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Enslavement’s Cutting Room Floor

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I wrote Enslavement, my first novel, many moons ago. In April, it will be seven years since I completed it.

It was a very different story back then. It was 60 pages long and contained more characters and far fewer subplots. As I learned more about writing, I made large changes to the manuscript. I cut three of my first four chapters, I cut characters, but added scenes which fleshed out the subplots. With this post, I wanted to share some of what ended up on the cutting room floor, that is if authors had such a thing.

Avery: Originally, Rielle had twin sisters. In the opening scene, she held Avery and Alyssa on her lap as her parents were arrested. I cut Avery because twins just weren’t necessary. The story was just as well told with only one sister, so one had to go.

Kenzie: She was another slave in the Banker’s house. She shared a room with Lydia and Rielle. She was very weepy, and again, didn’t add anything to the story. To be honest, after the 20th reading, her weepiness got annoying. I didn’t feel one bit bad about cutting her.

Chapter one, the school scene: In its early stages, Enslavement’s opening chapter took place at Rielle’s high school. Her frhill-country5iends were making plans to see a movie, but of course, Rielle couldn’t go. She was feeling left out and angry with her parents, but her friends decided to have a stay-in movie night so that she could join them, though one of her friends’ parents didn’t want her hanging out with  a Resistor.

Chapter two, the walk home: This chapter ended with her stopping a half a block from home when she saw the Bank Security cruisers parked in front of her house. She had to make a decision–run away and save herself or go home and try to help her family. She was about to run, but she heard her sister cry out and her decision was made and her fate was sealed.

The title: I called the first draft Silence. I felt that was too vague, so I renamed it The Fear of Drowning. After a couple years, I decided that that title was too figurative, and it became The Enslavement of Rielle James, which was the  the working title until it was about to be published. When my publisher suggested shortening it to Enslavement, I agreed. I like the simplicity.

While sometimes it’s difficult to delete scenes or characters I like, it was necessary to give readers the best experience possible. I believe the story is better for these cuts, but I do hold those pieces dear. They are something I get to keep for myself. I still think about Rielle as the cold Minnesota wind whipped passed her and she tried to make that decision to go home or run away. How difficult it was for her! I love how, even early on, she was brave and she didn’t even know it.

Yet Another Book I Thought I’d Never Write

If you would’ve told me when I set out on this writing journey that I was going to write a book about zombies, I would have laughed. Me? No way! Once again, I’ve learned to never say never.

On November 18, alongside co-author Christine Steendam, I launched my third book, The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s my first book for grown-ups, first zombie book, first co-authored book. So many firsts. 

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This book was so much fun to write. I hope that it’s equally as fun to read. It’s got humor and the gore you expect from zombie fic. It’s The Walking Dead meet Sex and the City.

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Here’s the back cover copy:

Seriously, we need a synopsis? Doesn’t the title say enough? Okay, if we must . . .

Only the finest will do for Maddie and Vanessa. From Yoga to spa days to the best bottles of wine—life is good until a routine pedicure turns violent.

With an unknown and highly contagious illness sweeping the city, Maddie and Vanessa attempt to maintain their lifestyle as supplies run low.  To survive, the high maintenance ladies must fight off blood-thirsty, decaying hordes while armed with only a baseball bat, a tennis racquet, and an awesome pair of stilettos.

So crack open a box of wine. It’s the zombie apocalypse.

Find it on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats. Click here.

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Subversion Launches

On September 13, 2016, after years of revising and editing, I launched Subversion, sequel to Enslavement and book two in the One Bright Future series. I am so pleased to finally get to share this YA dystopian novel with readers. Honestly, I like it better than the first book, but we’ll see what you all think.

Buy it on Amazon. If you want an electronic version, it’s coming soon.

Greetings from the World’s Worst Blogger and Free Writing Results

Greetings. It’s been awhile. Okay, maybe I’m not the worst blogger, but I win for inconsistency. I have a good excuse though. I’ve been hard at work on edits for Subversion, the sequel to Enslavement. I’m not sure what my excuse was when I wasn’t working through edit, but I’m certain I can come up with something. There are so many good excuses not to blog.:)

At my writers’ group, we often do free writing exercises. We’re given a starter topic and five minutes to work our writerly magic. It’s amazing where the brain goes . . . and sometimes a little frightening. Here’s a free write I did a couple weeks ago.

The topic: write a query hook for a novel about a moody teenager.grimace-1012862_1920

Talia Mooney rolled her eyes one too many times. Her optic nerves and tendons stretched and flexed, slingshotting. Her eyes rolled over and over. There’s only one way to stop the rolling and that’s to clean her room. But she’s only got 24 hours to do it before her eyes roll permanently, never stopping. Can she clean her room before her eyes get stuck in perpetual motion and she becomes the eternally moody teenager?

Oh, the raw mush that comes out of writers’ brains. Delicious!

 

 

Weird Stuff People Say at Book Signings

booksigingA couple weeks ago at a book signing, an older gentleman took a look at Enslavement and proceeded to tell me how he didn’t read science fiction by female authors. It was tempting to get offended, but I took the comment in stride. I engaged him on why he felt that way and wished him all the best. It wasn’t the first odd comment I’d received. People have said some weird stuff to me at book signings.

At the same signing, after giving a brief synopsis of my book, a woman told me that the government truly was watching us all. She came back later in the day to remind me, “They’re watching us.”

book signingLast fall, a man seemed particularly interested in my book. He asked what it was about, and I gave him my quick pitch. “It takes place in the future. It’s about a seventeen-year-old girl who is sold into slavery because of her family’s beliefs.” He informed me that the title indicated it could be about S&M bondage. I told him it was definitely not about that, that he may have my book confused with another book. He insisted that it was about bondage. “But, it’s not. I wrote it. I know.” He ended up buying the book, because he was sure I was wrong.

I can’t tell you how many people, after giving my pitch–“It takes place in the future…”–have asked me if it’s a true story. I resist the urge to say, “Yes, absolutely true. I can see into the future and this is going to happen. For $20 I’ll give you lottery numbers.”

My absolute favourite, though, is, “Are you famous?” If you have to ask, I’m probably not.

I maintain my belief–people are weird. But are they ever entertaining!

Do you have a book signing story? Have people said anything memorable to you? Please share in the comments.