S.M. Carrière and Paige Ray both tagged me on their blogs. It's sort of a game. I'm to answer the same 26 questions and then tag 3 more authors.

So here goes:

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
Other than blog entries, the last thing I wrote was Writer's Dream, a submission for Ménage à 20, which was accepted and then published in December 2009.

The first thing I ever wrote that I still have is a humorous description of how to navigate my childhood home, entering through my bedroom window and moving from one end of the house to the next. My mother read every word as though it was a treasure. From that day forward, I believed I was a writer. In reality, I had a long way to go.

2. Write poetry?
I write a silly line of poetry--here or there, mostly in emails--when the mood strikes. I especially like haikus. How's this for a silly haiku?

My orange is round
I named him Sam for I feel
Happy and Silly

My professor liked it but didn't know what it meant. He might not've liked it so much if he knew it didn't mean anything at all.

3. Angsty poetry?
Nah. I'm too much of a cup-is-half-full kind of girl.

4. Favourite genre of writing?
Science Fiction.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?
Jaak from my story Scrolls was quite annoying before I edited. He had an ego problem, insisted he should be in charge, and was as wishy-washy as laundry. I had planned that he would be an honor bound warrior. Instead, he turned out to be just whiny and easily manipulated by T&A and a pretty smile.

6. Best plot you've ever created?
Secrets was my best plot, but maybe I'm biased by the fact that the POV was one of my favorite characters. I am in the process of editing this story now and will re-release it in a few weeks.

7. Coolest plot twist you've ever created?
For plot twists, Peering in the Window was the coolest, at least certainly the most fun to write. The story is about a lonely girl who doesn't fit in. When a man in her office takes interest in her, she's lost. To read more, check out the story in the Ménage à 20.

8. How often do you get writer's block?
I get "Writer's Distraction" more than writer's block. I have a tendency to check my mail or catch up on Goodreads during my writing time. Goodreads is so addictive.

9. Write fan fiction?
No, I'd rather work on something original.

10.Do you type or write by hand?
My hands would cramp too much if I wrote by hand.

11. Do you save everything you write?
I have a great deal that I have written over the years, but not all.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
I have never abandoned an idea, but I did put aside my novel to work on shorter works. This year, I wanted to practice new ideas, styles, and techniques in order to grow as a writer. I saw my novel as being the only story for me, as if I was married to it, and taking a break in order to date--er, write--new stories made me realize that I'm not hemmed in.

13. What's your favourite thing you've ever written?
My novelette Dreams was by far my favorite story. Writing from a boy's perspective really pushed me.

14. What's everyone else's favourite story you've written?
The story Writer's Dream is the one that most people have responded to favorably. One friend didn't believe I'd written it because it was too good, he said. * sigh *

After much weeping, pouting, yelling, and stomping my feet, I have finally forgiven him. No, it didn't really take long. I laughed at him instead of having a temper tantrum.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen?
I have added romance to my stories, and I've had angsty teens--and angsty adults--here or there. But I've never written a story that was only romance or only angsty teen. I guess I write the story that needs to be told. The only labels I could put on my writing is Science Fiction or Fantasy (or both).

16. What's your favourite setting for your characters?
A spaceship.

17. How many writing projects are you working on now?
Seven. Four to be edited, two to be written, and one on hold.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
There's always tomorrow.

19. What are your five favourite words?
I don't know if I have favorite words, but I do know some words I use a lot: There. Tada. and That's a good idea.

How do I know I say those words a lot? Because my kids say them to me a lot.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?
They all are, to some extent. But most like me? Maybe Jadon. Maybe Barra. I'm not sure.

Maybe Lelea when I'm gluten free.

21. Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
Books, movies, and life. I'm a people watcher. In high school, I knew more about my classmates than their own friends did because I watched the expressions on their faces. Because I know myself, I can understand other people, put myself in their shoes.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Sometimes, I have some cool dreams, great adventures, but only once did I ever write from a dream. The story was Writer's Dream, in which Jason pursues a new career as a writer. But he's a man who is haunted by his own grief at the loss of his newborn son, hiding in anger and drowning himself in his whiskey bottle.

23. Do you favour happy endings?
I prefer to have an ending where the story continues without me, that when I close the book, I know the hero and heroine are still adventuring in the world that I just left. It's very hard to create such an ending.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
To some extent, yes. I edit as I go, correcting typing errors, spelling and grammar, and sentence structure, but I also know that I will come back and edit several more times before I even let anyone see it. opposed to my early days of writing, where I tortured everybody as soon as I was done with the first draft.

25. Does music help you write?
Absolutely. With music, I fall into another dimension in which the story pores out. Once the CD ends, I lose my momentum even if I haven't actually noticed that the music is no longer playing.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head.

From Scrolls:

When they reached the base of the tree, Lelea grinned down at them. She held a red ball in her hand, and she took a big bite from it. Inside, the red ball was white, and the juice dribbled down her chin. She grinned at them. "It's an apple," she declared happily. "Have one." She tossed one to Chester, who tried to catch but missed. The strange red apple fell to her feet.

Chester picked it up and eyed it suspiciously. Lelea tossed more apples down to the ground and then slid down to stand beside them. "You hold it like this," Lelea took Chester's hand and positioned the apple inside. Then she gently brought the apple to Chester's lips. "It's sweet," Lelea promised.

"What's 'sweet?'" Chester said, looking at the apple carefully.

"Sweet is a flavor." Lelea laughed. "Just try it. It didn't hurt me."

Jaak's stomach growled. What he wouldn't give for his ration bar or the occasional rat or roach that crept too close. But this apple—likely it would kill him in an hour.

Chester looked at Lelea as though inspecting her for deceit. "I guess," she said hesitantly. She took a bite, and her face broke into a smile. "How come we don't have any of these at home?"

The smile on Lelea's face died away, and tears spilled from her eyes. "The death of spring, the end of all," she said mysteriously. She held up a half-eaten apple and let it fall away from her hand. A dull thud echoed in their ears.

"She's mad," Ahern said.

One of the reasons that I liked this passage is because I had to teach my children how to hold an apple to eat it whole. They were used to getting apples already sliced, so when I handed them a big, red apple, they tried to eat it at the stem. Like Lelea did for Chester, I situated the apple in their hand, their thumb at the stem, their fingers at the bottom, and then I moved it to their mouths to show them where to eat. If you had never eaten an apple before, what kind of experience would it be?

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

So we now bestow this gift of tagging upon our fellow writers and friends:

Wendy Swore
Kate Quinn
Henry Lara


  1. Concerning #24:
    On behalf of all of your friends and your husband, Thank you.

  2. Thanks for inviting me! This was fun.

    And as for TJ, I have some work for you when I get home.

  3. How interesting! It was so nice to learn more about you Rita. I loved the apple quote!!


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