What’s Next and Why?

Late Friday night, I sent my editor the first round of completed edits for CHILD OF THRESH. We still have several rounds to go, polishing that manuscript until it shines like a golden curl under the Chasmarian sun, but it felt monumental all the same, like we just turned the knob to open the door that will take us out of Chasmaria.

I’ve been in that beautiful world a long time.

I’m sad to leave, so I’ve built in a few hidden doors through which I may reenter at will, but it’s time for something new.

I thought it would be one of a few stories I’ve had simmering on the back burner for the past year or so, but something happened. In the process of participating in Write Club 2015, a fantastically fun contest hosted by D.L. Hammons and sponsored by Dallas Fiction Writers’ Conference, I fell in love with another spunky girl. If you read any of my Write Club entries (written under the pen name Commando Grace), you already know just how smart and resilient Grace Welch is. If you’re already cheering her on, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

My Wise and Wonderful Sister and I discussed Grace’s story at length this week, working through the details of each year of her high school career. As I sat down to begin organizing this story into an actual manuscript (or four), I asked my sister a question every author should ask before penning a story:

Why does this story need to be written?

Her answer was simple:

Because a funny, well-written, heart-warming, non-sexualized story about a teenage girl is what I want my daughters to read.  Plus the themes of true friendship.

Being the one in the family who thrives on writing thousands of words in one sitting, my answer was a little longer:

Because families are funny and quirky and beautifully messy.
Because girls are smart and strong, but sometimes stupid.
Because girls mess up.
Because life can knock a girl down.
Because girls get back up and keep going.
Because survivors learn to laugh, even at themselves.
Because friends fail each other.
Because we all need to forgive ourselves and one another.
Because friends come through when it counts.
Because the best kind of love is the kind that knows when to let you get away with crap and when to call your bluff.

And at the very heart of this story,

Because in any relationship, from sibling to friend to happily ever after, love isn’t fleeting emotion, but intentional devotion.

So, that’s what’s next and why. Thank you to all who supported and critiqued Commando Grace in Write Club 2015!

Friday Fictioneers: FIRE AND ICE

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dee Lovering

Fire and Ice

Curtis cranks the heat as he peers through the windshield. “What’s taking Duncan so long?”

I snort. “Can’t  handle his hot wings.”

Jenn twists in the passenger seat. “That’s not nice, Nora! You shouldn’t have challenged him.”

“I’m not running to the toilet, and I ate twice as many.”

“Finally!” Curtis fastens his seatbelt.

Duncan prances across the parking lot. The door opens, blasting icy air and snowflakes in my face. “Scooch, babydoll. It’s cold out!”

I slide across the backseat and crack my window. I may have agreed to date Duncan, but I didn’t agree to be called “babydoll.”


Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

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Book Blitz: SCHISM by Laura Maisano

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SCHISM (Illirin Book One)

By Laura Maisano

 Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just out of sight.

Another student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.

While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Audible   Kobo

Goodreads   MuseItUp Publishing  (Audio is also available on iTunes)

Excerpt 

Lea packed light. Other than her phone’s GPS and a flashlight, she kept a small notepad, her lucky pencil, and the thermometer in her cargo pocket. She didn’t need to find data, now she needed proof.

She led the way down the alley where skyscrapers blocked the glowing moon and the lamps from the highway. Yellowed fixtures above each back entrance threw faint cones of light onto the cement, like holes in Swiss cheese.

Lea checked the coordinates on her phone while she walked, and the little red arrow crept closer to the flag icon she placed to mark the interaction point.

Gabe spent his time surveying the area for anything that might be a danger. He kept fidgeting behind her and turning around every few seconds, a twitchy meerkat on patrol.

“We’re only between buildings. It’s not the end of the world.” Lea checked her phone again to make sure they were headed in the right direction.

He glanced over his shoulder. “I still don’t like it. It’s night, people do get mugged, you know.”

“The statistics of that are so low. We’re really not in any danger, considering the population and how many times that sorta thing happens.”

He shifted uneasily behind her. “Whatever, we’re raising the chances by being out here at night.”

Lea rolled her eyes. “I’m not missing this opportunity.”

“I know that. Neither am I.”

“Good.”

They came to a cross section behind two major offices where the loading docks and dumpsters sat for both of them. A stream of water trickled down the concave cement into the large sewer grate. Old garbage left a fume hanging around, and the humidity only made it worse.

Lea double- and triple-checked her coordinates, cross-checking with her notes. “This is it. Within I’d say, a fifteen foot diameter, low to the ground.” She shoved the phone in her cargo pocket. “Perfect.”

“How long?”

“Roughly ten minutes.”

Ten minutes may as well have been six hours. She paced back and forth, her sneakers scuffing the gritty pavement.

Gabe continued to keep a watchful eye ou for muggers or vagrants. What a dork.

She snickered quietly. For someone who didn’t know his own experiences, he sure seemed paranoid. She watched him standing straight, darting his eyes to the entrance and even up to the windows above them. Watch out bad guys, Gabe’s on to you. She smiled and turned to see what looked like heat waves rising from the cold cement. Crap. The interaction had already started.

“Gabe…” She waved him over next to the loading dock.

This interaction provided no shining lights or obvious movement. Not much stood out visually, except maybe the air glistening like summer heat waves if she squinted hard enough, but her digital thermometer found the coldest point.

“Here,” she whispered, not wanting anyone or anything on the other side to hear. She stretched her arms forward, and Gabe did likewise.

“On the count of three.” She waited for him to nod. “One…two…three.”

They both reached through the interaction point and grabbed at the thicker air. Nothing. They tried again, pulling, grasping, and making any sort of motion to trigger a rip. Finally, Gabe leaned in and pulled out at just the right angle, because the light tore across like a jagged line. Lea grabbed the edge of it and tugged, opening the tear wider until they both fell through.

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About the author 

 Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. Her debut novel is a YA urban fantasy called SCHISM. The sequel, UNITY, releases spring 2016.

Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. Check out her blog at LauraMaisano.blogspot.com.

Social Media

Website: http://www.LauraMaisano.Blogspot.com

Twitter: @MaisanoLaura

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraMaisanoWriter
https://www.facebook.com/groups/illirinfans/  (Fan group for the Illirin series)

Google + https://plus.google.com/+LauraMaisano

Friday Fictioneers: TAKE ME AS I AM

For this week’s story, I went a little beyond what’s seen to what might be seen, because I’m sure this little arrangement is just the tip of the outrageous iceberg.
PHOTO PROMPT - © Jean L. Hays

PHOTO PROMPT – © Jean L. Hays

TAKE ME AS I AM

Finn taps the steering wheel. “I don’t think you appreciate the gravity of the situation.”

“Relax. Families are weird. I’ve got this uncle… And my mom. Every single boyfriend I’ve ever had, ‘Emily frenched her cousin…’ I was in kindergarten, Finn. Kin-der-garten!”

“You don’t get it, Em. My dad–”

“Your dad raced cars. Survived a hundred crashes or something… That’s cool, Finn, not weird.”

“It’s not the racing. It’s –”

“Pull over! I have to get a picture. What on earth is it? Are those license plate shingles?”

He lets out a slow breath. “It’s home, Emily. Dad built it himself.”


Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

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The Break

Well, crap. It seems I wrote a poem of sorts. One of my friends, who much to my chagrin remembers the high school poetry phase I try to forget, will be happy to see a new work. The rest of you, well… we’ll see.

What began as something between amused and baffled reflections on not getting a whole lot accomplished while my kids are at camp turned into a more sentimental piece than I expected. The empty house is extremely nice, but there’s a part of me that looks forward to resuming our normal, chaotic routine – a routine that keeps me on my toes in every regard and fills my life with adventure, laughter, and hugs.

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The Break

There’s a quiet that comes to a house

after everyone’s gone away,

and a mother realizes it isn’t the chaos

that keeps her bound-

that keeps undone the things she sees each day,

the things she’s meant to do since who knows when.

It isn’t the laughter, the shouts, the pranks, the fights.

It isn’t the snacks or the books or chores.

In the stillness of their absence

a mother waits.

No urgency.

No cues.

And the things undone seem minuscule

in the enormity of solitude.

Friday Fictioneers: Evanston + Olivia

Last week, I was busy editing and preparing for the cover reveal of my second book, HEIR OF KORADIN. If you missed the reveal (and first chapter sneak peek) please hop over to my last post for all the fun.PHOTO PROMPT - © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Evanston + Olivia

Evanston lies naked and flat-backed on the marble floor, oblivious to the guests breaking step to dance away from him. His arms – spindly and beautiful – flail to the music like he’s conducting the chandeliers.

He never finished school. “Too disruptive,” they said. They didn’t realize how disruptive their desks and lectures and uniforms were to him.

A circle opens around him. No matter how dear the friend, his antics always shock. He spreads his arms wide.

“Stay! You’re helping. I’m almost there!”

Someday, he’ll decode the mathematical equation of love. As our friends resume dancing, I gaze on Evanston and wonder why he needs the math.


Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

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Cover and Teaser Reveal: Heir of Koradin

Originally posted on Anaiah Press:

It’s cover reveal time! We are so happy to present Heir of Koradin, Book 2 in the Chasmaria Series by Lisa Dunn. This sequel to Grit of Berth and Stone will be available on August 4th, 2015. Scroll down for an exclusive peek at the first chapter!

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Heir of Koradin, The Second Book of Chasmaria

by Lisa Dunn

Surge, Anaiah Press

Dagger of Willow and Strike has waited a lifetime to return to the village of his birth. He’s been promised the throne of Koradin, but getting captured by his treacherous sire wasn’t part of the plan. Dagger needs a miracle to turn his childhood dreams into reality—And Grit of Berth and Stone might be that miracle.

Unfortunately for him, Grit’s stuck in the rival village of Thresh, and she’s in way over her head. Having bluffed her way into commanding an army of incompetents, she’s useless to Dagger if her new…

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