Pacing the pace

Working today on editing and pacing. Pacing is one of those sausage-making aspects of writing that readers don’t generally consider too much or notice, but for the writer? Oh, it is a doozy.

How fast do things move? Where are the lulls and moments of reflection? And how do you tell the story you need to tell at the correct rate that will keep the reader engaged and interested, but not so action packed and breathless that a reader feels stressed out.

One thing that is true of most books is that they are about the most important period of time for the main character/s, and in that respect the pacing shouldn’t and can’t reflect what real life is like.

For example: me, today? I had a nice breakfast of leftover things on the edge of wilting, played with my kids, and then wrote a bunch of thing.

My main character: she woke up, went to Hell, almost drowned, and then made the great decision to follow a demon into a dark forest.

I often think about how, in all my writing, at the end of the story there comes a great unspoken and unwritten about time where the character chills out hardcore and recuperates from all that happened to them.

There’s TV programming, in, I think, Norway? Or one of those gloriously socialist and Scandinavian countries, where they show five hours of a train moving through the countryside. Or four hours of a burning fire.

Really. This is all it is, and it’s wildly popular.

I get that, I really get that as a writer: that desire to leave behind some of the sturm und drang of the stressful culture of narrative and relax.

I get it, and maybe someday I’ll write my opus about drying paint. But not today.

And speaking of narrative, a picture tells a thousand words, no?This is my kid, diligently picking up flower petals after dropping them flower-girl style, because she didn’t like the mess they made.


New Fay Morgan Chronicle Book

So thrilled, so thrilled! Here there be unicorns, spiders, and succubi. I love this book and hope you do too. Things go bad, so bad, for Ms. LeFay and her trusty wizard friend when they try to figure out what’s going on with this hunt that has come to Seattle. And yeah, that’s right, I said Merlin is her friend, just a friend, and nothing else, and jeez, why do people keep thinking it’s anything more?

Book 5

The Hunter’s Prey


The Demon’s Revenge: the 4th book in The Fay Morgan Chronicles.

Book 4 

I am so pleased and happy to announce that the fourth short novel of The Fay Morgan Chronicles is out (The Demon’s Revenge), and I hope you love it. This book is a Morgan le Fay and her trusty shopgirl Lila caper, and I had so much fun writing their dialogue and loved the way they are such opposite women, yet have such a good friendship. There are huge character developments with both of them, and some plotlines that have been brewing since book 1 are answered, like what kind of creature Lila actually is, and what Morgan will do now that she fully understands the full depth of her own history. And of course, as per usual, things do not go at all as planned. Here’s the book’s blurb:

Morgan le Fay, the immortal and legendary witch of Avalon, is done with her life. She’s through with making terrible decisions and hurting those she loves. Now there’s just one more thing she has to take care of: she has to help her faithful assistant Lila change into the terrible creature that has remained hidden within her for so long.
Lila has no idea any of this is going on, but does know that she’s sick of Morgan moping around, and that she desperately needs her friend and mentor’s help because the paranormal denizens of Seattle are all starting to act sort of… evil.
Soon Lila and Morgan are trying to piece together the strange clues that will literally lead them to the gates of hell, all while Lila is starting to change. And with her change… everything changes.
The Demon’s Revenge is the fourth short novel in The Fay Morgan Chronicles, an urban fantasy series. Fans of The Dresden Files and The Lily Harper Series should enjoy this series.

For anyone who is new to this series, I do recommend the first three short books first, as the series is very episodic and each book builds on the last one. Also, for anyone who is frustrated by reading this series one short novel at a time, I am going to be soon publishing a book 1-3 as an omnibus, and will do the same for books 3-6 etc. Which begs the question: how long will this series be? I have no idea, except to say I am having a ton of fun writing them, people are buying them (thanks!), and I have a lot of terrible and strange things I’d like to do with these characters, so we shall see.


It’s Alive!

The third book in the Fay Morgan Chronicles, The Witch’s Hunger, is alive and living in Amazon world! I’m so excited to get this story out into the world, and hope you love it. It’s a trickier book than the first two, in that some of the longer plot arcs get revealed, while other parts.
Book 3

The Witch’s Hunger? Is Morgan le Fay the witch who is hungry, you may be asking? Yes indeed, but the question is, hungry for what? Read the book and see.

On another note, apologies to anyone who pre-ordered the book. You probably got a pre-order cancellation not about it. Due to some misreading on my part of the uploading process to Amazon, things went quickly and terrible wrong. In fact, I believe I was heard muttering at 3 a.m. last night “I’m ready to be stressed out about something else.” I hated to have them cancelled, because I did have the book ready to go in time (hence its publication today), but so it goes.

And last, should you want to write a review on Amazon, please do! (And thanks.)

I’m reading a great book….

I’m sick, the kids are sick, and so we are watching too much Frozen (the movie), drinking lots of tea and warm water, and reading lots of books. The kids gravitate toward their all time favorites: anything with the heroic Lowly Worm, as well as bell hooks’ Homemade Love which we can basically read on repeat forever.

I’m reading a young adult book like usual (I’m on the Norton Award Jury for YA and MG science fiction and fantasy, so I read an ungodly amount of great teen fiction). At the moment I’m loving “Expiration Date” by William Campbell Powell. It’s a book that I’ve had on my shelf for a while, and it’s taken me a while to read it, for no good reason besides the title and the cover point to a certain type of dystopian near-future thriller that I’m a bit burnt out on. But, when I did start reading this book, I found something really unique and beautiful. It is an end of the world story about robot children when humans are no longer able to bear kids, and even better than that, it’s a meditation on humanity and personhood that I’m finding quite profound, as well as amusing and provocative. It’s a book that’s as much about being in a band and having an unrequited crush on a cute boy as it is about the end of the world. I highly recommend it.

Whenever I get books to read for award consideration, I never know how well they are doing out in the world. And yes, I suppose I could go look up some numbers and figure this out, but I don’t really want to. I want to take each book as it comes, and do a better job of not judging a book by its cover, and dive into it optimistically. And this book? I hope it is doing really well out in the world.

My Superbowl Sunday

I went for a walk with my toddler during the middle of the game today. It was spooky–no cars, no humans, anywhere, except for this other duo at the park who were twenty-somethings having a fight in that way of being in love with each other but being incompatible and so bone weary of their loops. They were lovely and vibrant, but I was glad to be on the other side of it all with my exuberant and laughing kid jumping in every puddle and giving me a hundred side glances of love.

There was a moment, when we were almost home again, when all of a sudden I heard screaming from every nearby houses. Even Monster, this asshole dog who lives down the street, started howling. Ten seconds later there was fireworks. My neighborhood is all about the illegal fireworks.

The Seahawks had just scored a touchdown seconds before half-time, and it was this moment where everyone was doing this same thing, in their separate spaces, but feeling the same joy and pride, and even me, not watching the game and being out of step with my city, even I felt something good.

The Dragon’s Secret…

the dragons secret

The Dragon’s Secret is not her perfect pancake recipe that happens to be vegan.
The Dragon’s Secret is not dabbing lilac essential oil on her wrists for that all day fresh feeling.
The Dragon’s Secret is not that she’s a giant fire-breathing lizard with a heart of gold.
The Dragon’s Secret is my second book in the Fay Morgan Chronicles, released today and flying around the internet ethers to be consumed by you and you.
The Dragon’s Secret continues the tale of a modern-day Morgan le Fay who has to fight and solve the mystery of the shadowy knights who have somehow managed to capture the world’s most powerful dragon. On top of that, she has to protect the only man she’s ever loved who seems set on throwing himself in harm’s way for the sake of that ancient dragon and the hidden history between them that has laid buried for eleven hundred years.
Link here.

Unwritten Kids Books I Want to Read This Week

AKA: I live in the banana world of toddlers, and oh the things they say.

“Bad News! The Asteroid is Using the Time Machine”
Which needs to be a cartoon book written by my friend Catherine Rzepniewski and her young son.

“My Poop Plan is Working Right Now but It’s a Secret” Which my Lyra can write and I will edit if she lets me read it.

“Try Not to Sit on the Guinea Pigs, They will Die ” A cautionary Sparrow tale.

“Pretend I’m not Real and Nothing is Real” an existential treatise on everything and nothing, or maybe just a tedious game that goes on and on.