Category Archives: Blogvel

BLOOM: Blog Novel Chapter 6

Last year I had a blast participating in the ever-talented and fun-loving Michelle Simkins’ traveling blog novel, SKELETON KEY. This year, Michelle has put together another lineup of writers to help her pen BLOOM. You may recognize some names from last year’s blogvel and others from SPRING FEVERS, the anthology.

Today, it’s my honor to add Chapter 6 to BLOOM, a fantasy-ish story. If you haven’t kept up from the beginning, you may want to consider it now. Just click on the first chapter and blog hop your way back here. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that last week ended with a Report from a Fugitive, while Kay Elam Writes chapter 7 next Monday. I hope you discover a new writer or two whose words you can’t live without.


Of course the hedges were changing. Gold, he could deal with. Green? Living, breathing green? And they thought he was the evil one.

“Wanda, go to the meat market on First Street. Hijack a cold suit and hang out in the freezer. I’ll get you when this is over.”

“No way. I hate to be cold.”

“So do plants. Henceforth the suit.”

Whether Wanda said more or not, he would never know. A tendril of ivy trailed across the chapel floor and yanked his phone from his hand. Or was it a Hooligan vine? Damn his childhood penchant for The Great Green Turkey Creek Monster.

He rubbed his temples and tried to remember what had stopped the Turkey Creek vine in his favorite picture book. Music. Like the mice in that play. But louder. A trombone.

Maybe his trombone would work to tame the plant things staring him down. If only he played the trombone. Or any instrument for that matter. Instead, he’d asked for science kits for his birthdays. Kits he mixed and matched and created with in the meadow where Mom couldn’t see.

It took a long time to grow an evil genius.

“What do you want?” Jamie surprised himself with the strength of his voice. No quivering to match the roiling in his guts. At least he had that part of super villain down.

But they didn’t answer. Plants never do. Unless…

Jamie placed his hand on his sister’s back. Gold she may be, yet she still breathed. She should be safe until he returned. If he returned. He waved to the plant creatures. “Follow me.”

They did. A little too closely. The mom-thing dropped a branch across his shoulders. To keep him from running? Likely. A leaf–supple and sensual–caressed his neck.

Bile rose in his throat. “Knock it off, Mom.”

The tree-things shook. Leaves tinkled to the ground. They were laughing. At him. “So, you’re not Mom?”

More rustling. The branch arm snaked around his waist. Holy crap. He’d attracted a plant. Wanda he could deal with. A tree crush? No way.

It was a long walk back to the clearing where Jessica first found the flowers. Made longer under the weight of his new tree-girl’s arm. The softly stroking leaves against his body.

He didn’t think she’d contaminate him. Rather, didn’t think she could. Evil or not, he was–on some level–responsible for the rapid growth of the living gold spreading throughout the local plants. And, as the scientist who created the plants, he was afforded a certain amount of safety.

As long as he didn’t tick them off. Testing his hold on her, he brushed a finger across a leaf. It turned bright red before settling into a pinkish green. Perfect.

Now to get her to talk.

They passed through the clearing to the little creek gurgling in the background. In their younger days, Jessica and he had called it the Pactolus in honor of the King Midas myth. They would spend hours “panning” for gold along the muddy banks.

His first real scientific success had been squeezing one tiny nugget of gold out of his chemicals for his sister to find. Did she still sleep with it under her pillow each night or had she tossed it away like she had him when he went to college?

He shook his head. Didn’t matter now. He had a new girl-tree to talk to and her hulking bodyguard to manipulate.

On the banks of the Pactolus, the reeds whispered in the wind. Jamie scratched at a stem. A layer of green slime collected under his manicured fingernail. The real deal. No gold to lie to him.

His second success. The truth reeds. He’d made it impossible for Jessica to get away with telling a fib. He also learned the trick to getting plants to talk. The spot where the wind blew just right and rubbed the leaves the wrong way. They couldn’t resist.

He sat. His tree-girl followed with a graceful whump to the ground. A small landslide ensued, muddying the water. The truth reeds groaned into the breeze. They had a bit of OCD if he remembered correctly.

“What’s your name…er, genus?”

Abutilon theophrasti Medik.” Her words swirled around him on a puff of wind.

Keep her talking. He turned on the charm. Lounged back with his feet crossed at the ankles. Let his knee gently nudge hers. A white flower bloomed under his touch and the tree-girl quivered. Her leaves tinkling. “Sounds sweet, but I’ve never been good with foreign languages.”

She trailed a leaf across his cheek and grinned. Can trees grin? “You can call me Velvet.”

The truth weeds rustled in disagreement.

Velvetleaf. The plant that engulfed Gran’s vegetable garden each year. He pushed Velvet’s branches away. “You’re a tree not a weed. Try again.”

Velvet stiffened indignantly. “I’m a weed.”

The reeds bowed to her truth. Which made sense. Invasive. Murdering. Weedy. Sucking the life from the countryside around it. Again he cursed his love for the Turkey Creek plant monster.

The bodyguard shifted heavily behind him. It’s leg-branch pushed on Jamie’s spine. Unlike Velvet’s more supple bulk, the bodyguard had leaves of steel. Impenetrable. Like the bleeding heart he manipulated for Gran so the dog wouldn’t break the fragile stalks.

What had he done with it–scratch that–to it? Crossed it with teflon. Created a bullet-proof plant.

Jamie groaned. What other childhood fancies would get in his way?

Beside him, Velvet shook gently. As if to pull him from his funk. Her leaves blossomed red, then pink and back to green. Flirting. “I know.”

Holy crap! She could read his mind.


Please tune in to Kay Elam’s blog next week for the next chapter!

Readers, what do you think about blog novels? Does the week speed by because you have something to look forward to, or does the anticipation of a new chapter make it drag on forever?

Writers, how do you incorporate someone else’s voice, plot twists, characters and genre into your own style while maintaining the integrity of the story?

Curious minds want to know!

BloomTable of Contents

Click on the Chapter Number to be taken directly to the chapter you want!


A Few Things of Writerly Interest

Remember The Skeleton Key Blogvel? Well, Michelle, AKA Greenwoman, has started another one. If you’d like a serial read for the next few months, pop on over to Greenwoman’s site and start reading Bloom. Each Monday, a new chapter will be posted on various blogs around the net. Mine will hit cyber space on July 9th.

Remember Possession? Elana Johnson’s YA debut? The second in her series was just released and is available for your reading pleasure. The Fourth of July vacation is a great time to pick up a new book, so give Surrender a try.

Remember Spring Fevers? That awesome anthology on relationships with a short story pubbed by you know who? Well, publisher Matt Sinclair is working on a second one.  Titled The Fall, this newest anthology will focus on the end of the world (as we know it) and is slated for release in time to be used as a handbook for 2012 survival!

Submissions of fewer than 7,500 words in any genre except erotica are being accepted until August 17. For more details, email Elephant’s Bookshelf Press at

You do know I’m kidding about the survival handbook thing, right? I mean, the world really isn’t going to end. Is it?

But, if it does end, what will you miss the most about our world as you know it? (indoor plumbing) What will you miss the least? (television and all that implies) What is one thing you’d need a lifetime supply of to make it through an apocalypse? (tampons and toilet paper–I know, I said one, but it’s my blog so I can cheat.)

Curious minds want to know.

2011 Recap from the Woods

This past year has been a bit of a challenge in terms of life choices.  I made some big ones, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

After meeting my amazing agent at a conference, I struggled with three major priorities: full-time mom, full-time preschool owner and full-time writer.  Throwing in my part-time freelance work as a writer and court advocate meant the day was about  twelve hours too short.  Not to mention that my efficiency level suffered in every area–including sleep.  Something had to give, so I sold my preschool.  Which, by the way, I miss more than words can say.

Despite the tough decisions, 2011 had many successes, some personal and some writerly.

  • My kids are much happier with me back at home and able to attend all their events/needs–or is it the taxi service they like so much?
  • DH enjoys eating again before midnight.  Okay, that’s only slightly exaggerated, but a healthy rebalance to say the least.
  • Two of my dear writer friends e-pubbed some amazing novels.  If you haven’t checked out Diary of a Small Fish by Pete Morin or Viridis (and its steamy sequel) by Calista Taylor, I’d recommend these for your newly unwrapped e-reader.
  • Another wonderful writer friend, Sophie Perinot, is awaiting the 2012 spring release of her historical novel The Sister Queens.  I’ve already preordered my copy, and  you can too.  Not to mention a fellow crit partner, and extremely poetic writer, also reeled in a contract for her historical fiction.  I wish Icould tell all, but I can’t spill the beans until she does.
  • Aaaand, in case you missed the buzz, Mindy McGinnis received a huge, two book contract for her YA, Not a Drop to Drink.  I’ve critiqued a few pieces by Mindy (aka BBC) and have to admit I’m thirsty for her debut.  I promise–promise–it will be a splash hit when it reaches the shelves.  This deal came shortly after Jessica Khoury’s news about selling her debut novel–another much-anticipated YA read for me.
  • I read–and conversed with–Sarah Darer Littman.  I must say the author of Want to Go Private? is as sweet as they come.  Her novel is a must read for every human walking this technologically unsafe Earth.  Seriously, if you love a kid, you have one last day to get your name in a drawing for a free copy of this amazing YAContest details found here.
  • In my personal writing news, I’m a site moderator over at AgentQuery Connect–the absolutely BEST writing community on the net–and a contributing member of From The Write Angle, a writing blog by writers of all levels for writers of all levels.  I also wrote my way to another NaNoWriMo victory and partook in the Epic Paranormal Romance Blogvel: The Skeleton Key.
  • Christmas came too fast.  With no snow on the ground and only a few flakes to our fall/winter season, it doesn’t quite feel like the end of the year.  In fact, Eldest golfed yesterday.  Not that I want a repeat of last year and the 27 snow days we had, but come on?  Where’s the white?
  • Oh yeah, and I have a short story coming out in an e-book anthology this spring (details to be announced later), so it’s just one more reason for you to buy a Kindle and enjoy the e-revolution.

All in all, 2011 has been good to me.

How about you?  What wonderful news do you have to share–writing or otherwise–that made 2011 worth every hour? 

P.S. In case you were wondering (and I know you were), Sock Dog came back from training as a full-fledged hunting dog.  She no longer runs the other way from birds and her nose is amazing.  So much so, that the trainer offered to buy her.  If she keeps chowing socks, I just might give him a call!

Guest Post and a Reminder

A week or so ago, I debuted on Dean C. Rich’s blog: The Write Time.  In it I outlined how I manage to balance my writing time with real life duties.  And since I’m still playing catch-up after the Great Computer Demise, Dean has generously offered to write a post for me so I can spend my time more wisely.

Dean has four manuscripts under his fingertips.  He’s a fellow AQer with time to be kind, supportive and insightful, all while penning his fantasy novels.  If ever there’s a person to take time management tips from, it’s the guy who does it all.  And makes it look like a vacation!

Please welcome Dean to your blogging fold!

Sharing is such fun.  I joined AQC and met some wonderful writers over there.  I’ve learned that I am not near as ready to publish as I thought I was when I first logged into the site.  Cat has given me some great advice on AQC.  So as I learned about blogs and blogging I visited her blog and I must say, I am very impressed with what she has done with this place.  So I asked if she would be willing to be a guest blogger, and she suggested a blog swap.  So here I am on her blog wondering what I can share.

Life is like… Bacon

I was cooking bacon the other morning. It was the really good bacon, not too much fat, great meat, and it cooked up so well I was thrilled.  As I was cooking, I got to thinking about other packets of bacon I’ve tried to cook.  Sometimes the bacon is too thick and takes longer to cook.  Other times there is so much fat, even though the package makes it look like a lot of meat, that it isn’t any good.  Life is like that, and in an extension to writing, that as well.

You are not real sure how the bacon is going to turn out when you look at the package.  It isn’t until the packet is opened and the bacon is pulled out do you really know what you have to work with.  So your day may be planned, but you don’t know what the day is going to really be like until you start working your plan for that day.  Sometimes it is a hit, and sometimes you find yourself, at the end of the day, someplace you never intended to be.

Writing works the same way.  You have a great idea.  It isn’t until you start to put the idea on paper that you understand what you have to work with.  Is it worthy for a blog post?

No wait, I can make a short story out of this.

Is it something to entertain, or instruct?  Is it for the kids, or is it for busy adults?  Is it a novel?  Or *gasp* an epic story that will take several books to tell the tale?

The fun part of this is that you get to decide, and whatever you decide is right.  How cool is that?  You are in charge–it is your idea–and how you work it and how it turns out is completely in your control.  Perhaps that is why we are writers, because there are so many aspects of our lives that we cannot control!

So what are your ideas?  What is in your bacon box that needs to be put on the grill of life and made for others to enjoy?

Thanks for having me over Cat.

Nope.  The pleasure is all mine!

Dean can be found on AQC as DC Rich.  He blogs at The Write Time and tweets @deancrich.  He has five children, one grandson and a beautiful wife of 27 years.    Besides writing, he also enjoys music (all of his children, and his wife play a musical instrument, Piano, Cello, Viola, Flute, and sing), the outdoors, and photography.  That is when he isn’t at work.

And now for the reminder: As some of you may have noticed, SKELETON KEY is done.  Finished.  Reached the end.  Literally.  I’ve created an entire page just for this blogvel.  You can find it on my sidebar or the tabs at the top.  If you haven’t read any of it, I urge you to enjoy this fun paranormal romp created by fifteen talented and imaginative bloggers.  If you read bits and pieces, now is the time to sit down and peruse it from beginning to end.  Michelle wrapped it up beautifully.