WIPpet Wednesday: Fix ‘Er Up

Hooray! It’s Wednesday! Time for a new WIPpet and ROW80 check-in.

My goals:

  • Write one hour/day in Passing on Faith The plot bunny still won’t leave me alone, but I used it to my advantage to work out a key plot point. So, win.
  • Read 30 minutes/day Haven’t missed any since last check-in.
  • Write one blog post/week other than WIPpet/ROW80 Yep, posted it on Monday.

I’m skipping my Sunday post because we are going to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame inductions. That’s going to derail my goals for the weekend as well. I’ll still get my reading in, but no writing and probably no extra blog post next week, since I’ll be catching up and the kids will be done with camp.

I admit I’m struggling with this novel. I’m over halfway through, and this is the point where my last one hit a bump, too. I began having it beta read in order to overcome the slump, but I’m not at that point with this one for a number of reasons. Consequently, today’s snippet is a little dull. I’m just posting what comes immediately after last week’s. Part of the problem is that I don’t want to reveal too much too soon, and some things I’m not sure about revealing at all. This damn story has too many potential spoilers!

Boring math, too: 7 + 2 + 3 = 12 paragraphs. Sigh.

Cat’s eyebrows shot up, but he didn’t ask for more information. Instead, he looked around. “This place is a dump.”

“Tell me about it,” Micah grumbled. “That’s part of the problem. It’s truly not livable. I have to go back to town and get a hotel room until I’ve cleaned out most of what’s in here.”

“You want some help?”

“With what, finding a room? I’m an adult. I think I can manage.”

Cat rolled his eyes. “No. I meant fixing this place. I’m actually pretty handy with a trash bin, and I know just about everyone in town. We’ll get your house in shape.”

Micah desperately wanted an excuse to say no. He wasn’t anxious to get acquainted with the locals, nor was he interested in being indebted to Cat for his help. On the other hand, he had no idea what he was doing. If Cat—or anyone else, for that matter—could assist him, he might be able to get the house ready by the end of summer.

He found himself saying, “All right.”

“Good.” Cat stood up. “Let me make a few calls, and I’ll tell you what I’ve got. We can at least figure out what needs to be fixed.” He cringed a little. “Um, can I have my glass back?”

Micah laughed. “Sure.” He drained the last of the lemonade and handed Cat the glass. “I’d wash it for you, but I’m not sure what would come out of the tap.”

“No problem. See you around?”

“Yeah.” Micah offered a real smile this time, and Cat returned it.

Maybe, just maybe, he could get through the summer after all.

I’ll try to find something a bit more interesting for next time. If you want to read some less dull entries than mine, go here. Feel free to add your own, associated with the date however you choose. Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting, as always. Happy writing!

So…what exactly is it you write?

I had the *ahem* fun of trying to explain myself as a writer yesterday.

You know that special moment when you aren’t quite sure what to say to people when they ask you about your job? No? Well, perhaps you have a nine-to-five desk job and your very own cube. That’s nice—people relate to that. But maybe you do something at your job that’s hard to explain or doesn’t fit in a neat box or is potentially embarrassing. Maybe you’ve gone to a family or class reunion with a bajillion people you haven’t seen in twenty years, and they all want to know one thing: what you do for a living. Only you have a sudden case of nerves when telling them because you have no way to gauge their potential reactions.

Yeah, it’s like that for me as a writer. Don’t get me wrong—I love, love, love telling people that I write. The magic of saying my book is due to be published has yet to wear off; I still glow just a little every time I think about it. You know what I don’t like, though? Answering people when they say,

So…what’s your book about? I’d love to read it.

My typical reaction goes something like this:



It’s kind of…

There’s this guy, see, and…

Oh, shit.

There is absolutely no good way to tell some of my friends, “No, you most definitely do not want to read this thing I wrote.” Because realistically, of course I want people to read it! I want to sell lots and lots of copies! I don’t relish the idea of explaining to my friends that perhaps it wouldn’t be their cup of tea.

My husband covered for me, which had me laughing so hard I thought I might drop off my chair. He just flat out told one person, “No, you probably don’t want to read it.” He explained it wasn’t the kind of thing he would want our kids reading. Which, no shit, Sherlock. I don’t write kids’ fic or YA, so even if it were so clean you could read it out loud in church, it probably still wouldn’t be for children.

The difficulty is in explaining to certain adults why they wouldn’t read it. That brings a new level of awkwardness when you’re sitting in a church basement, enjoying a pizza lunch, surrounded by your children and their camp counselors and your friends of varying levels of conservative Christianity—and you aren’t quite sure which ones are at which end of the spectrum.

(Taking off my hat and placing it over my heart. Please trust me when I say I have only the most love and respect for these folks, regardless of our political and theological differences. *Deep breath*.)

So I finally settled on just telling people that I write romance novels. Which in one sense is kind of true, it’s just not the whole picture. The good news is that it’s highly effective in getting men to stop asking questions; not so much with women.

I made that mistake exactly once before yesterday’s hemming and hawing. A friend at church asked; I answered, hoping she was one of those super-religious types that would just shut the hell up because she knows what’s in most romance novels (hint: the characters are not “playing tent” under the sheets). Instead, she had verbal diarrhea about some friend who writes those nauseating Amish romances. I guess the good news is that she, too, finds them crappy, but it didn’t help when I had to tell her, “That’s not what I write.”

Which brings me to the sad conclusion of this tale: I still don’t know how to answer people when they ask that question. It’s my own failing, really. I have trouble navigating the social contexts in which it would be safe to be fully open and honest about the content of my novel. It’s clearly not a great idea to explain to a room full of people with more…traditional?…values what it’s about. But there are people of a more liberal stripe who would be equally displeased with me. What’s a writer to do?

I guess all I can say is, if you bother reading my blog at all, and have done so any time in the last six months, you know damn well what my novel is about.* You know what the next one’s about, too, more or less. And if you still like me after that, well, then you are a pretty special person, and I’m lucky to have you in my life.

Also, yes. You should read my book. Even if you’re a dude or conservative or just really, really straight-laced. Even if it makes your cheeks flush or your jaw drop or your eyes pop out of your head. Even if you turn to the nearest person and mouth, What on God’s green Earth was she thinking? Even if you throw the book out a window (when you’re done, of course). Because if I haven’t put you off with the snippets I’ve shared, then you aren’t likely to be too upset with the rest of it—or with me, for that matter. Heck, you might even end up enjoying it. ♥


*If you’re still in the dark, pop some popcorn, settle into your favorite chair, and click here for all my WIPpets. They’re in reverse order, so find the oldest one and start there.

ROW80 Update: Sunday Edition

I’ve been super productive with both kids in camp. One more week of camp and then I may regret making my goals. Ha!

I’ll make this quick, as I don’t have much time. I need to make dinner. As my writing partners can affirm, I’m always eating whenever I write. Apparently, it makes me hungry!

To sum up:

Write 1 hour a day on my current WIP, Passing on Faith. Started a new project as well, which I won’t keep up on. It was just a way to let the plot bunny have a say without compromising the novel.

Read 30 minutes a day. Only missed one—didn’t read yesterday because I didn’t have time. We went to one of those murder-mystery dinners.

Write 1 blog post per week that isn’t ROW80 or WIPpet Wednesday. Yep, accomplished earlier in the week.

How are your goals going?

WIPpet Wednesday: Lemonade and Sympathy

Big news this week: I’m about to have a web site of my own! My amazing graphic designer finalized my banner this week, so as soon as everything’s in place, I will do the big drum roll and reveal. Stay tuned, because my web site (and its name) are a-changin’.

On the ROW80 front, I managed to meet my goals so far. (You can read other updates and join in here.) Refresher course:

  • Write in Passing on Faith for an hour a day: Also wrote a bit on a short story
  • Read a book for 30 minutes a day: I have two going now
  • Write a blog post that’s not WIP/ROW80 once a week:  Posted my review of Across Worlds: Collision, an erotic sci-fi novel

For today’s WIPpet, I’ve got another bit between Micah and Cat. In case you missed it, ages ago I posted about Micah discovering the inside of the lake house is pretty bad. He made it worse by smashing stuff his father and stepmother were packing up before Dear Ol’ Dad died. Let’s just say he’s not in a good mood. Maybe Cat will cheer him up…or make it worse. WIP math is 7 – 1 + 6 = 12 paragraphs.

Micah stood up, wiping his eyes with the heels of his hands. He sighed and yanked the sheet off an old chair. He flopped down in it and buried his head in his hands, still sniffling a little. He decided he would sit right there until he was struck with a brilliant plan for how to manage his misfortune. It might have been a whole two minutes before someone knocked on the front door. Huffing, he rose and went to answer it.

He held back a groan when he saw who it was. Cat, his oddly chipper neighbor, was back. He had a glass of what might have been lemonade in his hand and a lopsided smile on his face. When he looked up at Micah, his expression changed. His smile slid away and his eyes widened.

“You okay?” he asked.

Micah ran a hand through his hair and contemplated telling Cat it was just allergies. Instead, something made him say, “No. I am not okay. But if you want to come in and sit down on my couch, risking black lung from all the dust, by all means.” He stood aside and swept his hand, indicating Cat should join him.

Hesitantly, Cat stepped over the threshold. He extended the glass to Micah. “Thought you could use this. Maybe you need something stronger, though.”

Micah snorted. “Yeah, probably, except I don’t drink.” He accepted the lemonade and took a sip. The tart liquid was refreshingly cool against his burning throat. “Thanks for this.” He tilted the glass toward Cat.

Cat grinned. “I was a little worried for a minute there. Want to tell me about it?”

“Not really.” Micah dragged the sheet off the couch, and Cat perched on the end as though he thought it might contaminate him.

“Fair enough.” He continued to watch Micah, though.

Micah sighed heavily. “I inherited this house. My father just died.”

“I’m sorry,” Cat said, his voice soft and warm.

“I’m not.”

And I’ll just leave it there.

On a completely random note, here is a video for your amusement.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by the excellent K. L. Schwengel. You can read the other entries and add your own here. Just post a bit of your work-in-progress, connect it to the date any way you can, and share it with us. Happy writing!

Book Review: Across Worlds: Collision

Title: Across Worlds: Collision
Author: S. A. Snow
Genre: mixed gender sci-fi erotica adventure


Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love.

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing.

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

Full disclosure: I am acquainted with the author, worked on the novel during its first draft stage, and received an advance reader’s copy. I have not been paid in exchange for this review.

I admit I’m not generally a fan of erotica—not because I dislike reading sexy, steamy novels but because, well, they’re often boring. (My apologies to people who write erotica). That may be a function of poor writing, unfortunately. Some authors seem to believe that if they can write good smut, that should carry an entire novel’s plot.

The good news is that Across Worlds: Collision fulfills the requirement to be hot as Hades while not skimping on excellent plot. It also features two of my other favorite elements: romance and humor, often both at the same time. There is plenty of action, adventure, and intergalactic intrigue to satisfy even someone as picky as I am. No worries, though—there is enough well-crafted sensuality to keep genuine fans of erotica turning the pages (and dog-earring a few on the way).





After chasing around puppies and corralling kittens, S.A. Snow flips open her BSG replicated console and enters her mysterious world of imagination. Seeking to escape the rigors of her day jobs, she enters flight mode and powers her engines full-speed ahead.

A prolific writer of non-traditional erotica, S.A. Snow grew up on a small alpaca farm high in the Andes Mountains. A lover of yoga and meditation, she spends her free time constructing alien space stations, organizing werewolf governments, and cataloging all episodes of Star Trek in order of technical soundness. A firm believer that one need not choose between Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, she also has closely examines all Star Wars movies in order to determine which episode is more factually based.

S.A. Snow writes truth and only truth, factoring in all evidences she can find. She writes only about parallel universes she has personally visited, and believes if something about her books isn’t shocking, she’s not effectively telling the story.


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Giving this Round of Words in 80 Days thing a try

I thought about it. I considered it in April. Then I considered jumping in when that one finished. But I hedged, and I missed the first week. I don’t normally like to come late to a party; I feel foolish walking into everyone’s established conversations. But I’m making an exception because I need to stop doing this alone.

So, here I am. I’m committed to making some positive changes in my writing life. I’ve always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer, and I don’t expect that to change. I don’t outline. I don’t make many notes. Heck, I don’t even jot down ideas as they occur. (Instead, I mostly just complain that writing on my phone is a pain and my best ideas show up in the shower.)

I confess to not having enjoyed NaNoWriMo due to the crunched time and the expectation that I’m going to have some semblance of a (badly-written) novel at the end of that time. I don’t write a story start to finish, chapter-by-chapter. I tend to go, “Ooh, there’s this thing I want to happen between these two people here. Gotta put that in!” Sometimes, I write the end first. More often than not, those elements change. But I like having them there to play with. All of that makes NaNoWriMo hard for me. Last year, I was a NaNo Rebel—I wrote 50,000 words, but they were part of an established novel that I was stalling on.

Instead of stressing over word count and “winning,” I’m trying out the ROW80. I can make reasonable, manageable goals for myself while still holding out hope for the bigger picture. It makes sense to me!

Here are my goals for the rest of the 80 days:

1. Write an hour a day on my new novel. My hope is to finish it, but if I don’t, at least this gives me a good chunk.

2. Post something on my blog once a week that isn’t a WIPpet (snippet of my work in progress) or an ROW80 update. I don’t have anything specific in mind, though I do plan to write several book reviews.

3. Spend 30 minutes a day reading an actual book (all right, probably a Kindle book and not paper, but close enough). I’ve gotten into the bad habit of just messing around playing mindless games before bed. I could take the exact same 30 minutes and read something instead.

Those feel like goals I can work with. So far,just going over my last week, I have managed only one of those—I wrote for about an hour (at least) every day on my current novel-in-progress. Here’s to getting on track and making these goals my priority for the next 73 days, right?

If you’re interested in following my progress, I check in on Wednesdays and Sundays. If you want to play along, with or without linking up, go to the ROW80 blog. Best of luck, and keep writing!

WIPpet Wednesday: Unhelpful Thoughts

It’s that time again—another Wednesday, another week down. So far, it’s been a little challenging, balancing writing and editing with having both kids home. Next week, the kids are at camp, so that means a whole 7 hours a day to work. Good thing, because I keep having projects land in my lap. At the moment, I’m working on stuff with several other writers: three novels consistently, one inconsistently, and three fan fictions (those are also inconsistent, though).

I settled on Passing on Faith for the new title. Others seemed to like it, and I’m partial to its lovely multi-layered meaning to the story.

I thought for this week, I’d give you the bit that immediately follows last week’s snippet. I posted the beginning of this scene some time ago. In case you’ve forgotten, I’ll recap: Micah has gone to the lake house he inherited. His neighbor stopped by. Micah’s first impression was to be caught off-guard (Cat’s irritating, but he is adorable)—until he opened his mouth and Micah just wanted him to close it again.

Just for fun, my math is 9 (for the day) + 1 + 4 (for the year) = 14 sentences. Um…I could’ve just used the year, actually. But it’s more fun and convoluted this way. Which kind of describes Cat, so it fits.

Cat’s mouth twitched like he might smile; he didn’t, but his eyes twinkled. He turned around and retreated up the walkway. Micah was certain he saw Cat sway his hips flirtatiously just a little, but by the time he’d convinced himself, the moment was gone. Cat rounded the front hedges and disappeared from view.

Cute, a traitorous part of Micah’s brain supplied helpfully. He forced the rational portion of his mind to answer that thought with, No. He’s more like a damn chipmunk. Right…a sexy chipmunk. Wait. No. Not at all. That just sounds wrong. Plus, he’s too young, as well as nosy and annoying.

Micah let out a frustrated growl and unlocked the front door.

For a bit of clarification (before someone comments to that effect), when Micah says “too young,” he doesn’t mean Cat is a child or even barely legal. Micah’s a couple of years younger than I am, and Cat’s twenty-seven—about an eight- or nine-year difference. There’s nothing creepy going on, but there’s a reason Micah’s wary of the age gap that I’m not telling you yet.

WIPpet Wednesdays are hosted by K. L. Schwengel, so be sure to go see what she’s up to on her page. If you want to join us, post a bit of your current WIP, associate it somehow with the date, and add it here. Don’t forget to read the other entries and leave some love on the authors’ blogs. Happy writing!