Posts Tagged With: Easterbay

Plotting and Revising


It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’m gonna say it’s because I found this REALLY awesome book by Cathy Yardley called Rock Your Revisions.  Her proceeding book, Rock Your Plot, detailed a first draft process that is REALLY similar to the one I already use.  That gives me all the hopes that Revisions will work for me as well as Plot does.  And we all know I’ve been looking for a way to streamline things.

So far, Revisions has lived up to the hype.  I feel much more in control of Easterbay than I ever have, and I know what I need to do to move forward.  It feels freeing, and I’m moving through things rapidly.  Yardley claims that her revision process takes twice as long as writing the first draft.  So if I go by her estimates, I should be ready for alpha reads in two months.  To say I’m excited about that would be an understatement.  All we can hope for now is that I stay motivated enough to make it happen.

I’m mentioning this for two reasons.  One reason is because if you’re looking for a writing process, Yardley lays out a good one.  The second reason is that it is Nanowrimo time, and we could all use a little extra help in the planning process before diving into a novel.

That’s basically all I have to tell you.  I’m also diving into Nano this week, and expect updates to the blog to remain intermittent until December rolls around.  We’ll see, though.  Sometimes avoiding the morass of a Nano novel leads to more blogs instead of less…

Hence the need for motivation.  As always come November, cross your fingers for me.

Categories: Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fairyland Temptation


I’m half-convinced that not only are there Fairies at the University of Redlands, but that they’re actively trying to get me to join them.  Observe the evidence:

Asher and I walk Brian to work most mornings.  I was walking home a few weeks ago, and I passed a tree which had step stools of mushrooms leading up to its trunk.  I thought it was funny, and it made me wonder what kind of nyad would willingly live on a college campus near Frat Row.  The debaucherous type, I suppose.

I passed by the next day and the stepping stones were gone.  Closed for business was Fairy Land, I guess.

But then the lilies started to appear in strange places, big pink clusters of them peeking out of the ivy, no visible leaves but just a stalk rising from the dirt.  There is no rhyme or reason for their placement.  We’ve seen feathers falling from the sky, and a secret mailbox ensconced in a bush by the alumni house.  Half open, for temptation, of course.

This week I found a mushroom doorstop clinging to a tree, the joint where the roots meet making a perfect semblance of a door.  It’s been tempting me every day since, and that one hasn’t closed for business yet (probably because it’s not in the path of the mowing gardeners).

All of this, of course, can’t be just coincidence.

My question is, though, what kind of Fairy thinks that a 36 year old lady with a baby would go rushing off to join them?  What would I do with the baby?  He’s formula fed, and I wouldn’t know how long until we could get back so I’d be loathe to go without some assurance that he’d be fed.  I can picture myself loading up the stroller with eighteen canisters of formula, falling out on the sidewalk as I try and inconspicuously walk around campus to the tree.

Or worse… “Don’t worry,” the Fairies would say.  “We’ll feed him.” but we ALL know what that means.  I’d never be able to take him back to the mortal realm again.

I suppose I could leave the baby with Brian and go alone.  But I’d be forlorn without that boy.  And time passes differently in other realms.  I’d never take the chance that I’d miss seeing Asher grow up.

So I’ve been viewing it all with quiet amusement before going home to get the baby a bottle and put dinner in the crock pot.  Maybe do a few loads of laundry while I’m at it.

I’m writing a book about Fairies right now.  Maybe they’re just telling me they approve of my next novel?

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Categories: Fiction, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m probably crazy…

Thank you to everyone who participated in the cover poll. The results are in!

Forest: 20

Caped Heroine: 9

Sparkly Face: 4

So, it looks like I’m going with the forest one. I’ll play around with the fonts a little more and see if I can’t get something better, though, since there were a lot of comments on that.

I’m a little nervous about it. Everyone I know who does design liked the Caped Heroine best, and honestly that sort of thing is what I’m seeing from most self-employed published authors. Still, Forest has my heart, and evidently the heart of everyone who has read the book (thanks to everyone who beta’d, too!).

That’s the great thing about self-publishing, though. If Forest isn’t selling the way I’d like, we can replace with Caped Heroine and see if it does any better. Yay for total control!

Aside from a few minutes faffing around with stuff that’s already mostly done, I haven’t done any real writing in a VERY long time. In a bid of desperation, I’ve decided to sign up for Camp Nanowrimo this month. Yes, I’m crazy.

I’m trying to take it easy on myself, though. I’m calling this project “be a writer” and I’m giving myself 1000 words for every day I do something writerly. Updating the blog, editing, creating Blue Gentian’s cover, formatting, outlining, actually writing fiction, plotting, random notes and penguins and iguanas lists; anything counts.

It will be hard, especially since I’m so out of the habit and in summer school. But I have faith in me.

I want to get ready to put my next book out, now that Blue Gentian is all but finished. It’s about 1/2 way through draft 2 right now, and I have at least two more drafts before I can put it though Auto Crit and then show it to Brian. Major rewrites usually follow any Brian input, and then there’s beta reading… Basically I’m saying it’s a WHILE off, even if I do manage to get my act together. It’s called Easterbay, it’s set in Maine during the 1940s, and it features creepy fairies.

I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going. Stay tuned for more. Also, I’m Caseykins over at the Nanowrimo site if anyone wants a writing buddy.

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Easterbay and Nanowrimo


I’ve been SO BAD about posting this week. It’s because I’m an idiot and I tried to do NaNoWriMo without a full outline even though I know better.

Nano is easy if you do it exactly right, and impossible if you do it even a bit wrong, I have found.

On day 10 I scrapped the whole thing, wrote an outline, and am now attempting to catch up. That’s 2000+ words per day now to end up with a full 50,000 word draft at the end of it. I’m still keeping the old words in the count for morale, but I’m not sure it’s working… Morale is low today.  Yesterday morale was high, though. Ugh.

So: Can’t talk, must Nano.

In the mean time, here’s an excerpt of the good portion. And a link to my Pinterest mood board for the thing so you can see what I’m working on is here: .


I was just dragging the gate over the sandy roadway, preparing to click the lock together, when he stepped out of the trees.

I say “he” because he stood upright as a human would, on two cloven feet.  His bottom half was wooly, but his top was human.  He wore a leather bomber jacket and a knit cap with horns peeking through, and he looked for all the world at first like a cheeky fisherman, the sort who loitered down at the docks.  Only the cheeky fishermen down by the docks had either turned soldier or weren’t young.

“Hey!” he said.

I’m afraid I startled, and dropped the padlock into the dust.  I stood.

“Yes?” I said, slowly.

“Yourn the newest witch, right?”

“No,” I said.  “I mean, I live in the house, but I’m not a witch or anything.  I can’t do magic.”

He scoffed at me.  “Anyone can do magic, even you mortal folk.  That isn’t what I’m talking about.  You’ve taken Her place, haven’t you?”

“Gran’s?  Vega Gay?”

“That’s the one,” he said.

“I don’t know.  I guess I have,” I said.

“Then yourn the new witch.” He nodded at me.

“Can I help you?” I said.

“No, but maybe I can help you.  This time it’s free.  Next time it’ll cost ya.”

“I don’t know what you could possibly tell me at this point…”

“They’re meetin’,” he said.  “That’s wha’ I came to tell ya.  On Samhain, they’re meetin’.”

“Who?” I said.

“Who… as if ya didn’t know.  Them.  The Fae-folk.  The little people.  The Winter court.  Haven’t elected a king in years, but they’re going to.  Thought you’d like to know.”

“What’ll it cost me?” I said.


“Next time.  What will it cost me?”

“A chocolate bar,” he said.  “Maybe two.  Depends on the information I got.”

“Sure,” I said.  “Sure…”

“Nice doing business with ya,” he said.  And then he turned and swaggered off into the forest again.

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On My Love for NaNoWriMo


This is my annual “I’m doing Nanowrimo” post.  I am, like hundreds of thousands of other people on the internet, going to write a novel in a month.  It’s a giant writing party on the internet and we’re all invited.  You too!  It’s both easier and harder than you think it will be…

I’ll be honest in saying that this might not be the best choice for me.  I currently have 3 Nano drafts that I consider good enough to edit, and so far I’ve only managed to touch one and a half of them.  I’ve been participating since 2011.  I’m about to have a 4th draft of something I probably won’t edit for ages and ages.  It seems a little silly to drop everything else and Nano for a month.  But I’m compelled, you know.  There can’t be a huge writing party on the internet without me.  I get angsty if I don’t join in.

I don’t talk about imposter syndrome much, but there’s a reason that I’m 33 years old and I haven’t pursued writing seriously until about 4 years ago.  I don’t remember where I read it, and I’m sure the thing would strike me differently if I were to read it today, but in a forward in one of my favorite books was an essay.  It mentioned people who grew up in a literary environment, and how they are different from actual writers.  People who grew up in a literary environment, the essay said, probably read a lot as children.  Maybe there were writers in their family (there are several in mine – my grandfather’s bread and butter was covering the Celtics for the Christian Science Monitor), maybe there were lots of books around everywhere.  But in any case, these people dabbled in writing, were bad at it, and didn’t have the stamina to have a writing career.  These were people who liked books, sometimes scribbled things down, and left it at that.  I compiled this essay in my mind together with all the writing advice that basically says “if you can help it at all, do something REAL with your life,” and I left those half-formed scribblings in my notebooks.

4 years ago, I participated in my first Nanowrimo.  A bunch of my friends were doing it, and there’s nothing I like more than a silly challenge that lets me brag about things – especially things like having written a novel.

I signed up, and a flood unleashed.

By the end I knew things.  I had no skills, I had nothing but a small way with words, and yet I had the HABITS of a writer.  By the end of the month, that 1600 words a day was easy to crank out.  I kept going after November.  I signed up to minor in English so that I could get a bit more of a handle on the skill part of things.  I can help it.  I don’t have to write.  I am a product of a literary environment.  All of those things are true.  But it’s also true that Nanowrimo made a writer of me.  I am certain that this novel would never have been written, that the other two novels I’m dying to get my fingers into would never have been conceived, let alone exist as first drafts, had I not joined that crazy no-stakes contest in November 2011.  I am now pursuing a writing career with determination.

The best part?  I get to relive the magic again once a year.  And that’s why, despite the fact that I’m in a terrible place to drop everything for a month, I’m going to Nano my heart out.

Consider joining us?  It’s not for everyone, I admit.  Brian, for instance, is driven insane by the timeline.  He would rather take a week to have a perfect chapter than take a month to have the worst draft ever written.  But if you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, sometimes the kamikaze way is excellent.  It was excellent for me.

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted any fiction.  I’ve been over on Wattpad, though, discovering what a great community that is.  Writer extraordinaire Jessica Butler ( is doing a strictly-for-fun Fantasy writing competition that anyone can join.  Her prompt spoke to me, so I’ve joined the second round.  Can’t spend time in Maine without writing about Maine, right?  I borrowed names and superstitions like CRAZY, but the rest is all fictional.  It was nice to just write something easy for a minute, I’ve been plugging away on hard novel edits for so long.  I thought you might enjoy it, too, so here it is:


Dear Jimmy,

It is full, old February here in Easterbay. The kind that is icy and brown and horrible. Wherever you are over there in France, it cannot possibly be as miserably damp and cold as it has been here. A nor’easter blew us five feet of snow, and I shoveled for days. You are not here any longer to do it for us, of course, so I am the one with the strong back to take your place. Not that it matters much if the roads are clear. We don’t have nearly enough ration stamps to take the car out anywhere. Mr. Spofford kindly cobbled together a set of wooden tires for your bicycle, and that’s how I get around these days. Everyone else either stays in or goes by boat. The Gut has frozen over, but the bay is still clear.

Why, you ask, am I out on the roads in the depths of winter? You may be pleased to learn that I joined the Coast Guard. I am officially a Spar. Semper Paratus! It is just Rudy Gamage and I in the office, and I am supposed to limit my activities to manning the telegraph machine. Or perhaps we should say womanning the telegraph machine. He gets to go out on the boat, while I am supposed to stay safely at home, say the official regulations.

When I remember how many times you and I ignored mackerel skies and even rumbles of thunder to take the boat out and pull lobster pots, I find it ludicrous that old Rudy Gamage is considered the safer bet. Especially because his love of beer has not waned with the ages. I am often left to my own devices in that office, and have taken the boat out alone a few times. Shh, don’t tell anyone. You will be pleased to know that I have never seen a German U-boat. So far, I have only rescued two sets of summer tourists trapped by the tide, and nothing since August.

I will save all the stories for you, of course. But I feel almost as if you are there with me in spirit when I am out on the ocean. And I am finally doing more for this war effort than saving cans and knitting socks. That feels good too. Stay safe, Jimmy. You have to come back soon, you know. You’re the only brother I have.

With much love,


Dear Addy,

Since you have access to your own boat now, I will give you the warning that grandpa gave me when the Lookfar became mine. Whatever the weather, whatever the circumstances, you must never take the boat out on the night of a blue moon. The bay does funny things, and it isn’t safe. Promise me you won’t, no matter what the coastguard says.



In the silence of the coastguard office, the telephone rang shrill and sharp. Addy startled awake.

It rang again.

Addy rubbed her eyes and picked up the receiver.

“Easterbay Coastguard,” she said, hoping that her voice did not sound too terribly thick.

“Addy, it’s Madge,” said the voice on the other end; Madge from the lighthouse up the road.

“What’s wrong?” said Addy. “I thought it was quiet tonight, has it…?”

“No, no,” said Madge. Her voice was tinny through the receiver. “Ocean still as glass up here, actually. But there was a boat, and a funny green flash right about sunset. I saw it over there by Witch Island.  It was dark, but not too dark yet.  Might just be the Poland boys out doing something they shouldn’t, but you know how superstitious they are. None of the local boys would take the boat out on the blue moon. It might be nothing, but it might also be… I don’t want to be remiss. There’s a war on.”

“Yeah,” said Addy. “Yeah, I’ll let Rudy know. He’ll want to check it out. Thanks, Madge.”

“Oh, anytime,” she said. “I don’t relish going out there in this cold, but like I said… someone should see to it.”

“We’ll head out right away.”

Addy hung the receiver back on the wall and grabbed her coat. She switched on the yellow porch light outside the one-room storefront that served as the coastguard office, locked the door, and put the key in her pocket. Then, she swung her leg over her bicycle and took off down the road to the Lusty Mermaid.

The lights of the bar bloomed yellow through the wide windows. The painted mermaid holding the mirror and comb on the wide sign looked dull in the darkness. Shouts and laughter spilled onto the street. Addy leaned her bicycle against the painted clapboard siding and went inside.

“Hey, hey now!” said one of the men at the bar. “If it isn’t Addy Hanna.” His words slurred together.

“Shut up, Billy,” said Pete from behind the bar. “Rudy ain’t here, Addy. Went home, oh, a couple hours ago. Said he was goin’ back to the office, but obviously… I mean,” he waved at her standing there in the doorway. “Sorry, kid.”

“No sweat, Pete,” said Addy. “It wasn’t anything big anyway. I mean, nothing I can’t handle.”

“Well, see you next time,” he said.

“See you next time,” said Addy.

She hopped back on her bike and drove back to the office, weaving to avoid the snow drifts on the side of the road. It was cold, and the moon shone bright in the sky, casting a pallid silver shadows on everything. When she got to the office again, she pulled a leaf of paper from her desk.

“Out scouting Witch Island,” she scrawled on it, and then notated the time. She closed the piece of paper in the front door so it would flutter to the floor if someone came in looking for her, and then she walked down to the dock.  The weathered gray boards rocked beneath her feet, and the only noise was the quiet slapping of water against the floating expanse of wood before her.

She scanned the bay for the Lookfar as she walked, even though she knew she would not see it  in its mooring in the middle of the bay. The Lookfar’s bright red hull was tucked on blocks of wood in the barn at home, waiting for Jimmy to come back from France. But the large coastguard ship stood floating in the white moon path that danced over the waters in the bay.

She wouldn’t take it, Addy reasoned. It wasn’t an emergency. All she needed to do was find out who was on Witch Island in the middle of the night. And if it was Germans, she would be able to zip away faster in the small, blue rowboat, her muscular arms pulling her fast through the waters she was so familiar with. She would be able to get faster help in the smaller vessel.

The rowboat rocked when she stepped into it, sloshing water toward the dock. She unrolled her scarf with her mittened hands and re-rolled it so it covered everything but her eyes. She buttoned the ends of it inside her wool coat, and then she thrust one of the oars against the dock to push away. When she hit the open water, a breeze picked up, an icy wind that whipped through the knit gloves and scarf, but didn’t quite catch the core of her through the wool coat. She shivered, and rowed on.

The coast receded behind her into a mound of trees on the horizon. She steered around the small islands in the center of the bay; too small for anything but a copse of trees and some sea lions. In the daytime their grumbles and barks filled the bay, but in the darkness it was silent. She rowed around the islands, and then she was in the open, choppy sea.

The wind blew harder, and somewhere to the north the sky turned to green swirls as the Aurora Borealis erupted above her.

Addy stopped rowing to look at it, oscillating green in the night, mimicking the waves beneath the boat as it rippled in the sky. Her smallness assaulted her, a tiny thing on the vast waters beneath the magnificent, magical heavens. She used a mittened hand to push the scarf back from her eyes, and the sky swirled magenta before the colors went blue, then green again.

Gingerly, still half-watching the sky, she picked up the oars and resumed rowing. The lump of dark foliage in the ocean that was Witch Island grew closer, into a heap of boulders dipping their fingers into the sea, a fringe of bare trees on top. Not far in the distance, the bright beam of the lighthouse swung past.

There was not a boat near the only beach on Witch Island. The bay was bare.

Addy kept rowing, pulling her small boat closer to the sandy inlet.

Still no sign of anyone; or anything.

She rowed until the bottom of the small boat grated on the sand, and then tucked the oars into the hull. When she hopped out into the water, she felt the cold of it even through her rubber boots. She leaned back and pulled until the boat slid farther onto the beach, the tiny low-tide waves lapping at the stern.

The beach was bright in the moonlight. It was easy to see that Addy’s boat was the first thing that had disturbed the sand, that her footsteps were the only thing marking the soft white swells of the beach.

She sighed, and shrugged to herself, and then floated the boat back into the water so she could hop aboard. It wasn’t a big island. The thrust of her arms pulling against the water made her biceps ache in the cold, but she could go all around the other side and still make it home again in less than an hour.

When the beam of the lighthouse swung across her again, Addy gave a wave to Madge and Bob. Madge would be able to see nothing but the dark crescent that signified a boat in the ocean from her position, but it made Addy feel less alone to pretend she had someone looking for her.  With the green swirls in the sky above her making everything into an eerie shadow, it was hard not to feel like someone in a horror movie.

On the far side of the island, without the brightness of the lighthouse, the aurora borealis leapt into fullness again. Addy scanned the granite boulders, but it was hard to see anything in the shifting light.

A huge clump of seaweed, ice gathering between the fronds, rolled next to the boat. Addy thrust it aside with her oar. It rolled, and when it tipped Addy could see that it wasn’t just seaweed.

 It was also a woman.

She sucked the breath into her throat and it lodged there. Her eyes went wide.

“Oh my God,” she whispered, and then louder; “Are you alright? Hello?”

The woman didn’t answer. Her eyes were closed, and her red hair was tangled with the brown seaweed. She was lying in the water with her torso bent, her legs disappearing into the murky waters, her arms splayed. In the green light of the sky, her skin looked blue and translucent.

Addy steered the boat closer. Whatever else was happening on that island now, she had to get the woman into the boat, and she had to get back to the coastguard office. Even if the woman was dead…

“if someone found my corpse in the water, I’d want to be pulled out,” Addy whispered again. She pulled off her gloves, steeled herself, and touched the woman’s shoulder.

It was slippery. She made to grab again, determined to gain greater purchase, but instead the woman, the thing in the water, moved. It grabbed Addy, and it’s face was no longer the dead face of a human, but a thing filled with teeth.

It smiled at her, and its red hair rose, writhing like the tentacles of an octopus.

Addy screamed. She picked up an oar and swung it at the thing like a bat. The wood connected with a sickening thwack, and then a splintering. The thing blinked and shook it’s head, and then it’s hairy tentacles grabbed Addy across the shoulders and pulled.

Addy dropped the broken oar and grabbed the side of the boat. She kept screaming, hoping that the water would magnify her sound enough that someone would help. The tentacles gripped into her skin, sucking at them, and her fingers slipped from the wooden sides of the boat, scrabbling.

 The water was cold as it submerged over her head, seeping into her coat and making her feel so heavy.  She could no longer think. All she could do was see: the bubbles rising from her mouth, the murky waters around her, the red that grasped her chest, the green lights fading in the sky.

Everything wavering.

Everything turning black.


Easterbay Dispatch, March 4, 1943:

Addy Hanna’s tragic disappearance the night of the blue moon has resulted in an inquiry regarding the operations of the Easterbay coast guard. Rudy Gammage was found to have been a negligent officer, and is stripped of his duties dishonorably. What that means for the current state of coast guard affairs, Easterbay is still waiting to hear. Officials in Portland are considering eliminating the Easterbay coastguard due to the small population of residents in the area, and folding patrols and operations into the larger Rock Pond division.

A coastguard rowboat washed up near the lighthouse rocks Saturday morning. Ms. Hanna’s family is offering a small reward for information resulting in her recovery in the hopes that locals will take up the search for her body in earnest.  The fact that she disappeared on a Friday night during the blue moon should not rule out other concrete factors.  Anyone with any additional information is urged to contact Jude Plummer at the police station – 0534.


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