Wednesday Randomness

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Happy Wednesday. 🙂

Today we're talking about our favorite writing advice. Very time appropriate because I needed the reminder - life is pretty chaotic at the moment with things that are so far out of my control I just have to roll with it. So that's what I'm doing, and longingly thinking about the annual writing retreat next month.

Okay... writing advice. Here are the three peices of advice, which pretty much run along the same lines, that have taken up residence in my brain. And have often when I'm having a hard time. (Excuse the f-bomb...but it's necessary in my gray matter, honest)

So, yep, all of that is on repeat, right now. And I need to listen and get some writing done. 🙂


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa

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Hi all. Today is a promptly penned post. I gave it a fair shake, I swear.  It's been all kinds of crazy here. The hubs is off on a long-ass business trip, I'm sick, and life, in general, with its regular brand of madness... But enough about that. Here's what came to me. The prompt will be in bold in the story.


"Hurry! Before Gran comes back!"

I glanced over my shoulder and glared at my little sister, Hattie, who was in the window, keeping a look out. Or at least that's what she was supposed to be doing. Instead, she was staring at me, clearly freaked out.

"Shhh. Keep watching, for crying out loud!"

Once she did that, I turned back to the bookshelf in front of me. Perched on the chair I'd dragged from the desk, I reached as I high as I could. Almost there... My fingers scrabbled along the spine of one of the books I was after. So close...

They were my mom's, and I just wanted to see. She had magic, just like Hattie and me. And there had to be something in them, something more than what Gran was teaching us. We weren't like kids in books who had no idea what they were - we were witches. Or magic-users, as Gran called us. We were meant to keep it secret from everyone else but here, in Gran's cottage, she was teaching us all about ourselves and the "great power and responsibility" we had. Or so she said.

Honestly, based on what we've learned so far, magic wasn't all it was cracked up to be. For example, there were 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff. What was the point of it all then? How was dinking around like this supposed to be a responsiblity? I didn't get it. So, I thought if I could read Mom's journals and her books, maybe I could figure some of it. And...well, I missed her and Dad. I wasn't stupid or anything. I didn't think magic could bring them back or let me talk to them from the grave. But this could make me, and Hattie, feel closer to them. Even a little.

I was able to drag the slim book closer to the edge and grasp it fully. I pulled it down and cracked it open. My breath caught at the sight of my mom's handwriting on the pale pages. Before I had a chance to read anything, Hattie squealed.

"Cody! I see her car!"

I jumped off the chair - I'd get the other books later - and dragged it back to the desk. I heard the front door open, creaking on its hinges. Hattie stared at me, face pale, gray eyes wide.

"It's fine. Sit on the couch," I whispered, tucking the book into the loose waistband of my pants, the cover hard and cool against my belly. I yanked my t-shirt down to cover it.

My sister sat on the couch carefully and faced the TV, which was playing some ridiculous educational program neither of us had any interest in, but Gran thought was worthwhile. I ignored the guilt that weighted on me as I flopped down next to her. The book was our mom's - and by all rights, it was ours now that she was gone. And I wasn't a little kid anymore, no matter what Gran thought. I was ready to know more about magic - certain there had to be more.

"Sorry it took so long!" Gran exclaimed as she came into the room. "Mrs. Miller was feeling more ill than she let on, and I wanted to be sure she was all right before I left."

"S'okay," I mumbled.

"You must be starving." She dropped kisses on the tops of both of our heads before hurrying toward the kitchen. "I'll make some sandwiches."

As soon as she was out of sight, I sprang up. I looked down at Hattie, and she nodded. We'd promised to always look out for each other, and I knew she'd keep her mouth shut.

"We'll look at it tonight," I whispered, then ran out into the foyer and up the narrow stairs to my room. Heart pounding, I pulled out the book. Unable to resist, I opened it again and ran my fingers over the words - words Mom had written - and my eyes started stinging.

"Cody!"

I nearly fell over when Gran's shout traveled up the stairs.

"Yeah?" I yelled back.

"Come on down. You can practice the new tea spell you learned yesterday while I fix lunch."

I huffed a laugh then answered, "Be right down, Gran."

I shut the book and shoved it between my mattress and the boxspring. I knew this was the right thing. There had to be more to magic, more to me than making tea. And I was ready to learn it all.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

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I've learned so much from my parents, too much to fit into a top ten list and some hard to put into words.But I'll attempt to do that for ten of'em. 🙂

 Family first. Always.

Work hard. Do your part.

Marriage is work. But you love each other...it's worth it.

You have to be a parent first, not a friend. If you're really lucky - and I am - the friend part comes later in life.

Don't make a mistake worse by lying about it.

Love of reading. Because reading is awesome.

Some of the best times are the simplest - like sitting around a camp fire, just talking.

Be respectful and kind.

I can only control my actions and how I react to others.

I am loved. Unconditionally.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Jessica De La RosaKellie St. James | Paige Prince

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Happy Wednesday!

Today we're talking about what we wished we'd learned earlier than we did.

There have been many lessons I've learned that I wish I'd've learned much earlier than I did, this right here...

...is probably the biggest lesson I've had to learn. And is, sadly, one I've had to relearn, again and again, because I seem to forget it all too easily.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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It's time for another Promptly Penned post. I'm back with Justin and Harris for this one - they are in my head, folks, and I can't shake them loose. Never mind I won't be able to work on their actual book for a while. My brain doesn't like me very much, glomming on to every idea/story but the one I need to be actually working on. I'm guessing (hoping?) that I'm not the only one this happens to... But anyhoo, here are the other pieces of flash fiction I've written in this lovely world and I've marked the ones that are specific to Justin and/or Harris with an **, so if you want to have a look-see, feel free.

Part 1 - "The First Step"
Part 2 **
Part 3 - "Never Gone" **
Part 4 - "Unfinished" **

As always, the prompt itself is in bold.


Justin rubbed the back of his neck and gave into the urge to look around the bullpen—at the team. His old team. Well, not quite. Liam wasn’t leading the team anymore, and there was Harris—sitting at Justin’s old desk. And the younger man had hardly looked at Justin since he’d arrived over an hour ago. And any glances sent his way…weren’t exactly friendly or welcoming.

He wondered if Harris worried about his job—that with Justin’s appearance, he’d be ousted so Justin could slip back into his old role. As soon as that thought entered his mind, he shoved it aside. No, he figured Harris was secure in his place on the team. It’d been nearly four years, and from what Justin had observed, Harris got along with everyone, and he had no reason to have that particular worry.

And fuck it, that meant his attitude probably had to do with that night. Shit. Which also meant Justin would have to talk to him, clear the air, so there wouldn’t be any problems working this case together.

“All right, everyone, it’s late,” Adam announced. “Head out, get some rest, and back here at oh-six-thirty to go over what we have.”

The sighs of relief from his former teammates made Justin smile. He knew they’d been pouring over this case and were likely exhausted. He may have been away for a while, but he sure as hell remembered the long hours they put in here.

“I know we have to be back early,” Scott said, standing and stretching his arms over head, groaning at the popping joints, “but we should go out for a drink. Just one,” he added when Adam arched a brow.

Sarah jumped in, then, and Justin suspected they’d come up with this plan as soon as they’d heard he was coming. “Come on, gangs all back together… Well, it will be when you call Liam to meet us at Tate’s? An hour or so, one drink, a bit of catching up before we’re back, neck deep in this and don’t have a moment to spare?”

Adam looked between the two for a long moment then nodded. “An hour. I’ll call Liam.”

He walked away, pulling his cell from his pocket, and Scott and Sarah grinned at Justin.

“Come on, man. We’ll go grab a table.” Scott grabbed his weapon and creds from his desk then put on his coat. He frowned when his gaze landed on Harris, who was still pouring over the file in front of him. “Hey, kid, let’s go. Drinks are on me tonight.”

“Gonna pass. I really want to get through this before I head out.” He looked up, brown eyes settling on Justin a moment before darting away. He smiled at the others. “You guys have fun, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Are you sure? You hardly ever come out with us.” Sarah said with an exaggerated pout. “Beginning to think you don’t like us, Harris.

Harris rolled his eyes but didn’t respond. He just turned back to the file, effectively shutting everyone else out.

Justin drew in a deep breath, feeling the guilt weighing heavily. He’d better take care of this now.

“Go on ahead,” he told Scott and Sarah. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Both of them frowned, but they didn’t argue. As soon as they were out of earshot, Justin stood and, circling the desk he’d commandeered, walked over to stand in front of Harris’.

“Hey,” he said softly. “You should come. You’re a part of the team. I’m just here to consult at Adam’s request. And...it’d be nice to catch up.” He sighed when he didn’t get any kind of reaction from the other man. “Look, you don’t need to let my mistake that night fuck things up and—”

“Wow.” Harris straightened, leaning back slightly in his chair. After a moment, he shook his head. “Okay, then. Can we just pretend, for one fucking second, that you’re not a complete douchebag.”

Justin stumbled back, feeling almost as if he’d been struck physically. “Douchebag?”

“I’m not going out for a drink. I don’t want to, and it has nothing to do with my place on the team. As it is now. But I’m not a part of ‘the gang’,” he sneered. “And I’m not going to waste my time pretending that I am.”

He pushed his chair back and stood. With jerky movements, he secured his gun and pocketed his creds before locking his desk. Then, he grabbed the files from his desk and shoved them in his messenger bag. Justin just stared, unable to grasp a solid thought, let alone respond with words.

Harris started to walk away, shouldering past Justin, but then, he stopped abruptly and spun around. He closed the distance between them, standing so close Justin could feel Harris’ breath gusting over his face.

“’It’d be nice to catch up.’ Are you fucking kidding me? What is there to catch up on, Justin? We worked one case together, and one that hardly brings on the warm fuzzies. And that night…” He laughed, a flat, hollow sound that just fucking hurt. “Clearly not enough to even warrant a catching up since you made no fucking effort to so much as talk to me afterwards. And I understood. At first. How could I not. But then, so much time passed, and I got to hear from everyone else that you’d been in touch with them. But I wasn’t worth even that. Made my place very, very clear. So, again, I’ll pass on the drink and happy reunion.”

He pivoted and walked away again, throwing over his shoulders. “And just a bit of advice, no one wants to be called a fucking mistake, you douchebag.”


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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10 - Flat characters and stereotypes- Characters that don't show any growth throughout the story and/or are almost caricatures. And stereotypes....urgh. It's just a specific type of flat character, really. The super gay best friend/sidekick who is essentially there for humor, all women but the heroine are just jealous and horrible bitches, the alpha-hole hero who has no redeeming qualities but somehow the heroine loves him and so does everyone else, deep down...

9 - Inconsistent characters - I just said I wanted character growth, yeah? Well inconistent characterization is NOT character growth, though sometimes it seems to be explained away as that. I'm talking about characters acting completely out of character, with no logical or believable reason behind it. Or bam, halfway through the book, it's like reading a completly different character altogether.

8 - Too big a cast - too many people to keep track of - It drives me nuts when I can't keep track/keep up and then have to scroll/page back and figure out who the person is.

Now, I'm actually fine with a larger cast. *I* have a larger cast in my Albion's Circle series, but I hope I avoid (and try VERY hard to!) falling into the trap of making people go "Who's this again?"

So the problem isn’t necessarily a large cast (though I think there likely is a limit to how many people you can effectively have playing a decent role in the story), but more often, the issues is how it’s executed. If the cast is introduced in a style reminiscent of classical literature like The Iliad or J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, the author may want to step back and reconsider a few things.

7 - Insta-love - I know I've mentioned this in another post at some point... I want to see people fall in love. I want to see what about the characters the others love and be rooting for them. That's why I read romances. So, when it's instaneous - and not talking about immediate attraction/lust here - I feel let down as a reader. Big time.

6 - Lack of research - If you're going to write about something, in detail, then you need to know what you're talking about. An example - I was reading a book in which the hero was a private investigater. There was a murder and he's called by his cop friend. The hero then proceeds to show up at the crime scene, pokes around, takes a file in full view of everyone, touches everythign with no freaking gloves or anything, basically compomising the crime scene and evidence. I'm no expert in law enforcement or crime scene investigation, but even I know there is no way that would freaking happen!

5 - Overselling the research and/or knowledge - This is a personal one for me, and I'm sure there are people who disagree and perhaps like this kind of thing, but I don't need a run down of every furnishing and antique in the family mansion. I don't need page upon page of all the sights in the city that story takes place in so I know that the city was googled. For me, if it isn't important to the story, I don't need to be regaled with all this information and it pulls me completely out of the story.  

4 - Head-hopping - When we're bouncing from one character's head to another, when that results in confusion and having to skim back to figure out who's head we're actually in...

And falling under the same umbrella - too many POVs. Especially if it's just once in the story and it's a character who doesn't even play a large role.  There are ways to impart information to the readers without going into, say, the waiter's head for a matter of paragraphs just to let us know a tiny detail.

3 - This is more specific to paranormals.... The vamps, the weres, the supernatural beings are all drop dead gorgeous and physically perfect.

And don't get me wrong... Having pretty characters, not a problem. But being told ad nauseaum just how beautiful and stunning they all are, how they could all be models, etc., it gets old very quickly.

2 - The irresistable heroine. Everyone wants her. EVERYONE. Even her gay married dentist is re-evaluating his sexuality because omg she's just all that.

1 - This is specific to story with BDSM elements - when a character is into BDSM, it's because at some point in their life they were abused and they are broken somehow. That the character just needs to be fixed, and when they are good and whole and healthy again, they won't need to do "that" anymore. Because just being into it, just enjoying it, just getting something out of it without a terrible, horrible, no good past pushing you do it isn't enough.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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Writing fears and anxieties...

All right, I'm gonna be super real and honest here. And kinda break the rules, I suppose. I'm not going to delve into all of my fears and anxieties. Not going to make a bulleted list of them and lay them all out. I'm not going to give them voice, right now.

Why? Because I live with them everyday. They batter at my skull, whispering and shouting, in turn, all the reasons I can't do this. How I can't be successful doing what I love, that I should just give it up. I'm not good enough, successful enough, just not enough. It's also hard to put into words, sometimes, what specifically I'm anxious about, what I fear - and as a writer, not being able to put something into words is a whole other level of frustration and madness.

I will say that I do have fears and anxieties. Big time. That they fuel my depression and overall anxiety, sometimes, to the point it's paralyzing. Dealing with them is a daily freaking battle. But, so far, it's a battle I'm winning. And will continue to win, day by day by day by day by... Well, you get the idea. Despite the fears and anxieties, despite how big and loud they get, I'm confident I'll come out on top. Not really going to accept any other outcome, and I may be a wee bit stubborn. Between that, the work I've already done straightening my head out, and pretty much have the best support system a girl could ask for...I've got all the tools I need to keep doing this..


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris

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Seriously, I'm getting that frame and putting it on my wall. LOL Mostly because, no matter the successes, the failures, and everything in between, I try. Despite things blocking my way, I try. No matter how many times I stumble, I try. Even when that stumble leads to a spectactular face-plant, I try. Even when it's my own mind trying to push me down, I try.

So all joking - and tongue-in-check mock cover - aside, I'm damned proud of that fact.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
 Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James

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Hey all. Time for another Musical Musings. I limited myself to 1-2 for each one... LOL And here we go...

SONG THAT MAKES ME HOPEFUL - "I Am the Doctor"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME HAPPY - "Can't Stop The Feeling" & "Best Day of My Life"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME CRY - "It's Quiet Uptown" & "Supermarket Flowers"


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Torrance Sené