Tag Archives: Holidays

I’m on a roll! More Exciting News

I am super excited to announce that I have signed a contract with Still Moments publishing for my single short “A Test of Faith”.

This is a really big step for me, because this will be my first publication outside of an anthology.  Yep, that’s right… only my name on that cover.

Yeah, okay, maybe that sounds vain — but tough cookies!

“A Test of Faith” is part two of the Jack and Jill story that begins with “Connect the Dots”, which will be published by Still Moments in their “For the Love of Christmas” Anthology that will be released December 4th.

“Connect the Dots” takes place during the stress-filled week before Christmas, and closes on Christmas morning.

“A Test of Faith” picks up a few hours later, and follows our characters through a very bumpy week leading to New Year’s Eve.

Yeah, it looks like this is going to be a holiday thing.  I have an idea for Valentine’s day, but I decided to shelve it temporarily because another project is tapping on my head and screaming “write me first!”

So Yay! Three contracts for me this year!  Two publications in December, and this new one is tentatively scheduled for January 2013.

For the first time in maybe EVER I can honestly say that I have lived up to my New Year’s resolution.  I hope some of you guys have done as well!

Hurricane update and Flash Fiction Friday on Wednesday: Heart Stomping

Note:  Thanks for all the well wishes about hurricane Sandy.  We suffered mild damage in the form of a bad installation of a brand new sliding glass door.  It actually rained inside the door and outside.  I wish I thought of taking video, but all we could do was attack it with towels.  We got off quite lucky compared to the devastation not too far away.  Thanks for your prayers and good wishes.

Now, without further ado…Five minutes on the clock.  Go!

Melanie’s cold hand did little to soften the trampling beat of her heart.  The bark of the tree behind her scraped her skin through her thin cotton t-shirt.  Still, she struggled to become one with it … to hide.

A branch snapped in the darkness, stealing her breath. Immobilized, she squinted into the brush.  Where had the sound come from? Silence played with her mind, and she imagined the tree’s limbs growing, clutching clawing, and a breath behind her. But that’s impossible!

A shriek penetrated the night, and she pushed from the tree.  Her shirt caught and ripped, the sound a quick zip in the night as she darted into the darkness.

Happy Halloween!

Flash Fiction Friday on Wednesday: After the lights go out

If you are looking for the Spooky Halloween blog hop, click HERE

Yay!  I’m back doing five minute flash again.  I think my brain was broken for a while.

Now… I’m not going to say this is rocket science or anything, but I did write it in five minutes.

Gregg waited for the lights to go out before slipping on his black gloves.  With a deep breath, he pulled the dark hood out of his sack and slid the heavy fabric over his head.  The smell of sour sauce tingled his nose, a memory of his dinner earlier in the day.

He slipped from behind the car, and checked the street.  A cat chased a rabbit across the pavement, the pair disappearing beneath the neighbor’s fence.  They were his only witnesses.


Gregg crouched down, and hung beside a gravestone, eyeing his goal:  The impenetrable doorway at the top of the long stairs.  He slid from the gravestone, to a witch’s cauldron, inching closer.

Through the haunted house he scampered, just in time as the lights blared on.

“Gregg,” a woman’s voice called.

“Gregg, where are you?”

He pulled the scabbard from his sack, and jumped from the depths of the haunted house, screaming with glee.

“Trick or Treat!”

Oh!  Just for grins and giggles — Remember that Fluff article I wrote on Saturday?  John Holton sent me this wonderful old commercial for Fluff.  This is a little before my time, but it sure does make you hungry!

Six Sentence Sunday – From my Work in Progress

Yep… Gonna give ya a sneak peek at my latest little swarray (is that how you spell that?) into the world of Romance.  I’m still writing the Explosion novel Fire In the Woods, but so I don’t get stagnant, I’m mixing things up with some shorts for those days when I just need a break from it.

This is from my current WIP “A Test of Faith”.  It starts out with a line stated by our hero, Jack. He is driving, and Jill is in the passenger seat with her daughter Nicole in the rear.

“If I didn’t get drunk last night, I wouldn’t have woken up under your Christmas tree … I wouldn’t have had the guts to finally tell you how I feel.”

Nicole leaned up between our seats. “You woke up under our tree because God put you there, Uncle Jack. You were Mom’s Christmas present.”

His hand slipped back to my knee. “I’m not sure that I was her present. I think she was mine.”

Hmmm.  Okay so that was more than six sentences.  Sorry Counting Gods!  I’m a writer, not a mathematician!

So, Whattya think?

Flash Fiction Friday on Wednesday – Fireworks

Let’s do ten minutes today, since I am totally unprepared.  It’s the fourth of July, so let’s think about fireworks.  Go!

John’s grip tightened on my wrist as he pulled me up the slope.  A tree branch snagged my sweater.

“Slow down,” I shouted.

“Come on,” John laughed.  “We’re almost there.”

The dried leaves on the forest floor cracked beneath my sneakers.  A cricket chirped in the distance.

“If you could just tell me where we’re going?”

“Then it wouldn’t be a surprise.”

The moonlight cast flickering shadows as the treetops swayed in the breeze.  He slowed, and took my hands in his.  John’s eyes consumed me.  His smile drained any sense of anger over my pulled sweater.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“For what?”

He gently led me from the trees, to the edge of a precipice.  The drop seemed miles below.  Twinkling lights and movement and a distant sound of laughter rose from the world beneath us.

“Where are…”

English: Fireworks

Fireworks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A dull thud sounded from below, and a gasp rang out from the distant crowd.  A red starburst filled the sky, followed by a yellow.  The rattle of the fireworks barraged my ears, but I was too awestruck to notice.  They blazed and dazzled before me, as I stared not up— but out.

“John, this is amaz…” I gasped.  My fingers covering my lips.

John knelt beside me on one knee, a small box in his hand.  His smile sparkled amongst the flashes lighting up his face.  “Claire, I have a question for you.”

Are you going to send out queries during Christmas break?

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are finishing up their novels (some of them from Nano) and are going to query their brains out during their Christmas vacations.

Me?  Nope!  No Way!

First of all, even though I am done, I want to get one more round of good solid beta reads in.  But there is another reason.

I remember reading something a long time ago that made a ton of sence, and it really stuck with me.  Oddly enough, I came across the article by accident the other day.  (The link is below) Re-reading it again made me feel even better about my timeline skipping right over Christmas and starting to query in a few months.

Nathan made some really good points in this article.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Nathan Bransford, he used to be an agent, but recently left the agenting business and is now an author.

Nathan said there are not any good or bad times to query, with two exceptions.  You can read the full article below, but for those of you who are terrified of little links, here it is in a nutshell:

Don’t query if you know the agent is out of the office. Also don’t query around major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.

The reason is that many people have off, and a lot of them are using their time to send out queries… to agents that are not there because they are on vacation, or are leaving for vacation.  This means the agents are rushing through their submissions so they can finish before they leave, or they are just coming back to a pile of work that they have to RACE THROUGH to get caught up.

As Nathan said “take it from me — you don’t want to be part of a massive query pile when an agent is feeling a time crunch.”

“Ideally, sure, we’d give all queries equal time, consider every one similarly, whether we’re reading a pile of 10 or a pile of 500.  Ideally. 

“Reality: human nature is human nature.  When faced with a mountain that feels like it won’t move, you start moving a little quicker, take fewer chances, etc. etc.  I really aspire to keep a constant pace regardless of my workload, but it’s hard not to adjust how many partials you’re requesting based on how much work awaits.”

“Just don’t do it.  Avoid the weeks around major holidays.  It’s better to be part of a trickle than a flood. “

I think these are sound words of advice, especially since he wrote this when he was still an agent.

So, are you querying now?  Are you planning on querying next week?   Please, by all means do!  (She grins and giggles with her evil witch laugh)

I will be more than happy to tip-toe over you lightly in a few months if you are sitting in the slush pile.

Please check out Nathan Bransford’s site, and his first novel, Jacob Wonderbar.

Nathan Brandsford:  Is there a best time to Query?