The Big 4-0

My husband keeps asking me what I want to do for my birthday, and I have no idea. Texas de Brazil will probably be getting money from us this weekend, in which case I will consume a cocktail with a Portuguese name I will butcher when I attempt to pronounce it. And I won’t feel bad, because, yeah…I’m 40.

Honestly, I’ve been claiming 40 for a while now, because what difference does a few weeks make, really? And I really love the looks I get when I tell people that I’m 40. That started when I was 36 and sitting in a pitch session with Jenny Bent, from The Bent Agency. I could see the doubt and confusion fighting in her brain.

She’s lying. There’s no way she’s 36. Why would a woman over 21 add years to her age? She’s really that old?

I love Jenny Bent, by the way. She doesn’t represent my genre but asked to see pages anyway, told me I was a good writer, gave me some advice about dialing down my vocabulary, and gave me a recommendation to the YA agent in her office. All this in the span of five minutes. I seriously wanted to send her chocolate to say thank you for the boost of confidence, which came at just the right time, but I was advised of the many ways that could be taken as more than simple gratitude.

Where was I? Oh yeah, 40.

Maybe it’s the amount of time I’m spending in the heads of upper teenagers because I write YA, but I don’t feel much different than I did at 20. I consume more alcohol and I have a different opinion of both MTV and God, but otherwise, I don’t think I’ve changed much. I’m much too concerned with what I want to have done in the next 20 years to worry about where the last 20 went.

Recently, I spoke to a writer friend about Jennifer Armentrout. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s a big deal in publishing as a hybrid author. Multiple series with multiple publishers. She’s got contracts for books she hasn’t written yet. She’s the poster child for “successful” author. She has an impressive backlist, a rabid fanbase, and writing novels IS her day job. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about Daemon Black, but I want to be Jennifer Armentrout when I grow up.

What am I doing to get myself there?

First, while waiting to hear back from agents and editors about GLITCH, I’m working on a to-do list for a self-published launch. It’s a longer list of tasks than you might think.

Second, I am starting the outline for VIRGO. Glitch and Virgo share the same universe, so there’s a lot of world building I have to do to keep the world consistent, because I’m intending to write the series in tandem. (Yes, you may call me insane.)
Third, I’m starting to put together an idea for a standalone magical realism. It took me a good two months to wrap my head around what magical realism is exactly, but I think the idea I’ve come up with is pretty good on both the genre front AND the diversity in YA front.

Four, I’m stalking #MSWL on Twitter, and you know what I’ve discovered. Dystopian is out. High Fantasy is back IN. I have a two volume High Fantasy sitting on my self. May have to drag that sucker out. Would require editing though…a lot of editing.

OH…if you’re reading this and you just happen to write High Fantasy that is based on non-European cultures, there are agents looking for that.

So, if I get off my ass…I should be able to complete 2 series, 2 stand alone novels, and a 2-volume epic, for a grand total of 11 published novels before I’m 50? Ask me again in 2024 how I did. If I manage to get it done, I will certainly have been too busy to care about the big 5-0.

That reminds me. My driver’s license expires today.

#SixSunday – Virgo (WIP) #15

David Blue as Eli Wallace (SGU)

You all have been lovely. Sam would find the attention both flattering and scary, while secretly loving every minute of it. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment every week. I apologize for not always responding. May I offer photos with this post as penance?

Readers, meet Sam.

I’ve just about run out of sixes from Virgo. I’m so sorry. I’ll be dusting off one of my shelved novels for my next series, but I’ll come back to Sam and Delilah when I have more.

Two weeks ago, you met Calla Marcus, who was dressed up as TV heroine “Maggie Aquinas.” After that six, she explains to Sam that she was the stunt double on the show. The actress couldn’t make it, so the studio called Calla to fill in at GryphonCon. She’s there with two other stars from the show. This is how Sam describes Damian and Luke (respectively).


Photo by Apocalyptica

The stick thin vampire towered over his companions on imposing platform shoes. A practicality, Sam realized, as the wicked wings he wore–diaphanous membrane stretched over resin skeleton–grazed the floor. His ashen skin was clad in black leather and chains; the flesh around his mouth was raw and stained, and his orange eyes glowed even from the distance between them.

Ben Foster as Angel (X-Men 3)

Three feet away stood a ripped, white-winged titan with a crew cut, maroon neoprene suit, and intimidating posture. His lip pulled to one side as he spoke, and the vampire burst into an almost girlish giggle, shattering the illusion of evil incarnate.

Ironically, that was when Sam shivered.


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Sarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, Kelly Seguin, and Steven Montano.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.

#SixSunday: Virgo (WIP) #14

Last week, Sam ran into an old acquaintance at a casino. This was due in part to his not wanting to go home. Delilah is in a weird mood, and Sam doesn’t want to pick up where they left off. This week’s six is the beginning of their conversation.

Set up: When Sam woke up, he heard bass-heavy techno music. He follows it out the living room where he finds Delilah running on her treadmill. She keeps a rigid schedule to cope with her Asperger’s and “running” is locked in at 10 am. It’s just after 7, and the change concerns him. He knows better than to interrupt her, so he waits until she’s done.


“What?” Delilah snapped.

“I’m sorry?” Sam asked, failing to hold back his indignance.

“You’ve been staring at me for twenty-three minutes.” He glanced at his watch, which read 7:44 am. “You don’t find me attractive, so you haven’t been picturing me naked, so…what?”

That was in the top ten of silliest things she had ever said.


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Sarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, Kelly Seguin, and Steven Montano.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.

#SixSunday: Virgo (WIP) #13

Most of my sixes have been Sam’s narration. Today, I’m going to give you some dialog. The following conversation takes place the day after the rave. Sam (dressed up as Jake Blues) has gone to a casino to pay Adam, and while on the slot machine floor, he’s recognized despite his disguise. He attempts to leave the casino, but a woman dressed up as “Maggie Aquinas” (the main character of a cancelled steampunk TV show) follows him and calls out his name to get his attention.


The woman threw her arms around his neck while squealing, “Oh my god!”

“I’m sorry,” Sam said as he pushed her away, “do I know you?”

“I hope so,” she snickered nervously, “’cause this could be super embarrassing.”

Deep brown eyes…long brown hair…infectious laugh.

“Calla Marcus?!”

She put her finger on her nose and exclaimed, “Bingo!”


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Sarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, Kelly Seguin, and Steven Montano.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.

#SixSunday #SixSunday: Virgo (WIP) #12

For those of you who have been following Sam’s narrative of the Dance Club scene, the last six were posted two weeks ago. But, I thought some of you might possibly be interested in reading the scene straight through, so I have posted the whole chapter as a sample here. It’s a WIP; I am open to criticism; and comments are open on that page if you feel like leaving one.

On to this week’s six!

Set-up: In this flashback of Sam’s, he recalls a day about three years earlier. Delilah has Asperger’s Syndrome, and since being injected with her brother’s nano-bugs, it takes very little to trigger a meltdown. When Sam and his friend Tommy first brought Delilah to their safe house, she astonished Sam by plopping right down on her new bed and making herself comfortable. In the scene below, it’s a month later, and Sam has just asked her what she liked about the room.


Instead of answering, she asked,“Who won the ’92 world series?”

“Toronto.” She was lying on her stomach on her bed, knees bent, ankles crossed, and shaking her head with her eyes focused on the crossword puzzle. “Um…try Blue Jays.”

“Blue.” After filling in the answer, she looked around at the walls and said, “It’s the right blue.”


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Sarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, Kelly Seguin, and Steven Montano.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.

#SixSunday: Virgo (WIP)-Dance Club Scene #11

Last week, Sam’s narrative mentioned The Cookie Incident. I was planning to leave that hanging, but so many readers wanted to know what it was that I just can’t. So, I’m jumping ahead to the end of the chapter.

The setup: Delilah and Sam are on their couch. She’s fallen asleep on his shoulder while they watch streamed episodes of The Waltons on the internet. Sam’s thoughts have turned bitterly to Delilah’s brother/guardian, Nick, a nanotech engineer.


One would think an engineer would be familiar with Murphy’s Law, that anything that can go wrong will. When Nick hid his top secret project in his sister’s epi-pen, he should have known that would be the day tree nuts would find their way into her food. The pen in the kitchen drawer was missing, so Sam grabbed the one Nick kept in his jacket pocket. One jab injected a million microscopic computers into her flesh, and within twenty-four hours, they found a home in her already complicated brain. To make matters worse, Nick ate a gun shortly after in a vain attempt to protect her from his buyers.

The woman sleeping on Sam’s shoulder was worth ten million to the bounty-hunter that flushed her out, but after years gone by, they still had no idea who wanted her or why Nick’s damned bugs were so important.


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Jayel KayeSarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, and Kelly Seguin.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.

The Right Question

For me, researching a novel usually involves dredging Google, clicking through Wikipedia to follow the rabbit hole wherever it might lead, or watching television. (Mock if you must, but there’s a lot to be learned from prime time drama.)

And sometimes, research can be as simple as asking the right person the right question.

Kiev (via Picture Ninja)

The scene I’m working on has one of my lead characters on a treadmill. During her workout, she stares at a framed poster on the wall in front of her. My intention is to tie the picture into a setting later on the novel (or series), and in the initial draft, the image was of Kiev’s (Ukraine) skyline, with Minsk’s (Belarus) as a second possibility.

Minsk (via Svoy Krug)

At this point, I took a step back. As I’ve mentioned before, “Virgo” takes place in an alternate universe. I set points of divergence from our history months ago, so whatever city I use for Delilah’s poster, it has to be appropriate to the altered universe, not ours, so reading the Wikipedia page of either city isn’t really going to work.

Fortunately for me, I happened to know a very intelligent person who lives in Belarus. What follows is a short conversation that derailed my Kiev/Minsk plans before they got started.


Me: I’m toying with the idea of incorporating an Eastern European city into my new story…that may be a series. It’s very loose at the moment. If I used it, it wouldn’t be until book 2, but either way I have to drop a hint in at the beginning of 1. (It’s just how I roll.) I’m thinking Kiev or Minsk.

Anyhow, I was wondering how Belarus might be different today had the Nazis not invaded Russia during WW2, and the Cold War didn’t happen. The story involves both scenarios, in addition to other key historical changes.

Any thoughts?

Ivan: Hmm, an intriguing question. We here usually ask ourselves what would have happened if the Nazis had conquered the USSR.

Never considered the question you ask though 🙂

Well, I think the Iron Curtain would’ve never fallen and we’d live in isolation from the rest of the world.

But the USSR had so much territory someone was bound to try and conquer the country.

I’m not sure if I answered your question, if no, let me know 🙂

Me: Very interesting. The story uses the Nazis-attack-Turkey route. They gain control of the Black Sea oil, which has been argued would have guaranteed their win. Attacking Russia is where they screwed up, but…hmm, if the Iron Curtain doesn’t fall, that changes its usability for my story. Shit, I’m so glad I asked you!

Maybe I’ll use Mexico City. Or Madrid. Or…

Ivan: It’s only a conjecture, Wendy. I don’t know what would’ve happened if there hadn’t been wars. It’ll probably be better for you to choose a different location, but if you decide to take Minsk I’ll try to help you when necessary 🙂

Me: Right. I hear you. I don’t like the scenarios I’d have to think through…a reason for the Iron Curtain falling, or a reason for my characters going to the Soviet Union. After giving it some thought, they wouldn’t, so it’s down with the Curtain, which begs for Nazi invasion of Russia, just later. I didn’t pick a Western European capital because I didn’t want to deal much with Nazis. Mexico City’s looking better and better.

Thanks so much. You really helped me out! All of this was to decide which city’s skyline is framed on my MC’s living room wall. *sigh* I have issues.

Ivan: That’s quite an important point so it’s good you decided to pick one city 🙂


Ivan just uploaded the beginning chapters of his second novel to Authonomy. I recommend to any paranomal fan…check him out!

Back to Delilah’s poster, my heart isn’t in Mexico City. Then I read a news article while I was at work about Guadalajara being Mexico’s “Silicon Valley.” The country is putting billions into nurturing tech sector start-ups, making it just the kind of place where underground raves would feel right at home. Of course, no discussion of 21st century Mexico would be complete without addressing its drug cartels, BUT…as I mentioned earlier, this is an alternate universe.

Guadalajara is known for being a clean, peaceful city for much of its history. It’s only recently that it’s seen the kind of violence that is tearing apart the border towns of Mexico. The reason for this is Guadalajara is the home of several leaders of the Sinaloa cartel, and the city benefited from those men liking their home clean and quiet.

Then came 1999. The leader of the Gulf cartel formed a military arm to protect him from rival cartels and the Mexican military. In 2002, they became known as Los Zetas, and after the leader’s extradition to the US in 2007, the group took a greater leadership role in the Gulf Cartel’s operation. In 2010, Gulf and Los Zetas parted ways, and it’s the Zetas that are wreaking havoc in Guadalajara. Why is this important to my story?

Alternate universe, remember. The Zetas are such a recent development in Mexico’s history. I change one thing and they don’t split from the Gulf cartel. I change one more, and they don’t get created at all. That certainly sounds better to me than rewriting the fall of Soviet Russia so I can put Kiev or Minsk on a poster.

#SixSunday: Virgo (WIP)-Dance Club Scene #10

Last week, Sam gave us his thoughts regarding what is “normal”. This continues that train of thought.


He could let Adam calling her “ab-normal” slide because, in the circles he frequented, it was a rare compliment.

Average was the word Sam preferred. That’s what most people were measuring when they said normal: the qualities of one thing against an average of the set. There was a middle point, or a middle range, and things fell on that point or within that range or they didn’t.

Delilah was, as he told Adam, above average more often than not, and his role for all the years he had known her had been to buffer the world to give her the space she needed to make it fit her right. It had mostly worked too, until The Cookie Incident sent them back to ground zero.


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Jayel KayeSarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, and Kelly Seguin.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.

#SixSunday: Virgo (WIP)-Dance Club Scene #9

Last week, Sam worshipped Delilah’s musical gift. Today, I am skipping forward a bit more in the dance club scene.

The set-up: Adam has walked away from his turntables to talk to Sam. He calls her “abnormal,” and Sam knows the man means it as a high compliment. Sam agrees, saying she’s “above average,” which Adam scoffs at before asking how much time he has to find a friend in the crowd. Given three minutes, Adam wastes no time leaving the stage. Sam is alone with his thoughts again.


What was normal, anyway? A state of being typical, or having equilibrium, or what? As Sam saw the world, it was populated by things that reasoned and furnished by things that didn’t. Molded, laser-cut, quality-controlled-to-be-identical things were either precise or flawed, so there wasn’t a normal. Or trailer park ghettos sandwiched between gentrified industrial towers for young professionals and suburban cul-de-sacs overrun by kids and DIY landscapers…all were normal to someone.

And speaking of people…there were eight billion unique humans all walking, crawling, or rolling their ways from birth to death with the commonality between them being that they were all aberrations from some unqualified normal.


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Jayel KayeSarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, and Kelly Seguin.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.

#SixSunday: Virgo (WIP)-Dance Club Scene #8

Thank you to everyone who drops by and comments every week. I may not comment on them all, but I treasure every note.

Last week, Sam was relieved that Delilah didn’t perform the remix he was expecting (and dreading), but the woman’s change of mind concerns him, too. Her remix first stuns, then delights Adam. I’m jumping forward a tiny bit here.


Sam looked at his watch and fanned his shirt away from his skin. Eight more minutes in this sauna until the police moved in to crash the party. He watched the ravers packed like live sardines in a can—wall-to-wall with no AC—and thought it would be a small miracle if no one dropped dead. Still, he wished time to slow so he could lose himself in the scene. Her touch on the vinyl, whatever ruckus it created, was reverent as rite. Given enough time, her music became sacrament to him, listening became prayer, and knowing her was a blessing, but flash raves never lasted that long.


Please check out the other authors at Six Sentence Sunday. Some of my favorites are Jayel KayeSarah BallanceKrystal WadeMonica Enderle PierceSiobhan MuirSarah W.Pippa Jay, and Kelly Seguin.

Writers! Participation in SSS is straightforward. Submit a link to the host site between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 11:59 pm on Saturday. Post a six sentence excerpt on your blog by 9 am Eastern (US) on Sunday.