Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

Bleeding Out September 18, 2011

Wow, so I just entered another amazing contest hosted by agent Janet Reid. If you hurry, you can get your entry in (contest ends tomorrow). I’ve entered just about all her 100-word contests (I’ve received a few mentions, too – yay) – and each time, I learn something new, hone my craft a bit more, get another kick in my pants to keep at this…

But this one…it almost hurt to enter. It sure as hell hurt to write the poem (and not only because I’ve never written a poem, least not since childhood). This one hit close. It came from a place I prefer to keep contained. A place that is still sutured and bandaged, lest I bleed out. As I hit send on that email, I had to tell myself, “what the hell have you got to lose, Catherine?” Still, there’s something about opening yourself like that. Again, I’m not really talking about entering the contest, but writing something that is so much a part of you, that when you send it out…something of you goes, too. Maybe it will be a bit of the pain…that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

My point – they say write what you know. Yes, and write what you feel. Write what you are most afraid of, what you most try to blank out of your mind. That event or thing or fear that gives you the cold sweats, the shivers and that gut-wrenching, twisting pain that only comes when you are at your most ill.

Now, I have to go count my blessings. Three of them are sitting on the sofa, watching a movie, and waiting for me.



In honor of Dr. Seuss June 22, 2010

Filed under: Where Did That Come From?? — justwritecat @ 10:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Say, did you know it was the celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday?  Um…a few months ago.  I feel really bad that I missed it, given how much I love his books.  To rectify my oversight, I thought I’d may homage with my own version of Green Eggs and Ham.  I’m still tweaking it, but at this rate…I can either wait until next year’s celebration or post it ‘as is’ now. 


I am Writer


I am Writer

Writer I am


That Writer-I-am

That Writer-I-am!

I do not like

that Writer-I-am


Will you read

my manuscript


I will not read it,


I will not read

your manuscript.


Would you read it

Here or there?


I would not read it

here or there.

I would not read it


I will not read

your manuscript,

I will not read it



Would you read it

if done at a vanity house

Would you read it  

with a weremouse?


I will not read it

if done at a vanity house.

I will not read it

with a weremouse.

I will not read it

here or there.

I will not read it


I will not read your manuscript.

I will not read it, Writer-I-am.


Would you read it

if I revised?

Would you read it

if I tried?


Not if you revised.

Not if your tried.

Not done at a vanity house.

Not with a weremouse.

I would not read it here or there.

I would not read it anywhere.

I would not read your manuscript.

I will not read it, Writer-I-am.


Would you?  Could you?

with a kid who’s a wiz?

Read it!  Read it!

Here it is..


I would not,

could not,

 with a kid who’s a wiz.


You may like it.

You will see.

You may like it

with a zombie.


Not with a zombie.

I would not, could not with a zombie.

Not with anything!  You let me be.


I will not read it if revised.

I will not read it if you tried.

I will not read it if done at a vanity house.

I will not read it with a weremouse.

I will not read it here or there.

I will not read it anywhere.

I will not read your manuscript.

I will not read it, Writer-I-am.


An apocalyptic!  An apocalyptic!

An apocalyptic!  An apocalyptic!

Could you, would you

as an apocalyptic?


Not as an apocalyptic!  Not with a zombie!

Not with a kid who’s a wiz.  Writer! Let me be!

I  would not, could not, if revised.

I could not, would not, if you tried.

I will not read it with a weremouse.

I will not read it if done at a vanity house.

I will not read it here or there.

I will not read it anywhere.

I will not read it, Writer-I-am.



What about a YA?

Here, now it’s a YA!

Would you, could you, as a YA?


I would not, could not,

as a YA.


Would you, could you,

with a vampire?


I would not, could not, with a vampire

Not as a YA.  Not as an apocalyptic. 

Not with a kid who’s a wiz.  Not with a zombie.

I do not like it.  Writer, you see.

Not if done in a vanity house. Not if revised.

Not with a weremouse.  Not if you tried.

I will not read it here or there.

I will not read it anywhere.


You will not read

my manuscript?


I will not

read it



Could you, would you

if self-pubbed?


I would not,

could not,

if self-pubbed!


Would you, could you,

if my mom said she loved?


I could not, would not, if your mom said she loved.

I will not, will not, if self-pubbed.

I will not read it with a vampire

I will not read it an apocalyptic

Not as a YA, not with a zombie

Not with a wiz kid.  You let me be!

I will not read it if revised

I will not read it if you tried.

I will not read from a vanity house

I will not read with a weremouse

I will not read it here or there

I will not read it ANYWHERE!


I will not read




I will not like it,



You will not like it,

SO you say.

Read it!  Read it!

And you may.

Read it and you may love it I say.



If you will stop querying me,

I will read it.

You will see.



I read your manuscript!

And I do! I love it, Writer-I-am!

And I would read more, too.

I want to read more manuscripts from you!

And I will read it if your mom loved.

And I will read it if self-pubbed.

And I will read it with a vampire.

And a YA.  And with an apocalypse.

And with a kid who’s a wiz.  And with a zombie.

This one is so good, so good you see!


So I will read them because you tried.

And I will read them once revised.

And I will read the one done in a vanity house.

And I will read one with a weremouse.

And I will read them here and there.

          Say! I will read them ANYWHERE.           


So I will rep YOU,

I do so like

your manuscript!

Thank you!

Thank you!








Lost in Another World… May 17, 2010

Filed under: Fiction,Life,Where Did That Come From?? — justwritecat @ 2:59 am

Status Update:  Nothing new to report on the partials and the full.  Staying busy on current WIP, another urban fantasy.

I have a confession to make.  Uh, no – I don’t really believe in vampires (sorry Joe, please don’t bite me).  This confession concerns those darn demons of insecurity.  Yes, I finished my first novel.  And for that, at least one or two of said demons should have been banished forthwith and post haste.  Alas, either they found their way back or they bred like hell before they left. 

I allowed myself a couple of days of downtime after finishing the revisions on Set ‘Em Up, Joe.   Then a couple days more to decide what to work on next.  I’d already started the second in the Seeing Red series (the Cooper series), but thought it might be best to work on something else.  You know, Just In Case.  I had a few ideas on the back burner, but none that jumped out at me.  Unlike the story about Joe – that one not only demanded to be told, Joe just about threatened to go for the jugular if I didn’t write his novel NOW.  

So I jotted down a few things about each of those other ideas, such as audience & genre, primary characters, estimated word count (related to genre and audience), oh yeah – and plot.  🙂  I even went as far as working up a rough query for some of the ideas, just to see if any seemed to have more potential.  By potential, I do not mean in terms of marketing.  I mean in terms of being rich enough to build a world/story out of the concept.  I went back and forth between my list of five possible novels.  While I was excited by the idea of writing any of the five, none demanded my attention.  None of the stories begged to be told first.  That had me worried (here’s where the confession part comes in).

The way I figured it, if none of the stories held me captive – how could they possibly grab a reader?  How could I even stand to write it (or rather revise, because you have to LOVE your story and characters to get through the revisions.  And yes, I know there will be more revisions if my novel grabs the attention of an agent and then an editor)?

Then came the fear, the insecurity.  I was a one-trick pony.  A one-hit wonder, without actually having that one hit (yet??).  Joe’s story came to me, almost in its entirety, one morning.  I woke up and this guy is talking to me.  Nursing a scotch, telling me his troubles, trying to charm me with his compelling ways.  I outlined the larger story arc in a few days, complete with characters/relationships/conflicts.  I’m not saying I didn’t make changes as I wrote the novel – and especially after working with a developmental editor – but essentially Joe and his world were real to me from the start.  So real I easily became lost in his world at times. 

My family quickly learned that when ‘mommy has that look’, there’s no talking to her – because she isn’t listening, she’s not even there.  I was in Joe’s world, considering the possibilities, working on his story.  And those moments were not few and far between.  Especially when I wrote the first draft.  All I could think about was the story.  I mean, I couldn’t not think about it – you know?  And I know many of you understand exactly what I mean when I say this – sometimes, I wanted to be in that world.  I wanted to meet those people who felt so real to me in my mind – how could they not be real?  (uh, hello, Catherine? Vampires do not exist).  If Joe and his world could feel that real to me – could another world/story/character also have that effect?   For a few days, I feared the answer was ‘no’.   

So, back to writing those rough queries and sketching out the possibilities.  Doing all that felt fine, but again – nothing captured me immediately.  Until, one did.  Today.  While sitting with my family, enjoying lunch.

I’d been spending more time thinking about this one idea – working out the larger story arc, the protagonist’s personality and job and friendships.  But I didn’t have the plot – not really.  Or rather, not the inciting moment that had to propel her to change.  The Event that would force her to take that first step.  The Thing That Mattered, that made her and her story worth reading and worth writing. 

So, there I am at Panera Bakery, taking a bite of my salad – and suddenly, it all came together.  Just. Like. That.  I looked out the window, past the cars parked outside, past the trees in the distance.  Past the real world I was in, to another world quickly taking shape before my eyes.  I recall my husband looking at me for a moment, then turning to see what I was staring at.  Then I turned to face him, and he smiled.  “You got it, don’t you?” 


And I’ve been lost in that world ever since.  Dear family – I’ll be back in a few months.  Promise.


Last Line Blogfest Entry May 1, 2010

Oh my, when did it become May??  Seriously.  A few weeks ago I started a draft of this post, figuring I had weeks – WEEKS – to decide which last line to use.  And then I’m checking the comments on my blog and someone is nice enough to remind me that the Last Line Blogfest is tomorrow!  TOMORROW. 

A heartfelt thank you to Roland over at http://www.rolandyeomans.blogspot.com  for the friendly reminder, and of course a mega-thanks to Lilah Pierce for hosting this blogfest.  Too cool!!

Below is my entry for last line blogfest over at http://lilahpierce.blogspot.com/2010/04/my-first-blogfest.html

Ahem, I cheated a bit in that the set-up is way more than twenty-five lines.  More like fifty.  Sorry – I really wanted feedback on the last line in this scene and didn’t think I could get the flow working in less than fifty lines.

This scene takes place after Joe Cooper, ME, is called out to examine the second murder in as many weeks.  He is speaking with Detective Grace Gutierrez right before he’s about to chat with the kid (a seventeen year old) who found the victim. 

Now, I like the last line.  I think it’s somewhat cheesy, but that’s what I was going for in some ways.  Joe’s a bit of a player, flirts (even at crime scenes), and Grace is attracted to him.  But….if you think the line doesn’t work, please don’t hold back.  (FYI, Rodriguez is Grace’s partner.  Another homicide detective who is rather AR.  He dropped a spot of jelly from a donut on his shirt, hence the reference to him still looking at the spot).

Thanks for reading!

     I walked away from Rodriguez, who was still looking down at his shirt.  I headed over to the kid, and Gutierrez followed.  “Don’t trust me to get at the truth, Gutierrez?  I’m not like your partner, you know.”  I smiled at her, the most unassuming one I could manage.  “Occasionally, I give someone the benefit of the doubt.”

            She laughed, looked at me, started to speak, and then blushed.  She always seemed momentarily taken aback when we looked directly at each other.  And in those moments when I looked directly in her eyes, I could see the beginnings of her guard going down.     

            “I know you’re not Robert.  In fact, you’re so opposite of him and any of the other detectives I work with, it’s strange.”

            “Well, I’m not a cop.”

            “True, but you work with us.  You’re on the same side, but something about the way you conduct your business is different.” 

            “I’ll bite.  Different how?”

            “You’re focused, intent, and yet, also distant.  I know all of us are—hard, somehow.  No  one on the police force could be accused of not caring about a case, about the victim and those left behind.”  She looked off to the side, took a deep breath.  “You put on a good show of not caring, but it’s obvious you do.  Maybe too much.  And yet, I can‘t figure out just what you care about, what motivates you.  Is it catching the killer, helping the victim, or something else entirely?”

            I watched her, enjoying the sound of her voice.  It was soft and lyrical, and I thought I could listen to it for hours. 

            Her breath quickened and she looked at me, her eyes open and wide.  As if she was waiting for me to say or do something.  Not just to answer the questions she had voiced, but to give her answers to larger, more universal questions.  Maybe to explain why anyone cares about anyone else in this world.   

               “I know I’m rambling—sorry.  I’m tired and working this crime is a hell of a way to wake up.” 

                I looked at her for a moment, sensing what she needed to hear, perhaps what she plain needed.  And I wanted to give it to her.  All of it.  The answers about my existence, my life, my pursuits.  I wanted to tell her why I cared about humans, the same humans I hunted when my thirst became too great.  But, as always, I held back.   

            I broke her gaze, looked to the side and cleared my throat.  “You think too much, Gutierrez.” 

            Out of the corner of my eye I saw her body tense, her shoulders go up a fraction of an inch.  She stared at me for a moment, and then turned in the direction of the witness.    

            “And, I would never call you hard.”  I turned back and gave her a sly look.  “You seem plenty soft to me.”

            She snorted.  “Guess I was overreaching with you, Cooper.  What was I thinking?”  She smiled, not very convincingly.  “So the kid’s name is Ernest Smith, a.k.a Skinny Ernie.  Seems he was headed over to his grandmother’s so he could help out around her house.  He wanted to get an early start since he has to work later today.  I will give Robert credit for something.  I think the kid did see more than he’s letting on.”

            “You know I prefer to question witnesses my own way.”

            “Sure, I know.”  She turned to walk away, then looked back.  “Hey, Cooper—”


            “He seems like a good kid.  Okay?”

            “Sure, Grace.” The maternal instinct looked good on her.  “By the way, if you know where I live, why haven’t you ever come knocking?”  The embarrassed and possibly caught reliving a sordid-sexual-fantasy-involving-a-forensic-pathologist didn’t look too bad on her, either.


Bar Scene Blogfest Entry April 11, 2010

Filed under: Where Did That Come From??,Writing,Writing Contests — justwritecat @ 1:25 am
Tags: , ,

Ooh, another blogfest!  This time it’s BAR SCENES, hosted by Tara over at Secret Story 

Well, now.  A Bar Scene.  Oh, yes….goody, goody.  Joe likes his booze, that he does.  Below is my entry, an excerpt from the first chapter of Seeing Red: Set ‘Em Up, Joe.  Set-up  – Joe’s taking it easy, enjoying his fine single-malt scotch, basking in the beauty of his favorite bartender and regular gal Pamela.  Enter the bad guys.

             I raised my drink and took a sip; the hint of smoke and sea salt teased my tongue.  I took a few more, letting the booze work to quiet my senses.  I leaned forward and set my glass down on the smooth oak bar.  Our eyes met, and Pamela gave me one of her half smiles. 

            She picked up the bottle, her soft, amber hair slowly falling across her shoulder as she leaned forward to fill my glass.  As she topped off my drink, the front door banged open.  The bottle trembled in her hand, and I watched as a drop of thirty-two-year-old single malt missed my glass and hit the bar. 

            “They’re back.”

            I looked up.  Pamela’s head was turned towards the front of the bar; her hand gripped the bottle, her knuckles white.  Worry flashed across her deep blue eyes. 

            Two goth looking wannabes had walked in, accompanied by a late summer breeze and a scent that seemed oddly familiar.  Cloves, maybe.  One of them sniffed the air and then looked at his buddy.  If they were human, I’d drink a Cosmopolitan.     

            I looked back at Pamela, who was still holding the bottle.  “Easy now, angel.”

            She looked at me, and then set the bottle down.  “Those are the kids I told you about.  They had trouble taking no for an answer when I refused to serve them beers earlier today.  I could’ve sworn one of them growled at me when I threatened to call the cops.”

            The first one walked up to the bar.  Just on the outside of sixteen, I’d bet.  Tallish, with blazing green eyes and spiked reddish-blond hair.  Looked like a damn rooster.  The second one stood close behind—appeared to be about two years younger and an inch shorter, with jagged jet black hair and eyes to match.  There was something grimy about the air around them.  And while their scent was familiar, their faces were not.  Didn’t think they knew me, but if they were trying to cause trouble, it was time I got to know them.  And if they were in any way involved with the reason I came to this town, then yeah—introductions were in order.  I was back on full alert.     

            “We’re starving.  Make it two burgers,” the older one said.

            I looked back at my glass of scotch, contemplating the drop that got away.  “Heard of a thing called manners?” 

            The second one snickered; the first one didn’t do a thing.

            “I said two burgers. Rare. And two beers.”

            I looked up at Pamela, who stood motionless behind the bar.  Still looking at her, I coughed lightly and said, “And I said, how about some manners?”

            The one with the green eyes turned to look at me.  I returned the courtesy.  That’s when I noticed something wrong with his eyes.  They were on fire.  Not because of his true nature, not because he was probably full on human blood, but for another reason.  Sick?  Not very likely, not for our kind.  Had to be drugs.    

            “Keep it to yourself, old man.”

            Mr. Jet Black hair snickered again, sniffed, and then put his arms around himself and shivered.  Drugs.  What the hell were these two thinking?  Drugs and our kind don’t usually mix.    

            “The kitchen’s already closed.  Besides, you know I can’t serve minors,” Pamela said.  “You’ll have to leave.” 

            Green eyes stared at her for a long moment, like he was cataloguing her image for later.  And that, I didn’t like. 

            When they didn’t move, I said, “So you don’t do polite, but maybe you also got a hearing problem?  The lady asked you to leave. Why don’t I show you the way out?” 

            His sidekick shivered again, then said, “Let’s go, Jeff.”  

            The first one stared at me, this funny look on his face.  Like he wanted to bite me.  Well, hell—let him try.  I laughed at the thought.

            “Laughing at me, old man?”  That was twice now.  When you’re blessed with immortality, age is irrelevant.  I hated being reminded of that fact.

            “Maybe I am, Jeff.  Now, be a good boy and listen to your friend.”  I looked at the other one.  “Your name’s not Mutt, I suppose?”


            “No, I suppose not.”  I set my glass down on the bar, pushed back my barstool, and stood up.  “Guess you do need help finding your way out.” 

            Just then, the double door that separated the bar and restaurant from the kitchen swung open.  A young waitress by the name of Daisy sauntered through and worked her way up to the bar.  Though at least a decade younger, Daisy was one of Pamela’s closest friends.  She was a cute young thing, a brunette with cocoa eyes, though a bit too cheerful for my tastes. 

            “I forgot my gym bag in the break area.”  She walked over to my side, stopping right in front of the two punks.  “I heard voices up front.”  She smiled at me.  “I’m not suprised to find you here, but who are the kids?  Friends of yours?”

            I heard a low gutteral sound from Green eyes, and in less than a second he grabbed Daisy’s wrist and sniffed it.  As he was about to lick her wrist, I moved between them and grabbed his arm.  I squeezed quick and tight, and said, “Let go. Now.”

            He let out a deep growl, like a dog makes when he’s about to lose his bone. 

            I squeezed tighter and heard bones snap. 

            He growled again, though it was more of a wimper, and let go.  As I pushed Daisy behind me, Pamela rushed over to her side. 

           He looked at me and I started to see the tips of something white and sharp poke out from under his upper lip.  What the hell was wrong with this one?  Pulling that kind of crap in front of humans was not only stupid—it was dangerous for all our kind.  Don’t call attention to yourself unless you need to use it.  Vampires fare best when following that rule.      

          Yeah, that’s what I am.  Vampire.  And it was time for my own fangs to come out.


Murder Scene Blogfest Entry April 9, 2010

Heh, heh, heh.  I get to kill someone today.  I LOVE when that happens. 

O.K.  – so before you think I’ve gone all ‘nutso-crazies’, I’m referring to the Murder Scene Blogfest hosted by Anne Riley.  You can find the details at her blog.  Check it out, then please come back and read my entry.  Let me know what you think!

This is an excerpt from Chapter Three of Seeing Red: Set ‘Em Up, Joe.  In this scene, medical examiner and vampire Joe Cooper has just received a call about a fire in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Remains of something that might be human were found after the fire was put out, so he’s off to investigate. You can read the first chapter of Seeing Red here: Chapter One

Broadway Pier—one of over a dozen in the area—juts far out into the water, making it a popular parking spot for the schooners and water taxis that traverse Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  None were docked tonight, which had probably helped contain the fire.  As I walked to the end of the pier, the smells of the Harbor intensified.  Thanks to the infestation of algae that hit every summer, the water reeked of decaying fish.  I took a deep breath and got an idea of what triggered Mells’ warning bells.  There was a faint whiff of something—musky, like going deep-woods, that lingered in the cool night air.  Catalogued and mentally filed—with all the other vamp scents I knew—for further consideration. 

While all vampire senses are finely honed, and more intense than any human could possibly handle, the one we rely on the most is the sense of smell.  The way I see it, the faster you can detect someone’s scent, the better chance you have of staying one step ahead of ‘em. 

The end of the pier was cordoned off with a stretch of grey, fraying rope.  As M.E. on the scene, anything on the other side of that rope was my domain.  I lifted it up, stepped under it, and got to work. 

Every person deserves to have the full attention of another at least once in life.  I looked at the mess in front of me.  This was its time.  And it had my attention. At first look it seemed the tangled mass of grey and black was anything but human.  But it was, or had been.  Telltale signs of Homo sapiens—charred organs, broken bones and several teeth—lay in the debris.  I dismissed the sounds and smells of the others—the cops and firefighters and onlookers whose hearts still beat in time and whose blood still flowed in their veins—and focused on the victim’s scent. 

I inhaled deeply.  The scent of charred flesh hit me first—but then, not much can cut through that kind of stench.  Somewhere in that smell was a hint of copper, but it should’ve been stronger since that’s the first thing you usually detect if blood is present.  Even with a body burned almost beyond recognition, there should be enough residual blood in the corpse.  Something must’ve significantly drained the body of blood prior to chopping it to pieces, and that had me concerned because there’s only one kind of something that can do that—my kind. 

Goddamn.  One of my own had gone rogue, and in a bad way.  Targeting other vampires, leaving their remains out in public view.  And bringing unwanted attention to us all. 

I called over one of the forensic techs and told him to get to work.     

“How should I bag the—remains?”



Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies…Oh, My! Part One October 28, 2009

The first in a three-part commentary on Mythical Creatures.

Before I get into this, let me state that I love vampires.   Unequivocally, unabashedly, eternally.  And yes, I realize they’re not real.  Let’s move on.


My first novel, completed this year, is about vampires.  A tale of longing and hunger; of lust and regret.  My story introduces medical examiner Joe Cooper-a vampire with an insatiable appetite for booze, blood and women.  And a hunger for justice.  He represents many of the qualities I’ve always admired in (fictional) vampires.  Inhuman abilities-check.  Rugged good looks-oh, yeah.  A thirst for human blood-absolutely.  He’s dangerous when he has to be; charming when he wants to be.  He also has (forgive the pun) a heart.  Because one other thing that’s always drawn me to certain fictional vampires is their sense of loss.  Of what might be, of what can never be.  I’m a sucker for a sad story.  

Let me also say that I adore the Twilight Series.  Just like many others out there, I quickly found myself caught up in the story of Bella and Edward.  I felt like a teenager again, except only the good parts.  And while many have said that her vampires weren’t fierce enough, or that the love story wasn’t graphic enough – hey, it was intended for a young adult audience.  Just because those of us who are…um…not young adults, also fell in love with the story, does not mean we should judge it as if it was meant for us.  Don’t judge it at all.  Just enjoy the story.  Because it’s a great one.

But…my novel is for a more mature audience, and as such, brings vampires back to the darker side of their existence.  In other words, Joe ain’t a vegetarian.  And he likes sex.  Nothing smutty, mind you.  But I did worry about sending the first draft to my mom to read. 

I’ve heard the complaints – “if I have to see another vampire on t.v. or read about another vamp book, I’m gonna hurl” (or something to that effect).  O.k. – so you don’t like vampires.  Or maybe you’re just tired of them, you want something else to entertain you.  Fine, but you’ve got to admit that vampires are one type of mythical creature that’s not going anywhere.  There’s an allure there…the vampire mythos speaks to us (women and men, both).  For different reasons, and in different ways, but still–the appeal remains relatively constant. 

And there are so many ways for writers to explore this legend–to sculpt their characters and build their worlds in ways that reflect that which they find the most alluring/seductive/frightening.  Writers write about vampires to appease the multitude of readers out there who are clamoring for this genre.  But we also write about vampires to satisfy our own creative selves. 

Urban, paranormal, supernatural – call it what you will, but this genre of fantasy fiction is popular.  And for good reason. And while vampires are but one of the many creatures that can be given life in such fiction, to me–they’re the most beguiling.

My thoughts on Werewolves and Zombies later this week…

Happy Writing!