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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's a Quiet Thing

I've mentioned a couple times here and there that I used to be a teacher. My husband is still a teacher. His mother is a teacher. His cousin and his wife are teachers. My mother is a retired teacher, as well as her best friend/my godmother, and one of my aunts. And since I used to be a teacher in a number of different schools and went through education programs in college and grad school, my facebook feed is filled with teachers. Are we noticing a trend here?

Back in the day when my husband and I were both teaching, we kept similar schedules. We both went to bed early on weeknights. We both had summers off (minus music camps and continuing education and whatnot). Now, not so much. I work year-round, and since I rarely have to be at work before 10:00 a.m., I can stay up later at night, as that's what works with my natural body rhythms.

There's a commercial that my mom and the other retired teachers in that first paragraph love. I forget exactly what retailer it's for, but it comes out at the end of every summer, it's set to the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", and has parents frolicking through the aisles, picking out school supplies, while their sullen children look on with a decided lack of enthusiasm. From what I've heard from my friends with school-aged kids, it is 100% accurate.

And now that I'm on a non-public school schedule, I have to admit - I LOVE this time of year as well. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and everything, but now every summer is an adjustment of having him home and here and I have to feed him and, well, he is all up in my business. By mid-August, I'm usually all GET OUT OF MY HOUSE. (Said with love, of course.) It's just that the rest of the year I'm settled into my own routine, and all of a sudden, there's another person in it. Nobody likes change, right?

But now we're about a month into the school year. My husband usually goes to bed around 11:00 on school nights, and since I can sleep later than him, I usually go to bed between midnight and 12:30. And let me tell you, that hour to 90 minutes late at night is blissful. The house is quiet, I know there won't be anyone or anything bothering me, and I can wind down all on my own. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I usually get some of my best writing done in that block. It's amazing. I love it. And it's a looooooong way to June! :D

Friday, September 12, 2014

Elysium (or, My Sudden Bout of Shyness)

So I signed another contract this week. It's for another novella for the 1Night Stand series, titled Elysium. I started work on it right after I finished The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions and blazed through all 20K words of it in about a month.

Truthfully, I'm not quite sure why I didn't blog about it here. I knew I was taking a little bit of a chance with the premise, as it's definitely not the most conventional of love stories, and the framework and plot devices do require a little bit of a leap of the imagination. I'd gone over the plot with my good buddy Boobulon and had him beta the first two chapters (one of which eventually underwent some major revisions) and he gave it his stamp of approval. It's not that I didn't believe in the story. In fact, it might be the exact opposite.

This might be the best story I've ever written.

You'd think that with those feelings, I'd be singing my great ideas from the rooftops. And again, I don't really know why I didn't do that. Maybe it's because I felt so attached to the story, such an intimate personal connection to it, I was afraid to release any details about it into the world until I was sure it was actually going to be published. (Whether or not that defeats the purpose of a writing blog, who knows.)

But enough speculating and navel-gazing. It's been accepted for the 1NS series, and I am beyond thrilled and excited! Here, have a blurb!

Two years have passed since April Patterson’s husband was shot and killed in the line of duty, trapping her in a haze of grief and uncertainty. Her cousin, having grown frustrated by all other efforts to engage her in activities where she could meet new people, arranges for her to go on a date of her choosing via 1Night Stand. April isn’t thrilled with the idea, and when she contacts Madame Eve, she requests the impossible: she wants a date with her deceased husband.

Brilliant software engineer Drew Monroe created his company, Elysium, to help give closure to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one through the use of virtual reality. Though passionate about his work, being constantly surrounded by heartache and death has taken a toll on his mental health. When he accepts the case of a young widow referred to him by Madame Eve, her tragic tale depresses him further, but he commits himself to programming April the romantic date she desires.

April arrives at Elysium and prepares to enter Drew’s virtual realm. Will she find the solace she seeks within?

Monday, September 8, 2014


It's been said for a while that there are no truly original ideas anymore. Which, well, maybe. I haven't decided whether I agree or disagree with that, but I subscribe to the concept that it's all about how you spin an idea and make it your own, and not whether the core ideas are similar to That Other Work.

I also believe that it is absolutely possible for two different people to come up with strikingly similar ideas at the same time. Without getting into the dirty little details, I've engaged in the Hunger Games vs. Battle Royale debate with a former writing buddy before. Now, I'm sure I'm biased as I did enjoy the Hunger Games series, and I'm also sure I wasn't as well-informed going into the debate as I could have been, as my knowledge of Battle Royale comes from friends who have read it and wikipedia. From what I've learned from those two sources, though, while the general concept might be similar (coincidentally or not, we'll never know), there are more than enough differences in execution and overall setting to make me roll my eyes at the people who are still harping on about how Suzanne Collins plagiarized another work and shouldn't be as successful as she is.

Most writers want to be regarded as having a unique voice to convey whatever scenarios their imaginations conjure, I would think. We all want to have those fresh ideas that make readers marvel, to be ahead of the trends so we can stand out. Yet, if we really are working from a limited pool, that's easier said than done.

Without sifting back through the archives, I'm fairly sure that I blogged about my "oh shit" moment when I was halfway through writing the first Disintegration and learned that it had a lot of similarities to the movie Robocop (the remake of which was in the works while I was writing). I panicked, but was talked off the ledge by a friend who had both seen the movie and knew my plans, so he could assure me there were enough differences to set me apart. No one's come after me with a lawsuit yet (or even whined at me about it), so I guess it's all good on that front.

So why this blog post now? Because it happened again. *headdesk* Since I got the contract, I went to scan through The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions just to reacquaint myself with what I actually wrote, since it had been a while. And what did I find? There's a scene in there that is quite similar to a scene in Dragon Age: Origins.

Well, damn.

It's even documented on this blog that I wrote TFotMS well before playing DAO, but that doesn't mean I didn't start second-guessing myself. I tried to remain as spoiler-free as possible, but in my perusing of DA2-related stuff, did I come across something related to that scene and it got stuck in my head? Are the circumstances not as accidental as I thought? I mean, the common thread is admittedly not the most novel of concepts, but that they happened so close together in my life had me scratching my head a bit.

I'm not going to change it, of course. It's not exactly the same, and the characters, setting, etc. are certainly different enough. Will someone come across that scene and think, "Hmm, this seems a lot like that game I played"? Maybe. But for now, I'll just stick it in the "coincidences" file and not worry too much. Suzanne Collins got past it, and I can, too. ;)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cross Post: The Name of the Person Sharing Your Bed

I'm over at the 1Night Stand blog today talking about the inspiration for Second Skin. Well, truthfully, I'm talking more about my love for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but I promise the two are related! Go check it out, and I'll be back here in a few days with a new, fresh, shiny post!

The Name of the Person Sharing Your Bed