Category Archives: sci-fi

Writing Class!

I started my first writing class this week. We are working on scenes. Very interesting so far, and the best part is that I can use everything I learn immediately in my own personal writing. Our textbook is:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000SEI13Q/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

It is succinct and useful. The first few chapters deal with setting up a scene, finding the beat, and focusing on the hot spot, or turning point. I like the idea of finding the beat. That’s like matching your actions to the rhythm of the story. The author of our text, Scofield, gives great examples.

So, I thought I would post my first writing assignment here. The assignment was simply to brainstorm different occasions that could give reasons for a scene, and then pick one to write a short story on. My occasions were:

1. At a red light, a woman pulls her vehicle behind another car being driven by a man, and then slams into him.
2. A man joins a group of troubled kids at a campfire.
3. A couple starts arguing over a song on the radio.
4. A woman leaving a room accidentally slams the door too hard and another woman from inside the room jumps up and starts screaming at her.
5. A woman walks into an auto parts store, looks around and runs to the counter and screams, “Please help me.”

After much thought, I chose the first one. The assignment was 1000-1200 words, which is so hard for me!! However, I’m happy with the results. Enjoy!

Truth and Consequences

I pulled my car up behind him at the red light. Did he know I had followed him for over a mile? We had wound through palm tree lined street, under the blinding sun. His little sports car was stopped directly in front of me, and I had to stop him. Brandon had killed my sister and thought he got away with it. No. I had to make sure that didn’t happen.

I slammed my foot on the gas pedal. Knuckles white on the steering wheel, I braced myself for the impact. The crash echoed down in my chest. Electricity danced under my skin and into my heart making it pound heavily. I swallowed and opened the car door. He was moving in the car ahead of me. He could kill me too. I had to do this right.

Leaning over, I reached beneath the passenger side seat and slid my fingers over the little gun. I didn’t know about guns; it was my sister’s. I only knew that if you pointed it at something and pulled the trigger, you’d get a reaction. Maybe it would be enough to scare him into giving me the upper hand. I needed to get the upper hand, or I would lose everything.

I stepped out of the car; gun in hand, confidence riding me like lightning. I pointed the silver gun at his rear tire and eased my finger over the trigger. I felt the explosion up my arm and into my shoulder. I saw the tire explode with a bang and a whoosh. I looked up and saw him. Brandon, in his pressed, sleek black suit, stared back at me with a strange look in his eye. Did his brown eyes show fear? Panic? What?

“Are you crazy?” he yelled.

“Maybe, but you’re a murderer.” I spit back at him.

“I didn’t kill her, damn it, I loved her. Why can’t you accept that?”

“Liar,” I screamed. How could he love her? His heart was nothing but an empty black box. He was all polish and fake charm, and his arrogance loved only himself. “You didn’t. You killed her.” I pointed the gun at his chest.

“Stop, just stop, Anne, I know you aren’t going to shoot me.”

They always say that don’t they? Well, he obviously needed to know I would. I lowered the gun, pointing at his leg, below the knee, and squeezed. I thought I knew what to expect this time, but the blood spurting out of his leg stunned me. I reached out and grabbed the edge of my car when my knees started to buckle. Brandon screamed.

His screams woke up something inside me, something happy to hear that screaming. Ah, the upper hand at last. “You bastard, you aren’t going to get away with this.” My legs stopped shaking and I took a few steps toward him. Brandon lay on the ground grabbing his wounded leg. He looked up at me and his eyes were like a wounded dog.

I cocked my head to the side to hear him whisper, “Oh God, just leave me alone. Leave me alone.” He closed his eyes tight, making odd little wrinkles across his face.

I heard sirens in the distance, shrill and warning of danger through the bright clear day. Someone had called emergency services, maybe the police. That could only mean time was limited. I swallowed hard and kneeled down beside Brandon, waving the gun around like a magic wand. “I can shoot you. Only your leg this time, but I’ll blow your fucking brains out if you don’t tell me the truth.”

“What truth? What do you want to hear?” His words were barely a whisper.

“Tell me why you killed her.”

“Didn’t. Accident.”

“Accident, my ass. You killed her. Now tell me.” I touched his forehead with the barrel of the gun.

His eyes flew open and he grabbed my wrist, yanking it upward. I fell across his body, pointing the gun over his head. “Get off me. Let go.”

I wasn’t prepared to do either. “No, Brandon.” I slammed my knee into his groin and he groaned, but didn’t let go of my wrist. “Let go.”

“Leave me alone, Anne.” His voice was low and gravelly like the pavement we were stretched out on.

The sirens grew louder making me want to look around and see if any police cars had made it on scene yet, but couldn’t. Brandon could not win this time. I pulled at my arm to get it free, bracing myself against his chest with my other arm for support. “Damn,” I grunted when he pulled my arm higher. It felt like he was going to rip my arm off or at least pull it out of the socket.

“Drop the weapon,” a dark voice behind me commanded.

It was over, I was out of time.

“And stand up slowly.”

I had no choice. It was the police. I didn’t care about jail time or even death if they shot me, but I knew something was going to happen, and I could just not let go, could not let Brandon escape. I leaned in and bit him. I sunk my teeth into the inside of his shoulder as hard as I could. He let go of my wrist and I pulled my arm free. I pulled my body up so I was straddling his waist and pointed the gun in a two handed grip right at his face. “Tell me. Tell me now.”

“Ma’am, drop the weapon now.” The policeman said again in his voice of command, but I heard a bit of panic underneath. He was afraid of what I might do. Brandon stared up at me with wide eyes, full of wonder. He was also afraid of what I might do. I swallowed my own panic because underneath that layer of confidence, I was afraid of what I might do.

“Not until he tells the truth,” I said between clenched teeth.

“Whatever I say now won’t matter.” Brandon tried to shake his head. I wouldn’t let him use reason.

“I don’t care. I need to hear the truth.”

“Anne,” he whispered. “I loved her. I loved her.” A tear slowly leaked out of the corner of his eye. Was it the truth? I couldn’t accept that.

“I don’t believe you love anyone but yourself.” I was vaguely aware of the voices behind us, but I couldn’t let them distract me. No, not when I was so close. “Just admit it. You killed her.”

“Why does this matter?”

“I need to know. I need to hear you confess.”

“I won’t tell anything else. I answered. I loved her. So, just shoot or get off me.”

“Ok, you loved her, but you still killed her. I didn’t ask if you loved her. You killed her.”

A shrill screaming pierced the humidity of the day, loud and animalistic. I realized they were my own. My throat raw with screaming and I had dropped the gun. Hands were on me pulling me away. “No,” I screamed. “He killed her.”

I watched paramedics swarm over Brandon’s fallen body. Police officers wrenched my arms behind my back and yanked me away from the scene. I would never know.

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cover art

What do you think? I have a new ebook coming out soon, and I’m trying to get the cover done. So, I’m going to give you a sneak-peak. I can’t decide which way to go. Tell me what you think.

Here is cover #1

This was fun to make using clip art and color.

I like the girl’s hair with the streaks of red because it matches my main character.

The draw back on this one is that I don’t think it is professional enough and I couldn’t get my name right.

This is cover #2:

I like the play with colors on this one and cutting down to just her eyes. I’ve seen a lot of covers with just wolf eyes over looking a girl or guy, so this is that idea revised. I like to do things different.

This still keeps the coloring of the girl’s hair, but using just the eyes makes it a bit more interesting.

This is cover #3:

This is almost the same as cover #2 only I move the eyes to black and white, but still a darker shade than the wolf. I tried one the same shade as the wolf, but then the entire cover kind of disappears. So, I like this one.

I put a bit of shadow around the picture of the eyes too.

I’m not sure, but I think this is my favorite. I keep going back and forth.

Here’s the last one #4:

This one is almost the same as #3, but I didn’t skew the picture of the eyes. I left them straight on. 

So, which one do you like best and why?  I’m not good enough with Photoshop to do much else, but I want to come up with something that looks decent. I don’t want to feel like I’m just ending up with what I can get away with, but I don’t have the funds to purchase anything either.

The ebook is a novella, and I plan to put it out for $2.99, so keep an eye out for it.  Here’s the description:

Selena competes for much more than the alpha spot during her summer spent in her favorite game. Science Fiction and fantasy combine together in this shape shifting tale of intrigue and dominance.

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Who are you?

One of the most frustrating things I’m facing in my writing journey is naming my characters. I want the names to fit the character. Some times it comes to me quickly during my outlining stages. At other times, I’m frustrated.  The perfect name doesn’t want to come to me. I think this happens when I’m trying to write the story quicker than my brain wants to process.

In any event, here is a link to a blog with five tips for picking names. They are really good pointers to keep in mind:

http://voices.yahoo.com/five-tips-naming-characters-fiction-228710.html

Here is a slightly different take on naming that is entertaining to read. This one uses some great examples to emphasise important points and perhaps some inspiration can be gleaned:

http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/write18.htm

Finally, Writing World offers these tips. I particularly like the one about not using names that end in S. Also, there are some good points about considering how your character might translate on the back cover.

http://www.writing-world.com/romance/names.shtml

This last article also spells out some differences in naming in genre stories. I think that is important. I tend to write dark fantasy or urban fantasy and some of it is futuristic. You can have a lot more leeway in naming, but if the name is too far out, it isn’t effective within the story. There is a purpose to a name and whether the story is in modern-day real life setting or a futuristic alternate universe or another planet, it has to work in the story.

Ultimately, I want a name that fits the character, flows well, doesn’t end in S, and is just otherwise perfect for the story.

Yeah… easier said than done.  Time to put on my thinking cap and get creative.

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Query This?!!?

With my novel, Summer Blood, finally finished and sitting with my Alpha-Readers, I’ve decided to write a query letter to send out to potential agents. So, what goes in a query letter? How do I capture the attention of a good agent when I know 50,000,000+ other writers are trying to do the same thing? I have to stand out somehow, right?!

So, I google’d it. Of course…. I found a decent website right away. Thanks Google!

http://www.writing-world.com/basics/query.shtml

This site says there are five points to a good query. They are as follows:

  • The hook
  • The pitch
  • The body
  • The credentials
  • The close

I think the hook is the most important. If you don’t grab the agents attention in the first two sentences, I think you’re screwed. RIGHT~?!~!?

So, what’s my hook?  According to the writing-world website there are many ways to grab the agent’s attention, and many ways not to.  The “don’t do this” section seems pretty common sense to me. So, what about the “do this” part? None of these really work for me. These seem to be good ideas for non-fiction writing. But, I get the idea.

Be real, be interesting, but don’t come across like every other ding-dong writer begging for attention.  Then, the right agent will pick me!

Here’s my first paragraph:

Stories like True Blood and Twilight have been breathing life into the old classics making vampires HOT right now. My adult novel, Summer Blood, takes some elements of the classic vampire stories and adds new twists. These vampires leave blood, violence, and sex in their wake, and readers that love that will also love Summer Blood.

Does that grab your attention?

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I have sales!! Woot!

Woot! It really isn’t much, but the fact that I have sales is really exciting! It means that there are a few people out there that actually purchased my writing for the first time ever AND it is more than just my family! 

In this new journey to become a real author, I published a book of seven short stories called, Stories to Fight Demons By. These are twisted/surreal stories about different kinds of demons; perfect for Halloween! You can purchase this on Amazon or B&N.  I’ll include the links here:

http://www.amazon.com/Stories-Fight-Demons-ebook/dp/B004RH3T46/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319329943&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stories-to-fight-demons-by-sherri-jordan-asble/1030426408?ean=2940012183842&itm=1&usri=sherri%2bjordan-asble

I hope those that purchased the book liked it. I don’t have any reviews on Amazon or B&N yet, but I’m hoping I’ll get one. So, if you purchased the book and are reading this… hint, hint!

I also have a teaser for my first novel posted on my website and a plug for it in the back of  Stories. Website:

http://sjordanasble.com/Page_2.html

So, this is truly another awesome step forward in my writing journey. I hope that others will celebrate with me – go ahead, raise your hand in the air and give me a “Woot!”

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Legacy of Kings by C.S. Friedman

I’m finally reading the final book in this awesome trilogy! Yeah!

Friedman’s trilogy begins with Feast of Souls. The second book is Wings of Wrath.  Then, the final book is Legacy of Kings.  I had thought I was going to leave all my book reviews on my website, but this one is worth blogging about…

The Magister Trilogy by C. S. Friedman http://csfriedman.com/  is one of the best fantasy/speculative fiction novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Her characters are strong, yet flawed. They make mistakes, they learn, and they go on. They feel human.

Her plot is intricate with over-riding themes, and interesting unforeseen twists. I like my fiction unpredictable.  When you think the story is going in one direction, it jumps in another.  She keeps the pages turning!

So, what is the Magister Trilogy about?  Imagine a world where witchcraft exists, but there is a high price to wield it. The witches in this world pay for their craft with a little piece of their life force every time they cast a spell.  Then enters the Magisters. They steal the life force from others  for their magic, making them all-powerful… well, almost.  It turns out there are monsters invading the land, souleaters, and they will destroy humanity if left unchecked.  The heroes, the lyr, have to fight the beasts.  Woven throughout these overarching story lines are sinister plots and back stabbing traitors.  Who can be trusted? 

One thing I admire in Friedman’s writing is how she develops her character, Kamala.  She slowly unfolds depth throughout the three books. This is a young woman who learns to survive in a man’s world, and not always too successfully. She learns how to be human and how to care for others, even when they might not necessarily deserve it, as the reader learns about her.

The first two books were excellent, and now that I’m reading the long waited for third and final installment, I have to say I’m even more interested than I was when I first started reading the first book.  I think I need to go back and read the other two again!

Check this one out! A great read… 5 of 5 stars!

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Flexing those muscles!

Recently, I’ve been on a dual quest of muscle flexing!  I’ve been on a physical exercise program for the last 6 weeks that has me been working out a lot more, but I’ve also been on writing quest as well. I’ve really been flexing that writing muscle. I’ve been hammering out my novel, but also working on a few other things. I have been really trying to write even more these past six weeks, and have implemented more specific deadlines. At the same time, I’ve been stepping it up each week in my physical work out.

I made the connection on the track yesterday. I jogged for the first time! Woot! While doing so, I realized that I had also been working out my writing skills. Even while on the track, I’ve been thinking about my novel. There’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone (pardon the cliché!)

It won’t be long now before I’m not only a successful novelist, but also a skinny one!!!

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