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Reluctant Godmother #2: Sneak Peek!

I am SO EXCITED to have something new worth sharing. I’ve been sick and dealing with a lot of personal stuff this year, so having a scene I like that makes me like this book is a really big deal. SO EXCITED!

I hope you enjoy this little sneak peek at what Tessa is up to in Book 2. 😀 😀 😀

Nothing about Lucian Rosenau suggested he would find it difficult to deal with a peeping tom.
Lucian pulled a sleek wand from a pocket on the side of his suit pants. The handle was silver, the wand long and dark and polished to gleaming. Several jokes sprang to mind, and I immediately cursed Mueller silently for paving the road to the gutter so well. He pushed inside the room, motioning for me to stay at the door. He didn’t even bother with the doorknob to the bathroom; he simply flicked his wand and the door sprang open with a crash as it hit the wall behind it.
I expected to hear “Expelliarmus!” I was disappointed.
Lucian stepped inside the bathroom and returned a moment later. “Empty.”
Disbelieving, I frowned and squeezed around him to investigate, throwing back the shower curtain and testing the lock on the small window. “I’m not crazy,” I said, as much for my own benefit as his.
“Anything is possible in the land of magic, Miss Hargitay,” Lucian said. “Just because it’s empty now does not mean it was empty two seconds before I walked in. You need…” He waved his wand in a graceful arc, producing a jewel-tone rainbow that expanded to the edges of the whole hotel room. “It’s a simple protection spell.” His tone was deeply disapproving.
“I-I’m sorry,” I stammered. “I don’t know how to use magic…” It wasn’t a lie. I had done a lot with it already – even saved Denver from Ms. Zent’s sleeping curse, in a way – but I didn’t actually know a thing about using it.
“It isn’t your fault.” He smiled at me reassuringly, causing my breath to hitch in my throat. “Mallora should have taught it to you.”
An alarm blared inside me. The last thing I wanted was for Lucian to accuse my boss of failing to do her job. No doubt that would end in me no longer having one of the latter. “Oh, I’ve only been her assistant for about two days. This is really my first job-related activity.”
His dark eyes warmed. “Trial by fire. That is her style.” He ran his hand down my arm reassuringly. Speaking of fire… “You’re all right? No one will be able to get in here without your invitation now.”
I swallowed hard, and not out of fear. “Thank you. A-and I am.” I smiled.
We lingered in the doorway, my heart beating hard in my chest, for several long, breathless seconds. Then, at the same time, I said, “I should find my shoes,” and he said, “Well, I will see you at the presentation.” We laughed softly together.
He moved to the main door. I took a little hop toward him and said, “Thank you.”
“For what? Walking in the door of a lovely young woman’s hotel room? My pleasure.” The heat of his gaze curled up in my lower belly like a purring cat.
I cleared my throat. “For being in the right place at the right time.”
“Still my pleasure.” He smiled that Cary Grant-Rock Hudson-Clark Gable smile at me again, then nodded. “See you at the Lodge.”
I stood staring at the door after he left. Until a small, tinny voice drew my attention to the phone still clutched in my hand. “Mueller?” I said into it. “You’re still there?”
“Do yourself a favor,” he said without preamble. “This time, screw the guy.”
“I have a presentation to get to,” I said, pulling out my suitcase to find the comfortable loafers I had intended to wear.
“Yeah you do,” he smarmed.
“Call you later.”
“Not if he calls you first.”
“Shut up, Mueller.”
We hung up. I applied a couple strategic Band-aids and pulled on the loafers. Still new, still likely to give me blisters, but they didn’t make me want to chop off my feet. That was a significant improvement.
I was sorting through my messenger bag, ensuring I had everything I might need for the presentation and anything that came after it, when I heard a clank in the bathroom.
I looked up to find a man staring at me through the open bathroom door.

Making Sense of the Mess

I keep trying – and failing – to write this silly book. I’ve never written a sequel before, so it’s new territory for me. Exciting, yes, but also daunting. The glorious rush of discovery as I flesh out the basics of the world and my main characters isn’t here. Instead, I’m faced with adding to the existing world, deepening character backgrounds, and complicating relationships. It’s…weird. Not bad…just…different. These are untried muscles I must learn to use on the fly.kimd of like being thrown out of a comfy nest and facing the on-rushing ground…

I finally managed to sit down and force myself to get the basic flow of the plot down. It looks like this: 

Still kind of a mess. The middle green section there is pretty much a lot of placeholders for actual scenes. Full of vagueries like “Rejects Summer” and “Fights magic with magic.” This was a problem with the first one, too. One of these days, I need to learn to nail down my scenes at this stage. But this is not that day! Then again, if I knew what magic she was going to do….well, that would just spoil the surprise for myself, wouldn’t it? And then where would the fun be?

December 2015 Update

I keep making a plan to update my website more frequently…or at the very least, more regularly. Somehow, it never quite comes together. Maybe in 2016…

Right now, I’m thrilled to be coming out of my first NaNoWriMo win. The first time I tried was about ten years ago, and I’ve signed up almost every year since then with the same outcome: Somewhere in week 2, I forgot I was doing it. This is my problem with many, many things in life, as I’m guessing it is for a lot of people. After all, they say it takes upwards of three weeks to make something a habit. Getting to three weeks, then, has to be pretty tough or there wouldn’t be a zillion books and blogs and professionals out there designed to help us build strong habits.

For me, November was the third month in a row of appreciably increasing my monthly word count, so 50k was bound to happen eventually. Still, it felt like tripping over a threshold. Yes, I’ve hit 50k in a month previously. Last December when I was writing the first half of Eternally Born, I know I hit it even though I didn’t keep track. But last month, I was keeping track. And for some reason that feels like it made all the difference. It feels like I’m going to do something with it this time.

It’s now been a year since I started publishing The Eternals, too, and two since I published my first novella, One For All. I have yet to make either of those go where I’d planned – my serial is only half done, still waiting for the first arc to be completed, and 13 Colonies is patiently awaiting the next novella in the series. Part of me…okay, all of me…really wishes I could have done more with that time. But I also realize that life happens, plans fall apart, and what matters is that I’m still writing, still planning, still moving forward. It’s not the most successful career yet, but dang if I don’t get a gold star for perseverance!

I gave myself three months to focus solely on writing. I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped, but I’m going to close out the year with over 200,000 words. That’s its own milestone – there may have been a year I wrote 150k when I was first trying to get published, but that was a long time ago. So I’m pretty excited about that, too! If I’d been working on other projects or focusing on completing them, that would be two full novels, more or less. As it is, it’s half a serial and three-quarters of two novels. Oops.

Now that I’ve had those three months, though, I have other things that need my attention. As we turn over into 2016, I’m trying to do better than I did those last two years. Rather than trying to work harder, I’m working smarter. The last two years proved to me that January and February are bad months for my creativity. They’re usually bad months for me in general, full of bad mojo, illness, and anxiety. They tend to be the worst months of the year, in fact. So much so that I have an ironclad prohibition against making major decisions between Christmas and the second week of March. This year, instead of trying to power through it, I’m going to back off and let myself coast. I’ll be hitting the gym to build up some nice, anxiety-busting endorphins. Still writing, but on a smaller scale with simpler goals.

So, that said, I’m trying hard to finish at least one of my current projects before the year is out. I was really hoping to get my serial finished this month, too, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. 😦

The one that makes me happiest is first on the docket, a contemporary fantasy filled with awkwardness and laughter. I’ve never made myself laugh so much while writing. In fact, I might even go so far as to call this book funny, which heretofore I never believed I could do. It’s a creativity-stretcher for that reason, but it’s also a lot of fun. Tentatively, I’m calling it “Wand For Hire.” It’s the story of a thirty-something who, completely out of luck, takes a temp job that lands her in the middle of a corporate war in the magic world…and finds that she’s signed herself into becoming a fairy godmother. It’s full of sexual innuendo, thanks to her gutter-brained sidekick, and I’ve never done silly like this. It’s fun!

The other is the first in a series that was supposed to walk the line between romantica and solid fantasy. It was supposed to be romantic, each book about a woman who falls in love with a dragon, and together they will all go save the world. Straight-forward, simple. Except those two concepts are not generally synonymous with the way I write. 😛 I knew somewhere around the second sentence out of my fingers that it was going to be something different. The writing was lyrical epic fantasy, the kind of book I loved so very much as a teenager. You know, back before grimdark turned everything all twisted and despairing. And the more I wrote, the more I discovered that the relationships that mattered most were not the women and their dragons – though those are definitely important – but the women and their sisters, their mothers, their families. It took me a good 70,000 words before I realized I was writing a lovely blend of women’s fiction and epic fantasy (and that I had inadvertently written two books into one, and lost 20k from my first book word count to book 2. I have a real problem with that…). It got hard to keep writing after that. One, because I suddenly needed to find the book’s plot without the subplot that was actually the central plot of book 2. And two, because it suddenly carried weight it hadn’t as a simple romance. It meant something. I needed to come at it from a different perspective, and that…well, it wasn’t difficult to do as much as it was to accept. Sometimes, I’m awfully stubborn…

So, those are my current projects. I’m hoping to finish both of them by the end of January, but all my plans fall apart in January so I don’t expect to get anything done until March. Ideally, I would like to release a new 13 Colonies novella for Valentine’s Day, too, and then release every two or three months until I have the room in my schedule to write the novels. Perseverance, baby. It’s all about perseverance. 🙂

Poll Time!

I’m currently in the process of plotting my next otherworld fantasy series (woohoo!), but I need your help!

The series has to do with gradually worsening natural disasters. I’m a big disaster movie buff, so I have my favorites…but I have too many favorites. Help me choose what to include!

Unfortunately for you (and excitingly for me – sorry), the project is going to remain top secret until it’s published. So you can ask all the questions you’d like, but there probably won’t be any answers forth-coming.

Thanks in advance for your input! It’s super helpful. 🙂

I’ll Be BEGGARed

So sorry, readers, that I didn’t pop in on Monday to check in with my challenge!  Bad EarthGirly!  The holidays got the better of me, apparently.  But that gave you a few extra days to work, right, so you now have your list?  Here’s mine.  Feel free to use as you’d like!

Story Ideas:

1. A little girl discovers fairies living in her Christmas tree.
2. The protagonist must trek to a giant, forgotten castle to gain the help of an ancient, long-sleeping vampire.
3. An agreement to go on a blind date leads to a woman’s involvement with a darker world than she knew existed.
4. That old Christmas ornament isn’t actually an ornament; it’s a little pocket of time-space in which a forgotten relative trapped his nemesis/love/magic in for safe-keeping.
5. A modern retelling of the Swan Princess.
6. For some people, “geeking out” comes with magic that causes a whole heap of trouble.
7. A girl falls in love with the boy in a strange, centuries-old portrait in her great-uncle’s house, only to meet the boy on her 18th birthday.
8. The apocalypse arrives, but it’s not what’s expected.  As told through the eyes of several different – but connected – groups of survivors.

I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours!
I’ll be back on Monday with a new challenge.