Friday, November 1, 2013

Stellar Cloud: A Collection of Short Stories

Do you need a short story for when you're stuck in traffic? How about while sitting the doctor's office? Try out these six shorts on for size. Stellar Cloud is a science fiction collection available in print and for Kindle on Amazon.

A soldier struggles with the emptiness left behind by amnesia until he learns he is more than the world would have him remember. The earth is desolate, and only one ship of humans remains. An assassin plays god, dealing out justice and mercy as he sees fit.

Explore the outer reaches of the imagination through these and other short stories. From brainwashed clones to winged aliens of destruction, the stories in Stellar Cloud will pull in any lover of science fiction and fantasy.

As a bonus feature the prologue and first chapter of THE MAGIC WAKES is included at the end of the collection.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This Blog is No Longer Active

But I'm sure you've noticed that. I'll leave everything here for reference but there won't be anything new.
For the last year I've been putting all my blogging efforts into my writing blog and getting published. That's right!

My debut mash up of science fiction, fantasy and romance is now available on Amazon. You can pre-order the print copy that will be available on February 19th or you can buy and read the Kindle version today.

For more information, visit my official webpage at:

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always dreamt of an alien invasion and her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping it is nothing more than childish nightmares. But when the face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she knows death is imminent  If she can prove that life exists beyond her planet, Sendek, perhaps people will prepare to fight.

Her work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. Talia is the key–if she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm getting published!

I've been AWOL from this blog for quite a while. But for good reason.

Sendek: The Magic Wakes is getting published!

So how did this happen? Well, it has been a torturous waiting period even after I knew something was going to happen. The first week of March I received the following email:

You have done an excellent job revising this manuscript, and I am very glad you resubmitted it. I would like to offer you a contract for publication of Sendek in our 2013 line-up. If this is agreeable to you, please let me know and I will put together a contract for you to review.

I hope to hear from you soon.
This made me VERY happy. And then I realized I couldn't do anything about it until I was cut from ABNA. A weird month followed. I flipped from hoping to get cut to wanting to make it another round. Can you blame me now for having a hard time writing? I just couldn't decide what I wanted.

So I prayed and left it up to someone else.

The end of March I was cut from ABNA, but the feedback was so good I had twinges of indecision again. Maybe I should keep trying for an agent?

Whatever, I emailed the acquisitions editor the very day I was cut to let her know I was free from any obligations.

Then I waited another agonizingly long week for a reply. When it came it was to give me a date that the contract would show up for me to look over. That day was an entirely different roller coaster ride.

I was ecstatic for several hours. And then I crashed. Who was I to know what I was looking at with this contract? What if I was signing everything away and didn't even know it? Yes, I was getting editors to help me, but what was I REALLY signing up for?

The truth was two fold. Part of me was still holding on to that agent dream, and the other part of me is still an insecure teenager despite the growing number of candles on my birthday cakes.

I set the contract aside and left for spring break. I had waited years, and now I needed it to wait so I could calm down and think rationally.

When I looked at it again, my hubby and I wrote down any questions we had and I called WiDo. Bruce Gowan walked me through everything and was so nice about it all. In the end I just felt GOOD about the whole thing. It was finally my turn to stop fearing success and take things into my own hands.

What am I the most excited about? 
  • Having a team of people help me make Sendek the best story it can be and then helping me spread the word about it. 
  • People will finally get to read the whole story. I hope they like it as much as I do.
  • I don't feel like I gave anything up by choosing a smaller publisher. In fact, I think this will end up being a much better choice for me and my family.  
In preparation, I created a Facebook Page for my novel. Please go "Like it". When I get an ISBN I'll create a Goodreads page as well. Also, if you want more information about this process as I go through it, check out my main blog Charity's Writing Journey.

What kind of things do you like to see on pages like that?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Things We Take for Granted--Smell

There are so many things in this beautiful world that we take for granted. The ability to smell for instance.

You may recall that I've wanted to create a smell thesaurus for a while but due to lack of interest I've not made much progress. Whether it's because I'm too lazy or just too busy with other things, I'll never know, but several months ago I received this email.


I read your blog about smells in writing, it was really interesting. I've always had an excellent ability to smell and takes me back to places and people.

The reason I am writing to you is because my 4 year old son was born without olfactory bulbs and has complete anosmia. He has absolutely no idea what anyone is talking about when it comes to smell, it makes me very sad because he's missing out on a whole world of experiences. His memory is absolutely amazing and is photographic I believe. He remembers details to buildings he saw a year ago. who worked there. etc. Things that I wouldn't notice...

Do you know how in which way I can describe to him what smell is? I never realized until now how many times a day I mention a smell. He has amazing language skills but is lost in social skills and it looks like he's missing something...I wonder if this social issue has something to do with his complete inability to smell. Maybe if I can explain to him in an appropriate way he could understand what this is? But I have no idea how to go about explaining a simple smell since he has nothing to compare it to.

And are there other senses that can be heightened if there is no ability to smell?


So, what do you think?  

How would you describe smell, any smell, the ability to smell, to someone who never smelled anything?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Facial Expressions--Embarrassment

I've been thinking about this one a lot lately. As I've been switching one of my WIPs from 1st person POV to 3rd person POV, I've had to think about how to show things in a different way. Embarrassment being one of them.
For instance, I have two characters who have been denying their attraction to each other for almost 200 pages. Something happens to bring their mortality to mind and they find themselves lip locked. It's a surprise to both of them and they are a embarrassed and a bit annoyed with themselves for losing control. When I was in 1st person I used internal dialogue to show Talia's frustration, but that doesn't work now that I'm in 3rd person.

So, here are some visual and verbal clues to help us show embarrassment in our writing. The following is a combination of information I found at these sites:
The Bookshelf Muse

Let's break it down.
Part of Speech: verb
Definition:     cause mental discomfort
Synonyms:     abash, agitate, annoy, bewilder, bother, bug, catch one short, chagrin, confuse, discombobulate, discomfit, discompose, disconcert, discountenance, distract, distress, disturb, dumbfound, faze, fluster, give a bad time, give a hard time, hang up, irk, let down*, make a monkey of, mortify, nonplus, perplex, perturb, plague, put in a hole, put in a spot, put on the spot, put out of countenance, puzzle, rattle, shame, show up, stun, tease, throw, throw into a tizzy, upset
Antonyms:     comfort, gladden, help, please

  • An emotional state of intense discomfort with oneself, experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others. 
  • Usually some amount of loss of honor or dignity is involved.
  • To become self-conscious.
  • To place in doubt, perplexity, or difficulties

I also believe we experience embarrassment when we indulge in activity, comments, whatever that we personally feel is unacceptable--whether society accepts it or not. In my above example, kissing is quite acceptable between two people, but these particular characters have higher personal priorities that stand to be disrupted by becoming emotionally or physically attached to someone else. Thus their embarrassment at giving in and then enjoying it more than they think they should have. :)

Emotional Responses:
  • cheeks/forehead getting warm, flushing, burning, reddening
  • desire to run away (fight or flight)
  • lightheadedness, tingling in chest/stomach
  • wish to hide
  • anger at oneself, or another (misplacing blame to feel better about self)

Visual Signs: (See Bookshelf Muse for the full list)
  • feet shuffling
  • covering oneself: crossing arms, closing jacket, etc.
  • pulling at collar
  • wincing, ducking head
  • fidgeting, squirming
  • stuttering, stammering
  • looking down/inability to meet someone's eyes
  • shoving hands in pockets
  • rapid walking with head down to get away
  • hiding behind long hair
  • laughing 
Isn't it interesting how the visual signs make sense with what the person feels? Someone who feels like running away will have a hard time standing still. Those who just want to disappear will find ways to hide--covering part of face, letting hair drop down to hide them, shoving hands in pocket, etc.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Facial Expressions--Sadness

Sad expressions convey messages related to loss, bereavement, discomfort, pain, helplessness, etc.

Words to describe sadness:
bereaved, bitter, blue, cheerless, dejected, despairing, despondent, disconsolate, dismal, distressed, doleful, down, down in dumps, down in mouth, downcast, forlorn, gloomy, glum, grief-stricken, grieved, heartbroken, heartsick, heavyhearted, hurting, in doldrums, in grief, in the dumps, languishing, low, low-spirited, lugubrious, melancholy, morbid, morose, mournful, out of sorts, pensive, pessimistic, sick at heart, somber, sorrowful, sorry, troubled, weeping, wistful, woebegone 

This is what it looks like:

A quick vid:

The Bookshelf Muse--Entry on Sadness/Grief

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Importance of Facial Expressions--by Elaine AM Smith

This post is brought to you by the Letter F and the A to Z Challenge.
Thank you Elaine for sharing this great post with my followers as well as yours.

Facial expressions are outward manifestations of internal conflicts.

The fleeting alterations in visual, nonverbal communication, implies the stages from reaction and realization through to acceptance and finally to action.

In the facial expressions, the writer can show:

a)Character traits
b)Thought processes
c)Physical appearances – muscles, lines, moles
d)The character’s reactions to others’ changing perceptions

There have been many studies which show the near perfect universality in nonverbal communication: body language and facial signs.

Our command of language is highly evolved. The spoken and written word can convey the sense of place and time and the human condition. Neither medium is perfect, otherwise, in time of our greatest joy or sadness, we would not revert to being speechless.

Facial expressions are a window into the personality – the unguarded version, who would not be chosen as the PC spokesperson – they can be used to show the character’s temperament and attitudes.

In a photograph or painting an artist can capture an emotion. Specialists believed the face can reveal static characteristics (the study is sometimes called physiognomy.)

When I was eleven I found a book in a jumble sale: The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace first published 1905. This paragraph, on page 6 (ie page2) came after an extensive description of Thery. I knew what he looked like but

“Signor Paolo Mantegazza, Director of the National Museum of Anthropology, Florence, has done Thery the honour of including him in his admirable work (see the chapter on ‘Intellectual Value of a Face’); hence I say that to all students of criminology and physiognomy, Thery must need no introduction.”

The word "physiognomy" drove me to distraction. I couldn’t sound it properly, my Dad had never heard of it and when I looked up “physiognomy” in the dictionary I couldn’t understand the definition.

The theory my English teacher helped me research threw my world out of orbit: it was the idea that you can judge a book by its cover.

I remain fascinated by all things psychological.

Facial expressions? Long before Tim Roth brought micro-expressions to the front of people’s consciousness ;) I made sure I judged people by what they did.

fair, fallible, fanatical, fascinated, fawning, fearful, fearless, fed up, fervent, fickle, fiery, fixated, flirtatious, flustered, foolish, forlorn, free, fretful, friendly, frightened, frustrated, fulfilled, fuming, furious

Seen any fantastic facial expression lately?
I'm going with Charlie Sheen.
all photos from google images