Attention-Grabbing Scenes: the Post About Devon Monk

This past fall, I read Magic to the Bone, the first book of the Allie Beckstrom series by Devon Monk. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s an urban fantasy novel set in Portland – but in a parallel time where magic is a commodity and a – relatively – normal part of life. I had enjoyed the book, but it didn’t give me the gotta-get-the-next-one-NOW urge that some books do (perhaps because my list of books I want to read had already surpassed the time I had to read them in).


However, as I am debating about trying my own hand at urban fantasy, my mind kept going back to Devon Monk. I was curious to read about her writing journey. Turns out, she’s a writing fiend! She has written nine Allie Beckstrom books in four years from 2008 to 2012. Oh, and she started a Western steampunk series in 2011, and has written at least one manuscript for an Allie Beckstrom spinoff series. Yes, over ten books. In just over four years… Holy cow! That’s a whole lotta books in a five year period – and they are good, too. I was amazed.

But even more than that, as I was perusing her blog, I stumbled upon an unedited, maybe-won’t-even-make-it-to-the-final-draft scene from Hell Bent, the first book in her Allie Beckstrom spinoff series. You can find that scene here, and I recommend you take a minute to read it. I read it, and I was blown away. It’s not that long. Not a lot happens. But we learn a lot about the characters in a natural way (no info-dumping, no lengthy jaunts to the past, no lost-in-thought moments), and I was instantly drawn in. Now, it’s probably helped by the fact that this is not her first rodeo, but Monk’s voice in this scene, her characterization, her pacing – all of it really grabbed me. And this is not even her final draft! From that scene alone, I know I will be buying this book in November.

As I continue to read Orson Scott Card’s book on creating characters, Monk’s blog post seemed timely. Her scene encapsulated what I am aspiring to do, although, Lord knows, I’m not there yet by any stretch of the imagination.

Are there any authors who have really made an impact on your writing journey? Any interesting urban fantasy books that represent the genre and need to make it onto my To-Read list?


The Compendia – Coming Soon!

Despite my comments on being short on time, I cannot let the weekend go by without letting you all know about something exciting that is happening soon. What is it, you ask? Well, it’s…


The Compendia is a new blog that a talented friend of mine has painstakingly put together. She’s pulled in a few friends from different creative fields to post on the ups and downs of life and art. I’m really excited to have been invited to be a part of it! The launch date is February 6th. Hope to see you all there!

The Versitile Blogger Award

Well, what fun! I start a new job, ignore WordPress for two weeks, and then BAM! I get nominated for an award. How neat is that?

Much appreciation goes out to DLFwriting for the nomination. He is much better than I am at posting on a regular basis, and his posts contain a lot of interesting nuggets for wannabe writers such as myself.


Versatile Blogger Rules (tweaked slightly due to lack of time):

  • Display the Award Certificate on your website
  • Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award
  • Present 15 5 awards to deserving bloggers
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post
  • Post 7 3 interesting things about yourself.

This is my first award nomination, and I’m really excited to be able to mention others who have been inspirational (across all fronts) during my time as a blogger. I wish I had the time to nominate more people, but, sadly, I just don’t. Therefore, here are 5 deserving people whose blogs you should definitely look into:

  1. Candace Knoebel
  2. Ravven’s Glass
  3. Canadian Hiking Photography
  4. idelore
  5. Casey Voight

Go on, check ’em out!

And, as for the things about me:

  1. I am a tea addict. I drink 3-4 cups of the stuff a day. It’s wonderful!
  2. I secretly listen to hip hop music when I’m alone in the car. It’s my guilty pleasure, but it keeps me from getting road rage. 🙂
  3. I love cooking and trying new recipes – especially with my husband. My favorite experiment this month has been cod poached in white wine with carrots and onions over garlic mashed potatoes. Yum.

Well, that’s all I have for you for now. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to post once a week as my life evens out. Thanks for hanging in there!

It’s been a while…

Hey there! Where’ve you been? Oh, wait, that’s right – it is me who has been absent.

After my last post, December got away from me. With the holidays to distract, it was easy to let time slip through my fingers. It was totally worth it, though. I had a wonderful December with my family. But it also gave me time to think about where I want to go from here. Writing Augira/The Mad Kingdom was a huge learning experience. I am taking a break from that story for now – after 6 months together, I need some space away from it. So, I’m hitting the books and teaching myself more about writing in preparation for my next project: a totally new novel. I will come back to Augira/The Mad Kingdom someday, but my other story ideas are simply more inspiring to me right at this moment.

The books I’m reading now:
1. Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
2. The First Five Pages: a Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman