Merry Christmas, everyone! I put together a quick holiday character meme for anyone in need of some winter-themed chuckling. Just pick five characters (could be either your own, or from fandoms you like), write them down, and substitute their names into the following questions. Feel free to share your answers in the comments or post them on your own blog if you want!
Of the characters on your list, who would most appreciate the following gifts?
– A high-end coffee maker
– A year’s supply of lollipops
– A tree planted in their honor in the rainforest
– A large bottle of whiskey
– A mason jar of fake blood
(5) is given the choice of wearing either antlers and a red nose, or a hideous sweater with blinking lights. Which does he/she pick and is he/she pleased with the situation?
Read the rest of this entry
This post features Willow and Troy
from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble Type: Canon (Click Here if confused)
Timeline: Before the book, when the Unitime project was just getting started
Willow picked at his stiff collar and tie, wishing not for the first time that Troy would have agreed to apply for the grant alone. Troy was so much better at this sort of thing.
Troy was charismatic and had a kind of trustworthy voice that made people sure that he was smart enough to accomplish exactly what he said he wanted to do. Willow had the kind of voice that made people wonder how he had managed to graduate at all. If they didn’t get the grant, it would be Willow’s fault. He was sure of it.
Troy emerged from the washroom and joined Willow on the bench. “I have a great feeling about this, Will,” he said, leaning against the wall with both hands tucked behind his head. Willow wondered how he managed to still have such a range of movement available to him when dressed formally. Willow felt like he was in a body cast. Read the rest of this entry
This post features Bethany and Ralph
from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble Type: Canon
Timeline: After the book
Ralph stepped into the kitchen and found his wife sitting at the table, eyes pinched shut, hunched over a piece of paper. This wouldn’t have been especially odd, except that it was the middle of the night, and she hadn’t even turned on the lights in the room.
“Bethany? What are you…?”
She groaned and slapped the pen she’d been holding down on the table. “I can’t remember.”
Ralph sat down at the table as well, peering at her in the darkness. “You mean you were sleepwalking?”
“No,” she said. “The story idea. I had a dream, and thought it might be a good story, so I came down here to make notes and then… nothing.” Read the rest of this entry
This post features Willow and Jasper
from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble Type: Canon (Click Here if confused)
Timeline: Before the book, when Willow and Jasper were college roommates
“I’ll tell you, dude, you missed an awesome party,” Jasper announced when he finally returned to the room that night. It happened that Willow was still awake, but he got the impression that Jasper would have delivered his statement whether or not anyone was alert enough to hear it.
“Yeah, I’ll cry about it later,” Willow grumbled, blinking rapidly and trying to refocus on the book he was holding.
“Seriously,” Jasper went on. “Crazy good.”
Willow looked up with suspicion-narrowed eyes. He was just noticing how much Jasper was using phrases like ‘awesome’ and ‘crazy good.’ It was an infrequent day that Jasper used words like that, and when he did, he normally reserved them for something a little more worthy than a dance party. “Something wrong?” Willow asked. Read the rest of this entry
This post features Snowiks
from A Book Without Dragons.
I was taking a walk with my iPod, browsing for soul songs—
[Hannah – You should prooobably explain what you mean by that, Liv.]
[Me – Good point, thanks.]
Music has always been very important…
[Hannah – no, not here. In a separate page with a linky thing. Like you do with my name.]
[Me – Why?]
[Hannah – Because you tend to be really long-winded, and I don’t want you to take up the whole blog post with the explanation.]
[Me – Okay, fine.]
Click Here for more info about Soul Songs.
[Hannah – Lol, why is it capitalized? Feeling self-important today, are we?]
[Me – Get out.] Read the rest of this entry
This post contains characters from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble type – Pseudo canon
Remember Five Tales of a Lost Teddy? This is very similar, except I have my characters all interacting with cats.
Cats didn’t like Willow nearly as much as he wanted to like them. They were so universally considered mystical and secretive, and anyone loved by cats tended to have something unique about them. Given that, Willow couldn’t be particularly surprised that he didn’t easily attract feline companions. But it made him sad all the same.
This particular one was scraggly and thin, and Willow just happened to have a cheese stick in his pocket, so his odds were much better than the average day as he approached the cat. She paused in her fitful attempts to wash her face and stared at Willow indecisively.
With the minimum amount of crinkling, he stripped the plastic packaging from the cheese and separated a segment. Then he knelt, held it out, and waited. Read the rest of this entry
If we were having coffee this weekend, we would be drinking it on a couch next to a crackling fireplace, and yet I would still find a way to be upset about Winter. I would tell you how much I miss being outside and feeling the sun. But I would also tell you that I’m working on my dislike of the cold months. I am trying to see them as a time of rest and reflection.
Therefore, let’s reflect… Read the rest of this entry
This post contains the following characters:
Willow from A Book Without Dragons
Lester from The World That Forgot How to Dance
Drabble type: Crossover / Two Character Mash Up
Welcome to another of my Two Character Mash Ups! (Yeah, I really didn’t need to capitalize that… but it makes me feel all important and stuff…) This story is the product of Willow x Lester x Disneyland. Enjoy!
“Hey, buddy, did you see a bunch of kids go by here?”
Willow looked up at the owner of the question, wondering how he could possible word his response so as not to hurt the guy’s feelings. After all, they were literally surrounded by children. “Can you be more specific?”
“Kids. You know…” Lester held a hand at his thigh to indicate the approximate height of those he was so frantically seeking. His other hand clutched a plastic tiara. Read the rest of this entry
This post features Snowiks from A Book Without Dragons.
Drabble Type: Canon (aka – Events that really happened to the characters)
Timeline: After the events of the book
Snowiks opened his e-mail with the daily sense of defeat. He didn’t know why he still checked it, really. It was considered antiquated. (People these days were using voice-snaps, which Snowiks refused to send simply because the name sounded stupid.) This time, though, his routine wasn’t for the sake of warming up the keyboard – he had a message.
And what’s more: the message was from the post office. Paper mail hadn’t been delivered for the past decade, but the establishment still existed. The e-mail concisely informed him that he had something waiting for him and could he please pick it up before next Thursday?
No need to wait that long. After his shift ended, he didn’t even swing by his home before heading towards the local post branch. (‘Local’ takes on the meaning of ‘a two hour drive’ when one lives in a town as small as Chagrin Heights.) Read the rest of this entry
This post features Jasper and Snowiks from A Book Without Dragons.
Drabble Type: Meta (aka – characters know they are characters)
Chief Snowiks saw a brief shadow on the door only moments before it swung open—Jasper, apparently, didn’t feel the need to knock.
He also didn’t feel obliged to ask Snowiks if he was busy. “Chief! It’s Pumpkin Spice Day! Where were you?”
Snowiks flipped over the top paper on the pile, though it was purely a reflex. Jasper technically had security clearance to look at anything that might pass over his desk. “I was right here,” he said. “And what is…?”
“Pumpkin Spice Day,” Jasper repeated, holding out a to-go cup of coffee as if that explained everything. Read the rest of this entry
It’s today!! A Book Without Dragons is officially out in the world! (Hey, have you been keeping up with the secret code? The last clue is 2:58.) And, in honor of that, we have our final open letter, directly to you from my main Character, Willow Ayers.
(PS – don’t forget to come to my online release party tonight! I’m really looking forward to it!)
So… Yeah, I’m Willow. Thanks for letting me talk to you today!
I know I should probably be talking about the specific scientific aspects of the Unitime Satellites, and don’t get me wrong, that’s all important. But here what I really want to talk about: The title.
It’s a weird title, right? “A Book Without Dragons.” Why would a book be defined by what’s not in it? I guess the first thing I’ll tell you about the title is that the title is an accurate statement. There really aren’t any dragons in the book. Read the rest of this entry
“Hurry up! It’s already 8:44 and we don’t wan’t to be late for the party.” (Confused? Click Here)
Its almost here!! My book launches this Saturday, and I’m so jittery and excited as I’m putting the final touches on my party preparations. (There’s still time to sign up! It’s all online. Click for details)
Check out my (very pretty!) freebies:
Read the rest of this entry
Here is the final installment of my Chapter 0 series for A Book Without Dragons. (Which hits the shelves in less than a week, can you believe it?? Have you been keeping up with your clues for the coupon code? By the way, it is precisely 7:55. Click Here if you’re not sure what I’m talking about)
Let’s take a look at what Willow was doing just before the book begins…
Jasper told him to keep the windows covered at all times, but it was a rule that Willow broke at least once a day. It wasn’t that he was claustrophobic or even all that unhappy about being in the hotel suite every day—he was never particularly “outdoorsy”—but he did enjoy seeing the sky.
Willow sat on the floor and eased the heavy curtains away until he saw sunlight. Without meaning to, his mind did some quick calculations to determine if any of his satellites were currently over Chagrin Heights. They weren’t, but one would be orbiting in another hour. He’d have to remember to look out the window again then. Read the rest of this entry
“It’s 11:11 – Make a wish!” (Confused? Click Here)
Well, here we are! In another two weeks, A Book Without Dragons will be out in the world, and I am so excited! (Also, very sleepy—there’s a lot of behind the scenes work that happens in the home stretch—but mostly I’m just excited.)
And guess what?! I’m inviting you to an online release party. If you’ve never been to an online book release, check out my previous post Here. The party I attended for Coven was lots of fun, so I decided I definitely wanted to host one of my own when A Book Without Dragons was ready. Read the rest of this entry
“Hey, settle an argument for me and my friends. It’s 3:03, isn’t it?” (Confused? Click Here)
Time for me to hand the keyboard over to another of my characters from A Book Without Dragons. Okay, Zabby, take it away!
So, I was sort of stuck for a topic, and I asked Hannah what I should write about, and she suggested Unitime. (Weird, right? I mean, next week’s letter is from the scientist who invented Unitime. Don’t you think maybe he should be the one to explain it?) But I guess I’ll give it a shot…
I really can’t tell you much about how Unitime works. It’s something to do with a bunch of satellites they launched a when I was a kid. I don’t know exactly when. 10 years ago? Maybe 15? Probably closer to 15, because I was still in grade school. I remember having a class party to watch the news broadcast. Someone’s mom made cupcakes for everyone. Read the rest of this entry
“Wow, is it 4:26 already?!” (Confused? Click Here)
Here is the fourth in my Chapter 0 series. Let’s check out what Zabby was doing right before the start of the book…
Finally, I’m allowed to leave the diner. This has been the worst waitressing shift ever. (Except not really, because we all know that’s a pretty tough category to win.)
I get outside, and I just want to go home and take a nap, but then I see them: that group of boys who were hitting on me. Fantastic. I duck behind a car like a criminal or something and slink away from the street. I’m not dealing with those guys again. Nope.
I guess taking the long way home isn’t that terrible. Chagrin Heights is so tiny it’s nearly impossible to be far away from anything. I’ll just cut through this residential block and be home in—
“Oh, hello, Zabby! How are you dear?” Read the rest of this entry
“Wait, hold up… did you just say it was 2:58? Can’t be!” (Confused? Click here.)
Guess what??!! The advanced reader copies of my new book came in yesterday! (So very excited.) And I’ve set aside 10 of them specifically for my social media family. (That means YOU!) So, send me an e-mail and you could read A Book Without Dragons for free!
Read the rest of this entry
First off, I accidentally skipped a week on my secret code so, here’s a double dose….
“My clock stopped and it’s been stuck on 3:03 for days.”
“It can’t be 1:15 already! Your watch must be fast.”
And now, on to the main event 🙂 Here is a teaser from my new novel A Book Without Dragons, featuring Willow.
Willow Ayers heard the news station’s ‘breaking story’ jingle, and promptly abandoned the simulation he was running on his computer. He crossed the cozy bed and breakfast suite in a few less-than-graceful strides and crouched in front of the little television, breathing shallowly, eyes wide and terrified as they locked on the news lady reporting that the hostage situation in Boise was finally under control.
“Now that the hostage has been rescued,” the anchor announced, “authorities have confirmed that it is not the Unitime engineer, Willow Ayers.”
Yes, but is the hostage okay? Willow thought desperately as the reporter summarized the story for the benefit of those who hadn’t been following it all day. Is he hurt? Will he recover? Read the rest of this entry
Okay… so, I know I’m supposed to have a letter from each of my POV characters. Trust me, we tried very hard to get Cider to write a letter but (what can I say?) the majority of dogs have no talent for penmanship.
Here’s what I’m doing instead: I’m spreading out a bunch of different toys in a room, and putting Cider in it. He’ll pick up whichever toys he feels best describe the book. My trusty alter-ego Hannah has kindly agreed to moderate the activity.
Cider bounds into the room, and sees the girl who is not part of his normal home, but he loves her anyway. He also sees toys. Lots of toys! So many—
But wait! The girl is kneeling down to dog-level and opening her arms like she wants cuddles. Cuddles are way more exciting than toys, so Cider runs over and gives her kisses while they have a nice snuggle. Read the rest of this entry
“By the way, you might want to fix that clock. It’s 8:44.” (Confused? Click Here)
Cider is chewing on his squeaky toy when he smells something that isn’t part of the normal house smells. It smells exciting! Perhaps it’s even more exciting than the squeaky toy, so Cider goes to find out.
Daddy is out of the house, and Mommy is asleep, or else he would go find them so they could discover the smell together. But that is okay; Cider will find it on his own, and then when Daddy gets back he will be proud.
Ah, here it is! Read the rest of this entry
Here is the second of my Open Letter Series for the upcoming novel, A Book Without Dragons. And now, I shall turn the keyboard over to Bethany…
You’ve been told (more than once, I believe) that the clocks are wrong. I think you’ve also been told that this is a much larger problem than it sounds, but no one has yet explained why.
Let me start by saying that I was skeptical in the beginning as well. After all, people aren’t idiots. People can make a guess at what time it is. People know approximately when stores open and close. People can put brownies in the oven for around twenty-five minutes without timing it to the second.
That’s all true. The problem is that people aren’t the only ones that use time. Read the rest of this entry
Hi, everyone! Here is the second of my Chapter 0 series. Let’s check out what Bethany was doing right before the start of A Book Without Dragons…
You stand at the checkout line in the grocery store, listening to the methodical beeping of the items as the sweet, young girl scans them. You don’t look at her. You’d really rather be invisible.
All the same, you imagine her expression—shock, perhaps a touch of disgust—when she sees what you are buying. A pregnancy test? At your age?!
How old was this girl, anyway? Maybe not even 18. Half your age.
To that girl, a pregnancy test is reason for panic rather than hope. You wonder if she’s ever purchased one; even watched it with stalled breath, begging it to be negative.
Meanwhile, you’d give anything for it to be positive. Read the rest of this entry
Remember how I said each of my five main characters for A Book Without Dragons is written in their own unique writing style? (No? Never fear, I’ll get you up to speed – Click Here).
Well, I thought it would be fun to write a post where I put each of them in the same situation and then write a micro-scene of their reactions in their individual writing style. So, here is what my five characters did when they found a lost teddy bear in the park…
Bethany (2nd Person, Present Tense)
It looks like a balled-up sweater from a distance, but when you get closer you realize it’s a stuffed bear, and just like that, you are having a terrible day. Read the rest of this entry
My front cover for A Book Without Dragons is done, and beautiful (and it’s totally my phone’s lock screen because I ❤ it so much!) The official cover reveal is January 27th.
If you want to see it even sooner, sign up for my newsletter before this Wednesday. You’ll see it a full week sooner than everyone else 🙂 Click Here to sign up.
As promised, here is the first of five letters, directly from one of my characters to you! Snowiks hails from A Book Without Dragons, which is charging into the world in 4 months. (Squee!!) Enjoy!
From: Chief Snowiks, CHPD, Idaho
Good Morning, Readers. It has come to my attention that, while you have received information thus far about the main characters in this novel, you have been told little—and possibly nothing—about the place in which these people live. I firmly believe that it is impossible to properly understand a situation without the context of a physical location. Therefore, I’ll be taking this opportunity to tell you where we live. Read the rest of this entry
Welcome to my first ‘Chapter 0’ post for A Book Without Dragons! Let’s check out what Snowiks was up to right before the book starts…
I scanned and submitted that last of my paperwork, and then stared intently at the phone wishing it would ring. It probably wouldn’t, though. Officer Grayson was no longer a rookie; he no longer called with questions unless something went wrong.
It wasn’t that I particularly wanted anything to go wrong. I just knew that the remaining two hours of my day would feel like ten if I spent them rearranging paperweights. I have four paperweights on my desk: all thank you gifts from the same middle school teacher. Our station was a popular field trip spot with her for a few years, but then she got permission to bring them to a bigger (and probably more exciting) police station in Boise, so that was the end of that. Read the rest of this entry
Memo to All Characters: With the approaching winter holidays, I will be providing each of you with a small pine tree. Please submit your proposals for how you wish to decorate it so I can supply the appropriate ornaments.
Your friendly neighborhood alter-ego
~ Hannah Barbeck.
Willow (From A Book Without Dragons)
“I just want lights, please. No ornaments.”
[Hannah: That doesn’t sound like you…]
“And a sophisticated circuit board and programming equipment so I can make the lights spell out seasonal messages and change colors and respond to voice commands.”
[Hannah: Okay, that sounds like you.]
Read the rest of this entry
This is the fifth and final character reveal for A Book Without Dragons! I’ve even collected them all together in this nifty Characters Page, so lovely explorers of the Internet won’t need to go hunting for them.
Appearance: He has amber-brown hair, dark brown eyes, a permanent smile, two left feet… Oh, did I mention yet that he’s a dog? 😉 He’s a mixed breed, a little smaller than a golden retriever and a little more energetic than a tornado. Read the rest of this entry
We’re at # 4 of my character reveals for A Book Without Dragons! (If you want to get caught up, the other reveals are all Here.) This week we’ll be meeting the lady who gets the weirdest writing style in the book, so if you think I had a lot of fun writing her scenes then you obviously know me very well.
Name: Bethany Gardner
Appearance: She is a heavy-set, middle-aged woman. She wouldn’t have much to say about her appearance that could be construed as positive, but that has more to do with her attitude than her looks. She has thick, dark hair (which she dyes to keep the grays away), kind eyes, and a soft voice perfectly suited for reading bedtime stories. Read the rest of this entry
Today we have the third of my character reveals for A Book Without Dragons!
The spotlighted character this week has actually been on my blog before for a crossover drabble back in September (Which you can read Here, if you missed it. It’s particularly worth a look if you’re a fan of Lester from The World That Forgot How to Dance.)
Name: Harold Snowiks – I mostly refer to him by his last name
Appearance: He’s approaching retirement when the book opens (and he’s not at all excited about the prospect of being put out to pasture, by the way.) His hair is mostly gray, but was dark brown once. He’s tall, has smoky-brown eyes, and a focused expression that frequently comes off as ‘stern.’ Read the rest of this entry