It is done.

I have let this site fall by the wayside for a while, but last night I released the book on Amazon. So it is done. *collapses*

The story has undergone so many changes and revisions over the years, and now I’ve even changed the title and book art. So the nifty book trailer I made needs to be redone now.

It’s now called, “The Resurrection Man” – mostly because I realized as I was editing that while my heroine may be CherryPop McGee, the story center more around her father.

Here’s the cover I made (total Photoshop job, apologies.)


It is available in the Amazon e-book store for 99 cents (free to borrow if you are a Prime member) and soon will be available internationally on Amazon as well. It’s exclusive to Amazon for now, but I’ll put it on the Nook as soon as I’m able.

To me, it turned into more of a Young Adult, Steampunk-ish zombie story which is quite a radical difference from the way the story started out, but that’s how it goes :)

Thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement along the way despite my tendency to procrastinate. And special thanks to my sister, kelly, who is a great editor and her humor and snark in her comments made the editing experience more fun :)


Revenants: The trailer

Revenants is currently out of my hands as it’s edited and handed back to me for revisions. To keep me busy and less naggy about waiting for the edits, I’ve been making a book trailer.

Now, I don’t have anything resembling a budget. Just an iPod Touch, some cool video apps, a patient daughter, some editing skills, and access to Second Life :) I have no idea what a proper book trailer should be, so this is what I came up with.

Thank you to my wonderful daughter for putting the Goodwill duds back on and traipsing through the grungy alleys of Grand Island.

The music is just a mix I threw together from some audio loops in Sony Acid Pro. I used the 8mm app to film my daughter and the cut scenes from Second Life. And finally, I used a couple of Creative Commons licensed images I found online, and the cover art shot I made myself.

I think it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself :) Enjoy! Share! Spread the word of CherryPop!

Cover Art options

While I’m waiting on my lovely daughter to do some editing, I thought I’d get a jump on creating the cover art. I wasn’t going to but I was struck by an image from the story that would be perfect for it if I could pull it off.

One trip to Goodwill later, I had assembled a pretty good costume for my daughter (who very graciously agreed to be the model in the shot. Then a trip to the paper to borrow the white background (I didn’t touch a thing Indy photogs, I promise!) and Shannon posed in various positions and patiently let me manipulate her until I had a good array of shots to choose from. Then, it was time for some mad Photoshop skillz until I ended up with these two pictures:

Cover Art image #1:

Cover Art image #2:

I think they look pretty good considering. They’re a bit on the photoshoppy side, but it’s ok. I’m partial to the second one myself and Shannon likes the first one better. I’m going to let them percolate for a few days and who knows, I may attempt another one.

Either way though, I’m getting so excited about all of this :)

The book is nearly complete!

I’ve just finished my first round edits (I know, what the hell took me so long? I do not know. Lack of confidence in myself maybe.) and it’s getting a beta read by my daughter. Then,… MOAR EDITING! :)

I could just put this thing into the wild as is and hope for the best, but this is my first book. For years and years I always said I want to write a book but I never did anything about it. Thank goodness for NaNoWriMo though, it gave me the encouragement and kick in the ass needed to just effing do it already. I can’t describe the sense of accomplishment I felt when I reached the 50k goal. It was wonderful. And stressful as hell. So I stupidly took a break from the book when I was done, fully intending to begin editing it “soon.”

Except “soon” turned into a ‘year and a half later.” Stupid Steph is Stupid.

But I’m back on the bandwagon, feeling all kinds of excitement about this thing, and all kinds of grateful that opportunities exist now to let me put my baby in the world without having to go through the expense and heartache of more traditional publishing methods. Thank you Amazon! I don’t care if no one buys my book. I will buy a copy, and I will always be able to point to it and say, “I wrote that.” I crossed something off the proverbial bucket list that a lot of would-be authors never manage. And it feels wonderful.

Right now while my daughter reads it through, I’m working on creating the cover art and writing a synopsis. I did settle on a title though, and here it is:


Cool word eh? I never thought I’d be writing a story featuring zombies, but I’ve come to love “the other grey meat” (TM Chad Plambeck) and now I can’t imagine CherryPop’s world without them :)

The CherryPop story started out as a series of Ficlies and though it’s evolved a lot from the original intent of those stories, I hope that if I write more CherryPop novels, I can keep participating on to help me flesh them out.

I feel like I’m writing a big old Thank You post. Sorry about that, but I’ve learned that hardly anyone can write any kind of story without support and encouragement from various places and people. So I just want to show some appreciation for anyone who puts up with me. People like my daughter, first and foremost. She is the very definition of awesome and I love her to bit and pieces. All the people involved with Buffy/Angel Between the Lines which was fun and an invaluable training ground. The fine folks at Ficly too, though I have been away for a good while, I’ll never forget the brilliant and supportive community there. And Ernie. Even though we’re not together anymore, I am and will always be grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement on this project.

Ok enough stuff no one cares about but me :) I’ll post again soon, hopefully with some cover art, and look for Revenants on Amazon soon!

#NaNoWriMo Winning feels so damn good.

At a little past 4pm CST on November 29th, 2009, I reached the NaNoWriMo goal of 50, 000 words in 30 days.


Funny thing is, I still have the rest of the Big Finish to write. But for now, I’m going to stop, savor, and enjoy the distinct lack of pressure weighing on me.

Now comes the hard part, hehe. The editing. I’ve heard some people say you should step away from the book for a week or two before delving into that. I’m wondering if that’s wise for me to do. I know how I am. If I step away from something, I tend to push it further and further down the To Do list. I think I will go ahead and finish the ending, and jump right into editing. NaNoWriMo gave me the motivation to write this thing, but my biggest dream is to be published.

I want to thank my wonderful boyfriend for his amazing support during this craziness and for being understanding when I needed to work on this. And my beautiful daughter for being there with hugs and ‘Way to Go mommy!’s And all friends, relatives, coworkers and assorted NaNo participants who are all fantastic.

And now, off to collapse. Congratulations to the over 10,000 authors who have won NaNo so far!! It really is an amazing program.

#NaNoWriMo So how’s it going?

Well, I’ve passed the 30,000 word mark today and I’m pleased with that. I am quite a bit behind though if I want to make the goal. I was, unfortunately, hit with a case of the flu this week that totally knocked me on my ass and I’ve been sicker this week than I’ve been in several years. Plus it made me miss a day of writing which threw me off my rhythm.

But I’m on the mend and back at it. I’ve got a difficult scene to write to night yet and I’ve been procrastinating a little. But I’m not letting myself go to bed til it’s written.

I did find something else to listen to besides ‘Alice‘ on repeat. All I have to say is thank goodness for the iPod Touch. There is an app called Ambience that has hundreds and hundreds of sort of ‘white noise’ sounds and you can make playlists and have favourites and well it’s the awesomest thing ever. I built a thunderstorms and ocean waves playlist, I let it go and man it helps me tune everything out so I can focus.

I wish I could be one of those cool writers who can listen to their favourite tunes while they write but I’ve learned that it just distracts me. I start singing along, doing big air drum solos, serenading my cat… Not very good for the writing thing. So if you’re like me, I recommend the Ambience app in iTunes. Only 99 cents.

OK enough of that. Time for an excerpt:

“How do we find Starkweather, Max?” asked Charlotte.

“Well – and I’m only guessing here darlin’. I’ve never had the need to find the man meself. But I have heard that the man tends to keep to that fortress of his he calls Athenaeum.”

“Athena-what?” CherryPop asked.

Athenaeum. It’s a great beast of a building. Used to be an insane asylum before the war and then both armies used the place as their headquarters depending on which side was winning at the time. The Shark sort of made it his own when he arrived here.”

#NaNoWriMo – Hitting 20k

I had to stop thinking in terms of whether I would meat the daily goal of 1,667 words in order to be on track. It was driving me nuts and making me check my word count after every couple of paragraphs. I can’t take the pressure, hehe.

No, what works for me is to just ensure that I write *something* on the story every day.  It’s important to keep up interest in the story, and just write until I’m spent. Sometimes this means a 2000 word day, sometimes just a few hundred, and that’s perfectly okay. I work full-time and now that my week of furlough is over, I can only write in the evenings and on weekends – which is also the time I have to do, you know, life stuff.  So I’m just fitting it in when I can. To me, that relieves some of that ‘Gotta get to ____ words’ pressure.

Last night, I crossed the 20,000 word mark. It was the most amazing feeling I’ve ever gotten while writing. Like I had actually accomplished something. I’ve been writing off and on most of my life, but never this much on one story – I never thought I could. I tell great short stories, but have never been able to sustain a story this long. And the COOL thing is, I’m only on Chapter 7! I’ve got this sucker mapped out til the end which is also something I’ve never done before.

Yep, there are parts of what I’ve written that I think are pretty crap. I mean, probably quite cringe-worthy and I’m still trying to locate the right narrative voice, but that’s ok! It will all shake out in the editing next month! :) For now, the plan is just to get this story out of my head and big huge thank you to NaNoWriMo for being so supportive to the thousands of writers writing away this month. The pep talks from published writers really helps!

Also want to tell my friends, my family and my wonderful honey thank you for the support too. I can’t tell you guys how much it means to me to have my own little gallery of cheerleaders. It really helps .

Ok, an excerpt from the latest spate of writing…

“Don’t you think I should have a weapon?” asked CherryPop in a hopeful tone.

“Liam will look after you dear. That’s his job. I don’t like the thought of you carrying a weapon. You haven’t had any practice with one.”

CherryPop hung her had guiltily and Liam suddenly had trouble meeting Charlotte’s eyes.

Charlotte narrowed her eyes. “Or have you?”

Before CherryPop could open her mouth to answer, Liam stepped forward and spoke up. “It’s my fault Charlotte. I recently acquired a very fine Winchester rifle and well, after speaking to Des about it, we agreed CherryPop needed to be able to defend herself,” he paused, “…should the need arise.” Liam didn’t say that the only reason she would need to fight for her life was if Liam was dead (again), but Charlotte understood.

“Hmph.” Charlotte grumbled, but she didn’t press the argument. It had been a hell of a job keeping her daughter alive for her 23 years, and she would be damned if she was going to be overly fussy about letting her protect herself if the time came.

#NaNoWriMo, days 4-7

After a rough couple of days when I had to fight my own mood and real life stuff (tho I made myself write at least a little on those days) I had a fabulous day today. Have cracked 13,000 (13,300 to be precise. According to the NaNo site I should be at 13,336 by tomorrow night. Yay!) and am still feeling great about my story. This is a good sign for me. And this is the most I’ve ever written on one story. It’s starting to hit me: I think I really can write a book.

So what are my plans for this book? Well, after I edit the crap out of it next month and ask a few people to beta it, I am planning to use to publish it. Would I like to be in bookstores nationwide? Well sure! But this time I around, I’m mostly just proving to myself that I can actually do this. I’ve talked it it long enough. Time to put up or shut up.

Oh yes, before I forget, You might know that @CherryPop and @LiamTheZombie are on Twitter.  Some other characters from my book have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. Give them a follow won’t you?

@DesmondMcGee – CherryPop’s father and powerful Resurrection Man

@Charlotte_McGee – CherryPop’s mother, also very powerful with the Wicca side of things.

@J_Starkweather – Julius Starkweather, AKA “Shark” – though never to his face. Shark is the man who must be stopped at all costs.

If you follow these accounts, you might get some hints about the book’s plot ;)

Here’s an excerpt:

Up ahead, Shark caught the dim light from the stairway entrance he had used only minutes before and to him, it represented safety. He would narrowly escape his own foul creatures and heaven help the flunky who had allowed them to get loose from their pen.

As he put his foot on the bottom stair, he felt a hand grab the back of his shirt. Shark let out a decidedly unmannered shriek and tore himself free, but the delay had cost him. As he wrenched himself from the grasp of the zombie, another one wrapped its powerful arms around Shark’s midsection. It held on with an iron grip and opened its jaws wide. Shark screamed in terror as he felt the teeth tear his the side of his belly open. Blood poured out and the zombie lapped it up greedily.

Oh yes, one last thing: I now have a title! I dub this book Athenaeum :)

Maybe. All names subject to change on the whim of the author.

#NaNoWriMo Day 2 & 3

Official word count: 8,002. On the second day I had a harder time of it because I was beginning the part of the story that I was rebooting from the original idea. And I had that ‘Oh God. A blank page.’ moment. I managed about 12oo-ish words but I stopped when I realized it just wasn’t flowing right.

Today though.. a whole ‘nuther story. I made a playlist of songs I knew wouldn’t make me want to sing along or otherwise distract me, put my iPod on, and wrote until I met my goal in just a couple of hours. I discovered that this tune (YouTube vid) on repeat was amazing for me. It’s subtle and quiet but strangely, it let me focus. If anyone out there has suggestions for similar tunes like this I could listen to, that would be awesome.

I’m feeling really confident about this still and I really think I might actually make it to the finish line this time.

An excerpt:

Jackie looked away, toward Buttons again. In the same raspy moan, he said, “G-g-garden. B-back gaaaarden. Buried it. T-t-treeeeee.” Jackie stopped, the exertion of speaking coherently was agitating him and he could feel a gnawing hunger growing in his belly. He began to salivate as he stared at Buttons. A low growl filled the room and Desmond could feel his control slipping. If he didn’t lay him back to rest soon he wouldn’t be able to sustain him and both he and Buttons would probably end up as Jackie’s dinner.

“Good enough Buttons?” Desmond asked, his voice tight and hurried.

Buttons did not like the look of pure hunger on Jackie’s face, especially since it seemed directed at him. He told Desmond he had enough info to go on and to please make Jackie stop looking at him like that.

With a final effort, Desmond whispered, “Rest, Jackie.” And with the power inside of him that he’d felt and known since birth, he shaped it so that it would now sever the link between the corpse and himself. He did it hard and fast and with an audible pop, Jackie’s body collapsed on the cot and resumed rotting.

#NaNoWriMo Day One

5,058 words for day one. Did I get a little too ambitious? Maybe. Here’s the thing though: I knew how I wanted the story to start out. I’ve known for a long time. So I knew I’d have a decent day today. I am well pleased :)

But the hard part will come tomorrow when I sit down to write the next part. I am, and have been, stuck on coming up with some names for a couple of things. Seems minor, but I spent all day yesterday trying to sort this out and I didn’t get what I wanted. I’m naming a location and the main baddie. Kind of important, and their names will feature big in the story. So I’ve inadvertently put a lot of pressure on myself to get their names right and well, me + pressure = very bad thing.

But a good start today means I have a bit of breathing room :)

Debating whether to post the story online as I go. I’m thinking I might get entangled in too much editing if I do that so I think I will keep it offline until I’m done. The editing comes later right?