There’s a particular scene in Nickel and Dime that is this song, though the theme kind of runs through it, too.

I believe that you can save me
And you’ll never let me fall
I believe in what you’ve shown me
Maybe there’s a hero in us all

It’s both of them. Some parts might be more him than her, but it’s both of them.

When the world’s confusing, I don’t care
I’ll crawl into your atmosphere
I know you’ll make it right
You’re all I need to know

Pull me in like you were made for me

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

One Story Is Not Enough

A lot of the time, when I finish a story, I spend a while lamenting the end of it.

It’s a bittersweet thing. The story is so much fun along the way, the characters are like friends, and then they’re gone. I don’t mean that they die because stories don’t mean everyone dies at the end–not usually, at least, though that’s the best thing to tell someone if they ask you about how a movie was or how it ends.

No, the characters still have their lives other than the story, but usually, unless I go back to reread their story, they don’t come around.

Occasionally, I get sequel ideas. A lot of the time, it’s more me wanting to get back those friends, and there’s no real plot there.

Some of them are more full-fledged, and they are ready to start right after the first is done.

Nickel and Dime is like that. I ended it yesterday, and I was immediately ready to move on to its sequel. Parts of that were so clear in my head that I was not about to stop.

Other sequels aren’t as easy to pin down. I keep thinking that Thyme and Whim should come back in an alien invasion story (yeah, so you’re so laughing now) and that Dennison should show up at the villa to disrupt Frankie and Rico’s lives, that maybe Jax should have his own story and continue Franklin and Mira’s a bit. I think there’s only one I finished recently that doesn’t have any potential sequels, and that’s the spoof. Still, the ideas I have for the others haven’t developed into anything I’d actually be able to turn into a book.

Maybe a moment or two for some of them. I was considering small stories in a collection as a possible idea. Most authors would maybe give some holiday stories, but as I don’t celebrate them and actually loathe most holidays, that won’t happen. Still, a collection is a possibility.

It’s just that one book is too short a time to spend with a great character (or two or more) and sometimes you want to see more, even if there’s no long sequel, no second story to tell.

You won’t find me telling stories about their kids, though. No, that’s a personal pet peeve of mine. I hate the stories that turn it all about their kids, even if the kids are grown up. So I won’t go down that route.

A glimpse or two or a sequel, that I can do.

Shatter Your Illusions of Love

Writing lately has mainly alternated between Five and Ten and a new story that just has a working title, Favor, but this song was playing, and this section related a lot to what I was doing with both of them, as different as they are.

Past loves, broken hearts, moving on…

Well, did she make you cry, make you break down,
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now, do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home

And while this part doesn’t relate to what I was writing, I’ve always liked it.

Rulers make bad lovers
You better put your kingdom up for sale
Up for sale…

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

December Loses to November

So, I didn’t manage quite as much writing in December as I did in November. Partially because of edits, partially because of life’s unpredictable drama, and the rest because of illness. I completed one novel, not three. In November, I had Nanowrimo to work on, needing at least 50,000 words for a novel to complete that challenge, so that was a big part of the difference. I did, however, have my own personal challenge of posting a section a day to a story. That’s the Not-So-Super Superhero, and I am proud to say I only missed one day there, and there were circumstances which excuse that.

So… a look at the word count totals as they stood after midnight last night:

The Monster in Garden Shed: 62,156

First Nickel and Dime: 59,932

Second (and currently untitled) Nickel and Dime: 14,365

The Not-So-Super Superhero: 33,393

Misc other: 34,580

This Month’s Total: 190, 061

So, close to 200,000 again. Not a bad total.

If I had been consistent around that 200,000 (and I wasn’t), I’d have a yearly total somewhere around 2,400,000.

My goal this next year will be to track it and see what I come up with for a full year. It’s a bit hard for me to track where I was when 2011 started, unfortunately.

Right now, though, since I have tracked it the past couple months, I think I know where I am, and I can use that to continue keeping track of things in order to have a yearly total. I gave some consideration to looking at day-to-day totals, but not only am I not the type to be that organized, I frequently am up past midnight writing, and… oh, yeah, if people knew how much writing I did daily, I’d be in a lot of trouble. I have other responsibilities that I neglect to do as much writing as I do.

It’s so much more interesting to write than clean a house. Admit it.

What to Do When the Ideas Won’t Stop Coming

So, I already have four stories on my plate at the moment. I’ve got The Monster in My Garden Shed, The Not-So-Super Superhero, the second in the Nickel and Dime series–this needs a name, but I’ll figure that out later, it’s one of those books–and another one.

Why then, with all of these stories going, do I have to have a bunch more ideas come to me? I’ve already got more than I can work on at the moment, and I’ve got notebooks and folders and files full of things I’ve started and not completed. One of them I picked up late last night and read over, realizing that, aside from the one part of it, there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be done. I’ve got the beginning written and typed, most of the middle is handwritten or in notes, and the tail end is written as well. This thing should be done. No excuses, really.

So now I find myself wanting to do that.

I also want to start a brand new one that has a very fascinating (to me, at least) concept. Involves aliens and memories and was probably partially inspired by stuff from The Monster in My Garden Shed. This idea is dying to be written.

I don’t have time to do all of these things, though. I barely have enough time to write on the three major pieces, so I need to clear my plate a little before adding in something new.

I sometimes allow for rotation when I have a new story, but as I’m already in a rotation with stories, I can’t add a new one until one of the others completes. The Monster in My Garden Shed doesn’t want to cooperate with me on that, since it keeps adding in something I have to deal with before the end of it can come, and it’s still not clear what that end is. The Not-So-Super Superhero is in its second act, where Clayton is trying to make use of his power and make a life for himself instead of fighting it, and now he’ll have to fight against other people instead. That may mean it’s closer to a conclusion, but I’m not actually sure how long it will take to resolve all of that, either. The second Nickel and Dime is coming along, but it’s not ready to conclude yet. The other story is done, but can I really add another one in already? I don’t get to the ones that I’ve got enough as it is.

And what of the one that should be complete and isn’t?

And all the ones that I should type?

Well, I have some options. I write the idea down, and I might come back to it later. I might give it a scene or two, thinking I’ll get back to it in a while. This usually doesn’t work. If I don’t “run” with the story when it’s fresh, it doesn’t usually happen. Any Other Reality is an exception to this. It was put off for months, not started, and written in less than a month. Still, it’s an exception, not a rule.

The other option, and I do this with stories I know I don’t want to put down on paper, is to picture it in my head over and over until it’s done. I can “watch” the movie of the story and I’ve seen it. If I’ve gotten it to its conclusion, there are very few stories that I’m willing to write after that point. I’ve seen all the interesting parts. It’s done.

This new idea is not one to give to a mind movie, though, so it just might have to find a way to be a part of the rotation.

Not enough time, and always too many stories. That’s the nature of a writer, though, right?

Have I Mentioned Lately How Much I Hate Summaries?

So, in an effort to work with the “plan,” I’ve been working on some of the pieces that I need to get another book out there.


Mostly… I’ve been trying to come up with a summary for Nickel and Dime.


So far, my attempts have been:


Effie Lincoln owns a secondhand store and has a weakness for vintage clothes. Business hasn’t been great, and her habit of taking the best of the clothes for herself doesn’t help.

Her real problem has nothing to do with the store or her addiction to getting more clothes.

It’s her name.

She’s always hated it, but she never expected it to get her killed, either.


Which was a bit disconnected and everything, so I tried again with this:


Effie Lincoln has always hated her name, but she never expected it to get her killed.

Now, though, a case of mistaken identity has forced her from her home and beloved secondhand store. On the run for her life, her only protection a man who’s more dead than alive, what Effie would really like to know is why.

Who was this other Euphemia Lincoln, and what did she do that’s going to get Effie killed?


So now, feel free to give an opinion on either summary, and if you’d like to see more of the story, keep reading.


Pain didn’t lead to answers. They should have known that by now, but someone clearly hadn’t gotten the message. It would have been simpler if they had. It would have been nicer if they had. It wasn’t drugs. It wasn’t pain. None of that was going to get them the answer that they wanted—nothing would. He was sure of that. He could hold out beyond this. They were fools to think he wouldn’t. He had training. He had a high pain tolerance.

Most of all, though, he didn’t know the answer.

Give us the location, and we will let you go.”

I told you; I don’t have it.” It didn’t matter what he said. They weren’t going to believe him. He could tell them the truth; he could make up any of a dozen lies, but they weren’t going to accept that. He would still get hurt. They’d still think they could make him tell them more than he had. They were going to try and force that last bit of information from his dying breath, and what good would it do anyone? He couldn’t change their mind—and he was not going to last long enough for any of it to matter.

He was just a delaying tactic—he’d known that from the moment he got the assignment. He’d never really be in charge of this thing, but they wanted people to think he was. He was, simply put, expendable. He could make it all go away if he held out long enough for them to think that what he finally gave them was the truth, and then they’d chase after wild geese, right off into the sunset. He liked that idea, liked it a lot.

You could make this pain stop.”

It tickles, actually.”

You do not impress me with your false bravado, Agent. It has come time for the truth. Only that location will allow you to live. If you do not give it to me, I will kill you.”

He knew that. He was fully expecting to die when this was all said and done. It was a waste, but if he was going to believe in a greater cause, in the greater good, he would have to believe that what he was doing was worth his life. The sacrifice was not that great. He would be okay with it. He wasn’t that great of a resource in the first place—lousy agent, lousy human being. “Sorry, I’ll pass.”

The interrogator grabbed him by the hair and jerked his head back. “You cannot hold out forever. You will see the need to end your suffering, and when you have, you will give me the answer I seek.”

Yeah, sure. And I’ll tell you I gave it to my girlfriend.”

Your girlfriend?”

Real piece of work. Kind of crazy. Touched in the head, I think. Makes for an interesting relationship,” he said, laughing. He didn’t have a girlfriend, but they were clearly desperate enough to hold onto anything he might say as a possibility. They’d go looking for a woman in his life, and they’d find only the old woman next door with all the cats.

Give me her name.”

Come on. I don’t have a girlfriend. I can’t believe you fell for that. Who has time to date in our business? Hmm? Or do you have a wife and kids back home?”

The blow that followed that remark almost knocked him out of the chair he was strapped to. They’d started with the drugs, but when that didn’t work, they’d gone for pain. It wasn’t working, either. He’d had worse, though they probably didn’t know that.

The man stepped on his fingers, and he heard them snap as he looked up. Nice. Well, he’d be dead soon enough, so fingers weren’t that important. “I still don’t know where it is. Can we just get this over with already?”

Give us the name of the woman.”

Weren’t you listening? There is no woman.”

They unstrapped him from the chair, took him to the middle of the room and chained his hands above his head. He stared at the bindings, aware that he was probably going to get very familiar with a horse whip soon. Lovely.

He lost count of the blows against his back, but they only barely outnumbered the amount of times that he was asked the same questions over and over again. He still couldn’t tell them where it was. He couldn’t give them a name. The woman didn’t exist. He really didn’t have a girlfriend. He should never have made that joke, clearly.

You still refuse to cooperate?”

You could get to the merciful part already and kill me. That would be fine. I keep telling you—I don’t know where it is. I don’t have it. And there is no woman.”

Give me a name, and I will give you the mercy of a quick death.”

Oh?” he considered for a moment. That had some appeal; he had to admit. He thought about it for a minute. “Okay. I can give you a name.”

You will?”

He nodded. “Yeah. I will. And it’s a good one. Really.”

Tell us.”

Effie Lincoln,” he answered, giving them the name of a scandalous and long dead actress with a laugh. The blackness came almost before the next blow.

Working Titles

I was preparing a little entry for the Kabobbles Sing Along section about the song that inspired my choice for the working title for The Lady in Black’s sequel. Working titles are what I call the story while I’m writing it. Not all of them come with the right title instantly. Some do. Others refuse to be pinned down right away.


Some titles were easy. In the Family was always In the Family from the moment it was begun on my phone. Any Other Reality was that from the beginning as well. I don’t know what else The Monster in My Garden Shed or The Memory Collector could be. The same goes for The Not-So-Super Superhero. He is that. His story could be told under no other name. As soon as I started typing it, I had the title for The Consultant and the Cat. The Lady in Black had a working title years ago that was abandoned before typing began.


On the other hand, other titles have not come so readily. Some don’t even feel right now. That would be the case with The Geek and the Fed and Unexpected Gifts. Each of them took on a new name from their working title, “Geek” and “Obligation” respectively, but they haven’t entirely settled on them. Criss-Crossed Paths started out using its first chapter title, and then it became “Tempest and Lonely Hearts” after the nicknames of two of the characters. The new title is still being debated.


Other titles come along as the story progress.


Just a Whim, believe it or not, started out as “The Crankening,” owing to the other half of Kabobbles Publishing’s daughter, who was extremely cranky when I began the story. Matched Set started out as “Favor,” but once the figurine set started to feature so heavily in it, the matched set made perfect sense.


All the Men in My Life began as “Old Love Best Unseen” which completely doesn’t fit it. The new title owes from a line that Franklin says to Mira, “All the men in your life piss me off.” She responds with, “Franklin, you’re one of the men in my life.”


The series that starts with Nickel and Dime each had their own working title. Nickel and Dime was “Change Your Identity.” Until the end of it, Variety Store was just “Nickel and Dime the Second.” The third one, however, was Five and Ten from the beginning. The secondhand store owned by Effie Lincoln could be called a “nickel and dime” or “five and ten” or even “variety store,” so all the stories have that theme to their titles.


Last night, I named a story “Lollipop.” Funny how names go, right?