Still, as soon as I arrive here nothing comes to my fingertips. My brain knows the stories, knows the plot and the characters better than it knows my own life, but still nothing.

Who invented the cursor? They should be taken out and beaten.

It’s blinking taunts me. What’s the matter writer? Don’t you have anything to say? Yes, dammit! I have heaps to say, they are built up in my mind like piles of gold. Piles of refuse. What is the difference besides in the beholder? If one can look at a pile of gold and think it refuse, then cannot one look at a pile of refuse and see treasure?

Treasure of thought cannot be put down in anything but words. Words. Why dost thou elude me now?

Hours on my hands and all I feel is the pull of housework. Yes, I should be cleaning. I should be vacuuming…but instead I give my hours to a blank computer screen. Why, why can I not fill said screen with anything other than bizarre rambling?

My mind, filled with the desire to write, but not the words. I wander, directionless and tired, through the corridors of my thoughts. There is no one else here right now. No characters stopping me for a word or two, no beasties running rampant in need of proper caging.

Don’t I just know why. It has occurred to me, just this moment, that my characters and beasties must be quite a deal smarter than me.

Who takes the time to read anymore? Why should I write, if no one will read? Can my words be sustained simply on my own enjoyment alone? I know not. From the beginning I have had those willing to read and respond near me. It has been their encouragement that has drawn forth the stories…the thought of their eyes feasting on my words that has brought forth the most delicious chapters and morsels of phrase.

Without viewership my river of inspiration runs murky and sluggish. My desire to delve into the plumby dark depths ebbs and I sit idle..

Staring at the cursor...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kiss Me Pt II

This is the second part of the scrap inspired by Sixpence None the Richer's song Kiss Me. It gives you an even better of where the story is going...

As usual, if you enjoy, let me know!

Kiss Me Pt II

My mouth fell open of it's own accord. What was an Earl doing in the house of a mere Baron?!
The ‘Earl’ smiled at me, "It is a pleasure to meet you Miss Lalten."
I closed my mouth finally, saying by memory, "The pleasure is all mine monseiur."
Papa was smiling like he knew something wonderful, when in fact I was about to find out it was rather terrible.
Mama gave me a reassuring smile, "Samantha, the Earl has expressed an interest in marrying you."
"And we think it would be wonderful. It has been arranged." Papa finished.
My whole world came crashing down. Once again my mouth was left gaping. My eyes darted between the three people in the room. My papa's triumphant grin, mama's steady smile, the Earl’s smirk as he eyed me. Marriage? Arranged? An arranged marriage?! I couldn't handle the pressure of their expectant expressions. I stood and ran out of the room. I ran threw the halls of our manor. I ran up the stairs. I ran to my room. Flinging myself upon my bed, I felt my eyes stinging. I wasn't crying yet. My head felt confused and my temples pounded terribly. I had a horrible feeling in my stomach and I was suddenly very dizzy.
Marriage?! How could this be?! Marriage?! I was only 16! An earl?! Marriage to a earl at the age of 16?! How could this be happening to me?! Marriage?! To a earl?! I was hyperventilating and dry sobs were taking away my breath. I was trembling terribly and I felt a cold sweat steal over me.
I heard the door open, but I couldn't turn to see who it was. A hand touched my arm and it was like an electric shock through my body.
"Dear Lord," I heard my mama's voice, "She's gone into shock! Diana, go get some warm water and blankets! And tell Sally to bring some luke warm water! Now!"
Mama turned me over and when I saw her worried face I finally started crying. I couldn't speak through the tears and pain I felt. I just crumpled up my face and closed my eyes so I didn't have to look at her. Mama wrapped her arms around me in a warm hug and rocked me back and forth.
"Shhh, ma fille...We shouldn't have told you like that." She kissed the top of my head, "Hush now, it will be okay. The Earl is very rich and handsome, he will provide you a good home. You will have more than you could ever gain here. This is a better marriage for you than your Papa and I ever imagined for you."
"Mama, I can't!!" I finally managed to wail while clutching onto her shoulders and sobbing.
"You can, and you will, Samantha."
The maids came back then and I was made to drink a terrible tea. A warm, damp cloth was laid on my head, and lastly, I was covered with many blankets and told to sleep. For hours after they left I lay awake. I couldn't think very well, I just kept crying and pleading with God...I couldn't marry the Earl. I could never marry him, not when I was in love with Teddy. Not when Teddy was so dear to me. I couldn't! I just couldn't!
"I can't..." I whispered in a moan before finally falling asleep.

The next morning I didn't wake up until late. It was nearly two hours later than I should have lain in bed. Mama was in the room with me and a maid, Diana, immediately popped up to offer me a warm soup. I shook my head at it, I couldn't eat. I couldn't swallow anything. I looked at my Mama with all the pleading that filled my soul. She looked worried, her own gray eyes filled with regret.
"Mama?" I said.
"Yes dear?"
I bit my lip, with hope, "You don't want this match either?"
She looked away, "It is more than I ever dreamed for you."
"Mama, please answer my question..."
"The match is wonderful. Now, no more questions. I must go and take care of a few things." She left the room, her skirts swishing gracefully.
I felt my bottom lip tremble. Diana was still in the room. She had been my nursemaid when I was little, and my friend since I had become a young lady. I told her everything important to me, and she always listened. She was the only one on the manor that knew about Teddy and I. I turned to her, with tears on my cheeks, and broke down.
"Oh, poor dear!" She hugged me close, "There, there Sam, you'll be okay. It'll be alright. You'll see."
"But-but-Teddy!" I sobbed into her shoulder.
She stroked my hair, "Teddy is the son of a duke, and you are the daughter of a mere baron. You knew this day would come Samantha. Your little romance must end, for now you must do your part for the family by marrying. The Earl is a very good match love, more than your family ever expected."
"If I can marry a earl, why can't I marry an duke?!"
"Teddy must marry to a higher title Sam, you know that. He must marry a duchess or countess."
"I don't want him to marry anyone else Di!" I cried.
Diana sighed, "Well, he must. That is how Society is. You must deal with it and live on. Your family is depending on you, as the eldest, to make the best match. Therefore, you will."
"I wish our families were dirt poor! Then no one would care who we married!" I wiped my face, "I must go to him."
"No Sam, you can't." She shook her head, "You are engaged now. You cannot go gallivanting with boys now. You mustn’t see him again, it will only cause you both more pain."
"I must tell him Di! If he doesn't know he will think I don't care for him!"
"Perhaps it is better that way. Young people are rash, if he knows how much you care then he will do something stupid. You must stay here Samantha."
I sniffed, "At least let me tell him goodbye. I can tell him then that I cared, but, but," tears welled up in my eyes, "that now I am grown up. And-and, I must move on."
Diana took a deep breath, staring hard at me. I know she saw my sincerity when she nodded, "Do not be long Sam, your mother will want to start plans and such."
I threw my arms around her neck, "Thank you Diana! Thank you so much!"
After changing into some more sturdy clothes I fled the mansion and ran towards the woods.
When I reached our meeting spot Teddy wasn't there. I sat down on a large rock, shifting nervously. I kept going over my words, figuring out what to say, what he would believe. When he appeared, walking amongst the trees, I wanted to run to him as I usually would, but I held myself back. I chewed my lip tensely and kept my eyes on the ground.
I felt his arms go around my waist as he came up behind me. His head rested on my shoulder and he kissed my cheek. I wanted to lean into him and soak up the warmth his touch promised, but I remained stiff.
"Sam? What's wrong?" He came to kneel in front of me, capturing my hands before I could move them. He stared up into my eyes and I felt my heart breaking into pieces one chunk at a time,
"Have you been crying?! Sam, what's going on?!" He scooped me up into his arms and, for a minute, I felt whole.
I pushed him away gently, trying not to look up into his wonderful eyes, "I came to say goodbye Teddy."
"Goodbye?" he echoed hollowly.
"Yes, we can no longer be as we have been. It was fine for a while, but-but now I am much older. I must go home now-"
He grabbed my arms and forced me to look at me. I could see the depth of his hurt and confusion, "What are you talking about, Sam?! What's going on?!"
"I am sorry Teddy," I said steadily, "But we must stop seeing each other."
His mouth fell open, "Wha-Why?!"
"We must grow up and move on."
"Is this about that countess?! Sam, I told you! I'm not going to consent to marry anyone but you-"
"It's not about that Teddy!" I said forcefully. I struggled to get out of his grip, but it was futile, "This must stop! Let me go!"
"Sam, we love each other! Do you have any idea how little that happens anymore?! I can't just let that go-"
"You must!"
He let go of me suddenly, "Who told you to do this? Was it your father? Did he find out and-"
"Oh, just go away Teddy!" I yelled and ran off. I expected him to run after me, but I didn't hear his footsteps.
When I got back to our manor I locked myself in my room and wouldn't let anyone in, not even Diana. I stayed there for hours, ignoring anyone who pleaded at my door. Finally, my papa took his own key and unlocked the door. I was at my window seat, staring out into the forest and losing myself in the stars. He closed the door behind him and walked quietly to the window seat.
Despite being separated from him for the first eight years of my life, I was very close to my papa. My mama and I had lived in France until the Revolution. I was never told why we were there without papa, but I knew something terrible had put us there. Both of my parents were English, but being raised in France I had learned to speak French and had acquired the accent. When the Revolution came we fled to England and became established in my papa's house. Papa was a good man and had been the best father a girl could have since I had met him.
Now, he sat down on the window seat next to me, "Sammy," He was the only one I permitted to call me that, "Please talk to me Sammy."
I didn't look at him, but stared harder out the window, "I don't want to marry him."
"Why not? He is handsome, rich, titled and seems very kind."
"I do not love him."
"Sammy, love does not come around very often. Many learn to love after they are married."
I bit my lip, debating if I should tell him, "Papa? If I tell you something, will you promise not to be angry with me?"
"Of course dear."
"I'm in love with someone else." I looked at him finally, "Please don't be angry! I met him years ago, and at first we were just play mates...but, I-"
"Oh Samantha," My father rubbed a hand over his face, "You fell in love with a farmer, didn't you?"
I shook my head, "Worse Papa, the future Duke of Kingsmore."
I realize that Sam's reaction may have seemed overly dramatic, but keep in mind that she is only 16...I can remember freaking out that badly over even lesser things at that age.
As always, let me know what you think!

Friday, June 3, 2011

An example of how the song inspires the writer...

I wrote this piece a while back. Everytime I hear Sixpence None The Richer's Kiss Me, I think of this story. I haven't finished it yet, but someday I really want to.

The story is set in Victorian England, and will, someday, be my first attempt at the Historical Romance genre. There's more of this, if you like it!

Kiss Me

I ran through the fields as fast as I could, laughing whenever I had the breath. I kept running away from him, but I knew he was starting to gain on me. I tried to pick up my pace, but my breath was running out. As I went around a haystack I screamed, for there in front of me he was. I skidded to a halt and reversed direction as gracefully as I could. He laughed and followed me, only a few feet back now. I smiled as I was running, I was gaining on him again. Or so I thought. I turned to look again and it slowed me down. Then he was right behind me, reaching out to grab me.

His hands went around my waist and we yelled and laughed as we went tumbling to the ground. When I opened my eyes, I found myself laying in the field with his head right above me, sheilding the sunlight. He smiled down into my eyes and my heart skipped a few beats. He was so handsome with the sun at his back and his eyes sparkling. He had thick black hair, cut short as was the current style, and hazel green eyes. He had an honest face, and his jaw was starting show hints of a beard. He had high cheekbones and strong forehead. He was the spitting image of his father, except he smiled a lot more.

"I caught you Sam..." he smirked, "You know what happens when I catch you."

I rolled my eyes, "Considering that you always catch me...yes, I know what happens."

He leaned down a little and brushed his lips against mine. It sent a warm tingle through my entire body. After a moment he did it again and a little moan escaped me. When he kissed me more deeply, I reached around him to hold him closer. His hands curled in my hair, stroking the back of my neck. He nibbled on my lower lip for a minute, but then sighed suddenly.

He hugged me and buried his face in my hair, whispering, "I love you Sam."
I hugged him back, resting my head on his shoulder, "I wish it could be like this forever Teddy."

"It will, love. Somehow, I'll find a way. Mother doesn't want anything arranged, and you know Father listens to her."

I scowled, "Only when he wants to. I don't think he would go along with us." I bit my lip, "Teddy? I heard something about a countess and her daughter..."

"Yes, indeed," he grimaced, "They're supposed to be calling on us next week. I'm afraid it's just as you fear, Father invited them to discuss more than just the weather." He sighed and touched my cheek. He pressed a kiss to my nose, cheeks, and then mouth...never wavering in intensity.

"But I love you Sammy," he said, "And no countess' daughter can change that."

I smiled and tweaked his nose, "Don't call me Sammy, or I'll call you Theodore."

He shuddered, "You wouldn't, would you?"

"Oh, I would." I leaned up to kiss him, "But I won't this time because I like you."

"So, you would call me that if you didn't like me?"

"Nope, I would call you Dora and have done with it."

His eyes widened as he grinned, "You are truly cruel to those you don't like. I'm so glad you like me."

I smiled tenderly, "I love you."

"All the better." He was going to kiss me again when we heard a door slam.

We both sprang apart and ran to hide behind a haystack. We stood there, close for a minute before anything else was heard. And then a gravelly, harsh voice rang out.

"Samantha?! Where ye be gel?! Yer Papa wants ye, ye bloomin' fool!"

I giggled, but Teddy put a hand over my mouth. I could see in his eyes that he wanted to laugh too. "Tomorrow" he mouthed and then removed his hand and quickly covered my mouth with his. His tongue barely caressed mine before he pushed me around the haystack and towards home. After the frantic, but wonderful, kiss my mind was a little joggled, and it took me a moment to know I should answer the yell.

"I'm right here Sally! I'm coming!" My cultured tones always annoyed Sally, who had been raised in Scotland, and I could hear her grumbling. I took one last look behind me, wishing I could go back to Teddy. He wasn't there any longer, probably already on his horse and nearly home. I sighed and entered the manor through the back kitchen door.

Cook was laboring over the stove. At my inquiring look, she pointed to the parlor with her big spoon. I thanked her and quickly hurried to the parlor. The door was closed when I got there, so I knocked and stood waiting for an answer. My papa opened the door and looked down at me.

"Good Lord girl!" he whispered fiercely, "What the devil have you been doing?! Get yourself up the stairs and right yourself. You look the image of a maid!" He shut the door hastily on me and I heard his voice inside saying cordially, "Just a maid saying our Samantha will be down in five minutes."

I frowned, this was strange. I shook off my feeling of foreboding and skipped up the stairs. I laughed at myself when I looked in the mirror. At the age of 16 I had long curly blonde hair and light gray eyes. Usually, when I hadn't been out all day with Teddy, my hair looked quite lovely, but now there was hay sticking out of it. My cheeks were flushed with excitement and my dress had dirt and hay hanging from it. My eyes were luminous with happiness though.

I changed out of the dirty dress and donned a pretty light green one. The dress was fairly plain, but it made me look nice and did wonders for my complexion. I brushed the hay out of my hair and settled it nicely with a half pony tail. I cleaned my hands and splashed some cold water on my face. When I looked presentable I hurried back down stairs and returned to the parlor door.

Almost before I knocked my papa opened the door again. He smiled in relief when he saw me. With a flourish he beckoned me into the nice room. I had always loved this room for it's warmth and character. The walls were a welcoming cream and there was comfy furniture everywhere. My mama was inside and she beckoned me to sit in a specific chair. There was a man directly across from the chair I was supposed to sit in. I didn't recognize him, but immediately I didn't like him. He gave me an uneasy feeling. Everything about him seemed dark. His hair, his eyes, his clothes and even his skin. He seemed to be in aged somewhere in his late twenties to early thirties. He smirked upon seeing me.

Uneasily, I took the seat. I looked between my mama and papa, wondering what this was all about. Papa closed the door, but didn't sit. Instead, he clapped his hands together.

"Samantha, I would like you to meet the Duke of Bridgerton."


Let me know what you think, and if you want to see more!