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Writing Class!

I started my first writing class this week. We are working on scenes. Very interesting so far, and the best part is that I can use everything I learn immediately in my own personal writing. Our textbook is:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000SEI13Q/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

It is succinct and useful. The first few chapters deal with setting up a scene, finding the beat, and focusing on the hot spot, or turning point. I like the idea of finding the beat. That’s like matching your actions to the rhythm of the story. The author of our text, Scofield, gives great examples.

So, I thought I would post my first writing assignment here. The assignment was simply to brainstorm different occasions that could give reasons for a scene, and then pick one to write a short story on. My occasions were:

1. At a red light, a woman pulls her vehicle behind another car being driven by a man, and then slams into him.
2. A man joins a group of troubled kids at a campfire.
3. A couple starts arguing over a song on the radio.
4. A woman leaving a room accidentally slams the door too hard and another woman from inside the room jumps up and starts screaming at her.
5. A woman walks into an auto parts store, looks around and runs to the counter and screams, “Please help me.”

After much thought, I chose the first one. The assignment was 1000-1200 words, which is so hard for me!! However, I’m happy with the results. Enjoy!

Truth and Consequences

I pulled my car up behind him at the red light. Did he know I had followed him for over a mile? We had wound through palm tree lined street, under the blinding sun. His little sports car was stopped directly in front of me, and I had to stop him. Brandon had killed my sister and thought he got away with it. No. I had to make sure that didn’t happen.

I slammed my foot on the gas pedal. Knuckles white on the steering wheel, I braced myself for the impact. The crash echoed down in my chest. Electricity danced under my skin and into my heart making it pound heavily. I swallowed and opened the car door. He was moving in the car ahead of me. He could kill me too. I had to do this right.

Leaning over, I reached beneath the passenger side seat and slid my fingers over the little gun. I didn’t know about guns; it was my sister’s. I only knew that if you pointed it at something and pulled the trigger, you’d get a reaction. Maybe it would be enough to scare him into giving me the upper hand. I needed to get the upper hand, or I would lose everything.

I stepped out of the car; gun in hand, confidence riding me like lightning. I pointed the silver gun at his rear tire and eased my finger over the trigger. I felt the explosion up my arm and into my shoulder. I saw the tire explode with a bang and a whoosh. I looked up and saw him. Brandon, in his pressed, sleek black suit, stared back at me with a strange look in his eye. Did his brown eyes show fear? Panic? What?

“Are you crazy?” he yelled.

“Maybe, but you’re a murderer.” I spit back at him.

“I didn’t kill her, damn it, I loved her. Why can’t you accept that?”

“Liar,” I screamed. How could he love her? His heart was nothing but an empty black box. He was all polish and fake charm, and his arrogance loved only himself. “You didn’t. You killed her.” I pointed the gun at his chest.

“Stop, just stop, Anne, I know you aren’t going to shoot me.”

They always say that don’t they? Well, he obviously needed to know I would. I lowered the gun, pointing at his leg, below the knee, and squeezed. I thought I knew what to expect this time, but the blood spurting out of his leg stunned me. I reached out and grabbed the edge of my car when my knees started to buckle. Brandon screamed.

His screams woke up something inside me, something happy to hear that screaming. Ah, the upper hand at last. “You bastard, you aren’t going to get away with this.” My legs stopped shaking and I took a few steps toward him. Brandon lay on the ground grabbing his wounded leg. He looked up at me and his eyes were like a wounded dog.

I cocked my head to the side to hear him whisper, “Oh God, just leave me alone. Leave me alone.” He closed his eyes tight, making odd little wrinkles across his face.

I heard sirens in the distance, shrill and warning of danger through the bright clear day. Someone had called emergency services, maybe the police. That could only mean time was limited. I swallowed hard and kneeled down beside Brandon, waving the gun around like a magic wand. “I can shoot you. Only your leg this time, but I’ll blow your fucking brains out if you don’t tell me the truth.”

“What truth? What do you want to hear?” His words were barely a whisper.

“Tell me why you killed her.”

“Didn’t. Accident.”

“Accident, my ass. You killed her. Now tell me.” I touched his forehead with the barrel of the gun.

His eyes flew open and he grabbed my wrist, yanking it upward. I fell across his body, pointing the gun over his head. “Get off me. Let go.”

I wasn’t prepared to do either. “No, Brandon.” I slammed my knee into his groin and he groaned, but didn’t let go of my wrist. “Let go.”

“Leave me alone, Anne.” His voice was low and gravelly like the pavement we were stretched out on.

The sirens grew louder making me want to look around and see if any police cars had made it on scene yet, but couldn’t. Brandon could not win this time. I pulled at my arm to get it free, bracing myself against his chest with my other arm for support. “Damn,” I grunted when he pulled my arm higher. It felt like he was going to rip my arm off or at least pull it out of the socket.

“Drop the weapon,” a dark voice behind me commanded.

It was over, I was out of time.

“And stand up slowly.”

I had no choice. It was the police. I didn’t care about jail time or even death if they shot me, but I knew something was going to happen, and I could just not let go, could not let Brandon escape. I leaned in and bit him. I sunk my teeth into the inside of his shoulder as hard as I could. He let go of my wrist and I pulled my arm free. I pulled my body up so I was straddling his waist and pointed the gun in a two handed grip right at his face. “Tell me. Tell me now.”

“Ma’am, drop the weapon now.” The policeman said again in his voice of command, but I heard a bit of panic underneath. He was afraid of what I might do. Brandon stared up at me with wide eyes, full of wonder. He was also afraid of what I might do. I swallowed my own panic because underneath that layer of confidence, I was afraid of what I might do.

“Not until he tells the truth,” I said between clenched teeth.

“Whatever I say now won’t matter.” Brandon tried to shake his head. I wouldn’t let him use reason.

“I don’t care. I need to hear the truth.”

“Anne,” he whispered. “I loved her. I loved her.” A tear slowly leaked out of the corner of his eye. Was it the truth? I couldn’t accept that.

“I don’t believe you love anyone but yourself.” I was vaguely aware of the voices behind us, but I couldn’t let them distract me. No, not when I was so close. “Just admit it. You killed her.”

“Why does this matter?”

“I need to know. I need to hear you confess.”

“I won’t tell anything else. I answered. I loved her. So, just shoot or get off me.”

“Ok, you loved her, but you still killed her. I didn’t ask if you loved her. You killed her.”

A shrill screaming pierced the humidity of the day, loud and animalistic. I realized they were my own. My throat raw with screaming and I had dropped the gun. Hands were on me pulling me away. “No,” I screamed. “He killed her.”

I watched paramedics swarm over Brandon’s fallen body. Police officers wrenched my arms behind my back and yanked me away from the scene. I would never know.

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Are you relevant?

Apparently, I’m not. What?! How can that be, you ask! Well, I have no idea. How does someone just starting out become relevant? Further, don’t you lose your relevance if you are trying to be relevant? That’s like an oxymoron or something, right?!

I think that I’d much rather write what interests me, than to try to be something I’m not. If I cross the line over to relevant somewhere along the way, good on me! If not, I’m not sure I’m going to be overly concerned. Afterall, I think there are a lot of people out there like me that want to be entertained or read something they are interested in, maybe check out a new perspective, and I don’t think they are concerned about whether it’s relevant.

If you’re looking for relevant, maybe check out some political sites. I’m going more for, uh, you know…  fun!

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cover art

What do you think? I have a new ebook coming out soon, and I’m trying to get the cover done. So, I’m going to give you a sneak-peak. I can’t decide which way to go. Tell me what you think.

Here is cover #1

This was fun to make using clip art and color.

I like the girl’s hair with the streaks of red because it matches my main character.

The draw back on this one is that I don’t think it is professional enough and I couldn’t get my name right.

This is cover #2:

I like the play with colors on this one and cutting down to just her eyes. I’ve seen a lot of covers with just wolf eyes over looking a girl or guy, so this is that idea revised. I like to do things different.

This still keeps the coloring of the girl’s hair, but using just the eyes makes it a bit more interesting.

This is cover #3:

This is almost the same as cover #2 only I move the eyes to black and white, but still a darker shade than the wolf. I tried one the same shade as the wolf, but then the entire cover kind of disappears. So, I like this one.

I put a bit of shadow around the picture of the eyes too.

I’m not sure, but I think this is my favorite. I keep going back and forth.

Here’s the last one #4:

This one is almost the same as #3, but I didn’t skew the picture of the eyes. I left them straight on. 

So, which one do you like best and why?  I’m not good enough with Photoshop to do much else, but I want to come up with something that looks decent. I don’t want to feel like I’m just ending up with what I can get away with, but I don’t have the funds to purchase anything either.

The ebook is a novella, and I plan to put it out for $2.99, so keep an eye out for it.  Here’s the description:

Selena competes for much more than the alpha spot during her summer spent in her favorite game. Science Fiction and fantasy combine together in this shape shifting tale of intrigue and dominance.

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I did it… OMG!

After so many hours of searching online for the perfect writing program… hours and hours! I finally settled on the program I wanted to do AND applied for it. I officially applied for the MA degree in creative writing online at the Southern New Hampshire University!

I’m really excited. I have everything completed that I need, and now I have to wait. I’ve done my FAFSA, submitted my writing samples, and requested my transcripts. Now, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best!

I haven’t been in school for a while, but I love writing and I’m hoping that this program will help me improve my writing and maybe help me move my career in a more creative direction.

I’ve been unsure of what I wanted to do for a while now. I’ve been sitting in a crossroads, if you will. I could move forward with pursuing my doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (sound interesting, huh?)… OR… writing. I’ve been leaning towards the writing. I think it was just a matter of finding the right program. I think this is a good one!

http://www.snhu.edu/English-and-Creative-Writing-Fiction-MA.asp

Once I finish this, I’ll have three Masters degrees ~wild, huh?!?! Well, maybe I’ll consider a doctorate afterwards, but right now my life is all about writing, and this program will be a good boost in the right direction. Woot!

Ya’ll cross your fingers for me too!!

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Who are you?

One of the most frustrating things I’m facing in my writing journey is naming my characters. I want the names to fit the character. Some times it comes to me quickly during my outlining stages. At other times, I’m frustrated.  The perfect name doesn’t want to come to me. I think this happens when I’m trying to write the story quicker than my brain wants to process.

In any event, here is a link to a blog with five tips for picking names. They are really good pointers to keep in mind:

http://voices.yahoo.com/five-tips-naming-characters-fiction-228710.html

Here is a slightly different take on naming that is entertaining to read. This one uses some great examples to emphasise important points and perhaps some inspiration can be gleaned:

http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/write18.htm

Finally, Writing World offers these tips. I particularly like the one about not using names that end in S. Also, there are some good points about considering how your character might translate on the back cover.

http://www.writing-world.com/romance/names.shtml

This last article also spells out some differences in naming in genre stories. I think that is important. I tend to write dark fantasy or urban fantasy and some of it is futuristic. You can have a lot more leeway in naming, but if the name is too far out, it isn’t effective within the story. There is a purpose to a name and whether the story is in modern-day real life setting or a futuristic alternate universe or another planet, it has to work in the story.

Ultimately, I want a name that fits the character, flows well, doesn’t end in S, and is just otherwise perfect for the story.

Yeah… easier said than done.  Time to put on my thinking cap and get creative.

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Read this one yet?

I recently finished reading Chimera by Rob Thurman. It was a 5 star book on a 4 star scale, and if you haven’t read it you should.

I find it difficult to give a good summary of Rob Thurman’s books because they all have such incredible plot twists and surprise endings. Unlike some books I’ve read, Thurman’s surprise endings are credible and they work because she builds them up unbeknownst to the reader throughout the entire novel. That makes it very difficult to summarize without spoilers and I hate spoilers. But, I’ll give it a try…

Two sons of a Russian mob boss are riding their horses on the beach in Miami when they are attacked. The older boy, Stefan, falls and is pinned under his horse as he watches his brother’s kidnapping. Stefan spends the rest of his life searching for his brother, Lukas. Finally, he succeeds. This is where it starts getting interesting! Lukas has changed. He doesn’t remember Stefan, he goes by the name Michael, and he has a special power (as in supernatural power). He has been a victim of biological and genetic experimentation!

I can’t give any more of the plot without running into spoilers. I can tell you that Stefan and Lukas/Michael are fabulous characters that the reader will want to care about. Stefan is head strong, confident, but never fools himself about who and what he is and what his capabilities are. He tries to understand all the risks before taking a chance, but will take that chance anyway if it means saving his family. He has a very strong sense of family. Lukas/Michael spends his time in this book discovering who he is and becoming a teenage boy. Despite all of the horrors that have happened in his life, he remains true of heart. With Stefan’s help, he learns what it means to be family.

Together Stefan and Lukas/Michael drive the story and provide interesting and fun reading. Now, I can’t wait to find out what the heroes do in the sequel, Basilisk.

For trailers, more info and ordering:

http://robthurman.net/

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What the heck am I doing?

I’m still so new at writing that I often wonder if I’m doing this right. There is so much more to writing than just telling a story. Of course telling the story is the most important part. Without that, I wouldn’t really be doing any of this… so, what am I doing exactly? Well, I’m writing, promoting, and learning about the craft of writing.

The first part, like I said, is writing, telling the story. I’m getting better at that, but I still don’t have a novel published. I have two written, but both are in the editing stages and are not ready yet to be published.  It takes a lot to get a story from the first inkling of a tale to a published novel.

First, you have to think about it for a long time and work it out in your head. Then, you have to start writing things down, and that isn’t even the story yet. You have to write out character sketches, outlines, research notes, and more… I suppose these things are not always necessary, but I don’t know how to write a novel without doing this. I keep a notebook on my stories and jot down ideas, plot lines, and other details constantly.

Then, I start getting serious about a chapter outline. The chapter outline keeps me going and keeps my plot on track. It is not permanent, however. I’ve learned that the best stories have characters that take on a life of their own, and when that happens they change the plot. So, I change my outline. But, the outline helps keep things from getting too far off the original track.

Once I have a pretty good start on a chapter outline, I’ll start detailing the chapters. I start with a loose outline and just start adding more and more details. This is the most flexible part. I don’t put any rules on it. Whatever I think or feel I write, keeping it free and easy. This is where the real creativity comes out, and this is what is turned into the novel.

After the novel is finished, what am I going to do with it?  I’m really interested in self publishing and being and indie (or independent author), but I still don’t think I know enough about it.  I’m learning. A lot of what I’m learning has been found on Twitter. I follow a lot of other indie-authors and resources for indies like the following:

 @WoMensLitCafe 

Indie_Kindle

Indie_Kindle

@IndieKindle

 @IndieBookIBC

@AuthorNetwork

and others…

They help.  I also like following book bloggers that do book reviews and other bloggers that help indie-authors promote their work.  Some are:

@PattiRoberts7

@Tynga

@piercebooks

and many others… too many to mention them all.  The point is there are so many people out there willing to help. It is a network of people helping people and returning that help.  I’ve been very surprised to see so much support and such a robust community. So, I’m learning a lot! Thanks all!!

So, now I’m editing my novel and soon will be publishing, and in doing so, I’m sure I’ll learn even more!! And, somewhere along the lines, hopefully, I will figure out what I’m doing!!

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Hot Vikings and Independent Women

Let me start this blog by saying that I do NOT read romance novels, and particularly NOT historical romance novels. (My MOM reads historical romance.) Although, I did love Wuthering Heights in High School, but that’s a secret, and so is Loki’s Daughters by Delle Jacobs.

http://www.amazon.com/Lokis-Daughters-ebook/dp/B0033WSKA4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320806449&sr=8-1

I do really like romance books that have some kind of paranormal twist, but Loki’s Daughters does not fit in that category.  It is about hot Vikings that invade Celtic land wanting to find a home of their own and, oh yeah, wives!  The main character Arienh is a strong independent woman and she is not about to let these invaders push her around. She never gives up, even if it costs her what she most desires.

Even though there were no demons, aliens, vampires, or other paranormal activity (except potentially one ghost scene), I really enjoyed this novel. It was not overwhelmingly stuffed with sex, but sex was used where it belonged within the story. Oh yeah, and some of it was really funny!  I always think that historical romance is going to be all sex and frail women being swept off their feet and probably ravaged on the moors of Scotland or something, but Loki’s Daughters did not fit that mold at all.  Well, there were hot Vikings ready to sweep women off their feet, but the women were having none of that! It made for a brilliant story.  And, you just can’t go wrong with HOT Vikings!

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I have sales!! Woot!

Woot! It really isn’t much, but the fact that I have sales is really exciting! It means that there are a few people out there that actually purchased my writing for the first time ever AND it is more than just my family! 

In this new journey to become a real author, I published a book of seven short stories called, Stories to Fight Demons By. These are twisted/surreal stories about different kinds of demons; perfect for Halloween! You can purchase this on Amazon or B&N.  I’ll include the links here:

http://www.amazon.com/Stories-Fight-Demons-ebook/dp/B004RH3T46/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319329943&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stories-to-fight-demons-by-sherri-jordan-asble/1030426408?ean=2940012183842&itm=1&usri=sherri%2bjordan-asble

I hope those that purchased the book liked it. I don’t have any reviews on Amazon or B&N yet, but I’m hoping I’ll get one. So, if you purchased the book and are reading this… hint, hint!

I also have a teaser for my first novel posted on my website and a plug for it in the back of  Stories. Website:

http://sjordanasble.com/Page_2.html

So, this is truly another awesome step forward in my writing journey. I hope that others will celebrate with me – go ahead, raise your hand in the air and give me a “Woot!”

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good reading = good writing

I’ve noticed that I tend to write better when I’ve been reading really great books! So, as part of my writing  journey, I thought I should mention and share some of what I’ve been reading. I’ve posted a few book reviews on my website that you may want to check out…

http://sjordanasble.com/Books__Reviews___Links.html

I’m also going to share the latest awesome book I’ve read, Blood Song by Cat Adams. This was a fast read. I read the book in a day and a half and I cannot wait for the sequel.  The book is about a tough body-guard who is half turned into a vampire (yes only 1/2 way!) It is partially a mystery to find out who did

 this to her and why, part kick ass vampire book, and there is a nice little surprise twist at the end leaving the reading drooling for the sequel.  The author’s style of writing is easy flowing, easy to read, and gets your attention quick and keeps it.  I highly recommend it and rate it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I have to take off 1/2 a point because she had so many characters in the book that I lost track a couple of times.  I had to say, “Who? Who was that?” a couple of times.  Otherwise, excellent read!

So, these are the awesome books that I’ve been reading lately. You can enjoy them to and hopefully, see their influence positively reflecting in my writing.

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