Thursday, December 30, 2010


It was eighty degrees today, and the sun was shining. I let my children run around barefoot and spray each other with the water hose. I went out to the back pasture and called the horses, and when they came running, I ran along with them. The ground shook with the beats of their hooves, and reaching one hand to the side, I was able to let my fingers trail along the body of my Arabian, Larkspur, while she passed me by as if I were standing still.

I did mundane things, too--but they were made wondrous by the warmth of the day. I hung laundry on the line. I chopped wood--not for tonight, but in preparation for colder nights ahead. I put new hay in the nesting boxes in my chicken coop, and filled in a hole my rabbit had dug. I sat in the open air and finished a chapter on my latest novel while watching the sun go down.

I wish I'd taken the time to shoot my bow, or to get some more housework done, but those are things that can be done tomorrow, or the day after. Other days. Colder days.

Today was special.

Today was a breath of summer, come to us in the dead of winter to renew us, body and soul. I lived it as a prayer, and am thankful.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Victoria's Secret

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday; I know I did!

I had some adventures, stopping at Victoria's Secret.

It was my first time there, and the place was packed. Women crowded around huge bins of undergarments, fondling the soft cottons and fingering the lace. I stood against the wall, holding five bras, waiting for a changing room.

After about ten minutes, I was led to a small stall with a dry-erase board on the front. The woman asked how many bras I held. I told her; she scribbled the number on the board and opened the door.

It was the standard dressing room: too well lit, a mirror on one wall, a bench on the other. I went in and immediately got down to business--no point in making the half-dozen women behind me wait any longer than necessary. I had barely gotten my shirt off when there was a knock at the door.

I said, "Occupied," but I wondered how anyone could have thought otherwise. Including the one that had helped me, no fewer than four women were working the changing rooms, and there was a number on the dry-erase board on the door. "Oh," a lady from the other side of the door replied, "I was just checking to see if you needed any help."

Help? In a changing room? In Victoria's Secret?

I tried to imagine it, gave myself a mental slap for being a perv, and got back to the business at hand. It was silly, I thought as I snapped everything into place. The lady was probably just trying to hurry me along.

Fancy new bra in place, I turned toward the mirror. Not bad. But I noticed something. Next to the mirror, at eye level, was what looked like a doorbell. A small plaque said, "Press for Assistance."

All my previous questions came back, and brought friends. Like, "How many women can't manage their own undergarments?" And, "Is this really a frequent enough issue to warrant both a special button and human check-ups?"

There was another knock on the door. Again, I said, "Occupied," and was told that the employee was "just checking on me".

I don't know what I had expected in Victoria's Secret, but this wasn't it. In the last five minutes, I'd gone through a lot of emotional changes, from boredom to confusion, and now, I hate to admit, I was beginning to feel a little smug. I mean, hey, obviously I'm pretty special. I can dress myself.

I lifted the next bra out of my bag. It was a shiny blue number, with straps that made a criss-cross pattern across the back. I noticed that there were tiny hooks on the straps, making them adjustable, but I didn't see a clasp on the bra itself. Still feeling hurried, I decided to simply slide it on like a T-shirt.

That went just fine until it got down to my shoulders.

The elastic reached its max stretch at the exact moment that the hooks on the straps tangled in my hair. The damn thing was constricting me like a boa, holding me in an awkward position that made grabbing it difficult. I couldn't lower my arms, and the bra absolutely would not go down any further. I tried moving it the other way, and that didn't work, either. I was stuck.

I eyed the little button on the wall, and realized, yes--sadly, I had been defeated by underwear. I needed assistance.

That's when my cellphone rang. Maybe most people would have ignored it. Not me. Answering the phone--however awkward that might be under the circumstances--was a welcome distraction from the choice I faced.

I'd left my purse on the bench. Since my hands were trapped over my head, the only way to get at it was to bend at the waist--bend completely double--and then, staring at the floor, my hands out in front of me like Superman, fumble blindly for the phone. Luckily, I'd left it in an outside pocket.

I found it and stood. I folded my arm over my head, and held the phone upside-down against the opposite ear. My mom was already saying, "Hello? Hello, are you there?"

I was. We had a nice, brief conversation. I never mentioned the bra.

When I hung up, I dropped the phone onto the bench and turned back to the mirror. The talk with mom had calmed me and given me a little time, and I'd decided to re-evaluate my situation before doing the unthinkable and hitting that silly button.

There, in the mirror, was my answer: a small, semi-hidden clasp I hadn't noticed before.

With a little maneuvering, I undid the clasp and the bra came open. I still had to untangle it from my hair, but I was otherwise free.

I added a few more emotions to my mental tally: embarrassment, followed by relief, and then the quiet acceptance of a person who has been fully and righteously chastised.

I walked out of that room with my head held high.

But I didn't buy the bra.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The slump is over!

I set an "end date", at which point, I'd have to write--even if I wrote crap, even if I missed sleep to do it, no matter what.

When the end date arrived, I sat down at the keyboard, opened up a short story that had seriously stalled, and promised myself that I'd have it finished by the end of the week. I got it finished that day!

New goal: finish the first round of edits before 12am this Sunday.

And now for something completely different...a lullaby I wrote for my children.

Go to sleep, sweet child of mine.
Outside, stars twinkle and shine.
The moon hangs high up above,
And you're here, wrapped in my love.

Summer, winter, spring and fall,
I'll be here to hold you through them all.
Outside, stars twinkle and shine.
Go to sleep now, sweet child of mine.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Overslumpification

It happens to the best of us: I've hit a writing slump.

I just finished the third revision of "An Angel's Apprenticeship", and the review copies are on their way to the author. I still plan to do a Lulu version, but I can't get started on that until the author is happy with the manuscript.

I finished the pre-edits and other paperwork for "You Don't Have to Cook in the Clink".

I'm still waiting to hear back from Tor.

So now what?

I had begun a new novel, tentatively called, "The Girl in the Gorilla Suit", but after re-reading what I'd done so far, I decided to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. The plot's great, the story is fun...the writing sucked.

So I started a short story...but the writing wasn't flowing, the pacing was wrong, and I wasn't sure exactly what I was trying to say with the piece. I need to refocus, do some serious editing, and see where it goes from there. But right now, I have to take a break from that story. I'm frustrated with it, and for me, frustration is the death of creativity.

I've looked into a new genre, plotted a story or two, done some reading...

What do you guys do to get over a writing slump?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quick Update

The "author's version" of my book's blurb is now up at the website, here.

The book is tentatively scheduled for release this August.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Acceptance

I just found this in my inbox, referring to a short story I had written and submitted to SageWoman Magazine:


This is stunning, and (assuming that the entire issue doesn't evaporate -- which, very occasionally, does happen when not enough submissions arrive for a given theme) I will be delighted to publish it in the SageWoman Protection issue, currently slated for next winter (November 2011.) Can I hold it for that long?


"Stunning". Wow. Now there's a word to warm a writer's heart. :)

Still waiting on Tor, and still working on both edits and another novel.

UPDATE: I replied to the above letter saying that I had written this story for SageWoman and had no other markets in mind for it, so they could keep it as long as necessary. This is the reply I received:


Thanks for your graciousness -- and patience. it is a truly wonderful story, and I see perhaps as many as two dozen submissions a day, so that's high praise.


SageWoman isn't the most widely circulated magazine, but it does have a solid audience, and I have family and friends who read it. And while the pay is small, there's immense professional satisfaction in getting another acceptance so close on the heels of my last one. If it comes out in November, "A Place For Deer" will be released just a few months after "You Don't Have to Cook in the Clink". 2011 is looking good!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The State of our Nation

I'm still working on edits, and I haven't forgotten that I said I'd do a blog comparing and contrasting Lulu and Createspace. But in the meantime, I found something I'd like to share.

Now, by "found", I mean "had it shoved under my nose by MacAllister over at Absolute Write". It comes from here: LINK I don't care if you like the source...facts are facts, and these are pretty damn straightforward.


1:What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?

2:What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?

3:What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?

4:Which party's candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?


1:In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (Source) That's a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush's last year in office and President Obama's second year.

2:In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration's final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. (Source) Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit -- there's a long way to go, but we're in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP.

3:On Bush's final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at 7,949, 1,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,108, 2,512, and 1,183. That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively.

4:The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Transcription of a Memoir

I mentioned in my last post that I had transcribed a manuscript for a friend of mine.

Seeing as that involves hours each day for over a month, followed by (in this case) a seven-hour stretch of formatting, it's not something I would do for just anyone, or for just any manuscript.

But this manuscript was extraordinary. It was a memoir, and I admit that it's probably not publishable in the traditional sense. It's mostly bare facts--true story telling only happens in snippets. The narrative jumps around and, at times, could be considered unreliable. Some of the structure isn't exactly perfect--I altered it a little as I went, correcting obvious errors, but I wanted the finished story to remain as true to the original, hand written manuscript as possible.

And let me tell you about that manuscript! It's called "An Angel's Apprenticeship", and is the memoir of a man whose precognition and supernatural experiences have often put him in direct conflict with the police. He has been jailed in multiple states (and I mean four plus) and two countries, and has been drugged out of his mind in a mental institution...until he made a daring escape! He's also fought for his life in the streets of San Francisco, going hand-to-hand with a man he first met in prison, during a "scuffle" with the guards. He met and loved some beautiful women, lived the high life and lived on the street. He sees his amazing life and chilling visions as a sort of trial by fire, during which he has learned everything he needed to know in order to deliver what he believes to be a life-or-death message to the world.

You don't have to believe in anything supernatural to be engrossed by this story. It's the voice that makes it fascinating...and that holds true regardless of what you decide about the narrator's reliability. In some cases, that could even increase the fascination.

At any rate, I had a lot of fun transcribing it. Putting it on Createspace, though, has not been fun at all. How the hell do you "imbed a font", again?

I was originally going to put this on Lulu...then I heard that Createspace produced the same product but at less cost to the consumer. I don't know...I may still go with Lulu for the e-book version. But, ultimately, that's going to be up to the book's actual author. However it's produced, I hope to be able to announce a low-cost way for everyone to read this manuscript soon. It's worth the effort!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New News...

I've filled out most of my Lyrical Press paperwork--everything but the tax forms. I'm waiting on an editor to be assigned to me. In the meantime, LP has asked me to set up a facebook page and a website, so I've done so, but under my pen name, Jennifer Catlett.

It's actually my maiden name. And I just told it to you. I have to be the worst secret keeper ever.

Anyway, the website is . There's pretty much nothing on it right now.

But I've been busy! I've started another novel, and so far, it's rip-roaring fun. I'm enjoying that new-novel rush. :) I'm also transcribing a hand-written novel for a friend, and let me tell ya, it's a doozy! I'll be sharing more information on that later.

Till then!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Acceptance!

I subbed "You Don't Have to Cook in the Clink" to agents, and over and over, I got the same response: too short.

Fifty eight thousand words is novel length, but barely. Several agents said that anything under seventy five thousand was too short for them. I had a problem.

Then I realized that e-books are typically shorter than paperbacks, and the e-reader market (Kindle and Sony, amongst others) is really heating up right now. So I began researching E-publishers that served those markets.

At first, I met with disappointment. It seemed like every publisher that specialized in the e-market wanted Romance or Erotica and just about nothing else. Then I found Lyrical Press.

Lyrical Press offers its books in formats compatible with every e-reader I've heard of and several that I haven't. I've been in communication with several of their authors who report satisfying royalty statements and great publisher/author relationships. And getting accepted by Lyrical means something: they have high standards for what they'll accept. That's better for everyone, really. For me, it means a legitimate publisher. For readers, it means they don't purchase a novel that's not up to snuff.

So when will my novel be available for purchase? That depends, but it could be up to a year, or even more. If I had to guess (and right now, that's all anyone can do), I'd say probably 6-8 months. That's because Lyrical Press's editors have to go over my novel with a fine-tooth comb, then send it back to me to fix, then wait for me to send it back to them, then go over it to make sure I didn't make an even bigger mess of things, and then, if I haven't, get it ready for print in various formats.

Again: publishing is slow. If you want to make money quick, get just about any other job in the world.

I'm still waiting to hear back on the revisions to my short stories. Even they're slow.

That's just how it is. But that's okay. While I'm waiting, I can write another book...

And for now? I can do a happy dance. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Little Pony...

Ok, so she's not actually a pony...Caspians are technically horses, despite being only 40-44 inches high at the withers.

But I have one, and she's for sale. Her name is Tala, named after my husband, Tal, because she was born on his birthday. :)

Here is her father:

(There are many more pictures of him here: Link )

And here is my son, Emrys, taking a ride on her mother. Notice that the reigns are not attached to a bit, but simply clicked to the(rather loose)halter:

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is Tala on the day she was born:

And here she is now:

She really takes after her father. :)

She is too young to be ridden, just yet--with Caspians, you wait until they're four, and Tala is two--but this would be a great time to get to know her, get some ground work in, and let her settle in to her new home before getting to work. She hasn't been handled much and can be a bit of a handful at this point...she really needs a special person to bond to her and commit to working with her.

Her underbelly is getting lighter all the time, and I suspect that as she ages she'll lighten, as her mother did...but right now, her coat really shines in the sun; it has a beautiful golden sheen when hit at the right angle.

Despite the rarity of Caspians and the high sell price of her parents, I'm willing to sell Tala for $1,000. I just don't have the time to work with her, and she has too much potential to be "just a broodmare".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Enchanted Castle 2

Sorry I haven't been posting much as of late. I'm still waiting on word from an agent and from two magazines. I've also started coaching soccer and running a karate class, so I've been pretty busy.

But enough excuses!

Here is the next installment of "Enchanted Castle". :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Enchanted Castle 1

(I'll try to get 'em bigger from now on. In the meantime, click the image, then use your zoom. Thanks for reading.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Positive Response

No, not from an agent. I'm still waiting on several agents to get back to me, and I haven't yet finished the research necessary to query more.

But yesterday, I wrote and edited a short story, just over a thousand words, and sent it off to a small--but paying--market. I heard back just now! I've been asked to lengthen the story, focusing on one particular theme, and have been given a deadline.

Now that was fast. Publishing usually moves glacially slow. The process of writing and then publishing a novel takes years. Even short stories, when going to larger markets, can take months. It's so nice to get an answer right away--refreshing! And even though this publication only has a circulation of around 15,000, it's a magazine that I personally read, so I'm very glad to have them considering my work.

More on this later.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

No News is No News

I haven't been checking in because there hasn't been much news.

Mostly, I've been working on a website for my in-laws.

I wrote the blog post that's up there. It's short, but it has an adorable picture of my little filly, Tala, taken the day she was born. So cute!

As to the queries, my partial was rejected. Actually, I've gotten rejections from all but one of the big-name agents I queried. It's time for me to look up some new agents.

In the meantime, I've decided not to write another novel, but to focus on short stories. My natural writing length is between five and thirty thousand words; that's unsellable as a stand-alone book, but common for shorts sold to magazines and e-zines. Having made the decision, I'm actually pretty darn excited about it; I've already come up with a ton of ideas, and have a general idea of the market for each of them. So far, I have one short story under review at Tor. If it doesn't make it there, I'll shop it around a little, or maybe just post it here. :)

The next few days will be busy. I'll be working on the website and on personal business, researching new agents and getting a short story written. You can expect to hear from me more often after that.

See you then!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rejection Letters

I got my second rejection letter today.

Rejection letters come in two forms: form and personalized. Most agents stick to the form rejections--every author gets the same one. This is simpler for the agent, and, strangely, it seems to make some authors feel better than a personalized rejection.

I prefer a personal means the agent took more time on it, and, more importantly, it gives me a clue as to where I can improve.

Anyway, here, for your viewing pleasure, is the infamous "Slushkiller".

Slushkiller is a collection of rejection letters, some personalized, some not, followed by an author's summation of how it made them feel and an agent's reply. It's "must-read" stuff if you're ever planning on submitting a query to agents--because, chances are, you will get rejected a few times, and seeing this beforehand can both prepare you and give you some insight into the process.

I'll log in when I have more news!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Partial Hits a Snag

So I got a partial request from a fantastic agent--YAY!!

Only one problem. She requested that I send her the pages, double spaced, in the body of an e-mail. No attachments.

I went to my word processing program and double spaced the pages. Then I copied them...but when I pasted them into gmail, gmail automatically reformatted them to be single spaced. I tried several methods, all with the same result.

Finally, I tried hotmail. Hotmail didn't reformat the pages, and I sent out the query exactly as the agent had requested. I hit send before thinking things through.

Now I'm seriously worried.

On the agency website, there is a warning that unsolicited e-mails sent directly to any of the agents will be deleted without being read. One very convenient way of handling this would be to trash any e-mail that came from an unapproved account...and the agent only had my gmail account, not my hotmail. I made sure to put the name of the book and "Requested Pages" in the subject line, but believe it or not, some writers are stupid enough to put "Requested Pages" in their subject lines just to get attention. I really hope my message didn't get auto-trashed or ignored because it came from an unauthorized account.

Sad thing is, sending a second e-mail to check up on the first isn't a very professional thing to do. Ideally, I would have sent one from my gmail account first, explained the problem, and let the agent know to expect a message from my hotmail account. Now that it's been over 24 hours since the hotmail e-mail was sent, that's not an option anymore.

My current plan is to wait two weeks or so and then send a message from my gmail explaining the problem and making sure the partial was received. I can only hope I don't come across as pushy or hopelessly clueless.

Bleh. It's a good thing there are lots of agents out there--lots of chances to get things right! But I don't want just any agent, I want a great agent, and they don't come much better than the one I stand to lose if I screw this up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The First Two Agents Respond

Two agents have already responded to my query letter. Considering how many queries they receive in a day, that's a remarkable turn-around time.

The first agent sent me a polite form rejection.

The second requested a partial. Yay!

So that brings my totals for this query to:

Queries sent: 5
Agents who have already responded: 2
Rejections: 1
Partials: 1

Here's hoping that Ms. Dream Agent enjoys the partial and requests a full!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Faster than a speeding e-mail...

I didn't just get my butt in gear--today, I was in hyperdrive. I finished my edits, did some research, and chose five awesome agents to query.

These agents are some of the very best, the kind that any writer would LOVE to be represented by.

So what's to stop me from landing one? Well, first off, they have to love the work. I read where one of them said she only takes on roughly 1% of the authors who send her unsolicited queries. In addition to the 99% rejection rate, there's always the possibility that a book similar to mine has already been taken on, or that I, despite all my research, flubbed part of the submission requirements, or...well, any number of things. There are many reasons why agents reject authors, and, as I said before, not all of them have to do with the quality of the writing.

And yet I firmly believe that if my manuscript is good enough, it will land an agent. I have complete confidence in the system.

It's not optimism that keeps me's knowledge of the publishing industry. The thing is, there are hundreds of thousands of would-be writers out there, banging away like those fabled infinite number of monkeys at their infinite number of keyboards. There's simply no way that the handful of major publishing houses out there could read every one of those manuscripts...they'd simply drown under an infinite number of pages. They have to have filters. And they do. They have agents.

Agents are people who know good writing and are knowledgeable in the publishing business. They read a short synopsis of your work--your query letter--and determine whether or not there's a market for it. If it's good, and there's a market, and you show an ability to follow basic, easy-to-read instructions, you'll get an agent damn near 100% of the time, if you query long enough. If not, the chances of you getting an agent fall to just about zero.

It sounds harsh, I know. But I'm speaking as someone who's written several novels and doesn't yet have an agent. I did have one kindly tell me, on my last attempt, that the writing was good; it really drew him in, and he read much further into my manuscript than he'd intended. The problem was the market. As pertains to that particular book, it didn't exist.

If you want to see why agents reject so many queries, check this out:

And here's an agent's response to some particularly terrible lines:

(Those are hilarious!)

And now, having linked to blogs much cooler than mine, I'll go back into hiding...

The First Two Betas Respond...

The last couple of days, I've been waiting. There's no more tweaking to do on the query, and I don't want to edit before hearing back from my Betas. I'm kicking around story ideas, even typing up little bits of outline, but mostly, I've just been here. Waiting.

Now I've heard back from two of my three Betas. The news is good: they each made some great recommendations, and the necessary edits will take me one day, two tops, if I get right on it. That means I could start querying as early as Friday or Saturday, and start hearing replies a day or two after that...assuming I get my butt in gear and do some serious research on agents.

It's not that I haven't studied agents before. But agents change their requirements, they look for different genres and they sometimes ask that no one query them. Sometimes agents close up the shop--other times, new ones open up. Occasionally, they'll blog or twitter or do an interview in which they say, "I'd really love to see this kind of work right now..."

So I research before I query. Every. Single. Time.

Next time, I'll talk about how. :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Query is Complete

The thing about queries is, you can tweak them forever. There's no end to it. Eventually, you just have to say, "Good enough" and move on.

And I think I'm there. This query follows the book beautifully, and any agent who reads it will know exactly what kind of book they're in for--sort of. There's an element of humor in the novel that I don't feel comes across strongly in the query, but it's not slapstick, it's situational. The first chapter is rife with it, and if they request a partial, they'll learn about it soon enough, I guess. Other than that, the query is a pretty perfect representation of my story.

So, good enough.

Then again, speaking of "good enough", is this blog post good enough? I'm totally rambling...

Anyway, here's the final version of my query:


Growing up, Terri and her sister Joanie had wild and glamorous fantasies of becoming Hollywood starlets. Time changes things for Terri. She starts a stable life as a wife, mother, and baker, while Joanie moves to L.A and involves herself with the sort of guys who do bit parts in the tabloids… That is, until Joanie's murdered.

In the aftermath of her sister's death, Terri realizes that the wild woman inside of her has gone down in a blaze of bread-baking glory. She seeks out a less domesticated life for herself, pulling heists, dodging the cops, and getting awful close to Chris, a dangerous, seductive man who had once been her sister's lover.

Terri's heart ultimately triumphs over her body, but her attempts to disengage from Chris lead to a game of one-upmanship, where each of them are trying to get the advantage of the other. Before long, Chris is destroying her marriage and Terri's drowning his convertible. But there's more at stake than Terri realizes, because Chris was more than her sister's lover: he was her killer. In the end, Terri will come to understand the woman her sister became, and she'll see a way to avenge Joanie's death and find the closure she so desperately needs. Unfortunately, by that time, she'll be lost in the middle of nowhere and Chris will be holding a gun to her head…


After that, I'd put the title and word count and a quick closing with contact info.

Next time, I'll talk about finding agents.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Query Hits a Hitch

I posted my query at my favorite website, Absolute Write.

The people there helped me quite a bit...but none of us felt that the query was where it needed to be. One of the posters started asking me questions about the manuscript, and so I told her:


Terri and Joanie were close in age, in looks, in their tastes in men. Growing up, they were glamorous and wild and had fantasies of become Hollywood starlets. Time changed things for Terri--she settled down into a stable, if boring, life--but not for Joanie. Joanie moved to L.A and was involved with the sort of guys who do bit parts in the tabloids.

Both sisters were a little malcontent, both wanted what the other had, and each of them lived vicariously through the other, mostly through pictures and phone calls. Then Joanie got murdered.

For years, Terri had been feeling smothered by her chosen life; like the wild woman inside of her was going down in a blaze of bread-baking glory. The addition of Joanie's death makes it too much for her. She can no longer live vicariously through her sister, so instead, she seeks out the wild life for herself.

In some ways, she's trying to escape the life she's chosen. In another way, she's trying to bring her sister back by becoming her. But the big deal is, she just can't cope with the loss. There's been no closure, and she doesn't think there ever can be.

Chris is actually another POV character, and while it's not given away early in the book, he's come to Terri's town specifically to seek her out. He had been completely obsessed with Joanie, and killed her in a fit of rage when she decided to end the relationship. Since then, he can't get her out of his head. He dreams about her every night, and every morning has to face the reality of her murder again as if it were for the first time. Terri looks like her sister, and Joanie always talked about how the two of them were just alike. They would even pass the same genes on to the kids, Chris figures--so if there's anyone in the world who could replace Joanie, it would be Terri.

And so the showdown. Chris is, in a way, put back in time. He's once again loved and lost, with a girl that's as close to Joanie as possible without actually being her. And Terri finally understands her sister--why her sister chose the life she did, and why she envied Terri's choices--AND sees a way to avenge her death, giving her the closure she craves.

I'm writing this as I go, and it's leaving stuff out, of course, but I hope it answers your questions. :)


The response was that I should use that. Of course, it's too long for a query (by a heck of a lot), it's unpolished (I wrote it in about two minutes), and it lacks a lot of what makes a query a query.

Meanwhile, I got a response from my first Beta reader. He gave a nice critique (read: told me what sucked about my writing) and said that he'd seen my query...he felt I was selling my novel short.

So basically, it's back to the drawing board. Square one, and all that.

But hey, I'm having fun. This, too, is part of being a writer.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Query - Take Two

Here is a newer take on the query letter that I posted last time.


As kids, Terri and her sister were just alike: wild women with Hollywood dreams. Now in her early thirties, Terri has become a housewife and a mommy, and baking bread for extra cash has given her a doughy ring around the middle. Her sister's been murdered.

Now Terri's pulling late night heists in an attempt to relive crazy youth she and her sister had shared. After completing a particularly satisfying break-in, she meets a dangerous, seductive man named Chris; a man who had once been her sister's lover. He's almost irresistible, but Terri manages--if only just. Problem is, Chris won't take no for an answer.

He tries to trap her, first by wining and dining her, and then by threatening to lie to her husband about the depth of their involvement. She tries to make herself not worth his time, starting with threatening his reputation, then by threatening his car. The games have begun. But there's more at stake than Terri's marriage or Chris's convertible, because, unbeknownst to her, he was more than her sister's lover: he was her killer. And now he wants the one woman in the world that he believes can fill the void in his twisted heart…


The ending is much stronger, and this one actually describes the book more accurately. In the first version, meeting Chris and finding out that he's the killer happen practically at the same time. In this one, we see that she actually meets Chris early on, has this back-and-forth with him, and then discovers the truth.

But it's not finished yet. The first paragraph is still slow--too much background, not enough action. It's neither as clear nor as engaging as it should be. And the first paragraph is vitally important: it's what's supposed to "hook" the agent. On top of that, I'm not sure that the opening of the third paragraph is quite where it needs to be just yet.

So it's back to the drawing board, another revolution of the Query-go-Round.

I'll see ya next time. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Query Letter


I'm working on my query letter. Typical format is like this:

Greeting, wherein you spell the agent's name right, use Mr. or Ms. correctly, and follow the name with the more formal and professional colon, rather than comma.

Three short paragraphs (no more than about half a page) of book description, wherein you give away as much of the book as possible.

Professional credits or experience that qualifies you to write the book, word count, and sometimes a list of similar books already in the genre.

A closing that gives your name and contact info.

Right now, I'm trying to hammer out that second paragraph, the book description. This is what I have so far:

As kids, Terri and her sister were just alike: wild women with Hollywood dreams. Now in her early thirties, Terri has become a housewife and a mommy, and baking bread for extra cash has given her a doughy ring around the middle. Her sister's been murdered.

In order to ease the pain, Terri seeks to relive the crazy youth she and her sister had shared. She starts pulling what she terms "heists"--minor break-ins and the like--and is having a blast, despite the strain she's causing to her marriage.

That's when she meets Chris, her sister's dangerous and seductive ex-lover. She's being drawn in, even as her husband is demanding that she end her double life and come back to being a full time wife and mother. Ultimately, she chooses her husband, but by then seduction has turned into stalking, and Terri learns too late that Chris was more than her sister's lover. He was her killer.

I'm not happy with it because it doesn't show what the main character actually does to resolve this problem; it's all set up. I feel that the background is important--I don't know how the rest could have full impact without it--and yet, I'm already at the appropriate length and I like the way this reads.

This is what the good folks at Absolute Write call "the query-go-round". :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ending Gieden/How Publishing Works

I've enjoyed seeing some of my old work again, and hopefully someone out there has enjoyed reading Gieden, the RPG, but I know that the majority of those who follow my blog aren't RPG'ers. With that in mind, and considering that I've already included enough of the basic rules to run a Gieden game, I'm ready to move on. Anyone who is interested can have the rest of the sourcebook information, modules and/or supplements e-mailed to them. Ask and ye shall receive!

My last blog post was just a note that I would be away until my current novel was completed. Well, I'm back, so you know what that means--I finished!

Of course, that doesn't mean that my book will be on shelves any time soon. There's a huge gap between finished manuscript and published book, and while some of you guys know this process all too well, I get asked about it a lot in my daily life. I want to talk process and method for a while, blog-wise, but first, I think I ought to outline the steps to publication.

1) Write a good book. Depending on genre, we're talking 60-100 thousand words, all with a coherent plot and a definite beginning, middle, and end. It's harder than it sounds, takes months (at best) and there's no guarantee you'll ever get paid.

2) Revise it within an inch of its life.

3) Ask some kind people knowledgeable in the genre to read it over. Their job is to shred your baby. They point out any mistake, anything that bothers them, anything at all that they don't like...because chances are, other readers would feel the same way.

4) Swallow that lump in your throat and make serious revisions.

5) Work on your query letter. A query is a short introduction to your story, usually sent to agents in hopes that one will like the story enough to represent it.

6) Research agents. Double check them on Preditors and Editors and at Absolute Write. Query Tracker works great, too. Make sure they represent your genre, are accepting submissions, and that your query meets their requirements. If you can find their blog or an interview with them, so much the better. Definitely read their agency website.

6) Send the query and wait. Swallow the new lump that shows up in your throat when you get that first rejection. Remember that there are many reasons that agents reject manuscripts, and not all of them mean you suck.

7) Get a partial request. This means an agent liked the query enough to request a few pages, or maybe even a few chapters, of your manuscript. Do a snoopy dance.

8) Get a full request. This means the agent liked your pages enough to request the whole manuscript. Now you're cookin'! You're manuscript is hot, hot, hot!
Unfortunately, by "cooking" and "hot", I mean it's in the crock pot, on low, simmering amongst a bunch of similar manuscripts. Hopefully, yours is the tastiest of the bunch, but it'll still be a while before you hear from the agent again--reading full manuscripts takes time, and the agent is spending most of theirs working hard for his or her existing clients. Would you really want it any other way?

9) The agent calls and, if everything goes right, offers representation. Try not to be a total dork over the phone.

*Notice: NO money has changed hands. Not even for "editing services" or as a "reading fee".

10) The agent may make suggestions for revisions. If so, you make them with a smile on your face--the agent knows what the editors want.

11) The editors may make suggestions for revisions. If so, make them with a smile on your face--the editors know what the readers want.

So then you're published, right?

Nope. Then you wait for your manuscript to make through the actual publishing process, which can take a year or two, easy. If there's one thing the publishing industry is not, it's speedy.

So that's the process. I'll keep you updated about my place in it.

See you next time. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Finishing a novel

I'm going offline until the rough draft of my work in progress is complete. That means no new posts for at least a week, maybe two. Wish me luck! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Nuameii, Part Two, Section Four

This will be the last section of the Nuameii. I'm going to skip ahead and just include a few, and leave out most of the pictures for brevity's sake.

Name: Griffon
Size: large horse sized; ie. Clydesdale
Usual Spirit Color: White, Silver, or Blue
Initiative: 7
Full Color: Black or white, colored like a horse
Speed: horse speed
Organization: Solitary or small herd
Health: 15
Temperament: Noble, aloof, temperamental; will not tolerate anyone it deems unworthy
Attacks: Kick, roll 5, HD 7, DD 7, DMG 1, Trample, roll 3, HD 7, DD 6, DMG 2, Bite, roll 4, HD 6, DD 7, DMG 1
Ecology: Similar to wild horses, but Omnivores
Special: Can fly while carrying tremendous weight
Description: The body of a Griffon is similar to a large horse’s, but their feet end in huge eagle claws instead of hooves. They have an incredible wingspan, but luckily their wings tuck neatly to their sides when not in use. These are noble creatures and will not tolerate the presence of the ‘unworthy’.
Bonds With: Extremely noble, self-sacrificing people.

Name: Harpy
Size: human size
Usual Spirit Color: Any
Initiative: 5
Full Color: human, but with a slight sheen of it’s spirit color. The color of the wings match the hair.
Speed: on foot, slower than human, flies faster
Health: 10 Organization: small group
Attacks: Claws, roll 3, HD 5, DD 7, DMG 1
Temperament: Hates all humans
Special: Uses Rank 2 rage magic
Ecology: Omnivores, sleep in high, desolate places.
Description: Harpies appear similar to humans, but they seem old, twisted, and emaciated. They also have a large pair of batwings that protrudes from behind their shoulder blades and their fingers end in long, sharp claws.
Bonds With: People hated by society, people secretly furious with society, the betrayed, hatred that stems from being wronged.

Name: Magic Eater
Size: humanoid, 5-7’ tall
Usual Spirit Color: purple only
Initiative: 6
Full Color: cannot be ‘pulled through’
Speed: slightly slower than human
Organization: Solitary
Health: 20 Temperament: Varies widely
Attacks: Grapple, roll 7, HD 6, DD 7, DMG 1 per round until target wins contested roll, (Str OR Dex+ acrobatics OR brawl, Nuameii rolls 7, most successes vs. 6 wins). Target cannot cast magic while being grappled.
Ecology: Eats magic, never sleeps
Special: absorbs magic; if attacked with magic, it heals as many boxes as Ranks used against it. If grappling a magic user, it heals as much damage as it deals to them and they cannot cast. Can teleport to an area up to 300’ away twice per day.
Description: Appears as a slight purplish shimmer. It is almost invisible when hungry, but glows brightly after a full meal. The Magic Eater devours any magic cast at it, and rips magic from anything it touches.
Bonds With: Anti-magic users with a penchant for nastiness or who hunger for revenge

Name: Merfolk
Size: similar to humans from waist up, roughly 5’ of tail below Usual Spirit Color: white, blue, silver
Initiative: 8 Full Color : normal human from waist up, Any color(s) from waist down
Speed: moves through water like a bird through the air
Organization: Group
Health: 10 Temperament: Varies greatly
Attacks: grapple, roll 8, HD 6, DD 6, target must win contested roll (roll 7 dice for Mermaid) or be rescued within 5 rounds or be drowned.
Ecology: Very similar to dolphins, but eat more algae and other ‘sea greens'. Must live in water, even before being "pulled through".
Special: Uses Protection magic at rank 4, Healing, Subterfuge, and Pure Magic at Rank 1
Description: Human from the waist up, fantastical fish from the waist down, the Merfolk are as beautiful as they are rare. Nuameii Merfolk do not attack when they are created, but instead head straight to the nearest body of water large enough to support them (at least 30' across and 10' deep).
Bonds With: someone casting healing, protection, or pure magic who has a special love for the water.

Name: Nightstalker
Size: 6-7.5’ tall, humanoid, very thin
Usual Spirit Color: Colorless, sometimes black
Initiative: 9
Full Color: grey to black
Speed: human speed in the light, Hummingbird speed in the dark or shadows
Organization: Solitary
Temperament: Evil, vicious
Health: 10
Ecology: haunts the shadows, grabs the living
Attacks: Grapple, roll 6, HD 6, DD 7, DMG 1 and holds them still while sucking the life force out of them. Victims can scream and attempt to break the hold (Each roll, most successes vs. 6 wins). This grapple ignores armor but only does 1 box Dmg per round.
Special: Can become shadow or darkness, making itself impossible to hit. It cannot grab or grapple in this state.
Description: Creatures of darkness that appear to be humans made of shadow. At night, the only way to locate them is by their victim’s screams.
Bonds With: murderers, those who take pleasure in death.

Name: Shocker Lizard
Size: 6”-1’ tall, stands upright, short tail Usual Spirit Color: Any, usually green
Initiative: 10 Full Color: light blue or green, sometimes striped
Speed: almost as fast as a human, but changes direction much quicker.
Organization: solitary or small group
Health: 4 Temperament: Usually neutral, attacks only if threatened.
Attacks: special Ecology: shocks its prey, usually insects and small mammals. Carnivorous, and cold blooded.
Special: Shocks any target within 10’, roll 3, HD6, DD 7 DMG 1
Description: The Shocker Lizard is a small lizard that runs relatively quickly and shocks the daylights out of prey or anything that makes it feel threatened.
Bonds With: Nature lovers, especially small people who use magic to compensate for less strength in other areas.

Name: Sphinx
Size: roughly the size of a lion
Usual Spirit Color: Any but black or red
Initiative: 9
Full Color: golden yellow, as a lion
Speed: significantly faster than human
Organization: Solitary or small pride
Health: 14
Temperament: Cunning
Attacks: claw, roll 2, HD 4, DD 7, DMG 2 Bite, roll 6, HD 5, DD 7, DMG 1
Ecology: Carnivorous; seeks high, isolated places
Special: binds others to oaths, as Rank 4 pure magic user, speaks all languages
Description: Sphinxes have the body of a lion, the face of a human, and large wings. They are highly intelligent and are in tune with all the energies of the planet. Thus, they can speak any language and know almost anything they wish to know, although they cannot necessarily predict the future, read minds, or know minute details of a personal nature. They are extremely rare, and if asked, they will occasionally answer questions and give information--if the questioner will allow themselves to be bound by an oath. Often, a sphinx will bind someone to a truly bizarre oath, just for amusement’s sake, or harass someone with riddles before they will give the information. Occasionally, they amuse themselves by refusing to give information and challenging the questioner instead. After all, knowing everything does bore one after a few hundred years.
Bonds With: Intellectuals, those for whom knowledge is paramount.

Name: Unicorn
Size: similar to a dainty horse
Usual Spirit Color: white or black only
Initiative: 9
Full Color: White or black
Speed: slightly faster than the average horse
Organization: Solitary or small herd
Health: 15
Temperament: After their initial ‘birth’, white Unicorns never attack. Black Unicorns fight if absolutely necessary. Both are elusive and only tolerate the presence of noble and pure individuals. Attacks: kick, roll 2, HD 4, DD 7, DMG 2 Trample, roll 4, HD 6, DD 6, DMG 2 Horn, roll 3, HD 7, DD 7, DMG 2 Special: Rank 2 protection, Rank 3 Healing (white unicorns also have Rank 1 Elemental Earth magic, allowing them to help plants and beautify their surroundings, and Rank 1 Elemental Water magic, allowing them to purify water)Rank 2 subterfuge
Ecology: herbivorous, enjoy forests, especially the areas near ponds or streams. Description: Dainty horses with long, thick manes and tails and a single horn protruding from their foreheads. The white ones have a golden horn and golden hooves, while the black ones have a silver horn and silver hooves. Bonds With: Those who use healing magic and extremely pure, noble and righteous individuals.

Name: Werewolf
Size: slightly large humanoids, roughly 6-7’
Usual Spirit Color: almost always green
Initiative: 8
Full Color: Natural wolf or human colors
Speed: roughly wolf speed Organization: Most prefer packs, some solitary
Health: 15, regenerates 1 per round if the moon is full.
Temperament: Distrust and dislike humans, will immediately attack any who disturb their forest.
Attacks: As human, or Claw, roll 6, HD 6, DD 6, DMG 1, Bite, roll 3, HD 6, DD 5, DMG 1
Ecology: similar to wolves
Special: may change from human to large wolf and back at will once pulled through. Appears as half wolf-half human before being pulled-through.
Description: When human, the face is somewhat elongated and strange, the ears are pointed, and the hair is almost a mane.
Bonds With: Elemental magic users, and those who love nature and dislike people. Anyone who feels that protecting the Earth is paramount.

Name: Wolf
Size: as a medium to large sized dog Usual Spirit Color: Any
Initiative: 6-8
Full Color: natural wolf colors, usually grey or brown
Speed: Wolf speed, fast dog
Organization: pack
Health: 9 Temperament: Untrusting, dangerous when threatened, wounded, or hungry
Attacks: Bite, 5 dice rolled, HD 5, DD 7 , Damage 1
Special: Wolves who have not been pulled-through may use subterfuge, Rank 2
Ecology: hunters and scavengers who live in the forests, sometimes taking over caves.
Description: Natural wolf
Bonds With: Children, loners, the predatory, those who do what they must

Thanks again to Marcus Burris for all the artwork in the Nuameii section.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nuameii, Part Two, The Golems

Name: Golem, Craft
Size: varies, roughly human-sized
Usual Spirit Color: Gold only
Initiative: 7
Full Color: any metallic
Speed: average human
Organization: seeks human companionship
Health: 10
Temperament: Obedient
Attacks: Choke, 5 dice rolled, HD 7, DD 5 Does 2 boxes DMG per round until removed, roll Str+acrobatics OR brawl, vs. dif. 7.
Ecology: True magical constructs, wholly unnatural
Special: Use artifice magic, but is ostensibly mechanical
Description: humanoid, but with long, retractable, tentacle-like hoses and strange gizmos attached. Think H.R Giger. Sometimes the hoses have ends that do special maneuvers, such as pick locks or work similar to electric screwdrivers. These magical constructs need maintenance and magic, preferably artifice magic. They seek out humans in order to get this, and are obedient companions, however, anyone caught associating with a Nuameii will, at best, considered insane and dangerous, or at worst, killed on sight. Those who keep the company of golems almost never deal with other human beings. Golems are different than other Nuameii. They can speak, can not “fly” (unless the golem is a Tech golem or has something akin to a “rocket pack”), and unless they are pulled-through, they dissipate if they do not receive the necessary maintenance. (Pulled-through golems cease to function without regular infusions of artifice magic.)
Bonds With: Artifice magic users who are determined to continue their craft even if they become Nuameii.

Name: Golem, Power
Size: 6-8’, bulky humanoid
Usual Spirit Color: Gold only
Initiative: 5
Full Color: Any metallic
Speed: same as average human
Organization: seeks out human companionship
Health: 20 Temperament: Obedient, serious, sullen
Attacks: as human, but add ½ box DMG Per success, roll 6 dice (For fist, DMG becomes 1 box)
Ecology: True magical construct; wholly unnatural
Special: Use artifice magic, but seems to do so mechanically
Description: Extremely large and powerful, obedient yet completely serious and often sullen, these magical constructs need maintenance and magic, preferably artifice magic. They seek out humans in order to get this, and are obedient companions, however, anyone caught associating with a Nuameii will, at best, considered insane and dangerous, or at worst, killed on sight. Those who keep the company of golems almost never deal with other human beings. Golems are different than other Nuameii. They can speak, can not “fly” (unless the golem is a Tech golem or has something akin to a “rocket pack”), and
dissipate if they do not receive the necessary maintenance.
Bonds With: Artifice magic users who desire power.

Name: Golem, Tech
Size: usually very small, like a 1’ diameter orb
Usual Spirit Color: always gold
Initiative: 8 Full Color: Any metallic
Speed: Zippy, like a hummingbird
Organization: seeks out human companionship
Health: 5 Temperament: obedient, but questioning. Mischievous.
Attacks: Beam attack, roll 3, HD 6, DD 5, DMG 1
Special: flies, though they have no wings, Use artifice magic
Ecology: Magical construct, wholly unnatural
magic, but it seems to work through mechanics rather than anything mystical
Description: Small orbs that hover and fly around of their own volition. Once they learn to communicate, they usually use their verbal skills to amuse or annoy their people. Small retractable hoses come from the sides and act as arms when needed; a person who is Tainted and linked to this kind of Nuameii will manifest hoses for arms or strange devices for hands. These magical constructs need maintenance and magic, preferably artifice magic. They seek out humans in order to get this, and are obedient companions, however, anyone caught associating with a Nuameii will, at best, considered insane and dangerous, or at worst, killed on sight. Those who keep the company of golems almost never deal with other human beings. Golems are different than other Nuameii. They can speak and they will dissipate (or cease to function, if pulled-through) if they do not receive the necessary maintenance.
Bonds With: Quirky, sarcastic people who use artifice magic.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nuameii, Part Two, Part Two

Name: Dryad
Size: tall, slim human Usual Spirit Color: Green
Initiative: 6 Full Color: As humans
Speed: teleports/instantaneous movement
Organization: Solitary
Health: 10
Temperament: Mischievous, avoids contact
Attacks: Charm/Entangle/Call, see below
Ecology:Lives in the densely forested areas. Lives off of the energies of the wild. Will die if removed from forest more than 10 hours; outside of the forest, it cannot teleport.
Special: Charm: works as manipulation, 3 automatic successes, then roll 4 dice.
Entangle, HD 6, DD 7, vines bind target’s feet
Call: Choose natural animal, pulled through, or Nuameii, then all those within 200’ radius come to Dryad’s aid. (Can do this once per week.)
Teleport: At any time, they can teleport through the trees, as far away as the forest extends.
Description: The Dryad appears as an exceptionally beautiful human, but their hair, eyes, and clothing match the changing seasons. For instance, a female Dryad may appear as a green-eyed brunette wearing a short skirt in the summer, and then as a yellow-eyed redhead in a flowing gown in the fall. The ears of the Dryad are unnaturally pointed, and their eyes are slightly too large. Also, their hair will often have green vines growing through it, or perhaps be flecked with autumn leaves; whatever is appropriate to the season. Dryads will often mislead humans, getting them lost or getting them to act recklessly enough to cause their own deaths. They especially hate humans who destroy wooded areas.
Bonds With: Those who love nature above all, those who die trying to save wild animals or wild places.

Name: Elemental
Size: roughly human sized
Usual Spirit Color: almost exclusively green
Initiative: air 8, earth 5, water 11, fire 8
Full Color: exactly as element
Speed: in own element, extremely fast, like a Hummingbird. Otherwise, human speed
Organization: pack (same element only), otherwise solitary
Health: 10, except earth, which has 15
Attacks: Can use Elemental magic (their element only)
Temperament: varies
Special: can meld with and disappear into their element
Ecology: see description
Description: Elementals are shaped like perfectly formed humans, but they are made up entirely of one element; air, earth, water, or fire. They behave much like their element: air is elusive, and eats tiny creatures that it flies over (it flies by melding with the wind), earth is very solid and eats in much the same way as an earthworm, water can be temperamental and eats small fish, seaweed, or things it drowns, and fire tends to have a terrible temper and eats anything it pleases, leaving only ashes. Until pulled-through, Elementals wield magic as if they had 2 dots in elemental magic. Afterwards, treat them as if they have four.
Bonds With: Those who use elemental magic, those with a strong affinity to one element.

Name: Fae
Size: human
Usual Spirit Color: silver
Initiative: 7 Full Color: human, with slight silver sheen
Speed: fast human
Organization: as humans
Health: 11
Temperament: Aloof, distrustful
Attacks: As human, roll 5 dice
Ecology: herbivore, similar to humans
Special: can cast magic.
Description: Tall and slender, with angular features, big eyes, and pointed ears. They tend to be quiet, reclusive, and secretive. They will attack if defending their secrets, their homes, or other creatures. They can meld into trees similar to Dryads. Like almost all Nuameii, they attack as soon as they are created.
Bonds With: Magical people with secrets to hide.

Name: Fairy
Size: 3-5” tall, humanoid
Usual Spirit Color: blue, sometimes others
Initiative: 12
Full Color: glows brightly in its spirit color
Speed: Hummingbird speed
Organization: large group
Health: 6
Temperament: Varies widely
Attacks: See below Ecology: herbivorous, live in hollow trees
Special: Retains all magic, manipulates (charming) roll 6
Description: Seem to be tiny humans with wings. Usually these wings are similar to a dragonfly’s, but sometimes they are butterfly or bird wings. Usually, a Fairy will be entirely one color.
Bonds With: Protection magic users, and especially magical people who care deeply for others

Name: Frog, Spirit
Size: varies
Usual Spirit Color: any, often green
Initiative: 5
Full Color: Any
Speed: human
Organization: solitary or small group
Health: 7
Temperament: detached, neutral
Attacks: poison if touched
Ecology: eats small insects, or if large, small fish or rodents. Most prefer to live near water.
Special: Rank 1 elemental magic (water or earth)
Description: Like normal frogs, these frogs range from tiny (under 1” long), to rather large (over 1’ long). They may be any color or combination thereof, and may be slick like frogs or bumpy and dry like toads.
Bonds With: Children, those hated by others, loners

Name: Goblin
Size: 3-4’, stands upright Usual Spirit Color: any
Initiative: 4 Full Color: human-like, with slight sheen of spirit color.
Speed: slightly slower than humans Organization: large groups whenever possible
Health: 7 Temperament: mean-spirited human
Attacks: as human, roll 5 Ecology: They’d love to kill, but they are mostly scavengers. Nuameii do not attack them, so they often band together in empty buildings near ruined cities. They often live in the ruins of human habitations and set up a remarkably human lifestyle, which they defend fiercely from intruders.
Special: none
Description: Goblins appear as small, twisted humans. They attack out of a combination of sheer maliciousness and a desire to protect their way of life, and will run if it’s clear that they are losing. Their attacks are almost always ambushes, and groups of less than seven almost never attack humans. Unlike other Nuameii, they do not distinguish between ‘pulled-through’ and not ‘pulled-through’; it is possible to see both types working together. They seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to locating one another; when a Goblin Nuameii is created, it almost always runs off to join its own kind.
Bonds With: Slimy, wormy people. Oath breakers. Those who lie with regularity or are unnecessarily cruel. Those who are fascinated by the Pre-Breaking cities.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth!

Taking a break for the fourth of July weekend...hope yours is great!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gieden, Nuameii, Beginning of Part 2

NOTE: The Aerial Dragon at the head of the previous entry and all other artwork contained in this section drawn by Marcus Burris, colored by me, and used with permission.

Name: Cat, Spirit
Size: varies, usually around 2’ high at shoulder
Usual Spirit Color: green, but can be any
Initiative: 9 Full Color: Any natural to a cat
Speed: slightly faster than human Organization: Solitary
Health: 9 Temperament: Aloof, independent, whimsical
Attacks: scratch, roll 4, HD 5, DD 8, DMG ½ Ecology: Eats small birds or mammals, sleeps in burrows, dens, or trees
Special: Rank 2 subterfuge magic, 1 beneficial magical side effect, chosen at GM discretion
Description: Looks similar to a house cat or a small breed of wild cat, such as an ocelot or bobcat, except that there is something obviously magical about them. They may have small wings, a horn, or glowing eyes. They are highly intelligent and can be taught to talk, but like all Nuameii, they will initially attack bystanders upon creation.
Bonds With: Children, cat-like people or people who love cats.


Name: Chimera
Size: Varies greatly, commonly slightly smaller than a horse Usual Spirit Color: red or black
Initiative: 5 Full Color: Varies, natural color of its parts.
Speed: slower than human. Organization: Solitary
Health: 15 boxes Temperament: Extremely vicious
Attacks: 2-4 heads, each roll 4-8 dice, HD 7-9, DD 5-7, DMG 1....claws, roll 5, HD 6, DD 7, DMG 1/2
Ecology: usually omnivore, eats anything in its path.
Special: Attacks twice per round if in extremely close range. Second attack comes at the end of the round.
Description: Disgusting and contorted, the chimera is a mix of several Nuameii all twisted into one. They may have the head of a dragon, the head of a fey, and the head of a horse resting uneasily on the body of a tiger. Whatever parts the chimera has, it is a bit clumsy and terribly vicious.
Bonds With: Twisted human beings, those who strike out in misplaced hatred, or those who are intending to destroy something beautiful and good.


Name: Dog
Size: varies. Averages 2 foot high at shoulder
Usual Spirit Color: Any
Initiative: 6-8 Full Color: varies, natural colors
Speed: significantly faster than human.
Organization: pack
Health: 7 boxes
Temperament: loyal
Attacks: bite, 3 dice rolled, HD 6, DD 7, DMG 1
Ecology: Carnivorous, hunts and scavenges
Special: Nuameii dogs get Rank 1 subterfuge and elemental magic (earth affinity)
Description: ranging in size from tiny (Chihuahua, DMG becomes 1/3) to massive (Great Dane), and varying in temperament from extremely fierce to lovingly docile, the dog makes an interesting Nuameii or a wonderful companion pet. Dog Nuameii are rare except in the case of small children or loyal servants who are consumed by magic. A dog Nuameii will often be larger than a normal dog, manifest something strange such as glowing eyes, small wings, or horns, or be an odd color, such as crimson red. Even a docile dog Nuameii will naturally attack for a short time after it is created.
Bonds With: Children, those who intentionally let themselves be consumed by magic due to loyalty, servants.


Name: Dragon, Aerial
Size: 3 foot at shoulder, twice as long as average horse
Usual Spirit Color: black or red, can be any
Initiative: 9 Full Color: body: spirit color, wings: usually white or black, teeth and claws silver or white
Speed: Very fast/ fast as a horse
Health: 10 boxes Organization: solitary or pack
Attacks: bite, roll 3, HD 5, DD 8, DMG 1...Claw, roll 3, HD 5, DD 8, DMG 1...Dive, roll 6, HD 8, DD 7, DMG 1 ½...(if target to rear)Tail, roll 4, HD 5, DD 7, DMG 1
Temperament: Intelligent but frequently cruel.
Ecology: Hunter/scavengers, like to sleep somewhere high in the air, tend to hate small spaces.
Special: dive means diving out of the sky at a target, Aerial Dragons may do this up to two times per round if no other action is taken; the second one comes at the end of the round.
Description: Long and snakelike, with bat-like wings protruding from behind the shoulders. These dragons are quick and will immediately attack if they feel threatened in any way.
Bonds With: Cruelty, fighting for survival, those who love the air, desperation


Name: Dragon, Draconis
Size: 6 foot or higher at shoulder, at least twice as long as average horse
Usual Spirit Color: any, although black or red are the most common
Initiative: 9 Full Color: Body spirit color, teeth and claws white, silver, or black
Speed: Extremely fast/faster than a horse
Health: 15-20+ Organization: solitary
Attacks: bite, roll 7, HD 6, DD 8, Damage 2 1/2...Claw, roll 7, HD 6, DD 8, Damage 1 1/2....Tail, roll 8, HD 5, DD 5, DMG 1
Temperament: Feral
Ecology: carnivorous, enjoys the hunt
Special: Tail attack only if targets are behind dragon
Description: No land-based Nuameii is larger or more powerful than the Draconis. They have rows of sharp teeth and claws made to rend and tear flesh, their eyes have a slight glow and their snake-like tongues constantly dart in and out, checking the air. They move on all fours and can reach incredible speeds, so long as nothing blocks their way…and very little blocks a dragon.
Bonds With: Powerful people who like to fight


Name: Dragon, Fey
Size: Stands upright, similar in musculature to 8’ tall man.
Usual Spirit Color: almost exclusively silver
Initiative: 7 Full Color: silver/grey, green eyes, black claws
Speed: Fast human Organization: usually solitary, but enjoy occasional company, provided that the conversation and wine are good
Health: 15
Attacks: claw, roll 4, HD 6, DD 6, DMG 1...Tail, roll 6, HD 8, DD 8, DMG 1
Temperament: Reserved, studious, neutral
Ecology: Omnivorous, seeks solitude and permanent living arrangements.
Special: Uses magic, but unlike humans, the Fey Dragon must spend considerable time doing rituals to make their magic function.
Description: These dragons are intelligent, walk upright, and use complicated rituals in order to cast spells. They seek to avoid conflict, and many wear amulets (often of their own making) that help them to use subterfuge magic quickly. These dragons are exceptionally rare and will avoid all but the most intelligent and civilized visitors, but once befriended, they enjoy long discussions and various board games. Their ‘lair’ often contains furniture, books, Artifacts, and odd nick-nacks. For the first day after they are brought into the world, a Fey Dragon Nuameii will attack almost indiscriminately; afterwards, they will avoid combat at almost any cost.
Bonds With: Those who are powerful through connections or magic; those who die through duty or for honor.


Name: Dragon, Sea
Size: up to 50’ long, serpentine Usual Spirit Color: red or black, can be any
Initiative: 5 Full Color: blue, with highlights the color of its Nuameii form. Green or yellow eyes.
Speed: equivalent to a running horse
Health: 30 Organization: Solitary.
Attacks: bite, roll 10, HD 8, DD 6, DMG 1 ½....Tail swipe, roll 5, HD 7, DD 7, DMG 1
Temperament: Sees humans, and virtually everything else, as tasty. Not very intelligent, not willing to make deals.
Special: breathes water if ‘pulled through’; can use tail swipe once per round regardless of what other actions are taken, and regardless of the positioning of the target. Can use elemental magic (water) at rank 3 if near water.
Ecology: Eats algae, seaweed, fish, humans, and pretty much anything else that gets in its way. Prefers to live in or near the water before being pulled-through, and is confined to it after.
Description: Long, serpentine, awe-inspiring and powerful, the Sea Dragon is the largest of the dragons and the most fearsome. They are shark-like in mentality, except that even sharks can swim alongside one
another; Sea Dragons work alone, and will kill any creature they see as competition for food or territory. As strong as sea dragons are, they often prefer to attack wounded targets and are drawn by blood. A person manifesting a Sea Dragon body part is indistinguishable from someone manifesting a Draconis; however, once fully transformed, arms or hands will shrivel into nothingness.
Bonds With: Mindless meanness, cruel destruction, those who love the sea or sharks.