Oct 092014

I’ve been reading Alexandra Sokoloff’s blog series on Nanowrimo prep and the very first exercise completely threw me.

(from her blog)
ASSIGNMENT: List ten books and films that are similar to your own story in structure and/or genre (at least five books and three movies if you’re writing a book, at least five movies if you’re writing a script.).

I had no issue coming up with a dozen movies but the books? I came up with three. THREE! Shameful, right?

Well, technically they’re all series, but I should be able to do better than that. I am, afterall, a reader as well as a writer. I should be able to name more than a measly three books.

The basic problem, as I see it anyway, is that my reading tastes are changing and I haven’t found that reading niche that excites me yet.

So here’s my movie and book list (no judgments). I’m looking for suggestions on reads that’ll compliment it.

Jurassic Park
National Treasure
Apollo 13
How to Train Your Dragon
Princess Bride
Guardians of the Galaxy
Live Free and Die Hard

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry
Red Heart of Jade by Marjorie Liu
Night Game by Christine Feehan

The last two books have lots of sex scenes, but I’m not interested in those so much as the stories they told. I like quirky. I like humor. I’m a sucker for a guy in uniform. I like action. I like supernatural. So hit me with your best shots. I’m open to something new.

Aug 092014

In case you missed it, and it would have been easy to do, I’m pleased to announce that One Small Touch in ebook form is no longer exclusively available on Amazon. It’s now available wherever ebooks are sold. If you like a vendor, and don’t see it listed, please let me know.

Barnes & Noble

As always, One Small Touch is also available in paperback everywhere. Just ask for a special order at your local bookstore or find it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book-a-Million or any other online bookstore.

Jul 022014

I may be odd, but I love reading books on writing theory. Part of this is because I have a need to know the ‘why’ of things. When I wrote One Small Touch is was completely by instinct. I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life and the ebb and flow of a story apparently ingrained itself on my subconscious enough that I was able to pull off a credible book.

But when it came time for my second story, I wanted to know why I wrote the way I did. Why elements worked together the way they did and why readers responded to certain things and not others. I also wanted to know how I could improve myself. How to make each successive story better than the last.

So I’ve spent the better part of the last year not only studying for college, but studying writing.

The best writing book I’ve read so far is Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. It really lays out what makes a scene stick with a reader and what logical order a scene follows. You can bend these ‘rules’ but readers subconsciously know something is off and you can lose their interest fast.

The best ‘get your head out of your ass’ book is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. If you need to understand WHY you self-sabotage, this is the book for you.

The best all-encompassing book is David Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines. This book covers the psychology of your characters, emotional beats, settings, viewpoints, conflicts and a host of other elements. It then takes all those elements and teaches you how to tie them all together in one neat outline shaped bow in a rather unique way.

The best ‘where do I start’ book is Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell. It changed how I looked at writing completely.

There were a lot of other great books I’ve read; Writing Thrillers by Michael Newton, any of the Write it Right series by Tristi Pinkston, Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff, but the ones listed above stuck with me the most.

Jan 102014


Welcome to Valerie Douglas’ The Coming Storm Blog tour.  Check back to The Finishing Fairies daily to find out where she’ll appear next.


Excerpt from The Coming Storm


At the end of the causeway she turned toward the Hunter’s and Woodsmen’s camp which was nestled between the castle and the river itself. Some were about the chores that such folk needed to do when they were at home – mending tack, honing weapons or training new recruits.

“Hai, Ailith, fairest of the fair, sweet rose of Riverford, a delight to the eye and the heart,” a voice caroled. “Were it not for my own fair lady, my heart would be yours.”

Restraining a smile and rolling her eyes, Ailith turned in the direction of the voice.

“Oh, Gwillim, go on with you,” she said in mild exasperation.

The leader of the Hunters grinned, sweeping off his hat in an elaborate bow, difficult to do in the saddle. Tall, lean and rangy, as happily mated as any she knew, Gwillim flattered every woman he met, but her in particular, teasing her as always. She was neither fair nor anyone’s definition of a sweet rose. Which he well knew.

Well used to it, the other Hunters in the party laughed or grinned.

“Ah, were I not mated…,” he began.

“Leave off, Gwillim!” she exclaimed, restraining a grin.

She was blushing. Again.

Between the others, coin changed hands.

Sighing with resignation, she guided her horse to Gwillim’s side.

“Really Gwillim?” she said, but he simply smiled and finally she had to laugh. “All right, are we about this?”

With a quick glance at the others, he nodded, grinned unrepentantly, and led them out to the north and east, sobering somewhat as he got down to business.

“The reports we have,” he said, “now speak of more than one boggin. So you know.”

He would’ve briefed the others as they waited.

Frowning a little, she nodded acknowledgement. “My father pointed out you were off after a boggart just last week.”

She hadn’t ridden out with them then, having been busy in the town hearing a complaint between two merchants. It had been a tedious and foolish argument, but difficult to find common ground between the two to settle. If she’d had to choose between the two, listening to the querulous people involved or hunting the notably vicious boggart, she’d have chosen the boggart over the boredom.

Gwillim said grimly, “Aye and a nasty one it was. We chased it back into the borderlands, but it gave us a difficult time all the same. It turned on us, going after Vi’s horse. She nearly went down.”

Startled, Ailith said, “A boggart? That’s not like a boggart.”

Mean and vicious, roughly man-shaped and going about on two legs, a boggart would attack a lone man with no fear but run from a group unless it was cornered or in a pack. Cornering a boggart was a highly dangerous thing to do, as they were quick, had nasty claws, and even nastier teeth. Gwillim was too canny to corner a boggart in such a way it would turn on them without having everyone’s bows at ready. A dozen arrows would’ve pierced the thing before it could have turned on them. It had turned on them, then, during the chase.

“Well I know it. Nothing’s like anything of late,” Gwillim said, worriedly. “Such things are becoming common. I don’t like it, but I can put no name to it.”

Ailith didn’t like it either, something about it made her uneasy. It seemed as though, lately, a great many things left her unsettled and she didn’t know why.

Of a lighter and merrier nature than either of her parents, such disturbance wasn’t her nature. As with her misgivings over the man who’d ridden in that day. There was nothing overt to give her pause, yet she’d taken it. That bothered her. Still, there was little she could do about it, save wait to see if a reason presented itself. For now, she had boggins to consider.



Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.

Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own silent battle. Her father has changed, but her quest to discover what changed him puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.
To preserve the alliance, though, Elon will have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which he fought.

Amazon | Goodreads


A Convocation of Kings (The Coming Storm, #2)

 (The Coming Storm, #3 (Novella))

 (The Coming Storm, #4(Novella))


valerie-douglas-001Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors of almost every genre from Isaac Asimov to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!

Happily married, she’s companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.

You can find more information at Valerie Douglas Books, or at Alexandria Publishing Group.

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Jan 072014

2013 was a topsy-turvy year.

I did a lot of things wrong.

I didn’t release a new book.

I didn’t write consistently.

I didn’t utilize my time wisely.

I spent far too much time on Facebook.

I didn’t complete NaNo…all three times I attempted it.

But I also did some things right as well.

I finished a short story for The Alexandria Winter Anthology 2013 (it’s about a werewolf, you should read it!)

I read lots of books on writing theory.

I reconnected with some longtime friends and made some great new ones.

I moved into a great new place in a wonderful neighborhood.

I started back to school.

Yes, you read that last item correctly.

I, a *mumblety-five mother of 3, have started college. Not only that, but I’m pursuing a double major. So maybe with the move and the start of classes I have some excuse for not getting much writing done this year. But I don’t accept that.

Quite frankly, I floundered. I let myself get stifled by fears of not being a good enough writer and the stress of having to produce something publishable.

So looking forward, I give myself permission to suck. I give myself leeway to produce unimaginable garbage only fit for the litter box. I give myself permission to write what I feel like and not what I think I ‘should’ be writing.

What I do not allow myself is permission to not write something. Every.single.day. Even if it’s just a blog post like this. I’m writing again.

And it feels good.

Dec 132013
Image via Morguefile

Lately, I’ve been reflecting upon the past year. Things I have done, things I haven’t, things I definitely should have done better.

One of those things is this blog. I need to add content more often. I need to write more short stories. I need to…engage.

I struggle with what to say. There’s only so many times you can whine about stuff before you get sick of yourself. And if you’ve reached that point you’ve already alienated most of your audience.

I see bloggers who post everyday and their posts are so lively and entertaining, and I have no idea how they do it. Most days I’m too tired to do more than stare blankly at the screen while trying desperately to think of something….anything…to say.

So, today I decided I’m going to make a list. It’ll be as long as I can make it with as many ideas for posts I can come up with. And I’ll post at least one them a week.

Does anyone want to help me come up with some? :)

Sep 072013


It’s funny how things can go. Even with my lovely new office space (which I FINALLY got set up) I haven’t gotten much writing done. *sigh

I’ve tried all sorts of things: exercising, meditation, taking a complete break from writing, forcing myself to sit and stare at the blank screen, reading books on theory or characterization or how to write the bestest.book.ever, etc. I’d get a couple hundred words out and then….nothing. Every story I tried…and I’ve tried 4 or 5 this summer…have petered into nothingness.

Now, if you’ve read my other posts, you know that I’m a sporadic writer at best. I don’t think I’ll ever be what you call prolific. But I always managed to get SOMETHING down, even if I did switch projects. But not this summer.

I could offer excuses. We just moved and were still settling in. We acquired a new puppy soon after moving in. This house is a lot more ‘active’ than the old one. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. But it’s all sophistry. If I really WANTED to write, that’s what I’d do.

So I need to delve into the reason why I don’t want to write. Is it fear of failure? Fear of my second story not being as good as the first? Is it fear that the first one wasn’t really that good and the more books I put out the more people are going to find out I’m a fraud?

Seeing a trend here? It’s fear that’s stopping me. Fear of disappointing people. Fear that I really can’t write.

So what do I do? Well, I can either hide in my Cancer-crab shell or I can force myself to face my fears. So far the shell is VERY cozy but I’m working my way out.

What about you guys? Anyone have any tips on overcoming fear?

May 312013

Guess what! In June, APG (http://alexandriapublishinggroup.com/) is one! We’ve had a blast for this first year, bringing you some of the best indie writing out there, and next month, we’re going to do some really neat promotions and share some really nice things. And there’s a surprise competition with kick-ass prizes! Won’t you join us? Kick off our first year into our second and watch us go from strength to strength.
And with a wide range of authors and service providers, Alexandria Publishing Group really does have something for everyone!


Nike’s Wings by Valerie Douglas

Nike’s Wings is on sale! For a limited time, only $0.99!
Five Stars! Wonderfu

l, March 20, 2013
“Want more. When is the next book coming out? Good start to a continuing series that has wonderful potential for many more.”


onesmalltouchfinalAlso, One Small Touch will be FREE for the VERY LAST TIME starting tomorrow. You won’t want to miss this!


May 222013

April held an unexpected surprise for my family. We got a terrific opportunity to move into a much larger house in an extremely nice neighborhood for roughly the same amount we had paying at the old place. No brainer right?

So my April plans for doing Camp Nano were derailed while we packed and cleaned and moved and unpacked and settled into our new area.

May, I thought! May I can do my own Camp Nano! So far that hasn’t worked out in my favor either. I have gotten some writing done but it’s really been sporadic. There’s just so much to do around the new place, new locks, new light fixtures, hanging things up, more unpacking, and all the cleaning. Plus, while the house is bigger it’s also noisier so I have a hard time getting into the ‘zone’.

But yesterday things changed. Our longterm houseguest left (he’d been staying with us since December) and I now get his room as my writing space. I can go in there and close the door and write to my heart’s content. And I only have to share my space with the cats, who’ve also laid claim to the space.

This should up my word count considerably. At least until the next guest arrives. :)