Friday, August 24, 2012


First off, I want to give a huge Thank You to Kim Galloway. On extremely short notice, she helped me edit my story, Deep Breath, which is going to be published in Ladies of Steampunk magazine (or at least, unless the Seans find it unbelievably awful... ) Deep Breath needed grammatical and consistency edits, plus characterization checks, and at least 500 words cut. (The story was a bit on the Long side...)

Kim did a wonderful job, even if she was scarily nice to me. Look for a guest post from her later; her services are for sale (no, not those services! the editing services!) and I'd highly recommend her if you're a writer and need someone to proof and story-content edit your work. Her rates seem reasonable, although I confess I've never paid anyone to proof my work as yet. I'm always more of a "swap work for work" or owing people favors sort of girl. Maybe, when my writing gig starts paying more, I can afford professional services.

I was talking about her with my husband - as you all probably know, he doesn't read my published work, but he does provide a useful sounding board - and being a little embarrassed at the gushing she did.

This was a thorough pleasure to read.  You are a talented and excellent writer and it is obvious that you love what you do, as you do it so well.  :)  It is a rare treat for me to work with something that I so thoroughly enjoy.  Your piece, as is, is strong and well executed before the editorial comments that I made.


I told him what she said, and he gave me this flat look. "You're a good writer."

I said, "I feel about average, most of the time. Maybe a little sub-par. And decidedly lazy."

"I want you to go on the internet and look up 'free sex stories' okay? Read a few of those and get back to me about you being average."

"I've read internet porn, hon," I said. Of course I have. If nothing else, I occasionally find good ideas for positions and situations. "I don't compare myself to that. I compare myself to the other writers that share the collections I'm in. I feel like mid- to bottom of the heap in that group."

"So, in essence, you're comparing yourself to all the students who got into William & Mary and saying you're upset that you're not a straight A student?"


"That still makes you pretty damn smart, you know that, right?"

Comparisons are a bitchy thing... I have a lot of writer friends on Facebook, Sommer Marsden, Rue Volley, Kathleen Bradean, Shanna Germain, and more. And I often see posts like "Wrote 1200 words today, now I can eat breakfast" and I think about my miserable little 500 words that I manage to crank out a few times a week and I feel... vaguely ashamed. Like a pretender. Like I'm just pissing around, wasting time.

And then I have conversations with another writer friend and we're talking about projects I have out and projects I'm working on, and she's like "man, next to you, I feel so slack." (She's published two novellas, and several shorts... so...)

Here's my accomplishments:

In a little over a year - my first writer's acceptance was May, 2011, for a story that came out in October - I've seen 8 stories accepted and three stories rejected. Of those, I was reassured by one editor that a story was very good, just not a good fit for HER collection; one was rejected because I submitted 2 stories to the same collection and the editor had several stories like the first one, and she wanted the 2nd one instead, one that has been rejected twice with no commentary - all of these stories are back out for consideration with other publications. I hope they'll find a home somewhere.

Really, in a year's time, 8 acceptances is really damn good. I've got five stories currently out for consideration, one that I'm about 1/5th of the way done writing and have finished outlining, (due Oct 1) an idea that won't shut up, so I may try to do that one, although the deadline is pretty tight (Sept 15th... yikes!) and at least 3 more ideas that are percolating.

Yeah, ok. Maybe I'm just awesome.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I like Big Trucks and I cannot Lie

This is not the cover.

Congratulations! Your story, Big Trucks, made the final cut. The publisher is very excited about the collection! Sixteen stories will be included in the anthology out of over eighty that were submitted—many by multi-published authors—so be very proud you made it! 

I always love emails like that. It makes up for hitting the send button and looking around for the trashcan so I can vomit into it. I know, I know. But seriously, submitting a story always - ALWAYS - makes my physically ill, so it's nice that there's some payout for it! And not just in a monetary manner. (Not that I won't take the money, oh, I will so certainly take the money!)

I wrote Big Trucks in a few marathon sessions - I think it's probably one of the quickest stories I've ever written. It took me... two, three days tops. I changed the story around a bit, took out some of the excess back story on Steve, my hero, and filled in a little more about Amy, my heroine.

Now, I have an advantage; much like with Snake Dance (forthcoming Real Soon Now!), I have some personal experience. Or at least, some here-say. My grandfather, uncle and cousin are/were EMTs and volunteer firefighters. So, I've heard stories. And once my cousin and I were actually on scene for a fire - my grandfather got the call and we were in the car. He was very firm "Stay in the Car" and we did. (You can express your amazement at my docility if you like.) But I won't ever forget it.

I went to a few web sites that talked about firemen stories; not looking for anything to steal, but just getting a feel for the jargon. I did some web research on trucks and hoses and other firefighting tools, then I sat down, threw some characters onto the page, and poof.

(Also, small confession - the Steve in my story... totally based on someone I know. He's not a firefighter, but he's totally hot and I admit I was thinking about him... the whole time. I'm a bad, bad, bad girl....)

Table of Contents

Smoking Stilettos – Rachel Firasek 
Saving Charlotte – Sabrina York 
Hook Me Up – Adele Dubois
Big Trucks – Lynn Townsend
Lost and Found – Nanette Guadiano
Temperature Rising – Cathryn Fox
Unexpected Detour – Ily Goyanes
Rescue Me – Maggie Wells
Chasing Fire – Elle James
Stoke – Tahira Iqbal
Something’s Burning – Cynthia D'Alba
Fire Hazard – M. Marie
The Fireman’s Rescue – Kalissa Wayne
Falling Ashes – Shoshanna Evers
Fire Extinguisher – Rowan Elizabeth
Her Hero – Catherine Paulssen
Johnny Blaze – Delilah Devlin

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blog Tour: Bigger Briefs with Lily Sawyer

“Reluctant Romance:  Laying the Foundation” by Lily Sawyer

There are so many challenges in this life and one of them is finding love.  I myself, haven’t, been successful.   After a time you just tend to give up or stop trying.   You wrap yourself in something else like work or a hobby and figure it’s never going to happen so why bother looking.

It’s usually about that time, when you’re not looking, that something happens, that certain someone comes into your life and you have no idea what to do.   Whether to trust yourself or your feelings.

In my story Chester Jones is an architect, his last relationship ended badly and he was resigned to living in the beautiful mountains of Colorado…alone.    As an architect he could do most of his work from home, only having contact with another human being when he had to consult with a client.

Jesse Waters is a successful surgeon in a hospital in Denver.   He loves his work, but with the long hours he works he barely leaves the hospital.  He wants a break from the hectic city life and decides to build a getaway retreat in the woods.    He needs an architect, his builder mentions Chester Jones.

They get together, toss ideas around and Chester creates some schematics of the new house.   They end up working closely together, the relationship goes from being professional to more than either man expected and, perhaps wanted.  At least on Chester’s part.

There are so many issues on being in a relationship and making it work.    Love is only a part of it.    Trust and communication play a big role.   Far too many people can say the words “I love you,” it’s not hard to say, but it’s just lip service.   Chester was used by his former lover, lied to and then tossed out like yesterday’s garbage.   So finding someone new wasn’t top priority, he looks at Jesse and can’t help remember what he’d gone through before.   It takes time for him to trust again and to open his heart to love.

Jesse has spent so much time being married to his profession that relationships took a backseat.    Chester lights a fire inside Jesse, he never expected it.   And when Chester is reluctant to move their relationship to the next level he decides some persuasion is in order.

I think my problem is, like Chester, letting my guard down.   Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open to the possibility of getting hurt.   No one wants to get hurt, Chester certainly went through the ringer the first time with his ex and he didn’t want another go around.   But Jesse isn’t his ex, he is a caring man full of love to give, but will Chester open his eyes and let Jesse show him that not everyone is a lying jerk like his ex.

Live is full of challenges, upheavals, good times and bad.   I think we should try to hang onto the good times and learn from the bad ones and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Reluctant Romance: Guys and Guys is available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and All Romance eBooks.

Find out more about Lily Sawyer at her Book Blog.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Something New

A few months back, I saw this Call for Submissions. (as a note, I hear that Sommer may be extending the deadline - oooh, punny! - a bit. If you're interested, keep an eye on the call and if she doesn't make her word count for the collection...) and then I saw this...

And I had a wonderful idea for a story. If you've read much of my work, you'll know I have a bit of a location fetish. This probably has to do with the fact that I rarely leave the house. So, my couples have a tendency to get it on in airships, on catwalks, on firetrucks, under bridges, in cars... so, wouldn't it be fun to have sex on a boat?

The story pretty much wrote itself at that point.

Except that it had to have zombies in it, right? Which means if my heroine isn't one of those wimpy sorts who has to be saved all the time, she needs to be able to use a firearm.

And for reasons I don't really want to get into, I hate guns. It's a long-standing prejudice left over from a traumatic event. And then I read this story line (particularly, this strip) from Something Positive. (as a note, the artist was doing something weird when this story got posted, and it's not in order... sorry about that... but you should be reading Something Positive anyway...)

Maybe it was time for me to examine my fears. (Back in college, when we had to do that trust issue thing - you know, falling backward off the bleachers and letting your classmates catch you? Ug. I was sobbing before I could do that. No, I don't trust you not to drop me. Asshole. In retrospect, I probably just should have failed the class.)

I have a few friends that are gun-bunnies, so I sent my friend a text, "Think you could teach me to shoot?"

Needless to say, she was extremely enthused. She also has an impressive collection of guns. (Weird fact*: While only about 45% of the population owns a gun, most gun owners have between three and nine guns... which is to say there are enough guns in the US for every man, woman, and child to have at least two.) But I can believe that. Brenda brought four guns with her, and I know she has more than that.

We discussed logistics and set a date; Tuesday afternoon. She picked a range over in our area because her range closes at 6pm on weekdays. I suppose we could have gone out on the weekend, but I think doing it on a weekday was better. Fewer people.

She sent me the info on the range - I had to read some safety rules in preparation to get a range card. I think this is a grand idea. I personally don't want to be shot by accident while at the range. My husband says the rules all pretty much boil down to "Don't be a douche canoe." Keep firearms with the action clear when not in use. Point all firearms downrange at all times; loaded or otherwise. Fire only at your own target, not at the floor, ceiling, or someone else's target. Sweep up your brass. Use eye and ear protection at all times. No eating, drinking, smoking, spitting, or taking pictures. (Shit. I love being able to document things...)

I had to ask for clarification on a number of these things, since I had no idea what they meant. There were a lot of other rules for specific types of weapons - rifles, automatics, etc. I hoped the "test" wouldn't include any of this, because there was no way in hell I was going to remember anything.

When we got there, it was relatively uncrowded. I could hear gunfire, even outside. On the occasion when it wasn't drowned out by jet noise from Oceana, that is. So, Brenda arrives with her duffle bag of guns... We go in and she tells us another gentleman will probably be joining us. My husband knows Brent from work - neither Brenda nor Brent work for my husband's employer any longer, but they used to.... anyway....

So, interesting fact. At gun range considers any women with men to be "escorted" and therefore we get free use of the range. (It's $15 per person for men, or women arriving alone...) Ladies night at the gun club, how adorable.

They had a variety of paper targets for sale - the standard round bullseye, a variety of Humanoid ones, and some interesting themed ones, like this:

I entertained myself with the idea of buying a zombie target; after all, this whole firing a handgun is supposed to be about research, right? and then decided I wasn't comfortable yet with the idea of shooting a humanoid target.

So, we head into the range; booth 2, lane 12. I was still messing with my ear protectors when we entered the booth so I got an earful of what a firearm actually sounds like. Ow. LOUD. Take everything you think you know about how loud a firearm is supposed to be +more NOISE. Wow. Trust me, I got my ear protectors on quickly.

Brenda unloaded her bag and placed four handguns on the counter. We loaded magazines and she told me about the different guns. This button pushes the slide in place. This unloads the magazine. This is the thumb safety. Line these three green dots up and then squeeze the trigger. Remember to breathe. Don't think about it too much.

I watched her fire several shots and then she laid the gun down on the counter for me.

I took up the gun, got my feet settled, lined up the sites. And fired. (Unseen by me, Brenda was apparently behind me for the first shot with her hands out, in case I wasn't braced well enough. I'd been expecting a lot of recoil. In movies, if they're not completely ignoring recoil, they show some dippy girl firing a gun and going flailing backward into a pile of books or something. So I had my feet spread and was braced for it... but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. And no, I didn't stagger backward.)

I fired off four shots, dislodged the magazine and stepped back. The husband took a turn (after a refresher explanation - he used to shoot a lot with a friend of his back before we were married, but the friend and I didn't get along because of my feelings about firearms, and the husband hasn't been shooting since we started dating.) and then Brent took a turn.

That first target came back full of holes; we'd all made a run at it. So we labeled the next one, I fired another 8 rounds into this target. The husband took a turn with the .40 caliber. Then Brent, then Brenda. And then we moved to a smaller gun; the one Brenda carries, the .330. I liked that one a little better; the trigger was a little harder to pull, but it seemed easier for me to get the shot lined up.

I didn't put a single shot "in the black", but I did hit the paper every time I fired, so for a beginner, that's pretty good.

I discovered something I'd heard before, but never experienced. Shell casings - called "brass" - are hot. They eject out of the gun forcefully, usually bounced off the wall and hit the floor, but from time to time, one of them would hit me, or the other people in my party. I got one down the front of my shirt and stuck in my bra - something Brenda found hilarious because it happens to her all the time. The husband managed to get one down the back of his collared shirt AND t-shirt, and had to untuck his t-shirt to get it out. He's actually got a crescent-shaped burn on his neck. (whereas apparently my experience with candle wax on the boobs prevented me from being more than just slightly annoyed).

In total, I fired ~20 rounds with two different guns.

The husband, I think, was hoping I'd be more enthused.

"What did you think?"

"I didn't hate it."


"Oh, come on! I don't loathe it and I didn't start to cry. What more do you want?"

I'm slightly exasperated about this. I know he's "manning up" as he says it, about the roller coasters (he's afraid of heights.) and going on the Loch Ness with me and the kiddo. And I appreciate it. But he won't go on any of the Big Kids coasters with me, just the ones that the kiddo can do. He's probably got another year before she'll be tall enough to hit Alpengeist or Apollo's Chariot, and maybe three before she's tall enough for Gryffon. So, you know, he's trying. But he's not jumping up and down and excited to get on a coaster, and I know, honestly, that he'd rather still not do it.

So, I went. I shot. I wouldn't be adverse to doing it again.

But I'm not ready to buy a gun.

* Fact meaning what information I can find, and that's still highly slanted and politically charged, even just for finding out information! I'm not going to post links to all the sites I looked at. You can do that info gathering yourself. I collated a LOT of data to get those figures and I'm certainly not sure it's correct.