tattoo, v. frances


So I've been pretty quiet around the internets lately and I kind of think that's not going to change in the near-future. Anywho, just wanted to post a quick update!

I've signed up for kaz_mahoney's Summer Challenge. I'm going to try to finish the Annabel Lee-inspired YA I started awhile ago and then left to die the horrible death of unfinished WIPs everywhere. We'll see how it goes.

In other good news, summer's pretty much here (thank you, Captain Obvious!)! I'm looking forward to my first real summer in a long time and hoping for some outdoor writing time. :D
tattoo, v. frances


So things have been pretty quiet on the blog because I was taking a break from blog/twitter/writing/internets in general. Not a complete break, but I needed to get out in the world and, you know, live.

While in the process of doing this, I ran across the show Supernatural. Julie had mentioned this show before, specifically because the sisters (Eden and Jordan) in HotD reminded her of Dean and Sam. I was curious, but I didn't want to watch the show at the time because I was rewriting and neck deep in zombie awesomeness. (And yes, Julie, I love you FOREVER AND ALWAYS for recommending this!)

Now, after having watched it, I'm profoundly glad I waited. First, because this show is RULING MY LIFE right now. I've made it through the first two seasons over a period of two weekends and I'm fast jumping on the third (sadly that is where my borrowed seasons run out... but I might just go buy the others immediately upon finishing Season 3).

And, HOLY CRAP, this show is really, truly awesome. The dynamic between Sean and Dean is fantastic and sometimes terribly creepy-weird (because they truly are guy versions of Jordan and Eden and it sort of blows my mind). Dean... Dean .... Lord, but I can't even begin to explain my love for him. I love Sam, too, but Sam's angsty-ness makes me think of Smallville's Clark Kent and that drives me nuts sometime. Stop feeling all whiny about possibly being evil - you're not.

The monsters... sometimes scare the bejeezus out of me. I'll admit to screaming like a little girl through probably half the episodes I watch. They do a really fantastic job of creating suspense without bleeding over into cheesy, leaving the hint of threat instead of bashing the audience over the head with it (although that does occasionally happen). It's just fantastic (although now my mind is conjuring up reasons that my mom's house is haunted and that's ... disconcerting.)

There are a scattering of awesome ladies (Meg, I heart you! And Jo too!) throughout the first two seasons. My only issue with that is that I'd like to see more of them. But Julie has promised me that I will love Ruby, and I believe her!

So, yes, I was an idiot for not watching this show earlier, but I'll admit I like marathoning it.


In other news, I've decided to go back through and tear QoS apart. It needs a lot of background information added (surprise, surprise, I know) as well as almost a complete rewrite of the ending.

I've also got an idea for AVENGER OF THE DEAD, the second Eden book, bopping around in my head. I mean, I always knew what the basic plot would be, but now I have this new character clamoring for my attention. She's pretty freaking awesome and she's going to make things... interesting for Eden. I love her already!
tattoo, v. frances

Writing Update

So I finally finished my rewrite of QUEEN OF SWORDS. It clocked in at around 78k and still needs a whole lot of work. But it's taking a backseat for a little bit because, OMG, I got hit with the most unexpected book. It's kind of driving me crazy because it's not something I'd have ever thought I wanted to write. Except...

Except I kind of love it. A lot.

And what is this mysterious book? [Get ready for this...] A paranormal, western, romance. Yeah, that's what I thought too.

Like most writers, my process changes from book to book. The last two books (QoS and HotD) didn't have soundtracks. In fact, I couldn't even listen to music while I was writing them. THIS book, however, I need music. Of course, it's country music, but I've always had a soft spot for country.

So let me introduce you to my two main characters:



tattoo, v. frances

Mass Effect 2 BLEW My Mind

A few quick notes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE RPGs but I kind of hate shooter games. So, even though Amazon (you sly fox) recommended Mass Effect for me a million years ago, I blew it off. Then, reading about the sequel, I got kind of excited and decided to try the first (by this point it was down to about $10 - totally affordable).

And it was awesome. Totally and completely awesome. I loved the idea of every decision I make bleeding over into a conclusion (and second and third game).

Then I play the second game ... and it well and truly blew my mind.

See, the thing is, most of these video games want you to feel something while playing. Something beyond the glee of successfully blowing the enemy's head off. And Mass Effect 2 succeeded where even Fable failed for me.

This emotion started in the first game with Kaidan, who ended but being the love interest. You have this point where you have to chose if he or another character dies. I chose him.

And then I agonized over it because OMG I chose my BOYFRIEND and let a friend die. And I'm a horrible person because I refused to go back and do it differently.

Fast-forward to the second game. All Shepard's (that'd be me) former team thinks she's dead (I'm a Lady Shepard). So you have this option for a different love interest. And I took it.

Then I mentally flagged myself because OMG what if Kaidan shows up again in the third game and HATES me because I jumped someone else.

(And, yes, most of this is my issues coming out. But still).

But all my emotional stuff didn't come from the love interests. There was the team itself. The game is designed so that your survival (and that of your team) is NOT assured. If you don't take the time to upgrade and earn everyone's loyalty YOU WILL ALL DIE. Or maybe it will just be a few here and there. THERE'S NO WAY TO KNOW.

So I go through, earning loyalty along the way, and it's seriously stressing me out because I get to know these characters and I REALLY like them all (their daddy issues aside). And, like all my favorite books, I want them to LIVE.

This also included the crew on my ship who aren't my actual team. They get taken and OMG I didn't get there in time to save them all. And the guilt damn near killed me. THEN I thought I did everything right and got everyone out alive ... but I didn't.

So now I have this almost overwhelming urge to go back and do it differently so that everyone I ended up caring about (see THAT - I cared about these people) lives.


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tattoo, v. frances


So I'm sure you've noticed by now that I enjoy writing queries. Mostly. I generally start them around the time I get 1/3 into the book and revise constantly until the end. This is the current copy for QoS. It'll probably change before (if) I send it out, but I'm moderately happy with it now. It's been the single most difficult query so far (out of 8-ish) and I'm not completely sure why. I think it may be because this is a romance, which is difficult for me anyways. I mean, I actually love writing romance and I love these characters and this world and the whole book (lots of love going around), but it's more challenging than anything I've done up to this point (BREEDERS aside because I haven't finished it yet).

The upside of QoS (or, rather, one of many), is that I already have the next two books roughly plotted out. Which is kind of fantastic because, although they are linked, they each stand on their own. *GLEE*

Anywho, here's the query for your viewing pleasure. I have a few reviews I need to get up, but I haven't been reading over-much the last few months.


Dear Ms./Mr. Agent,

As a Diviner, Ophelia knows the cards don’t lie. So when they tell her to marry the Prince of the planet Hansarda, she reluctantly packs up her life and goes. What they neglect to mention is that she’s going to be kidnapped by the Prince’s half-brother, Boone; the same man she fell into bed with during the course of a fabulous night out.

Under normal circumstances, Ophelia would have no problem killing her captor and escaping. But the cards, her forum of communication with her goddess, keep giving her readings that promise a happily-ever-after, but, at the same time, warn of a horrible price to be paid. And then there’s Boone himself. He stirs things inside Ophelia, things that go beyond their intense physical attraction.

Embroiled in the beginnings of a civil war, Boone doesn’t have time for a hellcat with a penchant for making him bleed. But he can’t stand by and let the Prince marry her and gain her family connections to the biggest gun-running business in the universe. What he didn’t expect was to admire her so much, or to have this bizarre need for her to trust him.

Boone also didn’t expect Ophelia to get pregnant from their single night together. Now he can’t let her walk away for fear the Prince will hunt her down and kill her because the child she carries is a potential rival for Hansarda’s throne.

The thing is, Ophelia has no intention of walking away. She never was much good at running and hiding, and she’s not about to start now. And, thanks to the cards, she knows how the story ends; Ophelia’s will be the hand that brings down the Prince. But the cards don’t always tell the full story, and the price for victory just might be more than she’s willing to pay.

My sci-fi romance, QUEEN OF SWORDS, is complete at XX,000 words. Sample chapters and synopsis are available upon request.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my novel.


So, any thoughts? Am I alone in my love for the query? *tee hee*
tattoo, v. frances

HELL FIRE by Ann Aguirre

Hello friends! It's been too long!

I was one of the so very fortunate people to win a copy of Ann Aguirre's HELL FIRE a few weeks ago. I just finished it last night and, WHEW, this book might have been better than BLUE DIABLO. But we'll get to that in a moment. First, I just want to say that Ann Aguirre has officially become a Top-2 Author for me (right up there with Anne Bishop). Basically, this means I have yet to read one of her books and be less than amazed. They're all fantastic!

Now, on to the review...

Quick recap of Blue Diablo - Corinne Solomon had lived in Mexico city for some time (6 months if I remember correctly) when her old flame, Chance, showed up. She's a "handler," meaning she can touch nearly any inanimate object and see it's past. Chance needs her ability because his mother is missing. The only reason Corinne argees (besides really liking Chance's mom) is because he agrees to go back to Kilmer, Georgia and help her investigate her mother's death (she was killed by 12 men and her house burned down while Corinne watched from the woods). Chance has luck and can turn it to do just about anything, which is why he'd come in handy.

Okay, fast forward to the present. They get to Kilmer and something is seriously WRONG with the town. Ms. Aguirre nails the atmosphere (much like she did in the first book), from the creepy woods, to the eerie way the town seems to shut down after dark, to the fact no one outside of Kilmer seems to know it exists. I had chills through most of the book; there was a wonderful creep-factor.

There's also an interesting love-triangle bit going on. Jesse Saldana (the cop empath, who is also Corinne's mentor in all things supernatural) feels her terror and comes running, all the way from Texas. It was hard for me, as a reader, to get through some of that because I love BOTH Chance and Jesse. Which is pretty outstanding because, normally, in this type of situation, I have a clear favorite. Not so with Corinne-Chance-Jesse. I want them ALL to be together... LOL. That probably wouldn't work out so well.

As with all of Ms. Aguirre's books, HELL FIRE is populated with great characters. Booth (the sorcerer-type from BD) shows up again. And Butch, who might just be my favorite character. He's a Chihuahua who can literally communicate (one bark for yes, two for no), and we get the feeling there's more to him than there seems. As for new characters, there's Shannon, an 18 year-old gifted girl who can speak to the dead through a radio (think white-noise). She's fantastic! I love how she's smart and scared and willing to do whatever it takes to get the hell out of Kilmer before she ends up dead (like many gifted have in the past). There's also Dale Graham, a conspiracy theorist who's more on the mark than most people would guess. And Maury. I both love and hate Maury because he scares the crap out of me (I won't go more into it than that to avoid spoilers).

The plot itself was great. The tension built and built until exploding in the ending. I put down the book and had to sit there a little bit and think about it, about the implications of the events in the last chapter or two. It was a little bittersweet for me, but I love Corinne for being honest and standing up for what she believes. Not sure how the next book will go (because there WILL be a next book. There has to be) but it doesn't bode well for her desire to get back to a nice, normal life as a pawnshop owner. MORE PLEASE!

Basically this was just a fantastic book. Beyond fantastic. It comes out on April 6th, so go forth and buy!!! 10/10
tattoo, v. frances

Evolution of a Tattoo

I've been talking about the tattoo I want for some time now. I've had my first session and now that things are started, I figured I'd let you guys in on the process. Or, you know, my process. See, this time is unique because I didn't find the picture first and bring it in; I'm having Tom (my tattoo dude, a god among men) draw it up.

I knew I wanted Alice in Wonderland themed and, originally, I was going with Alice falling down the rabbit hole with all the main characters on either side. But that didn't really feel right. So, this last July, I sat down and drew out a sketch. After a few drafts, I had the placement how I liked it.

Yes, I know. It looks like a third grader drew it (no offense to third graders).

So I brought this in to Tom (of All American Tattoo in Spokane, if you were wondering). From there, he sent his apprentice to pick up the comics I like so much (Return to Wonderland) and paged through them, getting a feel for the style. I knew I wanted the Hatter to be like the comic's interpretation but I wanted the Cheshire Cat to be more traditional. And I didn't want it to be so sexy-time-ish.

I also knew that I wanted it to be the kind of thing where, the more you looked at it, the more stuff you saw. And then I let him at it. He put up the idea to make the Caterpillar's face like an actual caterpillar (as opposed to humanoid like Disney has it) and I LOVED that idea. Then he found another Wonderland cover and lifted Alice off it.

(And toned down the sexy-time-ness).

From there, this is what we got (it feels like he pulled it straight out of my imagination):

Obviously the outline is not done (it's missing the Red Queen, White Queen, Queen of Hearts and White Rabbit) but I'm so freaking excited about it. So I'll post updates after each session so you guys can see how it comes along.

Now I'm off to play Mass Effect 2 (which is freaking epic)!
tattoo, v. frances

Shutter Island, and an Update

Let's just face it, I'm lucky if I blog once a week these days. These IS a reason for it - all my brain cells are currently focused on making huge revisions to HUNTER OF THE DEAD (aka Project Zed). The book is going to be a million times better, it's just hard work getting it there. On the upside, I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track.

Which basically means that I'm not coming up with awesome blogs posts. Or reading much. But I DID go see Shutter Island last night.

There's not a whole lot I can say about this without spoilers. But it was a really good move. VERY intense. And I have gained a new respect for Leonardo DiCaprio in the last five (ish) years. He's picked some amazing movies (like this and the Departed) and he doesn't disappoint.

One thing I WILL say is that the visuals were astounding. It is now my goal to write a book that can bring about the same emotions as just sitting there, watching Teddy and Chuck walk around exploring the island. Beautiful and creepy and sad, all at the same time.

Definitely a movie I'd reccomend. My younger brother-in-law liked it but didn't LOVE it ... because it made him think. So, I suppose you should take that into account. *grin*

On a side note - both BILs were horribly embarrassed when the preview for Clash of the Titans came on and I squealed and jumped around in my seat, hollering about my boyfriend Sam Worthington.

Sam and Katee FOREVER!!!!

(And now, back to reality...)
tattoo, v. frances

Romance Novels and Zombies

About a week and a half ago, I got a wonderful, perfect idea. It was a solution to QoS, which ended somewhat BLAH. So I wrote it down, and set it aside. But it wouldn't stay. So I wrote a bit, which was a mistake because now, 10 days later, I'm 122 pages in and sinking fast.

So what was this wonderful, perfect idea?

Queen of Swords needed to be a "real" romance.

Now, why was this such a revelation? Because I've been fighting against writing a romance ever since I started this writing gig. Which is just plain silly because I love romances and there's always heavy romantic tones in my books.

But I couldn't get past writing a sex scene. Which is, again, just plain silly. But I had this nightmare of my super-conservative-Rush-Limbaugh-listening-to grandparents (who I love and adore) reading it. And so love scenes just didn't happen.

But QoS NEEDED to be a romance. Because it wasn't working.

And, to tell you the truth - it's a million times better now that I added the male POV and concentrated the plot. And I'm having these days with ridiculous word counts (5k, 7k, 5k, etc) because things are set up so perfectly.

You know what? I LOVE it. I love writing romance. I mean, zombies will always be my favorite (because, hello, they're zombies) but I like this sci-fi romance bit I have going right now, too.

And, speaking of zombies, a new character sprang, fully formed, into my head. Her name is Ruth and she's determined to be a part of the sequel (and maybe third book) of HotD. And I have this fantastic scene floating around in my head in which she plays a vital part.

But ...

Well, I don't know what's happening with HotD yet. I mean, it's floating around out there in the query-go-round, but there's no guarentee that it'll be picked up. Or that there will even be a sequel.

So Ruth will wait, rather patiently I might add, to see what happens with HotD. And so will I. Because I can be patient and have faith. Really. STOP LAUGHING!!!