Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Name Is Celina Summers...

...and I am a writerholic. I have been a writerholic for three years. I am not currently undergoing treatment for my writerholism because I have editing to do and revisions due soon. My problem is that I always want to be writing.

Not editing.

Not rewriting.


Normally, this is not a problem. After all, I've still got lots of space on my hard drive. But in a co-writing project, it becomes a problem. While I still had Deception in process, it wasn't so bad. I could balance my writing time between the two projects and keep my impulses under control.

But now? Now it's a horror! The muses have taken over. I sat down to write a little scene and discovered I'd written three new subplots (without discussing them with my partner) and FOUR full length chapters. FOUR. I thought I'd only been writing for an hour.

I'd been writing for eight.

Obviously, I can't use any of what I wrote. I have to work with Rob, and we've been very good about making sure that we pace our way through our plot step by step. I mean, when we were writing Breaking the Covenants, it worked perfectly. But that's because I was BUSY. I was overwhelmed with work. I could control my obsessive compulsive creative impulses. But now I'm at a loss. I don't know what to do. I have to be fair to Rob so--

--I deleted everything I wrote today. It was only fair. Now in order to make things right, I need to come up with an entirely new project to start on and start on quickly! I need to have another writing project to focus on so that the energy of my hyperactive Muses can be channeled into another story.

I just need to think of one.

Who ever heard of a writer whose problem was writing TOO much? I've got to be the craziest person on the planet. Oh well. Time to dig through my character files and the worlds I've built and see if I can't put together something to keep me occupied. Should be interesting to see what I come up with if nothing else.

My name is Celina Summers, and I am a writerholic. So sue me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When Nature Writes Poetry

There is poetry in nature. Today is one of those days that the nature deities of the ancient religions return to earth to leave their mark. They take something ordinary, and they create something preternatural with it. No matter how you look at it, there is poetry in nature.

But then, something within nature goes beyond poetry. It strives for something more--a paean, perhaps, to the glories of what the world can occasionally offer within its grasp. There is a glimpse of divinity, the song of the sublime, and the whole world is still and silent while under its spell.

Yes, sometimes nature writes poetry.

It only pisses me off when the poetry falls on the power lines.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things To Think About When Naming a Book

You know, every once in a while, I out-stupid myself. Stick around for this story: you'll love it.

As you all know, the title of the second book in The Asphodel Cycle is The Gift of Redemption. Naturally, I have "The Gift of Redemption" on my Google alerts because I like to know when my books pop up on the web. (For all of you aspiring writers out there, ALWAYS set up a Google alert for your stories--that way you can find out if someone is selling it illegally. This is especially important for e-pubbed stories.)

At any rate, the title stems from the theme of the book--the gift of redemption occurs when the Virgin Huntress accepts the only sacrifice that can redeem the race of Elves. It was a natural title for the book; that's what the book was about.

What I didn't think about was what else would pop up on Google alerts with the phrase "the gift of redemption."

Do you know how many church blogs I find out about every day talking about the gift of redemption? How many priest's personal blogs, how many printed sermons, how many religious sites use that phrase every single day? Whenever I get a Google Alert for The Gift of Redemption, I usually discover that *this is all made up* Father Stanley Bingo of St. Jehosephat Parish in Kansas City has delivered an entire sermon about the gift of redemption and, just in case you missed it on Sunday, printed it in its entirety on the parish blog on Monday.

This is particularly bad around Easter and Christmas, as I discovered much to my chagrin this past year.

Every Monday, my Google alert for "The Gift of Redemption" is usually fifteen to twenty posts long. Hidden amidst all the church blogs are a couple of ebook sales distributors and maybe a review or a post from this blog. So let's get something straight here:

The Gift of Redemption by Celina Summers is about Elves, a fictional race of beings that are an archetype of the fantasy genre.

When you're naming your stories, future and present writers, take a moment to think of what you're getting into in the wonderful world of Google. The final installment of the Asphodel series was originally going to be called simply "The Apostle."

Ummm...we're not going that route. Hopefully, The Apostle of Asphodel will protect me from the influx of church blogs that I'm quite certain will be just as relieved not to have "Elf Killing and Other Hobbies" showing up on their Google Alerts in the future.

See? I'm doing it all for religion. That's okay though; the Pope can thank me later.

Monday, January 26, 2009

So I Finished Another Book Today

That's three--count 'em...three before February. My goal for 2009 is seven completed novels. I'm not doing too shabby if you look at it that way.

So anyway, after tiptoeing around my denouement for a couple of days, I finally figured out how to do the reveal, set up the climax and finish the book. I was so excited! And get this--I was shooting for a 90k paranormal romance--good industry length yada yada--and I only went over by *mumblemumble* thousand words! Yay! By the time I add in the subplot I forgot I'll be right back to *epic* if I'm not careful. Oh well, I'm giving it a day and then the real work starts. I can't wait.

I'll be querying this baby in a month. Just you wait.

Now it's snowing out and the only writing project I have on my desk is the second Covenants book. I kind of have to take a break on it; the Muse was driving me on the storyline and I kind of got ahead of Rob. I need to let him catch up. So, it's a perfect time to...

...start a new book. Hmmm...let me see. Should I go for the new fantasy world that's been bubbling around in my head, give a Regency romance a whirl, or maybe pick up on something completely new? I bet you I'll figure it out by the morning. After all, I won't have anything else to do.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Denouement

So, I'm at the denouement of Deception and I'm tiptoeing around it like it's got the chicken pox. I write a little bit of it, then shake my head and say "nah" and go back and tinker with it. This is not how I usually write. It's just that this is my first stab at a book that's not set in a world I made up and I keep forgetting that we people who live down here on Earth have rules and prejudices and systems that prevent me from my usual technique.

My usual technique is to just blurt it out and the rest of the characters look at each other, shrug, pick up their weapons and get ready to go fight.

That won't work this time.

So I'm sculpting it bit by bit, waiting for the spark of inspiration to tell me how in the hell I'm going to convince my main character that things like time travel and psychic bondage are not only real, but occurring all around her without her knowledge.

I have to admit, it's making me sweat a bit.

In other news, my good friends at AuthorScoop posted an interview with me today in their new section "Five Minutes With..." I was rather flustered to be asked to do the interview, but it's up. You should check out AuthorScoop anyway--it's the place to go for literary news and there's a backlog of great articles there. It's a good way to waste away an afternoon, and come out of it with new knowledge. Go check it out.

I'll be busy slithering around this denouement and trying to make it work.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Quiet Patriot

A quiet patriot passed from this world last night, his wife and sons at his side. He'd been battling brain cancer for a long time. Refusing to go to the hospital, he remained at home--never complaining, never defeated.

He'd served his country in war. After that, he served his country in peace time. He'd taught in the local high school and managed their JROTC unit. He'd raised two sons to become upstanding members of society. He loved his wife and she was everything in the world to him. He loved his family, even his extended family of nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews. He looked upon the world with a crystalline glare--one that saw truth and dismissed bullshit. When he walked, he walked upright, with a stride that was hard to keep up with. He was tall and he stayed tall until the very end.

He was quietly proud of his life, his family--even more proud of their accomplishments than his own. His own accomplishments were considerable, but he rarely spoke of them. Instead, he spoke of what others did, how they thought, how remarkable they were and how unusual. He was unconscious of everything he'd contributed to society, counting it as doing just what he was supposed to do and nothing more. Everyone else was extraordinary in his eyes. He was just himself, and for him that was the greatest thing in the world to be.

Now I can only hope that for a moment, just one moment some time in the coming present, I can discover his quiet secret for myself. Maybe that is the gift he left for me: the quest for unassuming extraordinariness.

Requiescat in pacem.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Say That Again? A Winter Storm What?

No way.

The gods couldn't be that cruel.

There's no way that we've been issued a winter storm warning here. This is Ohio. We don't get our winter storms for another month or so. We just get pissy little snows that are gone from the roads before I even think of bestirring myself from my writer's crypt and venture out to Walmart to get cat litter.

Last night, when I was alert enough to think about the future, I thought, "You know...I need to go to the store in the morning and get cat litter." I even checked the weather--and laughed, laughed, I tell you!--at the poor slobs who live in Northern Ohio and who were going to get half a foot of snow tomorrow while we were content with our normal measly inch.

How in the hell was I to know that the storm would shift south? So now here it is, after four in the morning, when I've been on a writing jag for about twelve hours straight and I've got to leave my nice warm writing nook, get in the car and drive to the store to pick up fucking cat litter and cigarettes so I won't have to leave the house for the three days it will take for the snow plows to hit our country road. Simply ducky. I'm not going now--that would be suicidal. I'm having to close one eye just to type. Noooooooooooooooo... I have to time this between the first glimmer of dawn and the first flake of snow to insure I get there safely.

Which means I have to stay up all night.

Which means I might as well keep writing.

Which means that tomorrow, which is the last day of voting in the P&E Readers' Poll, I'll be begging my husband to drag out the ladder and scrape snow off the satellite dish so that I can shamelessly plug my books for last minute votes.

(did you like the way I snuck that shameless plug in? Go vote...go vote now! you can see the links--just scroll down)

Hell, I probably won't even have television. I won't be able to do anything but write and change the cat boxes and take the snowblower up and down the driveway every hour or so. Snow may accumulate at rate of over an inch per hour--damn you weather gods! I need my internet tomorrow! This isn't fair! It's a conspiracy, I tell you--a damned conspiracy.

Oh well. Less internet means more writing and since I'm nearing the end of this book, it may mean I might just get it finished by the end of the week. That will make it the second completed novel of 2009 if you count Breaking the Covenants with Rob Graham. Since my goal for the year is seven completed novels, it will put me well on my way.

So let it snow. Just let me get the damn cat litter first. Then snow all you want to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just Some News...And Some Begging...

So Temptation of Asphodel finally made it to Fictionwise. Now that it's for sale not only on the AMP website but the big two e-book distributors, I feel a little bit better. It's been in the queue to be released on Fictionwise since it was published--I'm not sure why it took so long for them to get it up on their site. I'm going to assume that the holidays had something to do with it.

My short story anthology Metamorphosis has been contracted by Aspen Mountain Press and will be released sometime this spring. So finally, all of you have proof that I can write something under 100k words. Hah! I win!

Now it's time for my annual shameless begging for votes.

The Gift of Redemption--Nominated for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel of 2008 by Preditors and Editors. Go vote here. The Gift of Redemption--nominated for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel of 2008 by Love Romance & More Cafe. Go vote here.(you will have to join the Yahoo group and then go to the Polls section of the board)Tempation of Asphodel--Nominated for Best Novel of 2008 in the Preditors and Editors Readers' Poll! Go cast your vote here.Temptation of Asphodel--Nominated for Best Book Cover of 2008 by Love Romances and More Cafe! Go cast your vote here. Celina Summers--Nominated for Best Author Published in 2008 by Preditors and Editors. Go cast your vote here.

The Preditors and Editors' poll ends on January 14th. The LRC poll ends on the 15th. If you've read the Asphodel novels and love them, go vote now!

[/end shameless plugging]

Friday, January 09, 2009

Football, Vampires, Polls and Me

So, the NCAA BCS champions are that team whose name I never mention unless absolutely necessary. I suppose, all things considering, that it is a good thing for the SEC--winning the BCS three years in a row is a feat no conference has accomplished since the Big Ten did it in the forties but still...

I couldn't root for either team in conscience, so I rooted for turnovers. The turnovers won. Now if we're lucky the quarterback-who-shall-not-be-named will declare for the NFL draft tomorrow and I won't have to hear his name on Saturday afternoons any more.

In other news, we completed the second draft of Covenants today and somehow managed to add words to it. I'm still scratching my head over that one; we were cutting stuff, I swear! Of course, we did insinuate a whole new subplot, but it was important I tell you! Important! Suffice it to say that Breaking the Covenants is comparable in length to an Asphodel novel. Love vampire stories and hate novellas? Have we got the product for you!

Both The Gift of Redemption and Temptation of Asphodel are holding steady in the top ten of their respective categories in the Preditors and Editors Readers' Poll. I'm pretty excited by that. It makes me feel good to know that there are enough people that appreciate the Asphodel novels to actually go through all the trouble to go vote for my books. *If you haven't voted yet, GO VOTE NOW*

Sorry--you know to expect the shameless plug in every blog post until voting ends. Think of it as an itch that you'll have to scratch until January 15th and casting a vote for one of my books is like the calamine lotion you need to soothe that itch.

I'm so wrong. But, you knew that didn't you?

So, in the morning, I'll get to start work on a brand new project! More importantly, at the moment I have no clue what that will be. I'll get to wake up, eat breakfast, look at whatever frozen precipitation is yelling for my snowblower to attack and then open a new document. I'll set my format for it, think for a minute and then type the first sentence.

And all of a sudden, I will find myself in a brand new world. I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Sounds of Snow at Night and the Thoughts They Bring

It feels really strange.

Everything is very quiet outside, which is where I am blogging at the moment because for some reason I felt the need to have a cigarette at four in the morning. There's an ice storm on the way--the radar tells me so--and I can definitely smell it on the wind. That crisp, clean smell is unmistakable in these hills during the winter. I'm awake and even the darn cats are asleep. It's just strange.

I've been doing a lot of rewriting today on Breaking the Covenants, my co-writing project with Rob Graham. We made a lot of changes to the beginning of the story and I've been fine-combing the rest of the manuscript for continuity issues. So at the moment, I'm in a meticulous mood and an icy pre-dawn in the hills of Ohio is just about perfect for that.

Besides, blogging may help to clear my mind. I have a lot of work to get done today. I want to get Covenants done if at all possible and then get back to work on Deception. We'll see how long I can stay productive. Of course, I'd be a hell of a lot more productive if I'd stop clicking on the Preditor and Editors poll results page to see how I'm doing. If, for example, you wanted to go vote for my books it might help ease my mind.

You knew the shameless plug was coming. Don't act so surprised.

Interestingly enough, our ice storm is apparently starting as snow. I love the sound of snow falling. It's the ultimate silence at night; it's like the flakes filter out all the other nocturnal noise so that all you hear is just a miniscule brushing through the air. I imagine that I can hear it; I'm not sure if I really can, especially at a time like now when it's just beginning and everything is quiet anyway. I like to think that I can. It's a comforting, lovely sound.

Wish someone could bottle that. They came up with Febreeze--why not this? I'd buy it.

Yes, it feels very strange out tonight. But now that I have flakes of snow hitting my LCD screen and my rear is freezing in this swing, I think I'll head back in, make some coffee and get back to work. It's been a pleasure talking to you, as always.

Now go vote for my books.


TWO shameless plugs in one post. Just wait until the voting period is nearing its end.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Asphodelian Award Nominations

Well, it's nomination season and the gods have been good to me again--so good that I'm still reeling.

You remember last year when The Reckoning of Asphodel was a Top Ten finalist in the Preditors and Editors Annual Readers' Poll as Best Sci Fi/Fantasy Novel of 2007? Sit back and get ready to be shocked.

The Asphodel Cycle 2: The Gift of Redemption has been nominated by P&E for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel of 2008.

The Asphodel Cycle 3:The Temptation of Asphodel has been nominated by P&E for Best Novel of 2008.
I have also been nominated in the Author's Pages category!
If you wanted to vote (and of course you do, why wouldn't you?) go to You can find The Gift of Redemption under Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels and Temptation of Asphodel under All Other Novels.

Then...hold gets better. I have something to show you--twice:

The Gift of Redemption was nominated by Love Romances and More Cafe as Best Sci Fi/Fantasy novel of 2008 AND Temptation of Asphodel was nominated for Best Cover Art of 2008--that wonderful bit of work done by Renee' George! Voting opens at LRM on January 5th, and I'll post more about that later.
I'm a little excited right now and off to post this all over the web. You guys hold down the fort while I'm gone. Gee...I'm totally gobsmacked.