Beautiful Books & Snazzy Snippets

So, I won’t be here tomorrow to answer comments and such. Impromptu camping trips happen. (I’m bringing my camera, so there’ll probably be some pics to share…)

I’ll be gone through Sunday, and I’ll probably schedule something ridiculous to entertain everyone in the meantime.

Before then, I’m doing two linkups because… I can. And I want to, even though I’m late on both of them.

‘Kay, then.

Beautiful Books first.


  • On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?

Well, I was happy with it. It turned out longer than I thought, which was good. And both storylines came together well. Why not 10? Expectations-wise… pretty much how I planned it. Most of the characters were a bit better than I expected, though some characters I thought would get more screen/page/spotlight time barely got any at all.

  • Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)

A funny, action-adventure-espionage-sci-fi…. um… let’s go with Mission: Impossible meets Studio C. 

*looks back over what I just typed* *snickers* That looks ridiculous. But it’s true.

  • Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?

Strangely, I work best with unreasonable deadlines. I tootled around on the outline as I was inspired, then buckled down and went for it all November. So, generally I like to write as inspired. But then I get caught up in fine tuning and it’s nice to have a deadline breathing down my neck to actually get me going.

  • How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.

I go through and fix what I think needs to be fixed and repair any typos I find. Then I hand it off to mom, she fixes what she finds, grammar and structure-wise. And I make any corrections afterwards that still need to happen.

  • What aspect of your story needs the most work?

The ending. Uncontested. It’s very bare-bones at the moment and I’m still planning on a short epilogue. 

  • What aspect of your story did you love the most?

The way I was able to work about three different storylines at the same time. It’s all been pretty much straightforward, single stories that I’ve done before and this was a fun variety.

  • Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?

Jean might need some work in the ending, but other than that I think she worked pretty well. Her old, hard-working, logical shelf. Man, she was hard to write sometimes, though. Everything must have a reason to it and Jean has to know quite a bit before she acts. She exhausts me.

All the cyborgs were fairly easy on that front. The “what the heck” attitude is a lot easier to work with. 😛

And Wally. I really liked Wally. I’ll definitely be using him again. 🙂

  • What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

Off to the beta-readers and little sib readings for this one. Then on to self-publishing afterwards.

  • Share a favorite snippet!

   After a bit more walking, the buildings thinned out and it was only the road to the onramp. It was not a very busy street coming out, but Cobalt turned around and began pointing his thumb over his shoulder as he walked, grinning at as many drivers as would make eye contact. That wasn’t very many. And even fewer were charmed in the least by his smile.

Maybe the hood makes me look suspicious.

   He pulled off the blue hood and stuck his hands in his hair; ruffling it up and making it look even messier than it already was.

There. Less suspicious now?

   Cobalt waved at the next car and grinned, pointing his thumb at the road again. Brief eye contact was made, but the man didn’t stop.

Maybe I’m not being creative enough. Everyone knows the whole thumb-over-the-shoulder act. Let’s try something else.


   The next driver was very confused by a grubby looking boy with socks on his ears standing at the side of the road and pointing ominously to the onramp. He stared out of sheer confusion, slowing the car a little. The boy locked eyes with him and began wiggling his eyebrows.


   Cobalt frowned as yet another car speeded away. Those guys really should pay attention to the speed limit.

I guess the socks aren’t working.

   Sighing, he pulled them off his ears and thought of what else he could do. The drivers probably wouldn’t see him if he went down on his knees and pleaded by the curb. Make a cardboard sign and run with it alongside the cars?

   Nah. He’d probably trip. Besides, where would he get the cardboard and a marker?

What can I do, physically? Cobalt shrugged, Not very much, technically. But it would be an investment in my getting back to some actual medical attention.

   Cartwheels, maybe. He might fall, though.

   Wait a second . . .


   “Oh, mommy!” Little Gracie bounced in her car seat and pointed out the window, “Look at the funny guy walking on his hands!”

   Everyone in the Boardman car immediately turned their heads to where a boy in a blue sweatshirt wobbled his way along the in grass at the side of the road standing on his hands.

   “Whoa!” Titus, who was eight, plastered himself to his window and stared at this spectacle, “I wish I could do that!”

   “Not along the side of the road you don’t,” his mother corrected, craning her neck around to see, “He’ll fall and hurt himself. What people do for roadside performances . . .”

   As if obeying the mother’s prophesy, one of Cobalt’s arms gave out, landing him hard down on his back.

   The kids in the car gasped.

   “It’s all right, Gracie. He’s fine.” Mrs. Boardman still kept an eye on the spot, hoping she was right a second time. The blue sweatshirt didn’t move.

   Mr. Boardman slowed down a little, “Should we see if he’s okay?”

   “That’s a good idea,” Mrs. Boardman nodded, her brow furrowed in concern.

   “There’s an extra seat in the car! Right between me and Gracie!” Titus pulled his toy car off the middle seat and patted the fabric enthusiastically.

   “Don’t be silly, we’re just seeing if he’s okay.” Mr. Boardman soothed, pulling the car to a stop at the shoulder, “I’ll go.”



   Cobalt opened his squinched-shut eyes and saw he was looking up into the face of a man. A nice looking man, too. Not some gangster looking guy. The plan had worked. But, geez . . . falling over was not a good idea. He tried to say something, but still hadn’t gotten his breath back from hitting the ground so hard.

   “Are you okay?” the stranger went down on his heels next to Cobalt and looked concerned.

   Cobalt shook his head and managed to wheeze out a “Not really.”

   The stranger helped him to his feet and looked him over. “You just lost your air from that tumble. But you look really pale, is something broken?” he asked.

   “I . . .” Cobalt let out a deep breath and put his hands on his knees, “I don’t think so.” He noticed the bandages and bottle of hydrogen peroxide had fallen out of his pocket and stooped to pick them up.

   “What were you doing standing on your hands like that?” The man watched him with his hands in his pockets, the cold wind ruffling his light brown hair.

   “Trying to get a ride west.” Cobalt said as he stuffed the medical supplies back into the large pouch on his front.

   An amused smile pulled at the corners of the man’s mouth. “Thumbing not working for you?

   “No one paid any attention to that. And I think I freaked too many people out when I put socks on my ears.”

The man laughed along with Cobalt, then stuck out his hand, “I’m Henry Boardman and I think we could help you with your ride west.”

Creative problem solving for you. 😉

  • What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?

Well, getting this done and published, obviously. Other than that, I’m plotting a new book with ships and dragons and some really fun characters. So, I’m really looking forward to getting that done.

And now Snazzy Snippets. Never done it before, but it looked fun. I’ll probably do it again. 😛
*looks at that second link* *coughs* Anyway.

A snippet from page 16

My page 16 is extremely empty. It’s the end of a chapter and only 3 lines. So I’m filling with some stuff leading in from page 15 too.

The phone rang on the nightstand. Jean closed her eyes, filing her train of thought. The fourth ring sounded and she pulled the phone off its stand, hitting the “talk” button.


“Hey, Jean. Gotten anywhere with those messages?” Mr. Ecks voice came across the line.

“Partially decoded. Still can’t figure out what the bottle means, but I’ve got a hunch about the people talking about it. I was just about to type my findings into the computer. Should be pertinent when we get more info.”

“Hunch, eh?”

“Yeah. But I’d prefer to have a basis for it before spreading it around everywhere.”

“Understood. Listen, we got a couple of new messages from the same frequency. They change codes mid-message. But it looks like this might be a breakthrough from what I can make out.”

“What is it?”

“An outpost location. We need the details from the rest of the code. But this looks like the answer.”

“I’ll be right over.”

A snippet of 16 words or fewer

Exactly 16 words. *wiggles eyebrows*

“My feet are cold,” answered Cobalt matter-of-factly.

“But you have socks.”

“My socks are cold too.”

A snippet about something new, e.g. a new year, new school, introducing a new person/character/setting, a new revelation

New setting here. I didn’t get much into this one, but I want to sometime. Anyone who read my short story a while back will recognize Jean’s escort here…

   Agent Sterling’s car pulled into one of the parking spots at the far end of the lot. The tall building of the embassy cast its shadow over them in the moonlight, the letters atop it staring down at them. NE swirled in a cursive that Jean wondered how they’d managed to make it into a sign.

For peace and harmony among the countries and states of the north” read the smaller letters underneath.

Is that because the cold makes us grumpy, or because the south can figure out their problems better than us? Jean wondered.

Both agents got out of the car into the cold, pulling on their coats as they went.

Agent Sterling made his way around the car to where Jean was staring up at the building, looking like it was going to pounce on her and eat her.

“Agent McStone,” he offered an arm.

Jean let out her breath she’d been unconsciously holding and took it. “Thank you.” Her lips moved strangely as she talked to avoid smudging the lipstick.

“It’ll be fine,” Sterling assured her, “You look great.”

“Thanks,” Jean pulled a sideways smile to show her gratitude and tugged at her skirt a little as they went in the door. “You don’t look awful either.”

“I don’t?” Sterling put his chin to his chest, examining his bow tie, “I thought I made a pretty bad job of it.”

“No, not at all.”

“Well, that’s reassuring,” Sterling pushed open the door.

Mr. Ecks was standing just inside, hair combed neatly to one side and dressed in a tuxedo nearly identical to Agent Sterling’s. Admittedly, ironed a little better, though.

“Ah, Agent McStone. Agent Sterling,” he smiled at them holding out his arms as if he would hug them both together. Thankfully, it was just a gesture and his arms were quickly put back down again to shake with them.

“Welcome to the Northern Embassy!” he pointed at each of them in turn after shaking their hands. “First time here? Either of you?”

“Sort of,” Jean raised her hand slightly, then dropped it back down to rub her arm, now bare since a doorman had taken her jacket, “I came last time as a sort of scouting mission. I wasn’t assigned to anyone, though.”

“Ah, and this time you’ll be watching . . .” Mr. Ecks looked at the ceiling for a second, trying to recall the full list in his mind. He snapped his fingers, “Inselreich. Of course. Well, this shouldn’t be too hard for you. Come over here.”

The group of three made their way over to a fairly abandoned corner of the ornate room and assumed the position of a natural conversation.

“His name is Johan Acker and he’s a rather talkative man as it is,” Ecks informed Jean, leaning in and not moving his lips as much as he could, “Just get him started. Make him laugh or smile and get him to like you. The rest will come. It’s like turning on a tap.” He dipped his head towards Sterling,

“Sterling here has it a little tougher. You know how talkative our Russian ambassador friend is,” he winked over at Agent Sterling who raised his eyebrows confusedly in return.

“Make him laugh?” Jean frowned, fingering her curls that had fallen out onto her shoulder. Cobalt could have made him laugh, no problem. Gilligan could have managed it as well. But she was always there to tone down the laughter rather than make it happen.

“You’ll manage it. Some of Cobalt must have rubbed off on you somewhere,” Mr. Ecks grinned, “There’s a goofball somewhere in there, waiting to be let out.”

If there is, then she’s hidden herself very well up until now, Jean thought. Still, she managed to smile back at him, despite the jab of hurt in her chest at the mention of Cobalt.

Mr. Ecks gave her a pat on the back and pointed out where the ambassador was. Jean nodded and slipped her way out of their small group, sent off by a reassuring smile and salute from Sterling.


Well, hope you enjoyed! What was your favorite snippet or question? Think the book looks good so far?

Please comment!


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