Monthly Archives: November 2014

WIPpet Wednesday: All Trussed Up and No Place to Go

So… yeah. This character and I are getting along famously. I don’t know whether anyone else will love her as much as I do, but things are just peachy.

I mean, the plot needs work, but the character is there.

Catalen is at a wealthy person’s house, and someone’s been getting her dressed up for a fancy dinner. Cat is a little out of her element, but she handles these things pretty well. At least, she has so far. She’s on a mission, and her self-confidence has yet to take a beating.

WIPpet math: 2 + 6 + 1 + 1=10 sentences. First draft warnings apply.

By the time Madam Hat is done with me, I’m trussed up like a hen ready for roasting. My waist looks waspish under this striped blue corset, and my tits are squished nearly up to my chin. I could eat off of them. I swear there’s room to balance a plate, maybe a cup and some cutlery.

But when I look in the mirror, I realize that I’m the one who looks like a feast. The full blue skirt puffs out so you can’t tell what’s dress and what’s me, and it’s long enough that I seem to be floating when I tiptoe across the floor. I’m all curves in this thing—not that I wasn’t damn fetching before, but now I look like the girls in movies.

Feck that. I look better than them. Definitely more fun and more capable, and less likely to blow away in a stiff breeze.

You know what they say goeth before a fall, right? We’ll just leave her to enjoy this moment for now.

For more WIPpet Wednesday fun, click here. If you want to join in, the only rule is that you post a snippet from a current work in progress that relates in some way to today’s date. And it’s not a rule, but being a good neighbour is encouraged. Get out there, read some! Comment some! We all love it, and tend to return the favour.  🙂

Many thanks as always to the Flying Monkey-Master (or is that Flying-Monkey Master?) KL Schwengel, who hosts WIPpet Wednesday every week.


Okay. I’m still trying to win NaNoWriMo, because all of my friends are getting pretty dragon badges, and I WANT ONE.

It’s the little things, you know?

So here’s the plan. If I can write 5,000 words today and 5,000 tomorrow, I’ll have done it. Three separate projects this month, but 50,000 new words. I’m not going to have access to my computer(s) after tomorrow, so this is it.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and as far as goals after that go… I do have this Bound-related short story back from my editor that I’d love to share with you all before Torn comes out, but I haven’t even read over the notes/corrections yet. So I guess that’s what comes next.

Other updates:

Reading— I did some this week! I read Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking* by Malcolm Gladwell, and it was fascinating. I read that thing in less than 24 hours. These days, most books take me weeks. Interesting information, and well-written. I’ll be looking for more of his stuff.

I also finished Broken Aro (The Broken Ones Book 1)* by Jen Wylie just last night. I enjoyed this book, too, and look forward to seeing what happens as the characters’ adventures continue.

It’s never too late to join in on ROW80 if you feel the need for some creative accountability. Here’s the link.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’re having a great Wednesday, whatever you’re up to.

*Affiliate links. These cost you nothing extra, but if you buy after clicking, they help me out. I feel skeevy not mentioning it, though…


The One Where Everything Breaks

*drags self into Geekatorium*

*plops down in front of desktop computer*

*gets up again and dusts everything*

Whew. It’s been a while since I’ve worked in here.

Actually, I never have. The computer room in our house (AKA the Geekatorium because it houses toy collections, AKA the third bedroom) is my husband’s territory, and the kids’. They use this computer. There’s no room in here for my desk, though, so I have my space in the basement… right next to the litter boxes. The system has worked so far. I get privacy down there, I work on my laptop, I bring it upstairs to the kitchen so I can do stuff while I’m cooking. I pretty much stay out of this room.

As of this past Friday, the system is broken. Actually, as of Friday, EVERYTHING was broken.

Allow me to explain.

On Friday afternoon, a guy came to replace the thermostats in our house. Just the controls, not the heaters. That was good, because ours looked too vintage to even be cool. Gold boxes, iffy gauges, et cetera. And we’d been having a problem with the boys’ room since we moved in here–if you turned the heat on, it went WAY up and stayed on until you turned the dial way down, flipped the breaker switch in the basement off, and then back on. For 2 years, the thermostat in there has been set to “effing cold” to keep the heater from coming on, and we’ve used a space heater.

Not especially convenient.

The house guys figured the problem was with the thermostat, and replaced all of them.

Yeah, the problem is still there. And it’s actually worse now, because even with the thermostat switched to “OFF,” the heater stays on. I had to flip it off* at the breaker, but when I flipped it back on, the heat came on again, even with the thermostat set to “Arctic.” So off the switch stays down there, and we’re back to the space heater.

Put a pin in that, we’re coming back to it.

So that was the first thing to break (more) on Friday. The second was the internet. Netflix stopped working, my phone wouldn’t connect in the house and I had to go outside to check Facebook**. Not cool. Fortunately, AJ figured out that a wire had come loose when handy guy was doing the thermostat in the Geekatorium.

So that was fine.

But then…

My laptop. Guys, this thing holds everything. My work is in there. My photos. If my understanding of this “internet” thing is correct, my friends live in there. I carry it around the house so I can work in my office, or at the dining room table, or so I can do business stuff on the couch while AJ watches a movie. It works.

Well, it did work. Now it claims there’s “a hard disk problem” and it needs to be repaired or replaced.

Easy peasy! My warranty is with Future Shop. That’s only… four hours away.


So here I sit. I’m thankful for a lot of things right now. Dropbox is one. Torn is saved there, and the first draft of book three, and everything else I’m working on. Even if my computer completely craps out, it’s not all lost. I’m also thankful to Literature & Latte, who makes Scrivener available to put on multiple computers after you buy it. I think this is my last installation, thanks to previous laptop issues, but I’ve got it installed on this old desktop now. I’m thankful that the kids are in school, so I CAN work in here for a few hours a day without interruptions.

But I am frustrated, too. I’m put out that I can’t work in the car like I was planning to this coming weekend, so I’m not going to be able to win NaNoWriMo in a last-minute push for victory. 20,000 words are not going to materialize over the next few days. And I’m cold, because having the breaker downstairs off for the boys’ room means no heat in the Geekatorium, either. Time for another space heater. I’m sad that I’m not in my office, which is filled with mojo-inspiring quotes and toy dragons and books that I love. Not that My Little Ponies and comic book action figures aren’t inspiring…

I’m spoiled, I know. And hey, at least I don’t get a big fat whiff up here every time one of the cats poops, right?

Bitching complete. I’m going to take this as it comes, like I always do. I mean, it was going to happen. When I was editing Bound, a flood wiped out our basement and forced us to evacuate. Torn goes to the editor in a few weeks… obviously my computer was going to die.***

Let’s not think about what might happen with book 3, hmm?

It’s just one more story to tell some day when they ask me to do a NaNoWriMo pep talk. 🙂




*Literally and figuratively

**And if I had any hope that I’m not addicted to social media, the act of standing in sub-zero temperatures to get my fix dashed it.

***Yes, they’ve all been PCs. I understand that these issues (and also viruses) happen a lot less with Macs, but I could never afford the up-front cost of getting one before. I’m seriously considering it, now.

Fall Into Fantasy: The Bound Trilogy by Kate Sparkes


Note from Kate: Hey… that’s my book! Weird. If you don’t have a copy yet, make sure you enter the raffle below! I like giving stuff away. 🙂


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 14: The Bound Trilogy

Book One: Bound

By Kate Sparkes

Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains.

Rowan Greenwood has everything she’s supposed to want from life—a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there’s more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she’s been forced to suppress since childhood.

When Rowan unknowingly saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies, that simple act of compassion rips her from her sheltered life and throws her into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.

Rowan might get everything she ever dreamed of—that is, if the one thing she’s always wanted doesn’t kill her first.

Buy it from: Amazon  Kobo  Barnes & Noble  iBooks

Or add it to Goodreads




Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, three cats with more personality than most people she meets, and the saddest-looking dog on the planet. Depression has almost consumed her more times than she likes to admit, but writing Fantasy (be it epic or urban, fairy tales or superhero cat stories) keeps her afloat… most of the time. She released her debut novel Bound (Ya Fantasy) in June 2014. The second book in the trilogy is due out in the winter.

Find Kate online: Blog  Sparrowcat Press  Facebook  Twitter

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?


  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 



  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.




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Torn Asunder by Alana Terry Now Available for Pre-Order

Note from Kate: Not only is Alana a WIPpeteer and generally swell person, she’s also the author of Beloved Daughter (which I really liked) and Slave Again (which I loved). I’m pleased to help her announce her new book, Torn Asunder. Read on for details!

Free Ebook Giveaway From Alana Terry

Torn Asunder is the upcoming release from award-winning Christian suspense novelist Alana Terry. You can pre-order Torn Asunder on amazon now for only 99 cents and have it delivered right to you when it’s released in December. As an added bonus, Alana, along with recording artist Cherie Norquay, is offering free downloads of one of the songs featured in Torn Asunder.

Synopsis: After graduating from the Secret Seminary, Hannah and Simon are ready to return to their homeland. Their training has equipped them to carry the gospel to a country ravaged by darkness and despair. If necessary, they’re even prepared to face the North Korean labor camps, but the hardest part of their mission isn’t the hunger, cold, and incessant danger. The hardest part is cutting off contact with one another.

In this world of spies, secret police, and informants, staying together might not just compromise their ministry. It could cost them both their lives.

A Christian romantic suspense from the author of The Beloved Daughter, which won awards from Women of Faith, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, The Book Club Network, and more.
Pre-order Torn Asunder for only 99 cents or enter the giveaway below! You can also sign up to get a free mp3 song download from Cherie Norquay, whose work is put out by Grammy-award-winning producer, Phil Naish, and whose lyrics helped inspire certain scenes in Torn Asunder. Click below or get her free song downloads here. (Several of her song lyrics also appear in the novel itself.)

You can also sign up below to help spread the word about Alana’s fundraiser to help rescue North Korean refugees on a modern-day underground railroad.

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WIPpet Wednesday: Back (to) Draft

Yep, back in first-draftsville again. I finished edits to Torn, can’t do any more on my own, so that’s sitting and waiting to be called up to the major leagues (ie my editor’s computer, which is likely nicer than mine).

That leaves me free to desperately struggle to win NaNoWriMo. I only need 2,000(ish) words per day, but I’m going to lose a few days at the end of the month, so I really need to get my butt in gear.

I’ve re-written the first chapter of (working title) Sparrowhawk & Son and moved on through the second. I was going to do it in 3rd person, but this character’s voice is too strong for me to take the words out of her mouth. First-person it remains, and on we go. Cat is probably less like me than any character I’ve ever written. She’s hard, abrasive, cocky, sees no point in reading for entertainment, and admits to not being all that bright when it comes to school. Still, she’s got a great sense of humor and an interesting way of looking at things, and that should get us through.

Now to decide whether I need to throw another POV in there, or whether Cat can handle the story on her own.

For WIPpet Wednesday, here’s something I wrote yesterday. All first draft, of course. Cat (Catalen) is about to go on her first ride in… whatever I’m calling the private airships in this world. She’s from a polluted, poor town, and isn’t used to anything like this. If you read the now-unlinkable first draft of the first scene a while ago, you may remember that she slept with a rich guy she met at a club the night before, and he showed up in her machine shop this morning. She calls him Richie von Perfecteeth… That’s not his name. She doesn’t care.

WIPpet math: 18-(1+1)=16 sentences*

This thing is unbelievable. When I’ve gone to flicks at the Goshen Theatre,  where they show hand-me-down films from the High City, I’ve assumed the characters’ surroundings were made up, or at least exaggerated. But this is real. Everything in here is so damn clean. Pale brown carpet covers the floor. Electric lights. White walls, white furniture—chair, sofa, painted tables. Holy shit, they have flowers in glass containers, like it’s nothing. Big purple ones. Cut, so they’re just going to die and need to be replaced. I want to go in and touch one, but I hang back in the doorway. Richie pushes past me.

“You can come in,” he says. “Nothing here’s going to bite you.”

I smile to myself and wonder whether he still has the bite mark I left on his shoulder last night. He catches that look, frowns, and turns away.

Yeah, Not-Richie is in trouble if anyone finds out about his little indiscretion. This should be fun.

For more snippets from works in progress by my WIPpeteer buddies, click here. Leave some comments, have some fun, see what’s on the go, jump in on your own blog if you’d like. Say hi to KL Schwengel, who hosts this shindig and needs to STOP MAKING ME THINK SHE’S GOING TO KILL OFF SOMEONE I LIKE.

Sorry for yelling. I get attached.



ROW80 Update

  • finish drafting book 3 of Bound trilogy
  • finish self-edits on Torn, get ready to go to JE
  • start something new and panic over trying to finish NaNoWriMo on time

If we could count editing hours this month like we can during Camp NaNo, I’d totally have won by now. But we can’t. I counted words I added to Torn during the editing process, but also took into account the ones I deleted, so that wasn’t a huge help overall. But it’s cool, I can still pull this off. Aiming for 4,000 words a day, just to be safe (and to account for silly things like days of spending time with my family. I know, right?).

Too bad there’s nothing I can do to make up for the hours I spend distracted from my work. If I actually spent all of my work hours working, I would be so much more productive than I am.

And as an official goal:

  • read all WIPpet Wednesday posts

I pulled it off this week. Going to do it again.

For more ROW80, click here.

Thanks for stopping by!

*That’s right, I used brackets. BEDMAS, SUCKAS!

How I Learned to Love Being a Time-Traveller

Writing is fun, isn’t it? I mean, usually. Sure, there are long slogs through the swamps of “I have no idea where this is going” and jump-scares from characters who just won’t behave, but really? Bringing a story to life is a pretty amazing experience.

I don’t do a lot of “how to” type posts on writing, because who the heck am I to tell anyone what to do? I have one measly book out. I can’t even call it one and a half, even though Torn is now as good as I can make it, and is waiting to go to my editor. But as I was working through this round of edits, I had several opportunities to use the best piece of advice he gave me last time, and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d share it with you guys.

If you’re not so much interested in the nuts-and-bolts of the writing process, I won’t be offended if you want to go grab a coffee or something. We’ll be back with Bound Trilogy-related shenanigans soon.



It’s something that I knew before, but never realized just how useful it can be.

Guys… when you’re a writer, you’re allowed to travel through time. You get to go back and change the past, altering the course of history to reach a more desirable outcome.

Cool, right?

You write the story. Stuff happens. Maybe you’ve planned it out in advance, as I like to do. Maybe you’re a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pantser. You just set your characters up, throw an inciting incident at them, and see what happens. Unless you’re literally planning every detail out in advance, you’re going to have problems to solve along the way. Your hero will be backed into a corner, and she won’t have any way out. What are you gonna do, HOT SHOT?

Well, on your first draft you can always rely on deus ex machina*. Give her a knife she didn’t have before. Let him suddenly develop a magical skill that you’d never even considered. Have a friend drop by unexpectedly for tea… a friend who JUST HAPPENS TO BE A NINJA but who you’ve never mentioned before.

That’s cool in a first draft. But if you don’t want readers to feel ripped off, you need to be a little smoother. And you can. Easily.

So you go back in time and change the past. It’s an amazing ability! You show her using that knife to pick her fingernails clean that morning, her roommate telling her how gross that is, and her laying the knife on the bookcase where it will be waiting for the villain’s unexpected arrival. You get to have the magical master… guy… thing… show your hero a new magic spell that by golly gee he remembers at just the right moment (or however your magic system works). You can nave that NINJA FRIEND introduced earlier in the story, perhaps at the grocery store where she works as a NINJA FRUIT-STACKER.

Okay, it’s best if you can work this in unobtrusively. You don’t want it to be obvious that you’re only setting it up to be used later. That fingernail picking scene should also be building character (she’s such a slob!) and saying something about this person’s relationship with her roommate, which is another obstacle/subplot. The spell should be part of another experience or lesson (see Harry Potter for a thousand examples). The NINJA FRUIT-STACKER should be… I don’t know, something to do with really important cantaloupes that your hero needed in order to solve another problem.

The point is, it doesn’t seem like deus ex machina if you’ve already mentioned this item/skill/friend and made it a natural part of the story. It’s sort of Chekhov’s gun, but backwards. If you’re going to fire a rifle in the final act, it had better be there in the first.

This works for ideas, too. Instead of interrupting your climax for an info-dump to bring the audience up to speed on some important concept, you can go back to some logical place earlier in the story and plant the information. If that logical place doesn’t exist, create it.

See also: logical inconsistencies. Instead of explaining them away later, you can make them make sense earlier on.

Even better, if you’re writing a series, you can draft later books and go back and plant seeds in earlier ones, assuming you’re not publishing before you’ve drafted the next book.

You get to travel through time. Change the past so the future makes sense. GUYS, YOU GET TO BE BILL AND TED.

…Except less ridiculous, and you probably don’t look like Keanu. Sorry.

I’d give you an example from my own work, but I hate to expose the gears and wires to the light.


Okay, fine. Just this once, I’ll admit to something that I screwed up and my editor told me to improve. Minor spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Bound, and COMPLETE DISILLUSIONMENT if you like to believe that stories spring whole and perfect from an author’s mind, never to be altered.

Still with me?

There’s a scene in Bound where Aren and Rowan need a place to hide, and she locates a hidden closet. In early drafts, it was explained that she knew about this sort of closet because the house she grew up in had them, and she’d once got stuck in there while playing hide-and-seek. Simple enough explanation, right? Logical, considering what we already knew about her character and her past.

Two problems: One, those few sentences of explanation took away from the forward momentum of the scene. It’s a tense moment, and here she is explaining some old memory to the reader? Not optimal. Secondly, it felt like the author had just gone, “Crap, I need a hiding spot… DING DING DING closet!” The explanation was far better than her just happening to find it in the nick of time, but it could have been better.

So I zipped back in time to when she was actually at the house she grew up in. One of these hidden closets popped open at an inconvenient time, she used it for something completely unrelated to hiding, and we moved on. Unobtrusive, and it seemed necessary at the time–she got something she needed from the hidden closet, so it wasn’t like, READER, REMEMBER THIS FOR LATER BECAUSE IT’S TOTALLY A THING. It was a detail that could easily not have come up again, as it had played its part in the story.

At least, that’s the idea.

Ideally, the story flows organically. The reader experiences it as it unfolds, without seeing events as something the author planted for later. This is part of our job. We don’t always nail it, but we do try.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to back myself into a whole bunch of corners on a fresh first draft.

Most excellent.

PS– don’t steal the knife thing. I’m totally using that. But feel free to use the ninja fruit-stacker in your own story. I’m feeling generous. Also, “Really Important Cantaloupes” is definitely going to be a working title for something, some day.



*Deus ex machina: a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. (Wikipedia)

Fall Into Fantasy: The Darkworld Series by Emma L. Adams

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 13: The Darkworld Series

Prequel Novella: Fear’s Touch

Book One: Darkness Watching

Book Two: Walking Shadow

By Emma L. Adams

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).

Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.

Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?

Now available at retailers! 

Buy it from: Amazon  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble  Kobo

Add it to Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.
All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.
In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be…


“Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up? The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked.” – Rose at Desert Rose Reviews

“A suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series.” Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author
“The story is extremely well-written with effortless, flowing prose, and the original magic-user mythology and Darkworld creatures are very entertaining. The author took what might have been over-done premise and twisted it into something very fresh and exciting.” – Lexa Cain, author of Soul Cutter
“Emma is an amazing writer. She has become one of my favorites. I couldn’t put Darkness Watching down.” – Diane at A Creative Mind

Buy it from: Amazon  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble  Kobo
Or add it to Goodreads

When you have a connection to the Darkworld, nowhere is truly safe.

Ashlyn has found a new home in Blackstone, but when a spate of grave robberies across the country spark fears that someone is practicing illegal sorcery, she comes under the radar of the Venantium, the protectors of the Barrier between her world and the Darkworld, who are suspicious of any sorcerer who doesn’t know their origins.
The trouble is, what Ash does know might just get her killed.
Sufferers of the dangerous condition known as the vampire’s curse are being brutally killed, and the latest victim is Leo’s guardian, the ex-head of the Venantium. Ash determines to help Leo find out what’s really going on, but it isn’t long before events are spiralling out of control. The dead are rising from their graves, and the barriers around Blackstone are threatened by a demon which looks exactly like Ash herself…
Coming December 1st, 2014 from Curiosity Quills

Add it to Goodreads


Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy novels for children and young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, and four more novels and a novella will follow. She chats about writing and other book-related things at her blog, From the Writer’s Nest, and looks forward to sharing more tales from the bizarre depths of her imagination.

Find Emma online: Blog  Website  Facebook Page  Twitter

Sign up to Emma’s newsletter to be the first to find out about new releases

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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The Great Christmas Tree Debate (Help!)

Not the real vs. fake debate. We settled that a few years ago when we got rid of the old, basement-smelly thing we had before and started buying real trees from the SPCA (cheaper than adopting a cat, though more messy).

No, the debate before us today concerns decorating this tree.

You see, we had decorations. We had a big ol’ mish-mash of them, in fact. Paper ornaments, coloured lights, white lights, ornaments we’d picked up over the years. Wooden ornaments, rustic wool things, brightly modern plastic balls, classic gold balls from the first year after we got married, ornaments we received from friends or inherited from our parents…



I think we were only half-done decorating in that picture… and don’t mind the mummy cat. That’s Mumford. It’s a long story. He’s cool, though.

And then the basement flooded last spring. Remember that? Well, my office wasn’t the only thing destroyed. The guys who did the clean-up (bless them) did a great job, but when the basement is full of plastic bins, it’s easy to miss a few that got water in them even though they looked like they were still sealed. And in this case, that was ALL of our Christmas decorations.

I didn’t know until a few months ago, when I went searching to find the reason why we were all getting itchy eyes from trips to the basement. I found the culprit in our bin of ornaments: thick, dark mould.


Pictured: not the worst of it. I stopped taking pictures when I thought my camera was going to puke.

So I hauled that bin upstairs, cried a little, saved about five ornaments that I could wash and soak in bleach, and threw the rest (ornaments, four strings of lights, and a few other things) in the trash.

I thought that was the end of it, until last week, when I decided to re-construct my office walls. I found four more bins with mould in them. Three of them were the rest of the decorations we usually put up around the house.

Don't worry, Amy Snow is safe. The moose thing, not so much.

Don’t worry, Amy Snow is safe. The moose thing, not so much.


All of this is to say that yes, I’m heartbroken. Physical things can be replaced, but there were a lot of memories wrapped up in those ornaments. But there’s no point whining and moaning about it, and there is one good thing coming out of this: It might take a few years to afford to do it all, but we get to start over.

Guys, I could have a tree with a THEME. I mean a theme like “Classic Christmas” or “Gold,” not “OIL AND OUR ECONOMY” or “MURDER ON THE F-TRAIN.”* I could aim for something that’s a bit more pulled-together than “whatever ha struck our fancy over the years” and “whatever we could grab on sale.”

Could be fun, right?

So this is my dilemma. What to do? When I stopped in at Canadian Tire yesterday (automotive and just so much more), I got a few ideas for options.

We could go fun and cute and child-centric, with trains and nutcrackers and bright colours and simple shapes.

I wouldn’t mind something grown-up and sophisticated, with gold and understated elegance. It’s not really me most of the year, but this would just make it that much more special. Like this, but less competently put together.

Red is always festive, and is nice with gold. And sparkles. I like sparkles…

Then there are really modern-looking trees, with blues and purples and spiraly shapes and shiny ornaments. Like this. Gotta love whimsy!

Or there’s the rustic look, which is also appealing: wood and burlap and woodland creatures**

Whatever we do, there has to be room for the Beatles, superhero, My Little Pony, and random “because I liked it” ornaments that we’re bound to pick up over the next few years.

So… I don’t know. Want to tell me about your tree, or your decorating philosophy, or other holidays you like to decorate for? If you had a fresh start for any kind of holiday decorating, what would you do?

*Also not “EMO VILLAGE” or “MY LITTLE OMBUDSMAN” or “WHY ISN’T UNCLE LEROY MOVING?” I’m good at coming up with themes, but this isn’t what I meant at all.

**Not real ones

WIPpet Wednesday: That’s… Disgusting

Yes, kids, I’m back with a REAL WIP snippet this week. And I hope I’ll actually get to comment on everyone’s posts this week, rather than the reading-and-drive-by-likings that were all I had time for last week. Sorry about that. I did read them, though!

Fun as last week’s THE END was, I’m hard at work again. We’re back to Torn, making small-yet-essential changes and cleaning up fun things like over-used words before my wonderful editor gets his hands on this one.

It’s hard work, but interesting.

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s completely tedious, but it has to be done.

One of the things I’ve worked on in recent drafts is adding more depth to the world, specifically in terms of history and mythology. Not big things, but more glimpses of the larger world than we had room for in Bound. This exchange went into the book on my last pass through, and since I just worked on this scene again this week, we’ll take from this section for WIPpet Wednesday.

12 (short) paragraphs for the 12th, from Aren’s POV (plus one to grow on). He and Rowan have been discussing his travel plans. She tends to worry… (**Bound spoilers, if you haven’t read it and plan to**)

“Good.” She picked up an iron poker and nudged the logs in the fireplace. “Could you just stay that way? Aquila would be less conspicuous. As a human, you’re recognizable. Even people who have never met you can’t help seeing that you’re not like other people.”

It still made me smile when she called my eagle form by the name she gave it before she knew who I was. How things had changed since then. “It would make basic survival easier, too. But I can’t. Sorcerers who have animal forms and stay in them too long get strange in the head.”


“They take on more animal characteristics, even when they return to their proper bodies. There are stories about Lyloch, a Sorcerer who lived in Luid during my grandmother’s time. He learned to change into a wolf-dog, and by all accounts he used his skill well in the queen’s service, spying for her, travelling through the winter and finding his way into enemies’ homes when compassionate servants let the sweet dog in. They say he would go weeks at a time before changing back. He became mean as a human, began to prefer the company of dogs, snarled at people who got in his way.”

“And what happened to him?”

“They caught him ripping a whore’s throat out with his teeth.”

“You mean—”

“In human form, yes.”

She paled. “Okay, so don’t try that. But I’m still glad you have the option. Will you promise me one more thing?”

“I might.”

“Don’t be afraid to accept help.”

“I’m not afraid.”

Rowan rolled her eyes. “Fine. Don’t be stubborn about it, then.”


For more WIPpet Wednesday fun (where we share a snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date), click here to see everyone’s link-ups. Be sure to say hello to our host KL Schwengel, who does a bang-up job of it even when life is crazy.


I’m making progress on my editing goals. They’re harder to measure than drafting was, and I have no impressive word counts to share. Still, I think I’ve finished making changes and planting seeds for things that will happen in book three, and I’m on to doing a search for words I tend to over-use to see where they can be left out or replaced.

“Was/were” is the last one I have to do, and I left it for the end because it’s a big one. I don’t think it’s as much of a problem word as some do, but it is a good way to search out passive voice and descriptions that could be a bit more dynamic (“His eyes were green” isn’t passive voice, but it’s also not all that interesting). That means it’s going to take a bit longer to get through this one, but it’s worth doing. Better writing on my part = better reading for my lovely, wonderful, stupendous readers.

I’m hoping to have these edits (and maybe the read-through) done by the end of this week. And then we’ll see about getting something started for NaNoWriMo…

For more ROW80 (a round of words in 80 days), click here.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me yammer. I’ll get something more interesting up soon, I promise!


Fall Into Fantasy: The Dark Intent Series by Lisa Swallow

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 12: The Dark Intent Series

Book One: Between

By Lisa Swallow

What do you do when you are attracted to two men and both have the power to kill you with a touch or a kiss? Can Rose trust either of them – or anyone in her new life?

Ghosts? Demons? Angels? Or something more? The supernatural you find living and working in this English city are a little different to those you usually find in the genre…
Rose survived the accident that killed her friend. The problem is the life she returns to scares her more than the night she almost died.
When Alek and Finn enter her world, Rose discovers the after-effects of the accident are worse than she thought. The slow recovery and fogged nightmares aren’t the only changes she needs to cope with.
Rose has an immediate and intense attraction to arrogant housemate Alek. This confuses her as much as the chilling effect of her enigmatic work colleague Finn. As Rose struggles to cope with her new life, she learns that her connection to the two men threatens all their futures
Alek has lived years closed off from people. He didn’t expect someone like Rose to come into his life and challenge the reality he grips onto.
If Finn doesn’t fix the mistake he made, his life is in danger. His desire to help and protect Rose makes his task difficult, especially when she’s the mistake he needs to fix.
When Alek’s past catches up, Rose disappears. Trapped between the living and the dead, on the edge of Hell, Rose is unable to find her way back. Alek and Finn could help her – but are they prepared to risk the consequences?

Lisa is an author of new adult romance and writes both paranormal and contemporary, often with a side of snark. In between running a business, looking after her family and writing, Lisa sometimes finds spare time to do other things. This often involves swapping her book worlds for gaming worlds. Lisa is originally from the UK but moved to Australia in 2001 and now lives in Perth in Western Australia with her husband, three children and dog.

Find Lisa online: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Mailing List

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