Since I sent “The World That Forgot How to Dance” into the world, I’ve gotten some good feedback on Denise – one of the secondary characters in the story. People liked her passion. They commented on how a character can be brave in a quiet way. They enjoyed the juxtaposition between her methodical ways and Lester’s rashness.
What most people don’t know is that Denise originally had a much larger role in the story.
If fact, in one of the earliest drafts, Lester didn’t even exist and Denise was the only supporting character to Ellsie. (Hard to imagine now, but that sort of thing happens a lot.) I liked Denise from the start, and going back through my notes, it seems that I considered making her the POV character instead of Ellsie. I even had plans for her to be Officer Grove’s daughter – a fact that wouldn’t come out until the climax, at a moment where Denise’s intervention is what ultimately saves Ellsie. 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
If we were having coffee this weekend, you would have a hard time finding a place to set down your cup. My tables, desks, counters, floors… all of them would be covered with papers and notebooks and calendars.
I would give you an embarrassed shrug and explain that I am currently trying to organize my year. You might choose to point out that my ‘organization’ looks very similar to ‘chaos,’ and I would wholeheartedly agree with you.
I’d clear a spot for us on the couch, and explain that I’m working on lining up conventions for 2017. The process tends to be overwhelming since there are so many options out there. I would ask you if you had any recommendations for conventions near your hometown, since I find word of mouth far less intimidating than Internet searches.
But not all of the papers are for conventions. You would also see pages of my latest manuscript, splashed with highlighting and crawling with comments and corrections. 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 features characters from
The World That Forgot How to Dance
Drabble type – Canon
Timeline – after the book
I’ve had a few people contact me after reading The World That Forgot How to Dance, to tell me that they were curious about what happened to Ellsie and Lester after the book. So, since it’s February, here is a drabble of the two of them sharing their first Valentine’s Day together. Enjoy!
As soon as they saw how lovely the party room was, Ellsie gave a short laugh and skipped inside. Lester lingered at the door, smiling. He loved moments like this, where Ellsie got so excited about something that her feet forgot the process of walking and could only remember how to dance.
She spun around twice, and then looked back at Lester and gestured widely to make sure he noticed that the room was, indeed, pretty.
“I see,” he said. “It’s perfect.” Internally, he was directing the compliment at his girlfriend rather than the room they were standing in, but couldn’t find a way to tell her this without feeling really cheesy, so he let it go. 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
“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
“Excuse me, do you have the time? My phone is telling me it’s 8:01, but my favorite TV show hasn’t started yet.” (Confused? Click Here)
I had an UNBELIEVABLE time at Central PA Comic-con last weekend! What an event! The rush of nerd energy is exactly what my life needed. So, in honor of that, here are five things that I absolutely love about Comic Cons… 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
I’ve read many a whimsical tale about writers who wake up with a really cool story idea still clinging to them from dreamland. I am (regrettably…) not one of those writers, but I’ve learned that there are other ways of using one’s dreams besides simply transcribing them.
Last July, I set a challenge for myself during Camp Nanowrimo. I wanted to write a different short story every day for 31 days. I actually blogged about the whole experience here if you’re curious.
One of those days, I woke up having just finished my ‘running dream.’ I’ve been having this dream for several years, recurring every few months or so, and I love it. It’s very simple: in the dream I’m escaping some unnamed evil by running through the forest, and having an awesome time while doing it. Read the rest of this entry
Still working on making sense of the hot mess that is the first book of my Dagger Trilogy. One of the book’s major problems was that I had a lot of different goals and objectives, and they all kind of got tangled together. So, I’ve been untangling these threads and subsequently spending a lot of time thinking about subplots.
Once I finalized my list of what all the different subplots were, I needed to get my head around what was happening in each of the subplots. For this, I turned to my beloved Arc book. (And I don’t say ‘beloved’ lightly. I wrote a whole blog post about this particular book.) This was my set up: Read the rest of this entry
About a year ago, I set a challenge for myself: For one month, I wanted to write a new short story each day. Too ambitious? Oh, without a doubt. I didn’t even come close to 31 stories. However, I learned a lot from the endeavor, and I’m still feeling the effects from it.
The challenge was built around a couple of things I’d noticed about my writing ethic.
1.) I seemed to have a tough time finishing stories. I would start off with this great idea, get a few pages in, realize I didn’t have anywhere to go with it, and move onto the next idea. I wanted to break that habit, so I promised myself that even if it’s just in outline form (and even if it is the most ridiculous and contrived ending ever imagined) that I would find an ending for each and every story I began. Read the rest of this entry