Spark Plugs, Executions, Outlines, and a Good Book

What do these seemingly disparate things have in common? I learned something about each this week! Let’s start with the book. Normally, I’d feature this on WANA Wednesday, but I only have one book, and I’m lazy, so…

thepromisedonehighresA couple of weeks ago, real-life writing friends C.D. Hersh released their debut urban fantasy, The Promised One. In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her uncle has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life–her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew that his cop partner, and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship–professional or personal.

I am reading The Promised One now, and really enjoying it! What’s especially cool is that it isn’t your typical creature-shapeshifter–in this book, people shift into other people. Very cool, with so many opportunities for things to get interesting! More info on their blog at

So, one thing I learned this week is that it’s still possible to put a new twist on something that’s been done and done and done – in this case, the shapeshifter romance. Other things I learned are:

Another thing I learned is that changing the spark plugs on a ’99 Firebird is a major pain! They are almost impossible to get to. I know this, because my husband was attempting to do this on my old car, that our daughter now drives, and needed my smaller hands to help. We did it, but it wasn’t easy–he even ended up drilling a hole through the wheel well to get an extension socket wrench through to get to the most difficult one!

Third, I learned that six people can be invited to witness an execution in Ohio. Three by the condemned, and three by the victim’s family. Maybe this is obvious to folks who watch a lot of news–I found it in the process of doing research for my work-in-progress.

ROW80Logo175And finally, I’m finding that I don’t need to outline exhaustively to start writing–in fact, this is one excuse I use to procrastinate. I knew this before, but this awesome blog post by Dean Wesley Smith reminded me. If you’re a writer and you haven’t read it, go there. Really. This is the best blog post I’ve read all year! So I didn’t write up the 25 scene cards I’d noted in last week’s ROW80 goals–just made a few more notes, and started writing instead. Nothing major, just 250 words, but hey, it’s a start! Here are the rest of the details:

  • Do the Character Pre-plan Exercise for my antagonist – Done!
  • Work on outline–create 25 cards – not done, but still counting this as a win. See above.

I also started back in on fitness, now that I can walk on the treadmill for more than five minutes without having to stop to cough. Got four workouts in last week! I also picked up some more research materials at the library. I have a bunch of stuff going on this weekend which will require a good bit of prep time, so going easy on the goals this week. So here’s the plan:

  • Skim/read the smaller of the two research books
  • 1500 words on new ms
  • 4 workouts

What about you–what new things have you learned this week? Read any good books lately? If you’re doing ROW80, or just working toward some goals, how are you doing? Let us know in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

10 Responses to \

  1. You certainly had a nice round week of learning. 🙂 The blurb for the The Promised One sounds fascinating. Love when writing craft tips click and help you move forward. Very cool. Plus, workouts too. Nice. Hope you have another fab week ahead of you.

  2. The spark plugs sound fun, and one of my least favorite ever activities. I probably would have shot the Firebird. I’m with you on Dean’s post, he is always a great read, but this one is an 80-carat diamond, polished. Nice job on the workouts, need to get back to that myself–keep inspiring us. Have a fantastic week, Jennette!

  3. Sounds like you’ve been busy! I leave the car maintence to Goodyear! Better for the car – haha!

    Currently reading “Joyland” by Stephen King. Pretty interesting, but half-way through it and I’m still waiting for the…whatever!

    I tried outlining once. That was enough to tell me I can’t do it and write a decent story. Did get 7500 words chopped from Bite Me. Still 2500 short, but hope that’s okay. One more read (to make sure I didn’t screw anything up) and I’ll resend it again (and will BEG for her to read it if I have to – sad, huh?). Yeah, I could self-pub it, but I don’t want to. I want my vamp books to be with one publisher, you know?

    Glad to see you’re writing. Every little bit counts!

  4. I recently learned that snakes don’t actually unhinge/dislocate their jaws when eating animals. The jaw isn’t rigidly fixed, but connected by ligaments. I was doing writing research and fell down the Google hole and somehow ended up reading about this! 🙂

  5. Drilling a hole in the wheel well to get to a spark plug? Does not sound fun.

    The execution witnessing thing – I seriously thought you were going to say you got invited. You let me down there. Oh well, maybe another time?

    And yes, you can start writing without having a clue where you’re going next in your story. I do it all the time.

    Good goals, once again. Good luck.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  6. SJ, I’m really enjoying it – thanks!

    Gene, my husband was about this close to doing just that! Luckily, we got it taken care of. 🙂

    Stacy, I haven’t read that one. And yes, I think it would be better to have the series all from one publisher, if they’ll go for it – and I hope they do!

    Coleen, I didn’t know that! So I learned something from the comments, too. And yes, its waaaaay too easy to fall into that trap.

    Patricia, the spark plugs were a major pain, but we got ’em done! I hope I’m never invited to witness an execution – although I wouldn’t mind seeing the room from a purely academic standpoint – empty!

  7. The Promised One sounds like a fun read–shapeshifting into other people is a pretty cool idea! I don’t want to think about your spark plug adventure–yuck! The execution trivia is quite interesting (call me morbid). Congrtas on getting in some good work out time! I know you are a detail person, but I’m so glad you’ve realized that you dont have to write an extensive outline before you start to write!

  8. Gosh, what did I learn this week? Be careful where you place your recently sharpened knives? If your child says they’re going to puke, get them a hurling bag BEFORE entering the store?

    That’s such a crazy mix of genres, my brain is still dancing in circles, trying to crunch it. Seriously going to check it out.

  9. Maria, I’m really enjoying the Promised One! The research is definitely interesting, so I guess I’m morbid too. 🙂

    Yikes, Crystal! I hate to imagine how you learned about the knives! Though I seem to recall learning about kids saying they’re going to barf in a similar manner. ;P

  10. The Promised One sounds like a fun read. I’ll check it out. And that was a wonderful post by DWS. The guy knows his stuff, but this one about enjoying and having fun – certainly brought back why I wanted to write in the first place.

    As for learning – I learned I shouldn’t post on facebook when I’ve had two hours sleep out of 30+ hours. LOL