Author of Dark Fiction
Thanks for checking out my website. Please come in and wander around. I love hearing from people, so feel free to drop me a line if you have any comments or questions. As far as my writing goes, I’m inexplicably drawn to the uncanny, the shades of gray between day and night, and the area where your mind hovers as you’re falling off to sleep. I love writing young adult fiction because I strongly relate to teenage angst, the search for self-identity and the feelings of not fitting in. Click on my Books tab to read about my new book, The Werecat Chronicles. Purchase as ebook or paperback.
See my blog below:
The girl jolts like she’s been dropped into this body from thirty thousand feet. Her eyes flutter and her heart hammers on an arrhythmic beat. The breath catches then rushes in too fast causing a choking fit. Where is she? What’s she doing here? Who is she?
Lying prone she’s almost afraid to open her eyes. She curls one hand flexing its fingers. The skin feels dry and cold. Alien. She digs her fingernails into the palm and feels a sharp pressure.
The rushing pulse of this body feels dangerous. Dangerous like it might explode.
Deep breaths. Get the systems under control.
Her eyelids drift open and she sees a light fixture, nothing more than a bare bulb overhead.
She’s aware of a scratchy blanket beneath her.
Looking down she sees that the body is wearing a thin tee shirt and shorts.
When she explores the body with her hands, she feels railroad track ribs poking through paper skin. When she sits up in bed dizziness overtakes her, and she lies back down panting.
One more try, and her feet are on the floor, and her hands are clutching the edges of the thin mattress.
She stands, nearly falls over and catches the nightstand.
She makes her way to the bathroom afraid of what she might see in the mirror.
To soften the blow she explores her face with her hand, feels taught skin, slightly oily.
The bathroom is dark. All the better to allow her to see her form gradually.
The mirror shows her the outline of a small thin girl with long hair.
She closes her eyes and flips on the light switch.
Her heartbeat again feeling dangerously fast she opens her eyes a crack. The light is blinding so she closes them again. Screws up her courage and opens them again. Just a crack at first, then wider.
Her heart is beating uncontrollably now and she can hardly catch her breath.
When she opens her eyes fully, she doesn’t recognize the face, not an inkling, not an ounce. It’s long thin nose and solemn lips are unrecognizable to her.
She gets up the nerve to look in the eyes. They are brown and unremarkable.
But when she looks into them something catches. Something snaps into place.
And she remembers why she’s there.
I feel like I had a successful binge. My Day One total was 15,000 words, but I had written the beginning chapters and some of the middle.
My Day Two was the least productive with 5,600 words, but I had some distractions and ended up writing mostly at Starbucks.
Day Three, my day at Tampa Airport, turned out to be very productive. I wrote 7,000 words, but more than that, I had some interesting turns of events in my novel. Some relationships emerged that I didn’t know were there, and one of the characters turned out to be somebody quite different than I thought he was in the beginning.
Though I did follow my outline, I found myself filling in with scenes I hadn’t planned before. I subconsciously knew I had to get in some backstory or add plants for things that will come later on in the book. As these weren’t written down anywhere, they came from my subconscious.
This is the advantage of binge writing. The writing is organic and all one piece. The story doesn’t have time to get cold. It’s all right there in your head.
During my first 3 day writing binge I naively believed that I could complete a novel in 3 days. It’s obvious to me now that that isn’t going to happen, but at close to 30,000 words I now have a damned good start.
I don’t think I drove myself quite as hard this time. I took more care in forming my sentences and paragraphs, and sometimes I’d go back and correct things. Now I know that finishing my novel in that time frame isn’t the point. The point is getting into that white-hot creative state that will propel me to the end of the book.
If any of you are thinking of doing a writing binge, and have the time to do it, I would highly recommend it.
This is the poem, The Thin People. It’s hard to read, but if you click on it, it’s more legible.
This is day one of my three-day writing binge for my new novel, The Thin People. This novel is my homage to Sylvia Plath. (The Thin People is a famous poem of hers.) That, combined with my love of alternate dimensions, doppelgangers and houses that have different dimensions on the outside than on the inside will make this an entertaining write for me. This is also exciting for me because it’s my official return to horror! Yay!
Here’s my blurb: A failed anorexic who’s obsessed with Sylvia Plath finds herself living out the details of Plath’s poem, “The Thin People,” when she discovers shadow people from another dimension coming through a vortex in her backyard.
I’ve completed my mental preparation, which is to get psyched and think generally positive thoughts.
I’ve completed my writing preparation, which is:
- Come up with ideas for a story.
- Research, but don’t get bogged down
- Create a log line
- Keep a story bible with character sketches, locations and important facts.
- Write the back story.
- Write biographies for the main characters.
- Figure out your opening and closing images.
- Outline the story in detail. This means that all of my scenes are outlined.
- Write the first chapter.
I’ve done some of the physical prep such as stocking up on food, but I didn’t go as crazy on the cleaning and organizing part, finding it not that necessary.
Doing a writing binge when I’m just beginning a novel gives me a jump-start, and lets me feel as though I’ve accomplished something quickly.
But now I need to stop blogging and start writing!
My short story, The Double, is in a new anthology of which I’m really proud. It’s called Hazard Yet Forward. Seventy-six writers connected to the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program have created a multi-genre charity anthology.
This anthology is special because all proceeds will benefit Donna Munro, a 2004 graduate of the program, and my dear friend. Donna, a teacher living in St. Louis, Missouri, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. An active member of the SHU WPF alumni committee, Munro helps organize the school’s annual writing conference, the In Your Write Mind Workshop.
To aid Donna and her family, faculty members, alumni, students and friends of the Writing Popular Fiction program came together to compile this massive anthology. The book features flash fiction, short stories and even a full-length novella. In total, there are 75 works from various genres, which makes this anthology one that features something for everyone.
Genres represented in the book range from horror to romance to mystery – and everything in between. Some of the notable writers in the anthology are World Fantasy Award winner Nalo Hopkinson, Bram Stoker winners Michael A. Arnzen and Michael Knost, Bram Stoker nominee Lawrence C. Connolly, ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults winner Jessica Warman, Rita finalist Dana Marton, Spur winner Meg Mims, Asimov’s Readers’ Award winner Timons Esaias and WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships winner Geoffrey Cameron Fuller.
This large volume is an electronic book for the popular Kindle platform and is available for purchase through Amazon for $9.99.
For more information about the book, click Here.
To purchase Hazard Yet Forward click Here.
This is an exploratory short story that I might turn into a novel. What do you think?
I made my way back to my room. Barely. My head pounded and my blood felt like it was about to spurt from my veins. Though I was able to take the stairs two at a time up to my dorm room, my body felt like it had been hijacked by aliens.
Just as I hit the mattress in hopes of having a good rest and letting my blood pressure settle, Mason slammed into the room. Bull in a china shop was an understatement when it came to him.
“Gawd, Mason! Can you hold it down? I have a headache.”
True to his tyrannical form, he got right into my face and yelled, “What did you say?”
“I said, could you please shut the fuck up and stop slamming things around?”
“Well, sure. If you put it that way.”
One thing you could say about Mason. Even though he was a loud, obnoxious big bruiser, he knew when to back down.
“Thank you.” I pulled a sleep mask from my nightstand and put it over my eyes. I wished I had one of those cool ones you stick in the refrigerator.
“Hey, Julian,” Mason said in a volume that nearly shook me off the bed.
I pulled up my sleep mask. “For God’s sake, what?”
“You’re not going to die or nothing, are you?”
“No. Just leave me alone, please?”
“I’m going out. Bye.” He slammed the door behind him.
I got some ice out of the ancient refrigerator in the hallway, and put it in a washcloth to place on my head. This building was air-conditioned. Why did I feel so hot?
I must have drifted off to sleep. When I woke, moonlight was streaming in through my window. It had a calming yet exciting effect on me. I needed to go out into the night and feel the cool breeze.
I hurried down the stairs and walked out toward the student green. Rumsey Hall was a well-cared for school. Golf-course-like grass was edged with neat rows of impatiens, and marigolds and roses. The extensive rose garden called to me. With its rows and rows of fragrant flowers, it was one of my favorite places on campus.
There walking toward me was Zoe. Tall, with straight black hair just below chin-length, she had an indie vibe. She wore strange clothes from the Himalayas and was always working for activist causes. Zoe was the coolest girl I knew.
When it seemed like she would walk right past me, I said, “Zoe.”
She stopped and thought for a minute. “Julian. How’s your paper on the social conditions in Batswana coming?”
I’d used that paper as an excuse to talk with her, because I knew she was an expert. “Wonderful. I got an A, thanks to your help.”
“Awesome. Were you just walking back to the Onion?”
That was our student restaurant. “Yeah, as a matter of fact.”
“Want to walk together?”
“Sure.” As I said that, I felt massive changes going on inside of me, like there were bubbles in my blood. I thought of a scuba diver getting the bends. Now, impressing Zoe was less of a concern for me than dying. I stopped to get my bearings.
“Are you okay?” She turned to me and put a cool hand on my forearm.
“No. I think I need to get to the infirmary.”
“Let me go with you.”
Even though it was my dream for her to go with me anywhere, I had to say no. “No. I think I’ll be all right. Let me go back to my room.”
“Julian, no. You look really weird, like maybe you’re having a stroke or something.”
I tried to fain normalcy, even when I felt like my body was going to blow apart at any moment. “You know what? I’m feeling better. I’m going to go up to my room.”
“Okay, but do me a favor and text me later to let me know you’re all right.” She scribbled her number on a piece of paper and handed it to me.
“Thanks, Zoe. I will.” I headed off.
“Isn’t your dorm in that direction?” She pointed the other way.
“Yeah. I’m just…going to get some water.”
She shrugged. “Okay.”
Now it really felt like my brain was going to blow apart. I rushed past the rose garden into a wooded area and dropped down to my knees. I pressed my hands against my head to keep it from popping off. All of my sinews moved and rumbled. I felt myself compressing, like I was growing smaller. How could that be?
Obviously I was losing my mind while, hallucinating as my body died. I’d never felt such pain in my life. I curled up into a fetal position and would have welcomed death, rather than the horrible agony that split my body.
Then just like that, it was over. The full moon shone through the trees. I looked at my hand. It was smaller and smoother than I was used to. My waist felt smaller. I had an odd swelling in my chest area. I looked down at my body.
Oh my God!
I was a girl!
The mark of a good book to me is how much it sweeps me up into its world. Leslie Davis Guccione does this powerfully as she brings the people and settings of Lake Allamuchy to life and gives insight into human nature in the process. She brings back memories of the endless summers of youth spent on boats, at lakes, in little cottages. Perhaps she brings back memories we wish we had.
Long time friends, Lily and Johanna, who both find themselves at crossroads in their lives, spend a week at their Lake Allamuchy houses. Johanna’s is a huge house that has been in her family for generations, and Lily’s is a bungalow that she shares on alternate weekends with her ex-ex and his new trophy girlfriend. They both find refuge in each other’s friendship. When Johanna encounters an old summer fling, former lifeguard and “bad boy” Dean, she feels like a teenager again. Lily keeps her grounded throughout the whole experience. Johanna in turn helps her through her crisis with ex-ex. They rename Johanna’s grown son’s tree house “The Chick Palace,” which they use as their home base for camaraderie—morning coffee, evening dinner and margaritas, along with deep discussions.
Sensory details of the lake, the town and the houses are delightful. The writing is overall smooth and graceful, accented by subtle humor. Guccione has a special talent for effortless and natural dialogue.
Having never married or had children, I have little in common with these characters, yet I could relate because the author made them so human with depth of personality and intelligence. I could literally feel Johanna’s elation coupled with misgivings at being reunited with her former summer fling. All characters grow and change over the course of the story, and they have realistic flaws. Even Dean is well-drawn as a three-dimensional character. The two women finally realize how important solid, warm friendship is in getting through the rough spots in life. I think this is the main message of the book and one to which I can definitely relate.
The Chick Palace is a delightful read, and I’d highly recommend it.
First a little bio and introductory info and then it’s off to the races…
My name is Rachell Nichole and I am an author of erotic romance. When I put out a call to come visit some blogs, Sally was one of the first to respond. I was so excited to stop by. And Sally gave me carte blanche to come and dazzle you all with my wit (or try at least). So I’ll talk a bit about me, about my book, and then about the craft of writing.
I’ve been writing for a lot of years, though I started my first novel about six years ago. I love books, I love words, and I love creating stories. I just sold my first book, An Affair Across Times Square to Loose Id. It’s due out August 21. Here’s a little tease about the book.
Layla Morgan is tired of getting into trouble, and getting hurt. And she fears her wild nature is going to strike yet again. But maybe this time, she’s finally met the guy that can stand close enough to touch her inner flames, and not get burned. The man across Times Square seems enthralled by her wildness instead of scared in the face of it. He can’t seem to look away as she shows him just how much fun she can have… with herself.
After one glance of silky skin and talented fingers, Tyler Lachlan doesn’t stand a chance of resisting the delicious distraction of the mystery woman from the Marietta Hotel. He’s sure there’s more to her than her sultry voice and mahogany thighs, but he doesn’t know if he’s willing to risk his career to find out.
Could what began as a voyeuristic affair across Times Square develop into something more?
And now for something completely different… A little bit about craft.
An Affair Across Times Square was what we in the writing world call a NaNo book. Every November, writers around the world get together and agree to write 50,000 words in 30 days in the NaNoWriMo challenge.
Nano is all about not stopping the forward momentum, getting words on the page, and writing the damn book. This method really works for me, but it may not work for everyone. But here’s a little more about the method and why it works for me.
You can either pre-plot the book or do a loose outline, or just start from page one. When you do NaNo through their website, you use the site for inspiration, for support, for reassurance and positive reinforcement. As far as strategy goes, the idea behind NaNo is that we can’t fix pages that aren’t written. You have to get the bones of the story down before you can fill them in and layer the complexities.
If you’re interested in NaNoing on your own, or doing a practice run so to speak, you can set aside 30 days and set a goal. For NaNo, it’s 50,000, which breaks down to 1,667 words a day. That’s about five double-spaced pages. I’m not a daily writer, I never really tried to be, because that doesn’t work for me. So normally I would sit and write 3,000-4,000 in a day and then not write for three days, and then do it all over again. If 1,667 words is too many a day, start with a goal of 40,000 words in 30 days and write more like 1,200 words a day.
The biggest benefit Nanoing is that you have to turn off your internal editor, because you can’t get the words in if you have to go back and change things every time you sit down to write. The other benefit of the daily (or every few days) writing is that you stay immersed in the book. They also do a Camp Nano, which is in June and August, if you’re looking for the writing community now. Check out http://campnanowrimo.org/ for more info.
I’m NaNoing a holiday book this time and my deadline is 50,000 by August 15 (I started July 18 or so). If you’d like to join me, pick up your keyboard or your pen & paper. I’ll be posting word count updates on www.Facebook.com/RachellNichole and possibly my blog at www.DivasofDesire.blogspot.com so stop by if you’d like to compare word counts.
Thanks again for stopping by.
Sizzling Romantic Entanglements
Since Jack dumped her, Lilly had found solace in an odd pursuit—attending funerals. Cemeteries were such peaceful places. She has several local favorites, Rosewood with its large lacey trees and Pleasant Hill with its finely manicured lawns.
Today she decided to visit Tatum Ridge, which had tombstones dating back to the 1800’s, with a more recent section that accepted new arrivals. Here she marveled at the beautiful headstones carved into angels and stone benches set out for rest and reflection.
Lilly started noticing a young man at the funerals. He was pale with dark hair and always wore a tasteful black jacket and dark jeans, just the outfit for blending in. She noticed him noticing her, so she got up the nerve to talk with him. “I see you at a lot of these things.”
He brightened up. “I find them peaceful and reassuring, and it’s kind of my job to go to them.”
“I work for the funeral home—making sure everything goes off without a hitch.” He held out his hand. “I’m Sariel.”
She took it. “Lilly. Pleased to meet you.” These burials were from all different funeral homes, but his eyes burned into hers, drawing her in, so she didn’t question him.
Soon they were meeting for coffee, and their favorite pursuit was haunting the vintage cemeteries at night. They’d sit on the stone benches and talk, sometimes pretending they saw a ghost so they’d get scared enough to hold hands.
One night he suggested entering a crypt.
“I don’t know. That’s vandalizing, isn’t it?”
“It isn’t vandalizing when you have a key.” He held up an ornate skeleton key and gave a mischievous laugh.
“How did you get that?”
“I told you. It’s part of my job.”
Lilly went along with it, just because he was so delightful. Since she’d met Sariel she hadn’t given a thought to Jack.
He put the lock in the key and turned it. She was afraid there would be dead bodies lying around, but instead there were the carved figures of a man and woman resting on their backs in eternal peace. It reminded her of the tombs of Abelard and Heloise she’d seen in Paris. So romantic.
“Look at the workmanship on these.” He took her hand and guided it over the delicate face of the woman. So intense were her feelings that she turned around and kissed him. It was the most exquisite kiss she’d ever known in her life.
“You don’t really work for a funeral home, do you?”
“No, I’m an independent contractor you might say. I like to check up on my work.”
Suddenly she knew exactly what he was. “You help people over to the other side, don’t you?”
She grew more and more excited at hearing this. They sunk down onto the cold stone floor and made intense, passionate love.
Lilly was happy at last. What could be cooler than having a boyfriend who’s the Angel of Death?
Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.