Signed Cover Art

If you'd like to receive a signed cover art postcard, email me at isobael at gmail dot com. Include your name and mailing address and I'll get them in the mail to you.

August 31, 2009

My writing area...

Every writer knows they need a spot to call their own, a place in which they can sit down and write. A place in which they can dump all their creative juices into, onto.

Normally, my desk is a MESS. I have my outlines spread out on the table, pages I've printed out from other websites that help beginning writers remember the rules to writing, such as what words to avoid, passive voice examples, etc.

I have my mug of tea, my lamp, my laptop, a place to hold my pens and pencils, office supplies...(*purr* office supplies)

Click to enlarge

My writing area is in a small area of my bedroom. Behind the door, actually, and up against my built in bookcase.

I've marked off what is what in the picture, just enlarge it by clicking on it. =)

So, where is your writing area and do you have pictures of it? Want to share? =)

August 26, 2009


1. What made you decide to become a writer?

I grew up in a small town, and my siblings and I were one of a handful of minorities that weren't foreign exchange students. I wasn't thin, pretty, or rich, so I was pretty much excluded from a lot of social groups and activities. I relied on reading first, then I began to write. Poetry first, then stories.

2. What was the first story you ever wrote?
It was about a knight, his page, and a young damsel in distress taken by a were-dragon. As it turned out, the damsel didn't need saving from the dragon as she fell in love with the creature, and the knight and page were sent packing. I think I was in junior high when I wrote it.

3. What was the first novel you ever wrote?
My first novel length work is "Moonlight and Madness", 77,000 words. It's still in the process of revision and editing.

4. When did you first become published?
I was a junior in high school, one of my poems was published in an anthology. A couple of other poems were published in following anthologies, but I'm still an aspiring author.

5. Why your pen name?
I want to keep my writing life separate from my family life.

6. What does it mean or where did it come from?

Isobael was my first online role-playing character name. She became so popular that everyone requested I play her in various chronicles. She was a human that came into the World of Darkness and she tried very hard to retain her innocence and mortality despite the creatures around her. You either hated her immensely, or you loved her immensely. There was no middle ground with her. Since everyone knew me as Isobael, the name just stuck after all these years. It’s also a nod to my Scottish ancestors on my father's side of the family. Liu is actually my middle name and a nod to my Taiwanese ancestors, from my mother's side. For the record, I am NOT related to Marjorie M. Liu, the famous author.

7. What are you currently reading?

Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld series and Christine Feehan's Carpathian series. When I can get my hands on them, Amanda Quick's books.

8. What inspires you to write?
My own fantasies have to be the biggest inspiration. Loneliness and boredom come in a close second.

9. What is your all time favorite paranormal character in your own works?
Hmm. Thorin, in my first paranormal novella, "Untamed", but they all are my favorites. I guess it depends on what I'm working on. Right now, "Dead of Night", it has to be the alpha male character, Alyx.

10. What is the worst story you've ever read?
LOL. It would have to be my first story. I was so embarrassed of it, I burned it. =)

11. What is the most memorable story you've ever read?
Wow. Hmm. I can't remember the title of it. It was a historical romance, I believe, but I do know I FELT the heroine's emotional pain and just cried through the book because I felt her isolation and wanting to be loved, to be a part of something.

12. If you could meet any author in the world who would it be and why?
Christine Feehan, because I haven't met her yet and one shelf of my bookcase is just her Carpathian series. LOL.

13. Which authors have you met?
I've met Yasmine Galenorn and Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz). I consider Yasmine to be a friend, am honored she considers me as a friend, and she's so open and honest about her experiences as a writer and becoming an author. Ms. Krentz is awesome to listen to at book signings and listening to her talks, well, I can't WRITE notes fast enough to catch everything she says. I've met Cherry Adair, who is a KICK IN THE PANTS to listen to at book signings and author discussions. She is so in your face funny.

14. Where do you see your writing career headed?
I'm hoping to be published within the next five to ten years. I'd like to see it happen before I'm 40, but we'll see.

15. Do you aspire to hit the New York Best Seller List?
I don't know. My main goal is to be published. I've never considered hitting it "big time". Stranger things have happened, I guess. LOL.

16. What advice would you give to another fellow writer/aspiring author?
Write, even if you think it sucks because it can always be revised and edited. Just keep writing, because how else are you going to learn? READ everything about writing, and listen to authors who've been there. If you're lucky to know any authors, LISTEN to the gems they give you.

August 24, 2009

WiP#2 - Bleh!

Suitably titled, I think.

What started out as a great idea and filled with the excitement I normally get when I write, I began my second work.

Life interrupted. It got put on the back burner to simmer. When I managed to come back to it, I reread to catch up on what I had and HATED everything after chapter two.

I just could not figure out WHY.

So, chatting with my peer editor and my own personal Jiminy Cricket when it comes to writing, Connie suggested I send her what I had and she'd take a look.

Lo and behold, the fresh eyes found the problem.

I had no discernible conflict and no obvious motives for the actions.


So, back to the drawing board. Actually, white board. =)

I wrote out the main characters. Four of them. Two Protagonists and one Antagonist, with one that is serving as both.

I then listed out what their conflicts and motivations were.

From there, and three hours later, I had a working outline for the story.

My next step will be to go back and see what I have already written and start cutting. I'll keep what works with the new outline and the rest will be deleted.

Thanks, Connie! And get well soon! =)

August 22, 2009


In a mad dash of frantic scribbling, four pages later, I have the rough outline for the story I'm doing in November and NanoWriMo.

It's going to be very different than my usual pieces, I think. More action. Sword fighting! Vampires! *PURR* Modern day!

I saw you blinking in surprise. *Grin* Yep, it's modern day.

Thought it was going to be fantasy/historical with the vamps and swords, didn't ya?


I can't wait to start it! For now though, I'm going to do some research on a few things. I'll need to block out some sword fighting scenes so hubby and I will have some fun playing with our swords.

I had a lot of fun last night, Twittering with redchassykins and MireyahWolfe.

We ought to do a blog together as we're all aspiring authors. =) We could call it the Absurdly Asinine Aspiring Authors...and we could talk about our journeys into writing and becoming published. *Grin*

August 21, 2009

*Collapses into a heaping mess*

I just finished my first full editing job on WiP#1. I'm pretty sure giving birth was MUCH easier and less painful than editing.

Now, I get to go through it AGAIN. =)

I need to find beta readers. I need to know if the plot works, if the story isn't too fantasy, since it's romance. I need someone to point out plot holes and weaknesses in the story line and plot.

Original word count: 77,619

After Edit #1: 74,937

Lost in editing: 2682

Not too shabby!

August 18, 2009

Past couple of days...

Life has been a bit more stressful recently. Without going into detail, we'll just say my Depression has launched an all out assault on my ego and while NONE of it had anything to do with my writing that instigated it, eventually, it did trickle down and chewed up my sense of self worth as a writer.

It got to the point where I was feeling isolated, that no one cared if I just left, no one would even NOTICE I was gone. Darkness ensued and I knew that if I let it simmer and stew, I would do or say something I'd never be able to take back. So, I took some time off from the 'net and my writing. No editing, no writing whatsoever.

Went to the beach to go clamming.

Digging into rocky beach in search of those elusive clams, the ones you're allowed to keep, I realized my writing was similar.

I have to dig down in order to find the words to write, the right words. Some words wouldn't fit, some words were unnecessary, and they'd have to be thrown back into the wellspring. Sometimes, that hole would fill up with water and made finding the right clams more difficult. Sometimes, you dig up a piling worm and those things are just NASTY...frightening...and it reminded me of insidious thought-worms that invade the mind, the ego, eating away at self confidence. Those I had to toss away, as far as I could.

I spent time with Mother Ocean, just standing there at the edge of the water. To tell you the truth, I can't even remember what I thought about. Maybe I didn't think of anything. Maybe those thoughts weren't meant to be shared. I don't know.

I do know that when I returned home, I crashed and crashed hard. I slept for 15 hours straight.

I had some strange dreams. The first part of the dream I was a part of a class on a bus. We were going somewhere, but we found ourselves taken hostage and driven to an estate. I remember being worried because I knew the person who had us kidnapped was going to be attacked. A coup of some sort. I ran out to the fountain and pretended to be dead, but when someone poked me with a gun, I started to cry. I didn't want to die. Then there was shooting all around and I just lay there, terrified to move. When it was over, the coup had won and the bad guy was killed. The successors were good guys and returned us home.

Then the dream shifted and I was at home. I went to the fridge to get a mouse to feed my kestrel, but the mouse I put in the fridge wasn't there. Instead there was a young rat. I took it out and dropped it on the floor because it was still moving. But, it was a mutant rat or something because it had tentacles and when it rolled over on to its back, I could see where the chest had been cut open and it had no guts, only a heart and lungs. The heart was beating and I could see it breathing. I didn't want to touch it but I managed to pick it up and toss it outside.

Then I woke up.

I always get weird dreams when I commune with Nature.

In other, more mundane, news, NanoWriMo is a go. I have a partial outline down as to the story I'm going to do. Characters are jotted down.

Yes, paranormal romance. Well, maybe urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Not sure.

I'm very excited and a lot nervous. LOL.

August 15, 2009

Panic Mode Commencing in 3...2...1...

Yep. I'm panicking. Well, a little right now. It'll be much MUCH worse soon enough.

I've agreed to do NanoWriMo this year with Mireyah.

Yep. As if I didn't have enough on my plate with editing WiP#1 and writing WiP#2, I've decided to make my life a chaotic wreck with NanoWriMo. =)

Actually, I'm looking forward to it. I chickened out last year but I was encouraged to do it and when Mireyah mentioned it in her Tweet, I thought, "Why the hell now?"


I'm on NanoWriMo as "Isobael" (Of course!) so add me as a buddy or something.

August 14, 2009


And no, it's not about World of Warcraft.

I just received a full beta read and critique on WiP#1. Can we say, "Oh, wow"?!? It's very daunting, to say the least. I alternate between jumping for joy and sinking deep into despair at the mere thought of having to revise and edit so much of the work.

I suppose all first time writers go through this. The honey moon is over, aspiring author, now the real work begins!

I LOVED the feedback and critiques though. It's very in your face and to the point, but not all negative. It definitely points out where I need to work.

One advice I was given:

Declare war and eliminate the following words & phrases:
-and then
-with that

It was highlighted in my manuscript and I definitely could see the overuse of those words.

This website was pointed out to me. I'll share it with you. I also printed it out to hang on my wall so I can remind myself. =)
Allen Guthrie's Infamous Writing Tips

Daunting, but I'm determined to make this story SHINE!

August 13, 2009

WiP1 and WiP2

The first few pages of Moonlight and Madness I've always had a love/hate relationship with. I LOVED it as a prologue because it gave some background information on where Lilian came from, but I hated it because one, the only part she really remembered was what happened after she had been found and her life then and beyond, two, it's really unnecessary as the story stands on its own without it included.

When I took it out as a prologue and made it the beginning of chapter one, I had to rewrite the POV to make it work, but it's still not quite there. It still could be taken out and the story would continue on its own without it. There are too many time jumps, and while they are in chronological order, really, were they absolutely necessary? No.

So, it is with both great sadness and with great joy that I'm going to cut out that section (although I will save it in my notes), and start the story where Lilian is in Hawk's Point.

Of course, this means I'll also have to go in and shore up those parts where she discusses her past in order for readers to see the whole picture. Give those sections greater detail.

Maybe it'll all even out. =)

Secondly, I am NOT a write by the seat of my pants type of writer. This new story I'm working on has had no outline to go by and it's dragging like mad. So, I am most definitely needing an outline.

Chapter three is outlined, which is a plus as that's the chapter I need to finish before Connie finds out where I live and hunts me down. LOL. *Hugs*

Anyway, finishing my cup of tea and I'll be back to writing and working on outlining.

August 8, 2009


All right then.

Chapter two is finished. Sent it off to my peer editor, Connie, to read over and do a little correcting. I'm trying very hard not to worry about word counts but it's hard. I have an overall word count goal and I really want to achieve it this time.

I know, I know. Editing will change all that.

Chapter two came in less than what I would have liked, but it ended at a perfect stopping point and the beginning of chapter three will be a perfect place to pick it up again.

*Watches as Connie jumps up and down in excitement*

She's the only person who's been allowed to read the new story, so far. =)

Anyway, just a little update on that.

Moonlight and Madness is going through some major editing and revision. Thanks to a critique group called Rom-Critters, chapter one of M&M has REALLY been cleaned up. Lost words, gained words, lost more words, but I like it. I THINK I'm beginning to see where I need to watch in my writing, so that's good.

Maybe that's why I'm writing WiP#2 a bit slower. It's definitely taking more time to get the story down.

Ok, I think it's bedtime for me. I'll leave you with a picture of Isis.

August 6, 2009

My Scottish Stone

I want to share how awesome my Dad is. =)

He just got back from Scotland, where he was interviewed MANY times by the BBC and other news over there at the Gathering of the Clans Celebration they had. He also met Prince Charles (which was no biggie to me because I really don't like him after what he did to Princess Di) although I did say that if he met the Queen, I'd be very jealous because I've always wanted to meet her.

Anyway, he brought back little things for the family. I never expected anything because we're not a rich family and I wouldn't have wanted him to spend his money buying stuff. I did ask him to sneak me home some English toffee. REAL English toffee, like one piece, but he couldn't find any. (I've never had REAL English toffee and wanted to try some.)

What he did bring me was even better.

He brought me a stone. From Scotland. He was walking along the River Clyde and something moving in the river caught his eye. He turned to look and and saw a stone that was rolling back and forth in the Clyde below Dumbarton. He thought it looked like a miniature standing stone and he felt that he had to bring it home for me. So, he fished it out of the Clyde, wrapped it up, and brought it home to me.

I had Spike put it on a small block of wood, he hot glued it for now, so that it stood up, and I have my own miniature standing stone from Scotland on my desk.

I'm going to have a base made for it with Celtic symbols and decoration and apply the stone to the base. Later, when I've found the right symbols.

For now, it sits beside me so as I work, I can glance over at it and smile. It's a reddish brown color and when turned in the light, you can see lots of crystal sparkles in it. Not sure if it's sandstone.

The white "glitter" shining on it are the crystals.

August 5, 2009

Info-dump...warming up my fingers for writing...

So, I'm working on a new story. This one will be more Urban Fantasy Romance. No Fae, no Shifters.

Vampires, yes. *watching Connie as she jumps up and down with glee*

Except, these vampires aren't undead. *GRIN* Nope, sorry, not going to say anything more. You'll just have to wait and see. Well, except Connie. She gets to read it as she's my peer editor.


It's slower to write than the first one. I think because I'm trying to put more into it than the previous. I'm trying to take what I learned about writing the first one and applying it to this as I write. Oh, I get my grooves and whip out 3000 words in a sitting, and then I have life intruding and I might be able to tear out 300 words instead.

I think that until I actually write something that actually makes money, my family thinks this is a lark and that there's no reason to give me my space to write. I know Spike alternates between supporting me and then asking when I'm going to be published. Like I have any control over it?

There are days I think I'm just failing. That I'll never be published because I'm a crappy writer. I can't edit my own work because I don't see where it needs editing. That's not from arrogance. I really cannot see WHAT and WHERE it needs work. Maybe I am a crappy writer.

Then there are days I'm so high on the creative process it's amazing. I'm whipping out the words, my fingers are flying over the keyboard that my mind can't keep up, and I'm PROUD of what I've just put down, AMAZED those words came from me. I have a shit eating grin on my face and I feel like I'm flying when I walk.

I still grin when I remember I just finished over 77,000 words and people LIKED the story. Yes, I posted it on LIT and SOL. I figured that I'll probably never submit that story to anyone. It's my first, it's...naive, it's cliche. It screams "BEGINNER WRITER". So, Moonlight and Magick was posted for "fans". Heh. I have fans.

One of the things I'm constantly reminded of is that I suffer from Depression. I know that it first appeared when I was in junior high and I've had it ever since. Much of it was because of my peers in school. I was not rich, pretty, or smart. I was picked on, harassed, and bullied. I know that I seriously considered ending it all and kill myself. Writing became my solace. Poetry at first.

I also know that it was in my mid to late 20's that I developed a mild form of Social Anxiety. There are days in which I do not leave my house because I know that when I'm in public, I am looked at, judged, and found wanting. I do not look at anyone in the eyes, and if someone talks to me, I can't answer. It took years for me to be able to overcome a lot of it by starting up a hobby I wanted to do, belly dancing. From there, I was even able to perform in public a few times.

Even now, when invited to gatherings, I go into manic bouts of panicking. What if they don't like me? What if what I'm wearing is horrible? What if I say something too stupid? What if they never invite me back? What if...what if...what if...? When I do go, I'm not sure what to say, how to reply, or even how to join in. After all, who am I really? Nobody.

Writing is an extension of role playing. When I write, I can be my characters. I live vicariously through my characters. I can be beautiful. I can have romance and be wanted. I can live dangerously. I can travel, or have a dream job, or whatever I want my character to have or live through. Everything that I do not have or cannot have, or will never have.

I'm also a bit Obsessive Compulsive. I believe in balance. I believe in checking my word counts obsessively after I come down from a writing groove. I LIKE to see what my word count is. I like the visual affirmation that what I just did was worth it, meaningful. I have no self esteem, so self confidence (part of the Depression), so seeing the word count add up as I write, it MEANS something to me. It gives me a sense of self worth.

Should it? Probably not. Does it hinder my writing? Maybe. Should I be worried about word counts? No. A respected author-friend has clubbed me over the head to death about not worrying about the word counts, to just write.

I do write! Every day. Punctuated with brief moments of checking Twitter, my email, making sure my daughter is not in any trouble, has eaten, the dog's been taken outside to potty, checking my word count so I can smile and pat myself on the back for adding more words to the work in progress, and then I'm back to writing.

I'm a multi-tasker. It's a habit that I acquired out of necessity and even now, I cannot break it. I cannot sit down and concentrate on one thing. I grow very bored with it. 30 minutes is probably as long as I can go without a necessary break, mental or physical. I have browser windows open, application windows open, and I go back and forth between them. It's amazing that I can even work on just ONE story at a time. Before, I had three going in various stages of completion. I feel that I've come along way since those days and maybe, eventually, I can close those browser windows to just write.

Does it make me a bad writer? Probably. All the good authors are dedicated and disciplined, and THEY are published but it works for ME.

Unable to find a local Critique group, I joined one online. I had one chapter of Moonlight and Magick critiqued. 210 words less, chapter one is now much improved. I still sit back and wonder why *I* didn't see it. I'm definitely glad I joined. Hopefully I can learn how to improve through their critiques.

I guess if I never find a mentor, a critique group is close.

In the meantime, I continue to write in the hopes that I can improve my writing so that a mentor will decide I'm worth the effort of mentoring.