02 October, 2016

The Weather, Ethics, and a #WeekendWarrior #WIP Excerpt


It's raining here in SE Michigan, and after a severe drought that began in late May and lasted until late August, RAIN is a welcome weather occurrence.

Except when it lasts for days (like it has) and causes flooding (which it is).

please ignore the word EPIC

The clouds are rolling in not from the West but the East to bring Atlantic moisture, which means heavy downpours (since Wednesday).

It also means clean, fresh air that smells semi-tropical, and I love that.

Of course, this puts a "damper" on my nightly sky viewing pleasure, and it's also being reported that the Northern Lights (aurora) may be visible as far south as here for the next few nights.

In other words, once this Low moves off to the east in a few days, the sky will clear and the Aurora sightings will have passed.

It's a bucket list item, and one of these days I'm going to head WAY up north with camera in tow, hopeful about catching a glimpse of the night sky in all its sunspot chaos glory.

Great Sand Bay

This is also the time of year when I begin to hunker down for another long, cold, and snowy winter.

Besides the slightly tropical air mass currently swirling overhead, most nights are cool and clear, but with the scent of pine and cedar to give me that up north cabin feel.

Which gives me fuel for my 3rd WIP, where I have my main characters living in the wilds of the Upper Northern Lower portion of the mitten state.

I used to think that summer was the best time to write because of things like wide open windows, fresh air to clear the head, and warmth to keep me from getting sluggish at night when I usually do a majority of my writing.


Turns out I was wrong and winter is actually the best (or better) writing season for me.

When the house is closed up, there is far less noise to distract me (ie) neighbors aging a/c unit grinding 24/7, barking dogs, police sirens, Harley motorcycles gunning through Hines Park, little ones screaming bloody murder . . .

In wintertime, it's just me, my ambient music, and Word.

I've learned how to keep warm with things like fingerless gloves, dressing in layers, sitting on a heating pad, and buying a portable heater.

I now own a variety of head gear as well.

But that it is QUIET excites me most.

Now I look forward to Michigan winters for the sheer pleasure of writing in my cozy den here as the white stuff falls and everyone else is tucked into their own homes with the doors and windows shut tight until late spring.



And with the close of September, 2016 approaching, October brings to mind all things autumnal, witchy, spooky, and Halloween.

Not that I prepare an elaborate costume and hang out with a lot of like-minded friends on the 31st.

I don't even have kids who are age appropriate to the so-called holiday anymore, which is a bummer because it was always a thrill being able to stash all of the bags of chips, Doritos, Fritos, and Cheetos they would haul in after a night of begging.

And a few Almond Joy as well.

What I do now is hang orange and purple fairy lights inside the den here, stock up on empty toilet paper rolls to cut out eyes and put glow sticks inside them, and carve a pumpkin for the seed roasting fun.

I also spend a lot of time wondering what I can do that is new, different, and just as colorfully festive as I've always done in order to break up the monotony.

One year I t-p'ed the cherry tree in the yard and another year I painted weird images on a wall before installing a black light.

In both cases, the aftermath (mess) left me kicking myself instead of planning something better for the following year.

But enough about current mood.


Today while browsing a new selection of Romance reading material, I came across another book that sounded REALLY appealing.

I say 'another' because as you are probably aware, this has happened more than once.

The synopsis sounded fascinating, but after scrolling down to read the reviews, that opinion changed.

Very sad and disappointing when that happens, too.

Here is one of those unfavorable reviews (and it was one of many, I'm afraid)

This got me  thinking.

Is it unethical or plagiarism to run with another's IDEA?

If what someone else wrote stinks and isn't flying with a genres fan base, would it be horribly wrong for another author to take the IDEA and make it her own?

Most Romance novels can be considered 'the same' since they all cover one topic: Romance.

The plot can also be considered somewhat similar since it usually involves an H and an h working their way towards connubial bliss.

And, if I didn't actually read the bad novel but still like the plot, would it be stealing to use the same devises but put my own spin on the fail?

I'm thinking it's okay and here's why.

Most of us are hit with a spark of genius after hearing or reading someone else's story, right?

A single word or gesture can stimulate our creative juices to get them flowing until we crank out a novel or even a series.

It was originally someone else who had the experience or the dream or the misfortune but it is our imagination that sent it off on a wild tangent of intrigue, passion, and glory.


So, when I read a synopsis that blows me away only to discover that the execution turned out not so great or worse, there should be nothing stopping me from snatching up said idea and manipulating it so that it becomes mine and not entirely someone else's material.

At least I hope I'm right because today's incident really bummed me out and made me want to do the gauntlet run thing.

It just seems like such a shame to let something that has serious potential simply die off in a lonely, unwanted sort of way.


Inigo and Linley are still at the awkward stage of their romance.

At least I know how it'll end for them!

My biggest stumbling block right now is the first chapter, where I planned to introduce Inigo by having him retire from a ten-year Rugby career to head back home and help his oldest brother 'run the farm' so to speak.

It's 2,227 words of stuff I don't think the reader will get into yet is pretty important for setting the wheels in motion.

It's driving me batty, but the inevitable conclusion leads to scrapping Chapter 1 and figuring out the best way to use Chapter 1 info as filler throughout the novel.

I want Inigo to be exhausted, unshaven, unwashed, and haggard when he has to pick up Linley at the tiny airport up north, and I had managed it by spending the first chapter showing his Ducati ride from Winnipeg to Norther Lower Michigan in just under two days' time.

He rolls in really late, crashes on the livingroom sofa, and is then awakened a few hours later by Iliya, his oldest brother, who orders him to pick up Linley as a favor since Iliya is really busy that day and can't make it.

Inigo isn't happy but isn't allowed to change clothes, much less shower and shave when he's back on the road again.

She's a polished lady with a ten year career in the DSO and will appear to be Inigo's complete opposite.

They're both ready for change, though, and will help one another to make decisions as the story unfolds.

She'll be ironing out her 'first impression' blues while also figuring out what to do if she decides to quit playing the flute, and he'll try to avoid his budding feelings for his kid sister's friend while also deciding what to do now that he's a retired athlete.


Inigo raised his brother’s key fob and pressed the unlock button, hoping that the Navigator would light up and whop-whop for him, but no. It was the sound of the rusty white truck's locks disengaging that filled his ears instead. Inigo cursed the growing streak of bad juju that seemed to cling to him the way his dirty shirt clung to his travel-weary body.
Damn, he was tired.
A long, hot shower would have been nice.
Her plane lands in twenty minutes.”
Iliya's words droned inside Inigo’s aching head as he rolled down the driveway and back onto the dirt road that would take him back to the two-lane highway he’d exited just a few hours ago.
“Her who?” he had finally asked, and more because he was miserable than interested in the answer.
Iliya had glared back at him, but Inigo wasn’t about to wipe the scowl from his face just to appease his bossy, older brother.
Her name is Linda, and she’s got curly blonde hair.”
Who the hell is Linda, and why isn’t she checking into a hotel? Is she your woman? And, where the hell is kiddo?
The thought of seeing his little sister again made him grin. He missed her the most but knew his decision to leave had left a bad impression on her, which made the guilt factor compound until he had stopped contacting her.
He still missed her, though, and couldn’t wait to see her again.
Just get going, Inigo,” Iliya had snarled. “I haven’t got time for this. Not today of all days.
He didn’t have the time? His brother might be busy, but Inigo was exhausted and still wearing yesterday’s clothes for cripes sake. His sweat-dried skin made his worn out t-shirt cling to him, adding to his discomfort. A quick glance in the rear-view mirror showed dark circles under his eyes and matted hair that needed as much cleansing as the rest of him.
Hell, what he needed was a head to toe scrub down.
Sliding a few fingers through his unruly mane, Inigo looked out the door window at the glistening lake behind a thin row of budding white birch, cedar, and pine. It occurred to him that a ten-minute diversion for a quick dip in the water wouldn’t hurt anyone, least of all him.
Just get going, Inigo.
Resting a forearm atop the steering wheel, he sniffed an armpit and was satisfied that at least he didn’t offend. He searched the cab for something minty to chew or suck on and found a packet of sugarless gum in a felt-lined pocket underneath the stereo. Struggling to keep one eye on the road and one hand on the wheel, he fought to peel the stuck wrapper away from the gum.
Inigo smiled as he chewed what he now knew to be stale gum, but it was better than nothing. Then his smile faded and he pounded the steering wheel. No, it wasn’t, it was worse. What if this chick turns out to be hot stuff? What if Iliya is pulling his leg and it’s their little sister he’s going to pick up?
“Linda with curly blonde hair,” he repeated aloud. “Well, Linda with curly blonde hair, you better be worth all this trouble or I’m gonna −.”
What, his brother’s smart-ass voice asked. You’ll do what.

A reluctant smile curled the edges of his mouth despite the anger still churning inside his empty gut. Then his stomach growled.

Word Count -  13,318
Chapters -  5
Revisions -  6th
Issues -  rewriting the first chapter (again and again and again)
Projected Finish -  never (lol, just kidding) my hope is by the end of 2016

my Inigo

my Linley

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