Syndicate: You Will be Mine

Have another deleted scene, this time from Syndicate. One of those things that I never found a place to put in is an explanation of just where Mark got those powers from. Because he did get them from somewhere.


Jason just wanted to make a little quick cash and his prayers were very easily answered. This guy at the bar had already been abandoned by his friends one by one as he continued to obsess over a woman that had dumped him. From the sounds of it, she’d dumped him months ago, if not even longer.

He took a seat next to the drunk, looking far too young to be in here. Luckily, so long as he paid, no one cared. Better, he knew the man working the bar and knew that he’d look the other way. “Hey,” Jason said. “Mark, right?”

“Who’s asking?” Mark looked Jason over. “Aren’t you kinda young? I’m not buying you anything.”

“I get that a lot,” Jason said. “And I don’t need you to.”

Jason put his finger down on the bar and the shadows pooled under Mark’s drink. Mark turned back to it and watched as it fell into the wood of the bar, then looked at Jason as the drink resurfaced in front of him. Jason smiled and nodded, tipping the glass in his direction in thanks before taking a drink.

“How’d you do that?”

Surprise was good. Surprise meant that he’d never seen anything like it before. Even as wasted as he was, if he would know exactly what Jason was the instant he saw that trick.

“Trade secret,” Jason said. “But I might let you in on it if you really want.”

“Can you do anything else?”

“Plenty,” Jason said, letting the drink sink back down into the bar and returning it to Mark. “It’s not something you generally go around showing people, but I get a good feeling from you.” A feeling like you’re willing to blow a lot of cash to get back a girl who doesn’t give a shit about you. 

Mark said nothing staring down at his glass. He picked it up and felt the table, making sure there wasn’t a hole or dent, but there was nothing but smooth wood under his hands. He glanced around, but no one so much as glanced in their direction. This was going a little too well.

“How?” Mark asked.

Jason pooled a collection of shadows in front of him and reached down into the bar, pulling out a single purple pill before the shadows dispersed.

“It’s not cheap,” Jason warned him, the shadows pooling around Mark’s glass again and flickering up like a dark flame to lick the cool glass. “This shit comes at a price. But between you and me, it’s worth every cent.”

“And it’ll make me do this?”

“It’s a bit different for everyone. Some people get mine. Some people blow shit up. Sometimes you can control everyone around you. It all depends on you. No matter what you get, though, it makes you more powerful than you ever imagined.”

“How much?”

“Five thousand gets you one. That’ll get you some temporary skills. The second makes it permanent.”

Mark looked long and hard at the glass, now covered in thin black tendrils from Jason’s shadows. “You know a bank near here?” he asked.

syndicate

Timmy and the Fridges: A NaNoWriMo Story

Apparently a lot of people in my own region don’t even know this story, so it’s time to gather round to answer one of the questions of NaNoWriMo. What is with Timmy and those fridges?

The short version: It’s my fault.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo has many avenues to connect with people during the month, and one of those is via the IRC Chat rooms. In these chat rooms, there is a bot named Timmy1 and the bot was originally created right here in the Vancouver region by a user who… I don’t know if they want to be named.2

I believe the year was 2012, and I wanted to be ambitious and decided that writing two books in a month was a good idea. I may have gone a touch loopy. It all started at a New West write in about mid-month during a lot of people’s two week slumps. I was just starting book number two and someone was having problems with their book, and I, being the helpful genius that I am, asked if they had tried throwing a fridge at it. This suggestion went over very well and we all ran with it. But I wasn’t done with it.

Two things you should know about me: I am very annoying when I get an idea in my head and I don’t know how to let a joke die. Ever.

This advice continued for the month, to the point where it is now if one of my own books as a recurring plot point throughout the series.3 For the month4 it was sort of an in joke within Vancouver, and it was added to Timmy so we could continue to throw fridges at each other.

And that is how I ended up making my mark on NaNoWriMo. You’re welcome.

  1. His full name is There Are Some Who Call Me Tim, if I’m remembering right []
  2. If you’re reading this, let me know []
  3. Different coloured fridges and everything. That’s how you know if a fridge is ripe! []
  4. What was left of it []

Poll closed and a book released!

Thank you everyone for voting! It looks like we have a book for the year to write, and that book is…

I've been playing around with the cover a little. Let me know what you think!

I’ve been playing around with the cover a little. Let me know what you think!

Arcleo! It’s been a long time coming and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the story. Stay tuned for some excerpts.

But we’re not done yet, because I also have to mention that I have a book out today as well! I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for it1 and now the fourth part of the Looking Glass Saga is finally out!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002]

Looking Glass Saga: Wandering Hearts

After an unsettling Christmas with Adrianna’s family, Alice returns to school and a much more normal problem than she’d ever had to deal with before. Adrianna likes a boy and needs a date for his friend if she wants to spend more time with him. Alice agrees, but soon finds she’s not ready for what that means.

The other side of the mirror and searching for Adrianna’s brothers becomes an escape from the life she’d dreamed of, even as she gains a new shadow while exploring Wonderland. She gains a shadow in a boy named Peter who has taken an interest in her and the things she can do. He is definitely not from around here and learns that where Wonderland ends, another world begins.

Check it out now on Amazon!

And now I’m going to go drown in Facebook notifications…

  1. Because I’m just that good at marketing and scheduling… []

Who Do You Publish For?

As I finish the last pass of edits on Wandering Hearts1 I have been watching a debate happening on one of the Facebook groups for YA authors. It looks like a few people took it very personally and it spiraled into a few different issues, so I’ve opted to stay out of it. On Facebook, at least.

The issue is one that will always come up in groups centered around writing and marketing. Do you write for the market or do you write what you want to write, regardless of the market? There were other things mentioned, such as quality and formula and repeated tropes and saturated markets, but this was the core of what I’ve been gathering from it.

To me, it all depends what you’re publishing for. Not writing, but we’ll get to that. If you want to make money off of your writing, then of course you write for the market. You use the same tropes and formulas that are popular at the moment and you churn out that thing that your audience is going to love. You figure out a large audience you can tap into and cater to them so that you will get the best chance, you make your covers look just like that thing they love and you write as many books as you can while you can ride that trend until they’re sick of it.

For some people, there is no conflict. They are already writing in popular genres, they love the tropes, they have the voice that their target audience is familiar with, all is well. For others, that is not the case as much. There were some saying they had been writing for the market and hadn’t written anything they enjoyed in a while.

Personally, I’m in that group that publishes the stories that don’t cater very well to the current broad audience. I like a reluctant hero that didn’t want to do it in the first place and by the end really doesn’t want to be here but still gets the job done. They have none of the romantic triangles and are very rarely saving the world so much as themselves and the people they’ve fallen in with. Alice is the closest I’ve come to a chosen one of any sort, but that’s not following the formula at all.2

But my goal has never been to make a lot of money publishing, or to make much of a name for myself. It was to prove to myself I could and to finally tell these stories and get them out there. And in the end, that’s what it all comes down to. Whatever you get into publishing for, pursue that to the best of your abilities and don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing it for.

Although, if you’re looking to make a quick buck, I hear werewalruses are going to be hot next year.

  1. Out October 25th! []
  2. Why did I decide a 12 book series was a good idea? []

Backstreets: Mail

I did a lot of thinking about the other stuff that happened in that one arc of stories in Backstreets. So here’s more of what happened with Carrie.


When Carrie dropped her stuff off in her room, she saw the envelope on her bed. Those earrings she ordered online had come in fast. She grabbed it and headed back downstairs and to Don waiting for her in the living room. He turned when she appeared. “Got something?”

“Yeah, I ordered this a week ago,” Carrie told him, handing him the envelope. “I thought it would take longer to get here.”

Don muttered a couple words and ran his finger along the top of the envelope, a neat slice appearing through the tape and paper. She smiled as he handed it back to her. A magic boyfriend was useful sometimes. So long as they kept it low key, she might be able to keep him without getting caught.

She opened the envelope and tipped it into her hand, a slip of paper falling between the two of them before a plastic bag with a single purple pill. Don went as still as her at the sight of it and Carrie’s back tingled, remembering full well what happened the last time she took one of these things. She almost wanted to throw it across the room, but she wanted an explanation more.

She shoved the bag at Don, looking for a return address on the envelope. It was blank and there wasn’t even any postage on it to let her know where it came from. The only other clue was the note.

“This has to be a joke,” Don said quietly as he handed her the note, his eyes darting to the door to make sure they weren’t being overheard. He held the pill awkwardly, like it was about to bite him. “Who the hell would send this to you? Who else knows?”

Carrie read the note.

For the future when the choice arises.

Dawn

Taking a deep breath, Carrie took the pill back and shoved it in her pocket, gathering the remaining evidence together and giving it back to Don. “Burn it. Jin never finds out.”

“You can’t-”

“Just in case,” she said, not quite meeting his eyes.

backstreets

Simya Academy: Questions

I ended up leaving a lot out by not including an epilogue in Simya Academy. Things like, what actually happened to her friends once the book was done.


“You don’t really believe any of this, do you?” Marisa asked once they got back in their dorm. There were only five of them now, Dawn placed on an independent long term assignment, and only three of them in the room. Well, they said that’s where she was.

“She has not been replaced yet,” Angel said. “She might be back.”

“No,” Shane told her.

“You know something about that night,” Marisa said. “It’s been months and no one’s told us anything. It’s not a coincidence that Dawn got put on ‘permanent assignment’ in the middle of the night and the Tower blows up at the same time. Or that, somehow, we’re the only ones who managed to sleep through the whole thing. There is no way she got out of here without going through you first, Shane. And – Roland!”

“What?” Roland asked as he walked into the dorm, closing the door behind him.

“You found something last night, right? The folder?”

Roland’s eyes flicked around the room, carefully checking everything. He went to the window and made sure it was closed before he pulled it out from under his pillow. “There was this,” he said, leaving the folder on his bed. “Ellen’s file. I have yet to go through it, but Dawn’s left a note.”

Shane looked back to the door, then to the rest of them. “Fine,” Shane said. “I will tell you what happened. But only once Jack comes. I am not repeating myself.”

simyaacademy1

The 2016 Nanowrimo Poll

It’s getting close to NaNoWriMo1 again, which means it’s time to make the internet choose my novel once more! This is my eleventh year participating2 and another year where I cannot decide for myself what to write, so I’m leaving it up to everyone else. Because there’s only four options, you can pick your favourite two.

Looking Glass Saga: Beauty Sleep (Book 6)
With the end of Middle School approaching, Alice is getting ready to deal with her bet with the Bandersnatch. She’s done everything she can, but when her roommate, Adrianna, falls into a deep sleep and no one can wake her up, Alice has to put the bet aside. She hopes the answer to waking her up lies somewhere in Wonderland, but time is running out and if she doesn’t find it, Adrianna may never wake up.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]Arcleo
Mirabella knows she is a princess. She knows because she doesn’t want to be an innkeeper’s daughter. When a group of people come through the inn looking for the real princess of a conquered kingdom, Mirabella sneaks out to join them on their quest to fulfill the prophesy to retake the kingdom. The journey isn’t quite what she had hoped, full of danger and uncertainty, and she is not the only potential princess they’ve picked up in their travels.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]Sky of Butterflies
Deciding to try their luck on their own, Mateo and Serafina venture out of their orphanage and into the wide world outside, only to be swept up in a revolution. The robots have caught their world up in a tyrannical rule while the rich remain safe behind gilded gates. The kids, however, soon learn that the resistance is not all that it seems to be… and neither are they.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002]Static
Roughly a year after the events of White Noise, Willow suddenly recovers from her vegetative state and takes Max with her, provoking H&R to try and deal with the situation. Harrison is not a fan of what that means and starts to learn just what H&R have been up to, the real reason of their research, and how far they will go to keep their research private. He still doesn’t know what Willow wants and still can’t quite remember what happened the last time he went into H&R.

NaNoWriMo 2016

  • Arcleo (59%, 36 Votes)
  • Sky of Butterflies (23%, 14 Votes)
  • Static (20%, 12 Votes)
  • Beauty Sleep (16%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 61

Loading ... Loading ...

Poll closes on my birthday, October 25th. Happy voting!

  1. National Novel Writing Month []
  2. Is it actually eleven? That seems like a ridiculously long time… []

Cutting Room Floor: The Edge of Wonderland

I am starting to work on the rewrite of the next Looking Glass Saga book, The Edge of Wonderland!1 One of the fun things about going back through the first drafts, particularly one that I wrote several years ago, is finding the strange lines and weird notes I’ve left for myself in the process of writing it.

Commentary about working on vacation:

Yes. Working through the holidays like AMERICA.

I like this, but it doesn’t work where it is:

“No, that’s what plotting sounds like,” Adrianna said. “I know my brothers. I know what them plotting something sounds like.”

 

In which I notice I haven’t thought things through.

Alice tried to count the doors, but she didn’t know how many. I have really made this house ridiculously huge and will be downsizing it in the future.

Unfortunately, this cannot stay.

Alice got the feeling of royalty from her, but in a different way from the Queen of Hearts. Where the Queen was unhinged and quite probably completely deranged, [she] seemed much more benevolent and willing to not cut off her head or rip out her heart. Alice appreciated that.

Actually, this might stay as well. I loved this movie.

Apparently Santa Claus, who Alice was aware of but never really knew much about, was a child who was raised by fairies and sometimes attacked by monsters. Somehow, this was not in line at all with any of the things that Alice had grown up learning about the figure and they were quickly joined by Ryan, who was quick to point out how completely inaccurate the fairies were, as well as the creatures that they were fighting against. He seemed to have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the mythology, but he used it to make the movie a little more entertaining.

Also, I know very little about Christmas.

She’d made cookies and watched more Christmas movies than she’d ever watched or made ever before in the time she was here, as well as helped do more Christmas thing that people do traditionally. Dammit, I really don’t know that much about other people’s traditions. Also, generic hanging out at home stuff. She learned to play video games and she kind of sucks at them, but she can button mash all right. Which she cheats on.

Anyway, Christmas!

  1. Still debating on the title. It may change by the end of this whole rewrite []

Office: Xombie Overdose

Just in case anyone thought the twins weren’t somehow entirely responsible for what happened during the zombie invasion, here’s a cut bit from Office that didn’t fit anywhere.


“You’d think they’d know it’s not supposed to be green,” Di said, remaining just out of sight of the small crowd of junkies crowding around what they thought was a box of free heroin.

“You’d think they’d know you aren’t going to get anything good in random boxes in an alley, but this is the second time today.”

“Should we do anything about this?”

A grin crossed her brother’s face and the look in Ezra’s eye told her that he knew just what to do to spice things up a little. He’d been more reckless than her lately and, as much fun as it was, she wasn’t sure if she should be stopping him.

He was always the one to rein her in when she went too far, though. That was how they worked. She jumped at whatever would be the most entertaining and he made sure it didn’t get out of hand. Maybe this streak of boredom was getting to him too. If he wasn’t going to stop her, she’d keep from stopping him too.

“It’s been awfully dull at the office lately, don’t you think?” Ezra asked.

“So boring.”

“And we can’t just leave these guys out here on their own.”

“They’re going to get in trouble on their own.”

“They’d cause too much trouble for the Chief.”

“We should really bring them right there.”

“And take the scenic route,” Ezra agreed. “They might have a few more friends we haven’t seen.”

Di pushed back that voice in her head telling her that this was definitely one of those times that Ezra would tell her it was going too far. The idea of the office plunged in a zombie invasion sounded like far too much fun to pass up. Plus, it had been years since she and Ezra had a chance to really let loose and no one was going to stop them over zombies.

Still, there was something off about Ezra. His expression was as calm as usual, but his smile never quite met his eyes. She knew she should stop and ask him what was going on, even if it meant stopping what might be the most fun they’d ever have at the office.

If it was serious, he’d tell her. If not, she’d ask him when this stopped being fun.

office

Simya Academy: Othering

There’s a few strange things that got left out of Simya Academy. Namely, I left out everything that wasn’t directly related to Dawn. Like this little bit about what happened with Zeke.


A moment ago there was nothing but fire and that girl, her grey eyes chilling him to the bone. He knew her once as a child, back in those hazy years that would never quite return to him. She changed from the friend he sort of remembered to the demon who looked too at home in the flames.

“What’s going on?” he asked, his voice hollow and disappearing into the night. He could feel the cool open night air and was dimly aware that he was in a field in the middle of nowhere, his knees soaking from the damp soil he now knelt in. It didn’t matter. Nothing made sense anymore.

You needed to get out of there, came the little voice in his head. Frag was there, as he always was, speaking gently and trying not to sound shaken himself. I took the liberty.

Zeke shook his head, though he wasn’t sure what he was disagreeing with. He could still feel the fire. He could see Dawn there. He could hear his brother. He saw everything happen. He knew what happened. It just didn’t make any sense.

He didn’t know how long he sat there, sitting in the dirt and shaking his head, before he managed to get his next words out. “I can’t go back, can I?”

You could, Frag said. I wouldn’t recommend it. It might be time to go.

“Yeah,” Zeke said. “Yeah, I think we should go.”

Zeke didn’t move a muscle, but the field was empty a moment later.

simyaacademy1