Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Heading to Camp NaNoWrimo

Moonday Mania

a blog for the writer in all of us

camp nanowrimo 2014 participant badgeIt’s summer time here at Jessica Aspen Writes! Okay, it won’t officially be summer until the middle of July, but for the rest of us, summer starts Memorial Day Weekend. The kids are out of school and it’s starting to get hot. Time to think about heading off to summer camp and for writers that means Camp NaNoWrimo, or Camp Nano for short.

I’ve done regular NaNoWrimo before. In November all the Nanoists try to write 50,000 words. In 2012 I counted my Nano experience successful because I wrote 30k and mostly completed the rough draft of Goldi and the Bear. (You can find Goldi on Amazon HERE)

Not a win by Nano terms, but a win for me. A novella in a month while I was working full time? Success!

But summer time is a time when we can relax and Camp Nano is just that. They have one in April and one in July and at Camp Nano you don’t have to write a novel, you can write whatever you want! Your dissertation, your memoirs, poetry. They don’t care.

Goals are different too. Instead of the community setting 50k as everyone’s goal, you get to set your own goal. I’m still going to set mine at 50k, since I’m planning on writing a novel that will eventually top 80k, so 50k is a good start.

In NaNoWrimo you’re divided up by your location, and you choose your friends. At camp, there are cabin assignments. You can choose your own cabin if you want to, or you can see who ends up in your cabin. As a child I went to camp many summers. I loved meeting new friends in all my cabins, and in fact I’m still very good friends with one of them. (Waves, hi K2!)

This is my first Camp NaNoWrimo experience so I’m going to try to let them pick a cabin for me. I tend not to be very social when I’m trying to get that many words done in a month, and I’ll be working part-time in July, as well as dealing with having my kids at home, so adding a social piece may or may not work, but I’m going to try!

The cool thing about this year is I believe both my daughters are going to Nano with me. Maybe we should ask to be in the same cabin?

Are you thinking about writing during July? If you have never written before, Camp NaNoWrimo sounds like a great place to start. You can choose your own project, set your own goals, and have a supportive group of writing friends to help you along. Let me know if you are thinking about participating and what your project is. We can support each other along the way!

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Filed under Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Nano Envy

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing for everyone

nanowrimo badgeIt’s November and it’s time again for thousands? millions? of people to start writing their novels with Nanowrimo. (National Novel Writing Month). Sadly, this year I will not be participating (too many edits on Prince by Blood and Bone, book two in my fantasy romance series) but next year I am determined to be ready with an outlined novel and have the time and energy to get it won! WOOT!

The funny thing about not doing Nanowrimo this year is that, even though it’s completely my decision, even though I have tons to do and no time to really devote to writing anything new during November, I still have Nano Envy.

I want to be Nano-ing. I am missing out on all the fun. All the writing parties, the prizes, the enthusiasm. I want to be curled up like Jo in Little Women,  pen in hand, stocking cap on, scribbling away on my fantastic work of fiction with little thought to literary merit. Writing whatever wild mysterious story pops in my head, just because it’s fun.

That’s the magic of nano. You can pre-plan your story, but you are perfectly able to wing it. To sit down and type without fear or constraints. Without fear of judgement. Without planning on having anyone look at what you are writing. That’s why I think everyone, readers, non-readers and all kinds of writers should attempt Nanowrimo. You never know until you try how difficult it can be to get words on the page and how exhilarating it is when they flow like a river from your keys to the page. Even if when you go back and  read them in December they aren’t quite as stellar as when you wrote them.

I first attempted Nanowrimo when it was in its infancy. The internet was a rough place, everyone used “Got Mail” and no one had even heard of Facebook. I didn’t sign up on the site, I just tried to write, but kids and life interfered and I didn’t get very far. But it planted a seed. Maybe I could do this. Someday. Maybe I could write an entire 50,000 word book in a month.

Well years later and several completed books later I have yet to write that many words in one month. But last year I wrote over 30,000 and that’s pretty good. Two months like that and you have a novel. One month of that and you have Goldi and the Bear, novella extraordinaire! What could you do in one month of writing?

Have you ever attempted to write a novel? What did you learn about yourself? Did you wing it or did you plot out the entire book?

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Filed under Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

Picking Up After Ourselves on Elaine Cougler

Wednesday Jump-In

Congratulations to my Goodreads Giveaway Winners! WOOT! Ten print copies of my brand new, fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, will be going out to ten lucky winners in the mail this week. WOOT!

Today I am a guest on Elaine Cougler’s blog HERE and since she writes anything but paranormal I wrote a fun little post that dog lovers and writers alike will enjoy. I love to read a variety of authors and Elaine’s book The Loyalist’s Wife is burning a hole in my Kindle waiting for me to have the time to really dig into some historical fiction. I figure that will be November at this rate, when I go back to the day job and writing becomes very difficult for me to accomplish.

Tomorrow I start a brand new blog hop with the October New Release blog hop. Tons of new authors for you to meet, all with brand new books this month. Like me! And there will be prizes available, so check back for a non-paranormal Thursdays Bite, tomorrow.

And speaking of prizes there is only one week left to hop to the rest of the authors on Sam Cheever’s Trick or Treat Blog Hop. There are TWO grand prizes in that hop, two Kindle Paperwhites! As well as lots of books and goodies, including a print copy of The Dark Huntsman! Click HERE for details.sam cheevers trick or treat blog hop

Now on to the blog.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court will be back from my editor this week! WOOT! That means I need to get a jump on my Christmas novella, The Ghosts of Christmas Past. This was supposed to be a 20-30 k novella when I started it and as of now it has topped 35k. I think it will be closer to 40k by the time I send it to my editor and if it hits over 40k it is no longer a novella. It will be a novel. But a small one.

What is a novella? Isn’t it a small novella?

Typically a novella is defined as a fictional book between 20,000 and 40,000 words. Anything over 40k is considered a novel. But when you consider that The Dark Huntsman, and Prince by Blood and Bone are both 85,0000 words, is it fair to count a book that is half their length as a novel?

Well, the answer is, yes. But I would consider anything under 65k a short novel. Most short contemporaries, think Harlequin’s traditional little books, are under 65k. They are novels. And NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), which is coming up soon, considers a 50k novel to be a complete work.

Why is that?

NANOWRIMO braceletsTraditionally novels used to be shorter. In the times of expensive paper and ink and handwriting a book a fifty thousand word novel was an amazing accomplishment. It still is, it is just easier to achieve now that we have computers and e-readers and the cost of writing and production has dropped to just about nothing. But actually sitting down and writing that novel is tough. Thousands of people attempt NANOWRIMO in November, I’ve tried it several times, and most of us fail. That’s right. Me, who writes long involved novels, has never won NANOWRIMO.

It’s hard!

It’s really very difficult to write a novel and to do it in November is (for me) very tough. I work and there is a holiday, which helps some people because they are home and not working, but for me it means EVERYONE is home and not working and my house is crowded and noisy. Not my favorite writing environment.

So this year I am not attempting NANOWRIMO, but I would love to encourage those of you who are. I will be looking at my editors’ comments for both Prince by Blood and Bone and (hopefully) The Ghosts of Christmas Past (should it ever get finished). I will be formatting both of them and bringing them to production so that by January they will both be out and about and available for consumption.

Actually, I’m planning on the Christmas novella on being available for consumption much earlier than January, but today a lot depends on my long-suffering editor’s schedule, since I’ve bumped it up twice due to Jury duty, flood, and just general not getting it done. See, it takes at least two months for me to write a 35k novella. Writing 50k would be a huge challenge. But I’m up for it! I still would love to complete NANOWRIMO some time and I think next year I will plan my year around it. I’ll make sure I have a plot ready to go and outlined and all my other projects are on hold for November. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll kick everyone out of the house for Thanksgiving and get to writing.

HAH!

Are any of you planning on attempting NANOWRIMO? What have you done to make sure you can accomplish this Herculean feat? Have you prepped your loved ones to expect no turkey or stuffing on Thanksgiving? Have you finished your Christmas shopping early? Is your house clean and ready for guests at the drop of a hat so you can focus entirely on your manuscript?

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Filed under Bloghops, channeling success, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo Wrap-up

Moonday Mania

a random blog about writing

It’s over! JumpMy first Nanowrimo. And it was a pretty interesting experience. I was pretty sure that working full time during November was going to mean I would not hit the 50k mark, but what I didn’t know was how close I could have gotten.

Now, before you get too excited, my total word count was 21,588 total words written on my ms during November. Not even close to fifty thousand. But about 14,000 of those words were written in the very last week. Imagine if I’d been able to apply myself the entire month the way I did at the end. And I could have.

I could have gone to the coffee shop two nights a week and the library one day on the weekend and I think that would have made the difference. So I’m going to try again. Even if I work full time next year, I’m going to try for the whole shebang. I think I can do it.

This past week I have written a minimum of 3,000 words every day. And some days it was very hard. But other days I ended up surpassing my daily goal and it wasn’t difficult. So I’m going to try to keep up that kind of speed all year.

Will I hit 3,000 words every day. No, I know I won’t. But it’s going to be my new word count goal, when I’m not working. And when I am working? I’m not sure yet. I have until March to decide, so we’ll see how it goes.

And as for my 21,588?

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop

Coming December 14th! Prizes galore!

It wasn’t 50k. It wasn’t my goal of 30k, that I thought I set as my goal while I worked. But it is 21,588 more words than I wrote last November. And I learned I could write during November and while I worked. So I’m happy.

Have you ever set a goal that you didn’t meet, but you will still satisfied with the results. Do you get down on yourself when you miss a goal, or do you look for what you can use from the experience? Does it make a difference if you expected to hit the goal?

Don’t forget there will be lots of prizes during the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop! Hop on by on December 14th!

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

Closing in on Nanowrimo (or not)

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers

Want to see how you do with deadlines? Want to push your boundaries and act like an author who has to turn in the full ms by the end of the month? The end of November is approaching and the close of National Novel Writing Month. One of the interesting things that is happening is how people react to a deadline. Those who are close to the fifty thousand word goal are pushing hard to finish. But those who aren’t close? Well, they have a variety of reactions.

There are the one’s who just give up. They know they can’t possibly hit 50K by the end of the month so why bother? These Nanoites just stop. It might be that they stop early, once they realize the month is not going to end like they want it too. It might be that they are giving up this week. When they realize they only have four more days left to cram an extra 25K in, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Then there are the ones who push on, no matter what. They resolutely keep struggling to finish. Even though they, and anyone who is sane, should know it ain’t gonna happen. But that doesn’t matte to them. They might make it! And if they don’t, they are sure going to be able to say they tried.

Of course there are the people like me. I never expected to actually finish the entire 50k this month. I knew going in that I was commuting, and working, and had other obligations that would make 50k impossible. But, I wanted to give myself a boost this month. Last November I didn’t write anything. Not one word. I know there are writers out there who work full time and still churn out books. That ain’t me.

Thanks Writertopia!


So, I set the goal of trying to finish a 30k ms instead. But I knew I might hit some bumps. And I did. My edits came in during week two and while they were extremely light, they still took some time. My CP (the amazing ML Guida) needed some editing done. So I took some time to do that. I could have said no, but she helps me out when I’m in a crunch. And I knew I wasn’t going to come close to finishing Nanowrimo.

So we come to the people like me. Great first week, declining second week, non-existant third week. Should have caught up over Thanksgiving, but I spent time with my family instead. So here I sit with 6963 words done out of my 30k goal. But I have four days left! So I’m going to be one of those optimistic people trying to push to at least get something done so my word count looks less pitiful. I figure I can reach 10k easily, so the goal is to hit 15K before the end.

And possibly 20K. If nothing crops up. Sure.

How do deadlines work for you? Does it make a difference if it’s set by someone else? What about deadlines that are for work or family members? Are you like me and put off the self-imposed deadlines for the “real” deadlines? What does this mean for your career?

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

Grow up!

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers et al

Why does it take so long to grow up? IMG_0500I think it might take my entire lifetime to learn things I should have learned earlier. Like the fact that all the things that didn’t fit into a “normal” job do fit into my dream job of being a writer. I’m a jack of all trades, maven, daydreamer. None of that applies to real life, but it sure fits being a writer. Just wish I’d listened to my heart twenty years ago, instead of all the people who said “writing doesn’t pay.” No, it doesn’t, but neither does half-heartedly doing the day job.

And that’s what I do right now. I show up. I do the day job. But while I’m there I dream of being here, at my computer, doing all the myriad things that add up to a writers life. Including writing. One would think that I would be one of those people who can write while working, but it doesn’t turn out that way. That’s why I’m trying NANOWRIMO this year. (Check out my progress HERE.)

You see, my day job is  full time for part of the year. Yeah, you read that right. So, during November I’m working full time, but during December through March, I will not be working at all. Then I’ll be back at work through July.Working

It’s crazy, but for me it works. Why? Because remember, I’m no good at writing while I’m working. Nano is applying pressure to me this month. We’ve hit the middle of the month and I am over 5K now. That sucks for Nano, but it’s actually great for me. Last November, when I worked, I wrote zero words. That’s right, zero. I did blog three times a week and I edited for my CP at the time, and I kept up with some other writing related jobs, but I didn’t write. And that is the job.

See CJ Lyons blog HERE for details on how a writer is successful by planting butt in chair. I need this on a big poster!

How am I growing up this month? Besides trying Nano and realizing that for me, 30k or 10k or even 5k is a win, it’s by cutting back on the blogs, (I will not be here on Thursday, Turkey day!) and focusing on what is important. Writing. Growing up means setting goals, trying to achieve them, and figuring out what the #$%* happened when you fail. Because right now I’m looking at not hitting 50k, or even the 30k that I thought I could try for while working. Am I still trying? Yes. But I’m also being realistic. If I want to hit anything more I need to pull up the big girl pants and say no to all the things dragging my attention away from writing.

In other words, time to grow up and get my writing groove on!

What has made you grow up lately? Do you even feel like a grown up? When does that happen? Does it ever happen?Low Resolution-4

Want to read another great post about growing up? Check out Kristen Lamb’s

Maturity–The Difference Between the Amateur and the Professional

FYI: I will not be posting on Thursday, Thanksgiving. Enjoy the pie! (All you Canada people already had yours, so back to work with you!)

 

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Why Every Writer Should Face Their Fear and #Nanowrimo at Least Once

Moonday Madness

a blog for writers about writing

I’ve avoided Nanowrimo for years. I did try once, a long time ago, when it was a much smaller event with just a few thousand people. But I didn’t even sign up or try to connect with anyone. I just decided I would do my best to try to write fifty thousand words in a month. I knew before I started that it would be a failure. And it was. I stopped after the first week.

So now I’m attempting it again!

Why would I do that?

Well, for one thing, I’m a different writer now. I actually have finished projects. Not just one, but several. I know my writing strengths and weaknesses better. Back then I was a seat of the pants, had no idea of my plot or characters, or even when I would sit down to write, kind of person.

Now, I know exactly how many words I can pound out in an hour, when I know my scene. I’ve learned all  about Goal, Motivation, Conflict and I’m deep in the middle of scene and structure immersion. All these things make my writing process smoother. So I should do better, right? Write!

But why should every writer try this? Why do I believe it will make a difference?

Deadlines.

Not only do I have a deadline as to when the 50k must be finished. I can’t even start early! I must do it within the 30 days. That’s pressure. That means no editing, no hand holding, no prioritizing cleaning the bathroom over my keyboard. (Sorry family, things are going to get dirty!)

Did you hear the no editing?

Did you hear deadline?

Did you hear no cleaning? (Okay, if you have time, maybe a little.)

This is what all my author friends sound like when they have a book to turn in and the deadline is approaching. For authors with a contract and a book to write to that contract. Every book is a Nanowrimo book!

They’re up at all hours, deep in the pressure cooker, trying to get those words on the page. They have to stick to their outline. Why? Because if they don’t they don’t have time to go back and fix it! They can’t listen to their inner editors (sorry Gloria, Gracie is in trouble when the contract arrives) because if they do they will not finish, let alone on time.

When you are unpublished, or like me, an author with books to write without a contractual timeline, then you can waste time on other things and no one gets upset. (Well maybe you do.) You can take the time to go to coffee with a friend and say, oh  those words can wait until tomorrow, because there is no one else telling you they must be done by Tuesday, or else!

Nanowrimo becomes the evil editor. The one who makes you turn your book in on time. She makes you think about your story line ahead of time, because if you don’t, you run the risk of not being able to write 1,666 words per day for 30 days. And she’s the one you blame when you turn your best friend down for coffee. Or don’t clean the kitchen. Or send out for take out again and again and again. It’s all the fault of your editor, the person who needs this book by Novemeber 30th or the sky will certainly collapse.

Once again, why should you all practice this? Because fake it until you make it is how we get to be better authors. Practicing being an author with a deadline helps you finish books. Then you have to start submitting them. Which we all know is the harder part of the equation and may be why that book doesn’t get finished in the first place. Face your fear and attempt Nano! I am.

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Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

Five Necessities for NANOWRIMO

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

NANWRIMO

National Novel Writing Month. It’s coming up and this year I am at least signed up. Crazy, I know. I’m working full time for at least three of the weeks in November, and there is a good possibility I’ll have edits for my upcoming novella Snow and the Seventh Wolf, but I’m still going to try. Here are some of the things I’m doing to prep.

1. Informing my family that I will be crazy.

What Should I Be For Halloween?

This is number one on my list. Making sure my husband knows I will not be responsible for any food preparation, laundry, or cleaning of the kitchen counters, once November strikes.

2. Storing up on coffee, chocolate and wine.

I hear that stimulants are the way to go, but since I won’t be shopping I need to be sure the house has coffee, and lots of it. But I’ve also heard that for those late nights, when the brain has turned off, the only thing that really keeps those words flying on the page is wine. So I’m heading to the liquor store. Once again, not shopping during November.

3. This not shopping thing is going to blow my Christmas prep all to hell.

So be it. I will not be the crazy woman at the stores on Black Friday, if I have to have something, I’m sending the husband. Alone. If you’ll be in our area and shopping that day, be prepared for an insane man with a long list and an attitude. I’ll be home with the wine.

4. Did I mention the chocolate?

Chocolate HeartsI think I’ll head to Costco for a bulk package of Nano Chocolate, then I’ll have to hide it somewhere the rest of the family will never think to look. I’m running out of places, but the linen closet might still work. I tried the dryer, that’s no good.

5. Yoga pants

Comfortable clothes are necessary, and since I really shouldn’t answer the door in my penguin flannel PJs I think I’ll shop this month for some super comfy, but fashionable, yoga pants. This way my sister in law will not be sending in crazy pictures to the people on “What Not to Wear”. (And she’d do it too)

That’s it. I’ll be ready this year.

Oh yeah, I’m also plotting my story ahead of time. If you’d like some hints on how I do that check out my post on Snowflaking HERE.

Are you attempting NANO this year? What sort of things do you require to write 50 thousand words in a month? Do you actually think I can do it? Want in on the pool?

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Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, Snow and the Seventh Wolf, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Welcome Lyndi Alexander. I met Lyndi at Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion writing workshop, along with some other fabulous women, and was very impressed by her writing. Her first book, The Elf Queen, was about to come out and I loved the concept of a glass slipper breaking and tiny men escaping on a city street. Today she is writing about her latest release a paranormal romance, Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me. What a great title and this book too has a very creative concept. Please welcome, Lyndi Alexander.

The last time I got divorced, I was in a pretty bad way. Drained. Feeling out of touch with my world and myself. So, about ten years ago, I went with some of my friends to a new class that studied energy from an Eastern perspective. We learned about auras and personal energy fields and chakras and self-healing. As a person who routinely thinks from inside my head instead of on a “touchy-feely” basis, this was a long, hard education for me, but I eventually understood it.

This class, although really foreign to me, a person who functioned from a center of logic and judgment, showed me how to function from a place of love and feeling and emotion. You really can accomplish a lot of different things when you approach life from that angle.

I also came to understand how others’ actions affected me, and how others can drain your energy, in a very toxic way. You know, the person who calls at all hours of the day and night, just to whine about the terribles of their life, though they never take your advice and never change the way they do anything. They suck the life from you.

Try doing that when you’re a family law attorney, too, your clients trapped in the cold court system, and they always need, need, need…. And I was happy to give it to them, when I could, but after awhile, when I was giving and giving, to clients, to kids, and not getting much back in return, I was wiped.

So I used this class to help build up my own defenses and my own walls, but not in a negative way. As Dr. Rick Paulsen teaches Sara Woods in LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME, the purpose of studying these healing arts is to realign your chakras, to make you energetically strong, so that you can withstand the daily attacks we all encounter. Of course, the forces after Sara are much more dangerous than just a sad client or two. She begins an investigation into a series of deaths that moves into a supernatural realm before very long, and she’s dealing with forces of this world and darker ones as well. I hope I shared enough of what I learned with her so that she can survive her battles ahead. J

Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lyndi AlexanderLove Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Running away isn’t necessarily the answer.

In her mad rush to escape a failed marriage, Sara Woods takes the first job available and lands in the middle of a mystery. Her first assignment as a news reporter for the Ralston Courier is the investigation of a string of deaths, all young women, all her age.

She becomes a patient at the Goldstone Clinic, a local mecca of healing, to deal with chronic pain from her past. But all is not as it seems at the Goldstone, its doctors and nurses are all the picture of perfect beauty and health. Patients at the clinic first seem to get better, then they deteriorate. Sara enlists the help of Dr. Rick Paulsen, who teaches her how to access her internal power, skills she never knew she had, revealing secrets from her past. Police officer Brendon Zale also takes an interest in Sara, but he acts like a stalker, watching her every move, and he won’t leave her alone.

As she digs deeper into the story, and more young women die without explanation, she tries to choose allies wisely, but not till the last confrontation does she discover the identity of her true enemy.

By then, it’s too late.

hydra publishingLove Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me is available now from Hydra Press

Buy it at here at Amazon or here at Barnes and Noble

EXCERPT from Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me:

I watched Rick Paulsen in disbelief. “You’re talking crazy, you know. What do you think I am? A battery, charged or not charged or something? That’s not possible. Is it?”

“It would explain what happened. Dedra’s life force was ebbing and you replenished it.”

“Life force. Okay, so we’re in X-Files territory. Next you’ll be talking vampires.”

Rick twitched as if I’d slapped him.

That raised my eyebrow. “No way.” I thought about Talman and his charisma.

He walked behind his desk, as if putting the solid wood between us would insulate him. Or was it me he was trying to protect? He studied me, clearly torn about something. Still on the issue of trust?

“What does that have to do with the clinic?” I asked, as the silence went on.

He didn’t answer.

“Why did Dr. Ruprei show up so quickly?”

He shook himself and leaned forward, elbows on the desk. He looked so much more tired than he had the first day we’d met. “I don’t know why Ruprei was here. I didn’t send for her. She didn’t hurt you, did she? Or Dedra?”

I shook my head.

“What was it you said? A battery? That’s a good analogy. You’ve been at the clinic recently, haven’t you? Within the last 24 hours? Within the last week?” He poured another glass of juice for me, disapproval in his voice. As I started to argue with him, he held up a finger. “I know you have. Let’s just work this through, all right? Please work with me on this. It’s very close to Lily’s story. It may be the key.”

           “All right, fine. I did go, five days ago. But my life force was just fine. In fact, I felt terrific. Better than I had in years.”

He rubbed his forehead, lost in thought a moment. “I hadn’t thought she would move so soon. Drink the juice.”

What use was there arguing at this point? I drank the juice. I had to admit, it seemed to be having a positive effect. “Who’s she? Dedra was seeing Chal Talman. But he wasn’t doing anything wrong. I told you. I felt great.”

“Of course you did. You might have had all your own energy and some of his besides.” He leaned back, arms crossed.

“What are you saying, that they put it into me?”

“I’m not sure. It’s not easily done. Have you ever done any energy work? Studied chakras, tuning meridians, that sort of thing?”

“Speakee English?” I passed an arch look. Had Lily understood any of this, been a willing partner? “I never studied anything like that.”

“Amazing,” Rick said. “You’re a natural. I had to study four years with a healer in California to even begin.” He blew air through pursed lips. “Tell me about your treatments again, both yours and Dedra’s. Whatever you know, even if you don’t think it’s important.”

Thinking of the dead woman, and the near-dead one down the hall, I settled in and told him what he wanted to know, all of it, holding back only the deep smoky attraction I’d felt for Chal. Rick seemed most interested in the first, where we had both felt drained, and the last, when I’d been so charged. When I finished, he read over his notes, then looked at me, speculation written on his face.

“Can I try something?” he asked. Uncertainty must have showed in my face, because he actually laughed. “Nothing bad! It’s an experiment. Not dangerous, I promise. I just want to get a feel for your energy field.”

“You mean those areas governed by the chakras, the alignment and so on. But you just said I’d given Dedra any power I had.” Not that I was buying that. I was guessing if that’s really what had happened, that it was one of those miracle emergency adrenaline bursts, like the guy who could lift a car off his child in crisis mode. That made sense. Such events had been documented in the past.

Rick persisted. “I’m not looking for what you’ve got, just testing your usual state.”

“Then will you tell me about Lily and the others? And what this has to do with vampires?”

“Yes. Then I’ll share what I know.”

            Quid pro quo, Clarice… The dark words echoed in my brain. I eyed Dr. Paulsen. Which of us was Hannibal Lecter?

BIO:   Lyndi Alexander dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others.

She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications is eclectic, from science fiction to romance to horror, from tech reporting to television reviews. Lyndi is married to an absent-minded computer geek. Together, they have a dozen computers, seven children and a full house in northwestern Pennsylvania.

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