Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Secrets

Whoa! What change in the universe had made this happen?

I’ve been tagged again. Thanks, Theresa. If you don’t know her, I suggest checking out her blog. Her novel, NO ANGEL, is a Whitney Award finalist. Here’s the fantastic questions she’s given to me, and my answers:

1. You're on a deserted island for six months with one person ~ who would it be and why? My wife. What a vacation!

2. You were caught in a meteor shower which left you with strange abilities. Now every time you eat chocolate, you can ... what? Hmm. Every time I eat chocolate, I can turn anything I touch into chocolate.

3. A friend takes you to an abandoned castle that has been hidden for centuries. She heard a rumor that great treasure was hidden in the sixth tower. Would you venture inside or turn it over to the authorities to investigate? What would you find? This is easy. I actually explored an abandoned castle while in France. Great adventure. If I find the pictures, I’ll post them. I’d go into the castle without thinking twice and would hope to find an old suit of armor.

4. You can only drink one type of beverage for the next year - what would it be and why? Orange juice. I LOVE orange juice.

5. Have you ever had to face a fear of yours? What was it and how did you overcome it, if you did? Since I was little, I’ve had an intense fear of skunks. Long story. One night as a teenager, I came face to face with a skunk. Screamed and ran away—thank goodness I was a sprinter. I’m still afraid of skunks.

6. Have you enjoyed certain ages in your life more than others? What is your ideal age and why? Nineteen. I was living in Paris and serving an LDS Mission. Ahh, good times.

7. Has anyone totally amazed you in life? Who and why? I’m amazed by anyone who overcomes a challenge to be successful. Helen Keller tops that list.

8. Have you ever written in a character in a story patterned after a real person ~ out of spite, because that person ticked you off? Not out of spite, but more for fun. A coworker annoyed me one day, so I told her I would burn her at the stake. My current WIP has that scene and it’s awesome! Now you can’t wait for it, can you?

9. Do any of your characters make you totally crazy because they have a mind of their own and take you places you hadn't planned on? I write in the first person of a woman. Ask me why—because I don’t know how that happened. Trying to keep her character doing the things that I want is a huge challenge. I want my character to react like a guy would, but she won’t listen! Grrr…

10. What is your most favorite phrase/paragraph that you have written? Can you share it? This changed my writing life and style:

Leila rolled onto her stomach and leaned on her elbows, propping her chin with her palms. “What is it like to be in love?”
I grinned at her curiosity and stretched my arms straight. “It’s like dancing barefoot in the meadow under moonlight,” I told her. “Love tickles your toes and then climbs to your heart.” I rolled on the grass. “It spirals toward your fingertips as you spin and spin. Then it reaches up to the moon, grabs its rays, and pulls them down like a warm blanket.”

11. If you could sit down and talk shop with any writer from any time period - who would it be and why? I’d like to spend some time with Victor Hugo. His style, in the original French, has always been an inspiration to me.

These have been fun. I'll think about new questions and tag some new people in an upcoming post.

~ Jamie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Full Circle

Almost one year ago, I stepped foot into the world and announced myself as a writer. I created this blog and uploaded my first post, I signed up for Twitter, and I registered for my first Writers Conference. Not knowing what to expect, I had no expectations; all I knew is that I loved writing and I had a story to tell.

Here I am, one year later, still writing and still not knowing what to expect. I've learned a lot, a ton actually, and met so many great people. I've seen other writers send out their novels and receive offers for representation from well-known literary agents. I've seen other writers sign book deals. Even more writers have published their novels and experienced different levels of success. Congratulations to all of them. The achievement is well deserved.

All I have is a story to tell.
My books aren't great literary masterpieces, nor are they worthy of critical acclaim. I don't think I want to write those kind of books. They bore me; I could never write a book that bored me. But this story, THIS STORY, is something fantastic. I wrote the words, yes, so I'm biased that way, but the story found me in a way that begged me to share it with the world. I couldn't walk away and never will.

Speaking of stories.
ON FALLEN WINGS is out there. Take it, read it, enjoy it. If you saw my last blog post, I hope you'll take advantage of the free copy I'm offering to blog followers. If you have trouble downloading/ordering from with the code I provided, email me at onfallenwings @ gmail . com and I'll send you the version you need for your e-reader. The final cover isn't ready yet, so I haven't done a "cover reveal" post. I'm sorry about that-life is busy for everyone, including my cover artist. The officical book release party will be March 8th. If you are interested in doing a blog post on that date and want a free paperback copy of ON FALLEN WINGS to give away, email me at the address above. I'm happy to accomodate. Until next time.

~ Jamie

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Excerpt from ON FALLEN WINGS

March 8th is coming fast. That’s the planned release date of ON FALLEN WINGS. The novel will be available for all e-readers and a paperback version will also be released. I’m excited for that date because it’s my birthday and also a full moon. Later this year, I’ll introduce the hardcover version to the world. The cover isn’t done yet, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work, the art should be completed by this weekend. Cross your fingers, everyone!
In the meantime, I’ll be posting more often, offering updates and snippets of thought about the book. It’s been a long journey and I’m excited for this phase of the adventure. Today, I’m offering an excerpt from pages 132 to 135 of ON FALLEN WINGS. Enjoy.

~ * ~

Later, after everyone was fed and the stewing kettle emptied, I rolled a short stump from our firewood pile and sat down to relax. Taking the weight off my feet allowed a savory sensation of tiny tingles to shoot up my legs. I stretched them straight until the bottom of my gown lifted off the snow. Mother chose a small log and sat next to me. She leaned her arms forward and warmed her fingers over the small flames. We sat quietly for a while, indulging in our simple pleasures, while watching Ethan and Leila wave long sticks in the air. The ends of their sticks were burning, and my siblings’ motions created magnificent symbols and designs as the darkness captured the glow.
Leila made a single dot in the air and circled it with a spiral. “Look,” she said, triumphantly. “I made the faerie symbol for love.”
“That’s abounding compassion,” I said, offering a correction. “Love is two circles joined together.”
Leila aimed her stick again and twisted it in circles while trying to create the image. Despite her efforts, the light effect was wrong. She blew loudly from her pouted lips and stabbed the stick back into the fire. Meanwhile, Ethan thrust his stick in the air as if battling the night with the bright glow of its end.
“Look, Mother,” he said, jabbing it into the moonlight. “I have a flaming sword.”
We chuckled while we watched him play. The glowing edge fascinated me, and I found myself refusing to look away. Each wild design left images that burned in my mind when I closed my eyes. I reached down and retrieved the stick Leila had relinquished. After a practice twirl, I created two glowing circles overlapping, the perfect symbol for love.
“Come here, Leila,” I said, extending my arm. “I’ll show you how to make the symbol.”
Leila had been watching. She rushed to me and grabbed the stick from my grip.
“Careful,” I said, reaching out to hold her. “Let me guide you. It isn’t as easy as it appears.”
Leila scowled. “How come you can do it?” She waved her arm before I could grab it.
“Practice,” I answered. “The Fae do much more than dance. The perfect faerie can heal the afflicted, lift the hearts of those around her, and write flawlessly in the old language.” I moved her arm in a single circle. “The trick for love…is to first master the perfect circle.” I released her hand. “Practice the single circle a couple of times. The single circle is the blessing of one. It must be perfect before attempting another.”
Leila tried to make the circle, but the result was the same as before. She made a wobbling line that connected and meant nothing.
I stood behind her and guided her hand. “There,” I told her. My effort with her hand wasn’t perfect, but a closer replica of the circle. I repeated the move with her. “That’s it. See, you’ve done half.”
“That’s too hard,” she said, repeating the motion carefully and slow. “Why can’t love be one circle? It’s easier.”
“Because love needs two,” answered Mother. The glowing designs reflected in her eyes. “Without two lovers accepting each other, one merely knows desire.”
Leila’s next motion made a perfect circle.
“That was great!” I said, clapping my praise. “Now, would you like to try the second?”
Leila handed me the stick. “No, go ahead,” she said, groaning while taking my seat. “That’s too hard. I’m not ready for love.”
Her answer made Mother laugh. “That’s good, dear.” She reached over and stroked Leila’s hair. “You’re learning.”
Leila yawned. “Mother, when will Father be back? I’m tired, and my feet are cold.”
“You will see him in the morning,” she said. “Why don’t you go to sleep?” She turned to Ethan, whose invisible battle had faded to a few weary swipes with his arm. “You too, Ethan,” she said. “It has been a long day.”
Ethan attempted a protest, but Mother relieved him of his weapon and tossed it into the fire. While my younger siblings crawled under thick furry blankets, I quietly searched the cart for my cloak. The night cold had caught me; my arms shook with chill.
“Climb into your tent,” said Mother, stepping out of the covered canvas.
I looked at her, puzzled at her tone. “I can help you straighten the mess,” I said, resigning the search for my cloak.
“No, thank you,” she answered. She grabbed my hand. “I know that you’re tired. Why don’t you get some rest?” She pulled me close.
Surprised at her abundant warmth, I accepted it with her embrace.
“You were wonderful, tonight,” she whispered.
I refused to let her go. The day had been exceptional and exhausting. “I’m not certain if I want this day to end,” I told her. “Everything will be different next season.” My words enlightened my realization of the moment—I was scared of the future. It was unknown. When I married, I would have to grow up. Soon, I would take the role of the responsible wife.
“You’re right, Rhiannon,” Mother whispered. “Everything must change. That is how we grow.” She pulled away and stared at me. She was crying—I had never seen Mother cry. “Now, go to sleep and accept your dreams.”
I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and nodded. “I love you, Mother. Goodnight.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Did You Know?

I’ve been tagged by TraciKensworth and given 11 questions to answer. I’m happy to oblige.

1.      Daymare or Nightmare?
Nightmare. My dreams are so vivid that it’s hard for me to know if something is a memory, or if I dreamt it. When they’re scary, I wake up screaming.

2.      How many books/short stories/poems/songs etc. have you written?
I’ve written 3 novels—I’m working on my 4th, 3 or 4 short stories, and hundreds of poems. No songs.

3.      What genre is your current wip?

4.      Do you have someone in your live who keeps you on track with your stories? Give them a shout out!
My wife keeps me motivated. Thank you!

5.      Do you write what you know, or stretch your imagination, or both?
I make up everything I write.

6.      Who would you like to see on a coin/money?
Harry Potter money would be cool.

7.      What’s your favorite place to write and why?
On my bed. I have a fantastic view of the mountain peaks from there, and catch full moons and sunrises. It’s full of inspiration.

8.      What would you describe your “Voice” like? I.E. Southern gothic…
Western European.

9.      Do you mix genres? Which ones?
Yes. I mix Fantasy, Romance, and YA. It’s made my story tough to categorize and sell to agents. I’m gambling with the combination and break a lot of rules for each genre. Hopefully, it will work out. We’ll see.

10.  If you could move anywhere in the world where would it be?
The black forest in Germany. It’s beautiful there.

11.  What book (craft or otherwise) have you learned the most from?
I keep The Elements of Style by Strunk and White with me while I self edit.

There you go. 11 things I never told you before. I’m supposed to tag someone else; however, I’m declining. Instead, I’ll give you a secret: Tomorrow, I plan on sharing a small excerpt from ON FALLEN WINGS here on my blog. See you then!

~ Jamie

Monday, February 20, 2012

From Rising Flames

I’m participating in the Write Campaign sponsored by Rachael Harrie. The first challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction. Here are the rules:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
include the word "orange" in the story
write in the same genre you normally write
make your story 200 words exactly!
There are a lot of great entries, which are accessible here. If you are participating in the campaign, please visit them and be sure to vote for your favorite.
I decided to write a short scene that could fit in the sequel of ON FALLEN WINGS. It’s exactly 200 words and uses all the words listed above. I hope you like it. I’ve decided to give it the same title as the sequel.

Shadows crept across the wall of the cave, sharp angled reminders that I wasn’t supposed to be here, that none of this was part of the fate I had expected. They cautioned me with their silence and warned of the dangerous fortune that waited if the men knew where we were hiding.

How had it come to this? I stared at the wavering flames between us and tried to imagine the peace of my life before the red and the orange, and the smoke took my village. Before Sean was taken, and the man sleeping across from the fire had ruined my future. I had no reason to trust the bandit, and every reason to let him die. But there he was, and here I lay. Like the shadows and the light around us, we were two enemies facing the unknown together. And we needed each other.

I glanced again at Darian. So weak and frail, it seemed a miracle that he had saved me. I wondered if I could keep my promise—if I could heal him. Faeries weren’t that strong, I wasn’t that strong anymore. I stopped trying to focus and stared at the wall until everything faded.

I hope you enjoyed my little teaser. Have a great week.
~ Jamie

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tag, I'm it...

A special thanks goes out to Carolyn Brown for “Tagging” me in her latest blog post. For those who don’t know, we’re participating in the Writers Campaign sponsored by Rachael Harrie. It’s a fun way to meet other writers. This is my second campaign and I’ve definitely learned that the more you participate, the more fun you have. The rules of this “Tagging” are that I’m supposed to answer the 11 questions Carolyn assigned to me, and then pass on 11 questions of my own to 11 more campaigners. Here are the questions and my answers:

1. How do the stories you write about come into fruition? My stories are all pure inspiration. They don’t come from dreams, but from A LOT of daydreaming.
2. Do you think you are the type of person who plans for every eventuality, or do you prefer to
live life how it comes, without any organization? I plan. My motto: “I have a plan, a backup plan, and a just-in-case plan.”
3. What is your favorite song? One ~ U2
4. Do you sing it loudly to yourself? Yes and in my sleep, too.
5. Are you still friends with anyone you went to secondary school with? Yes, in fact one friend lives in my neighborhood and my best friend since I was 3 years old lives a couple miles away. He’s also the cover artist for ON FALLEN WINGS.
6. What would be your dream job? I’d love to be paid to write.
7. How often do you speak with your siblings? Once a month.
8. If you were an animal what creature would you like to be? Use your imagination. That’s tough because I’ve always wanted to be a wolf, but I’m scared to death of them. Okay, wolf.
9. I love eating boiled eggs for breakfast, what is your favorite food? I love spaghetti, which makes it tough to live because I’m supposed to eat Gluten free.
10. What piece of technology could you not live without? Computer.
11. Do you have a favorite piece of furniture? My bed. It’s giant and plush and, with a laptop, I do all my writing here.

I’m now tagging:

Celesta Remington
Colleen Chen
Sabrina Llave
Michael Haynes
Melanie Macek
Stacey Mitchell
Tasha Seegmiller
Poppy Taylor

Here’s your questions:
  1. Where would your ultimate vacation be?
  2. How long have you been writing?
  3. How many books did you read last month?
  4. If you could have lunch with any living celebrity, who would it be?
  5. Name one dessert you can’t eat enough of.
  6. Have you ever ridden in a canoe?
  7. What animal frightens you the most?
  8. What is your favorite movie?
  9. Which author inspired you to write?
  10. If you were given one superpower, what would you want it to be?
  11. Name your favorite quote from The Princess Bride.
Good Luck!

Monday, February 13, 2012

What would you do for Love?

It’s a fantasy novel; however, ON FALLEN WINGS will ask its readers: what would you do for love? Its story will take them along the journey of a young woman as she answers that question for herself.

What would you do for love? That is the question I’m asking you today. Don’t answer it out loud or online, just think about it. What would you do for love?

I believe there’s a part of us that believes we could always be strong enough to act in a way that would overcome whatever challenges keeps us from true love. But WOULD we? What if the result of our actions changed everything else around us?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Out of Focus

I’ve had a condition the past few days that has left everything blurry. My eyes hurt, my eyelids are swollen, and the world seems farther away. It’s awful. To compound the matter, there doesn’t seem to be a cure for my ailment. Like the common cold, my condition has to “run its course,” which means I may have to deal with this some more. Oh, the misfortune!

I jest a bit because it’s the only recourse I have against the cruel odds that have found me this season. The events of this winter late have changed me a bit. Normally headstrong and dynamically alert, I feel scattered and out of focus. I’m not the “me” I’m used to seeing. During these times, I’m left to wonder if I’m being punished somehow. Or even tested. Perhaps this is a mean joke and somewhere there’s a camera recording my misery. Or, most likely even, it’s just life.

Certainly it’s the latter. The events that tug on a person’s soul are the flavor of life. Without them, the better moments wouldn’t feel so wonderful. We need the bad just as much as we need the good. I’m convinced of that. There’s good fortune on the horizon, though I cannot see it yet. I know it is coming and I want to keep moving forward to reach it. We have everything to look forward to, even if life seems out of focus right now. Work hard, believe, and good things will come to you.

~ Jamie