Saturday, October 30, 2010

Article is UP!!

Hurray! My new article, "Seeing Red," is now up and ready at Super Teacher Worksheets. You can follow the link on my Publication and Achievements page to the site, and read (and download) the article and worksheets.

I actually got my check in the mail today. That was pretty exciting! It's nice when you get money for your work, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seeing Red... not really

Getting published is fantastic. Getting published, and getting PAID for your work is even better!

My article, "Seeing Red," is about ladybugs, different facts I found out about them, and an interesting story about where the origin of their name came from. It was actually an assignment I did for the Institute of Children's Literature. I believe it was my fourth assignment. I had to do a non-fiction article, and I was like, "WHAT!!? Non-Fiction? News flash. I don't DO NF."

Today, I found out that, actually, yes, I do. I'm a writer. I write, and about anything! (Check out my "Reaper's Son" post, to read about venturing out of one's safety zone.) Non-Fiction can be fun, and I found it really was fun. I LOVE ladybugs, and it's all because I did the research and read up on them. Now, I've found a safe home for my ladybug article at Super Teacher Worksheets.

Every night I come home from work, and I realise how blessed I am to have the drive and imagination God gave me for writing. I love it. It's a job I can come back to all day every day and always be fired up, ready to go, and eager to learn more. It's a tough job. Who REALLY loves criticism? But it's rewarding. The thoughts you think, the dreams you dream, the ideas you share, last. They live on forever. And that is something.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reaper's Son

I'm not one for horror. Horror... well, it horrifies me. I generally walk away from it going, "uhhhhhh" and **shudder**.

However, at the online Writer's Retreat that I frequent (and get lots of writing tips from), there are these fun monthly competitions called Monthly Write Offs. What it is, is this: one person gets to be the "Ruler", and say what kind of story needs to happen, i.e., fantasy, fiction, non-fiction, etc. The Ruler also gets to say what kind of word count you get, whether 750 words to 2500, or even 500 MAX! Then there are certain key elements that you must include. For example, in one Monthly Write Off, we had to insert four different random lines (two of them were "Give it to me",and "It must be a joke") and several different words, such as "confabulation", into the story, and make it FLOW. It's always fun, and at the end of the month you've got this story you'd never thought you'd write, but which might just be marketable.

Well, for the MWO in May, we did a Halloween theme, and I surprised myself by actually dreaming up something creepy! Really, really creepy. I scared myself, you know? In fact, it was so eerie I called it the Reaper's Son, and submitted it with a kind of shocked disbelief that I had written it. Now, I'm in the revision process of the Reaper's Son, and I've got two potential markets I'm going to sub it to. Isn't that something?

So, no matter what genre you think you're "blocked" into, remind yourself to always try something new. I'm rather fond of the Reaper's Son... I hope I'm able to place it. Be that as it may, it opened a new door for me and let me explore a new niche that I actually enjoyed venturing into.

Good night!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Badger's Cross. What do you think?

What do you think of the title, "Badger's Cross"?

I thought it was a poor, pitiful excuse of a title. But then, I had several people comment on it, how intrigued they were by the title, and how anxious they were to see what the story was about.

So, I think I may keep it, after all.

To be quite clear, "Badger's Cross" is NOT about a badger... it is about a boy whose nickname is Badger. The MC's name is actually Paul Ryan. (Don't you just LOVE that name? **sigh**) Paul Ryan is prob'ly on of my more favourite MC's that I've created. I can't wait to spill the essentials of his story on NaNo. I chose to do this story, 'cause I'm hoping the constant action of the plot will keep me propelled enough to grind out my 1,667 (or more... hopefully) words a day through November. Only eleven more nights 'til NaNo!!

"Badger's Cross" is going to be a YA mystery/thriller type of story. It's going to feature murder, a fall from faith, revenge, drugs, and lots of shootouts. I'm hoping it turns out as well as it sounds here!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meet Annie

Don't you just love it when a new character wanders into your head, and says, "Hello, there" ?

I do, too. While I was working on Soccer Sam, a new little voice knocked on my head and demanded, peremptorily, that I needed to write about her. Since she was SO demanding, I did so.

That's how I met Annie. She doesn't have a middle name. She doesn't have a last name. She's just Annie, with a Daddy, and a Mommy who's having a baby.

Annie is SO excited that she's going to have a baby brother, or sister. Babies are so much fun. They're like little live dolls that you can play with and love, but better.

Then, everyone begins doing things just for the baby, and Annie begins to wonder if the baby is going to be as fun as she thought it was.

Don't worry, she finds out that it is. After all, who can't love a baby?

I hope you all love Annie as much as me. She's a WIP, right now.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Destiny's Son

It's amazing how just looking at an open submission can get creative juices flowing.

Pill Hill Press is open to submissions for their Shadow and Light Vol II anthology, and an idea just sort of oozled into my mind and demanded to be written.

All I had for character was "he", a man "who was more wound than man". That line sort of pummelled my brain and said "Write me! Write me! Write me!" and wouldn't leave me alone until I did. Ideas poured out of me onto paper, and I transferred it all to my computer, and that all took about one day.

But remember, after you've transferred something to the computer, DO NOT for a second believe you are done! If you don't belong to a critique group, I urge you to join now. I finished Destiny's Son, and sent out a request for a critique to people at Writer's Retreat, an online writer's forum that I frequent... frequently. Thanks to the generous fellows who answered my call, my story got critiqued, and edited to the most perfect form I could create for it.

Now, to say farewell to this character that I have just been introduced. Time to let him try his wings and see if others love him as much as I do.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


So, I'm thinking to myself, "Am I crazy?"

I mean, I'm planning to write, or at least get down a rough draft, of a 50,000 word novel. Did you hear me? A 50,000 WORD NOVEL. Yeah. That's what I'm thinking. That's roughly 1667 words a day. That's a lot of words.

I'm going to start off with an outline before the "event" actually starts. That's allowed in the NaNo guidelines. I feel lost if I don't have at least a glimmer of an idea in my head when I sit down either before my computer or at my notebook.

I'm planning on writing the story of Paul Ryan, one of my more favourite characters that I've dreamed up. Paul is such a complex character, I'm going to have to spend some one-on-one with him before November so I can get into his head and see how his brain works.

It's interesting, because I'm primarily a fantasy writer. Yet, for Paul, he's going to be thrown into a mystery, a drama, a life and death situation in the real world. I'm keeping this strictly down on earth, and not beyond the boundaries of earth to another world. This will be my first, non-fantasy novel. Wow, huh?

Well, I like to challenge myself. Quiet over there! I hear you saying, "So, 50,000 words in 30 days isn't challenge enough?" I admit, I have an ulterior motive. This is a story that's been kicking at me for a couple years. I've drafted chapters, gotten rid of them, written a couple more chapters, decided they're too much information and not enough action. This time, I'm just going to get my outline out there, and start from square one. I'm going to just mob through it. I'm going to get Paul's story out there.

Oh, and, by the way, he actually goes by Badger. Just so you know. :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Joys of Writing

After a hard day at work, it's so nice to know that I can come back home and be welcomed by my characters.

No matter how horrible a day has been, my worlds are always waiting for me, awake and ready for me to dive back in.

I open a notebook, and there on the page I see my MC, poised on the brink of a scene, patiently waiting for me to pick up a pen and start writing again. It is such a comfort to know that she is one thing in my life that is sure.

I'm certain every one has something in life that makes them so happy. Writing is the one work I can come back to again and again and again and never find tedious. I'm always excited to get back to my imagination.

Once I'm done with this post, you can be sure I'm going to head back to my MC and her world, and bury myself back in words and ink and fantasy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Tale of Catastrophe

Here's a funny little story that just came to me. I hope you like it!!


Once upon a time there was a girl named Catastrophe.

Cat was the seventh daughter of the seventh son of the seventh son, and on and on for quite a few generations. When she was born it was quite tragic for her parents, for she broke the seventh son trend. When she was born her father looked at her and cried out, "Catastrophe!" That was how she got her name.

Isn't that sad?

In all the kingdom of Serenity there was never a girl so catastrophic as Catastrophe. Whatsoever she did or touched or made was either ill-done, broken or destroyed. She could not even dream, for when she did her dreams were shattered.

Catastrophe was a maid in the Castle of King Melliflous. When she swept the floors she did so carefully, so that she would not break the stones. She was often scolded by the Official HouseKeeper for damaging Royal Property. She wept at nights behind the cupboards in the kitchen, wishing for just one person to ease her pain.

One night, after Cat had finished sweeping and scrubbing and cleaning for the day, she lay down on her pallet behind the warm fireplace and shut her eyes. But she could not sleep. Too much sadness was going through her mind.

"I shall never be anybody," she said sadly. "I shall always just be a catastrophe. Why, even tonight I managed to destroy the Official HouseKeeper's broom. Now I must pay her for a new one, and heaven knows I make few enough Ownsies as it is. This is a tragedy."

Cat turned over and stared at the sooty cobwebs above. She wished she could take them and make a ball of wishes from them. Hopelessly, she whispered:

"Soot of cobweb, bring to me
One white wish to comfort me."

A ribbon of starlight twinkled through the window and caught in the cobwebs. Cat sat up, staring at the figure that materialized from the starlight.

It was a little woman, very old but still very pretty. There was a mischievous gleam in her eye and she was dressed all in white, with a little silver tiara on her brow. Her white hair was braided and bound in a bun about her head. About her waist she wore a blue sash and in her hand she carried a wand.

Cat stared: the wand looked very much like a fountain pen. Surely, she thinks, it really isn't!

"Hello," the old lady said in a sweet voice. "Dear Cat, don't look so alarmed! I am the wish fairy, here to grant your wish."

Cat stammered in amaze, "But Lady, what did I wish?"

The wish fairy tutted. "You must remember. You wished for one white wish to comfort you."

Cat's mouth formed an O.

"Quite right," said the fairy and handed her wand to Cat. Cat took it reverently, and looked at it. Hm, she thought. It is a fountain pen, no doubt about it.
"I perceive," the fairy said, "That you have a vivid imagination, yet you cannot afford the money it would take to buy yourself a pen and paper. So here. Here is the pen, and here," and the fairy pulled out a monstrous ream of paper, "Here is paper. And don't worry. No matter how much you write there will always be paper for you. It will magically replenish. Isn't that something?"

It was something. Cat sat upon the floor, marvelling at the white texture of the paper, at the fine nib of the pen. She wrote the first three letters of her name upon the whiteness. Cat. The blackness of the letters look very fine against the white paper.

The wish fairy smiled. "Happy writing," she said, and vanished.

Cat smiled back. Happy writing indeed! Perhaps she could write and sell her work. Think of all the Ownsies she would earn!

Cat shivered and ran her fingers along the edge of the paper. These white pages are full of possibility.

"The tale of Catastrophe," she whispered to herself, "By Cat Scribbler. That sounds fine."

Katrina DeLallo, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Moment Of Quiet

What I love most about the end of my day is the fact that I can just come home and relax with the one thing I love doing above all else: writing.

I'm sure we all have our own different ways of relaxing. Some people love to cook. Some people love to read. Some people love listening to music.

I love to write. It excites me. It's the one job I have that I can't wait to come back to. I go to my normal day job, and dream away the hours until I can come home and sit down with either my pen and paper, or my trusty laptop, and just do a brain drain.
Right now I'm working on my full novel, The Key Keeper, a short story temporarily titled "Hope's Soldier" that I'm trying to complete for Pill Hill Press's Shadow and Light VOL 2 anthology, a drabble for Sam's Dot 2013 drabble contest, and an article 'bout ladybugs for Imagination Cafe, and I LOVE it! I'm not stressed out at all. I can do what I want to do when I want to, and nobody has any expectations on it except me. That freedom is intoxicating.

I'm also plotting the outlines for a couple WIP's that I'm trying to complete. One of the several outlines is going to be the basis of the novel I'll do for NaNoWriWee, but I'm having a hard time choosing between them. I love all the ideas, and I'm not sure which one I want to pour my heart into for the next month. BUT, I love it. I wouldn't want to alleviate the agony of the choice by one little bit.

I've also decided I'm somewhat of an anthology addict. Anthologies are such a nice length of words... not too long, not too short, plenty of space for action and plot and character building without having to go too deeply into the sometimes terrifying job of worldcrafting. Anthologies are fun. I'm having fun with the MC of my short story, "Hope's Soldier". He's a poor, confused man with a destiny he's not sure about and a future he has forgotten. I can't wait to finish it and get some critiques on it from my writer friends.

Oh, and I also love drawing. Random fact. I hope one day to be able to write AND illustrate my own books. Wouldn't that be awesome?

AND... I got another story accepted into the SOMETHING FROM THE ATTIC anthology, publishing date TBA. That was exciting, 'specially since the editor said it was a lovely, great, really wonderful story. That brightened the li'l cockles of my heart.

Last fun news of the day: today is my brother and sister-in-law's anniversary, and today their baby is one day old. Little Samantha Renee DeLallo looks like a real treasure. God is good.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

Every time I think of them, it seems they are God's greatest fairy tale. Don't you agree? Each on of us is born with this incredible guardian, this invisible warrior who watches over us and wakes our conscience when we are about to do something we know we'll regret later. They are with us from the moment of conception, and when we come to die they will be the ones to escort us to heaven, if we so deserve it.

Not only was it the Feast of the Guardian Angels, I also got a story accepted into an anthology called Trunk Stories, publication date yet to be announced. There is nothing quite like the taste of acceptance, to know your story was good enough to be shared with the rest of the world.

That's all for now. I just wanted to wish you all a (belated) Happy Guardian Angels Feast Day, and woo hoo! I'm going to be in print!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Generally, unless I'm writing plain fiction, I like my character's name to correspond with whatever theme the story is about.

So, if I'm writing a dark and depressing fantasy in which the bad guys are winning, a little ray of hope needs to appear that will make all things good, so my MC would have to have a name that means Hope.

If I don't have a language of my own that would work for this, I use Google Translate. (I'm confessing this here.) For my story, Fathom's Hope, the MC's name is Remeny, a Hungarian noun translation that means Hope. It all comes together.

My favourite language, if I can't do my own, is Old English. Those names have the right kind of feel for old-age writing. A lot of the humans in my fantasy worlds ending up having Old English influenced names. It's a weakness of mine.

However, sometimes just an unusual name I hear can inspire a story. There is someone I know whose name is Alandra. Thanks to her, I have a novel called Whisper Mansion that is in the process of being written. So, sometimes a story inspires the name, but sometimes a name inspires the story.
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